Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Yoga at Work

Part of this cold is achey, painful joints that feel like they are on fire. And sitting at a desk all day doesn't help. By midday yesterday, it actually hurt to sit in my chair.

When my office mate was at lunch, I took the opportunity to do some yoga in the office. There weren't going to be any downward dogs in my nice dress, but I made it work.

I did a lot of modified sun salutations, spent some time in powerful pose, stretched my arms and neck, and did some spinal twists. After 20 minutes, the phone hadn't rung once, no new emails came in, and I felt much better! I topped it off with a couple laps around the building when my office mate returned.

Afterwards, it was much more comfortable to sit in my office chair and work through the rest of the day.


Monday, December 28, 2009

Cold, Day 2

Today I'm feeling on the mend already. I chalk that up to daily yoga and the new vegan lifestyle. But as much as I want to believe that I've found the secret to life, I'm still sick. Just not as sick as yesterday!

I made it through work today, and came home to get in bed. When I finally got back out, I was feeling a little better, so I went straight for the mat. And that's when I realized that all of my joints are angry. Very angry.

So, I stretched. No power poses. The most strenuous thing I did was bridge, because it felt good to expand my chest. I stretched, and stretched, and stretched some more, and now I'm ready to climb back in bed. :) Preferably with a hot cup of tea...


Winter Cold

I've been fighting it for days I think, but finally surrendered. I have a cold. Yesterday, I was not really functioning. No balance, achey all over, and all stuffed up... all of that does not add up to a good yoga practice.

I threw in the towel, and just did some restorative poses while laying in bed, and just trying to balance my breathing was enough to wear me out!

I know I've read a lot about how yoga can be therapeutic for sick days, but I was too tired to care! I guess that is something to add to my 'sick day plan'. That's a concept I learned for diabetic care - to have a plan of foods you will eat that will feel good when your stomach is upset, but won't spike blood sugar the way normal comfort foods do, to know what medicines will have affects on your sugar levels, etc. Now I need to plan ahead for what yoga postures would help alleviate symptoms without wearing me out.

A little planning probably would have gone a long way yesterday.


Saturday, December 26, 2009

I'm keeping up the love of Chutarunga!

Tonight, as I practiced, I focused on my new found love for Chutarunga again. I'm getting closer to be able to perform a true Army style pushup. Not that it's a necessity for yoga, but I'm interested in the fact that I'm getting so much stronger. I can go down, hover, and go a little bit back up. Four months ago, I couldn't even go down without using my knees, or collapsing without them. Three months ago, I couldn't go down and hover. Two months ago, I could hover but couldn't raise back up even the tiniest bit.

I am truly curious to see what I'll be able to do at the end of my year of yoga that I can't do now. I am still amazed at just how good yoga is for your body, while still being enjoyable.



Christmas day was busy, enjoyable, and short. Short, because I decide to lay down for a little while after dinner, and never got back up!

That makes two days so far in my year of yoga, that I didn't practice at all. One day for being sick as a dog and sleeping, and one day for being tuckered out at Christmas.

It's okay though. As much as I strive for perfection, I also recognize that sometimes, I just need to rest!


Thursday, December 24, 2009

When did I start to love Chutarunga?

Seriously, when did that happen? First, downward dog did indeed start to become a position of rest for me. Then side plank became just another pose.

But when did I start to enjoy Chutarunga???

What an awesome thing love, right? And I just realized it - no forcing my mind to like something I don't.

Last night, as I flowed through sun salutations, I realized I was looking forward to sinking into and hovering in Chutarunga. Once in it, I felt strong, solid, and powerful. And those are definitely good things to feel.

Mele Kalikimaka (Merry Christmas) to myself! What a fantastic present!


Oops! I'm a little sore!

After my shortened Power Yoga session on Monday, I realized that when I stop early, I need to make sure to fast forward in the DVD and do the proper end to a routine. Because without doing that, I am sore!

Not sore in a bad way though - just feeling the effects of the workout. But I know that if I had finished correctly, I wouldn't be feeling so much tightness!

