Tag Archive: pigeon

Day 23 – recovery

Finally!  A recovery day!  Not a day off per se, but no resistance training, just a yin class, just some stretching.  I needed a low tempo day.

Slept in, did a day of work, came home, and napped for a good long while.  Woke up, headed to the studio for some late-night stretchy.

festive Katie

Katie was teaching this Yin, and posed by the Xmas tree for a shot or two.  Get it?  Tree pose.  Xmas tree.  Decoration hanging from her hand.  Decorations hang from Xmas trees.  Christmas.  Tree.  Plus her top says Roots.  Trees have roots.


Got changed out, stood by the hot room waiting for it to get cleaned.  Dude leaning against the wall, looks like Joss Whedon.  Stares at me.  I stare back at him.  nonverbal dude communication ensues.

me – “No, you don’t know me, what now Chief?”

him – “Just now waiting to see who will look away first”

me – “Underneath my pleasant public demeanor lies a lot of unresolved anger issues.  So don’t push it.”


As a guy, I both accept these male dynamics and am amused by them.  Are women aware of how many staredowns the average man goes through as he walks down the street?  It would blow your mind, you get sized up multiple times a day.

But I digress.  Back to Yin.

60 min class, lots of free space, I’m in luck!  We did child’s pose for a while (the deep kind, where you stretch out your hips, not recover), then we did cat/cow, then pigeon then a seated twist then a half shoelace then supported fish then wind relieving pose then a prone spinal twist.  I think that was it, time flies!

I was much happier with my pigeon tonight, much more serene.  This I took as the barometer of my recovery, I am closer to feeling better.  Now, shoelace… shoelace I find quite hard, but half-shoelace?  I felt nothing…  Katie came over and made some suggestions, but I still felt nothing.  Maybe half shoelace isn’t where my edge lies.  Next time I might do some monkey splits instead (not full ones, that is beyond me currently).  Just like how double pigeon is more restorative for me than stressful, I feel pretty much nothing.  Like how now instead of doing “thread the needle”, I do dead pigeon instead.  Your practice is your own, it won’t look like everyone else’s, and it is a sign of your experience that you don’t feel the need to conform.

Day 23 down!  Looks like it’s back to the weight training!  The break is over!

Day 15 – You are not prepared!

Showed up for a 90 minute Moksha sequence tonight.  It was packed!  I am glad I took a chance on reserving a spot, I barely made it in time though.  I wanted a pic before class, but all 3 of the staff were trying to process the blitz of hungry yogis.

I know it’s blurry, but I only had half a sec before the space filled up again with people.

The class was brutal!  I walked in 15 min early, like normal, and it was already PACKED.  I felt claustrophobic.  When you are laid out like sardines in the hot room, I always show a great deal of “restraint”.  I want to be harmonious with my neighbours, so I don’t go for a move if I sense I will be bumping into them; or if I feel myself getting sloppy, I immediately stop to recompose.  I want to keep my movements tight and graceful at all costs when there is no room for error.  Generally I take more breaks in a fully packed room.

Already in the first 15 min, I knew I was in trouble.  We were using planks as a transition between poses, and the planks were hitting me hard.  My core felt tired.  Maybe it needed more rest?  I did a bit of core work with Leslie on Sunday, a few planks and side planks, and more core work on Saturday, whereas normally Sunday is a day of purely Yin, so my core might not have been ready for more planks.  I was definitely not prepared for a 90 min moksha sequence with no core to support me.

I pushed through the planks when I could, took a few breaks.  But when my core goes and the moves keep coming, I start to get frustrated, and then start to get grumpy.  It was just one of those classes where I take a beating, and get grumpy, haha.  Various thoughts started to flow through my head:

“Why does the teacher ALWAYS ask us to breathe in together when I am in the middle of breathing out?  Always??!?”

“We normally END with pigeon and now she has us doing like 6 poses after pigeon? what is this??!?”

When we were doing back work, I was starting to grunt with strain during the locusts and half-locusts.  I was losing my breath.  So I bowed out of the vinyasa flows and sat in seiza, occasionally flexing my quads in sort of a proto-sissy squat.  And then the class was told to do sleeping hero, which I had sort of already been doing, so I went into a resting pose.

