Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Magic Happens or Year-End Review, 2013

This year-end tally is a lot like using a lap counter at the pool -- you still wonder if you pushed the button. Was it really 22 laps or 23? I feel like I did the cardio kickboxing segment of 5 Day Get Fit Mix more than four times. Or, was that last year? And, surely, I took Rapid Results off the shelf more than once. I'm pretty sure that I did the willpower & Grace routine as well. No matter, I did "it."

The 'Fugee says that she should not read my blog at the end of the month. Look away 'Fugee. Look away... or join me sometime.

A woman recently asked me how I stay motivated to exercise. I told her that I use exercise to decompress and that, even when I don't feel like exercising, I do 10 minutes and magic happens.

Happy New Year...

10 Minutes Solution: 5 Day Get Fit Mix
  • Cardio Kickboxing, 4 x's

  • Fat Blasting Interval, 1 x

  • Power Yoga, 1 x


  • 10 Minute Solution: Fitness Ball Workout
    Total Body Fat Burner, 2 x's
    Upper Body, 2 x's



    10 Minute Solution: High Intensity Interval Training
  • Ab HITT, 1 x

  • HITT 101, 1 x

  • HITT Explosion, 4 x's

  • Rock Bottom HITT, 3 x's

  • Upper Body HITT, 3 x's


  • 10 Minute Solution: KnockOut BODY!
  • Knockout Body Blast, 19 x's


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


  • 10 Minute Solution: Tone Trouble Zones!
  • Stretch, 3 x's


  • Bicycling, 22 x's

    Bob Harper: Inside Out Method
  • Workout I, Strength Training, 1 x

  • Workout II, Strength Training, 3 x's


  • Boxing, 30 x's

    Ellen Barret Live: fusion floor workout, 1 x

    Ellen Barrett Live: Sleek Sculpt Express, 11 x's

    Gilad: Workout for Men
  • Warm-up + Cardio Circuit, 1 x


  • Give Me 10!
  • Fat Blasting Cardio, 5 x's




  • Just Walk: 5 Mega Miles
  • Mile 1: Classic Low Impact, 26 x's

  • Mile 2: Walk & Tone, 9 x's

  • Mile 3: Speed Intervals, 2 x's

  • Mile 4: Strength Intervals, 1 x

  • Mile 5: Ab Walk, 15 x's


  • Just Walk: Walk to the Hits, 1 x

    Kettlebell, 50 x's

    Latin Cardio Party
  • Cumbia, 1 x

  • Samba, 4 x's


  • Personal Training with Jackie
  • Upper Body Circuit, 2 x's


  • Pilates, 1 x

    Prevention's Walk Your Way Slim, 1 x

    Rock Climbing, 24 x's

    Stretch Max, 8 x's

    Supreme Day 90, 2 x's

    Swimming, 63 x's

    Tai Chi, 1 x

    Treadmill, 1 x

    Walking, 89 x's

    Weight Watchers' Boot Camp Series*
  • 15-Minute Cardio


  • Yoga, 113 x's

    Zumba, 9 x's

    **Disclosure: I received this video without charge.

    Sunday, December 29, 2013

    No-Brainer Dream

    Had a dream that I overslept and didn't make it to yoga class and couldn't alert Alison (that I was going to keep our exercise date) because she was in class and, of course, would not have her phone on -- in yoga class.

    That was a no-brainer dream. Yesterday, I planned to go to a yoga class and putzed around so much that I ended up not going. Hurried, when avoidable, is no way to present yourself for yoga.

    Rolled out this morning and cut myself a pre-yoga apple then made a smoothie so that I could go on a walk with Alison afterward. We went to Laumeier Sculpture which I've only been to once. Tsk...tsk.

    Laumeier is a great spot for a playground workout. It has hills, stairs and structures to climb. Alison had her Fitbit on and said we walked about 5,000 steps. Sweet...

    I liked the eyeball the most.



    Reminds me of Cahokia Mounds.


    Wednesday, December 25, 2013

    And To All A Good Tree

    Got this idea from Ann Pizer who writes about yoga at about.com.

    So, here's my semi-selfie that makes me smile...


     P.S. Garland is kind of hard to keep on a human.

    Monday, December 23, 2013

    Check Your Neck Before You Wreck Yourself

    Totally dug this article, Seven Tricks To Boost Your Energy -- my morning reading material courtesy of Consumer Reports (Sept. 2013).
    Stand up and move. Your brain equates being seated to being stuck and responds by restricting energy...
    Bring green into your space. A Taiwanese study found that office workers reported feeling less nervous or anxious when a plant was visible nearby. That's an important benefit because anxiety can burn up a lot of your energy...
    Check your neck. If you need another reason to sit up straight, consider this: For every inch your head tilts forward, the amount of weight your neck  has to support doubles, a chore that could affect your daily level of fatigue.
    Very cool article. There was also a tip about shocking your body with cold water -- the shock producing the equivalent of 15 minutes worth of extra energy...

    Had kettlebell practice today and I had energy.

    10 x 10

    10...Jumping Jacks
    10...Two-Hand Swings
    10...Kb Cleans (5/5)
    10...Presses (5/5)
    10...Rows (5/5)
    10...Push-ups
    10...Knee Sit-ups
    10...Goblet Squats
    10...Burpees
    10...Around the Body with a Catch and Lunge

    As Marisa pointed out, you're doing 100 push-ups but it seems easier. Well, I didn't do 100 push-ups. Julia and I made it through seven rounds and Jessica a.k.a. Crazy Lats made it to nine, I believe.

    I really liked this workout. It was taxing but so doable.

    Saturday, December 21, 2013

    Will Climb For Pride

    Went to visit the 'Fugee last night and, after we ate dinner, she jokingly did drive-by energy work. No, no, no, I said. Finish what you started.

    The 'Fugee is a gifted energy worker and I received an unexpected and very nice Friday night gift. If I didn't say it, 'Fugee, thank you.

    The 'Fugee and I watched 42 which I was not in a hurry to watch. I don't really like going down segregated memory lane but, within those stories, are also ones of triumph. Still don't know if that's enough to make me pick up The Help again and I'm not sure why I'm reading this situation...



    I loved it when Branch Rickey told Jackie Robinson why he selected him to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers and then said You made me love baseball again. Thanks...

    Went climbing. It's been so long since I've seen Patti that she's gone Paleo but nothing has changed about her climbing; she's still a beast.  

    Like a football team that's behind by 28 points, I climbed a lot for pride. There's nothing like the feeling, though, when you're on a route, it's kicking your ass, sweating is pouring and you (meaning I) want to stop but you keep contorting your body, grabbing, repositioning and exclaiming until you make your way to the top.


    Wednesday, December 18, 2013

    The Unbearable Lightness of My KB

    Swimming and yoga are the only things that I don't feel ambivalent about right now.

    In general, I feel so right in the water. I don't know if it's a sweeter experience because I don't go as much as I used to or if it feels sweeter because I've found the sweet spot.

    Went swimming last night and rode home with the windows down. It's cold for the first few minutes and then the body adjusts as bodies will do. I usually know by the time I get home if my ventilation trick will work. When I realized that my breathing was unrestricted, I felt relieved and happy.

    I slept deeply despite waking up at five and I hardly ever wake up two hours before I'm scheduled to but I still felt rested. I found my iPod, put on relaxation music (Deuter) then went back to sleep...

    Kettlebell was brutal today. I did notice, though, that after swinging around 25 pounds last week -- double that at times -- my 10 kg felt light. I guess it should have. Maybe it's time to get another kettlebell. I can always rely on my 22 pounder for moves, like the snatch, that I'm still working on.

