Monday, April 30, 2012

The Wide-Angle or Month-End Review, April

I have been in a foul mood today and it’s been brewing for a while – a curious state for someone who spent a considerable amount of time chillaxing in San Diego.

I wanted to go to boxing class but it was full and I had my eye on a substitute boxing class but that didn’t pan out but not boxing was probably a good thing because I’m quite sore from yesterday’s kettlebell beat down.

I went swimming and felt all of the tightness in my hamstrings. Afterwards, I really didn’t feel like moving from my computer chair but I decided to go to yoga which turned out to be such a good decision. Donna likes to tell us to imagine that we have an eraser and to just erase away everything that happened earlier in the day.

At one point, we did a wide-angle downward facing dog and I don’t think that we’ve ever done that before. While in DFD, we shifted our hips to the right then to the left. It was an amazing stretch for the back of the legs and my hamstrings are no longer tight. In fact, my brain is no longer tight. So glad that I went…

Backs and Biceps Class, 1 x
Bicycling, 1 x
Boxing, 3 x's
Kettlebell Class, 2 x's
Lawn Mowing, 2 x's
Pure Barre Class, 1 x
Rock Climbing, 2 x's
Swimming, 5 x's
Walking, 10 x's
Yoga, 8 x's

How was your April?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Chip's Song

Barely made it to kettlebell class. Nothing new there. Ate spoonfuls of oatmeal while getting dressed then made my exit. On the way, silently talked to myself about the art of gutting out a tough workout.

Me: I can't believe that Chip's not here.

Marina: He talked for the entire time last class.

Me: Oh, you took care of him.

Marina: He left here in good health.

Ha ha, that's totally something that an immigrant, gangster or gangster immigrant would say.

As we warmed up with jumping jacks, mountain climbers and other jacks and whatnot, I was out of breath and wondered how someone who exercises so much can get fatigued five minutes into a 60 minutes class but I guess that fatigue happens even when you're in shape.

We started off with a ten minute circuit:

  • Two Hand Swings
  • Right Hand Swings
  • Left Hand Swings
  • Alt. Tactical Lunges
  • Forearm Plank
  • Around the Body with a Catch
  • Squat, Curl, Press, Triceps...
  • Right Row
  • Left Row
  • Hand-to-Hand Swings
  • Bottoms Up Press

  • I'm pretty sure that I've left out many things but you get the picture. I was so happy when Marisa talked to the newbies so that I could catch my breath. After that circuit, we concentrated on the Turkish Get-Up and practiced in stages because of said newbies and we practiced a lot.

    Marisa finally left two of us to our own devices to execute Get-Ups. By the time I got to my left side,  fatigue had set in. Marisa noticed and made me focus: Andrea, keep it pretty. I wasn't feeling much like one but when I'm a Ninja came on, I was like -- Oh, that's Chip's song...

    And, apparently, it's not just Chip's song because I kind of dig it but I don't think this song is it because it sounds pretty different from the one that Mike has on his play list. Want me to sing it for you? I'm a ninja; I'm a ninja. I'm...I'm...I'm...I'm a ninja.

    Friday, April 27, 2012

    Schumacher Returns

    Vacation sneaked up on me. Don't know why since I had been anticipating it and I was also the one that pushed the confirm button for reservations.

    Right before I left, I saw a Zen Habits post about over planning. Leo B. had just been to San Diego and had planned to read a book, do yoga and see all kinds of things which didn't happen. Ditto for me. I also saw that Crabby McSlacker had just been in SD and had been to the Naked Cafe which I quickly added to my list of approved restaurants but I didn't make it to Naked Cafe while they were open. Other stuff that I really didn't get to: Blood, Bones and Butter, Shape magazines and Game of Thrones.

    I had my Sansa MP3 player + USB cord, iPod Touch + cord and earphones etc. but realized on the connecting flight to San Diego that I had forgotten the battery charger for my camera. I've had dreams about leaving my camera at home and if your camera runs out of juice, it's just about the same dream. I figured that I could get a disposable camera or buy a replacement charger but ended up using the iPod Touch camera.

