Monday, March 31, 2014

Mercy or Month-End Review, March

I continue to enjoy Kenpo, swimming... As I left work, my coworker asked what would be my activity of choice. She said that I should be grateful about the whole walking thing. Having been to the chiropractor four or five times in the last week, my coworker wishes that she could walk with ease.

Listened to Krista Tippett's interview, A Second Wind in Life: Inhabiting the Body After Cancer, with Eve Ensler while walking. Liked Ensler's realization: I didn't treat my body with mercy.

About her family, Ensler says Everyone was so untransparent and unavailable. I longed to know what people were thinking...I knew someplace my survival was there.

How I moved during this third month:

10 Minute Solution: 5 Day Get Fit Mix
*Cardio Kickboxing, 3 x's

10 Minute Solution: Butt lift*
*Cardio Booty Camp
*HITT Butt Lift

10 Minute Solution: HITT
*Rock Bottom HIIT, 2 x's

10 Minute Solution: KnockOut Body!
*Knockout Body Blast, 1 x

Barre Conditioning*

Bicycling, 1 x

Just Walk: 5 Mega Miles
*Mile 2: Walk and Tone, 1 x
*Mile 5: Ab Walk, 4 x's

Just Walk: Walk to the Hits, Party Songs
*Mile 1, 5 x's

Kettlebell, 4 x's

*Kenpo X, 5 x's

Personal Training with Jackie: Power Circuit Training
*15-Minute Upper Body Circuit, 1 x
*40-Minute Total Body Circuit, 1 x

Swimming, 3 x's

Treadmill, 2 x's

Walking, 12 x's

Yoga, 16 x's

**Disclosure: I received this video without charge.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Normalcy and the Opening of the Doors

The days have seemed strange lately including the day that I dreamed about being stuck in a maze.* When I found my way out, there was an elevator and I didn't think twice about being in the elevator until someone else said I hope that the doors open and I was so relieved when the doors did part.

After yoga this morning, swept the fish tank then mopped the bathroom floor. There are only three fish in my tank but, boy, does the water get murky fast.

A neighbor told me that the plecostomus is too big for the tank and that might be the case. Either way, I wish that sucker (literally) would take care of more algae.

Fragile Ecosystem
Made lunch and headed to the Riverfront Trail to meet with Alison and Gloria. Sixty three degrees is the best weather that we've had in a while.

I felt good riding and hope to get in more bicycling this season. As far as I'm concerned, it was an excellent trifecta: sunshine (we've missed you), friends and exercise. The only hiccup on the bike ride was a near crash when I became too much of an onlooker. Saw my life flash before my eyes. Still can't believe that I managed to stay upright...

Cakeway to the West -- the most colorful thing around so far.
*Maze and dream possibly influenced by watching Hoarders: Buried Alive.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Does That Count?

Do I look like someone who takes vacation? Had to laugh when the doctor in Dallas Buyers Club asked that question. I took one of my use it or lose vacation days. So nice. Got a lot accomplished.

Went swimming and it was really good to be back at the pool. Saw Chatty Kathleen who I hadn't see in months since she switched from the p.m. to the a.m. session. Kathleen has lost about half of her weight. I was totally curious but didn't bring it up because she didn't. Plus, she looked a bit jadna as The 'Fugee would say.

Pretty much holding up my year-old TYR with two shoestrings. It's chlorine proof but not that proof. Duct tape crossed my mind this morning but, yeah, it's time to get a new suit.

By now I've usually taken a vacation but I've been indecisive about so many things. Plus, feeling like a bit of a homebody. Although, the ocean moves me greatly and calls my name.

Also went for a walk and listened to Krista Tippett's conversation with Brene Brown. Tried to read Brown's Daring Greatly but couldn't get into it. Thinking about giving The Gift of Imperfection a try. I also think about revisiting Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project.

While I walked, got fascinated with the shapes of leafless trees. Does that count as walking meditation?