    For the first round and for one minute, we did:

    Two Hand Swings
    Racked Squat Press
    Right Hand Swing
    Racked Squat
    Left Hand Swing
    Kb Clean, R & L
    Hand to Hand Swing
    Around the Body with a Catch and Lunge
    Hand to Hand Clean
    Snatch
    Clean with a Lunge or Clean While You Lunge

    There was also some semi burpee with a clean move that I couldn't even conceptualize so I did cleans instead.

    For the next round, we did the same series for 30 seconds which was much more humane.

    Sunday, December 15, 2013

    Don't Say No

    During a kettlebell session, Marisa asked Jessica a.k.a. Crazy Lats to do something. Marisa prefaced her request by saying Don't say no.

    Princess Tiffany piped in to tell Crazy Lats that You do say I can't a lot...

    Gloria showed us how to do a headstand this morning.

    I didn't even try. I immediately thought there's too much of me to get up there.

    On the way home, saw a personalized plate that said Do Yoga. Done, I thought to myself.



    Got home, played slug and started thinking about headstand. My core is strong. Why can't I do a headstand?

    I looked on YouTube and got on my mat. My feet smarted after a couple of attempts and, then, surprise -- I flipped over -- foot hit a corner of a sewing table and a picture fell down. Never saw it coming and didn't get hurt. Good thing that I was relaxed.

    It never occurred to me that I might flip over; otherwise, I would not have been so close to the sewing table.

    I felt completely lethargic before I flipped over and totally energetic afterward.

    Obviously, I had too much momentum during my attempt and not enough control but I'm looking forward to working on headstand.

    Wednesday, December 11, 2013

    Don't Make It Ugly

    Marisa wrote our workout on her small whiteboard:

    5x5:

    2 kb cleans (a.k.a. having a kettlebell bell in each hand and swinging them at the same time)
    2 kb presses
    2 kb front squats
    2 kb cleans
    2 kb presses
    2 kb front squats

    I used 25 pounds for three sets because we ran out of 22 pounders. For the 22 sets, I gladly traded stations with Julia.

    I usually find swinging two kettlebells very difficult and tonight was no different. During my fifth set, I put down one of the kettlebells during the front squats and modified with a goblet squat.

    After the double kb series, things didn't get easier. Next up: 100 kettlebell snatches.

    Marisa told a new swinger, Meg, Don't make it ugly then advised her to take a break because she couldn't maintain her form.

    I'm not sure how I maintained my form or finished the snatches. Peer pressure might have had something to do with it but there was not enough pressure to make me finish the 100 push-ups. My triceps were pumped like Ball Park Franks.

    We (and I use that pronoun loosely) finished up the night with pull-ups, kb rows and planks. I had so much heat in my body after class that it didn't feel like 17 degrees at all.

    Tuesday, December 10, 2013

    Sub

    There are days when I feel like I'm devolving. Thin patience et al.

    Last night as I walked toward the exercise room, I didn't see Donna but I saw the sub.

    Last time I saw the sub, I retreated but this time I held my ground. I knew from Donna that she had gone to, at least, one workshop. I had also seen her outside of a yoga studio as I experimented and found my way via back streets to Trader Joe's.

    Had I not heard about the workshop, I still would have stayed. People change. Something that I realize a lot lately...

    The sub's class was well put together and I found it extremely refreshing.

    Liked this asana called sunbird...taking a drink of water which was really a push-up in disguise.

    At the end of class, she told me that my practice had gotten better and specifically mentioned how well I did with planks. She also mentioned that she hadn't seen me in a while. I smiled because compliments have that effect and because there was a part of me that wanted to say that her practice had gotten better.

    *Photo credit: Lori T. Purk

    Sunday, December 8, 2013

    When I Was A Yoga Newbie

    It might be cold outside but Gloria provided the heat this morning. I should have known. When I was a yoga newbie, I didn't know what Surya Namaskar meant. Now, I know.  Sun Salutation or Salute to the Sun. If you're saluting the sun, it makes sense that the heat will come.

    Do this. Do that. Gloria said. I'm totally paraphrasing. Gloria never says Do this...

    This {asana} is called broken triangle. It was more like broken 'Drea at that point after all of the planks and downward facing dogs. I was in a solo huddle a.k.a. child's pose and not broken triangle at that point.

    Gloria was on a roll this morning talking about spiritual amnesia etc. and she also quoted Nelson Mandela -- Who are we not to shine?

    When I googled it, it said that the quote is falsely attributed to Mandela but thanks to whoever said it. It resonates...

    Friday, December 6, 2013

    Understood

    As I carefully made my way to work, I saw this woman in full stride. Cap, shorts, leggings.

    There's part of me that wanted to roll down the window and yell encouragement. I love it when people get their workouts in despite the weather but there's also the part of me that thought I would never run in the snow because I would fear slipping and putting myself out of commission.

    When I first started to swim, I went across town to find out that the pool heater was broken. Cold water plus a lifeguard? I got in the water. I sometimes remember that incident when I complain about the cold water at the pool that I currently go to.

    I've also driven for a total of one hour to take a 90 minute hot yoga class and I've driven like a bat out of hell (through the city and back on the highway) after encountering a traffic jam to make it to a regular yoga class.

    Fifteen minutes to make it to class and I'm twelve minutes away? I can do it. Never mind that I have to park, check in and whatnot. I can do it. Totally understand the runners that I saw today.


    Wednesday, December 4, 2013

    After The Mountain Climbers

    Went to the pool last night. Chatty Kathleen, well, chatted me up as soon as I descended the stairs. She is totally fascinated by Moms Mabley. Apparently, there's a documentary about Mabley on HBO right now.

    Felt good in the water until diving mom perched at my lane. I felt self-conscious and thought about the episode of Malcolm in the Middle when Lois thinks she can dance.

    My post-swimming trick of rolling down the windows didn't work. Congestion hit before I hit the bed. I heated up a cup of water and inhaled the steam which gave me relief but I had a sleepless night as I struggled with congestion...

    Up tonight, kettlebell.

    Glanced at the whiteboard and didn't even cringe when I saw burpees. Whatever. I know that it's a good exercise for the body and I know that I'm going to modify.

    The workout on the whiteboard:

  • 50 Two-hand Swings (16 kb*)
  • 25 Burpees
  • 50 Swings
  • 50 Push-ups
  • 50 Swings
  • Mountain Climbers, 50/50
  • 50 Swings

  • I want a brownie point for getting back up to do that last set of 50 after the mountain climbers. I was the last one to finish but the others kindly waited even though I waved them off. We moved on to stations -- pyramid-style.

  • Squats, 10...9...8...7...6...5
  • Push-Ups, 10...9...8...7...6...5
  • Jump Squats...
  • Alternating V Sit-ups
  • Pull-Ups (Bar or TRX)

  • Next up:

    Goblet squat, 10
    Kb Press, 10/10
    Goblet Reverse Lunge, 10
    Jump Squats, 10

    We finished up with a one minute forearm plank then a 30 second straight arm plank. Before the planks, I assumed reverse corpse pose. Next time, I'll reverse the order.


    *I don't normally swing with a 16 kb but Marisa assigned us heavier kettlebells for tonight's action.


    Monday, December 2, 2013

    Yoga After Thanksgiving

    A four day weekend -- that's how it should be all the time. Of course, it's all fun and games until you get back to work and the phone starts ringing from the time you arrive until you leave.

    Got home and headed straight for the kitchen. Wish that I had figured out what to cook on Sunday.

    Worked out while the quiche was in the oven. Ate. Washed the dishes.  Got science experiments out of the refrigerator. Headed to yoga.

    As I pulled up to the fitness club, could see that the cardio class had already let out and many mats were already in place.

    I held open the door for another yogini and she said Either they're early or we're late. There were still two prime pieces of real estate but people kept coming through the door. I have never seen Donna's class so full.