Lesson Learned.


Partial Power Yoga

Monday night, I was feeling good, so I pulled out one of my hardest DVD's. Alas, all these days of taking it easy are taking their toll, and I couldn't finish.

It still felt great though, and I was happy to do what I did. Even though I didn't finish, I had a sense of accomplishment after!

Persistence is the key, right? As long as I keep at it, the ups and downs of my year of yoga will even out to one big positive!


Monday, December 21, 2009

More Side Plank

Side Plank felt so good last night that I incorporated it again tonight. And I remembered the first few times I tried to get into side plank years ago, and how amazingly difficult I found it. But now, while still challenging, it's definitely doable.

I have had a lot of issues with being in my thirties, but tonight, I realized how much stronger I am now than I was in my twenties.

And that's pretty amazing!


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Side Plank

After a week of relatively easy practices, I decided to amp it up a little today, since it was Saturday. I did that by adding side plank back into my normal routine, and also a few variations of downward dog, with one leg up, stretching over to the opposite side.

My body seemed really happy with the challenge. Even though it's late in the day, and almost time for bed, I feel invigorated. And I feel longer. I love that feeling.

The things we do day in and day out make us feel compact, shorter, compressed. Yoga fixes that, and it fixed me today! I feel long, and a little bit leaner. And definitely stronger. And my forward bend seemed to improve, and get a little closer to what has been my normal. I guess all that stretching of the sides helped me loosen up my back as well.

Now, it's time for bed, and I'm looking forward to sleeping until the sun comes up tomorrow!


Saturday, December 19, 2009

I made it through my first work week!

I did it! I made it through my first work week without giving up on daily yoga!
Friday was an early day for me since I had to be at work an hour earlier than usual. I skipped the morning yoga again to be able to get up at the same time as usual.
After work, I shopped again, and finished all of our family members. Then I came home and wrapped until I was so sleepy I thought I would fall over.
I decided to do a seated practice before bed, since I wasn't feeling too steady.
It helped me release the stress of a non-stop day, and when I was done, I climbed under the covers and went straight to sleep!


For Thursday, the 18th

Thursday I did not get up early to do yoga before work! The night before, we went to the Command Christmas party, and I stayed up way later than usual. So I chose to sleep as much as possible, and then I practiced in the evening.

I was so tired by nighttime, from getting less sleep the night before, and then going Christmas Shopping after work, but I refused to give up on my commitment!

I mostly did sun salutations, and some constructive rest positions, and it felt great! Even when I'm exhausted, and can't imagine doing anything but crawling in bed, yoga is always the right choice.


For Wed, the 16th

For Wednesday, the 16th, I knew it would be a long day, so I got up early again to do yoga before before work. I remember doing it... but at this point, since it's Saturday, I don't remember anything specific to write about it!

I'm realizing that I need to carve out more time, now that I'm working. Maybe I'll keep up the morning yoga as much as possible, and then blog during my lunch, when I come home to feed the dogs.

We'll see!


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sitting at a Desk all Day is Anti-Yoga

So, the morning after my first day at work, my forward bend is just not the same. I fully believe this is the immediate effects of sitting at a desk all day!

So I worked on my back, my hips, and my hamstrings. And of course, still focused on my three words.

Today, I got up from the desk several times and walked it out. I hope tomorrow morning's practice is a little less stiff!


My First Day at Work!

I got up early, and did a short power yoga practice before walking the dogs. I still focused on those three words - calm, positive, strong. But instead of doing a relaxing practice, I got ready for my first day at work with invigorating power poses.

Throughout the day, I kept my nerves at bay by remembering my practice, and my three words, and returning to my breath.

Worked like a charm!


Falling Behind Again!

So I've been practicing, but still falling behind on the blogging. I started a new job this week, and I'm trying to figure out how to make everything work.

Sunday night, I was nervous about my first day, and worried about not being able to sleep. So I did a calming practice, with my key words to focus on being "calm, positive, strong".

