Sunday, September 30, 2012

Get There or Stuff Yoga Teachers Say; Month-End Review, September

I usually do a month-end review and note the activities that I’ve engaged in but since I’m in throes of a yoga love affair and September is National Yoga Month, I’ll do something different.  I did, for the record, practice yoga for 16.5 hours. So, for National Yoga Month, here are things that came out of my yoga teachers’ mouths and resonated with me for one reason or another.
A Lot of Yoga Teachers

Maybe your neighbor can hear you breathing or even I can hear you breathing up here.


Imagine that I'm going to put a container on your mat. Put all of your worries, fears and stresses in there. I'm going to come by and put a heavy lid on your container then I'm going to take the container out to the parking lot…

Your breath is your energy and your power.


Stretch your arms and legs out. Make an X with your body and lift up. It’s like a magic carpet ride.

Try to get your hips to settle down (in swan pose).

You’re not struggling. It’s like Goldilocks. Not trying to hard or too little but just right…

Notice the texture of your breathing.

And if your head comes down, let it (during resting swan pose).

You should feel all the joints in your hands – especially the pinky and thumb (during downward facing dog).

Hug 'em (knees) in…

Don’t live in the future. Keep your head over your hips…

Use the strength of your arm…

Look through the hands; get there (top of the mat)...

Love your body. Love yourself. You are lovable…

Birthday Gift


This is a group class so let’s create energy…

Check in with your face...

Traditionally, the palms are open during savasana to get flashes of intuition.

We put our two thumbs on the third eye and say Namaste.


Balance -- use it or lose it.

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Sweet Talkers

I have been looking at my fuller face figure with amazement and seriously trying not to get stuck on it.

Staring Down Sweets Before Ordering Veggie Burger
Yesterday, I went to kettlebell class and, oh, the struggle. Kirsten, who keeps quite a cheerful face and talks to the class about 80’s music etc. whilst kicking your butt, looks over in my direction and say Hi, ‘Drea. Yes, hi to you too… If nothing else, I had people struggling with me. The two women next to me had me cracking up with their exclamations. When we got to windmills, my immediate neighbor said, I like windmills -- like being relative

After kettlebell, I headed to the climbing gym since Cindy, Kristen and I had been attempting to rendezvous for a while. I told them straight off that I only had a couple of routes in me because my upper body was already on fire.

As I came down from a route, Cindy and Kristen were giving me extended looks. We just like to watch your skin tone and muscles. We’ve said that before but it’s the first time that we’ve told you. I would have turned fifty shades of red if I could have...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Woe Lite

It's always darkest before lights in swimming pool locker room come on?

 TJ  and Shelley have regained weight. Unfortunately, I’m in that club too. I took off my weight tracker a while back and the former subtitle to my blog, trying to lose weight and eat my reduced fat cake too, because no weight loss has been going on.

It’s deflating.

I always felt like taking the weight off was the hardest part and that once I got it off, I’d be able to rock steady. I cannot believe that I’m overeating that much but, then again, how would I know? I haven’t counted calories in ages but I'm pretty sure my re-addiction to SunChips is a factor in addition to my sorry water consumption.

Could it be yoga too? I've read that it slows down your metabolism but most of the yogis that I know are stronger than me. In addition, most of the body weight exercises are yoga-like moves. Plus, I totally got my butt kicked in yoga class tonight. Want to know why a sun salutation is called a sun salutation? Because you're going to sweat...

There is a part of me that wants to bellyache – that wants to go into woe is me mode but I cannot. I’m  grateful for what my body can do. It swims, climbs, swings and walks. It has stamina and, for the most part, it runs without glitches. I would feel like such an ingrate if I started complaining about my inability to maintain and lose weight but, damn, it sucks to realize that I need to start over in some respects.

Monday, September 24, 2012


Enjoyed my brief trek out of town. Got to spend time with a new niece and one, Kelsie, who was trying to walk the last time we met.

Kelsie is a typical toddler – all attitude. She loves to put her hands on her chest or put a hand out while telling you to wait. She pretty much likes to tell people off even though she hasn’t quite mastered clear speech.

After dinner the first night, I grabbed a banana and Kelsie squared off, leaned toward me and said bite. I handed her a piece. She smiled, put the banana in her mouth, sat back on the couch and savored it. She was so happy and content with her bite of banana. Kelsie’s vocabulary may not be very big but she already knows how to sit back and enjoy her food.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Who Let The Junk Out?

If the hips are the junk drawer of the body, my drawer is less cluttered.

Went to Anna’s class and we sat in easy pose, got still, stretched our sides then warmed up our spines before doing the sun salutation A and B series.

While we were in lizard pose, Anna reminded us to breathe since we were in a deep hip opener.

During Warrior Two, Anna said there’s a lot going on… Tell me about it since my hips always want to open up instead of squaring off towards the front. Oh well, guess there’s always something to work on…

I had been thinking about visiting my brother and finally made up my mind. Stopped by Trader Joe’s and Pets Mart – to pick up a feeder for fish then went home, purchased a ticket ( $13 dollars more expensive than the previous day), let my climbing peeps know that, alas, they would have to climb without me. Next, I contacted Hazira to see if she would take me to the train station. Thanks!