    I really wish that I had gotten to try more exercise experiences. I bought three Groupon Now! health and fitness deals but, in the end, used two. The last full day in San Diego I swam for thirty minutes and then walked and walked around La Jolla Cove and, later, Hillcrest. In the end, exercise is pretty much exercise unless it's Xplicit.

    It was nice not to step on the scale for a week but, of course, I stepped on it today; I was down two pounds. For the most part, I did okay with eating but I felt like I was eating all the time. I bought a jar of MaraNatha almond butter and it was pretty much gone by the time of departure. I did use some of that to make almond butter and banana sandwiches for the trip back home.

    Before I left, I thought about the people and things that I would miss as well as the money spent but it was definitely worth it to vacate the familiar...

    My friend asked me which one of my exercises I enjoyed the most. I laughed: It's not about enjoyment all the time then I told her about what one of The Biggest Loser trainers said to Bryan: it's not supposed to be easy. At least, that's what I tell myself to make it through some workouts.

    Enough Food to Feed an Army at Freshii in LA

    "Cirque" at Santa Monica Pier

    To The Point, Another Organic Restaurant in SD

    How Most Days Started

    The Veggie Sandwich at Lotus Cafe

    Favorite Trees by the Pool

    On the Outside Wanting In at UCSD

    The Flower Fields

    La Jolla Cove

    More La Jolla Cove

    Ocean Beach

    Belgian Chocolate & Graham Cracker "Fat Free" Yogurt at The Golden Spoon

    *In a nod to my San Diego driving skills, my friend started referring to me as Michael Schumacher. On another note, there's this triathlete that I communicate with on Twitter. I know that she's in the San Diego area and my instinct was to contact her but I didn't. She ended up dropping me a line and saying that we should have met so I took her up on the offer for next time...

    Ever been to San Diego or tried any interesting calisthenics while on vacation?

    Tuesday, April 24, 2012

    Xplicit Butt Kicking

    My vacation MO has been to roll over, check Groupon Now! and see what fitness and health deals are being offered and to find an a.m. class so it is not so disruptive to the tourism schedule. I saw at deal offered by Xplicit Fitness that incorporated boxing. Cool, sign me up..

    I knew that the jig was up when I spotted a CrossFit box across from Xplicit Fitness. Leah, the trainer, helped me wrap my hands then it was go time. We warmed up for three minutes by jumping rope.
    Three minutes is a long time, isn't it?

    So, yeah, Leah likes to taunt a little. After warming up, we did circuits:.

  • Pull-ups on TRX Situation
  • Fast feet on Bosu Ball
  • Undulation Rope (not as easy as it looks)
  • Triceps Extensions (with weights of choice)
  • Stability Ball (Jack Knifes or something)
  • Laps, Two (around building)

  • Repeat

    Round three included:

  • Bicep Curls on TRX
  • Superman on Bosu Ball
  • Cobra-Like Lift while working Undulation Rope
  • Slamming Medicine Ball
  • Mountain Climbers (first round); Jumping Pull-ups (with box)
  • Victory Lap

  • And we still weren't finished...

    Four people put on gloves and the other four did ab work and when the bell went off, it was time to switch. By this time, I didn't think my arms were capable of working. One of my classmates said that she felt like vomiting. We switched twice and when I thought that I absolutely did not have anything else in the tank, Leah announced that it was time to do a two minute plank. She kept chiming in with stuff like:

    Think about your fitness goals. If you give 100%, you get 100%. Go to that place -- that deep, dark place.

    Um, I really didn't have to go anywhere since I was already at that place...

    Sunday, April 22, 2012

    No Lounging in the Yoga Lounge

    I've just about recovered from my bout with Pure Barre with the exception of my abs and lats which are still quite sore despite the fact that Isabelle did not allow us newbies to pick up weights.