I actually slept pretty well, and I totally chalk it up to the yoga before bed!


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Another gorgeous day in Hawaii!

Today was another gorgeous day in Hawaii, and I had trouble getting all my duties done, because I was so mesmerized by the beauty of the Island in 'winter'. When we went out for a walk on the beach, I didn't want to leave. When we strolled though a few shops in quaint Haleiwa town, I didn't want to stop. And when it was time to walk the dogs, as much as I wanted to get outside... time was running out in the day, so I had to send my husband out with them while I stayed in to do yoga. :(

I love yoga. That much is obvious I hope. But somedays, I want to keep going, going, going, and it's hard to get myself to calm down, take a step back, and return to center.

I know it's good for me, but it takes discipline. Today was another day that I was glad to have made this commitment, because if it weren't for having to be honest on this blog, I definitely wouldn't have practiced today!!! ;)


Friday, December 11, 2009

Forward Bend

Today, I focused on really sinking into standing forward bend, with strong legs. My hamstrings have been tight - I'm guessing because I've been feeling a little more stressed this week, and also cutting my practices shorter. Forward bend just wasn't coming as easily, so I decided to spend some time on it, and slowly work back into it.

I varied my arms, and found that it's easiest to really sink in at the beginning, when I'm still tight by holding each elbow in the opposite hand. Once I limbered up, I found it easiest to sink farther by holding on the undersides of my big toes, and bending my elbows.

Now I'm feeling much better, and with this looser more relaxed feeling, I'm looking forward to lying down for a good night's sleep.


So now for the 10th...

I practiced AND I'm blogging. The best part is, my husband is home again, so I get to go back to my preferred routine of him walking the dogs while I practice yoga. That way our nightly routine is over quicker, and we can enjoy the evening more than if I walk the dogs AND practice, like I do when he's gone.

So tonight, I focused a little bit on lunges. Warrior 1 and Warrior 2 mostly, and triangle in between. My legs have been feeling a little tired/weak since the dramamine yesterday, and I wanted to energize them. It worked!

Now, after another super long day, I'm off to bed! Next week should be interesting while I try to integrate a new full time job into the day, without sacrificing on the dogs, the cleaning, cooking good quality food, and doing yoga!


Thursday, December 10, 2009

And for the 9th...

I went out to sea with my husband! It was a long, wonderful day! I took two dramamine pills spaced apart, and boy did they kick my butt! And when I came home, I had to work on a lot of detailed paperwork for a new job I'm starting... so even though I practiced with a series of sun salutations, I STILL didn't blog!

I can't believe I got this far behind on blogging!

For the 8th

I practiced on the 8th too... but after a serious hike earlier that day, I wanted to take it easy. So I practiced from a seated position, and then went to sleep!

Just so you know...

I did practice yoga on the 7th... but I guess I didn't blog about it! I've had a few days in a row like this... and I'll tell a little bit about why in each post for each day.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Catching up on Meditations

In the pre-holiday craft mess that is my house, I temporarily misplaced my Meditations from the Mat book. I am happy to report that today, I found it! It was a ridiculous hiding spot too - the book shelf! (Since I use it every day, it rarely makes it back there, so I never thought to look there!)

Today, I'm catching up on all the days I missed.

One quote in particular sticks out to me, and feels especially meaningful. "Acting with deep compassion from within my own being, I dispel all ignorance-born darkness with wisdom's resplendent light." That quote is from the Bhagavad Gita, which I previously tried to study, and decided to set aside for a future endeavor.

I was just telling a friend the other day that I struggle with sharing knowledge. It seems that often time, people don't want to hear it. But if I know something that I think could be helpful, would it not be selfish to keep it to myself? Or if I know something that can help someone make a positive change? But nobody wants to be a know it all, and nobody wants to be brow-beaten with information. So where do you draw that line?

Today I read that quote, and found something of an answer in it. If I'm acting with compassion, and from a pure place, and 'dispelling darkness' then maybe it is always worth it. If my motives aren't entirely compassionate - and since I'm human, they aren't always - then maybe it's better to keep my thoughts to myself until I've rectified that problem internally.

