Tag Archive: vinyasa


Day 24 – be patient

I have to type this quick because I got home at 11 pm and I have to be up at 5 am, lol.

Some days, life conspires against you.  It wants you to fail, it takes all your plans and squeezes them hard.  That sounds way more dramatic than it is, but thats what it feels like when you are in the middle of it and getting frustrated.  You just have to be patient, and do what you can.  Some days it rains, and you just have to weather it until the sun comes back.

For the next few days at work, my bosses decided it was time for our annual meeting, where we all get together and everyone makes a presentation, every workgroup gets their turn.  This works out to 2 or 3 days of pure talking.  Death by Powerpoint!  They also decided we needed to have this meeting out in the middle of nowhere.  Plus not catered.  Well, not REAL food, just cookies and coffee.  Bleh.  You cant live off cookies and coffee all day, that sucks.

So when you factor in the commuting there and back, today (and tomorrow) turn out to be 12 hour days… I leave around 6:30 am and get home around 6 pm, starving.  (I should have brought lunch, when we got our lunch hour, I walked for 15 min to find somewhere to eat, each way, haha)  So yeah, lesson learned, bring something, ANYTHING with me to eat tomorrow.

So, I got home at 6, ate something.  I need 2 hours to digest so I can go to yoga on an empty stomach (all that twisting, full tummy would be a bad idea).  Add up the need to hit the hay in good time… and it means I literally have no time to lift.  No time for weights.  Once I realized this on the way home, I got really irritated.

I just feel the need to lift, I had done so well next week, and now I am getting shut out.  I took 2 days off from lifting because I needed the rest, and now it looks like shut out for 2 more days.  I have just enough time to either lift or yoga.  And I dont want to quit the 30 day hot yoga challenge, so I need to pick yoga.  Which is a hard lesson for me, because right now all I want to do is push some iron.  Its addicting 🙂

But maybe this is the lesson, be patient – be patient even with less than you want or need.

So I napped, digested, headed out to a 9:30 pm hot vinyasa flow.  Gigi was teaching.  No pic tonight, but there are MANY pixx of Gigi on this blog, just look around 🙂  60 min vinyasa style, room barely half full (so darn late!)  It was hard of course, but it was also very shoulder-heavy, lots of 3 legged dogs and 2 legged dogs!  My shoulder is still building itself up, so I had to sit about half of those out, but I gave them a try a few times 🙂

Gigi was SOOOO enthusiastic this class!  It almost bordered on self-parody.  If I didnt know her better I would think she was mocking us with her enthusiasm, but I know she was just in good spirits.  Just lots of glee in her voice, (one more breath!  hold onnnnn!  hooooold onnnn!! lift your knee highurr!  one more second!  aaaand, downward dog!)

Dont take it as a criticism, Gigi is awesome, and I love her classes.  I was just amused by her unbridled glee.  It almost broke the tension on my crappy day and I chuckled to myself a few times during class.  So you can say that, yeah, yoga was the best part of my day.  Every other part was irritating and stressful, but yoga was my warm little moment of silliness 🙂

 

Day 24 down!  a lesson in patience and laughing at yourself!  bye!

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Day 17 – working through tired

So the plan was to do chest and triceps in the morning, then work, then do some Forrest yoga at night.

Then I decided to stay up to watch Sons of Anarchy, haha.  Then I slept in the next morning.

So now the plan was to do yoga after work, then do some late night lifting.

All day at work, I felt a creeping fatigue setting in in my legs.  Looks like the workout yesterday might pay off some microtrauma dividends after all.  But it also sapped my energy further, and I never felt like I got that full night’s sleep.

Work went over by about 15 minutes, so I was rushing out the door and onto the bus to make it to the 5:30 class with Lisa.  I decided that since for weeks now I had been doing the 90 min Forrest class at 7:30, why not this week do a 75 min power flow class at 5:30?  You have to mix it up, can’t let myself get too comfortable.  Plus, I thought an earlier class afforded me the best shot to do some lifting later.

Class was pretty packed.  I settled in between two guys – one of which just placed his mat wherever he felt and not within the handy tape markings, and another guy who got all offended when I squeezed in between them.  Maybe he assumed he would be getting more personal space in a November hot yoga class?  Suck it up, buttercup!

