Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Going a Waka

I just want to communicate that there may be a few days absence.  Maybe.  I am almost off for my big mama escape. Each year I take off with a bunch of friends to a camping music festival.  Great fun, and a chance for me to let it all go for a few days.  No kids needing breakfast or movement from one play date to the next soccer game etc... No groceries to buy, no bills to pay, no cooking for the family.  You get the picture.   So I am going to be away for a few wonderful days.

I will be no where near hot yoga for many days.  Thankfully the festival does have yoga each morning but not sure what it will be like.  Could be foofy skinny hippie chick yoga.  We will have to see.   I am bringing my mat of course.  My tent mate is bringing hers too so hopefully we will motivate each other. 

So the question comes up, will I be blogging during this time off.  Realistically I can still blog through my cell phone.  Will I do it?  Self protection instincts should set up some ground rules, like no publishing anything until the light of day has reviewed it.   What might seem profound at 2:00am may seem like weird ramblings not worthy of sharing the next day.  So I guess we will have to see.  If you would like updates from the Music Festival comment on this post and let me know.  

I am a little scared of what my body will do without hot yoga for so long.  I know I will get plenty of exercise with walking and dancing all day and night.  I will certainly burn the calories but how hard is it going to be to get back to hot yoga when I get back.  I will do my best to not slack off completely.  However this time is a sacred time.  A time to breathe, smile, laugh, say hi to old friends, make new friends and dance.  Yes dance and dance and dance.  Getting the suppressed boogie out.  

Special Thank You to my husband, for the effort he is about to put out there. He will be taking on the kids and all other responsibilities full on while I am gone.  May the boys be good and you get time to bike and chill.  Thanks to all the other folks that will be baby sitting, taking the boys for play dates and just being nice to my boys.  Have a great time together.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Curvy Yoga, Round Body Yoga ...

Check out this notable article http://www.xojane.com/healthy/doing-bikram-yoga-while-fat  This lady write a great article about being fat and doing yoga.  Such a common story of challenge.  I really identify with for various reasons.  Here are two excerps that really resonate with me at this point. 

"After class, I chat with my yoga teacher, who is slender. I tell her that recently, I learned that I have been deceiving myself. I told myself that I couldn't do certain postures because my fat is in the way. And then I tell her that I have been lying to myself -- there is no fat in the way. It's just my mind and my self-hate getting in the way. I am perfect in my practice. It is yoga practice and not yoga perfect, right?"

This is the final paragraph of her article "I feel like in those moments I can be grateful to have a body that is even capable of attempting yoga postures. I have a good body, a beautiful body, a body that I sometimes even love, that my husband loves, that keeps me healthy. And because of this yoga, I can stop fat-shaming myself, if only for a hot minute."

You see I just spent the last hour looking online for yoga modifications for poses that I have challenges with due to my round body.  Short, big chested, babies got back, and legs.  So there are some poses that are rather difficult. Forward folds, rabbit is next to impossible, pretty much any inverstion is not going to happen. I can see the headline, "Women found suffercated on yoga mat, not a mark on her or any signs of struggle."  Getting forhead to knee might require surgery.   

Now I know over time I have gotten so much better at every pose I have tried.  I will get there and am where I need to be for my body now.  But that does not mean I can't help myself along the way with a little education.  

A friend of mine from my highschool days, who happens to be a yogi back home, reminded me that you need knowledge to back up your yoga enthusiasm.  He is correct.  You must always be the student even in the act of teaching.  So I started to look.  I found a youtube challenge called Curvy Yoga with some great modifciations.   One was for Pigeon.  I know that pigeon should be key for me but it does not give me the most effective feeling generally.  Her video suggested an adjustment in the front leg which really makes room for the belly and allows me to actually feel the opening in the hip instead of the preasure on the knee.   Thanks SJ for the wisdom. 

Healing Power Demonstration 101

So I returned today after my big one day off and I was so thankful.  Yesterday was one of those days when you have a cold that just keep rolling.  You wonder, how can a living human thing lose so much moisture through their nose and where in god's green earth has it been hiding.  I went through a box of tissue and ending up with a red nose rivaling the alcoholic down at the bars.  It was one of those days where you need to have a tissue before you sneeze because you never know what is going to happen.  I felt so congested with no release.  