I'm a knowledge kind of person - I like to know, and I like to share what I know. Which brings me to a entirely different dilemma, one that I'll leave for another day and another post.

For now, I'm happy that I have at least one nugget of wisdom to guide me while I work on this aspect of my personal life. And I'm happy I found my book!


I practiced yesterday, but it didn't last.

Yesterday, I practiced early, because I knew it would be a late night. I was interrupted, and had to take what I had done as good enough.
The day spiraled out of control from there, and I quickly loss my sense of center. It was a good day, but it was hurried, stressful, and unbalanced. One of my biggest struggles is keeping the sense of calm I find in yoga going throughout the rest of my day, and throughout life. Yesterday, I made a little bit of progress in that I tried to stay true to myself, instead of trying to please everyone else. But I didn't keep that solid sense of self going.
I find it helpful to look back, and recognize where I lost my way in the day, and reflect on what I could have done different, and how I could have felt different, if I had been more thoughtful about my words, actions, and reactions.


Friday, December 4, 2009

Not so Lazy!

I sort of stuck to my word today. ;)
I did a more challenging practice, but I still kept it short. I worked with Warrior I, side plank, and push up position the most. All of those get my heart rate up, even though it's not cardio! But I didn't practice for very long, because my stomach was too full. I know you're supposed to wait 2 hrs after eating, but I ate late tonight, and I want to get to bed at a decent time. So instead of flowing through a longer practice, I chose to do a short strengthening practice, and now it's time to let my food digest!



Lazy is what I am tonight! I was feeling a lot of resistance to my practice. I kept putting it off, and just didn't want to do it. I finally just made myself do it, and then as always, I was glad I did. Why do we have that resistance to things we know we love?

I didn't practice long or hard - remember, I said I was feeling lazy! But I did practice enough to restore my spirits, stretch out my back, and generally feel better.

The laziness must end tomorrow though! I want to make my arms and legs look their best in time for a Christmas Party that's coming up. Far from the most pure yoga intention, but motivating nonetheless!


Yesterday's Practice - Taking it Easy

Yesterday, my knees were popping all over the place. It was disconcerting! So my practice was gentle. I didn't want to skip, but I didn't want to risk aggravating whatever was making my knees do that.

I went back to the method of one of my first yoga teachers, who often catered to a class composed mostly of retirees. I didn't think I'd remember it all, but I guess I went to her class often enough that it's ingrained in my memory.

It was a nice change of pace, in a gentle way.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Tonight, I was in a bright, happy mood. I wanted to maximize it, so I set up to practice in a dim room, with good music playing, and I flowed. Sun Salutations. Warrior I to Warrior III to Triangle. Warrior II to Side Angle to Triangle back to Warrior II. Plow to seated forward bend, over and over. I flowed, and flowed and flowed. But I couldn't contain myself, even with the flow. I shimmied too. I couldn't help it. It was like I had energy bubbling out of me. And all through my practice, I smiled.

I wish I knew how to bottle this feeling!


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Last Day of November?

I can't believe December is here already!
Today is the last day of November, and I am having trouble reconciling with that.
I went to the Doctor today, and my blood pressure, which was already typically in the low end of the normal range, was even lower. They tested it three times to be sure. It's not dangerously low, but it's in the 'athlete/child' range of low. They asked what I was doing different, and I said daily yoga and a vegan diet. That is really the only changes I've made.
I hope this is a good sign of the positive effects my lifestyle changes are having on my body!
The Doctor also commended me on my weight loss, and tighter control of my blood sugar. It felt good to hear that all my hard work is paying off in a physical way.
So to celebrate, I tackled a pose tonight that I find very difficult - side plank. I don't know if it's because I'm generally getting stronger, or if it's because I went into my practice with increased confidence, but I found the pose much easier to get into tonight, and definitely easier to stay in, at least for a little bit.
Here's to increased strength, better health, and new challenges!