Return to Life Challenge Week 5…Sick Daze and Stops…Period…

(Lowdown on the slowdown.)

The Upside…

   This has been a fun week! I’ve been cooking and eating more healthy fresh yummy food. Got a wee hike in with my Toro and JG. I felt strong and flexible climbing over logs and ducking under brush. I slept deeper after getting to play outside.

The Downside…

   Perhaps in honor of the full moon my body has chosen to break down and force me to stand still. Boo. I am sick and getting my period…at the same time. So I’m definitely not getting as many workouts or working out to the intensity I need and want to be. But I’m respecting my body…eating lots of fresh veggies, resting and hoping that I’ll be back in action soon! 

(Plenty of sunshine streaming through the windows with Pilates apparatus in Magenta…Pilates Paradise. Not sure whose Pilates studio this is but it’s gorgeous!)


   As soon as I’m back in commission I’m going next level with the Return to Life Challenge. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve had seven days straight of workouts. I’m typically doing the Return to Life Mat 4 or 5 days a week. I like having a few days break from the mat routine itself to keep myself fresh and interested. But I’d like to make the 2 or 3 days I don’t do it into days for full workouts on the apparatus. And days to do other workouts, cardio, barre, belly dance. So week six, here I come!

I Owe You Some Awkward Body Shots…

   Next week when I’m not sick and on my moon cycle I will have brand new bikini shots. 



Return To Life Challenge Week 4…CH-CH-CHANGES!Β 

(Pre-Spring Queening)

The Change Train…

   Finally leaving the station, slowly but surely. This week has been really intense and emotional… but it has also spurred a very strong desire and motivation to make changes in my life! 

   I started with small changes like making sure Im relaxing and getting in bed at a better time. This includes turning off shows or giving myself space from people and things that stress me out or trigger me.

   I filled my fridge with groceries for the week so that I could have healthy snacks to munch on and ingredients to cook healthy meals. My stomach was really starting to hurt and complain about my sugar consumption.

   Been taking more time to primp my hair and put on a cute outfits and eyeliner. There is no reason why I shouldn’t feel like a Queen every day while tackling chores and work! 

   Hopefully the smaller changes will help me feel strong and able to tackle the big stuff…and there is a lot of big changes that need to happen in my life these next few months!

Celebrating The Victories!

   My clients and my Boss have commented on how I look a lot lighter. Not working as hard as I want my gut reaction is to say: “No!!!!!! I don’t deserve compliments! I have not worked hard enough!” I’ve started to rethink that attitude a little. It’s good to have high standards, but you have to celebrate the victories, otherwise you’re not enjoying life right?  I found that actually taking time to celebrate the victories actually makes me feel even more motivated to keep on keepin on! It’s also fun to be able to throw on clothes and not worry about if they aren’t going to fit right that week!


   My goals for this week are more home cooked meals, more early bedtimes, and more workouts. Especially full workouts at the studio so I can supplement my Return to Life Mat and progress to some tougher exercises!


Pisces Eclipse Week Survival Guide…Spinning shit into Gold πŸ‘‘

Pinball Wizard

    By all accounts this week is batshit crazy. There is some intense cosmic forces at work and I won the astrological lottery by having these alignments hit my natal birth chart in several different ways.   

   In other words I was a mess this morning. A big ass crazy mess. Walking, talking, and working, but on the inside feeling like a pinball in outer space.  


 Lost at Sea

   Every astrologer I listened to or tarot card I pulled this week said the same thing…you have to “find your center”. What the hell?! How?! 

    From Monday on I felt like an epic failure. I was sleep and nutritionally deprived. Things seemed hectic everywhere I went. I wasn’t getting anything done on my long “To Do List”. I started to feel ultra sensitive, anxiety ridden, and overwhelmed.

    After work today I texted my friends and called my boyfriend. I complained for the umpteenth time in as many weeks about how exhausted I was. How I felt like a mess. How I needed to get myself together…work out harder, cook some veggies, go to bed earlier. Bless ’em for listening to me vent, but I did not feel better. I was still a mess and now I was starting to bore myself.

    I drove to the coffee shop near my house. I bought a fancy ass cup of coffee and got it “for here”. I sat down at an actual table to drink it. I took several breaths and began to listen to the music that was playing…International Colouring Contest by Stereo Lab. 

