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.


    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...


    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.


    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...

    Saturday, September 14, 2013

    ...Genuinely Nice

    Asmira's sugar-free, fat-free masterpiece.
    I am not a party person so when my aunt asked about my yoga party, I quickly called it by another name --- a birthday yoga class.

    Wanted to have a yoga class for the b-day last year but sat on the fence too long. I still had the urge so I thought about where I could have it and who would guide.

    I asked Gloria and her answer was a supersized yes and I still have not found the appropriate words to convey how thankful I am.

    I sent out invitations and asked people not to bring gifts. Why did you tell people not to bring anything? one of my friends asked. It feels good to be able to sing those Tuck and Patti lyrics: I have just about everything I need. Although, I will admit that I cannot resist the lure of workout clothes and I'm often tempted to buy more workout equipment.

    The Gifts That I Was Not Supposed To Get
    Today didn't go as I planned but it was a wonderful opportunity to practice yoga principles and to witness how magnanimous people can be. Even though it didn't go exactly as planned, it turned out beautifully. The energy was really good and I think that everyone enjoyed themselves.

    Even Borat said: It (the birthday yoga class) was genuinely nice.

    Thanks so much to everyone for making it such a lovely day.

    Lori Revisiting Plank. Borat and I Content With Sukhasana (Easy Pose)
    A Deeper Look Inside of Asmira's Confection
    A Closer Look at the Calla Lilies
    Favorite Gloria-ism of the day: Every time (birthday) you step on your yoga mat, it's an opportunity to have a clean slate. Gloria said it much nicer but you get the picture.

    Gloria also threw in eagle pose which tends to make me cringe. I totally saw my "office wife" nod in the affirmative when Gloria said that sometimes the poses that we like the least are the ones that we need to do the most.

    Melinda would totally agree with this quote by Paris Hilton that Gloria read at the beginning of class:

    The way I see it, you should live every day like it's your birthday.

    One of the most memorably moments from the class, besides grunting from the newbies, was a post-savasana Gloria saying: Make a beautiful spine and the sun from the sky light falling across her face.

    Can Feel The Warmth of The Coffee Cup That I Will Have In My Hands...

    Wednesday, September 11, 2013

    Make Your Move

    When I go to the pool on Tuesdays, there are lots of kids there for the practice session before recreational swimming.

    Yesterday, one of the coaches from some organization approached me. You look good in the water, she said. I almost fell off the bench. Water competent? Yes. Looking good? Never dreamed of it.

    Yet another coach wanted to talk to me. They volunteer at some agency and he thought I would make a good teacher for shorties. I'm all kind of flattered but don't feel competent to teach anyone to swim...

    No kettlebell today and it felt strange. Pulled out a new DVD, 10 Minute Solution: High Intensity Interval Training*. I'd already done two segments and decided to check out the other three. 

    There are about eight exercises in each segment. In HITT 101, enjoyed the frog jumps and bear crawls. In my notes, I wrote that frog jumps were better than burpees.

    Imagine my surprise when I got to HIIT Explosion and Lisa Kinder calls for single leg burpees. Nothing ups the ante like a single leg burpee. 

    I found myself enjoying the suicides which I used to do when I played basketball and I also like the donkey kicks.  For donkey kicks, you plant your hands on the floor, kick both feet in the air, pop back up, raise a knee (touch it) and then repeat with the other knee.

    Donkey kicks are intense but I got the same sense of exhilaration that I get from doing fire hydrant pose in yoga. 

    During Upper Body HIIT, I liked the body pendulum exercise. Taxing but fun. The rotational planks kicked my butt.

    I also enjoyed surfer burpees. Again, taxing but the logistics of the surfer burpees are easier for me to manage than a "strict" burpee.  In Ab HIIT, I liked the ab hammer; you clasp your hands together, pull them over your head, rise up then hit the nail on the head. The ski ab exercise was exhausting and the bear tucks will make you want to growl. 

    By the time to you get to the plank punch, you'll totally embrace it because at the end of the ab section, you'll want to lash out and punch something.

    By the way, I dare you to HITT the play all button and do the five segments at once. As the Pointer Sisters would say: Make your move.

    *Disclosure: I received this video without charge.

    Monday, September 9, 2013

    Do What You Need To Do...

    Noticed kettlebells propping the doors open as I walked toward the exercise room and I smiled.

    Told Gloria that I thought it was cute that she had chosen kettlebells for the task. She didn't know what they were called but thought they looked like door stoppers.

    As we transitioned from a vigorous sequence and went into downward facing dog, I liked what Gloria said: Do what you need to do to stay balanced and centered -- my new mission in life for sure and I was immediately put to the test today as I had curve ball after curve ball thrown at me but I maintained my peace...

    Marisa had to switch the class schedule this week confusing all of us who are accustomed to practicing kettlebell on Wednesday.

    We did quite a few plyometrics to start with then transitioned to swinging.

    50, Two-Hand Swings
    10/10, Snatches
    15, Cleans and Presses
    10, Halo...Squat...Curl...Press...Triceps Extensions
    15/15, Rows
    10, Deadlift Squats
    50, Two-Hand Swings

    I'm pretty sure that I forgot some of the kettlebell maneuvers that we did and I'm leaving out the stations and ab work but what I didn't forget was Princess Tiffany.

    As we started the workout, Marisa gave Tiffany modifications which made several of us turn our heads.

