Tag Archive: triangle


Day 16 – Double Down

When I say Double Down, I am NOT referring to cheese and bacon stuck between 2 pieces of fried chicken.

doesn’t that look appetizing?

Whatever happened to food that actually LOOKS like food?  And when was the last time KFC DIDN’T give me diarrhea??

Sorry, where was I?  Oh yes, when I say double down, I am referring to that moment in a workout when you have had SUCH a good time and enjoyed the experience so much you decide to go right back in and do it again immediately!  You are gambling against the law of diminishing returns, that if spin class was SO awesome, then 2 spin classes will be twice as awesome, right?

I should note:  I do NOT double down on resistance training.  When I lift weights, I am quite certain that the benefits go south quick after the one hour mark.  One full session is it for me.  But for spin, for yoga, sometimes I decide to go back to the well for more awesome.

I have talked about spinoga in the past.  But lately I have been really sick, and I was lucky to get in a single workout, much less two.  Well today, Sunday, I felt free and clear of the flu.  So I thought to myself, “hmmm, maybe when I go to hot yoga today, if I am feeling good, why not do 2 classes?”  I used to do 2 classes in a row quite often.  However, usually those 2 classes would be a flow then a yin, which has been a very natural-feeling combo for me.  Rarely do I do 2 “yang” type classes in a row, multiple flows or power classes sounds like murder!  Well, one time I did 3 non-yin hot yoga classes in a row, but that might have been temporary insanity on my part 🙂

getting fitted for the newest yoga gear!

Today I noticed a combo that might be a nice transition for me though.  The studio was hosting an “intro” class followed by a regular flow class.  Perfect!  I could do a class where we do one pose at a time in relative isolation, perhaps followed by a few minutes of Q&A, I stand a good chance of not being obliterated after my long absence from the hot room, then if I am feeling squirrelly still, I could do the reg flow right after!

For the record, I think intro classes are a good idea once in a while regardless.  People hear “beginner” or “intro” and they assume it will be of no value.  This is the wrong way to think of it.  Call it a “fundamentals” class instead.  So often in the vinyasa classes we move from one pose to another, maybe you get an adjustment, maybe you don’t.  Maybe over the months you build up some bad habits that noone notices.  In your head, you are imitating the person next to to you, and it has become comfortable through repetition.

So with a fundamentals class, you can spend some time honing and polishing the mainstays of your asana practice:  Warrior 1 and 2, chaturanga, runners lunge, forward folds, maybe some triangle, maybe even the transitions between those poses!  For most of the casual yoga attendees, transition is a race to the next pose.  They might be clear on the poses, more or less, but the transitions are often any which way you can get there.  A fundamental class can help you with the moves you do in between your moves.

So I like to do an intro class once every couple of months, as long as it doesn’t break the bank to do so.

I showed up at the studio, ready for the intro class with Tiffani.

tree with flair, sort of a flamenco dancer tree. Ole!

The class actually had a lot of men in it, which was good for me to see.  A lot of guys feel intimidated to try yoga, despite all the good things they hear about it.  Guys don’t like looking like bumbling fools in a female-heavy environment, haha.

We practiced Warrior 1 and 2, we did a few sun salutations, some cobra practice, some triangle, some reverse warrior.  It felt good!

reverse warrior

Went to the changeroom, realized I wanted MORE.  Unfortunately, not being a genius, I had not packed any extra clothes!  So I would be wandering into a brand new class in my sweaty gear from last class.  Oh well.  A wise yoga teacher once tried to drill this into my head, “Jeremy, bring extra shirts.”  Looks like I still have a lot to learn…

Took some pixx with Tiffani who taught my class 1 and Megan who is teaching my class 2!  worlds collide!

yoga sandwich!

This was a “karma flow” class for Megan, where she waives her teaching fee, and all attendance is by donation, and all donations go direct to working with local orgs in India fighting sex trafficking.  Megan is about $12,000 of the way towards her $20,000 goal, and she works darn hard for it!  I only wish there were more people in the class, a great class for a great price and the $ is going to a great cause!

This flow, it sort of felt like Warrior 2 was our “home base”.  Most of our routines had Warrior 2 as the common point.

lots of tensing and strength flowing through this “still” pose

Warrior 2 is also a nice challenge for my sore shoulder.  Kind of sad saying holding my arm out in front of me is a challenge, but look around during the avg hot yoga class.  After a few planks, a few pushups, someone in Warrior 2 is always dropping their arms and fighting to bring it back to parallel.  It is always a sobering realization to know that yoga is helping you to do something as simple as holding your arms out stright in front of you, or straight up beside your head, or whatever.

Warrior 2 also reminds you the importance of putting your shoulders “down and back”.  Also known as “shoulder packing”.  I think shoulder packing is a huge point for life in the Modern World.  We spend so much time hunched over our computer, shoulders rounded, back curved, core not engaged.  We practice this poor posture sometimes for hours every day!  So when it comes time to do yoga, or lift weight, we have weak cores, weak back muscles, poor posture, and rounded shoulders.

Practicing putting your shoulders “down and back”, puts your shoulders in a more natural position, it corrects your posture, it helps you lift more weight, it helps you hold Warrior 2 longer, it is just better all around!

down and back

So once we made it through the karma flow, I walked out of the change room to a nice surprise, someone had made healthy brownies!