Anyways, offended guy squeezed to the right so now his mat was out of whack.  Even before the class, I noticed that both of them had very aggressive breathing.  They were NOT relaxed.  I wondered if either they were both genuinely stressed out, or both just being affected greatly by the heat.  They both looked to be in decent shape, so why so serious?  I decided that this class I would make an extra effort to make it look effortless, I would be a calm moment of zen in this heavy breathing corner of the hot room.  If I felt I was getting sloppy and panting, I would back off, even if that means I wouldn’t look like an athlete.

As the class got underway, we were doing a series of planks, and I felt a pinch in my wrist.  So I backed off for a few minutes and did some wrist-stretching exercises on my own.  I missed a few side planks in the process, but oh well.  After that, my wrist felt better for the rest of class, so I was glad I did it 🙂

Even with the occasional break, the class was hard.  It was hot, sweaty, taxing.  Very quickly into class I realized that my energy levels were not very high, and I also guessed that if this class drains my battery any further, I would be headed to the gym to lift while I was totally worn out.  I don’t want that, I want to lift while my energy is high, I want to overload the muscle, not just go through the motions and burn calories.  So by about 40 min in to class, I resolved this would be my only workout for the day and chest gets pushed to Thursday.  so make the most out of this hot yoga class!

And the class was pretty challenging.  I rather enjoyed though when we were told to flip our dogs, which means you gotta step onto someone else’s mat… normally I don’t do it if the person beside me doesn’t do it, I don’t want to get all up in their bubble.  But then Lisa said, “maybe just do it tonight and introduce yourself to your neighbour”, or words to that effect.  I had a twinge of caprice, and decided that NOW was the perfect time to get into the space of huffy guy who got offended before class; so even though he wasn’t flipping his dog, I flipped over like a crab, planting one foot on his mat, arching my back and stretching my hand out.  hahaha, consider his world ROCKED.  I’m such a rebel 🙂

(I am probably imagining it, he is probably very nice and I am inventing drama, don’t take me seriously)

As the class wore on, and I was getting my butt kicked, I wondered, “wow this grind is getting to me.  I can’t remember the last time I came to a yoga class and just rocked it out, like it was no big deal.  every class feels greater than me.  my energy never feels like it has time to recover.  I haven’t been a yoga superstar in maybe over a week.  I am sitting out of stuff way too much, these moves are just wearing me down.  this 30 day challenge is just pulverizing me.”

And the class kept going, more cues, more poses, more stuff.  And then a funny thing happened, I started to just let it go.  I started to shed my attachment to looking pro, or sticking crow, or a perfect vinyasa flow.  I just did every pose I could because I just liked doing them.  And I started to feel really HAPPY.  It almost became joyous.  I was sweating my guts out, but enjoying the moment.  For the next half hour or so of class that was left, I just enjoyed the moment, like there was nowhere else to be.  I had finally worn out my stubbornness and ego through hard grinding practice, and suddenly felt REALLY GOOD about myself.

I think this 30 day challenge might be starting to work its magic on me!

After class I grabbed a quick shot of Lisa, and thanked her for the great class.  Lisa gave me a great shot, she tried to recreate her Lululemon poster, haha!

pretty close Lisa!

My tank was still pretty depleted, so I left the chest and triceps for another day, and came home to just relax, eat some good food, listen to music, type up this blog, and get to bed as early as I could!  I was dead tired today, but worked through it, and found some joy in the process.  Great Day 17!  See you tomorrow!

I LOOOOVE to sleep in on weekends.   Friday night (the shoulders, the legs, the yoga) left me plum tuckered.

Unfortunately, my 30 day challenge starts today!  Yoga class every day (at least that is the challenge I set for myself out of the options available).  And since it is Labour Day weekend, most studios have reduced hours.  You see, most sane people are out of town this weekend, but not I.  I am gearing up to exercise like crazy.  So, the studio I wanted to have track my attendance only had morning classes (well, and a noon one, but on the weekends, noon counts as am to me).

Part of me dearly wanted to take in one of my customary weekend spin classes.  But I am too stubborn to fail out of a challenge on the first day.  Plus they track your progress on a big piece of construction paper with stars!    I find that irresistible.  I have done 2 or 3 30 day hot yoga challenges before, so I was ready for this.