Half of my carry-on had clothes and the other half had food. The hardest part of packing was deciding what food to take.

Nut Butters Travel So Well
My first train trip was interesting. Funny people. Drunk people. Nice people. When we stopped in Hermann, MO (where we picked up the drunk people), I thought about this therapist that I know who used to live there. She is a role model, of sorts, when it comes to self-care.

Speaking of self-care, the acupuncture treatment that I had the other day worked wonders.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Good Ol' GB 20

Mary Meachum Freedom Crossing, Riverfront Trail
Put air in my bicycle tire when I heard a hissing noise followed by a completely deflated tire. Having no confidence about changing the rear tire, I loaded my bike and headed to the shop.

Had a great ride and listened to a nice podcast, The Sporty Ones, Part 1: The Swimmers. It’s from a now defunct Australian series called The Body Sphere.

Several Australian swimmers were interviewed on the podcast including Shane Gould who participated in the Munich Olympics in 1972.

Someone taught their swimmers a thumb up technique because they saw Gould doing it but she said:

I’m a very physical person. I live in my body. I pick up information from the water, on my skin – the pull, the pressure etc...I think the sports scientists have taken over. It’s all measured in charts and graphs and angles...

I like Gould's take on interacting with the water and getting a feel for how to swim...

After bicycling, I made myself presentable and went for an acupuncture treatment. I’ve been producing lots of mucous. Clear but mucous nonetheless. And when I went for my bike ride, I sneezed like a crazy person. When I see mucous I feel like a superhero that loses a super power and is utterly shocked that a villain has made them bleed.

Sometimes I regret what I tell the acupuncturist. Chinese medicine, Bryan tells me, treats colds and allergies the same. Bryan then proceeds to stick a fair amount of needles in my face. Three in the right arm. Several in the arms, legs, ears and two in the base of my skull – good ol’ GB (Gall Bladder) 20.

Not sure what it is about the needles hitting pressure points and meridians, but I breathe very deeply once they’re in – a deepness that I’ve yet to achieve when I practice yoga.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Victorious Breath Day

Today marks the beginning of a new year in my life. The only thing that I planned to do was roll out of the bed and attend Gloria’s 9 a.m. yoga class; everything else was gravy.

We had perfect music at the perfect volume for class. A new pose for me was dragon and I totally felt like one while striking that pose. I didn’t, however, have the wherewithal to be a fire-breathing dragon. Maybe next time.

There was a guy in class that I tweeted about. I called him a champion breather and Cindy tweeted back that no wonder I had a champ in class because Ujjayi breathing translates to victorious breath. I can believe that since I often feel victorious after practicing yoga...

Gloria usually starts her class with that mantra …may all beings be happy and free and she often reads a poem during savasana. She also ends class with a mantra; I never catch all of it but today I caught: may you experience the warmth of love...

From my uncle who texted me at 5:47 a.m. to my friends and family that joined me for a dinner organized at the last minute, I did feel all kinds of warmth. And, bonus, my aunts and mother found something to their liking at the cafe that I chose even though they looked over the menus for a really long time...

Saturday, September 15, 2012

By The Numbers


27 – Approximate Number of People in Class

20 – Approximate Number of Times We Rocked Back into Downward Facing Dog

3 – Persons of Color

3 – Number of Persons Who Came Late

1 – Male Yogi

1 – Pregnant Yogi

1 – Time that Anna said “Let’s Take a Vinyasa Down” pre-savasana

Primary Soundtrack: Sade

Rock Climbing

6.5 - Number of Routes Climbed...

.5 - The Route That Owned Me...

Other than attending a great yoga class and checking my tenacity level with climbing, I've watched good movies lately. Wanderlust was way funnier than I thought it would be and Monsieur Lazhar was great.

I have a penchant for watching reality TV and I finally know what I need to do in a post-apocalyptic world-- thanks to Discovery's The Colony -- make friends with engineers and at least one mechanic.

After watching The Colony, I needed another reality fix. I know, I know -- my life should provide enough fodder. Still, I found I Shouldn't Be Alive on Netflix.

The first episode of I Shouldn't... is about Danelle Ballengee, a professional endurance athlete who was training in the Moab desert with her dog when she fell and fractured her pelvis. Pretty much split in two, she manages to survive until help arrives. As the narrator says: the only thing that kept her alive was her extraordinary physical condition.

In another I Shouldn't story, a man is able to survive a bear attack because of someone else's strength. Bram Schaffer had a lot of good fortune but initially the man who carried him was particularly instrumental. The man who carried Schaffer said: I was strong...a painter...doing a lot of stuff that required strength.

Have I mentioned this before? I love having a strong body.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Give Your Face A Total Break

Unrolled my mat but didn't see Gloria among the yogis but that’s because Rebecca subbed for Gloria. We were about 40 strong -- impressive attendance, to me, sans group coupon or yoga studio...

As we were on our backs, I heard the door open again and again and again. Must have been 10 people who came in after class started. As you hear people come in, just let that sound wash right over you, said Rebecca. Timely words as I got distracted each time the open door let in the sound of treadmills and the clanking of weights.

