Monday, December 31, 2012

In The Zone or Year-End Review

Ample Lanes And Non-Arctic Temps
I haven't been swimming in over 10 days. Did you feel the vibration as my body shook from withdrawal?

I looked around at area pools, saw what time the high school team would be practicing at this one center and decided to hit the pool after the school's session. My timing was impeccable. A swimmer was leaving as I put my paraphernalia on the bench.

It's awkward being at a different pool with different people and it took me ten laps just to settle down. I had no intention of swimming a mile and I seldom do. My intention is to first swim for 30 minutes or 10 laps. Once I hit my first goal, I relax. I had time and a lane all to myself. Why not go for a mile? The last ten laps wore me out but I dug deep. I ignored the fact that I drifted to the right of the black line. I stopped wiping away the fog from my goggles. I stopped paying attention to the lifeguards rotating stations seemingly every 20 minutes and I stopped worrying about the people on the observation deck. Guess I got in the zone...

After stepping into my first yoga class in May of 2011, this was definitely the year that I got my yoga groove on. There are things that I could dwell on but I'm not. I moved my body a lot in 2012 and my enjoyment, at my body in motion, was profound.

 The year-end review:

10 Minute Solution: 5 Day Get Fit Mix





  • Cardio Kickboxing, 17 x's
  • Power Yoga, 3 x's
  • 10 Minute Solution: cardio hip hop
  • Hip Hop 101, 1 x
  • House Party, 1 x

  • 10 Minute Solution: Dance Your Body Thin!
  • Smooth and Sexy Moves, 2 x's

  • 10 Minute Solution: Kickbox Boot Camp
  • Basic Training, 3 x's

  • 10 Minute Solution: KnockOut Body!
  • KnockOut Body Blast, 1 x
  • Ultimate Upper Body, 2 x's

  • 10 Minute Solution: Rapid Results fat burner
  • Power Sports Drill, 1 x

  • 10 Minute Solution: Tone Trouble Zones!
  • Arms & Shoulders, 1 x
  • 10 Minute Stretch, 10 x's


  • Arc Trainer, 1 x

    Backs and Biceps Class (San Diego), 1 x 

    Bicycling, 15 x's 

    Dance It Off & firm up!, 1 x 

    Give Me 10!


  • Bonus Kettlebell ToneUp, 5 x's
  • Fat Blaster, 1 x
  • Yoga Stretch & Flex, 3 x's

  • Kettlebell Practice
    , 42 x's 

    Kickboxing Class, 5 x's

    Latin Cardio Party, 1 x 

    Personal Training with Jackie: Crunch-Free Xtreme Abs


  • Standing Crunch-Free Xtreme Abs

  • Personal Training with Jackie: Power Circuit Training
  • 15-Minute Upper Body Circuit, 6 x's
  • 15-Minute Total Body Circuit, 2 x's
  • 40-Minute Total Body Circuit, 1 x

  • Pure Barre Class (San Diego), 1 x 

    Rock Climbing, 40 x's 

    Spinning, 2 x's

    StairMaster, 2 x's 

    Swimming, 87 x's 

    Treadmill, 5 x's 

    Walking, 93 x's 

    Wii, 11 x's 

    willPower & grace, 4 x's 



    Yoga, 143 x's


    How do you feel about your 2012? Did you find yourself leaning towards one activity more than another?

    Sunday, December 30, 2012

    One More Time

    On any given Sunday, there are lots of cars at the gym that belong to yogis. It's an impressive procession for Gloria's 11 a.m. class and she's told us before that the class is not full until there's one hand space between each mat.

    After class started, a young man walked in and Gloria told him that there was still room -- ending with I don't know where...

    Modeling for us, Gloria moved her mat over and the final yogi joined us for the morning.

    I think we all know by now to watch out for our neighbors when extending arms or legs. My yoga neighbor was completely parallel to me and I was totally fine with it. Energy-wise, I'm growing fond of being in proximity to others while practicing.

    Gloria started off class by reading excerpts from Yoga Over 50, I think. The first excerpt was about how rejuvenation of the body is totally possible at 50 and beyond. Gloria looked out at the mostly under 50 crowd and said You'll realize this when you're lucky enough to reach that age....A Deepak Chopra passage was next. I don't fully remember it but it was something about spirituality plus your body being your ally...

    Last night, I picked up the 'fugee then headed to Asmira's who's also a 'fugee. So, I guess it was an evening with the 'fugees. After dinner, Asmira's husband, Izet, played ping pong with me. I haven't played ping pong in decades and Izet had to give me pointers about which direction to turn the paddle in if I was hitting the ball from the left or right side etc. I was surprised by how fatigued my arm got after a short time but ping pong is so addictive and so much fun. Had I been in the right attire, short-sleeves, and thought to bring water with me, I could have played ping pong all night. As it was I kept saying, One more time. Okay, one more time...one more time...


    Also, if you haven't seen it, check out Ping Pong Playa -- cute movie.

    Thursday, December 27, 2012

    Wall-Play

    A Few of My Favorite Things
    Wall yoga or yoga at the wall is the perfect post-kettlebell Rx. I stretched my back, arms and sidewalls in unimaginable ways and, if the hips are the engine for kettlebell swings, I also did necessary, engine maintenance.

    As we did pigeon, Madonna told me that I looked beautiful. I must have thrown her a look because she asked Don't you feel beautiful tonight? Then she directed my gaze toward my classmates and asked me if they looked beautiful. I told her that Yes, they looked gorgeous... You guys crack me up, she said...

    I was stunned when Madonna prompted us to prepare for savasana. I could not believe that it was the end of class but almost 90 minutes had gone by.

    After we rolled up our mats and put our shoes back on Gail, a classmate, said I could play on the wall for another hour.

    Wednesday, December 26, 2012

    The Up and Up

    Bell up, Marisa told Andrew when he arrived.

    Collectively, we were told many things including to sit down, stand up and double press our kettlebells.