    I had a jones going on for hot yoga and decided to try a class described as Yoga Vinyasa Flow WARM (75 to 85 degrees).

    I rented a mat and set myself next to the mirror in the surprisingly small cozy green room.

    As I sat there, I thought You call this warm?

    When we started our downward facing dog, cobra...series, I saw the sweat rolling down my legs and things definitely got heated. I had a hard time keeping up and getting in touch with my breath.

    At one point, we got into a deep squat just like I see people from Nepal doing when they sit around and wait or engage in conversation. From the deep squat, most of the class went into crow pose but I did not since I've never attempted it before.

    We placed a block underneath our backs to get into fish pose towards the end of class and that felt very good. The teacher, Alyson, thought doing fish was appropriate since we had done a lot of heart opening poses.

    After removing the block, we stretched our arms overhead then opened our mouths to breathe -- almost like the lion's breath. We did that a couple of times and it felt very good.

    No doubt that we did a lot of heart openers because I seriously wanted to cry at the end of class. Now that I think about it, pigeon pose could have also been a culprit. Either way, I felt satisfied after practicing yoga.

    Thursday, April 19, 2012

    Like Pilates But With A Bar

    I vacated my state. Doesn't vacation literally mean to vacate or did I just make that up?

    Leaving one's state or state of mind is challenging. I even had the nerve to groan a little when the captain said that it would take three plus hours to get to California which reminded me of Louis CK's bit about no one being happy...

    I didn't exercise on Tuesday as I had laundry to do et al. I also did not exercise on Wednesday since it was a travel day. To say that I was out of sorts is an understatement. I told my poor friend that I needed to do something to get out of the state that I was in. For me, I cannot relax until I've exercised.

    I decided to try Pure Torture Barre. I was not the only newbie, thank God. We got a Pure ball, resistance band and weights to enhance our workout. Pure Barre reminds me a lot of Pilates with a lot of small, precise movements plus pulsing etc. I don't even remember a fourth of the stuff that we did since the sweat started raining down during the warm-up. I grabbed my hamstrings at one point and the instructor, Isabela, was like, yes, we're working our hamstrings. My h'strings and abs took the brunt of that workout.

    I thought about a lot of the activities that I've been involved with and Pure Barre is just as tough as any of them. Isabelle, from France, looked so sweet and innocent when I first walked into the studio but I definitely saw her in a different light after 60 minutes. I was also in different light as I felt more like myself after I had exercised and, to borrow a Terry McMillanism, I felt like I could exhale.

    Sunday, April 15, 2012

    Trouble From The Get-Go

    My climbing has been so infrequent that this toddler has better moves than I do.

    I love the way that the toddler dismisses the toys. She also has a pretty nice drop knee...

    Cindy and Val joined Patti and me for a climbing outing and, now, they're able to scratch rock climbing off of their bucket lists. They did so well and had a lot more stamina than I did on my first time out.

    Val Ascending Her Very First Route

    Summit Consultation

    I was proud of myself as well because I decided to climb a route that I knew was trouble from the get-go. I would say that it owned me and I did say as much when I came down but it didn't since I hung in there and ascended the route even though it took me countless attempts.

    Had an opportunity to scratch anything off of your bucket list lately?

    Saturday, April 14, 2012

    Crime and Cells...

    Finally got around to reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks after hearing about it almost two years ago. Skloot, the author, is sitting in a college class trying to get credit for a biology class that she's in because she failed out of public school for non-attendance. It's during this fateful class that she learns about Henrietta Lacks but what she learns about Lacks is more of a footnote than anything else.

    The blurb on the cover says a lot:

    Doctors took her cells without asking. Those cells never died. They launched a medical revolution and a multi-million dollar industry. More than twenty years later, her children found out. Their lives would never be the same.
    Skloot gets an introduction to the family via Roland Pattillo who was the sole African-American student of George Gey, the one who initially cultured Lacks' cells. Here's a portion of one of Pattillo's first conversations with Skloot:

    "Correct me if I'm wrong, but you are white."
    "Is it that obvious?"
    "Yes," he said. "What do you know about African-Americans and science?" (50)

    Good question...