   I realized there was nothing I could do in this moment to fix my food/sleep/work out imbalance. It’s become a problem, and one that I need to stop talking about and just fix.

   I started writing a list of things I was grateful for. In no time I began to tear up, realizing how lovely my life is right now…despite my issues. Under the list I wrote a few things about myself that I love. I started to feel my sense of humour coming back. 

   I drove to the mechanic smiling with the sun shining on my face, singing at the top of my lungs. I stood in window of the lobby dancing and whistling along to Rocket Man on the loud speaker. I heard a laugh and turned to see one of the mechanics smiling at me. “Hi!” I said. “Keep on whistling that song!” He said. 

(Thanks to the wonders of Snap Chat I can safely drown in my mechanic’s waiting room…without even getting my hair wet!)

Are you drowning in your own shit this week? 

Here are some tips for treading water:

Stop it…
   Literally stop it. Stop doing anything for a minute or five. Take deep breaths. Inhale for at least eight to ten seconds…then let it all out. 

Look for the light…

  Look for the sun, someone smiling, music, children laughing…anything that brings you some measure of healthy joy and pleasure. Write a list of things you’re grateful for.

Let Go…

  If you can’t find the answer to a problem, or make things swing your way then just let go for a while. As soon as you surrender and stop trying to force things you’ll feel immediate relief! 

Be a Queen…

   When you’re spinning like a top, only you can make it stop. So focus on yourself. Remember that you’re royalty. Give yourself some TLC. Write down reasons why you’re a wonderful bad ass Queen. 

One Step at a Time…

   Put one foot in front of the other. You can’t always control what happens to you but you can definitely control how you react. So remember you’re a queen and don’t act like a peasant!

(Be a Queen πŸ‘‘)

We got this guys! 



*For more astrological insight check out the Leo King:

Return To Life Challenge…Week 3 Sunshine and Swing Sets!Β 

(Sun bunny lyfe.)

Sugary Sleepy Shit Show

   Late Monday night, in a fit of productivity I decided to sort ALL of my clothes while binge watching Zelda on Amazon. I went to bed feeling like a bad ass. I woke up to my sisters droning alarm at 5:45AM. I woke up again for the land lord to bring by the fire Marshall. I finally woke up for good VERY LATE and VERY GRUMPY on V-day. 

   Valentine’s Day is usually one of my favorite days of the year but I was an angry mess. Decided not to have any coffee, it was late and I had early clients the next day. Whole Foods was a crazy crowded nightmare. I fought rush hour traffic to get my errands done and meet my sister and Bestie for our V-date. After sweet wine, strawberries, nutella, and cookies, I was over sugared and ready for bed. I slept very poorly. And the rest of my weeks workouts were tough.

  So no workout Tuesday. Three days this week with no workout. That’s not good. Being an angry sleepy mess during the week…also not good. I have got to get the sugar and sleep thing under control. 

(This pioneer woman appears to be wearing Mardi Gras beads.)

Weekend Warrior…Period.
   Joy of joys. My first moon cycle while on the challenge. As far as periods go it wasn’t bad! Despite the red river rage I fully enjoyed my weekend adventures, which included a tarot and tea party, a bonfire, sleeping in a cabin from the 1800’s, a huge antique mall and more. It’s a hard life I live… ❀❀❀

(Return of the bikini bottoms.)


   After days of doping myself on Advil during my period and a crap sleep/eat schedule during the week I had some aches and pains. The ghost of sciatica haunted me for exactly one day. I did my workout, modifying where I needed to and the pain was gone by morning. 

   My goals now are getting enough sleep during the week, eating more and healthier. 

Keep on truckin’!  xoxo


Return to Life Challenge Week 2…Bad Girl πŸ˜ˆ

(Yes, I did do a strip search.)

I’ve been a bad bad girl…

   So this week instead of two days off, I took three. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I chose sleep on Friday afternoon. I needed rest so I could adventure! (More on that later.) I chose sleep again on Sunday morning. I needed rest so I could properly boo the patriots. 

   For a kid who never took naps and barely ever slept as a child, I’ve been choosing sleep a lot lately. My time management skills during the week need some work so I don’t collapse into a heap on Friday afternoon. 