    Somewhere in the middle we did burpees, sumo squats, jumping jacks, double cleans and tuck jumps.

    In yoga, we do a lunge with a twist and sometimes pigeon with a twist but, with Marisa, it's a reverse lunge with a forward kick.

    Marisa always has something interesting up her Nike sleeve so we did Spiderman push-ups, a saw plank and traveling swings and cleans. It's already challenging for me to do kettlebell cleans but cleaning while traveling was even more of a coordination challenge.

    At some point, Marisa told us how sore she was and that her workout consisted of running a mile, 100 push-ups and 150 squats plus some other situation. I asked her if she wanted a chocolate chip cookie for her accomplishments. I often attempt to distract Marisa but it seldom works. Plus, she wanted "the cookie."

    We ended class with a plank. T up, Marisa said after 30 seconds -- then Hips up. In side plank, it took lots of effort to get my hips up and it took even more to get up off the floor when the Gymboss beeped for the last time.

    Monday, December 24, 2012

    Sweetness

    Crossed the river to attend Cindy's Christmas Eve class which also doubled as a fundraiser for Compassionate Friends.

    It was a very sweet class with holiday tunes in the background and props galore. The studio also made the experience special. It's cozy, has inviting colors and just about as many lights (soft) as props.

    I think everyone should experience restorative yoga but definitely before major events.

    At the end of class we gathered in a circle, put or left hand over our heart and our right hand on the person next to us and sang om three times which inspired  powerful feelings of connectedness, compassion and peace.

    Sunday, December 23, 2012

    Yoga Is


    Yoga is gentle but powerful Gloria told us this morning and I often think about that and it was definitely on my mind as I hovered in plank, transitioned to cobra then downward facing dog. My heart, totally resounding in my ears, sounded like a drum major.

    And I thought about my new block as Gloria encouraged us to claw our hands to the floor as if we had a softball underneath. I needed a little help bringing the floor to me in low lunge etc.

    I've also been thinking about last Sunday’s yoga session. There’s no reason to hold tension in the body Gloria told us when she walked us through body positioning for savasana. I feel like I often hold my body up just as I tried to hold my feet up in savasana instead of letting them flop open.

    My new favorite Zen proverb is:
    Let go or be dragged.
    When I went to a mindfulness workshop last month, the instructor had a tray with quotes – kind of like a spiritual after workshop mint. I picked a Pema Chodron quote.



    I like this Chodron excerpt from one of her speeches.



    Went for a walk and is it just me or do you see yoga everywhere too?

    Reverse Warrior

    Warrior One

    Lion's Breath

    Saturday, December 22, 2012

    You Wanna Be Starting Something...


    Sara Ivanhoe is the instructor of the Weight Watchers‘ Yoga Starter Kit*. I've practiced to Ivanhoe’s DVDs before including Yoga for Dummies and Crunch: Candlelight Yoga. I liked both but really enjoyed the latter.

    The starter kit includes the DVD, a strap, block, 10 week exercise tracker and has two segments – get moving and get strong. Get Moving is done mostly standing and Get Strong is done primarily on the floor. In addition, Get Moving is done almost exclusively with a block between your thighs; it took me a minute to get used to it but I loved it. I felt like my alignment was good. In fact, I felt much better about Warrior One than I've ever felt.

    Because Ivanhoe’s instructions were straightforward and solid, I felt empowered or, rather, I felt like I knew what I was doing. I was also inspired to email my gym to see if they would get blocks at one particular branch…

    After trying the Yoga Starter Kit, I went to Gloria’s class the next day and she talked about blocks and she never talks about blocks but she said:

    If you put a block between your thighs, it strengthens the legs and integrates the core. 

    Gloria also talked about one of the first yoga teachers, Lilias Folan, who used to be on PBS and, during those televised yoga sessions, the yogis would use rugs for mats and shoe boxes for blocks. Gloria went on to tell us that Folan recently appeared in Yoga Journal and discussed how cancer has been a guru...

    The Weight Watchers kit is a great place to start. I totally wish that I had known about a yoga starter when I began practicing. As a "seasoned" yogi, I didn't get bored with it because, one, I like a gentle practice and, two, it has modifications. 

    *Disclosure: Kit received without reimbursement...

    Thursday, December 20, 2012

    See You Next Lifetime?


    As I watched the snow blow by at 30 miles per hour, I wondered if yoga class would be canceled. I checked my email and the website before heading out and it was kind of funny when I saw a bicyclist go by. Surely, if he could bicycle in cold and windy conditions, practicing yoga in a studio was possible.

    Three people found their way to class and Madonna brought out more accessories than ever before… With a belt attached to plate three and a keeper on the end of my belt, Madonna guided me into a backbend but when she asked me to raise my arms, I was like You want me to do what? which made Gail crack up…I got my knees to the wall and leaned back and I didn't crash to the floor…I hope that one day I’ll get over my fear of being upside down.

    I’m pretty sure that the world is not going to end tomorrow and I’d be miffed if it did end on Friday but I’m glad that I got in one more om in case anything goes down. 

    Tuesday, December 18, 2012

    Something About the Water


    I had no intention of swimming but the pool called my name. Plus, there is often something about the water that is peaceful.

    Got there and only two other people were in the pool so it was quiet except for the Christmas music which I am really not in the mood to hear although my ears did perk up at the plaintive tones of O Holy Night.

    There is part of me that wants to take a vow of silence right now or go on a silent retreat or retreat but...

    As this man said during a meeting this morning, there is comfort in numbers.

    Saturday, December 15, 2012

    Less Pussyfooting


    As I swam, I saw someone at the other end of the lane. Sigh. It was the same woman from last time. Plus, she didn't ask last time which is "bad" swimming etiquette. Okay, she didn't get in the water until I made eye contact with her.

    I’m back, she said. Sigh. Does she not like sharing a lane with anyone else? Was I sending out a special share-my-lane vibe?

    But funny things happened whilst lane sharing.

    No claustrophobia like when I first started swimming and another person got in the lane with me.