    I'm definitely glad that I read the book but there were many sad elements including the fact that Henrietta Lacks' cancer cells "spread like crabgrass" and "seemed unstoppable" (41)

    After learning more about her mother who died at 31, Deborah Lacks decides to go to school so that she'll be better equipped to understand the information that she's been given but there's a roadblock in her way:

    "...Cause there's nothin to be scared about with my mother and them cells. I don't want nothin to keep me from learning no more." But in fact there was something that would keep Deborah from learning: she didn't have enough money. Her social security check barely covered her living expenses..(301-302)
    And Deborah is not the only Lacks descendant who faces financial obstacles. Her son, Sonny, has a quintuple bypass and because he has no insurance, ends up with $125,000 worth of debt which shouldn't be the case when clones of his mother's cells (HeLa) go for $167 dollars a vial...

    * * *

    Also read In The Woods, a Brandi recommendation -- sort of. Brandi actually recommended the sequel but I had to check out Tana French's debut book first.

    About 200 pages into the book, I wondered whether or not I was diggin' it then all of a sudden, the book picked up. I think part of my ambivalence was due to my fatigue with crime novels. I was on quite the Patricia Cornwell trip for a while...

    Here's one of my favorite passages from Into The Woods. It's about exercise. Are you surprised?

    I sent Cassie a text saying I wasn't feeling well enough for dinner at her place; I couldn't bear the thought of all that solicitous tact. I left work just in time to get home before Heather -- she "does her Pilates" on Monday evenings -- wrote her a note saying I had a migraine and locked myself in my room. Heather tends her health with the kind of tenacious, minute dedication some women devote to flower beds or china collections, but the upside of this is that she accords other people's ailments the same awed respect as her own: she would leave me alone for the evening and keep the sound on the television down. (211)

    Wednesday, April 11, 2012

    Cindy's Got Stuff To Do

    I had just about everything packed:

  • Frozen Steaz Zero Calorie Tea (post Hot Yoga treat)

  • Small Organic Gala Apple

  • Spare Shirt

  • Towel One

  • Towel Two

  • Water on the Rocks

  • But before I depart, the vision in my right eye goes all distorty. Seriously? Really? I felt relatively good and I've been waiting for Hot Yoga day since I didn't go last Saturday because I had a hangover from my last bout with distorted vision followed by a headache.

    I start tapping  energetically as Hazira suggested. I do downward facing dog because of something else that Hazira suggested. I grab the major acupressure point between my thumb and index finger and I continue to tap like I'm a court stenographer or Mavis Beacon.

    I head out and grab Healing with Pressure Point Therapy* which I have checked out from the library. I decided to drive a bit and, if the tide didn't turn, I would return home. When I hit a stop light, I tapped and tapped. And before I even pulled away, I checked the index in Healing with Pressure...for eye pressure points. Between the tapping and acupressure, the distorted vision went away...

    I felt good in class. Cindy reminded us that we can break up and dissolve tension with our breath and that's what I'm forgetting to do during the day. I'm holding my breath and stressing over this and that -- a situation that's not going to work.

    Cindy also told us that our breathing determines how long we will be held in poses. Basically, if we're not breathing, we're going to be in a holding pattern on any given pose but then she made a retraction. I've got stuff to do...Haha...That meant that all of us yogis needed to make sure that we were breathing. I'm going to definitely work on taking deep breaths outside of yoga class because I've got stuff to do as well...

    *In traditional Chinese medicine, vision problems are intimately connected to the Liver meridian, which starts at the top of the big toe and runs up the entire body to the eyes. Treatment for various eye complaints frequently involves stimulating the Liver meridian points to benefit vision...(197)
    The info above came from the section called Eye Strain and in a gray box titled "Blind with Rage." Hmmm...

