The Adventures of Now

exploring the mix of fun, fitness & health…as a diabetic


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Goal Pose: Headstand

ReflectionsfromtheMaticon

One of my goal poses (not to be confused with fear pose) in yoga is to be able to hold a headstand. With my fear pose(s) it’s often over-thinking that holds me back from, with goal pose(s) I’ve given it lots of thought … I just haven’t gotten quite there yet.

Headstands are one of those poses that I’ve always been surrounded by but often forget about practicing it myself.  I always remember when my Dad and step-mom introduced yoga to my high school my senior year (soooo glad it wasn’t freshman) and while my step-mom was guiding us through one thing or another, my dad silently extended in to headstand  slowly catching the awe of everyone in the room – for me it was just dad being dad. He’s 6’6″ so it made for quite an impressive site.

When I taught children, they would happily flip into headstand – often a little too quickly. I’ve done plenty of donkey kicks myself and taught many. But the strength in headstands comes from the control.

Like  from 0:22  – 0:40 in this video from Equinox (but perhaps not in your underwear)

Control takes a little more concentration. So I’m trying to pay attention to certain steps and poses in my current classes that can help me gain that control and strength (looking at you core).

10 steps to a headstand from FitSguar

Wide-Legged-Forward-Bend

  My favorite yoga class has included a wide-legged forward bend in almost each one since I’ve been practicing in April. Looks simple enough – my hamstrings tell me otherwise. My head is not on the ground. Not even close. But through the guidance of the instructor, I’ve really tried to be more mindful of the pose. It’s getting there! Slowly but surely.

Dolphin-PlankAnother  pose that is a huge support is not just plank but Dolphin Plank and with babysteps, inching my feet forward. This is part strength and trust, as my feet move closer to the front my trust needs to build in the strength of my arms for the foundation of my headstand.

                                                                                                                                                                  Bound-Headstand-Against-Wall

 What I should be doing, is practicing at home – and this would be an excellent way to do so (not really an option at the gym).

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:: Related Links ::

How to headstand || Lululemon Blog

5 Reasons you can’t do a headstand yet (#fearpose) || FitSguar

Yoga Inversions 101 || Whole Living

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YourTurnIcon Headstand : challenge or child’s play? 

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Fear Pose: Wheel

ReflectionsfromtheMaticon

                           

  

 I’m scared of wheel pose.

 

I have been since gymnastic days … right there with cartwheels.

(Those still don’t happen)

Perhaps it’s a lack of confidence in my arm strength …. with good reason.

I start in bridge, really reaching my arms away, shoulder blades in, feet grounded. Maybe, just maybe lifting one leg in the air…and then the other.

Then it’s time to transition into wheel. Panic starts to set in.

I place my hands by my ears, ok I can do this, today will be the day, I will lift off the ground. 

My brain got the message, why hasn’t my arms?

Oh crap, I’m stuck in that awkward moment of arms not pulling lifting enough weight and my head is still on the mat – not quite reaching the crown of my head either but the back of my head which my neck says is a bad idea.

More panic, I can’t do it. I’m not strong enough, I’m going to hurt myself.

This has been an internal dialogue for quite some time.

Teaching kids yoga, this was one of their favorite poses. Luckily many knew it from gymnastics already and I was able to use a model student rather than myself – and when I didn’t I just had to cross my fingers that I would actually lift into wheel to show them.

Silly really.

This is definitely mind over matter.

Last year I added it to my list of goals – thinking that if I worked on arm strength (yeah, about that…) I would be able to pull it off.

But wishing doesn’t make something happen.

And I would often chicken out of the pose in class, out of fear of discomfort (not to be confused with pain).

So I kept it for a goal this year. I have just over a month to finish out with my favorite yoga classes before I move. I wanted to get back to the practice I had last spring, especially if I was taking a break from running I could give it more focus and really try poses.

While that hasn’t quite happened yet, it still remains a very achievable goal for March 1st.

(I have a feeling my arms might be a little sore from dragging boxes down 5 flights after that …I say I have nothing to wear now and that I got rid of most of my magazines … wait until moving day and I’ll be singing a different tune  complaining other wise) 

Last Monday I was in a relatively new yoga class, one that’s more restorative  where the teacher provides adjustments and a sense of soothing. It hadn’t been about finding the challenge in each pose but about listening to my body and really paying attention to what it needs (hello hipflexors).

And then she said the evil word : wheel pose.

But it was what she said right after it that made a difference: don’t even think about it.

Wheel pose. don’t even think about  it. just do it.

Alright Nike.

Don’t think. Just do. Ready set…

Go.

And I did.

Up up up & away into wheel.

Boy did it feel opening.

For the whole two breaths that it lasted.

This past Monday she called out wheel pose again.

And I blocked out the panic and remembered that brief moment I was in wheel  – I wanted that.

Don’t think, just do.

As my hands started to slip, I slowly lowered down, grabbed my towel and tried again.

