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
High Pull

Left, 20 Reps:

One-hand Swing
Clean and Press
High Pull

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:

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


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:


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

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:

Presses (Double)
Cleans (Double)
Squats (Double)
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...