Sunday, March 31, 2013

Equal Standing or Month-End Review, March

Checked the schedule at a branch of my gym:
March 31, 2013 (Easter) Group Ex schedule
9 am yoga Gloria
11 am yoga Gloria 

Gloria mentioned Easter, Passover, the March Equinox and Mahatma Gandhi's famous Be the change...quote to talk about the sense of renewal at this time of the year.

Did dancing cobra for the first time and dug it. The jury is still out on the Tibetan sit-ups though.

Something that I enjoy hearing during practice is samasthiti or equal standing -- something that appeals to me more and more these days...

Bicycling, 1 x

Bob Harper: Inside Out Method

  • Strength Training, 2 x's

  • Boxing, 3 x's

    Climbing, 1 x

    Kettlebell, 2 'x

    Shooting Hoops, 1 x

    Swimming, 5 x's

    Tai Chi, 1 x

    Walking, 9 x's

    Yoga, 11 x's

    Zumba, 1 x

    Made any changes to your routine -- fitness or otherwise? Found equal standing?

    Friday, March 29, 2013

    Letting Go of Muscular Energy

    One of the studios that I go to changed the schedule so I've been looking for another class and had my eye on Yoga with Meditation but it was the meditation part that made me hesitant.

    I'm not opposed to meditation but I already feel like my yoga practice is meditative and, as an introvert, I spend a lot of time in my head already.

    Uncertainty aside, I am at a point where I'm braver about venturing out of my comfort zone. Yoga with Meditation is taught by my Cindy's teacher, Jen, so I had added incentive to try the class.

    I went to YWM for the second time yesterday. I felt bone-tired and fantasized about staying in child's pose or savasana the whole time...

    As it turns out, meditating right before practicing is a good way to get all nice and centered. I made it through all variations of downward facing dog -- the bread and butter of yoga poses -- to savasana.

    At the start of savasana, Jen said that We're going to let go of muscular energy in the body. During a quick scan, I realized that I was still holding on -- feet as upright as a freezer. When I'm prompted, though, I'm usually able to let go.

    I had such a solid night of sleep and felt as if I had enough rest -- a feeling that's been missing for days...

    Saw this video, perhaps a reason for not enough sleep, about Cameron Russells. Liked a lot of what she had to say.

    Wednesday, March 27, 2013

    The Beginner's Heart

    I noticed the red and yellow Are You Clipped In? signs everywhere. When I asked Mike if something happened while I was away from climbing, he said that there were two incidents at the new gym. The one climber broke his legs after falling from the top of a route. I thought the climbers involved might have been newbies but Mike told me that they were experienced lead climbers and that he wasn't surprised because new climbers are fresh out of classes etc.

    The whole newbie thing makes me think of a yoga class that I took recently. We were doing Ardha Chandrasana or Half Moon Pose when this newbie told me, repeatedly, that I looked like a professional. I told her that I feel like a new yogi all the time and Sharon, the teacher, said You gotta keep that beginners heart and mind.

    I am the one who can't get my butt to my heels in Child's Pose and my feet never touch the ground in Downward Facing Dog but, as Sharon said, you have to be patient with yourself and your body.

    As far as climbing goes, I'm glad that my crew behaves like newbies -- checking and checking again to make sure that our harnesses are on right, our knots are secure and our carabiners are locked.

    Monday, March 25, 2013

    Forward, Not Backward

    Went to boxing and about half the class showed up. We'll just chalk up the attendance to the post-snowpocalypse. It was a good class and, as my sparring partner Michelle said, there was something very gratifying about one sequence that Dawn gave us: right kick, left kick, jab and cross. When you get into a good rhythm, it's beautiful and taxing.

    Dawn reminded me several times about my stance which is often too wide. When we did one sequence: kick, jab...jab, cross, she told me that, after kicking, I needed to land my foot closer to my opponent. Of course, it made perfect sense when she demonstrated how you, essentially, want to be in your opponent's grill so, therefore, your momentum should be forward not backward.

    At the end of class, Dawn showed us a hip-thrusting-foot-stomping-elbow-throwing self-defense move. She now wants to show us one technique per class. I still remember Dawn's talk about elbows in a previous class. She said that the elbow is one of the hardest bones in the body. It's a no-brainer but a fact that was not in the forefront of my mind even though I often joke about throwing 'bows. Now, I think about the hardness of the elbow a lot.

    Saturday, March 23, 2013

    First One In

    First One In, Last One Out
    Went back to Zumba after almost a month's absence. Laura asked if there were any newbies in class and one brave woman raised her hand. Laura gave her the run down and said The only rule of Zumba....then turned to us and we responded is to have fun.