After turning over, Rebecca had us move the way I imagine people move inside of a dragon at a Chinese New Year celebration. We undulated our way to warmer muscles. We let out audible breaths. We got jiggy with it.

As we did crescent, Rebecca itched to correct bodies but said that there was a no touching policy so she just walked around and gave cues.

It was a rigorous class as we “rested” often in downward facing dog.

As savasana started, Rebecca told the people with glasses to take them off. Give your face a total break. She was right. My face felt much better without the weight of glasses. It reminded me of the time that I waited on a massage therapist to finish up with a client. There was a kitchen area and an area with sofas. I sat in the kitchen area and when she found me she said, I can’t believe that you chose to sit on a hard chair.

Who wears glasses during savasana? It’s like choosing to sit on a hard chair when there are sofas around. I love adding different techniques to my self-care trove.

During savasana, Rebecca read an excerpt from a Marianne Williamson book that she attributed to a Nelson Mandela speech.

This part moved me the most:

Your playing small does not serve the world…

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A Stronger Version of You

I forget about the resources that I have -- a book on a barstool, a piece of paper in the couch fold that has a 30-minute kettlebell routine or a basketball pump in a basket with wrist weights and a yoga strap.

I picked up You Are Your Own Gym again and looked at the pages that I had folded back. I still like this passage:

There are hundreds of benefits to regularly following an effective physical training program, but one that is often overlooked is your improved ability to serve others. It will not only make you strong and lean, but it will strengthen your resolve. Your friends, loved ones, and coworkers will get a stronger version of you. Take the time to serve yourself, so that you can better serve others. That, above all, is beautiful. (41)
And I do feel like  'Drea 5.0 -- a much better version of me...

Friday, September 7, 2012

The One With The Warped Sense of Humor

Turned in a group coupon voucher (near expiration) that I bought sometime in May for kettlebell and kickboxing classes. When I walked into the studio I recognized Melissa, a woman from the now closed studio that we used to attend. Melissa has been training with another kb-er at home but, apparently, they hadn't been doing a good enough job because Melissa's been pretty sore since working out with a trainer again.

I don't know how we got on the topic but Melissa said that she didn't start exercising until she hit her 40's and the catalyst was the death of a friend. My colleague, who accompanied me, stopped smoking six months ago but found another addiction and, therefore, feels the need to incorporate exercise into her life again...

We warmed up with the Turkish Get-Up which I had tons of fun with because, due to the parking situation, I left my 22 pounder in the car and decided to use a loaner. The studio didn't have any 10kg's and I should have bumped up the weight to 25 instead of going for the 20 pound one.

We did a lot of stuff that I'm familiar with: plank jacks, goblet squats, pullovers, push-ups and windmills.

Kirsten did incorporate the pistol swing which I hadn't heard of and didn't get the hang of either. As we were on our backs doing abs, Kirsten asked if I was having fun yet. I managed to get out Loads... but she didn't hear me. My classmate on the right filled her in and Kirsten said I love it; you're already lying to me. Kirsten, by the way, has a warped sense of humor...

Addendum: I see what Melissa meant. Two days later, my lats and quads are still alive with soreness.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

On the Fifth Day of Yoga

Fell in line and waited for Zumba class to end.

Gloria started off class by reading a yoga poem about letting go.

During tree pose, she told us let it be effortless; it's okay to sway...

I took my hot yoga towel and it helped to keep my feet and hands stable during downward facing dog and also doubled as a blanket during savasana, which was super-sized. By the end of the final pose, my breathing was, well, effortless.

I have done so much yoga in the last five days that I barely blinked during sun salutations.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Screaming and Intractability

Rolled out of bed and wasn’t hungry which was a good thing since I really didn’t have time to eat. As I headed to yoga, I thought about one studio’s list of etiquette – arrive early and put away stuff like cell phones even if they aren’t on because they serve as reminders of our hectic lifestyles. And, yeah, I don’t usually observe the no eating two to three hours before yoga recommendation.

I got in the door right as class was about to start and the teacher, Pure Yoga, was reading something. I did hear her say that yoga has brought her a lot of joy and she hopes that we have the same experience. I felt so uncomfortable sliding in the door at the last minute but, of course, I was not the last person to enter and this one woman even verbalized her shock as she entered the full class.

When we did a lunge with a twist it made me think of James Bond flick for some reason. My quads surprised me as I attempted bow; they screamed and were intractable. Usually, it’s my hamstrings that do all of the screaming.

Later on I went swimming with, mostly, seniors since they tend to populate the pool earlier in the day.

After completing a lap, this man said Young lady, where’d you learn to swim? You gotta nice stroke. I told him that I learned to swim at the Y and he told me that the Y is a nice place and he learned to swim there when he was seven. I love seeing the seniors especially after I've spied a cane or two on the bleachers...

I realized something today as I took off in 11 feet of the water attempting to do the sidestroke. Not only has my water competency grown but my water confidence has grown. I didn’t hesitate to take off. I experimented with leg and arm movements and not once did I think that my awkward left sidestroke would sink my battleship.