And man did the sweat flow.  Once my core told me it was phoning in sick, the sweat flowed like crazy.  During the second half of the class, for about 40 min straight, sweat was in my eyes, stinging and blinding me.  This did not improve my mood, haha.  Whenever I would go into child’s pose and tilted my head down, the stinging would get worse and I had to squeeze my eyes  shut to push it out, which gave me a bit of a headache.  Needless to say, I was not a picture of cool and composed.  More like a hot mess.

But those are probably the classes I need yoga the most.  Life gets hard and inconvenient sometimes too, you just have to grind those times out.  It’s called grit 🙂  My goals are greater than my sense of self.

After class I went back for a better pic

Katie and John!

Katie was teaching the class, and John worked the front desk.  I should mention John is growing a moustache for November, haha!

I dragged my butt home in a sling.  I should be sleeping pretty hard tonight!  Day 15 down!

Start of New Things

shoulders, core, spin, yin.  that was the plan for today.

then I slept in.  then I realized I gained an hour from the clock changes!  then I slept in more.

by the time I made it to the gym, I only had 30 min before spin class started.  So I started in with the shoulders, do what I could, do the rest after spin.

Today was a day for new things.  First up, new shoulder workout!  Quick and nasty.


superset DB shoulder press and slow cadence alternating front raise (2-2-2):  45 x8/20 x6, 45×8/15×12, 45×8/15×12, 45×8/15×12

drop sets of lat raises:  20×12, 15×10, 10×8, 5×10

drop sets of reverse flys:  25×12, 20×10, 17.5×10, 10×10

notes:  if you don’t know what I mean by cadence, I mean you raise the weight over 2 seconds, hold it at the top for 2 seconds, and lower it for 2 seconds, 2-2-2.  If you have never tried that with front raises before, it is rough, lol.  I started off with 20s for the front raises, but could only pump out 6.  So I went down to 15s, and it started our easy, but got tough near the end, especially tough not letting my shoulders creep up and bringing more muscles into play.

The drop sets of lat raises burned like heck!  When it came time for the reverse flys, I went with the dumbbells that were available.  The problem with drop sets with the lighter weights is that the lighter weights tend to be more popular.  So it’s time to drop down to the 15s?  Oh sorry, some girl is doing bench press with them, haha.  These are light weights, but if you do the light weight exercises, and up the time under tension like I did, you can get a good workout, especially for a guy with gimp shoulders like me 🙂

After the flys, I realized it was 7 min left until class, so I had all this cool stuff for my traps, and core work, but stuck a pin in it.

Spin!  Turns out we got new bikes!  Second new thing of the day!  Hooray!  Spin was good, I went easy at the start, but there were some good tracks in there, track 2 was hard, and the final working track was hard, lots of long standing climbs without drops in tension.

check out the bikes!

As you can see, they are fairly light, lighter than the old ones.  This has good and bad points.  Easier to move them around physically, that’s good.  On the other hand, I suspect the flywheels on these are physical pressure, and not magnets like the ones at the Queens St club (spin bike flywheels, HOW DO THEY WORK?!?).  So you put a heavy guy on a lightframe bike, when you go into a standing climb and there isn’t enough pressure on a physical flywheel, the bike lurches at the bottom of the pedal stroke.  The bike jerks a bit when you switch from push to pull.  If you turn up the tension enough, that jerkiness goes away, but then that means you have to make it hard as heck just to make the standing climb not awkward.  Magnets are just more smooth, physical flywheels sometimes make the bike react in different ways.  Ie. the wheel might squeak if the tension is too high and it needs to be cleaned.

The knob is also smaller, which I don’t like.  “Chunky” is easier to grab when you are doing quick transitions.

The handles are great though.  Lots of handle choices, thicker handles for dudes with big hands like me.  The middle half circle there makes arrow grip MUCH easier.  2 spots for water bottles is nice I suppose, not a big deal.  Maybe 1 water bottle and a cellphone, haha.

So I was going to do traps and abs, but my neighbour invited me to a movie.  I decided yes to the movie.  I watched Man with the Iron Fists.  Rather ridiculous.

After the movie I only had time for a quick bite, then headed off to hot yoga!  Hot yoga isn’t new, but it has been about a month and a half since I went, so that is sorta new.  But beyond that, I have signed up for another 30 day challenge!  30 days of hot yoga, scary!