    Monday, April 9, 2012

    Three Pack

    I've been put in a three pack lately because of odd numbers in boxing class. Wasn't quite sure how that would turn out but one person handles the mitts. Two others have on gloves and take turns hitting. The person who is not hitting the mitts shadowboxes.

    But what happens when there's one person holding Thai pads? All kind of fun ensues.

    One person kicks from the left.

    The other from the right.

    But there is no simultaneously kicking because that would be abusive to the person holding the Thai pads. Although, we did get in a pretty good rhythm so it might have seemed like the kicks were coming simultaneously.

    I had so much fun doing this exercise but I think it's because, in general, I really enjoy roundhouse kicks.

    I asked the newbie about her name. It sounded like she said Chelsea but then her voice dropped and remaining syllables were pretty much indiscernible. A bit later, I asked her again.

    Me: You're going to have to spell that for me.

    C: If I spell it for you, it's going to be even more complicated.

    I wanted to laugh. Hard. But I didn't because "C" is so serious looking. I think she's Korean but I'm not completely sure. Maybe she was going to write her name in Korean characters because, yes, that would have been even more complicated.

    Saturday, April 7, 2012

    Static Energy

    Thought that I had looked at a light too long but it turned out that my vision was distorted and that hasn't happened in a long time and it usually happens when I'm stressed out. It kind of feels like I'm looking through a clear honeycomb when it happens.

    I wondered how I could be stressed out since I just went to restorative yoga two days ago but I also remembered something Patti told me when I talked about my frustration with clutter. I had thought about enlisting the services of a professional organizer but I told her that I can't keep doing that but, obviously, I have a problem... Patti said that uncluttering is like pruning or a healthy lifestyle -- you have to keep doing it. True dat, Patti. True dat...

    The interesting thing about the distorted vision is that it only happened in one eye this time. I immediately took to the couch and Hazira went to work on me with EFT which worked.

    I did have a headache afterwards but by the time we finished watching White Wedding, the headache was pretty much gone.

    I took a chance on White Wedding (51%) even though it was not fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. Another movie that I like, Ping Pong Playa, only had a 66% rating and it made me laugh a lot. Fifty one percent and 66% -- close enough. I thought White Wedding was sweet -- but not too syrupy; it held my attention and made me laugh. Kinda had a Disney tone to it...

    P.S. Hazira, thanks for taking care of that static energy...

    Thursday, April 5, 2012

    Getting in Touch with the Conqueror Breath

    Went to a restorative class with Emsada who wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

    As I gathered items, Emsada was like Are you sure that we need all of this...?

    Maybe not but it makes restoration so much easier. In Madonna's class, make sure to grab:

  • A Blanket -- maybe two...

  • Two Blocks

  • A Bolster -- maybe two..

  • An Eye Bag

  • Two Eggs

  • A Mat

  • One Strap

  • As Madonna instructed us on what to do with the belt: make a loop, put it over our heads, around the waist and loop the belt around your bound feet, a classmate gave us a tip on securing the belt.

    I am the belt master, she said. Namaste...

    All of us roared with laughter...

    As Madonna talked about Ujayyi breathing, she said something that stuck with me:

    You want to breathe like you're trying to fog up a window but with your mouth closed....
    Score. Fogging up a window makes so much sense...

    Explore your emotions -- if you're feeling tense, take a look at the other side of that -- ease...

    As I got into a spinal twist with the help of a bolster, I noticed that my classmates to the right were prone and almost swallowed by blankets. The classmate immediately next to me had her hand peeking from underneath the blanket. On her finger, a wedding band. It looked as if she was taking a nap on a yoga mat and I thought about why someone would need to leave their house for restoration.

    Of course, it depends on the individual but a few good reasons include: the people who live in your house. What happens in your house. The teacher holding down the space. The teacher's training. The music. The relaxation fountain. The energy created...