The day wore on with slow tension.  I did go to Curves so I got a work out in but it was not the same calm and focus that my yoga practice was bringing.   The day also seemed longer.  I have to admit Hot Yoga is a time commitment.  The way I have been doing it the first part of the day is gone.  So by the end of the day I felt like I had more day than usual to fill.  

This morning I was up and dressed and ready to go early.  I just wanted to get to Yoga.  My head was still clogged.  I was not blowing my nose as much but I felt like I could not breath through my left side at all.  My right was only partly open for air.   I felt like my sinuses had gone back a step.   

So I got to yoga and started the practice.  I was curious to see how my sinuses would react.  Would they release and allow me to breath.  Yoga requires nose breathing and deep breathing.  It was about 10 minutes in. Right about to the half moon pose when all of a sudden it just opened up.  Free!!!!!!!!!!

All of a sudden I could breath freely through both sides and I just stood there and breathed and breathed and breathed like it was a gift of sunshine.   It just kept getting better as the sweat dripped down my face.  Opening and accepting air and life.   This was a teaching moment.  A moment were I was thankful that I had this wonderful practice in my life and in my soul.  It was healing.  Now, did the day off allow the sickness to do it's thing, so that I could then have this healing, or did the day off work the other way and allow the sickness to dig in.  Not sure about that, but am sure that yoga kicked it's butt, helping in the healing process. 

The practice itself was strong.  I felt strong.  The day off had helped my muscles regain some strength.  I felt the relief of a break for my hips.  My balance was also strong.  I know the day off was good for my muscular body.

So, maybe being sick at the end of this process was necessary to help me learn, and prove to myself the healing power of this process.  Learning is hard some times... 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

I miss it and outcomes

Day one no hot yoga.  It is odd.  I feel weird.

I did go to Curves this morning and do a Curves work out.  I figured it was going to be really easy being this big tough hot yoga girl. I forgot that curves machines are so great that they react as hard as you push them.  So I actually got a pretty good weight lifting work out at Curves today.

I miss hot yoga.  I know I should not as I am going to go back tomorrow.  But It really helps to center me and get all the anxiety out.  I miss the release of extreme exercise.  I also feel like my cold is more snotty today as no sweat to cook it out of me.

Now for the good news.  I got measured this morning at curves.

Here we go: these are the numbers I dropped during the 30 days.  I know I dropped weight too but the weight numbers freak me out and don't motivate me like the measurements do.

Bust: 2 inches
Waist: 2.5 Inches
Abdomen: 1.25 Inches
Hips: 2 inches
Thighs: 2.25 per leg
Arm: 1 inch.

This is quite the reduction.  Here are my overalls starting Mid November.  I don't have any numbers from when I first started.

Bust: 3.5 inches
Waist: 6,25 inches
Abdomen 5.5 inches
Hips: 7,5 inches
Thighs: 5.75 per leg
Arm: 2 inch

So not only is it all wonderful but the amount of decrease during the one month of daily hot yoga is significant compared to the full reduction.  Overall I would say wildly successful all around.  I am excited about what the summer of intense hot yoga is going to do.  

For the first time for many years my waist is actually below 40 inch's.  That is a huge accomplishment for me.   My thighs are probably the smallest they have been in my adult life.  This is very motivational.  

To top it off my blog is over 1100 page views.  Thank you all for reading and sharing this with your friends.  I hope to motivate many people along this road.  I already have a friend lined up to try Monday's hot yoga class with me for her first time.   

Friday, May 24, 2013

I did it!!!!!

I made it.  I did it.  30 in a row.  I am so impressed with myself.  I know it feels weird to say it but I am.  I was talking to my friend Naomi about it this afternoon and I realized that with so many work outs I had slacked off when I felt like it or just talked myself out of putting in major effort.  Yet with this, you have no choice.  Once you have shown up you have to do your best.  It is like climbing a mountain as the hills keep coming. No matter if you feel like climbing or not.  I feel I have climbed quite the mountain and am looking at the view.  It is a beautiful view.