    Maybe I didn't feel claustrophobic because I’m better at the front crawl.

    As I shared the lane, there was less pussyfooting on my part.

    Less experimenting with my body position.

    Less trying to breathe into the area of my armpit.

    Less concern about the little pinch that I felt in my right hamstring or the quadriceps' tweak.

    I think, in the words of Ice Cube, I just did the damn thing because I wanted to be at the opposite end of the lane since I didn't want to do side-by-side swimming.

    I also think that my form was better because I didn't want to encroach on the other swimmer's space so it became like moving between two panes of glass like you do with half moon pose or like getting close to a wall to work on your kettlebell clean in order to follow the mid-line to make that zipper-like motion.

    Before I knew it, I was on lap 26. You know what that means, right?  I was so close to a mile that I could not pass it up. Maybe lane sharing is not such a bad thing..

    Wednesday, December 12, 2012

    Marisa Doesn't Need Box Jumps


    Marisa Demonstrating on TRX
    Got to Marisa’s place and didn’t see any other cars. If I had fingernails, I would have gnawed on them. I did not, under any circumstances, want Marisa’s undivided attention and, yet, I got out of my car and put one foot in front of the other. Brownie point for me.

    Marisa let me know that several people were en route.  Even she knows that no one wants to be alone with her.

    When Tiffany arrived, she threw the mother of all sullen looks. At first, I thought that I imagined it but I said something anyway and Marisa was like Yeah, that was quite a look.

    Tiffany sprained her ankle under shady circumstances. No box jumps, said Marisa then Tiffany turned to me and said You can thank me later but Marisa doesn’t need box jumps in her repertoire to make you suffer.

    We did planks perched on a medicine ball, push-ups on the TRX. Double cleans. Russian step-ups – you name it. Marisa did incorporate boxing and, as I kicked the bag, Megan said that she thought I’d found my true calling and I do miss boxing. Small problem -- after 40 seconds of boxing, I could barely swing the kettlebell in the next station…

    As Tiffany and I went out the door, I told her about my internal dialogue – I would not mull over the intensity of kettlebell class. Kettlebell practice is not supposed to be easy. Tiffany cracks me up because she often talks about the lure of sitting on the couch. It’s nice to have someone who is also ambiguous about a tough workout but shows up anyway.

    Sunday, December 9, 2012

    Where's Your Mind?

    The Road to Relaxation

    Find comfort in the body, Gloria told us. ‘Tis the season so I interpreted it as find comfort and joy in the body…

    Mind you, Gloria encouraged us to find comfort in the body right before she tested our mettle.

    Where’s your mind?, Gloria inquired.

    Funny she should ask because while we were in warrior one for a prolonged period, my arms started screaming and I saw people in the back of the room drop their arms and I wanted to but I remembered something Sharon said Don’t worry about how long I hold you in the pose, focus on your breathing.

    Minutes later, Gloria said: Keen concentration plus attention to the breath will help you stay in these poses

    Right before savasana, Gloria talked about conscious relaxation and I thought Yes, I always have access to this state of mind.

    Saturday, December 8, 2012

    Thumb Lock

    ...Your Brain on Chalk
    Squared off with this route and couldn’t get past the second hold so I came down and tried again. Still couldn’t get past the second hold so I came down again and again and again.

    I had, basically, been bouldering and had tired myself out. After untying my rope, this guy told me:

    It was within your reach… You were so focused on that one hold…If you had used a thumb lock  you would have been able to get past that point but you were holding it like you were holding onto the handlebars of a bike…And it wouldn’t hurt if you didn’t have fingernails*…You can do it! 
    The advisor’s partner told me that if it was any consolation, he didn’t like that route and it was reassuring knowing that he is a better climber and also found the route awkward but what gave me a lot of comfort was that someone took the time to make suggestions and cheer me on.

    *Cracks me up when really skilled climbers call you out for having too long fingernails.

    Thursday, December 6, 2012

    Beacon and The Swing

    Beacon in the Night

    After kettlebell class last night, my body’s report was immediate: tweaked quads, calves, glutes and shoulders. I took my ruined body to yoga and the class was everything that I needed plus more.

    We had all kinds of goodies: bolsters, straps and blocks.

    Who needs a pelvic swing? Madonna wanted to know as she pulled more accessories out of the closet.

    I felt like a vertical snow angel as we had our arms in crossed straps while opening our shoulders.

    While in the pelvic swing, Madonna told me to grab onto her ankle and she walked my left hand toward the right side of my body. VoilĂ , spinal twist. We even stretched our biceps while in the yoga straps.

    And what was it about having a strap around my left hip and having my right leg upright and suspended from a strap on the yoga wall that made me sleepy and content?

    I also did a back-bend from the swing with assistance from Madonna. 

    After the most amazing savasana, we sang om once. The woman across from me, well, her om was like a world traveler. It went up and down, back and forth, around the room then came back home. Amazing class. My apologies to the people at Target who were subjected to my post-yoga singing...

    Tuesday, December 4, 2012

    Letting It Be


    Stand up and finish what you started, a Bob Harperism, seldom enters my mind anymore while swimming.  Now it’s let it be effortless or effortless effort – something that Gloria likes to say in yoga class. 

    Front crawl is now the method I use to get in my first 10 laps and it really does feel like the path of least resistance – of the strokes that I know anyway. When I take the time to streamline and breathe into the area of my armpit, I really do feel in synch and submarine-ish.

    I’m totally digging swimming and yoga right now so I’m just going to ride that wave for a while. I did go by the climbing gym before swimming so that I don’t completely forget my footwork et al…and because I hadn’t seen Patti for a minute.

    Where are you going after this?, Patti asked. That woman knows me well…

    Sunday, December 2, 2012

    Tantrum Style

    I call this picture Self-Portrait: Taking the Bike Inside or What Happens When You Have an iPod and Like to Take Pictures.

