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Archive for January, 2011

Yoga Class 50: The Half Century

January 29th, 2011 No comments

Yup, this crazy monkey is still going strong with his practice. Today I hit the fifty class mark (woo hoo!) and it’s really caused me to look back on this past twenty-five classes with some introspection. First, Camel Pose (Ustrasana) and Rabbit Pose (Sasangasana) are now my bitch. Yeah, that’s bold to say, but both of those were some of the hardest for my inflexible spine to get into. For the first thirty or so classes, Camel made me want to throw up almost as soon as I went into the first part (hands at base of back leaning back). When I finally decided to move my hands to my heels in class forty-five or so, everything became clear and calm. Who would have thought that the full pose was that much more comfortable than the beginning motions?!?! I was totally amazed.

With Rabbit, my issue was getting my damn hairline on my damn knees. As my flexibility increased and my gut decreased, it just kinda happened. Rabbit used to make me feel really claustrophobic and those “tiny sips of air” verged on hyperventilation. Now, however, I comfortably move into the pose and watch in amazement as my belly goes in and out with normal full breaths. It just goes to show that the personal journey of one’s practice really is it’s own reward. Yeah, that’s yogic and obscure as all get-out, but it’s one of those personal victories that make me give myself mental high-fives.

So, now that fifty is in the can, what’s next? My hips are still extremely tight (damn you soccer, you sweet sweet game) and, while I can touch my toes pretty regularly in Tibetan Sit-ups, I still have a lot of problems touching my toes without bending my knees in most of the standing series. That’s something I have to work on and haven’t felt like I’ve made a lot of progress with over the past couple of weeks.

Additionally, I have apparently lost some of my focus in Triangle Pose (Trikonasana). My knees have been giving me fits for a while (one of the disadvantages of getting older and already having crappy knees), so I think I really have to focus on keeping my quads engaged to really protect my knee-caps from popping off towards the side mirrors in the room.

As I am reminded in every class, a person’s practice changes every day. I, just like everyone, I imagine, have fantastic days and some crappy days. On fantastic days, I need to push that motivation into the continuation of my practice; on crappy days, I need to borrow from those fantastic days and move on. Over this past fifty classes, I’ve really focused on doing Sunstone’s Fire class with a few Earth and Wood classes thrown in there to mix up my routine. For this next fifty, I was challenged to throw some Metal classes into my mix. Metal scares the crap out of me, but I agree with the people who challenged me that I’m ready for it. I think I’m ready to attempt King Pigeon Pose (Kapotasana) and not crack myself in half.

Here’s to the next fifty!

Categories: Awesomeness, monkey, Yoga

An apparent Emergen-C

January 27th, 2011 No comments

I came to the realization a few days ago that I have a serious Emergen-C habit. Sure, it started as just an electrolyte replacement regimin due to the fact that I sweat like a stuck pig during yoga (and apparently sleep), but it’s gone beyond that.

Here is some background on my “plight.” I am one of the few Americans on this planet who doesn’t drink soda. Every so often I get a craving for one, but I have, effectively, been soda-free for just about fifteen years. Considering my proclivities towards vices, I’m throwing out a big “yay me” for this one.

As a result of my nonsodaness, I drink a lot of water. I pretty much cut caffiene out of my diet a couple of months ago, so my options for constant beverage were effectively reduced down to water.

Don’t get me wrong, I love drinking water. In a typical day, I drink almost ten liters of the stuff. What I discovered when I started yoga, however, was that I was sending my body chemistry way out of whack. I’m all in favor of lethargy, but having it forced on you is no picnic.

Enter the Emergen-C: chock full of vitamin C and a mess of other stuff that the packaging tells me is good for me. No sugar and awesome flavors like tangerine (an apparent Whole Foods exclusive) make me a pretty happy camper. I, apparently, was missing flavor in my life.

Now comes the downside. On a typical day I consume up to three of these tasty little packets. That’s a total of 3000 milligrams of added vitamin C in my life. Silly me decides to get on the interwebs and look up “vitamin C toxicity.” While non-toxic (how a toxicity can be non-toxic is beyond me), due to the fact that vitamin C is not stored in the body, but, rather, water-soluble and flushed out of your system, high doses of vitamin C can lead to other issues: kidney stones being the scariest.

I may be overreacting. I drink enough water in the day to keep a pretty constant flush going all the time. I would hope that keeping my kidneys in constant “motion” would keep me from getting those nasty engine deposits that can cause knocking, pinging and crippling pain. The thought of a “stone” growing in my body terrifies me. That’s right, I’m afraid of my First World problem. Where else but America would someone worry about getting too damn much of something other than fast food and booze. Scurvy has been on the rise in English children for the past couple of years and I’m bitching about how much vitamin C just pours out of my body. That’s right England, I just took away your First World status.

This worry, much like my impending kidney stones, will pass. I’m not sure I’ll ever jump on the Crystal Light kick that seems to be sweeping the nation, so I’ll just dutifully stand by my Emergen-C.

I think I’ll have one now and worry about my future.

Categories: food, monkey, Ravings, Vice

Yoga Class 25: Finding Foundation

January 2nd, 2011 No comments

Ugh, another damn yoga post? Doesn’t this idiot have anything else better to write about?

Today’s answer: no.

This morning I woke up extra-groggy and with a scratchy throat. Knowing that the creeping crud has been taking down friends left and right, I was very determined to find refuge in a nice hot yoga class to help burn out the funk.

In the past month my morning ritual has gone like this: alarm goes off, alarm gets ignored for about five minutes while I listen to NPR news, check email, pet and harass cats, eat breakfast, go to yoga. Sure, this whole mess takes about two and a half hours, but it’s a ritual. The only real difference this morning was that I got my grumble on because I could feel my sinuses revolting on me.

While I have skipped Sunday practice on a couple of different occasions, it was particularly important to me to make it this morning as it was my twenty-fifth class.

Class twenty five: quite the starting milestone. Getting through ten classes relatively quickly is the right way to start your practice. Pushing through to twenty-five is the best way to solidify your practice. I did it in less than a month (twenty-six days to be exact) and boy-howdy how I have changed in that time.

The most immediate change is the fact that I’ve dropped a chunk of weight. Sure, I’ve changed some other aspects of my life that have helped with that as well, but the yoga is definitely a major part of it. With every class I feel more and more like a rotisserie chicken just melting off fat into the fire (yes, I’m also rather tasty). The next major change is that I’m bendy as all hell now compared to where I was a month ago. Sure, all my years of playing soccer and/or doing nothing have really done a job at tensing up my hamstrings, and, as a result, I’m still horrible at attempting to do anything that requires touching my toes or feet whilst keeping a straight leg, but definite progress is being made. My nemesis pose Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) is still something that humbles me with every Fire class I do, but I’m very slowly beginning to lower my sit bones. Maybe at class one hundred I’ll be in line with everything.

My balance has improved and my stamina has done remarkable. I’ve been mostly doing Fire classes lately, so I’m sure a good Wood or Earth class will humble me a bit more, but I’m digging my roll. I’ve met some incredible instructors who have motivated me to keep with it and provided me with adjustments and encouragement to help get the most effective stretches out of my awkward body.

Trikonasana (Triangle Pose) is no longer the bane of my morning. While I still need a lot of work with it on my left side, I feel great on my right.

If you couldn’t tell, I’m even retaining a lot of the “real” pose names: something I thought would never stick after my first couple of days.

On to class fifty!

Categories: monkey, Ravings, Yoga