Such a gray day that the pictures look black and white...

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Yoga Place and The Wedding Place

Jessica and David, two of my climbing buddies, got married today at the exact time as one of my fave yoga classes, ha-ha.

I thought about going to a class right before the wedding which was totally doable since the yoga place and the wedding place are about three minutes away from each other but the alternate class was a warm one and I am finished with heated yoga classes. Plus, I am over, to a certain extent, trying to squeeze things in just because I can.

Jessica and David's wedding was at the Jewel Box in beautiful Forest Park. In case you haven't heard, Forest Park is twice as big as Central Park. :)

I love the minimalist and lovely approach that Jessica and David took toward their wedding and I love it that Jessica was accompanied down the aisle by Mike and Patti.

When the minister said David, you chose Jessica...I was like Damn, I forgot to put tissue in my purse.

Jessica and David are such incredible people. To say that I wish them the best is an understatement...

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Valuable Lesson

My brother was upset about one of his sons jumping out of an airplane and when he saw how blasĂ© I was about it, he said Next, you'll be jumping out of a plane too.

My Aunt Al kind of snickered when I said that I have no intention of engaging in such an activity. Apparently, she thinks that I have it in me to take a leap.

Still, I was surprised when I had a dream about being in an aircraft with open windows. I felt nervous sitting on the edge but I felt even more nervous when we landed and couldn't find my purse. I was totally disturbed when I woke up.

Prior to the aircraft dream, there was the dream about reviewing my bank account. It was a pretty indifferent review.

Don't usually have dreams about money but maybe I should have them more often. Last month, I realized that I was over my maximum allowance of vacation days so I lost a day of vacation. Lesson learned, big time.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

All I Do...

Kept flip flopping about whether or not to go to 8 p.m. yoga yesterday. Knowing that I'd probably sit down and watch Netflix, I headed out.

Pamela, Donna's sub, decided on a restorative class. The workday had been a blur but I saw the return of my focus with yin yoga and whatnot. Yummy class...

Lately, all I've had to the urge to do is walk and practice yoga. Okay, I did go to the pool on Sunday but didn't realize that it was spring break. Swimming denied. Walking on...for about 75 minutes this evening and finished listening to a TED radio podcast called Happy. I liked what the host said about we have some input into how happy we will our emotions are a compass (you keep going in the direction of what makes you happy)...and that happiness takes work -- religiously and over time.

Next, I checked out Krista Tippett's On Being podcast Mindfulness, Suffering and Engaged Buddhism. The bulk of the podcast is an interview with the Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh. She also talks with Cheri Maples who was a police officer when she went to a retreat and thought that she would have to leave the facility because of the nature of her job. Having to kill someone would negate the whole nonviolence principle that the retreat espoused but someone pulled Maples aside and told her that, of course, she should stay and who better to carry a gun than someone mindful.

Maples notes that after attending the retreat, her energy changed and, in turn, the energy of the people that she had to arrest also changed.

Maples worked as an officer for 20 years and later became a lawyer, social worker and founder of the Center for Mindfulness and Justice.

When Tippet asks Thich Nhat Hanh if he has any pressing questions, he says no and then If you know how to handle the present moment, you know how to handle the future...

On another note, Jeannette Winterson could have used a social worker or two. I spent a lot of time wow-ing out loud while reading her book. A fave passage from Why Be Happy...:
Freud, one of the grand masters of narrative, knew that the past is not fixed in the way that linear time suggests. We can return. We can pick up what we dropped. We can mend what others broke. We can talk with the dead. (58)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Yoga Tantrum

So, yeah, I'm heading home after yoga and I'm about one block away from home when I see an unmarked car suddenly all lit up.

The cop skid across the street and arrived at the bumper of this car. Another driver put his car in reverse and was so close that I could see the smirk on his face. My instinct was to try to get out of the way but I stayed put. As I turned away from the smirk, I saw that the officer had pulled out a firearm.