    There’s something nice but ominous about wearing shorts and short-sleeves in December in the Midwest.
    I've been on my bike two days in a row because I, obviously, can’t resist the weather.

    After riding, got ready to practice with Pure Yoga a.k.a Gloria who talked about effortless effort and being compassionate to your body. She talked about compassion just around the time she led the class into a “cheerleader” split. I haven’t done one of those in ages and didn't try...compassion.

    Right before savasana, we put our legs up in reverse table top and kicked our legs tantrum-style. I love this situation and also dug wagging the tail where you move your hips from left to right.

    I even managed to start dinner somewhere between my bike ride and yoga. I’m not sure what attracted me to this recipe so long ago -- lots of chopping and lots of dishes involved. It’s  been so long since I made it that I had to Google How long does balsamic vinegar last?

    Onions Galore

    I’m trying to get momentum again with cooking. I've been making soups but kind of tired of my small rotation and tired, for a minute, of Steamfresh vegetables and my chicken that I get from Trader Joe’s. If I can cook on Sunday, it definitely sets the right pace for the week since I don’t need to wonder what I’m going to eat. Dinner's already done and I can go off and do my exercise thing…
    Suspect Balsamic Vinegar

    Saturday, December 1, 2012

    Making Muscle

    When I see the word yoga, my heart beats a little faster. There’s this car with Be Yoga personalized plates and I love seeing it since it reminds me of the benefits of practicing.

    When I arrived at Prana Yoga, I got a little thrill when I saw the signage on the building. Went to Prana to practice during a fundraiser for the Red Cross/Hurricane Sandy. I attended Cindy’s 30 minute session which was short and sweet.


    Surrounded by all of those mirrors, I did not dislike what I saw. Not even the darker spots on my elbows, from planks, or the darker spots on my knees, from knees-to-feet, bothered me. It’s ironic and reminds me of that Zora Neale Hurston phrase: I love myself when I am laughing and then again when I am looking mean and impressive. Not that I was laughing, looking mean or impressive.

    When I think about my body image, I also think about a Seinfeld episode, The Strike; Jerry dates a woman who's attractive one day but not the next

    At any rate, went swimming after yoga and there was only one other person in the pool at first.

    After some time, a boy and a man took up residence in the lane next to me. The boy, Joel, was pretty petite but worried about carbohydrates. The man told Joel he should be eating mainly chicken and fish. Pork tastes good but it’s really not good for you. If you eat too many carbohydrates and you don’t use it, they turn into sugar then into fat but you don’t really need to worry about that.

    The man was a pusher too. Let’s go, Joel; you’ve already rested. Let’s go in 15 seconds. Come on, Joel – let’s go make some muscle.

    Friday, November 30, 2012

    Humbling or Month-End Review, November

    I often think about how humbling kettlebell class is... Marisa drives us hard for 60 minutes when most kettlebell classes are 30 minutes or 45. Luckily, I’ve learned to rest when needed.


    Kettlebell practice is not my only humbling exercise. Rock climbing and yoga have provided plenty of moments as well. All in all, I’m just grateful that I continue to want to move my body and that my body holds up -- something that my tweaked hip has reminded me of...


    10 Minute Solution: 5 Day Get Fit Mix
  • Cardio Kickboxing, 2 x's

  • Cardio Kick, One of My Fave 10 Minute Segs

    10 Minute Solution: cardio hip hop*

  • Hip Hop 101, 1 x

  • House Party, 1 x


  • 10 Minute Solution: Dance Your Body Thin!

  • Smooth & Sexy Moves


  • 10 Minute Solution: Tone Trouble Zones!

    10 Minute Stretching, 2 x's

    Bicycling, 1 x

    Kettlebell, 4 x's

    Latin Cardio Party*, 1 x

    Leaf Raking, 3 x's

    Personal Training with Jackie: Power Circuit Training

  • 15-Minute Total Body Circuit, 1 x

  • 15-Minute Upper Body Circuit, 2 x's


  • Rock Climbing, 1 x

    Swimming, 7 x's

    Walking, 7 x's

    Yoga, 12 x's
    Any recent, humbling exercise experiences?
    *Disclosure: received without reimbursement.

    Tuesday, November 27, 2012

    Lock The Ankles Not The Knees

    Missed the pool during its closure.

    Swim mom (SM) was back and, as she gave her daughter more diving tips, it crossed my mind to ask her if she’d teach me some fundamental diving techniques.

    After coaching her daughter for a while, SM worked with her son on the front crawl.

    Some of my best swimming tips have come from eavesdropping on adults teaching kids.

    Lock the ankles but not the knees…Don’t cross the midline of the body….Left stays on the left and right stays on the right…That’s what the black line is for…

    What I like about SM is that she is hands-on, demonstrates, checks for understanding and gives positive feedback. I think she would make a great teacher for adults too…

    Saturday, November 24, 2012

    The Grease That Slid Down The Counter

    I ate the macaroni and cheese. I had enough sprouted grain bread for one almond butter and preserves sandwich for the ride back home – so I ate the mac and cheese and it was definitely not low fat. There was not one thing about the concoction that had reduced anything.


    I ate the fried turkey even after I stepped in the grease that slid down the counter and made a puddle.

    I ate the sweet potato pie knowing that sweet potatoes are sweet enough.

    I traveled with oatmeal, sprouted grain bread, Chobani, preserves, Kashi snacks etc. but, in the end, I didn’t carry enough.

    I did not like breaking my four year streak of not eating fried foods but I’m moving on and, next time, I’ll take more food…

    I went on a pre-Thanksgiving Day meal walk and was hungry when I returned. I peeled an orange and asked my sister-in-law if she wanted any of her orange. I got those for you, she said. I also have oatmeal



    The last time that I went she had granola bars for me as well. Very sweet…

    When I went for the walk, my uncle joined me…



    The next morning I got teased for pretending to be sleep while playing games on my iPod.

    Me: For your information, I was watching Men with Kids so that I wouldn’t disturb you early-to-bed folks and I was listening to music to quiet my mind after that.