   But oh-my-God was that end of the week nap magical…I felt like a princess! 

(Me feeling like a Princess after my nap Friday…Heading out to have an adventure with my Toro ❀)

The day of reckoning…

  Monday I made myself work extra extra hard. Not only did I do my Return to Life workout, I thought up many other punishments on the various Pilates apparatus. I had to pay for my crimes…with hard labor. 

   After taking a three day break I started to feel some of my old aches, especially one on the right side of my torso (I like to lean on that side when I drive…naughty naughty.) By Tuesday morning those  aches were gone and I felt great again. Yay! 

   I decided to do the bikini pictures every other week, so don’t worry, there will be a new one next week! 


Farida ❀

(No make up…no filter…all criminal.)

Return To Life Challenge… Week 1 (Reality Bites)

(Me on the mat, just about to put my phone down and do the damn thing…)

Getting the Book
   When I saw the staggering wall of boxes in my parents garage marked “Farida” I knew I would never find one of my old copies of Return To Life. So I gave up and tracked a copy down at the Bethesda Barnes and Nobles. I called to make sure they had it before I dragged my ass down 495. The first girl I spoke to had never heard of Joseph Pilates…her manager informed me that they had sent it back to the publisher. The irony of this is actually a great metaphor for the Pilates world today. A huge shelf full of Pilates books and no one is interested in the one the man himself wrote….

The Plan…

   After locating the book in the iTunes Store and buying it on my iPhone, I made a list of the exercises I could still do. Out of the 34 exercises included in his book I could competently do about 21. There were about 8 I could do a modified simpler version of. Three of the exercises, “Scissors”, “Bicycle”, and “Control Balance” were unicorn exercises. Even at my strongest I was unable to do them. But hopefully that will finally change this year!

(The “Control Balance” from Return To Life…Hahahaha no freakin way…)

Reality Bites…

   I quickly discovered a few things about my body, a right hip that clicked, a searing pain in the side of my abs when I attempted some of the overhead exercises in a sloppy, half hearted manner. Worst of all I had to scale a few of the exercises I thought I could do and turn to modified versions. Blah…I literally want to go back in time and punch my 28 year old self for letting everything go so wrong.

  I faithfully did the routine every damn day until….the weekend. Crap. I didn’t do it Saturday or Sunday….I did have a few drinks Friday night with my Toro, sister,  and friends…stay up almost all night…make my Dad a pot of his favorite soup to take to his Saturday standing brunch…doll my 4 hour of sleep zombie ass up for George Michael/Prince/Bowie karaoke with my Bestie and sis…then up bright and early for brunch with Toro and my sister…Soooo by Sunday night I needed sleep and nothing else…

   I learned from this wild first weekend that maybe one or two days off a week was not such a bad idea, as long as I promptly “Return to Life” on Monday…which I did!

The Results…

   Although Joe Pilates famously said “In 10 sessions you’ll feel the difference, in 20 sessions you’ll see the difference, and in 30 sessions you’ll have a whole new body”. I did not expect super spectacular  results right away. Oh me of little faith. 

   From Wednesday to Wednesday I had done the workout 6 times. I was already eating less, and craving healthier food. I noticed my workout was harder after a sugar or burger binge.

   I figured out how to stop the clicking hip by concentrating and connecting even more as I performed hip clickable exercises.

   I found even though I had a crazy busy work week, I still found the energy to not only do the workout, but to also do some extra work on the apparatus (Pilates equipment) in the studio. My energy levels were climbing even on days where I didn’t get enough sleep. Even after a week of way too much driving, which would normally create all sorts of back aches and misery, I felt pretty damn good. By the end of week one I had no aches or pains anymore. I could sleep all night in whatever stupid position I wanted and wake up limber and feeling good…I shit you not!

The Pictures…oh hell what am I doing?!

    A lot of people don’t know this about Joe Pilates, but he was one of the first…if not the first, to do before and after shots. He amassed an archive of before/after photos of clients. He also loved to use himself to document his method. So…deeeep breath…I will be using myself too…cellulite, bumps, lumps, and all. 

Here are the week one photos:

(Yes, I did buy those horrifically unflattering bikini bottoms just for you dear reader. I can’t believe I’m doing this.)