    After savasana, Madonna commented:
    There was a torrential rainstorm during class that washed the earth clean. I hope that this class washed some of the dust from your soul.

    It did...

    Tuesday, April 3, 2012

    A Good Practice to Cultivate

    Cindy at the Start of Dandayamana Dhanurasana or Standing Bow Pose

    Namaste and many thanks to Cindy, one of my oft-quoted Hot Yoga instructors, for taking time to answer questions that I sent her way...

    * * *

    'Drea: On Saturday you went over the rules, demonstrated recovery poses then ended by saying “You’re in safe hands...” which I thought was reassuring, period, but especially since there were quite a few newbies in attendance.

    During savasana for another class that I went to, the teacher encouraged us to relax and said that she would watch over us. I feel hard-wired to watch out for my own self but it was nice to let go and, symbolically, let someone else be the lookout.

    Is there some phrase that one of your teachers has said that resonated and sticks with you?

    Cindy: I think it is so important to be reminded that you are safe in yoga classes. It can be really difficult for people, as you know, to let go and truly still feel safe. In our society you have to keep your guard up all of the time and it is such a luxury to allow ourselves to be vulnerable. This is a good practice to cultivate. We all need a bit of quiet, sacred time in our day where we are safe and sound and our only concern is our breath.
     It's so important to your mental and physical health to decompress like this...but you have to be able to really let go first and giving yourself that permission is the first step.

    There are so many things that have come out of my instructors' mouths and lodged in my little brain over the years. Some were just clever ways of describing poses or motions, and others really profound nuggets of wisdom. One of my all-time favorites was in a class recently when we were all perched up in our tree poses, but everyone was really feeling off balance that day. Seasoned yogis don't normally struggle too much in tree pose and some seemed quickly, and outwardly, very frustrated by this. The instructor noticed and wisely reminded us that "it is only the strongest trees that are able to sway." This was exactly what I needed to hear at that moment, but I think about that all the time in my personal life too. Now when I am having a hard day, I just remember her words and they help me to remain flexible in tough situations and go with the flow.

    Almost There...

    'Drea: What made you walk into your first yoga class, what type of class was it and did you immediately like yoga?

    Cindy: I first learned about yoga through a friend of mine in high school, way back in the 1990's. He bought me a book for my birthday called, "The Sivananda Companion to Yoga" and I started practicing yoga on my bedroom floor. I learned the poses straight out of this book, without really even thinking that I should go to a class or find a teacher. I don't remember when the very first class I went to was, most likely at our local gym. My small hometown maybe didn't even offer any yoga classes there either until after 2000. I was immediately drawn to yoga. Having never been a terribly athletic or coordinated person, this practice instantly felt made exactly for me! There was something so satisfying about all of it, a sort of reassurance that my feelings were correct all along: there absolutely is more to life than it may seem! Yoga and I have been in cahoots for a while and we are fast and old friends!

    'Drea: Are you involved in any other fitness activities?

    Cindy: Since I started my yoga teacher training, I haven't had a lot of time to do anything except for yoga, but I have participated in lots of other fitness activities in the past and will again once my training is complete. Generally I have found, I get bored easily in many of the workout programs that I have tried. I like variety a lot. I was doing a bootcamp program last fall to get in shape for an adult-sized obstacle course run, called The Ruckus. The training was almost as much fun as the actual race, because the instructor changed the routines every day. I had never done a race before and it was so much fun and gave me so much confidence! I heard about one this summer in St. Louis where zombies chase you through the that sounds like a creative workout! I like exercising when it doesn't feel like work or slaving away in the gym. Roller skating, hula hooping, or riding my fat tire bike are fun ways to stay fit that I can easily find the motivation to do. It's hard to inspire me to go and walk 5 miles on a treadmill that doesn't go anywhere or lift the same dumbbell over and over. Exercise doesn't have to be doesn't really even have to be exercise. Walking my dog and practicing yoga is my simple everyday routine and seems to work for me in my life right now. I think that's the most important thing about fitness is that you find an activity that you really enjoy, then you are able to commit to it more easily.