    I told the woman next to me that maybe people needed yoga after Thanksgiving. I think they're going to need to do more than yoga. I told her that maybe people needed to calm their minds after Thanksgiving.

    It was hard not to become a spectator with so many people in class. During savasana, though, I zoned out and was disappointed when Donna rang the harmony bell. Kind of funny, hunh?

    Earlier in the day, this Syrian woman told me that her sister had made it to the States. I asked her how she liked St. Louis. Anywhere is better than Syria, she said then told me how happy her sister was on a recent trip to the grocery store.

    Saturday, November 30, 2013

    Coasting? or Month-End Review, November

    I've been thinking about yoga goals lately. The few that I have are "modest." I want to make sure that I have a solid understanding of basic poses and, beyond asanas, I want restoration. Who doesn't want the latter?

    As I sat in easy pose while Gloria led the class into crow and side crow, Bobby Brown's My Prerogative popped into my head. After class, Linda (an avid bicyclist et al.) told Gloria that she was thankful for her. Don't know if I was more tuned in this year but I heard a lot of people expressing gratitude...

    Had a car dream the other day. The front window became totally fogged up and the engine didn't work but I was able to coast through the streets without crashing into anyone or anything. I was relieved when I woke up.

    I feel good about November because the body and mind felt strong. Ellen Barrett says that movement is a treat and here's how I treated myself this month:

    10 Minute Solution: 5 Day Get Fit Mix
    *Cardio Kickboxing, 1 x

    10 Minute Solution: HIIT
    *Rock Bottom HIIT, 1 x

    10 Minute Solution: KnockOut Body!
    *Knockout Body Blast, 8 x's

    Love again...

    10 Minute Solution: Rapid Results fat burner
    *Power Sports Drills

    Bicycling, 1 x

    Ellen Barrett Live: Sleek Sculpt Express, 6 x's

    Give Me 10!
    *Fat Blasting Cardio, 4 x's

    Just Walk
    *Mile 1: Classic Low Impact, 10 x's
    *Mile 2: Walk & Tone, 3 x's
    *Mile 5: Ab Walk, 1 x

    Just Walk: Walk to the Hits*, 1 x

    Kettlebell, 4 x's

    Latin Cardio Party
    *Samba, 1 x

    Stretch Max (with stability ball), 2 x's

    Swimming, 3 x's

    Treadmill, 1 x

    Walking, 6 x's

    Yoga, 13 x's



    Also raked the leaves today. If I ever go on a retreat in the fall, I want to be assigned to leaf raking. What would you want to do?

    **Disclosure: I received this video without charge.

    Wednesday, November 27, 2013

    Something I Would Never Ask Marisa

    Went looking for pants and brown shoes and, of course, I ended up in the active wear section.

    When I saw this Nike shirt, I knew that it was a question that I would never pose to Marisa.

    Went to select a kettlebell but Marisa said that there was no need. She had everything ready for our pyramid workout.

    Pull-Up (On Bar or TRX), 10 x's
    Heavy Swing, 10 x's
    Alternating V Sit-up with 8 lb Medicine Ball, 10 (each leg)
    Squat Jump, 10
    Bulgarian Bag Swings, 10 (each direction)
    Snatch, 10 (per arm)
    Squat, 10
    Push-up, 10
    Plank (knee to elbow), 10

    ***


    Pull-Up (On Bar or TRX), 9 x's
    Heavy Swing, 9 x's
    Alternating V Sit-up with 8 lb Medicine Ball, 9 (each leg)
    Squat Jump, 9
    Bulgarian Bag Swings, 9 (each direction)
    Snatch, 9 (per arm)
    Squat, 9
    Push-up, 9
    Plank (knee to elbow), 9

    Well, you get the picture. We made it to the four rep point precisely when class was slated to end.

    During the workout, I put my mat down for the push-up station and Julia asked me if it was okay if she used my mat. I told her yes and she said I'm thankful for Andrea.

    Later on Julia told me that she was going to need a sip of water at some point. It was a workout that I felt invigorated by so I kind of bulldozed through it. I think that when I'm faced when this kind of workout, there is part of me that doesn't want to stop because I don't know if I'll be able to resume the workout.

    I kept glancing at Marisa's whiteboard but didn't really study it so Julia caught me off guard when I heard something that sounded like ass to grass (squats). Marisa thought I might be offended but Julia straightened her out -- She's not offended. Julia was on a roll tonight.

    After kettlebell, I soaked for a bit and caught up on magazines that have been accumulating in a wicker basket. I read a short article (Health, October 2013) called Sports Bras Don't Have to Hurt. What caught my attention is LaJean Lawson's credential. She's a leading expert on breast motion. Didn't know there was such a field.

    Monday, November 25, 2013

    I Have Yoga Guilt or Stuff People Say To Me


  • When I look at you, I have yoga guilt. 


  • Rosie

  • You are muscular. 


  • Aunt's friend


  • Whenever I hear the word yoga, I feel guilty.


  • Sarah


  • You are strong. 


  • Jeanne to me after I effortlessly picked up her massage table and placed it on a carrier.



  • Maybe I'll look like the folks on your Yoga Journal calendar in 10 years... 


  • One of my colleagues on trying to work out the plantar fasciitis kinks...



  • Me: I can't believe that I organized a yoga party.


  • Hazira: You can't believe it?



  • Me: You have Zumba and yoga at your clubhouse? What's preventing you from taking the classes?


  • Patti: Inertia.



  • That was quick.


  •  The lifeguard to me after I exited the pool at lap 15.


  • Can someone tell me why this woman has this book?


  • A question that Hazira posed, more to the universe than to me, when she spotted the book below.




  • Oh my God, you still look the same.


  • Dale, Irma J. & Rhonda



  • You're strong


  • Elle as she gave me tips during triangle pose...

    Saturday, November 23, 2013

    I Want What Ellen Wants

    Thing one...not talking about the root chakra -- associated with survival and security or maybe I am.  I lost one pound and it's ridiculous how satisfied I feel.

    First, the scale moved and not in the direction that I wanted and the needle stayed in the same place -- apparently stuck.

    I've tweaked the diet a bit and I've tried to make more of a commitment to discomfort i.e. high intensity interval training.

    I feel better. I think my clothes fit better. We'll see.

    I've been into Sleek Sculpt Express lately. It's a 30 minute workout but I usually tack on bonus exercise as well. In my world, I feel more comfortable when I can get in at least 60 minutes of exercise.

    Almost each time that I exercise with Ellen Barrett, her words capture my attention:

    I think of movement as a treat.
    If you need to sit on the floor, you can do it...If you need to carry a heavy bag, you can do it...If you need to sprint through the airport, you can do it.
    I want to be highly functional. In essence, I want my comfort zone to be large.
     I want you to feel invigorated not irritated.

    I want what Ellen wants. Her comfort talk reminds me of a season two episode of Louie. Louis CK's character says that he only has the stamina for a life of comfort.

    Went to a fundamental yoga class this afternoon and thoroughly enjoyed it. I felt so content afterward; thanks Elle for guiding...


    Wednesday, November 20, 2013

    For The Most Part

    It's traditionally a swimming night said my coworker who seldom stops in my office but when she does, stops to chat about injuries or events.

    She threw me off because she pounced into the office and I thought it was National Swimmer's Night Out or something and that it was fortuitous that I planned to go swimming on such an occasion. I soon found out, though, that Tuesday is the day that my colleague usually swims. She didn't feel like swimming, hasn't felt like swimming in a while and feels guilty. I told her that she's just more into running now and that, eventually, she will return to the pool and that there is no need to feel guilty.

    You've told me that before and I try to think about that... she said but my colleague worries that she will struggle the next time that she hits the pool even though she's been swimming for 25 years.