I went around the scene and, in retrospect, I should have gone in the other direction. Just because the officer had his weapon drawn didn't mean that the area was secure. Le sigh...I was a bit dazed by my post-yoga high.

Fast forward to this morning. Nothing feels abnormal. I head to Gloria's class and walk in with Tammy and Mike who normally go to the 11 o'clock class. Juliano and Alison are already there. When I realize that Mike, Tammy, Alison, Juliano and I are all in the same row, it feels a bit cliquish.

Maybe I need to practice yoga at home for a while. Maybe I need to go back to my old spot in the back of the room.

At some point, I pose a bitchy question to Alison and have no idea where it came from or how it formed in my mind.

I hear the always late Linda come in quietly but I can still hear the velcro as she unrolls her mat...

I go through the motions: high lunge, downward facing dog, chair...Think that maybe I'm doing too much yoga -- as if less yoga will help.

I stand in tadasana when Gloria calls for eagle* pose because I know that I will come completely undone if any eagle arms are legs are attempted.

After class, Juliano asks me how I'm doing and a tear rolls down my left eye as he's giving me a hug because It looks like I need one. I also get a hug from Sherry and, by the time Alison gets to me, the tears are really rolling.

During my Saturday class, I looked at my collection of scars. As I looked at them, thought about Lolo Jones and how she once said that the thing that she likes most about her body is the scars (from jumping over hurdles).

Thinking of Lolo Jones appeased me at the time but, later on, I read an article about fat-shaming in yoga but I also remember a post by Lisa over at Just here. Just now. and she talks about visiting a Bikram studio out of town and how her friend's teacher said that the mirrors are there for alignment not judgment. Lisa goes on to make her own revelation:'s not just alignment of your hips, it's about alignment with the truth. Alignment with the moment...Alignment with what is possible, and not possible, that day.  
As I walked yesterday, I listened to Krista Tippett on The Moth. Tippet's grandfather believed that his religion was the only true one. At some point, Tippet visits "psychic" Mary Madison who tells Tippet that her grandfather realizes that he was too strict with himself. Totally related. Also related when Tippet says: I'm not sure what happened in Mary Madison's house that day...It's in that realm of mystery that I honor.

*According to Yoga Journal, one of the benefits of eagle pose is that it improves sense of balance. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Deciding on Yoga

So Exciting...
Went for a walk and listened to a moving episode of The Moth with Carl Pillitteri who was in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant when it suffered damage from the earthquake and tsunami in March of 2011.

Guess I should say that I am often moved by The Moth storytellers...

After walking felt like I wanted to move my body more but went in search of food. And by searching, I mean going to Chipotle. When I finished with dinner checked to see if any of my, as The 'Fugee calls them, virtual friends had made a move on Word with Friends and noticed that Alison had emailed to see if I was interested in Zumba or yoga. Her second email said that she had decided on yoga.

I'm not a very spontaneous person -- sometimes tormenting myself when trying to decide to do one activity over another but I gathered my stuff, emailed Alison and headed out.

The room at this particular branch is oddly built with two huge posts toward the outer edges of the room. The teacher usually turns out some of the lights leaving the right side in darkness and the left side all lit up but it was a quiet class and a class with space. I had time to make myself at home in poses. Who cares about how oddly the room is built?

Practicing last night allowed me to keep my composure today. I was out for three days. My coworker was out for the other two. There are two of us -- for the most part. Don't remember which pose we were working on but Pam said something along the lines of Don't make this hard or don't over think it -- so convincing and poetic when she said it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Where Not To Place Your Yoga Mat

Daylight Saving Time, CERT training and The 'Fugee's surgery to repair her lover's fracture have made for a hard week.

During CERT training, learned about the STL's Zombie Squad. Earlier in the day, kind of felt like a zombie before I took to the bed for two hours. Don't even think that I slept for much of that time -- just couldn't deal with being vertical.

Went to yoga and this guy put his mat precisely in front of mine which wasn't necessary since the class wasn't packed.