Yea, so I still slept in past the 8 am class, but I made it down there for the 10 am class.  I will just say this now, the yoga studio is gorgeous.

the hallway leading to the hot room

This class would be led by Megan, who is also, not coincidentally the founder of this particular 30 day challenge!  I have been fortunate enough to work together with Megan on a few charity projects before, and not only are her yoga classes excellent, but she is a tireless philanthropist and brings yoga and social activism together in a really inspiring way.  She obviously lives what she loves, and I keep hoping some of this will rub off on me and one day I will be as awesome as her. 🙂

Check out the challenge website here!  http://bethechangechallenge.webs.com/

I have taken a few classes with Megan before, including one memorable one where I knocked myself senseless trying to get into a headstand.  Hopefully no headstands this class!

It would be a 75 min hot class, and a “vinyasa” flow class, meaning we would link our movements to our breath, we would flow.  I will admit, I was a little nervous.  I still felt rusty, like I was not back “in the zone” yet with my yoga practice.  I was worn out from Friday night so I didn’t know how my shoulders would feel.  And I am so used to doing the Moksha series, that doing a brand new series would be extra-challenging… extra-challenging like changing the track on me when I still hadn’t taken the training wheels off yet.

The class started off with some supported fish and some forward bends, ok so far so good.

supported fish

Then it heated up.  Since it was all new to me, it is hard to describe it, but it felt like plank pose was our “home base”, where we stretched our back muscles out before flowing through all of the Warriors and the crescent lunges and the chaturangas.  We did a series of half moons (which I love even though they tire me out) and seated prayer twists and crescent lunge twists.  I love the twisting sensation in general, but my shoulders were feeling quite stiff, so I bound my arms around myself instead of touching opposite elbow to knee.  Sometimes I can touch elbow to knee with the crescent lunge if not the seated prayer, but today even those I took the arm bind on (wrapping your back arm around the small of your back, an acceptable compromise).

half moon

crescent lunge twist

By this point in the class, the heat and the novelty of the sequence was getting to me.  I sweat A LOT.  Litres of sweat (and a few tears) littered the ground around my mat.  As I sweat I got tired, and the flow continued.  As I got tired, I got frustrated, and the flow continued.  I got grumpy.

At one point we went into bow pose, but again, my shoulders weren’t feeling up to that, so I did some locust.  But then we did bow pose again.  And again.  Everyone was laughing and rolling around, trying to go from bow pose into a full bridge.  And I was stuck doing my sad little locust, and getting more frustrated.  I don’t know, I felt left out.

bow pose

This is part of the practice too.  Sometimes when you find the practice difficult, the negative side of you comes out, the side that gets all defensive when life doesn’t go your way.  The side of you that wants to lash out and lay blame.  It’s like life that way.  When things don’t go your way, the negative side comes out.

And you think you have dealt with your negative side because you haven’t seen it in MONTHS.  But it’s still there, you just layered over it with your happy social side, the side you construct in order to “get along”.  This is what happened to me, I had been getting along and had left a thick layer of happy over whatever stress and tension I was feeling beneath, about my shoulder, about whatever events in my life I have been upset about but couldn’t do anything about, etc.

So I showed up to yoga feeling tired but happy, and the asanas broke me down until I came face to face with the ugly, unhappy side.  I guess I knew it was there, I just chose not to deal with it.  But here it was, and I tried to work through it.  I tried to sweat it out and chaturanga it out of my system.  You acknowledge these negative feelings and you keep flowing.  Yoga is good for that, helping you calmly breathe your way through stressful situations.

And then the class was over, and I stumbled out of the room dehydrated and worn out.  I was so melted that I accidentally tried to steal a guy’s shirt!  I walked into the change room, gathered my clothes in a pile, apparently I grabbed this other guy’s shirt too, then I went for a shower.  He got nervous, went to the front desk to complain someone stole his shirt, came back in the changeroom and found it in my laundry pile!  He tapped on my shower to tell me what I had done, I felt really bad!

Grabbed some pixx with Megan too!

this is the last known pic of Megan before she broke her foot…

See how damp I am?  Hot yoga is no joke!

Ok, I would like to talk to you for a second about something else.  This won’t be a fashionable topic, be ready to end your reading here, haha.  There is more you need to get out of your system than just negative emotions.  I am talking about waste.  Sweat, pee, poop.  Grossed out yet?  But you can’t make it without them.

I sweat a lot more since I started doing hot yoga.  Not even kidding.  But I came to realize just how much my body ENJOYED sweating.  I preload with water before gym or spin or yoga, and it feels bad now if I don’t, like I get really tired halfway through because I feel dehydrated.  If I could suggest anything to you, it’s that you drink tons of water, drink water like it’s your job.  And show up ready to sweat.  Water in, water out, all day long.  Keep it moving.