    I, on the other hand, was looking forward to hitting the pool. Hadn't been in two weeks.

    Enjoyed my shoestring fix. My suit is starting to deteriorate and one of the straps likes to fall off my shoulder and down my arm. The lifeguard told me that I could use a shoestring for a quick fix and it worked like a charm. No more falling strap. I had a good time. Even the post-swimming sound of water rustling in my ear moved me.

    I bundled up and, again, rode home with the windows down to combat the congestion that I've been experiencing and it worked -- for the most part.

    Went to kettlebell and there were only three of us which made for a quiet night. I missed Crazy Lats and Paige. Having a lively group makes the workout go by much faster. On tap tonight -- 45 seconds for each maneuver:

    High Pull, L/R
    Dive Bomber Push-Ups
    2 KB Squats
    TRX Rows

    Planks (to knees)
    Slam Ball Squat (with a jump)
    Mountain Climbers
    V Sit-ups
    Heavy Two-Hand Swing (20 kb, I think)

    We repeated the circuits and somewhere in between we also did cleans and presses... Feeling the need to pull out Cathe's Stretch Max but, first, the dishes...

    Sunday, November 17, 2013

    Breathe When You Get There or Stuff My Yoga Teachers Say

    Soaked!
    Gloria told us that we were going to do a gentle practice because it was a full moon and that in Ashtanga...

    I didn't need to hear the rest. I was all in Billie Holiday mode: Don't explain. I am down for the gentle cause.

    Yesterday, at the end of a remedial yoga class, Alison started taking about breath and gratitude. It was a simple talk but I found it moving and today I find myself grateful. As I walked, I noticed that half of the sky was dark and the other half sunny. Got caught out in the storm tornadic weather. I was soaked from head to toe but pretty lucky that I did not get crushed or impaled.


    Stuff My Yoga Teachers Say


    Alison:

    If something hurts, stop doing it....

    This is the second chakra...Your hips are like water (complete with water-like motions)...

    Before we start, does anyone have any injuries that I should know about?... Does anyone have any injuries that they want to tell me about? As we get older, we all get injuries...we fall off our bikes...we...

    One of my teachers made me stay in Warrior I for 45 minutes. I didn't think that I'd be able to do it but I did...

    We opened our hips and now we're going to close them...


    Elle:

    We take 26,000 breaths a day -- which ones are you present for? Which ones are you making sweeter? 


    Gloria:

    You make progress on the exhale...

    Ride the wave of the breath.

    Modify. Be gentle. Be compassionate.

    We are not trying to do some extreme yoga posture...


    Jim (as he talked us into a high lunge with arms extended skyward):

    Breathe when you get there.



    Rebecca (during triangle):

    There's no weight on that hand; it's an energetic extension of the hand.



    Sharon:

    Relax the muscle between your eyes. I see some of you during savasana and that area is still all tightened up.

    You are so busy thinking about this and that -- what you'll do after class...I'll watch over you...I'll watch the clock.

    Take that peace with you and share it with others so that one day we may have peace on earth...




    Friday, November 15, 2013

    Leaning

    Got to work on Wednesday and the building had no water. After returning from my second field trip, we got word that the building would close. One of my coworkers squealed and many smiled. Even though I had to do some work from home, I was happy too. I looked for a yoga class to jump into but the timing didn't work. Hashtag -- can't have everything.

    But wait...the water folks wouldn't finish until noon the next day so we reported at 1. It was an unexpected gift that I appreciated tremendously since my reservoir was about depleted.

    I slept beautifully, stretched like a cat in the morning then rolled out. I had time to make it to a yoga class and time to stop by Trader Joe's.

    Alison had already given me intel on Jim, the yoga teacher. I wrote her back to say that, yes, he is a slow, smooth operator.

    During class, I realized how much I like gate pose.

    Poses that I remember that I like:

    Gate

    Fish

    Half Moon 

    Savasana

    I've been reading an old O: The Oprah Magazine (June 2013). In that issue, Oprah interviews Brene Brown who talks about foreboding joy and dress-rehearsing tragedy. Brown mentions this man, married for 40 years, who never got too excited about anything because he didn't want to be disappointed but when he heard that his wife had been killed, he realized that he should have leaned harder into those moments of joy.

    Maybe joy is what I was leaning into in gate pose...


    Wednesday, November 13, 2013

    Yes, 38 Of Them

    The B-day Girl Demoing the B-Bag for a Newbie
    It's Marisa's birthday but she wanted to give us a gift.

    38

    Marisa wasn't sure if she had divided everything up properly but I told her Don't worry. Tiffany is going to take care of any discrepancies or logistics when she arrives.

    Jumping Jacks, 38
    Two-Hand Swings, 38
    Push-ups, 38
    Goblet Squats...
    Presses, 38
    V Sit-ups (Alternating with Med Ball)
    Mountain Climbers
    Tactical Lunges
    Snatches (19 L, 19 R)

    Did I mention that I'm digging the kettlebell snatches? They wear me out but I feel powerful when I do them.

    After the first circuit, we all reported to a station.

    Slam Ball (30 lbs)
    Bulgarian Bag, (19 -- each direction)
    Battle Ropes, 38
    Military-style Push-ups
    Step-ups
    Triceps Extension on TRX

    It was kind of a cool workout because we did it together and counted off reps. Julia told me, in so many words, to slow my roll when I counted of presses and I wanted Tiffany to slow down during tactical lunges. It's cool that we're strong in different areas.

    The last official task of the workout was burpees. Yes, 38 of them.

    Paige and Jessica Rabbit a. k. a. Crazy Lats and Bowls were clowning. I did a modified version of burpees like I usually do. At some point, I asked Paige where she was at in the count and knew that I was going to stop when she did. I give mad props to Julia who's been working on burpees. It took her a while but she did 38...

    Marisa said that she got the sweetest greeting from her brother who said that she looks younger than she did five years ago and that, surely, working out is contributing to her youthful countenance.

    Guess what Marisa bought herself? An orange 70 pound kettlebell. I'm sure that it will be featured in a future workout.




    Sunday, November 10, 2013

    Move-mentum...

    The Little Bunch
    Woke up whimpering this morning which is just about as startling as a dream that seems frighteningly true.

    Maybe Sunday (fall) malaise manifested as whimpering...

    I was looking forward to yoga. Well, who doesn't? Just kidding... I hadn't been since Monday so it was time to get on the mat.

    During lizard pose, Gloria said If your body sends you an invitation, go deeper. Alas, my body wasn't sending out any Evites.

    During three-legged down dog, one should be able to use the momentum to get the aerial leg from the back of the mat to the front betwixt your hands. Hasn't happened for me yet though.

    I did realize that I dig Ardha Chandrasana (half moon pose). I like playing with this pose even when my balance is off.

    My YogaQuote for the day:
    Don't move the way fear makes you move. Move the way love makes you move. Move the way joy makes you move. -Osho




    Wednesday, November 6, 2013

    Hodgepodge

    Rough start to an at home* workout on Monday but I eventually found my groove then went to yoga afterward where I heard someone call my name. As I turned around, I was pleasantly surprised to see Alison's familiar face in the crowded class. As I thought about how I could position my mat near Ali's, this yoga dude made room for me. His gesture is high up on the cool chart.

    Donna, the teach, stopped in mid-stride when she noticed that I was on the opposite side of the room. Not that you're territorial or anything, Alison quipped.

    Yoga dude turned out to be a beautiful breather -- so much so that his breaths relaxed me and made me strive to be a better breather.

    The pool called my name last night. I was bummed out thinking that a dip in the pool might aggravate my allergy to the point of who knows what...

    I've been reading up on pool-related congestion and I'm thinking about buying a humidifier but since I haven't had time to get one, I took someone's suggestion and bought Benadryl but didn't take it last night because I wanted to see if something else would work.