    Laura went on to tell us not to take ourselves seriously. Because if you do, you're going to make me look ridiculous. With my being in the opposite direction of the class many times, I definitely did not make Laura look ridiculous.

    Rested a bit after Zumba then went to the pool and swam a mile. At lap 27, the wall appeared. My friend Bob Harper popped into my head -- ...finish what you started. As I did the backstroke, I told myself Your arms still work. Your arms still work. I also thought about a CPR class that I recently took and how compressions require stamina plus good posture and appropriate hand placement. I remember how the instructor said do compressions and breaths until help arrives or until you cannot do it anymore...

    Thursday, March 21, 2013

    The Vacation Paradox

    I Did Not Have Relations With Those Chips
    When I return from vacation, I'm usually lighter -- in more ways than one.

    First things first, I totally did not miss stepping on the scale. If I didn't miss it, I should step on it less at home, right?

    I didn't do kettlebell or Zumba while away and the only thing that I climbed was stairs.

    I drank the Izze. I put half and half in my coffee.

    I let myself have Babybel albeit the light ones.

    Babybel Plus
    I ate veggie burgers that looked fairly greasy.

    I felt like I ate a ton of bread.

    I am more and more baffled by weight loss. Is it the sitting at my desk that hampers weight loss? I keep seeing this tweet and I know it's true but it never seems that way on vacation.

    So, I totally think I should take more vacations.

    Tuesday, March 19, 2013


    I took about one hour and fifteen minutes off the life of my swimming suit -- not all of that swim time since Chatty Kathleen was at the pool. CK instantly noticed that I had a new suit on and said that navy blue looked good on me. CK talks a lot but her speech is usually benign...

    I noticed the Weight Watchers woman who usually incorporates a kickboard into her workout and I noticed the unhappy child taking swimming lessons. Don't let go he told his instructor then I don't want to go that way after he, dutifully, threw a diving ring into the pool. I imagine him, down the line, being very comfortable in the water. I hope that his tears won't be for naught.

    In the locker room, Kathleen said This must be a long day for you after work. She's never said that before even though I've been at plenty of nighttime open swim sessions.

    I feel peculiar when I don't exercise and I swim when I can at a pool that doesn't cost a fortune. When I get in the water, I try to think about pleasant events especially when I'm doing the backstroke and looking up at the wooden ceiling. I think about how I feel most competent doing the front crawl now. When I've finished with laps, I float a bit. I do the backstroke a bit. I climb out of the water even though I don't really want to.

    Sunday, March 17, 2013

    Sealing the Back Foot

    At the beginning of class, Gloria read an Irish blessing. What I remember: may your path be clear... Then Gloria said it's always good to get blessings and hugs. True. She also told us about a community garden that she contributes to and that the main gardener pointed out four-leaf clovers that come back every year. Most people don't see the four-leaves but they're there if you look for them, the gardeners concluded...

    Gloria prompted us to prepare for practice by encouraging us to be present on our mats and in our lives and the latter really resonated.

    When Gloria said to breathe like wind through an instrument, it helped me to breathe much better. 

    We woke up our toes, ankles and feet with chair pose. In fact, we woke up a lot of body parts. It was good to be reminded to seal my back foot in Warrior I since it's a pose that I often struggle with.

    As we stretched the hips, Gloria talked about connective tissue and how, if you hold the stretch, the body will have an Aha! Moment.

    Right before savasana, Gloria invited us to trust the process of letting go and I let the concept roll around in my mind then latched onto it.

    After savasana, Gloria said a mantra that she often says. Here's what popped out for me: you are are loved...may you live in a strong body...

    Saturday, March 16, 2013

    300 Hours

    Arrived In The Nick of Time
     Effortless effort popped into my mind before I headed to the pool and I must have internalized the message because I felt in sync from the very first 25 yards and I felt like I was working with the water.

    Once I hit lap 20, I decided to go for a mile. I swam in my new suit that arrived a day before I was scheduled to leave for vacation. I went with the TYR square neck again -- a navy blue one instead of cabernet this time. I'm pleased with the way it fits as the old one has completely lost its shape.

    This suit is supposed to be good for 300 + hours in the pool and I'm looking forward to every hour.

    Thursday, March 14, 2013

    Air-Baked But...

    While planning to travel, I often wonder whether it's worth it or not. I think about the people and activities that I will miss and the drama of packing but when I reach my destination, I know that traveling is worth it -- especially when you're taking up residence in a  leisure city where everyone's incredibly relaxed,  friendly and generous.

    As I looked for attractions to see and activities to do, I had to remind myself that it's impossible to do everything during one trip. I didn't get to walk across a certain bridge and I didn't get to walk in a certain park but I did plenty of other things including sit on the balcony for a spell and just relax.