    Debbie, my aunt: Yeah, because you didn’t get to quiet your mind when your uncle joined you for a walk.
    Hardy har har, my peeps are so funny…

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

    Until Then

    Treasured my time at the pool yesterday knowing that it will be closed for almost a week and, besides that, I feel more and more at home in the water. In addition, my mood improves and I sleep so solidly after a stint in the water. I had, and I don't use this word often, a lovely time.

    During kettlebell class, I felt as if I could barely lift my arms towards the end but, apparently, there was still life in them as they did not bother me one bit while swimming or maybe that speaks to the wonder of what the body is capable of.

    As I showered, Chatty Kathleen made me laugh. Her granddaughter, who is about seven, went to change in the bathroom but she forgot major items but didn't want to come out. Kathleen, who never wanted her in the tight quarters of the toilet, told her:

    Be brave. Show courage. Come out naked...
    I wished Kathleen a happy Thanksgiving and told her that I would see her next week when the pool reopens and she wondered whether or not she would survive, as she calls it,  her broken back until then...

    Monday, November 19, 2012

    Words to Watch Out For

    Marisa walked over to give me a high five after class Thanks for hanging in there.


    A high five was not the only thing that Marisa gave me. Watch out when Marisa works out with you or says Get ready for the pain. I told her that she hadn’t really been treating us with kid gloves up until that point.

    We did progressive circuits:

    60 seconds of swings, right and left

    60 seconds snatches, right and left (120 around the body with a catch for me)

    60 seconds clean and press, both sides


    90 seconds of swings -- right and left sides

    90 seconds of snatches (180 seconds of around the body… for me)

    90 seconds of cleans and presses, right and left


    120 seconds of swings...

    120 seconds of snatches (240 secs of around the body for me)

    120 seconds of cleans and presses...


    My calluses were very pronounced and the only thing that I could really feel at the end of class.

    Should Have Gotten More Than One Tube



    More of "This" Needed As Well


    Saturday, November 17, 2012

    The Cue Taker

    Patti and I often exchange schedules so that we can figure out when to climb and, sometimes, in the middle of figuring out logistics, Patti morphs into guru:

    Me: On Wednesday, I plan to go to that workshop from 6 to 8. I'm not too crazy about going but it will probably be helpful...

    Patti:  You may be surprised by your workshop. I know you were hesitant about climbing at first and look where it got you!
    Because of changing schedules et al., I haven't seen some of my climbing comrades in a while but almost everyone was accounted for today. Missed you Cindy and Tim...
    
    The Gang: Patti, Crystal, Kristen, Leah & Mike
    Morgan, The Tireless and Very Sweet Ten-Year-Old
    Kristen Had The Right Idea
    I'm going to take a cue from Kristen and go off to stretch. My MT told me that if I'm in a time crunch and I have to choose between stretching before or after exercising, stretch afterwards.

    Thursday, November 15, 2012

    I Am At The Helm

    I narrowed my exercise choices to Zumba and yoga but didn’t really feel like jumping into a new adventure so I nixed Zumba but had to look for a yoga class that I don’t normally go to because there wasn't a class that I wanted to attend at my regular gym.

    It’s often unnerving to walk into a new situation but I went anyway. Fast forward to savasana -- tears started to roll. I’m definitely in a weird space right now.

    As I drove away, I felt such intensity in my throat -- as if a sock was in there or a boa constrictor around it. Interesting since I went to a mindfulness workshop yesterday. I found what the therapist said about the throat chakra very interesting. I can’t remember what she said exactly but it was something about the throat chakra being the gateway between the heart and brain.

    Release...and relief. My lower back was tight and, now, it’s not; I think I have bow pose to thank for that.

    Now that I think about it, we did this Breath of Fire situation at the beginning of class and I've never done it before and wasn't comfortable with it either. Almost feel like if someone initiates the Breath of Fire, it's kind of like doing Reiki and permission should be asked first. I want to say that I was not at the helm but it is my yoga practice and I should have not participated in the exercise if I didn't feel comfortable. At any rate, I think BOF might have contributed to the sensation in my throat.


    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

    Not A Walk In The Park

    Marisa, Mistress of Pain, Demonstrating a Windmill
    During kettlebell practice yesterday, I started to question my entire fitness routine and wondered if I've been doing enough cardio. I felt like I had absolutely no stamina but when Marisa stepped out of the room for a moment, Patrick said I never thought that I’d look forward to getting back in Mike’s class. I felt relieved when Patrick said that because I've been to Mike's class and it's not a walk in the park...

    Went to Rhonna’s yoga class hoping to alleviate soreness but forgot that Rhonna likes chaturangas which don’t feel nice after your arms have swung, pressed and cleaned a kettlebell the previous day. Ditto for swimming. It was pretty cool, though, to watch this mom teach her daughter how to dive. At one point, the mother molded her body around her daughter’s in order to show her proper form. It was a Kodak moment for sure.

    Sunday, November 11, 2012

    You Have Tons of Space

    The Calm Before The Heat
    Had weird, intense dreams about my car. In one part of the dream, my car just stops all functions and everything goes dark and when I try to restart it, not a light or spark. Nothing. Later, some relatives come to tell me that my rental car has a flat tire...


    I bought a group coupon back in May with the intention to try hot yoga at this studio in the fall. Going on Sunday meant that I would have to give up Pure Yoga ’s Sunday class but it’s good to try new things. Right? Except, there are days when I want to blend in and be anonymous which is hard to do when you barely have hair and your skin tone is quite brown and I had a feeling that I was going to stick out at this studio. Everyone was, of course, super nice.

    I arrived early in order to register and I asked this woman about the locker room and she said that there wasn’t really one and that if I were leaving the class I’d better put my mat down first and it did end up being a sardine-like situation but no one seemed to care.

    It was a Vinyansa –type class: chaturanga, cobra or up dog, downward facing dog etc. I have long known that my downward facing dog leaves a lot to be desired. The teacher, Seabrook, came over and placed her feet on my hands then tried to adjust my arms. Oh, you’re a strong one, she said. Yeah, I’m kind of like a tree in that way...