    I bundled up and rode home with most of the windows down and kept Benadryl and essential oil beside me just in case but "being outside" after swimming helped a lot. I still experienced congestion but it was very mild.

    Tonight's kettlebell practice was a serious hodgepodge:

    Two-hand Swings
    "Around the World" Prisoner Squats
    Push-ups
    Around The Body with a Catch and Lunge
    Russian Twist
    Skater Hops

    We all got to pick a station. I went with a slam ball. Paige chose the ab wheel. Julia chose the snatch and Princess Tiffany went with a modified pistol squat. I don't remember what else that we did but it's been that kind of day. I barely got out of the house this morning and was late for kettlebell practice. When the Princess commented on my glasses, I wondered why then realized that I normally have on contacts while working out.

    The Princess is taking prenatal yoga. She said it's one of the proven activities that shortens labor. About kettlebell, I joked with The Princess that her baby is probably like What in the world is going on out there?

    *Mad props to people who exercise at home most of the time.

    Sunday, November 3, 2013

    Fall Slump

    Slept in late yesterday and expected to bounce out of bed this morning but it didn't happen. It was okay though because Gloria woke me up with a flowy class.

    Tammy and Mike, the first couple of yoga, walked in as I was walking out and Tammy invited me to stay for round two. No, thanks, I responded, Had enough during round one. It was true. The sweat rolled by the time we got to chair pose with a twist and all of that flowing from cobra to downward facing dog to plank, was enough for me.

    I had a smile on my face at the end of class so everything was all good.

    Felt sleepy close to three and told myself that it was okay to lie down for a while. A while ended up being a two-hour "nap." At some point, I kicked the phone off the bed among other things. Wasn't quite sure what I had done with my glasses but I did realize that Birds of the Rainforest should come off my relaxation playlist; the birds screech too much.

    After yoga, went for a walk -- all I've wanted to do lately. The foliage and sun have been amazing.



    Checked out the happenings on Twitter and someone that I follow retweeted something from the twitter.com/itssylviaplath account:
    Each day demands we create our whole world over, disguising the constant horror in a coat of many-colored fictions.
    That passage stopped me in my tracks and also made me go in search of a book a poetry by Henry Dumas which I couldn't find but I know that I didn't give it away...

    Thursday, October 31, 2013

    Month-End Review, October

    Feeling depleted which is usually how I feel by Wednesday Thursday but trying to dig deep to make it through Friday with some goodwill and grace.

    Did a light workout at home followed by yoga and it was the first time that I felt myself positioning decently for downward facing dog. I didn't have a mirror nearby but it just felt right -- a small victory for the weary one.


    How I moved this month:

    10 Minute Solution: 5 Day Get Fit Mix

    *Cardio Kickboxing, 2 x's
    *Power Yoga, 1 x

    10 Minute Solution: High Intensity Interval Training

    *HITT 101, 1 x
    *HITT Explosion, 2 x's
    *Rock Bottom HITT, 1 x
    *Upper Body HITT, 2 x's


    Bicycling, 4 x's

    Climbing, 1 x

    Gilad: Workout for Men

    *Warm-up + Cardio Circuit

    Just Walk

    *Mile 1: Classic Low Impact, 5 x's

    Kettlebell, 5 x's

    Pilates, 1 x

    Swimming, 6 x's

    Walking, 12 x's

    Yoga, 8 x's

    Any small victories for you?

    Wednesday, October 30, 2013

    What Marisa Had In Store

    Went to the pool with  no new equipment to address the whole can't-breathe-at-night-after-swimming issue.

    Can't you just swim žènskī-style?, Borat a.k.a. Hazira wanted to know.  

    Zenski (a.k.a. pertaining to a woman) -- that's how some Bosnians refer to swimming with the head above the water with a breaststroke-like kick.

    Talked to the lifeguard and no one else has mentioned the inability to breathe. She also said that they keep the chlorine at the low end of what is required and that the only people she's heard of who've had problems have been kids with asthma.

    Chatty Kathleen told me that it doesn't matter if your head is below or above the water. Pool house gases are pool house gases. Kathleen also recommended eucalyptus oil dropped in hot water and a towel to cover the face over said infused water. Vicks. A neti pot.

    The congestion lasted longer this time so I'm just going to give the pool a break. I imagine that the reaction that I'm having is akin to a food allergy -- the reaction becomes worse the more you expose yourself to the allergen...

    I had kettlebell on the brain very early in the day. A sleepless night before meeting Marisa is not the ideal situation. 

    I once told Gloria that I was scared to nap since I'm such a night owl. You need savasana, she said. And that's what I did today. I grabbed my eye pillow and, of course, savasana turned into a power nap. I wanted to finish out the nap but I got up, ate a little then headed out the door.

    What Marisa had in store:

    Right, 20 Reps:

    One-hand Swing
    Clean and Press
    Squat
    High Pull
    Snatch
    Burpees

    Left, 20 Reps:

    One-hand Swing
    Clean and Press
    Squat
    High Pull
    Snatch
    Burpees

    Jessica Rabbit a.k.a. Crazy Lats and Bowls and I were both experiencing hand fatigue and my left arm in the biceps area was not feeling very nice either but we all moved on to the next phase with two kettlebells.

    2kb series...Five Rounds:

    Swing
    Clean and Press
    ...
    ...
    1/2 Snatch

    We finished up with planks then the whippersnappers worked on pull-ups.

    Marisa says that, for her birthday, she has a special workout in mind. I really don't know if I want to be present for that birthday bash.

    Monday, October 28, 2013

    Awesome

    Headed out for a bike ride yesterday and was deceived by the brilliance of the sun. I turned back around and thought about aborting the bike ride but decided that I was tougher than chilly weather.

    Went through my clothes hamper to pull out another long-sleeve shirt and headed back out.

    You've heard the joke, right? If you leave clothes in the hamper long enough, they become clean again. Yeah, that's me -- no spare time for washing clothes.

    For my pit stop at the park, I took an old Prevention magazine (July 2013) which had a nice article about bicycling. I loved the story of Jodya Ruston -- an overweight smoker with diabetes. Her trainer convinced her to take up cycling. Later on Ruston called her trainer Selene Yeager to say:
    I rode the entire length of Long Beach Island. I rode for hours. I saw the ocean and felt the salt air and sun and breeze. It was like nothing else. Nothing feels as free as cycling...
    The whole article, written by Yeager, was inspirational. My bike ride was short but I'd like to do longer rides in the spring but please don't tell Patti until I've had a chance to train.

    I ended up being on part of the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon route and saw boxes on a lawn. At first, I thought the boxes were a part of a Halloween display and then realized that the messages were intended for the marathon participants. Even though I didn't participate in the race, the message boxes made me smile and so thanks to the cheerleader who left the positivity for the walkers, runners and other people who passed by.

    Saturday, October 26, 2013

    ...The Quest...

    My office wife loaned me this book. I think she wants me to keep doing this yoga thing since she's definitely benefited as I will benefit once she picks up her practice again.

    Stephen Cope is a psychotherapist who took a sabbatical but ended up staying at Kripalu where he remains as director for the Kripalu Institute for Extraordinary Living.

    I'm kind of impressed that I, pretty much, finished this book in 20 minute stints before I left the house for work.

    My eyes did glaze over and times but, overall, I enjoyed reading Yoga and the Quest...