The question is Now What.  I will keep going, keep climbing and keep working hard.  I may have accomplished 30 days in a row of a grueling work out.  Now I need to keep it going, I may not go all 7 days each week, however I plan to go as many as possible. Working towards my goals of health, happiness, and fitness.

In the next few days I will get my measurements taken and will enlighten you all with the progress from this blitz.  I am sure it will be fantastic.  While I often see myself as looking the same, I know from clothing, pictures and from friends that changes are real.  I will keep going.

I will continue to communicate my progress and musings as this journey continues.  I hope this 30 days has inspired some and entertained others.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Day 29:

I wish I could say that I am 100% healthy and all that but no.  I woke up feeling a little better in the sinus and a little worse in the chest.  I know the progress of this one because my son went through it last week.  If all is well, I should feel much better tomorrow.  However I went to yoga and did it anyway.  I felt kind of weak but I kept going.  I took some breaks during two of the flow sequences.  

So I had an interesting realization at yoga today.  So they decided to do a yoga person of the month and put up a nice little bio on a great yoga mate Rob.  Rob is in his late 40's early 50's. He is there a lot of the 9:00 am classes.  He is a nice guy that seems fit and very enthusiastic about yoga.  He works really hard and appears to be very strong.  I never really thought about what makes him tick.  What pains he has that he is trying to heal, he seemed so strong and fit.  Well this bio talked about his knees, back, and other issues that had limited his mobility and activity and how he has been able to get beyond his limitations through hot yoga. 

I was struck by the thought that we all think about our own pain and limits and how no one could be as bad off or have the same challenges.  Then I went to start practicing and noticed the lady beside me, probably late early 50's.  I have seen her a bunch of times and was always motivated by her strength.  She actually has no hand below mid-arm on her left side.  Yet she does all the poses with very little modifications.  She is strong and fit and amazing.  She has overcome her disability and triumphed.  Totally cool.  I had never been beside her before so this time I could watch and see how she persevered beyond most peoples challenges.  

Then to finish off this overall thought there was a lady there this morning who I have seen a few times.  She is new.  She is an African American women probably in her 50's. She is probably around the size I was when I started a few months back.  I saw her do her first class a few weeks ago. She was struggling and I told her my story to motivate her.  She has been back a bunch of times and is going for it.  She was wearing a sports bra and a pair of work out tights.  I told her I did not have the guts to go without a shirt and she looked at me and said 'It's a personal practice honey and if people don't like it that's their problem."

I thought to myself she is absolutely right and took of my top and did my practice in bra and pants like all the thin people out there.  After about 10 minutes in the practice I liked the fact that I had no extra shirt on top. I was more aware of my stomach muscles and also realized that it is not as bad as I thought.  I have a long way to go but I have certainly taken a chunk out of that battle.  

So these three people each taught me something today. Everyone has their own battle and we can't get stuck in our mythology that someone else is not fighting as hard or does not have as much of a challenge as we do.  Everyone has a challenge, we all have pain, we all have our mountain to climb.  Someone that looks thin and fit has their own pain and challenges even if it does not show on the surface like a missing limb or extra weight.  I know it is just another version of the theory of relativity. It is all relative to our own personal journeys and practices.

So sick, healthy, disabled, over weight, in pain physically, in pain emotionally, we are all experiencing these moments of healing and energy and balance.  It benefits us all each individually and together.  Magic. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Proving it to yourself.

Day 28:  

Not sure why I need to prove so much to myself.  At this point I would be fine without proving this one.  

So back in '94 I was traveling in Israel and I wanted to learn Reiki.  Anyone who has taken reiki or experienced reiki knows it is an energy healing system that a person is attuned to in order to be able to help transfer energy towards those that need it for healing.  So I was in Jerusalem and was studying spirituality among other things.   I wanted to learn Reiki but I wanted to learn it in terms of the Jewish Spiritual base I was experiencing.   I found a religious Jewish women who taught reiki and she was willing to do a private session for me to learn.  I was really excited about this.  

So the morning I was to get up and take my first of three days of classes on Reiki I pulled out my back.  I had been saying in a hostel in the old city of Jerusalem in the Jewish Quarter.  I called the lady and told her what happened. She told me that I was obviously an analytic person and I need proof to believe in things.  So I had hurt my back so that I could heal myself with Reiki and thus have a stronger connection to the process.  So I lunged myself across the city by bus and took the classes learning that I could certainly help to heal myself with the energy of Reiki.  