For me, it is not only the start of a new challenge, but I am hoping for revenge.  My last 30 day hot yoga challenge was September, and well… my shoulder gave out.  So it is November now, time to climb back up on that horse!  Wish me luck!

The 30 day challenge starts tomorrow, so I went today as a warmup.  I signed up for a 90 min yin class at the end of the day, led by one awesome teacher, Ghislaine (Gigi)!

Gigi and I before class

Gigi suggested I might use this photo to enhance my stud status.  So consider it official, a picture of my new girlfriend!!  Haha, kidding.  Hmmm… I should go through my blog and gather all the pictures of ladies, and send Mom an email letting her know yoga has turned me into Hugh Hefner…

Yin was 90 min, and it was awesome.  Mostly spine, and some hips.  Decompression, hips, compression.  I love doing spine work in yoga in general, it’s all good.  We did seated butterfly (I often call it cobblers), then half butterflies with some seated twists.  Then caterpillar/snail, then cat/cow.  Then hips:  dragon and then pigeon and then “cat pulling its tail”.  Then compression, seal/sphinx.  Then we did some lying on our back spinal twists.  Then savasana, then it’s over already!

Doesn’t sound like a lot of moves, but when you hold each side for like 4 or 5 min, it adds up, lol.

Overall, really good.  I was so rusty, I could really feel it in my legs.  But still got my head to my feet on butterfly, the half butterflies felt pretty good.  Got back into snail, I didn’t feel shaky or offbalance.  Snail is also hard because it locks my throat up (this is normal), but I kept calm, tilted my chin a few different ways, and breathed past the lock.  Not panicking is a big part of it, feeling your throat get squeezed.

Seal was good, felt really nice to compress after all the decompression.  Hips surprisingly didn’t stress me out.  Dragon tends to drive a lot of people crazy, and while it was hard, I felt calm and felt focused.

I could not have asked for a better first class back!  Hope this bodes well for my challenge.

See you next time!

A Sense of Renewal

Thursday was my offday.  At work though, the grind of the 9 to 5 got to me and I ate some junk food to give me a boost for the afternoon 7th inning stretch.  It wasn’t much, it gave me a pick me up for 5 min then I felt worn out again.  I felt guilty about it, so I decided to head to the gym Thursday night to do some work.  I asked Leslie what would be best for the focus so I wouldn’t step on the toes of whatever she had planned for Friday, and she suggested I do arms.  Hooray!  I luv arm day.  (Side note, Leslie hates her own arm day!  She says it agitates her to work her biceps.  Crazy right??  Arm day rules.)  After work, I napped, ate, psyched myself up, then to the gym for some late night training.

Group photo! Leslie’s arms, and my pecs. the excellence of execution right here.

Thursday night solo:

5 min warmup

(90 sec rest between sets)

dumbbell skullcrushers:  30 lb DBs x10, x10, x10, x10, x10, x8

2hand dumbbell extension:  55lb DB x10, x10, x10, x10, x10, x10

bicep curl machine:  60 x10, x10, x10, x10, x10, x10

seated curls:  35 lb DBs x10, x10, x10, x10, x10, x9

30 min on the elliptical

notes:  Good old arm volume training.  You don’t NEED 24 working sets a week on your arms to see progress, but it is nice every once in a while, and my arms need to work on their endurance.  My shoulder felt sore, so I was glad for arms vice chest or back.  Still, my shoulder got in the way of the skullcrushers, so my form was shaky by set 4.  I couldn’t keep it going in set 6, so had to clip it short.  Extensions felt good by the end, good strain on my triceps, so I knew tricep DOMS were in my future.

I wanted to do preacher curls, but the dudes in the gym had set up camp on the preacher rest, and they didn’t seem friendly, so w/e.  I went to the bicep curl machine.  I put on 60 lbs, which felt light on the machine, so I tried to make up for it by focussing mentally on SQUEEZING at the top of the movement, really tiring out my bicep and working on “the peak”.  It worked wonders.  By sets 5 and 6, my 90 second rest was devoted to stretching out my biceps, which felt really good.  Finished up with DB curls, and my biceps were tired enough that I couldn’t keep good form by the last few sets, so I will stick at that weight for a while.