    I like Cope's angle/take as a psychotherapist. He talks about one of his students, Garth, who was raised primarily by nannies, felt like a hated child and sat in a corner in the very back of the room during yoga class:
    The child who enters this kind of environment takes in a very difficult message with his mother's milk: I have no right to exist. I should not be taking up space in the world. He lives with a profound, but often unconscious, sense that he does not belong in the world. (200)
    There were many pages that I wanted to bend back but since it's not my book, I didn't. Here are some passages that caught my attention:
    Yogic lore is full of cautionary tales about true gurus and false gurus, and the gem of wisdom in most of these tales is just this: The true guru is not the one sitting on the golden throne. (165)
    Check out the documentary Kumare to witness the golden throne syndrome in action.

    Here's something that I want to remember:
    There are certain ways of practicing on the mat that ensure that this will be so. Interestingly, Patanjali nailed the most important of these almost two thousand years ago: "The posture is steady and comfortable." When the body moves beyond the point of comfortable tolerance of sensation, we lose our equanimity -- we lose the balance of the mind. When this happens, deeper levels of awareness are no longer possible. The mind becomes restless and dissociated. We move away from experience rather than toward it. (231)
    And more than anything in the book, this passage spoke to me:

    ...And, finally, in order to grow up we need the adversary. We need the worthy opponent. We need to feel the effects of our own power in the world, and to experience our own mastery. To acknowledge, experience, and bear reality -- and, finally, to bring it into perspective. (288)

    I have two more books about yoga. Debating about whether to read one of them or save them for a special occasion -- like vacation.

    Anyone want to loan me a book?

    Wednesday, October 23, 2013

    All Of Your Sides

    Could hardly breathe last night or Saturday night. I've experienced chemical congestion before but it's happening more often. I need to get a snorkel mask, find a salt water pool or get a nose plug. I'm not quite ready for Cindy's Neti pot suggestion.

    I didn't lose as much sleep as I did Saturday night so I went to kettlebell class where Marisa had an interesting workout in store for us.

    We did the following moves 10 times on each side with the exception of burpees which kind of hits all of your sides -- even when you modify:

    Clean
    Press
    Swing
    Squat
    Snatch
    Burpees

    After that circuit, we doubled our pleasure with two kettlebells and did each move 10 times. After double kbs, we did stations -- plank, battle ropes, Bulgarian bag etc.

    That Bulgarian bag (17 pounds) wears me out even more than swinging a kettlebell does except when Marisa wants us to do a total of 60 snatches -- and that's how we ended class. I did a lot of deliberate breathing to make it to 60 and, I think, we ended up doing a total of 90 snatches in all.

    After class ended, we talked about the sports we used to be involved in. Princess Tiffany said that she wasn't really into sports. She used to take ballet but learned how to work out in graduate school. The Princess is a superb student.


    Monday, October 21, 2013

    Take This Time

    Take this time to let go -- that's what Donna said at the start of savasana. It was the reason that I went to class tonight. I needed to let go of this day.

    I've also wanted to return to Donna's class for a while now. I went a few weeks ago and saw, from the parking lot, a full class and turned around. For some reason, I don't like to insert myself into a packed class.

    Went last week and Donna was sick and the sub said I'm doing Pilates not yoga...I got bright lights and Shakira instead of subdued lighting and New Age music.

    This wild Monday made me think of a Sonia Sanchez haiku:
    if i had known, if
    i had known you, i would have
    left my love at home.
    Had I known how wild it was going to be at work, I might have stayed at home. Don't think my coworker would have appreciated my absence though...

    I recently read Maria Rodale's Yoga to Transform a Bad Day. At first, Rodale didn't think that she would have anything to write:

    It has been so long since I was unable to be seated in gratitude...

    While I don't wear gratitude on my sleeve, I am very grateful for how grounded I feel most days.

    Friday, October 18, 2013

    The Geyser

    In the dream last night, I looked under my mother's car which had really clean, new parts under the hood and, yet, there was a geyser in the area of the radiator.

    After giving the dream some thought, I knew that the geyser was me.

    I had a meltdown at work and said something that surpassed all the inappropriate things that I've ever said at work.

    My nerves are usually thin by Thursday and I know that so I feel like I should have handled the situation differently but, anyway, it happened and as Dr. Phil says -- Once you ring the bell, you can't unring it...

    My YogaQuote for the day is pretty cool. 
    Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralyzed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as bird wings... -Rumi

    Wednesday, October 16, 2013

    The Ropes Won

    Wanted subdued lighting, new age music and asanas that would befit an 8:00 p.m. class on Monday but I got a Pilates-loving sub, bright lights and Shakira.

    Went climbing yesterday and, I swear, there's only one route in the whole gym that I could relate to -- it was challenging but didn't feel impossible. Seriously, I want to talk to the route setters.

    Got an email from Marisa yesterday and I knew it was either a cancellation or shifting of days but she just needed to adjust the start time by 15 minutes. So much for doing something different.

    We had a back to basics kind of class with hand-to-hand swings and whatnot. The sequence of the night was a high pull...snatch...squat...press.

    Marisa asked me if I wanted to work the battle ropes while the others did pull-up work. I could barely lift those ropes and wondered what possessed me to say yes. After I did waves, alternating waves and snakes, I joined the others. Jessica tried to downplay her pull-ups since she did them underhanded but I didn't see anyone else rocking the pull-ups minus the body-bands. We called Jessica Crazy Lats and Bowls for the rest of the workout. Maybe she won't be so modest about the pull-ups next time.

    Sunday, October 13, 2013

    Body Biography

    My iPod alarm went off and the first thing that popped into my mind was This ain't living...

    As I talked to Hazira on Friday, it dawned on me that I haven't said To nije zivot in ages -- probably years. To nije zivot is the Bosnian equivalent of This ain't living.

    When I visualized the time, I realized that it was not my normal getting up time but I had set the alarm clock so that I could make it to Gloria's 9 a.m. class. I wanted to go to the early class so that I'd have time to cook, exercise (more) and visit.

    Gloria was very energized and, at times, I wanted to rest in fetal position instead of child's pose. We did so many planks and down dogs that I almost became friends with down dog. Although, I might have to put Warrior I on my nemesis list.

    One of the first things that Gloria talked about today was the "Autobiography of the Body" and how it records stress in the hips, shoulders, necks etc.

    I started thinking about Autobiography of Miss Jane Pitmann...of Malcolm X....The Vagina Monologues...

    Hips high...heels low, Gloria advised during downward-facing dog. My heels never get low but as Gloria said for hanumanasana (split), you have a lifetime to get there or maybe not.

    After class, Gloria was beaming and a fellow yogi commented that yoga brings a smile to her face as well. ...Yoga magic, Gloria said.

    Went for a short bike ride while soup cooked then went for a walk because it was just too nice to be inside. I wanted to break out and do a sun salutation but I didn't really want to do it outside. I suddenly remembered that I have a sun porch.

    Got my mat, threw open the windows and saluted the sun. While I chopped vegetables, I listened to Bill Withers' Lovely Day and that pretty much sums it up.

    Friday, October 11, 2013

    Upping The Ante

    Debated about whether or not to take a bath last night then reminded myself how relaxing warm water is plus I'm able to get in reading time while soaking. Remembered that it's Self-Care Month and that sealed the deal. Took out my Epsom salt that I had already infused with lavender essential oil then added Dr. Teal's foaming bath to the mix.

    I made it through the July/August Natural Health magazine and got lost in Frances Lefkowitz's While You Were Sleeping article about dreams.
    ...Noticing, honoring and sharing our dreams connects us to our inner, less rational and more emotional selves, as well as to our outer world and the other beings that inhabit it. (78)
    Interesting article, overall, about dream groups and how some people, like artist Kim Collet, are "animating the dream image."

    Funny, the "less rational" part reminds me of episode twenty two (season two) of Scandal when Cyrus talks to Olivia about doomed love and finally tells her This is not a romance novel; life is not a romance novel...

    Wondering what else I can do to up the self-care ante.