At some point, smelled something sour. I knew that my clothes were fresh but sniffed them anyway then sniffed my mat.

Surya Namaskar Gloria said. As I did a forward fold, I realized that the fermenty sour smell was coming from the man in front of me. Felt slightly nauseous and wanted to leave. Instead, I just scooted to the back of my mat and tried not to take too many deep breaths. Ironic, hunh?

Someone requested ab work for class. Next time, think the entire class should vote.

Actually, I don't mind ab work and the sequence was relaxing until...

Interesting segment on Nightline about Dan Harris who was self-medicating and had an on-camera breakdown. Meditation has helped him deal with his demons.

ABC Entertainment News | ABC Business News

Monday, March 10, 2014

Fortify Yourself

Went to disaster training (with three other colleagues) instead of to work. Had to pretty much get up at "5:45" -- definitely not my normal time.

This one participant kept wanting to know when they were going to offer the training again even though the representative told her. Sarah finally said This is half of our office (two people) and someone decided to put me in charge this week too.

Good to know that my office is not the only one understaffed...

As Sarah talked, there was fireman, Bob, who could barely stay in his seat. I dubbed him Fire Marshall Bill (from In Living Color) for his unbelievable energy. Although Bob thought he was a comedian, he imparted the necessary information.

Rule #1...Take care of yourself.

Rule #2...Always work with a buddy.

Rule #29...During, say, a tornado do whatever you can to fortify yourself with blankets or a bicycle helmet etc.

I like what the fireman said, while talking about blood, how the body is a container with a pump...

We watched a video, before actually practicing, about how to take care of a small fire. One of my coworkers thought it was a dramatic presentation. The emergency response team approached the small fire announcing what they were doing then announced that they were backing out. Reminded me of rock climbing. We do a lot of repetitive commands but as the fireman said -- communication is of the utmost importance.

Pushed myself to go for a walk but knew not to push for yoga this p.m. Ate then crawled into bed where I stayed for 90 minutes and could have stayed there longer.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Dismiss Your Body...

Rolled out and met Gloria for breakfast. Had the herbivore omelet with broccoli, onions, peppers and mushrooms with a side of sweet potato hash. Yummy. There was a caveman omelet which didn't even tempt me.

After breakfast, Gloria and I went on a tour of KDHX's new digs. The radio station is run by volunteers and their new space is very nice.

Cool Ass Retro TV at KDHX

One of the Views from Radio Station
When I was at work on Friday, someone asked me had I heard about what happened to The 'Fugee....? -- not a question that you really want to hear.

The 'Fugee, wearing seldom worn shoes, tumbled down about 15 steps and her fallen was broken by a window pane. Ouch, ouch and more ouch.

As I went about my day, I thought about The 'Fugee -- replaying the tumble in my head even though I hadn't witnessed it.

The 'Fugee has several lacerations, bruises, black eyes and fractures including a calcaneal fracture which I did not know is also known as lover's fracture. According to Wikipedia:
The name lover's fracture is derived from the fact that a lover may jump from great heights while trying to escape from the lover's spouse.
Hazira's nephew-in-law joked that it was a good thing that she hit the glass because a wall is less forgiving. Of course, the glass has its own danger; one of my childhood friends lost her brother that way.

Hazira's nephew joked that her arms will be more toned from walking around with crutches and whatnot but, all joking aside, we are grateful that The 'Fugee is okay...

Where The 'Fugee's Fall Was Broken

Went to yoga and, at one point, wondered why I had even bothered to show up. We did eagle pose in the middle of class and, because I loathe eagle, just hearing the name of the pose almost drove me over the edge. I know, I know; it's not about the pose. I'm feeling tired and like I can't catch up with tasks etc.

During savasana, Alison said Dismiss your body from any responsibilities. Dismiss your mind from worry. Relax...And, as she talked, her feet made the most rhythmic sound on the environmentally-friendly floor. I almost started bawling.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Going With The Flow

Yummy yoga class last night.