    The next time Seabrook came over she helped me twist. I immediately told her that my shoulders were tight but I still got adjusted. You have tons of space, she said. The lesson from that interaction is that I should at least attempt things before I give up on them.

    I kept thinking that the hour was a very long one but when I looked at my iPod I saw that class had been one and a half hours even though the schedule, I thought, said one hour. Thanks to my neighbor who asked me if I was okay when I showed signs of staggering...

    Later On In The Day


    When I arrived at my massage therapist’s office, she checked in with me as usual. I told her that I had migrating neck and shoulder tension. She wanted to know if it was from day to day. No, from fifteen minutes to fifteen minutes, I told her.

    As I’m on the table, my mind is going 100 MPH. I tell myself: the face is soft…the face is soft…let go, yadda, yadda, yadda. Then she stretches my neck from the center to Timbuktu and I wonder if necks are supposed to stretch that far even though I’m confident that my MT knows what she’s doing. As my neck is in the Timbuktu region, I inexplicably and suddenly relax but feel like crying. Don’t cry I tell myself. Too late. They are tears of the silent kind that roll out like water from a faucet with worn washers.

    My MT encourages me to let whatever it is come to the surface. I eventually ask for some tissue because where there are tears, there’s snot. I was going to offer to put the tissue on the floor and then pick it up later but she told me to give it to her.

    Me: Thanks

    MT: Wherever you are -- that’s where I’m at

    Went to see Pilobolus yesterday. They were brought by Dance St. Louis and, before the show, DSL put up  facts about dancing and it makes me want to pull out my workout DVDs that incorporate dancing and it also makes me want to finally take a Zumba class.

    One quote on the marquee still sticks with me: Dancers are the athletes of God. After seeing Pilobolus, I can’t disagree.

    Friday, November 9, 2012

    ...LIke Real People

    In addition to being exhale day, it's also "take a break" from exercise day. The only kicking that will occur is when I kick up my feet to watch a movie.

    On a recent flick night my friend, Lori, said that one of the reasons that she likes foreign flicks is because the people look like real people. Romantics Anonymous elicited that response along with responses of laughter et al.

    I also enjoyed Sidewalls.

    Whatever you do today, enjoy...



    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

    Where My Car Keys?

    Didn’t really feel like going to kettlebell class but, you know, if those feelings are followed too often, anarchy might ensue.


    On the highway, started to see a lot of red lights which was unusual and I kind of hoped that I would be too late to participate in class but my kettlebell mates were only about halfway into the warm-up when I arrived so I hadn’t missed much.

    I was sluggish, lacking in stamina, wondered if I was wasting money and took more breaks than I would have liked but….

    At one point, Chip’s favorite Ninja song came on. I’m not Japanese... I’m not Chinese... Where my car keys?

    I leaned toward Chip. If she’s asking where her car keys are at, she must be taking a kettlebell class...

    Sunday, November 4, 2012

    If At First You Don't Succeed, Rake Leaves

    My car misfired or something on Friday and I was hoping that it was my imagination but as I got on the highway to head to the climbing gym on Saturday, something didn’t quite feel right. The engine light popped on and the car starting shaking. I took it to a mechanic who told me that an ignition coil was gone. Funny since I have new ignition coils. I’m starting to think that my “regular” mechanic has been using cheap parts.

    I tried not to pout about my car but I had been looking forward to decompressing through physical activity and I had been looking forward to seeing friends. Instead, I raked leaves which ended up being pretty therapeutic.

    Zen-ish Garden
    And, so, the plotting began. I automatically scratched swimming for Sunday – too far away but how would I get to yoga? It would take me 42 minutes by bus and, avoiding busy streets, 25 minutes by bike. I could easily strap on my yoga mat or borrow one, albeit an icky one, from the gym.

    In the end, my aunt let me borrow her car. I swam, raked more leaves and tried to oscillate my breath during downward facing dog. Alas, I didn’t feel much oscillating happening but it was nice to be sockless, on my mat and connected to so many people.

    Friday, November 2, 2012

    Tell Them to Make a Note or Stuff Massage Therapists Say


    One of my friends told me that massage is a luxury and, to a certain extent, it is. Even though I go back and forth about whether or not I’m being decadent, I do know what stress has done to my body and I know what it’s capable of doing. It’s been a crazy, seemingly never-ending week and, if I could, I’d head straight to a massage therapist. At any rate, I wanted to share some of things that massage therapists have said to me…

  • Compared to the right, the left side of your back felt tight and your hamstrings...What have you been doing to your body?


  • Me: Were you on automatic?



    MT: I tune out. I mean that I tune out in order to tune in...I'm listening to the music etc.



    Explanation to me after foot was massaged, an area that I usually have avoided...


  • Me: It (calf) smarts when I put pressure on it.


    MT: Then, I apologize in advance for what I'm about to do.


  • When you call, tell them to make a note to warm the oil...


  • Your shoulders look good...


  • Oh, that's good; that's deep into the muscles.



    Response when I said that my armpits were sore


  • I can see the tension. When I told MT about tweaked neck…


  • Me: You certainly are chipper today.



    MT: I've been massaging all day. It's kind of like the feeling you get working out at the gym.


  • You're tight today so let me know if I go too deep…


  • Your deltoids are popping...


  • Are you doing something like CrossFit?


  • It's the regular "waa waa" music...


  • Take off your earrings...


  • Take as much time as you need...


  • Be good to yourself...

  • Wednesday, October 31, 2012

    Standing the Heat or Month-End Review, October

    Wanted to commemorate Cindy’s last day teaching hot yoga by attending her class. I haven’t practiced hot yoga in almost five months and, boy, did my mind start talking to me. Would I be able to withstand the heat? Would I be able to stay in the room for 90 minutes?

    I also thought about all of the poses that I’d rather not do.