    Wednesday, October 9, 2013

    Taking the Bulgarian Bag by the Horns

    Had a vivid dream where I scooped up a fumbled football then ran in for a game-winning touchdown.

    When the recovery played on monitors, I got a clear view of my chunkiness.

    It's not a dream that requires heavy analysis. I've fumbled but I can recover. Plus, I was able to evade enough players to run and make a touchdown. I still have stamina.

    In addition, this dream speaks to the state of my knee. The pyrotechnics (tightening, rolling, popping) have quieted down and the area around my knee feels freer...

    Went to kettlebell and it's funny how three out of six of us kettlebellers long for a nap before the swinging begins. I don't even go there anymore. I can't afford to let the notion cross my lips or rattle around in my mind.

    We did two circuits with about six stations -- two rounds each.

    Circuit One:

    Burpees
    Presses (Double)
    Cleans (Double)
    Squats (Double)
    Push-Ups
    TRX Squats/Rows

    Circuit Two:

    Triceps Dips
    (Heavy) Two-Hand Swings
    Bulgarian Bag Swings*
    Battle Ropes
    Slams (30 lb or 20 lb)
    Double Snatches
    Double Squats


    During the first round, we did each station for one minute and on the second round, we did each station for 40 seconds.

    Circuit two was intense. It was the first time that I attempted double snatches. I quickly had to abandon my total of 44 pounds for lighter kettlebells. Swinging the Bulgarian Bag around looked crazy, felt crazy and was very tiresome. When I finished with the bag, I could barely lift the battle ropes but I liked the circuit -- challenging but engaging.



    *Not sure how much the Bulgarian Bag weighed.



    Sunday, October 6, 2013

    Yoga Curious

    Knew from the get-go that Gloria would not be at the helm today but I went because I'm yoga curious plus...
    Several teachers, Madonna and Alison, have said that we all have our reasons for coming to class.

    You never know when you'll hear something that you need to hear or have a flash of intuition. Of course, I have flashes while doing the backstroke or the elementary backstroke which is really good for sorting things out. I'll definitely put walking on that list too...

    There's this woman in yoga class who emanates gentleness and sweetness and who usually wishes me a good day in her soft voice. I have no idea what her name is but I think of her as Soft Kitty. Yeah, I show up for that...

    Linda, whose primary mode of transportation is a bicycle, put her mat down next to mine -- smack dab in the middle of the room. Do I show up for Linda parking next to me? Yup.

    Tammy calling my name and waving goodbye? Un huh.

    There were at least two people who retreated -- yoga mats hoisted on their backs.

    When I think about subs, I think about Adam Hocke who wrote Yes, You Can Learn to Love Your Yoga Sub...

    Listened to a How Curiosity Works podcast and this resonated with me:

    Curiosity gets you out of your comfort zone; fear keeps you in it...


    Wednesday, October 2, 2013

    The Usual Pace

    Struggled with breathing last night which marked the second taking of my breath by the pool which was so cold. I stood in the water for 20 minutes before I got up the nerve to put my head under the water. Usually, after I submerge, my body quickly adjusts but not this time. When I yawned, Kathleen joked that sleepiness is a sign of hypothermia.

    Hardly being able to breathe gave me a whole new appreciation for, well, uncomplicated breathing...

    Took a rare short nap after work then got ready for kettlebell.

    Marisa's kids were really cute. They enthusiastically greeted all of the kettlebellers and told us to enjoy our workouts. They've been pretty shy up until this point but Marisa said that they are working on their social skills...

    Things I cannot stand to see on the whiteboard -- 50 triceps dips. My triceps are muscle-y enough, thanks. We also did step-ups, elevated push-ups (not me), burpees, lunges, regular push-ups etc.

    For swings we did halos, hand-to-hand, two-hand, snatches, cleans and presses, deadlifts, around the body with a catch and squats.

    As we left, Marisa's son was still around and he had the same question for all of us -- Did you enjoy your workout?

    I said Yes but....

    On Saturday, Jessica tried to get me to climb on Sunday. I told her that I wasn't even sure if I liked climbing anymore then she went on some funny spiel about reveling in the hate. I scurried* up a route and when I came down, Jessica said That didn't look like hate...


    *My usual pace because if I pause who knows if I'll make it to the top...

    Monday, September 30, 2013

    Time Well Spent or Month-End Review, September

    Birthday yoga. Yoga at the Confluence under the Arch. Hot yoga. It was a month to remember. Plus, mission accomplished. I wanted to roll out my mat much more than I did last month. I chalked up fifteen hours of yoga and it was definitely time well spent. Really enjoyed swimming as well.

    Hadn't been to hot yoga in over a year and as soon as I sat down on my mat, I knew that I didn't need hot yoga anymore. All of that heat made savasana super sweet. Also dug the aromatherapy "wand" that the teacher waved at the beginning of savasana. The breeze from the wand was pretty nice too... Hope you found plenty to enjoy during your September endeavors.

    10 Minute Solution: High Intensity Interval Training


  • Ab HITT, 1 x


  • HITT 101, 1 x


  • HITT Explosion, 2 x's


  • Rock Bottom HITT, 1 x


  • Upper Body HITT, 1 x


  • Bicycling, 3 x's

    Climbing, 3 x's

    Just Walk


  • Mile 1: Classic Low Impact, 4 x's


  • Mile 2: Walk & Tone, 1 x


  • Mile 3: Speed Intervals, 1 x


  • Mile 4: Strength Intervals, 1 x


  • Mile 5: Ab Walk,  1 x


  • Kettlebell, 3 x's


    Personal Training with Jackie


  • Upper Body Circuit, 1 x


  • Stretch Max (No Equipment), 1 x

    Swimming, 10 x's

    Walking, 8 x's

    Yoga, 15 x's

    Sunday, September 29, 2013

    Double Dose

    Superb day for bicycling (or swimming) but I could barely lift my head this morning let alone my leg over a bicycle bar.

    Pressed on and went to Gloria's class. Squaring my hips in Warrior I was even more difficult. Balance -- what balance? At one point, I was brought to my knees. One of these days, I'm going to stay in savasana when the feeling hits.

    Alison was feeling off as well and, as Gloria said, could be the change of season. Of course, Alison still had energy to serenade and amuse us with her throat singing skills...

    Later on, I went to meet Jeremy at a coffee shop and read from The Complete Idiots Guide: Chakras as I waited:
    People who overeat, sleep too much, or are addicted to exercise sometimes have first-chakra issues, although those problems can also be related to other chakras...
    Thought the sun might help energize me so I went for a stroll then decided to go to restorative* yoga which was a very good decision. Elle was talking that talk as we embraced bolsters, rolled blankets under our shoulders and attempted to use as little energy as possible. One of the things that Elle said: Each time you let go, it's an invitation for something new to enter your life...


     *Fullest class that I've been in so far at the studio that I'm trying out.

    Friday, September 27, 2013

    Enter The Zone

    Often when I'm bicycling I think about Diane, a former blogger and avid bicyclist. I asked her what kind of bicycle lock she had and she responded that she didn't have one. I'm bicycling when I have my bike out, she responded. Sometimes Diane would stop to have coffee but she'd drink her coffee outside...

    I also think about how I might have never gotten back on a bike had a sprint triathlon not crossed my mind.

    Had a very nice ride today. Felt like I was in the zone and just like I marvel at my rotator cuffs when I do the backstroke, I also marvel at my legs when I'm on my bike.

     Also stopped to notice the "roses."

    The Eye Artist Strikes Again
    New Bridge Hardware
    Eight Turkeys
    Fresh Paint


    Wednesday, September 25, 2013

    On My List

    Took a warm, deep space stretch yoga class at the studio that I'm trying out. At one point, we had a leg extended -- foot flexed stretching the quad then we moved that leg over, rested on the edge of the foot while holding onto blocks placed at the side of the body; mmmm, the mother of all stretches for the IT Band. It was an intense class but yummy. I enjoyed the heat. Plus, some maneuver helped to ease my ongoing knee tweak. And, oh yeah, gotta get me one of those green balls to roll out muscle knots.