Hand in hand with all that water-drinking will come the other 2, naturally.  I urinate a lot more than I used to, haha.  This is actually of great benefit to me.  I have gout, I was diagnosed with it when I was about 20, my body just couldn’t process all the junk I was putting into it, and it accumulated, crystallized, and turned to little rocks in my toe joints.  You can’t “cure” that, but by drinking more water, I make my body better at flushing itself out.  So the sweat, the urine, it helps me stay “balanced”.

MMM, ok, the third one.  No need to go into great detail, but we all need to “stay regular”.  I remember once I was travelling in Africa, and one of my fellow travellers had not gone in about 7 days.  Folks, he did not look well!  He looked green and queasy.  Luckily, exercise helps with that too, the twists, the flailing your limbs around, it’s all good.  Drinking lots of water helps (see a pattern?), eating lots of fibre helps.  Potato chips don’t have fibre!  Keep looking for better food choices, haha.

So the diet theme of my challenge today is recognizing and assessing my waste processes.  Doing quite well, and much better than before I started losing weight, thanks 🙂  In honour of my waste, today I drank massive amounts of water, I ate lots of flax seed and greens, ate a few salads, and told my body thank you for supporting me through all this exercise.

See you tomorrow!

hot yoga in the summer!

It was such a nice sunny day, I decided to do a little hot yoga!

 

Hot yoga is actually a great idea in the summer!  60 minutes or 90 minutes in the hot room, and the heat and humidity outside doesn’t seem so bad!  I hear that some people only do hot yoga in the winter, but you are missing out!  The hot room is less crowded, and nothing clears your head and your pores like a good hot yoga class!  How could you put that on a shelf for half of the year?  Seems crazy to me.

 

I headed down to Westboro to take a class at the Pure studio (links below).  The lovely Edith was going to be guiding a 75 min yin/yang class, sort of half flows and half yin stretches.  Which was just what I wanted, I wanted to work my upper body a little bit, and stretch out my hips.

I let Edith know about my shoulder sprain, it is ALWAYS a good idea to let your yoga teacher or your trainer or whomever know about what your physical challenges are!  And I know Edith would be ready to show me modifications if I felt too worn out to keep up with the regular practice.

Surprisingly, the flows didn’t wear me out, my shoulder held together really well.  I got through all my chaturangas and down dogs and sun salutations with the kind of “hunger” you feel in strength postures when it was something your muscles were really CRAVING.  It was like I did them, and I felt like I wanted MORE.

This is an important part of listening to your body that sometimes people overlook.  You learn to listen to your body to avoid putting it through pain, or you learn when to back off from a posture.  But sometimes, you are where you need to be, doing what you need to do – and you feel like you want more… Listening to your body also means knowing when to go for it.  All 3 Warriors, extended side angles, triangles, nothing too rigorous, but strung together really well.  Lots of fun!

I was very pleased at the Yang part of class 🙂

 

Then came the Yin.

 

We did a lot of hip openers… those… were not so pleasing, haha!  The worst was near the end, at the part when I am used to doing Pigeon, and then Savasana, aka “thank god it’s pigeon that means it’s almost over”?!?  Instead we did Dragon, then Winged Dragon (I have never called it that before, but makes sense).  My body was in shock!  Halfway through the winged dragon, my breathing was rough and trembling.  I had to really push to steady my breath on each side.  I could have backed off and just relaxed, but part of me really wanted to dig into that sensation of discomfort, the special kind you get during hip openers, especially dragon for me.  So I shudder-breathed through it, it felt like an eternity, I was ready to curse and swear at Edith and tell her to stop talking, let us out of the pose, move on!!  Haha, that’s Dragon for you, it brings up a lot of emotions 🙂

By the end of that 75 min, I was quite done.  So I showered, and headed back out into the street for the rest of my day.  It was only 11:30 am, except now I was loose and rejuvenated and relaxed!  Thanks Edith!

I also saw a workshop for next Sunday for a “shoulder rehab” type class, it must have been a sign!  I signed up for that one right away 🙂

 

the studio:  www.pureyogaottawa.com

Edith’s website!  she blogs and tweets and all that good stuff!  http://edithparinas.com/