Only for two or three breaths, but it was up.

Wheel is uncomfortable [to me] and there’s a lot to be worked on but I think before I leave NYC I should be able to hold a solid wheel for 5 breaths.

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:: Related Links ::


  40 min yoga session leading up to Wheel Pose || Yoga Journal 

4 steps to one-legged variation of Upward-Facing Bow Pose (pic above) || Yoga Journal

What not to do in Wheel Pose || Fit Sugar

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YourTurnIcon

                                                   What’s your fear pose?

 


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Pick me, choose me, adjust me

ReflectionsfromtheMaticon

Not everyone likes a hands on yoga teacher. I love it. Sometimes it can be a little nerve-wracking, you’re already shaking in the pose and you see the teacher making her way over and all you can think is “I can’t reach my toes / my arm is extending as high as it can / my heart is as open as it’ll ever be / yoga is torture “ (and if something doesn’t feel right then you should definitely speak up!). Other times a little helping hand can open you to a pose in a whole new way. But mostly for me it’s the little touches. Helping you to further release into downward dog or child’s pose. Adding weight to you shoulders (and if you’re anything like me they’re permanently glued to my ears) in savasana.

{image}

Perhaps it’s growing up with a dad who would teach me some basic poses to deal with heavy backpack aches and getting the one-on-one attention.  Or may it was growing up massage therapy and later physical therapy. Definitely the influence of being around yoga teachers and becoming one myself to children. I even took the practice of rubbing lotion on the kids feet which was something I picked up from my yoga teacher mentor & stepmother. Ok maybe not when I taught at the camp. Ps. have you seen children’s feet during the summer after a morning full of camp and beach to come to the yoga studio?

Hello hand sanitizer.

So when I realize that a teacher does adjustments, from that moment forward there is a constant replay in my mind:

Despite not having watched Grey’s Anatomy since like the first season, all I can hear a-la-Meredith at :50 is

::: pick me, choose me, adjust me :::

YourTurnIcon

Do you like hands-on teachers or see it as an invasion of space? 

 

 

 


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Yoga: 6/20

The first couple of June Wednesday yoga classes haven’t been awesome for me. I’ve been late or not had time to settle in. The teacher, who I normally enjoy, came across as pushy to me and I had trouble getting in synch. 

Last week redeemed it all. There was the 5 min discussion before the practice began that set the tone. 

I randomly checked my horoscope after reading HTP’s post. I don’t usually put too much belief into horoscopes but enjoy checking them out every once in while. 

Part of it was echoed during yoga :  

You are loving everything that your life is showing you. It’s revealing new ideas and options. – source

Not only was it mentally a good class but there was plenty of hip-flexor loving lunges. Silly bruised knee (still!) had me sitting out of crow but still got plenty of hip openers. 


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Triple Threat Tuesday

It’s Thursday.

But let’s talk about Tuesday {as in 2 days ago}.

After my unexpected rest from exhaustion and shin splints last week, I was determined to get back on track with my run Tuesday morning.  I pulled out 4.16 miles in 43 min for an average of 10:20  …. I didn’t die but it wasn’t my best run. I wore my compression sleeves which I normally save for after and it definitely helped.

I also took my first ice bath. Sort of. With the freezer still broken {not anymore!} I haven’t been able to ice properly which is asking for trouble. And since pretty much all major points of my legs hurt, I figured an ice bath would work. Only minus the ice. Instead just really cold water. Really cold. I can’t imagine a full on ice bath. Especially since it was only enough water that a baby would be safe in it. But my shins were happier.

………..

I also knew that keeping up with yoga is a must these days. Especially since I “iced” but didn’t stretched.

So I went to my first lunchtime yoga class! It was actually my first lunchtime anything class. Or lunchtime gym session. Or lunchtime me time.

Mixed thoughts.

The teacher played music so faintly I didn’t realize that it was on until the 2nd half of class and I’ve discovered that really throws off my practice. I also had a giant clock directly in front of me which was not helpful when I knew I had to get back to the office.

While all the gym classes have mirrors, this one seemed to have twice as many.

So it seemed really hard to focus “on the mat.”

But she targeted hip flexors which was much-needed (even if she did refer to them as protagonists in books…I didn’t get it).

It’s worth it to go back but definitely not my favorite class/instructor.

{pin}

I only got 1 foot off the ground at a time {step 1 & 2} but the first time I’ve attempted headstand in a long time. 

………..

I finished up the night with soccer. In one of our more intense, well-played games.

Last week the other team forfeited and we played each other, everyone in for the entire time. It was actually the most fun game yet  – we have a good group.

So 3 different activities in 1 day … that’s a record. 

I was a little nervous that I would burn myself out after last week but having Wednesday off & being able to sleep in definitely helped.

Can’t say it will be the new routine but it’s possible!