The Zumba folks left the fans on and Gloria asked if we wanted to leave them on and, if so, she was going with a vinyasa flow.

Janice and I both asked at the same time Can we just turn the fans off?

At some point, I was quite hot even with air blowing in all directions.

It was such a relaxing class despite the heat or, maybe, because of the heat. Even the noisy savasana defector couldn't disturb my peace.

After class, Janice said that the college-age woman who's been bullying her daughter needs yoga.

There are several people at my job whose phones are paid for by said job. The 'Fugee joked that they need to pay for my yoga classes. I certainly wouldn't be able to do my job without yoga. Today, I was pretty unshakeable in the calm department.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Purple Macaroon

The last time that I went to see my massage therapist, she noticed a change in my muscles. Said they had more fluidity/movement and wanted to know if I was doing anything different.

Not taking kettlebell class is the only difference I could think of.

My muscles have always been dense, the MT tells me, but there had been an extra element of rigidity.

Lest you think that's the only thing that my MT told me, she also notices that there's usually resistance in my right arm when she goes to pull it back but that's normal since the heart chakra is there; it's a position of vulnerability and people are prone to protect their hearts.

Another change has been weight loss. I thought that kettlebell class would help me lose weight but weight didn't come off until post-kb. Maybe my body was totally stressed out by the class which was high intensity a lot of the time and my body did feel all scrunched up the day after.

I'm sure some of the weight loss can be attributed to kicking a Werthers habit that started when I wanted something to entertain my mouth while at a Cirque du Soleil show in the beginning of 2013.

I also got very hooked on Rudi's organic bread but went back to buying sandwich thins.

Overall, I'm trying to be less rigid with exercise and food to a certain extent. One of my friends at work offered me a macaroon. I usually don't just eat food that people hand me but I'd participated in her macaroon birthday gift and I'd never had one so I chose the crown chakra-colored one and ate it. Figured it would be no worse than the Kashi bars that I like to eat. Thank goodness the French bakery is not in my neck of the woods. Enjoyed the jam et al...

I was torn between climbing and swimming up until the last minute. When I voiced my dilemma, the intern in my office said that she always finds swimming more relaxing.

I went swimming.

Just as I was about to switch to the backstroke, this man asked if he could share my lane. I switched back to the front crawl because I didn't want to accidentally hit him. My body feels more open and prone to wildness during the backstroke.

My lane mate told me that the water might kill him. I was incredulous when he told me that it was too warm. While it wasn't arctic, it was still chilly.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Once You Go Yoga...or Stuff Yoga Teachers Say

No yoga class today because of the weather but I definitely plan to do yoga at home. I often have the pleasure of teachers guiding me in person but their words remain with me long after class.

Kind of nice to be on weather lockdown and not running around like the proverbial chicken with its head cut off...

  • Breathe with your whole body.  

  • Gloria

  • It's your hour

  • Donna

  • It all comes together and begins to make sense in savasana

  • Gloria

  • Cut your right hip bone in and under...

  • Gloria

  • Imagine that you have a jacket that you wear. You're going to take that jacket off... 

  • Alison at the start of savasana

  • Let the breath flush out the pose

  • Gloria

  • No forcing, no straining, no struggling in yoga.

  • Gloria

  • The feet and shins provide the thrust for camel. 

  • Alison

  • Your eyes complete the twist. 

  • Rebecca (during seated spinal twist)

  • Scan your body. See if anything speaks to you; it wants to have a dialogue... 

  • Rebecca

  • Feel the vibration of your whole body

  • Alison at the start of practice...

  • Once you go yoga, you never go back... 

  • Alison

    Once you go yoga, you can also leave your shoes...

  • Place your thumbs at your sternum. Feel the vibration of your heart with your thumbs. Feel the vibration of what's going on in the air with your fingers...

  • Alison (at the close of practice)