So what does this have to do with my 30 day challenge.  I woke up this morning feeling pretty badly.  I officially have Joel's cold or what ever it is.  My eyes are hot and my nose is stuffy and I feel like a bag of dirt.  Yet I had to get up and go do hot yoga anyway.  I can't stop you see.  I have only two days left after today and no time for makes ups.  I could do a double one day but there is no guarantee I will feel better tomorrow, so can't take any chances.  

So I wish I could tell you I feel perfect after the class.  But no.  I don' feel worse. I was able to do a lot of the class and took a little more breaks that normal.  So the real question is how will I feel tomorrow.  Will pushing through and doing the class today help this work through my system faster.  Only time will tell.  

We will see how I feel tomorrow.  Wish me luck.  

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

One day at a time. One move at a time.

Day 27:

Today I really feel like I am getting one of those spring colds. A little hot behind the eyes. A little sinus pressure. So far not enough to really take me out of commission.  I have three days left. No time for sickness.  I must finish strong. So I am stressing on it which is probably making me worse. I need to just breathe and see what happens. One day at a time. One move at a time. 

Today I got to help out at my kids schools field day. Totally cute kids having a blast. I was running the obstacle course. Some kids ran like crazy while others wanted to do as little as possible. I felt like encouraging those kids to get in the habit of being active now. Not to wait until your body gives you the choice between ruin and taking action. I wanted to say not to let their body image get in the way. Just to do their best.  

I wanted to tell the girls they could do anything they wanted and not to let their insecurities or other people's expectations keep them down.  They were brimming with new potential, however they have such a long and challenging road to travel.  One day at a time.  One move at a time. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Long term spiral.

Day 26:  I really tried to ask myself if I was needing a break or creating the need for a break and was able to keep it real, I think.  I was able to keep working on the breathing technique of doing my three counts in and backwards from four out during some tough posses.  I think I did the best standing bow in my life with the help of that little technique.  I fellow yoga mate actually stopped and gave me cudoes for doing that pose so well this time  Really made me feel good.   

Only four days left.  What will it really mean to hit 30.  I know I am going to continue practicing and working hard.  However I guess I have proved to myself that my options and posibilites are quite large. I can push my body way farther than expected.  I have also proven to myself that my body can heal itself and reverse the terrible down hill slide I felt I was on.  The body is really an amazing thing.  

So a few days ago a friend of mine lent me two really cool books.  They are yoga guides that show the human form as a skeleton with muscles showing.  The muscles are differnet colors, various shades of blue for contracting and blink for stretching.  The various yoga poses are discussed with details of how the muscles work in each pose and the tips to optimize the benefits.  Totally cool.  

I can only look up a couple poses at a time and then try to apply little fixes to the poses when I do them next.  So I was working on downward dog.  Really making my shoulders and elbows stretch as well as the legs and back.  This helped me get my legs up higher on the flows.  

I can feel that this is a long term study.  It is not like an exam where you can memorize things. You have to build the memory in your muscles and the only way to do that is through repitition.  And each time you can do more, you need to teach yourself to do more and more.  Interesting sort of spiral of learning and adjusting.     Maybe the 30 days are just the tip of the iceburg and I needed to learn that althought I have accomplished a lot, it is just a start on a long journey.  While I do not have to go everyday in order to progress, I will need to keep going frequently to work on that spiral.  Stopping almost seems scary at this point.  

Sunday, May 19, 2013

What quits first your mind or your boy?

Day 25:
Mind over matter and all that.  I am a creature of intuition and instinct.  I believe, that I have  a good sense of how I feel and what my capacity is. I showed this video today at a leadership training program I hosted.  The session was on motivation.
Now I am not really a sports person and usually this type of stuff is over the top for me. Yet is illustrated the mind over matter issues quite well.  Dude did not think he could keep going.  