I had eaten 2 pieces already before I realized they were healthy!  Hey!  It’s the golden hour after a workout, I eat guilt-free 🙂  But these brownies were made out of zucchini?  I didn’t taste any zucchini… sneaky zucchini!  The brownies were made by fellow 30 day challenger Manon, who it just SO happens, has her own awesome blog!  Check it out!

http://theblissprojectblog.wordpress.com/

 

Double classes always leave me thirsty and sleepy, so I came home and drank about 3 litres, haha.  Going to get a good sleep tonight.  See you tomorrow!

Day 8 – cold therapy?

Woke up today and felt ok.  Shoulder was not complaining, the soreness seemed to be fading.  I seemed to be acclimating to the improved diet.  I just felt generally even-tempered and rested.  It must be the cool evenings, they are so relaxing.

I have always liked Autumn, the slight chill in the air, the green fading away. Growing up, I didn’t even get the great fall colours you get here in Ontario, Edmonton’s choices for forests were more pine-y.  I just liked the cold air 🙂

The city does not seem to echo my contentment.  It has been raining off and on all day.  It started getting heavy before 8 am, and persisted until the afternoon.  Then came back in early evening.  Maybe we needed all that rain, I don’t mind.

I didn’t make it to sleep until past midnight on Friday following the late-night cardio, so I slept easily past the 8 am yoga class, but I made it to the 10 am class with Megan.  Took a pic before class, dodged most of the rain but not all of it!

It blends nicely into my sleeve, but yes the yoga teacher is wearing a cast.  She broke her foot a week ago!  Nevertheless she wanted to jump back into teaching, so she would be sitting at the front of the room giving verbal cues, while a fellow teacher assisted by walking around the room and offering adjustments when possible.

Chelsea!

This is Chelsea, she is also doing the 30 day challenge and reads this blog!  She would be assisting Megan at least for this morning’s classes.  Just a minor note, but I am pleased the quote on the wall is part of the pic as well, just a happy coincidence.

Doesn’t Ottawa have a cool yoga community?  I have only been doing classes for about the span of 14 months, but I find the community to be full of awesome people.  Warm people; industrious, creative, passionate, expressive people.  This might be one of the reasons I am throwing pictures into the blog, you get to see these glowing smiling faces. 🙂

Yes, class!  75 minute hot class.  I step out of the cool September rain into what turned out to be a rather humid hot room.  The practice seemed very back-focused, lots of twists.  It seemed to settle mostly into my lower back, or I might have been projecting into the area that needed the most attention.  Multiple seated prayer twists, straight leg triangles, revolved wide-legged standing forward folds, low side lunges, side stretches.

revolved forward fold

One fun moment came when we were in wide legged forward fold, put our hands on opposite legs, and tried to loop our head under one of the arms… I don’t know if anyone succeeded at that, but I tip my hat to them.  There were options in class for side crow, which I wisely declined.  When we experimented with seated pigeon, which is a step along the path to putting your foot behind your head, I found the whole experience tough on my tailbone, I think I might have bruised it slightly, so I laid on my back and did a little dead pigeon instead.

side crow with optional creepy face variation

dead upsidedown pigeon

Overall, it was a great class!  The best part was that I really was “in the zone” today.  I wasn’t the strongest or the most balanced or the most flexible, but my mind felt this laser-sharp detachment.  The whole practice was like a moving meditation.  My breathing felt easy (I didn’t notice it falling apart), and even as I struggled through this or that pose, my focus was there – WITHIN the 4 corners of my little mat.  As the sweat dripped off my body, I saw and heard and felt it hit the mat.  All the while outside rain drops pitter-pattered off the ground, I could hear the rain during savasana.  My sweat poured out of me in the hot room, flowing down from heaven to earth, and outside the rain flowed down heaven to earth.  This harmony with my environment, this synchronicity with the cycles of the seasons, reminded me that I was in the right place, I am exactly where I need to be right now.  Or maybe I was just feeling introspective. 🙂

I think this is what Megan was referring to by the balance between effort and ease – sthira and sukta.  Active yet soft, strong and yielding, observing without reacting, stillness in movement, we explore these dualities in order to ultimately discard them, in the goal of one day living a balanced life.

I guess what I am trying to say is this was a very balanced class for me personally.  Big Plus – the 75 min flew by before I knew it!  After class ended, I sat up, took a long pull off the water bottle, looked behind me, and the couple against the wall both sat up and gave each other a light kiss.  It was a sweet moment.

I walked through the rain some more.  Made it home.  Chilled out.  I actually enjoy the rain, it is comforting.  It seems like a paradox that I can both love the cold Fall air and the cool rain, as well as the hot room and building fire in my body, but that’s just how it is.  The cool air and the hot yoga provided a nice contrast to each other.

Then I read this article on the powers of cold therapy in strength training:

http://scoobysworkshop.com/2012/09/08/cold-therapy-for-strength/

First of all, I love Scooby, his fitness website is AWESOME.  Please go there and explore it fully.  This post of his though was to reference a Stanford study, and suggest that perhaps cooler temps help to prolong chemical activity from certain temperature sensitive enzymes?  Stronger for longer when we stay cool, basically.  This has not been proven conclusively, but it is an interesting theory to explore.  How does this reconcile with my love of hot yoga?  It does not at all!  Darn those dualities!  🙂

See you tomorrow!