Friday I woke up TIRED.  Late night sessions at the gym mean you are so buzzed when you get home, it is hard to transition to sleep.  Plus my shoulder stayed sore through the night.  So I slept in a bit, then took some strong anti-inflammatories for my shoulder and headed to work.  I was conscious not to eat junk, but I had to pop another anti-inflammatory, which leaves me feeling sluggish and bloated.  So lack of sleep and pilled to the gills, that meant I was not in prime form for my Friday session with Leslie.  It is unavoidable though, the shoulders need to rehab, can’t let them gather dust.

We talked for a bit, did a weigh-in (I lost 0 weight, which I will take as a concession considering the imperfect week).  We also talked about my future.  I definitely still need the help, with my form, with my focus, with my diet.  So I signed up for more sessions, renewed the commitment!  I am looking forward to working more with Les, I think she can help me a lot 🙂

short session, but weigh-in, renewal and pep talk was needed

10 minutes on the elliptical

triset:  squats with the ropes THEN stationary lunges THEN Australian pullups

20/12/12,     15/12(touch ball to floor)/10,     13(jump squats)/12(ball twist)/10

last set

last set

first set!

triset:  barbell curls THEN incline closegrip pushups THEN walking side planks

45×10/10/10,     55×12/12/10,     55×12/12/10

the transition

finished product

yoga stretch after:  cobblers pose for 3 min, pigeon for 90 sec or so each side

notes:  did all that make sense?  to some extent the exercises progressed to tougher versions as they went on.  As I got used to the version, we did a little more.  So the first stationary lunges were just that, then the second set I had a medicine ball I touched to the ground, then the last set, I twisted with the ball to the side.

The straps for the squats were just to keep my chest up, I didn’t pull or use my back.  That pic of me doing plyo is a rare pic!  Savour it, my feet don’t leave the ground very often any more 😀

Yeah… lunges… I am not very coordinated with lunges, haha.

Those wussy pullups… I can definitely go harder next time, they were easy (move my feet farther out).

The barbell curls were light, so I focused on the squeeze, and my biceps were tired anyways from the night before.

The incline closegrip was basically me racking the barbell after the curls then doing pushups against them.  On a sidenote:  there are no pictures of the curls or the pushups, because doing curls in the squat rack is a n00b move, and Leslie would lose her PT license if someone saw it 😀

Walking side planks are basically you transition back and forth from side to side.  They felt good, even slightly easy, so Leslie had me hold the side plank for a few seconds before the transition on later sets.

Then the yoga after felt GREAT.  It made me realize how much I miss yoga, it boosts my mood so much.  Thanks for that Leslie!  Good call.

October ends with a sense of renewed purpose.  I have a long ways to go, but I am working on it.  See you later!

Day 6 – spinning it up

I slept in again this morning, on purpose.  No gym for me while I let my shoulder rest.

While I was at work, I felt strong, ready to do something.  I was making plans to go to Pure tonight for some flow, when I noticed a post on Facebook from my friend Crystallina.  She was doing her last spinoga classes before she heads to India for some yoga training!  Oh no!  I decided I needed to take a class with her and say goodbye.  Plus she was bringing some cookies she made!!  That sealed the deal… coconut chocolate fudge cookies, in case you were wondering



What is spinoga?  It’s a spin class, followed by a yoga class, followed by baked goods.  This efficiently combines my love of spin, yoga, and EATING COOKIES.



So I show up, only to find out it isn’t EXACTLY Crystallina’s last class.  She is going to India in October, so she couldn’t sign up for the Goodlife slot, so someone is taking over officially, although she will still sub in for him until Octoberish.  Thursday Spinoga lives on!  For now.

On with the show.  Spin class was different than what I normally do.  I normally do “RPM”, it is a series of about 7-9 long songs with a certain strategy to each one.  Home office picks them for the first X number of weeks, then the RPM teacher can mix it up with whatever songs off previous releases they like.  But the kind of Spin classes Crys does, she picks her own setlist and has a free hand with how we bike during those songs.

She said this Spin class was all about “her favorite things”.  Inwardly I groaned.  I knew what that meant.  Glee soundtrack, with a heavy dose of Britney Spears.