    My mind was still noisy when I saw Cindy mention an article, Top Five Yoga Pet Peeves, on Twitter. The article spoke to me, made me laugh and relax and I decided to relax into my practice by trying eagle pose which I’ve never done before in hot yoga.

    While we did our final major pose, seated forward bend, Cindy told us that it was a symbolic ending pose to kind of close up after doing so many opening poses. Kind of like a hibiscus, I guess, that opens up then closes then opens up again…



    Afterwards, Cindy and I talked about eagle pose and I told her that my body just didn’t wrap like that to which she said I’m sure that it wraps in other wonderful ways…Namaste...



    October totals:

    10 Minute Solution: Tone Trouble Zones!

  • 10 Minute Stretch, 2 x's


  • Bicycling, 2 x's

    Climbing, 4 x's

    Kettlebell, 4 x's

    Swimming, 7 x's

    Treadmill, 1 x

    Walking, 12 x's

    Yoga, 13 x's

    Tuesday, October 30, 2012

    The Savasana Fairy

    Classmate Looking Livelier After Practicing Yoga
    Rhonna told us ahead of time that she would conduct a very special Halloween class. There were several people dressed in costumes and there was candlelight but first things first…


    Is anyone new to yoga? Rhonna asked. Then…Does anyone have a medical condition that I should be aware of?

    I’m dead said one yogi.

    Several of us howled with laughter. Appropriate don’t you think?

    We got in touch with our spooky ujayii breathing, dangled our Frankenstein arms and dived into a witch’s brew/forward fold.

    We even got a treat while in savasana...

    At one point, we had our arms out and head leaning to the side. It took everything in me not to break out and start doing the Thriller routine.

    Monday, October 29, 2012

    Five Rounds, Five Reps

    Double Your Pleasure
    Sounds easy, right? Five rounds, five reps and two kettlebells…


    We warmed up as usual then jumped right in:


  • Double Kettlebell Cleans, 5



  • Presses, 5



  • Squats, 5



  • Push Presses, 5



  • Swings, 5



  • 30 Jumping Jacks



  • Rest for 90 seconds


  • Repeat



  • Double Kettlebell Cleans, 5



  • Presses, 5



  • Squats, 5



  • Push Presses, 5



  • Swings, 5



  • 30 Jumping Jacks



  • Rest for 90 seconds


  • After five rounds of this situation, we did body weight exercises including a squat series:


  • Squats



  • Squat Jumps



  • Pulsing Squats



  • Static Squat


  • I don’t know what was harder – that five round series or the squats.

    After swinging and squatting, Marisa said Thanks for working so hard. I know that was a tough workout...An interesting and, as I'm sure Marisa intended, motivating thing to hear...

    Sunday, October 28, 2012

    ...To Lay A Tablecloth on Your Back

    Roy DeCarava's Catsup Bottles, Table and Coat
    Still basking in the glow of swimming a mile. I think this is about my fifth or sixth time. Hopefully, I’ll make that milestone more often and the novelty will wear off.


    I don’t get to swim on Saturday often but several climbing buddies were out of town and another, Patti, decided she wanted to unclutter -- a perfect opportunity to squeeze swimming into the schedule. At lap 25, I was slated to leave but 25 is so close to 32.5 that I couldn’t pass it up. I had to fight for the last five laps but I did it.

    Missed yoga last Sunday because of the Rock ‘n’Roll Marathon gridlock but made sure that I got out of the house with enough time to spare since this class averages about 40 people.

    It was the best of classes and the worst of classes.

    People tend to arrive as late as 15 minutes for this super-packed class. This woman who came in late put her mat directly in front me which wouldn’t have been a big deal if there hadn’t been more space around her.
    Who am I? The main character is Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man? When people do stuff like that it makes me want to kick them and I’m pretty sure that you should feel less like kicking while you’re practicing yoga…

    We had a sub. I think her name is Sandy.

    Sandy is very soft-spoken and she told us that from the get-go. She said that if anyone was new to yoga, they should move closer to the front. Otherwise, if we couldn’t necessarily hear her, seasoned yogis could pick up on visual cues.

    Sandy was all about pulling in the core then taking a deep breath and, in general, taking breaths during asanas and between them.

    It was, by far, one of the quietest yoga classes that I’ve attended but there was no need for Sandy to raise her voice. It’s kind of hard to explain but Sandy cast a calm spell over us and she did an excellent job of holding space and, for the matter, guiding.

    When we were in table top, she told us that if she were to place a tablecloth on our back, it would just lay there or when we balanced our spine with one leg and arm extended she said Imagine that someone is tugging at your fingers and toes.

    Before class started Sandy asked, very nicely, for everyone to turn their electronic devices off as opposed to on vibrate etc. and before savasana, she asked that if people had to leave, to do it quietly. I guess you can say that Sandy is good at setting the table.

    Friday, October 26, 2012

    Because I Look Like a Badass or Stuff People Say to Me

    Erin





  • Send that picture to me because I look like a badass.


  • Erin, The Badass


    Janine



  • I don't know what your level of clutter is...




  • Katie




  • I'm a bit of a hedonist.




  • I'm like a dog. I'll get anything you need and I don't mind doing that...




  • We want to live in the woods and eat vegetables.




  • As I was reading The Sun -- trying to get ideas about becoming the better person that I want to be




  • Lori




  • I'm assuming you're aware of that....




  • Lori to me about the Yoga for Foodies event



    My Brother




  • Because I don’t have any tofu…


  • Sarah




  • S: I went to school in a castle.


  • Me: What?


    S: It was an old castle. I think that's what it was called -- the old castle.



  • I just converted my weight to kilos (55) and now I'm depressed. Seriously, I used to be smaller




  • Your arms are bigger than my thighs. You're gonna have trouble finding shirts for the winter...




  • After Sarah squeezed my triceps



  • I just love breakfast. There’s nothing better -- bread, butter and jam. Those are some of my best memories – having “breakfast dinner.” My mother would buy a big loaf of bread and we’d have coffee….