Junkie for Joseph…


(Dead sexy.)

   “You know Farida, one day you’re going to be a great teacher because you’re starting from the bottom. And you’re learning everything the hard way.” This (or some variation of this) was said to me during one of my first Pilates lessons with my first teacher.
   My journey through Pilates was not that of a graceful ballerina with rocksolid discipline beginning her second career. My journey through Pilates has been painful, awkward, humiliating, and stressful. Things that my clients are able to pick up in a matter of months took me years and years. I saw the looks of disappointment on my teachers faces. They invested so much into a relentless daydreamer who could not seem to push herself…and live up to her potential.

   Now before you say “Wow Farida! Sounds like a fun time! Sign me up for that!” Know that my journey through Pilates has also been life changing, empowering, and very rewarding.

(Does this make you want to try Pilates?)

   As a child much like Joseph Pilates…I spent most of my time outside jumping, running, twisting, climbing, and exploring the limits of what my body could do. I never questioned. I just arrived ready to explore…whole and filled with limitless energy.

   In adolescence I became completely disconnected from my body. The only relationship that my body and I had was one of contempt. At night I squinted in the mirror and could see only a stranger. A stranger with a big butt, and huge boobs. I looked like the hulk compared to the tiny little thing I always knew myself to be. I wasn’t overweight at all…but that didn’t matter. My body and I were enemies…roommates forced to bunk up together.

   When you become disconnected from your body…you become a prisoner. You live in a flesh prison. You fight with your body everyday. Pilates gave me back my connection to my body. I learned to listen to my body, work with my body, and push myself safely. Most important was the physical freedom I got back…being able to move in ways I did when I was a kid.

   Five years ago I took a break. After years of Pilates, belly dancing, barre and hula hooping I stopped everything. No exercise at all. I was going through a BIG break up. My life was upside down and for  the first time ever, I craved stability. I started working a desk job…sitting eight hours a day. I’m grateful that I did it, because it taught me to be grounded, work hard, and commit to something for once…but for the first time in my life I felt real debilitating chronic pain.  

   Sciatica…burning, searing through my buttocks, hip, and the back of my leg. Sometimes it was too hard to even stand up. Some days I cried at my desk while looking at the computer screen. My body and I were not only disconnected, we were enemies again.

    Anyone who has chronic severe pain can tell you that it changes you. You become an angry, grumpy, tired shell of a person. Everyday tasks and interactions become torture. You lose your joy, your spirit, your dreams (“Who has time to dream? I can’t even get up the God damn steps or put my pant legs on!”)

(This isn’t horrifying at all.)

   I decided after two and some change that I was going to start teaching again, part time. But who wants to take lessons from an angry limping Pilates instructor? So I forced myself to jump back in, doing advanced exercises and working out hard. The pain worsened. I pushed and pushed stubbornly for a long time. Things continued to worsen. I was 29 and I felt ancient. So I had to start from the bottom again.

   This is when I learned one of the biggest lessons of my life. Success is about showing up. Everyday. My pain severely limited what exercises I could do. My workouts were short…but I was consistent. I showed up to the studio everyday and went through my basic routine. I treated myself like I would a client. 

   Two months later, I was pain free.

   I’m teaching  full time again. I’ve been pain free for sometime and in much better shape. But being far away from other classical teachers in Pilates Siberia, I get lazy. I end up doing a little here and there…the bare minimum…but I want to challenge myself. I want to up my game! So this year I’ll be doing the “Return to Life Challenge”. Just as Joe did, I’ll use myself as an example of what Pilates can do. 

   Everyday for the next year I will do Joe’s mat workout from his book Pilates’ Return to Life through Contrology…I will post pictures and updates here on the blog weekly. Any exercises I can’t do I’ll leave out or modify. I’ll work to progress myself using the Pilates apparatus just as I would for a client.

*Just a disclaimer…this is not a challenge I recommend for anyone who is not very experienced and not being over seen by a good instructor. So don’t try this at home! Get thee to a good classical studio!

(I’m gonna flow like Joe.)

   I can’t wait to share my progress! I did Return to Life this morning between clients and it felt good! Next week I’ll post my first real update with photos. I’ll do my best to be real, raw, and candid. 

Much love!