The Spin class itself was great!  With shorter songs and a freehand, we could chain our standing climbs or races through multiple songs, which worked well.  Crys often does tabata intervals, but today she did not.  Today she did a pyramid:  30 seconds of heavy resistance work, followed by 30 seconds of ride easy, then 60 of heavy, 30 sec rest, 90 sec heavy, 30 rest, 120 heavy, 30 rest, 120 heavy, then 30, 90, 30, 60, 30, 30, DONE.  Was that confusing?  Basically the workloads climb 30 seconds at a time to hit 2 minutes, then lower by 30 seconds at a time… so 8 working blocks punctuated by 30 sec easy rides.  Pyramid.  I can’t explain it more than that, haha.

I myself mixed the work blocks up when I was given the choice, some were seated climbs, some were standing climbs, some were mixed terrain (up for a bit, down for a bit).  When you add up the time, obviously this took up a big chunk of the class.

After the pyramid we did some “jumps”, meaning up down up down up down, doing it about as fast as you can say it out loud.  That is always fun to end a class with, when everyone is tired!  haha, it’s a good finisher.

then we headed into the quiet room for some yoga.  I knew this yoga would be “novel” for me, since it is different in so many ways than how I typically do it:

– normally I enter yoga calm and relaxed, this one I was coming in sweaty and tired and already very warmed up

– this wasn’t a hot room

– the Goodlife classes tend to attract a more casual crowd, which is totally cool with me, you get a different vibe than a full-packed room of maniacs and stonecold yoga terminators, lol

– Crys expected us to talk back to her, I am used to a quiet room!  lol  I think she actually seemed a little hurt that the people in this class weren’t more verbal and expressive.  I think the room was pretty much either shy people who didn’t want to stick out, or yoga lovers who are used to keeping their mouths shut, haha.

So we did a mostly hip and quad oriented class, which mixes well with the Spin, natch 🙂

Some down dog to warmup, some Dragon (darn Dragon!), dragon to winged dragon, back out, to forward fold to warrior 2 to straight leg triangle to a twisted triangle.  then some pigeon to king pigeon.  some spinal twists, some quad stretches on our stomach, then some hero pose.  long super awesome savasana.  man that hour passed fast!

hard to find a good winged dragon pic

king pigeon


I felt super energized during and after the class!  Warrior 2 to triangle was hard on my shoulder, I had to back out of it a bunch of times.  But I tried to keep my breath steady.

After class, cookies!  I wanted to take a pic, but I ate the cookies 🙂

I did take a pic with Crystallina though!  The guy taking the pic had us stand under the studio lights, the lack of me smiling is because I was blinded!  It does make me look a little angelic though 🙂

they call this pose tree in the headlights


After class I hit the showers and the sauna.  In the sauna, I practiced my ujjayi breathing, one slow deep breath in and out for each plank left to right in the ceiling.  Deep breath in, feel my lungs fill with warm air, breath out.  OK, 50 planks in the ceiling.  My lips are on fire and sweat is in my eyes, but I did a little more, deep breath in and out for each plank on the far wall, right to left.  OK, only 48 planks on the far wall, how long have I been in here, 15 min?  jeez,better get out.

On the way home, while thinking about Spin, I noticed HOW MANY spiders there are at my bus station.  How lazy are the OC transpo cleaning staff??  It looked like a Stephen King novel in every corner.  People are scared to take the elevator because the webs hang so low, I know I had to double over to pass under them.  Some of these webs are like 60 cm wide!  It’s ridiculous.  I took a pic of one away from the main tunnels, although it doesn’t show up well on camera.

Personally, I think spiders are kinda cool.  But it’s irresponsible to let them turn our bus station into the final scene of IT.


Oh well, awesome day!  Want to take one of Crystallina’s classes?  Check out her facebook page here:


Day 4 – the weakest link

As you go to the gym, the yoga studio, whatever, you start to learn what your body is capable of, and what it can possibly be capable of.  You also start to learn what parts are stronger than others, or which are weaker than others.  As it turns out, your entire body is connected to itself, and if one body part is lagging, it will hold the others back.  This can be a headtrip, since you can feel like your chest muscles are raring to go, but your shoulders or triceps will give out in a press.

muscles exercised in a chest press

As you explore resistance training, you will find out what parts are lagging, and you have to take a step back from your strengths so you can build up your weak spots.