So in the yoga class an instructor said that we give up in our mind before our body does.  I do tend to kind of plan things to go down.  I kind of think, oh I am giving out, I should just take a break, I should drop that pose, I have done enough, my leg is going to give out anyway... and then of course I drop.  I need to work on that determination.

At times I can talk myself into defeat before my body has given out.   Conversely I can also build myself up over my physical limits by over estimating my potential.  Like deciding I could move 7 cubic yards of top soil once dumped on the side of my house. So which is it.  Like a true Gemini I can see this one both ways.  However how do we know the difference between needing a break and planning to fail?  This must be a wisdom that takes a while.  Working on it. 

During class I try to think about what I was like at the age for that day. So for today, day 25, I think back to what I was up to at 25.  I had, at that point, left to go travel the world with a back pack on my back.  I was traveling through Israel, the Middle East, and Europe.  Great fun.  Best developmental years of my life.  I put a challenge out there, that thinking back, was kind of daunting.  I left with some cash and a one way ticket, only coming back home when my family demanded it or I ran out of cash.  

I learned a huge amount about myself and frankly stretched my envelope in almost every way it deserved stretching. Many people would have been put off by the uncertainty and there were moments of it.  I had to use mind of matter in many situations to keep my wits about me.  I learned how much more strength I had then I expected myself to have.  

In this challenge I so far have gone beyond my initial expectations. However to get to my goal of being healthy in mind, spirit and body I am going to need much more strength, focus and power. Mind over matter sustained over time, is in order.  Yet I need to honor the body and give it breaks as well.  I guess I just need to put blinders on and keep going.  One day at at time. One practice at a time.  

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Breathe and Zombies

The breath is very important in yoga.  I generally try to concentrate on breathing during the classes.  However there are times when I am panting like a beast of burden.  I know that you are supposed to breath through your nose in and out.  I never was very good at that, being more of a mouth breather.  Yet the strength of breath is in the awareness of it.  I have to admit I am learning to breath better, deeper, and more clearly.

Take the flow pattern from downward dog to plank to upward dog and back to downward dog.  Four breaths.  However the breaths are not when you get into the pose the breaths correspond to the moving stages of the poses. The breath belongs to the flowing movements. If I concentrate on the breath the movement gets the strength.  

So here is how it works.  You breath in during the transition to plank from downward dog.  Then you breath out when you are lowering into the floor.  You breath in during the upward movement to upward dog.  Then you finish it by breathing out on the movement to downward dog.  The day I connected the breath with this series of movement it became so much more clear and powerful.  

Day 23: I worked to connect the breath to the movements today.  I felt like I was getting some strength and focus back.  The instructors mention having a mantra to stay and keep yourself focused on your breathing, like breath in peace, breath out stress.  However one of the instructors a while back suggested using breathing in to the count of three and then out, counting backwards from four down to one.  This process makes you control your breath and focus.  I have found this very helpful because I am such a numbers person.

Day 24:  I can't believe I only have 6 days left.  I am less than a week away from making it to the goal of 30 days of consecutive hot yoga.  So far so good.   I continued to connect my breath with the movements today.  At times, when I would normally struggle with breath and start having fast short breaths, I tried to go back to my breath... in for three, breath out counting back from four.  It worked and I was able to gather strength from it.  Interesting....

So one very funny thing happened today.  I usually am one of the first ones out of the room because I want to get a shower right away and I usually have somewhere I have to be.  So I don't usually see what I saw today.  Today it took me a few minutes to gather my wits and start up and out of the class.  I witnessed these exhausted sweaty people all walking through the almost dark room towards a doorway out to the bright light.  People kind of stumbled on the sweat slick floor as they headed out walking cautiously.  It looked so much like every zombie movie I have ever seen or imagined.  It was like the night of the living dead leaving the yoga room.  I laughed to myself and zombie walked out to the showers.

I did my hot yoga in the morning and then came home and got ready for the party.  Today was also my son Joel's birthday party.  He regained his health just in time to have a fantastic birthday party at Chuck E Cheese. We pushed through the party with over 20 kids and went through over 900 tokens.  Wow.  What a time.  He was so happy.

I guess with 6 day left I am no longer by the way side.  My son is better, the party is done, and I can focus on the next task at hand.  