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Your turn:
Do you break up workouts throughout the day?
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Related Links:
8 Ice Bath Dos & Donts

 

 


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Monday Night Yoga: Free time to Exhale

 So I had grand plans that if we were given the week off between Christmas & New Years I would take full advantage of all the fitness classes my gym offers which I don’t usually get to go to,  as well as finally use passes to Pure Yoga and my gift certificate to Exhale.

Sometimes too many options and too much time leads to little action. 

But I did get to 2 Exhale classes. Both Slow Flow – aiming for a restorative approach and working on the whole knee/hip/groin thing.

{pin}

I went Saturday to the UES 12:15 with Diana Rilov. I went to the gym for a quick 30 min cardio warm up first and since I’m awful with timing and estimating how long it takes to get some place (and thinking the studio was closer to the gym than it was) I had to hustle – when it started to rain – wtf anyone else get caught in that quick shower? I snuck into class (luckily I wasn’t the only one so I wasn’t completely disruptive). Maybe it was because I jumped in but I was out of synch with the instructor. It was also my first time in that location and it’s a lot brighter. In a true NYC moment there was a fight between two women that involved a (barking) dog. Channel that Zen! At one point we went into that 1/2 table top 1/2 wheel pose. I actually have no idea what it’s called – I’d go with reaching table – but when someone asked the instructor her reply was “I don’t know but we just do it because it’s fun!” At first I thought she was a little batty but as she kept on exclaiming “it’s fun!” I realized that sometimes being on the mat isn’t only about letting it go to find that center point – sometimes it’s just about letting go and not any deeper than that.

{urban yoga girl via pin}

Since I jumped straight into the practice I also didn’t really see who I was practicing with until 1/2 way through the class. I was the youngest one there which is how I started out but far different from my usual gym class. It’s actually easier for me to not compare / judge / be competitive in that environment.

….

Just as I ended the previous year, I started the new one off with another Exhale class. This time at the Central Park South location where I’ve been previously. This location is to me a more traditional studio – darker & quieter. The instructor was Danielle Lee and her style was what I needed – she focused on legs & alignment.

….

It’s cliché & all zen sounding but it’s true : there’s something to learn from each class. Whether it’s more mind focused like in Saturday’s class or deepening a pose like Sunday or testing your strength like often in Monday night classes.

Which I didn’t go to this week. Again. Having the day off, I went to the gym mid day and the idea of having an early night was too alluring and a rare chance.

Since both my snooze button & blood-sugars won this morning over the gym I’m going to attempt a yoga class at the gym – we’ll see how that battle goes against work.

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Your turn:

Any yoga goals for the new year?

Do you prefer a certain type of environment / studio ? 

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Favorite Finds

The cost (time & money) of becoming a yoga instructor (of which there are over 50,000 of in the US). {yoga journal}

I’m pretty sure my liver is healthy (that whole not drinking thing…) but here are some yoga poses to help detox from the holidays. {blisstree}

I have to say that tweens was the hardest age group I’ve taught yoga to. 3-6 was my  target audience and that one summer I taught high schoolers I had only graduated a year before but it was in a library vs. a camp so I had better control. Still traumatized by the girls who sat Macrame-ing on the mat ignoring yoga time. Maybe because I never had my camp experience? Anywayssss, I totally would have checked out this video for guidance Bendigirl Yoga for Girls  , {fitbottom mamas}


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Monday Night Yoga: When I need it the most, I neglect it the most

I didn’t go. again.
I’ve been whining (mostly to myself) about my knee, hip and IT Band.
They’re all a tight mess.
And then I roll my eyes at myself
(no? ok I sigh).
I know what the problem is.
I need to stretch. And strength train.
Just under a year ago I was in PT, benched from any activity and looking forward to simply adding a new stretch to the routine.
I made time for foam rolling – because that was the only thing I could do.
And while strength training is going to require some better discipline
(foreshadow 2012 goals…), stretching should be a cinch.
I’m the girl that stretches at the bus stop. On the bus. At my desk. While brushing my teeth.

But what I really need is to keep up with is the yoga.
I’ve missed two weeks of Monday night classes – my most consistent one.
And I feel it.

My body feels it. And my mind does too.

Plus I like it.

Though, I’ve developed the new habit of rocking out (ok Pandora shuffle) to yoga music to calm the nerves.

The kicker?  Many often get into a “rut” or “fall off the wagon” during this time of year with holiday festivities.
I can’t even call that my excuse. Primarily work. And working on that 11/11/11 wish.

Same old, same old.

Here’s hoping for a recharge during the holidays!

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You’re turn:

Do you struggle to work out during the holidays? 

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Favorite Finds
Apparently I’m a Downward Facing Dog >> Which Yoga Pose Are You?  | Fitness Magazine
Yoga for Small Spaces ….hmmm Christmas wish-list? I see these coming in handing when trying to do yoga in a snowed in apartment this winter… | Fit Bottomed Girls
Tips for Chair pose | Fit Sugar