  • I miss myself... The one who used to be efficient...




  • I had some chocolate that was so good. You know that I love hazelnuts and the hazelnuts are caramelized and when you bite into the chocolate, you can tell there’s something different.




  • May I paint them?


  • After spotting my uncharacteristically long fingernails.

    Wednesday, October 24, 2012

    Don't Tell Marisa

    Because of various conflicts, I hadn't been to yoga in a week and decided to try a new, to me, yoga teacher at my gym.

    More than anything, I knew that my body needed yoga since I'm still sore from Monday's kettlebell encounter.

    I really like Rhonna. She noticed that there were new people in class, asked if anyone was new to yoga, encouraged us to use blocks, straps, blankets and modifications, if needed.

    I found myself laughing while in wide-legged forward fold when Rhonna said Say hello to your hamstrings; they thank you for coming.

    When she told us to pay attention to our shoulders to make sure they weren't eating our ears, it was an image that I could hold onto.

    I felt like I had the best of two worlds -- laughter and yoga.

    In fact, Rhonna told us that she liked it when we laughed because she knew that we were breathing. And I liked it when Rhonna told us that yoga is about you and I ruminated on that concept: yoga is about you...yoga is about you...

    As I think about how sore I am and how I need to immerse myself in a salt bath, I have a certain amount of gratitude for being pushed hard by Marisa. Having pushed my limits in kettlebell class, other tasks felt and feel much easier. And feeling like you can tackle just about anything? Priceless. But please don't tell Marisa about the gratitude thing or she might give me more opportunities to have that feeling.

    Monday, October 22, 2012

    Sick Workout

    I’m sick so I won't be working out with you all Marisa informed us. I gave her hell but, in the end, she worked out with us in her illish state then returned the hell back to me. The workout caught me by surprise because the last time we met, Marisa said that we hadn't done stations in a while and I mistakenly thought we would do stations -- guess that's something to look forward to...


    The agenda:




  • 100 Two-Hand Swings




  • 90 Triceps Dips




  • 80 Push-Ups




  • 70 Windshield Wipers




  • 60 Squat Jumps




  • 25 Cleans, Right




  • 25 Cleans, Left




  • 20 Double Cleans and Presses (20 Snatches for Everyone Else)




  • 20 See Saw Presses




  • 10 Burpees With a Jump and Tuck


  • I only did about half of the dips and push-ups since Marisa set a pretty fast pace. If she works out with such intensity when she’s sick, I don’t really want to witness what happens when she’s at full capacity.

    When we started doing the two-hand swing, it was pretty cool as the women swung in synch. Not so cool -- how my shoulders are all bunched up now...

    Saturday, October 20, 2012

    I Have My Shirt On

    Since I hadn't seen Leah in ages, I sent her an email to say hi and to let her know that several of us have been climbing on Saturday around 3ish on a somewhat regular basis. As I emerged from the locker room, I saw a child dart past me. That looks like Noah, I say to Patti. I am Noah, he says. And where there’s Noah, there’s Leah and/or Mike…


    As I stood next to Leah contemplating the speed route, Drew walked up.
    Me: I almost didn’t recognize you.

    Drew: One, I have my shirt onTwo,  I haven’t been climbing in a while.
    The funniest look passed over Leah’s face. I explained to her that Drew has a significant starburst-looking tattoo between his shoulder blades so he is much easier to recognize with his shirt off and starburst blazing.

    Drew said that he didn’t get the speed route. I know that I didn’t get it or very far up it on the auto belay.
    
    The Deceptive Speed Route with Huge Holds
    
    Leah chuckled after we tried the speed route. I see neither one of us is heading over there to write our name on the board...

    As it turns out, Leah hadn't been online and, therefore, hadn't read my email but how's that for putting something out in the universe and getting and almost instant response?


    The Clipboard...Dane Climbed The Speed Route In Under 16 Seconds

    Tuesday, October 16, 2012

    Conversations with Strangers

    As the pool emptied, the two teenagers who had been horse playing got in the lane next to me. One told me that he had taught himself to swim three months ago. When I asked him why, he said that he wanted to be a Navy Seal and he was now teaching his friend to swim.


    I found his D-I-Y swim project inspiring.

    After a few laps, I made a palm pillow at the end of the lane and then I heard You’re not going to get any exercise like that. The guy was joking put it made me submerge and start swimming again.

    Left the pool and went to Target. As I picked up a Kashi frozen dinner, I heard Is that good? from behind me. Okay, that’s a silly question. You obviously think it’s good if you’re getting it. I’m so tired of Lean Cuisine.

    And, so, I had a conversation with “Lean Cuisine” who’s single. For her, cooking doesn’t make sense because she gets tired of one dish pretty quickly. Sometimes I go to Burger King…I must have had an odd look on my face because she told me that Burger King is much better than they used to be and that she’ll get a dollar salad. I know what I’m doing – I’ve lost 92 pounds. I agreed with her. She does know what she’s doing.

    She’s into Zumba and it turns out that we go to the same gym. Maybe I’ll see you sometime. I usually go to Zumba on Wednesday and Thursday…

    Saturday, October 13, 2012

    Steady, Steady...

    At the beginning of the week, tried to do too many things in one day. Left rock climbing and headed to yoga but when I arrived, the class was already in savasana so I retreated.


    The next time that I practiced yoga was on Thursday at home but, now, I prefer practicing in a class but getting in some practice was better than none.

    Last night was kind of lick my wounds night since it was a crazy week so I was glad that I was able to pull myself together and get out the house by 10:30 so that I could make it to Anna’s class.

    I decided to leave my hot yoga towel in the car because I wanted to see how my new mat handled asanas. I slid so much in downward facing dog that, at one point, I thought it would be nice to have my rock climbing chalk.

    Despite that distraction of sliding all over the place, I still enjoyed class and feel more balanced than I’ve felt in the last couple of days.

    Regaining Balance and Color by Balancing