Thursday, May 16, 2013

By the Way Side

So it is Day 22:

My son Joel has been sick the last two days. Poor little dude.  His birthday party is this weekend and I hope he can get better to enjoy it.  So what happens to my life when something like this happens... my schedule goes by the way side.   

A bit of history and context: I had a teacher in grade 11 for the class, personal note taking.  Yes the class was actually a short hand class teaching us a way to take notes in college that would be fast and flexible.  She was from the Islands and had the most correct grammar and annunciation of anyone I ever knew.   So during a test she used the saying 'by the way side'.  I was so thrown off by that saying that I stopped writing and failed to pick back up in the flow.  I failed the quiz. 

So I feel like my schedule has gone to the bloody way side for the love of god.  

Needless to say I am not getting the work done, the garden in etc... This equals a level of stress that effects my inner balance and apparently my yoga practice.  So I make it to the 5:45 pm class stressing on the possibilities of me catching what Joel has.  He has smushed his cute, snotty, sick little self all over me off and on all day.  Maybe I am just reacting to the onions I pulled from my garden that morning. 

Onions can give me a mild reaction that lasts a couple of day.  So I get there with hope that the class will help balance me and spark my immune system.   Putting the weight of the world on my yoga practice.  

I can tell you I was off on balance and took three breaks.  I lay there feeling off my game and looking myself in the mirror, not loving what I was seeing.  By my second break I had gotten somewhere.  I felt more relaxed and even more by the third.  However I wish I could say this was the cure to all things in life.  But this was a helper.  I was happy for the help. Yet, I will feel better when Joel is better and we can get out of the way side.  

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Really Listening

A few days ago One of the instructors suggested that the yoga practice helps you learn to really listen to people.  It is an active pursuit to try to turn off that automatic reply function that is in my brain.  Someone can just start talking and I am already thinking of the next thing to say, waiting for them to finish so I can jab in there.  We are all like that.  However how much real listening are we doing while we are busy going over our next interjection.

So the theory is even know the pattern of Yoga movements becomes so familiar that you can push forward to the next pose you are supposed to stop and listen to the instructor not pushing ahead.  Just waiting for them to speak the next instructions, listening and then reacting.  This is hard to do but is an active practice and really cool once you start doing it.

Now doing that in real life is so much harder.  Even if I manager to be pretty good at it for a few minutes I slip back into automatic mode. So I am trying to take the time to really listen.  This is so hard in our fast pace multitasking worlds. We are rewarded for being able to do many things at once and do them well.  We are rewarded for speed of reaction and quick thinking.  Yet this practice is telling me to slow it down.

Day 20: was a special day.  I got a massage from a friend of my Judy .  It was so wonderful.  I did Hot Yoga in the morning and then did some work.  My friend Sarah stopped by and we took the polar plunge into our, newly opened for the season, above ground pool.  Water was about 68'f.  She wanted to do it because her hips and back was sore and she was fantasizing about cooling off her joints in the water.   It was hard to jump in, however it felt wonderful.  We hung out in the water for about 30 minutes, really cooling the abused muscles.

I headed to Judy's for the massage I had been saving up for a few months.  She gave me a two hour massage which was outrageously good.  She really understood my hip issues and got to the root of it.  That was one major deep tissue massage.   I took a bath later that night to finish it off.  My hips felt abused but surprisingly fantastic.

Day 21: Woke up feeling great and poor Joel, my youngest son, was sick.  I stayed home with him and then did the 4:00 pm as my husband was able to work from home for an afternoon meeting.  So I was feeling rested and limber when I hit the mat.  I was even cocky if the truth must be told.  I figured I would nail this out.  The first few poses I was super flexible.  The massage had really worked some stuff up, as I was feeling all top of the world.  I realized I was not paying attention to the instructor. I was so 'not listening  that I realized that I actually doing the wrong movement all together. I was doing a back-bend instead of a side stretch.

So I giggled to myself, fixed it up, and went on.  Still convinced that somehow I was nailing it home.  I was super powered.  Then about 15 minutes later I realized I had done it again.  I was not listening.  I was facing the wrong way on a side plank.  So I decided to just lay in corpse pose and feel the energy in my body.  I just lay there and listened internally until I felt calm and rested.  Then I went on and listened to the rest of the practice and finished strong.