    'Drea: According to Guardian online website, Costa Rica, France, Spain and Turkey are some of the top destinations for yoga retreats in 2012. Any retreats on your bucket list?

    Cindy: Oh geez! Only all of the above! I am only recently becoming very painfully aware of all of these fantastically beautiful yoga retreats that happen all of the time. I am a real sucker for Maui and I just read about one there that might be at the top of my list. The ocean is just about as perfect a backdrop on the planet for yoga.

    'Drea: Any fitness activities on your must-try list?

    Cindy: I would love to try some rock climbing. My fear of heights is something I would love to conquer and rock climbing has always been attractive to me but that fear holds me back. I don't have too much upper body strength either so it seems a bit daunting to me. I like challenging things though, so I know I will do it one day! Also surfing!! I love the water and I would just love to learn how to ride a wave.

    'Drea: For most yoga teachers, there seems to be one asana that they like to hold you in for just a tad bit longer. For Jeremy, it’s tree pose. For you, it seems to be chair. Is chair your favorite pose or something? Or, do you just want to make sure that all of our large muscles are properly warmed up?☺  Also, is there a pose that you've really struggled with?

    Cindy: I do think it's important to warm up these muscles, that's true. I really think that chair pose is one that everybody can do and needs to do. That is a cardiovascular pose, really gets your blood moving, so I'm getting your energy up and setting the tone for exactly how hard I am expecting you to work for the rest of the practice. That pose comes early in the class too, so yogis should have lots of energy still. I expect to get some dirty looks after that pose, that's how I know I am doing it right!

    I have struggled with many poses over the years. In Hot Yoga there are poses that I used to absolutely hate, I mean really despise--forearm plank, head to knee pose, for starters. But I have found that it is usually because I am not very good at them yet and I don't like doing things that I am not really good at. When I don't like doing something it usually means that is what I actually NEED to be doing. Once I conquer those hated, difficult poses, or even just make a little progress within them, I always have a better attitude toward them, even plank.

     Yoga Journal there...

    'Drea: I think that yoga teachers are pretty generous to begin with but, for me, teaching Hot Yoga seems like a particularly giving act given the element of heat, the length of class and heightened monitoring required. Why teach Hot Yoga or, for that matter, why teach any type of yoga?

    Cindy: Why not? I feel so privileged to be able to teach yoga and share with others this amazing thing that has honestly changed my life. This practice that you do on your yoga mat can change your life, and the whole world. Being able to influence that change, or coax it along in any small way, is a really special job perk. I believe that there is so much more to people that they may not even be awake to yet, it's so exciting to see it come alive. Reading your blog, for example, is like getting a bonus for me...I am so honored to be with you all on this journey, and to realize that my words have even in some tiny manner impacted my students is golden!

    'Drea: What was teaching your first HY class like? What was the "pre-game" preparation and/or self-talk like?

    Cindy: I remember being surprised at my ability to control my nerves. I am a pretty anxious person by nature, so I was really amped up but had practiced this sequence so many times training for it that I knew I had it down. I had also been a student at Hot Yoga for months before I even started training to become a teacher, so I knew it from that perspective as well. I simply sat myself down, did some deep breathing and told me, "Ok, you know this. Don't over think it. Keep it simple. You've got this. Now go teach yoga." And by the grace of God, the words were there for me when I reached for them. It was a really amazing moment. The rush when that first class finished was extraordinary! I instantly thought, yes...this is what I am supposed to be doing. This is it.

    'Drea: How many times have you watched Enlighten Up!? or am I the only one who’s watched it repeatedly? If you haven’t see Enlighten Up!, do you have a favorite yoga DVD or book?