    Initially, I looked for kettlebell classes and could only find them at CrossFit boxes but I didn't want to infiltrate a CrossFit for such a short period of time. In addition, Marisa kicked my butt so thoroughly before I left town that it wasn't such a bad idea to take a break from the 'bells.

    For exercise, I mostly walked and my favorite vacation walk of all was trudging through the sand. I didn't do too bad with food but I definitely indulged.

    Aquatic Oasis -- I Want One of These in My Hometown

    Hoop Dreams After Pool Time
    More Than One Way to Roll
    The Fries Were Air-Baked But...

    Monday, March 11, 2013

    Everybody Says Hello

    The last time that I took Madonna's class she emphasized the importance of having a home yoga practice so instead of going to a studio yesterday, I opened the Simply Yoga ap on my iPod and practiced for twenty minutes. I'm sure the carpet was far from pristine but I'll live and I felt pretty good after twenty minutes of practice that included Child's Pose, Warrior I and Upward Facing Dog.

    Next time that I travel I will put my yoga strap on my packing list since my IT Band is giving me feedback...

    Tried Tai Chi for about five minutes during an energy workshop that I attended and decided to try an entire class today. OMG, everyone introduces themselves in Florida...

    During the first part of class, my arms felt the burn as we repeated various exercises 21 times. Oh, Tai Chi looks gentle but don't let the smooth taste fool you.

    One of the exercises that I really liked was "knee rubbing." You put both hands on a  knee in a particular stance then you rub your knee in one direction then the other. Next, you rub the knee with your fingertips then cup the kneecap and move almost in a lunge-like matter.

    About halfway through the class, the teacher took us rookies to the back to show basic moves then rejoined the more experienced bunch. The experienced rookies showed us beginners the moves again so that we could familiarize ourselves.

    I don't think that I'll do Tai Chi on a regular basis but I'm glad that I tried it. The room that we practiced Tai Chi in had a wonderful view.

    The Room

    Saturday, March 9, 2013

    Hand Across The Lane

    Love at First Sight
    Found an indoor aquatic center and never dreamed that it would look the way it did.

    I felt like Alice in Wonderland when I rounded the corner. The center is beautiful inside and out with lanes as far as my eyes could see.

    This woman, Patty, introduced herself since my face was new then reached across the lane to shake my hand. She also told me about "the long course" that's set up on certain days.

    Later on in the locker room, yet another woman told me about other classes, including Zumba Aqua, that the center offers...

    During lunch, as I tried to cut into my veggie burger, my knife flew off the table and into the grass. Before I knew it, this man handed me an extra set of silverware that was on his table.

    Is it just me or are people nicer when you're on vacation?

    Outside of Aquatic Center

    Thursday, March 7, 2013

    The Right Choice

    Sculpture at Community Center
    Between attending a workshop last weekend and preparing for traveling, there has been virtually no exercising going on in my neck of the woods except for walking through the airport.

    I woke up around 5:45 a.m. STL time and I very seldom wake up that early and, if I do, I'm able to hunker down for a second session of sleep. Not today. Since I was up and alert, I did a self chakra connection hoping that would settle me down. Later on,  headed out for a 9 a.m. yoga class which definitely settled me down.

    When I got to the community center, this woman was in the process of renewing her class card. The clerk asked if she could help me. I want to attend the yoga class, I tell her. You made the right choice, the class card woman said. The clerk told me that my new BFF would lead the way to the studio and she did. She also pointed out the yoga teacher and opened the closet that held mats, stability balls and resistance bands then flashed a really warm smile. I felt totally at home in a class 35 strong.

    Sunday, March 3, 2013

    Fingernail Grooves in the Ceiling

    Had ambivalence about a class being offered but signed up for it anyway. Attending class meant that I would miss Zumba, swimming and yoga and, you know, parts of the Slug Festival. Saturday's 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. session left me completely drained and whiny. I contemplated quitting and not showing up for the second part on Sunday but I don't like to give up. Plus, if the instructors-in-training could be present (on the sidelines) for observation purposes, who was I to throw in the towel?

    The first item on today's agenda was self-care -- one hour and 15 beautiful minutes of it. We connected our chakras, did Tai Chi and yoga. I kind of groaned with longing at the mention of yoga.

    As we stretched our sides, the teacher said that her yoga instructor likes to say Energetically, you're creating fingernail grooves in the ceiling.

    Regarding chakras, I now see why we do so many spinal twists in yoga and why Sara Calabro thinks that Downward Facing Dog is so important.

    During class, we had to break off into pairs a lot. At one point, I got paired with the sole massage therapist in class. Guess who got a totally awesome hand massage?