When it comes to exercise, you really only are as strong as your weakest link.  Have strong legs and a weak core?  Your squats won’t be that good.  Strong back and a weak grip?  Bad at pullups.

Unfortunately, I am not that good at following my own advice.

I knew my shoulders had taken a pounding doing hot flow yoga classes 4 days in a row.  I knew my sprain was not that long ago.  But my chest still felt ready for chest day at the gym, so I got up Tuesday morning, ready to kill it, dimly aware that I should stop if my shoulder feels weak.


chest & tri day

dumbbell press (2 min rest) 60 x 16, 70 x 12, 80 x 7**, 90 x 4, 80 x 7, 70 x 11, 60 x 11

pec dec (30 sec rest) 135 x 14, 11, 7, 6, 2

straight bar pushdowns (30 sec rest) 120 x 15, 10, 5

assisted widegrip pullups (1 min rest)  6, 4, 4


notes:  I didn’t do cardio, since I was running late.  I did 3 warmup sets with light weight dumbbells to warmup the chest, and tried to explore some slow reps and deep ROM.  Everything felt fine.  When I got to the 80 pound dumbbells though, I felt a twinge in my left shoulder.  But because I was so focused on the exercise, I was mentally in the zone, my chest felt strong… I kept going.  Dumb on my part.  I would stop when it didn’t feel like the weight would go up, but my shoulder felt sore.  I did another 4 sets AFTER I felt the twinge, sigh.  Don’t do that.  By the time I made it to the last set, I felt my left shoulder “click” every time I lowered the weight.  That didn’t sound good.


Pec dec felt fine.  When it was time for triceps, I decided what would involve my shoulders the least were straight bar pushdowns, shoulders just resting.  What I find important with the straight bar pushdowns is to keep my wrists straight, otherwise I crank it a bit with my wrist and take some of the weight away from my triceps.

the stance looks silly, but it’s worth it


Unfortunately,  I felt a lot of strain right where the bicep meets the forearm, prob the pronator teres.


This muscle turns your forearm to make your palms face posteriorly, and helps flex your elbow.  Maybe in my attempt to put as much weight as possible on my triceps, I was also putting a lot of pressure on my elbow.


After I did some pullups, they felt pretty shaky, I knew I was done, and headed to work.


At work, that pronator muscle felt really sore, and my left shoulder felt really sore.  I became worried I  was maybe respraining my shoulder.  I kept testing out my range of motion in my shoulder with no resistance, and it felt fine, actually the soreness was more felt laterally  with my palms turned up than it was with palms facing down.  My original sprain was also focused mostly on the anterior, when I would lift my arm in front of me.  So I was relieved at least that it wasn’t a carbon copy of the old sprain, and was probably related to elbow stress as well.

I became worried that this was way too much exercise for me.  Maybe I can’t do resistance training 4 days a week and hot yoga 7 days a week.  My shoulder felt sore, but not blown out, so I had to make some hard choices.

I went home after work and slept for about an hour so I could think more, took a strong anti-inflammatory.  In the end I decided I would give my shoulder the rest of the week off from resistance training, no back or biceps either.  I would do a Yin yoga class Tuesday and Wednesday night and let my shoulder rest, and see how I felt for a flow on Thursday.  I dearly want to complete this 30 day challenge, but not at risk to my health.


I showed up for a late night 60 min Yin by Candlelight, with Mark teaching.


This was my first class with Mark.  He was really good!  I will admit, I have a personal preference to having females as guides, that is just my own thing, maybe some sort of Jungian anima animus thing, who knows.  But I needed Yin really bad, and Mark’s class was great!  He added a good element of humour, and worked the crowd really well.  It was mostly oriented on the hips and the middle of the back, so we had a few forward folds, pigeons, dragon pose, shoelace, gentle spinal twists.

shoelace – I have big thighs, so this one is hard


You know what?  When I left Yin, my shoulder felt a lot better.  I am at home now, about to settle into a long sleep, probably will sleep in late tomorrow, no gym, just try to let myself heal, work on my weak links for a bit 🙂


See you tomorrow!