    Cindy: I have watched that movie about 25 times! My Amazon wish list is full of books that I would like to read as well, but my Yoga Alliance certification is sort of dominating what I am currently reading. I have many favorites though; "Stretch" is a funny book about a beginner's journey by Neal Pollack if you want to laugh pretty hard, "Are You My Guru?" by Wendy Shanker was a great, inspiring read! Erich Schiffman's book "Yoga, The Spirit and Practice of Moving into Stillness" is one of my all time favorites, so much wisdom in there! Also I am in love with Miguel Ruiz's book "The Voice of Knowledge." Of course the Bhagavad Gita is a must-read for all yogis, along with Iyengar's "Tree of Yoga" and Patanjali's "Yoga Sutras". There is just so much great literature out there, I hope I live a long life so I can read them all!

    'Drea: What does yoga do for you?

    Cindy: Yoga makes me feel really good...inside and out. Of course yoga gives us strength and flexibility, detoxification and balance, but the real changes that take place are on the inside. Through meditation, Yoga allows me to calm my mind and cultivate the practice of not letting my thoughts control my life. It gives me space and time to sort of hang out with myself, find out what's going on with me on the inside, get to know my true nature and what I am capable of creating in the universe. There is a Sanskrit phrase that originates in Patanjali's sutras, "sthira sukhum asanam" and it means roughly "the yoga pose is firm, but happy." This is exactly what yoga promotes in me, contentedness, ease, yet strength and firmness. Yoga changes my attitude and how I interact with others and this, in turn, changes my life and the lives of those around me -- more contentedness, less want; more ease, less struggle; more compassion, less greed; more laughter and less pain. Gandhi said, "be the change that you want to see in the world" and this is what I would like to see more of in myself and the rest of the world.

    Sunday, April 1, 2012

    Marisa, 1...Remedial Kettlebellers, 0

    Alexandrea and I arrived at the same time and I couldn't believe the volume and length of her hair and wanted to know where she'd been hiding it all of this time. She told me that she hasn't done it for two days (stint on Katy Trail caused delay), it's usually straight and that's why it looks like there's more to it.

    We both agreed that although it was nice to be done, before, with kettlebell at 10:00 a.m., it's even nicer not having to roll out of bed for a 9:00 a.m. class.

    As Mike finished up with his intermediate class, we stepped into the studio. Kelly did cobra and bow pose (to give her abs a break) and got into the poses so effortlessly. Go ahead, Kelly, rub it in...

    Marisa did not teach last Sunday and she came back reinvigorated. Maybe she'd been mad that everyone hadn't been sweating in previous classes but she threw circuit after circuit at us; the agony started with something like this:

    Two-hand swing, 30 seconds
    Round the Body with a Catch, 60 seconds
    Righ-hand Swing, 30
    Alt. Lunge, 30
    Row (R), 30
    Push-up with Tap on Kettlebell (R), 30
    Squat, Curl, Press, Tricep..., 60
    Left-Hand Swing, 30
    Alt. Lunge, 30
    Row, (L), 30
    Figure Eight, 30
    Push-Up with...30
    H2H (Hand-to-Hand), 30
    Rear Lunge, 30
    Triceps Dips, 30

    Because we didn't have time to get chairs, we did partner triceps dips which had all of us laughing. Chip thought it was probably a manuveur tried at parties or something. I couldn't bring myself to do it. Barbara is so petite and my balance is not always the best. I thought that I might crush her. When you do partner triceps dips, one person lies on the floor -- knees up and, voilĂ , a perch to do triceps dips from.

    We did burpees, squat thrusters, mountain jacks, presses, jumping lunges etc. before it was all over with; it seems that Marisa wanted to carry us to fatique so she could see how our form would hold up.

    Push your butt back and drive your hips up aggressively...Finish it...Sit on your butt (in order to do presses.)

    After our 60 minutes were up, several us stayed down on the floor (clean, I'm sure) since we had just finished with ab work.

    Alexandrea: I want pancakes. I want bacon. I want eggs...

    Me: I want a massage...

    What do you want after an intense workout?