    Probably should have saved the deep stretch class for today. Went to kettlebell after taking off last week for birthday festivities. Marisa didn't name the workout but it should have been called The Filthy Fifty.

    50 Two-Hand Swings
    50 Push-Ups
    50 Snatches
    50 Triceps Dips
    50 Mountain Climbers
    50 Clean and Presses
    50 Hand-to-Hand Swings
    40 "V" Sit-Ups
    40 Around the Body with a Catch
    40 Alternating Lunges etc. etc. etc.

    I think triceps dips are on my list, right behind burpees, of things that make me wince. After the dips, I was dragging and didn't feel like I had it in me but when I saw Princess Tiffany, Julia and Jessica Rabbit gutting it out, I didn't dream of stopping which is why I keep going to kettlebell class. I need instructor and peer pressure at least once a week.

    Tuesday, September 24, 2013

    Take Care of Your Body

    We have a 97-year-old friend of the family, Mrs. D., who's been living by herself for 45 years -- for the most part. She recently moved away to be with her family but was back after a week to finish up some "business" and is now staying, temporarily, with my aunt Girt.

    Mrs. D. told me that it was good to see me, gave me a strong hug, leaned back a bit then called me big and fat and, to think, I was just starting to feel toned again. I laughed loudly because she totally caught me off guard. My aunt said That's the privilege of being 97 -- you say what you want. And I have put on weight since she last saw me.

    Mrs. D. once, in her words, took care of me and she told me to take care of my body.

    She talked about divine love versus human love.

    Told me that she could feel the presence of her mother -- couldn't see her but could feel her.

    She told me about her 13 siblings and how she learned to obey from her parents. Had it not been for the lessons that her parents taught her, she said that she would have never been able to live by herself for 45 years chopping wood and whatnot.

    No one can tell you how those shoes feel on your feet but you, she said.

    Take care of your body...

    She was sitting in the chair talking to me because she had just eaten and didn't want to go lie down immediately after her meal.

    I'm going to hush now...

    I love talking to young people...

    She likes to eat oatmeal and chicken for breakfast plus peaches, toast and prunes with a side order of two bottles of water.

    Some days my legs cooperate and some days they don't...

    I'm gonna hush now...She rose out of the chair, unassisted, and headed back to her designated room.

    Sunday, September 22, 2013

    Sweat, Wobble and Fold

    As sweat pooled under my chin and rolled from side to side, I realized why Neal Pollack named his book Downward Facing Death.

    Okay, he didn't really give his mystery that name because of the amount of downward facing dogs done in a yoga session but that's the way I felt this morning as Gloria showed us DFD, plank and forward fold love. Whatever the reason for soreness and sluggishness I regretted my decision, based on the temperature, to wear full-length pants...

    Alison told me that one of her fave teachers, Kate, would substitute for the Yoga Under the Arch series staffed by YMCA teachers so I rolled out of bed yesterday and hit the practice area at 8:58 a.m. The weather was perfect and it is stunning to lift one's arms, look up and catch sight of the Arch. Equally cool is doing downward facing dog, and getting a close-up view of blades of grass and the Mississippi River behind you.


    The sun on my face during savasana was worth the trip. Did you feel that breeze? Alison asked after we finished practicing. Yeah, the breeze was just as nice as the sun.

    Couldn't Resist

    Friday, September 20, 2013

    Jones Fulfilled

    Had a low-grade jones for hot yoga so I went to check out this new-ish studio in town.

    I decided to take Slow Flow (Warm) and I was told that it would be 85 degrees which felt about right. The heat smell was completely familiar...

    It's a gorgeous studio with showers and towel service. I got there early to sign a waiver then chilled out in the lounge area. Loved the chakra art in the main office.


    And let me tell you -- nothing says relax from the top of your head to the tips of your toes like your teacher anointing your head with essential oil then unfurling your eyebrows then upping the ante with No need to rush after savasana.



    Wednesday, September 18, 2013

    What Yoga Gave Me

    Visual reminder to breathe and keep my cool.
    It's officially my birthday and National Yoga Month as well.

    For the most part, I've been an even-tempered person and did everything in my power to stay in that zone because when I got angry, it was ugly.

    I'm surprised that I did not break a hand or a toe as I had a penchant for pounding and kicking things. Onetime, I went to walk off my anger and saw my hand punching through a tree. Good thing that I didn't try it because, you know, trees don't give.

    Once I got to the anger zone, it would take me forever to disengage and I could hold a grudge like nobody's business. I was a bit of an extremist.

    And yoga?

    Yoga gave me the middle. The vast space in between. It enabled me to let things roll off my shoulders and to not take things personally.

    A woman once told me that I had an expansive spirit but I wish that she could see me now...

    When I started this blog, my goal was to become leaner and I still have that goal but I have a more important goal -- I want to be kept on my kind-hearted toes.

    It is said that when the student is ready, the teacher appears. Mad props to the yoga teachers whose classrooms I have stepped into.

    AnnaBridgetCindyDonnaGloriaJaimeJenJeremyKateKellyMadonnaRhonnaRoseSharonVal




    Sunday, September 15, 2013

    Peace to the Body

    Yoga birthday class yesterday. Yoga Within the Confluence Under the Arch today. Life is good.

    Slept well and woke up on time which still did not stop time from getting away from me.

    Knocked half of my smoothie over and had to mop up the mess and throw clothes in the washing machine.

    Headed straight to Arch parking because the Color Runners had pretty much taken up meter parking...

    Gloria found me and I moved my mat next to hers. Not too long after that, Alison found us.

    Saul David Raye guided with music guests Sean Johnson and the Wild Lotus Band in the background.

    Amazing weather. Amazing everything. 



    I wanted to say Talk that talk... to Saul David Raye who said stuff like:

    Peace to the body...*

    Don't miss an opportunity to get out of your mind...

    No mean looks...

    Smile...

    Say yes to something that you need to say yes to...(with arms lifted upwards for emphasis)...I know that some of you wanted to say no...

    Shake your body and if you feel self-conscious, shake it more...

    It's good to let "it" out...

    Just like the Arch has elevators, we're trying to get our inner elevator up...

    Electromagnetic field...

    The heart sends out the most energy...

    The right side is masculine and is acquainted with stepping forward...**

    Raye said that we all have stress etc. but the goal is to move that energy through and out of the body and at the end of the practice, Raye told us that we were supported. 

    And I did feel supported with Alison in front of me -- energetically reaching out...Flying with Gloria and my other neighbor who had on a Namaste shirt...

    During locust pose, we grabbed each other's hands and lifted up. Totally cool. Also cool when we borrowed our neighbor's legs. Um, maybe you had to be there for that one. 

    Raye talked a lot of about energy which, of course, grabbed my attention since I am a Healing Touch student. I thoroughly enjoyed being stretched out with my hands touching the grass. We also did some variation of earth salutations which I adore.

    Raye said that this sutra, Lokah Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu, (May all beings be happy and free and may the thoughts and actions of our lives...) keeps the heart open and I can attest to that. I often say it in the morning while doing a self-chakra connection and it works...This sutra caught on with me after hearing Gloria start class with it so many times...

    After 90 minutes of practicing, shaking and flying, SDS bid us farewell with Peace and blessings to you on this sacred journey.

    Namaste...


    Like This Picture of Alison and Gloria

    The Old Courthouse



    *Perhaps something that I need to say yes to...

    **Had a similar discussion with my massage therapist as she tried to unlock the stiffness surrounding my right knee...