    The Princess did the MS Bike ride but crashed her bike at mile six. Both of her legs were scraped up plus one shoulder. Nevertheless, the Princess got up and finished the 75 miles because she didn't want to disappoint her sister who was participating in a major event for the first time and she also did not want to wait for six hours at the finish line. Yeah, The Princess finished -- squeaky bike and all.

    Saturday, September 7, 2013

    Unplugged: In Water

    As I headed to the pool, I told myself You have all day. I wanted to swim a mile which I haven't done in a while. One of my friends does not care for lap swimming. She finds it boring and I totally get that. In fact, I sometimes long for a water MP3 player but I won't buy one because sometimes you just have to be unplugged.

    This swimming instructor told her student that he could not go in the lap lanes because they were for people swimming back and forth. Poor child must have been confused as I stood there motionless trying to ready myself for the full brunt of the frigid water...

    Needless to say, I am all kinds of inspired by Diana Nyad and, as I struggled to swim one mile, I thought about how she swam 110 miles in 53 hours.

    Went to sign up for boxing at the Y and saw that the price had been raised by $12 dollars which, in the larger scheme of things, is not that much money but it's $31 a month and $10 more than I pay for the fitness club that I'm currently going to. Plus, there are other fitness expenses including rock climbing. I wondered if it was time to switch over and get all my fitness needs taken care of under one roof but even if I get a Y membership at $63 a month, I'd still have to pay $31 for boxing because it's a specialty class.

    After seeing a picture of Josie who blogs under Yum Yucky, I decided to give boxing a break. Josie works out at home all the time and so does Gingerzingi. I have more than enough DVDs to work out on my own for a couple days a week.

    Earlier in the week, my colleague said that she had a feeling of deja vu as I tried to release the tweak in the middle of my back with seated spinal twists, shoulder rolls and shoulder hugs.

    It took everything in me not to get down on the floor and do cat/cow or crocodile pose. I wasn't sure what would relieve my side stitch though.

    I was feeling the love from mile two of Just Walk* which is the walk and tone segment. The resistance band seemed innocent enough but it worked my back deeper than I had expected. The other Just Walk segments are:

    Mile 1: Classic Low Impact
    Mile 3: Speed Intervals
    Mile 4: Strength Intervals
    Mile 5: Ab Walk

    I thought about Hazira while I did these miles -- especially mile one. What do you say Hazira? Will you try this one with me?

    During mile five, Sansone encourages you to get your navel to your spine and says that Stability gives you power which is true in more ways than one. I also like it when Sansone says Every system of the body works better when you work out -- something that I know but I never tire of hearing.

    A woman named Lori joins Sansone and her crew during the cool down. Lori was able to walk off 140 pounds. Hoping that I'll be able to walk off a considerable amount as well.

    Can't wait to incorporate Just Walk and other DVDs as I shake up my routine.

    *Disclosure: I received this video without charge.

    Wednesday, September 4, 2013

    What Are You Saving Your Energy For?

    Walked into the workout area and Julia, with a spirited look, nodded toward the newbie who was in "my" spot. I feigned revenge.

    My magic spot opened up and I was glad because I like the energy there...

    Marisa was in an interesting mood -- in the way that she guided us through class and her thinking out loud about the need to set fitness goals for herself... Our workout was interesting as well but I felt like we didn't swing a lot.

    The workout, in part:

    Russian Step-ups, 60 seconds

    Hand-to-Hand Swing, 60 secs

    Russian Step-ups

    Halo, Squat, Triceps Extension

    Russian Step-ups

    Figure Eight with Catch and Lunge

    Step Up, Step Down (i.e. Russian Step-ups)


    Step Up...


    At some point, Julia said I'm so over these step-ups...but she dug deep especially after Marisa asked What are you saving your energy for?

    Jessica Rabbit (for her speed with doing triceps dips etc.) is now doing strict pull-ups. We all oohed and ahhed over her lats and arms. Well, Marisa does most of the ahhhing over Jessica's arms which made me mock ooh and ahh over many things that Jessica did which made her laugh and it's pretty easy to make her laugh. She cackled like crazy over my Cirque du Soleil maneuver with a medicine ball.

    I sabotaged myself though because it's hard to laugh and swing a kettlebell at the same time.

    Sunday, September 1, 2013

    Soft Eyes And The Spot Taker

    Spotted Alison and Gloria on the parking lot as I reached back to grab my yoga mat. Alison was so happy with her coffee and imminent asanas that she forgot hers.

    I looked over my shoulder and saw someone unrolling their mat in Gloria's spot. Thought it was a student that Gloria was letting guide the class and I allowed myself a brief moment of disappointment before telling myself that it was okay but Alison just thought that the spot taker didn't know how the class was set up and that turned out to be the case.

    As I grabbed the top of my newly laundered shirt to wipe sweat off my face, Gloria said Do you all feel the heat? I feel like you guys are mad at me.

    No, not mad. Just trying to keep up.

    It's National Yoga Month and I'm glad that I was able to practice today. Didn't spend as much time as I would have liked on the mat last month but I plan to make up for lost time.

    It's also my birthday month. Got an email from Pure Barre La Jolla. If I take a class, my birthday gift is another class or free pair of socks.

    Also got an email from The Pilates Room: We wish you to pamper yourself with a healthy body, mind and spirit.

    Wish that I had planned to be in Cali for my birthday.

    I've been watching Orange Is The New Black like so many others. The soft eyes scene amused me...