Monday, May 13, 2013


Pictures are worth a thousand words.  So here are some shots.  I love that facebook has a decent collection of pictures to go back a number of years.  However I have to admit there are not a lot of pictures of me as I am usually taking the pictures or the pictures are of the kids. But I will give you a few to go on.

So we start with this picture of me and one of my students at Midnight Breakfast which was the first night of exams in the Fall Semester so December early.  Before I did my first Hot Yoga.  I had already been doing Curves for several months.  I am wearing cool Turkish pants I got in central Turkey in 1994.  

Then there is this one today at the dog park. Not my most flattering pic but definitely shows a difference.  Lordy a bad hair day.  The one at the bottom is much more flattering and you can see a big difference in my face.  Carrying a lot less weight but still have a long road ahead. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mid way starting to feel it.

Day 18: 

So this is a weird time.  I did day 17 and 18 and have found that I am a little tighter, maybe kind of tired too.  Several of the instructors have said this is normal.  You are not giving your body any breaks and stressing it each day.  One of them said that Sumit teaches that you have to get to this point so you can learn to take breaks.  Your body is forcing you to listen to it and take breaks where and when you need them.   This sounds like a simple lesson but not for some of us.  

I am the kind of person who is relatively driven in my life and pursuits.  I am not saying I have to have the best of things, not at all. I just am very goal focused.  So when I get on a path I push it through to some point I can justify stopping.  So when I am doing this practice I pride myself on making through the 80 minutes only taking the required breaks in the routine.  I like the adrenaline rush afterwards. But my hips are getting tired and my leg muscles are growing leaps and bounds.  Yet they are fatigued.   

For the last two days I have forced myself to take two breaks each class.  I took off the first standing pose and the third flow.  They are both pretty demanding on the hips.  so I figured give them a break.  It felt good, to lay there during that time, and just focus on giving the parts of my body that need it honor for their limits.  I will switch it up and take different breaks in the future so I keep up on all the poses.  

Taking breaks in the rest of life not so easy either.  We have built these constructs that require us to push to our limits so far beyond comfortable that we don't have the time for breaks.  We can't take a break as the opportunity cost is too high.  Then life slows us down by force.  We catch a cold or the flu and we are out of it for several days.  Our bodies took the break it needed.  We had no control over it.  I wonder if we take more self imposed breaks would it reduce the extra breaks our body needs us to take? 

Friday, May 10, 2013

The skin

Day 16: I am over half way there.  On the down hill slide if you would.

Lately I have noticed that my skin is changing.  I know that all this sweating and detox through the skin has been good for me.   People have commented on the glow my skin seems to be giving off.  Thankfully I can be glowing and not pregnant.  Phew...

I usually have very dry heals with frequent cracking.  I think the daily sweating and moisture level in the room has turned this around.  I know it has been months since my last pedicure because my toenail polish has grown off.  Yet my heals are looking good, no cracks and no dry skin.

My skin on my hands and arms is very soft.  I have not been using any moisturizers but my skin seems rather hydrated. My face has had one break out session but otherwise has been really quite clear.  The weird thing is that this soft skin has a bad side. I seem to get blisters on my feet real easy from rubbing shoes.  Even just having a shoe rub for a few minutes can break the skin.  I wonder if that is also because my feet have lost weight and my shoes are fitting differently.  Either way it is an interesting observation.

Any of you that know me know. that I have vitiligo, a skin condition that causes white patches to form where the pigment does not take on color.  This also causes burning when I don't use sun screen or wear hats, thus the great hat collection.   So the question is what will happen this summer as I continue to do Hot Yoga? Will all this detoxification help with the vitiligo?  In the past small areas have shown some spots of color coming back but very slowly, however the white areas continue to also slowly grow.  I am really excited to see if this practice will jump start my skin to take on new pigment.

Another skin observation is in elasticity.  When I started this journey I was worried about elasticity of the skin.  I knew that I would lose weight and get smaller.  I know people who have lost weight really fast and their skin could not keep up with it.  Usually they have had a stomach surgery or have done some other fast diet that does not include exercise.

Now I have a long way to go so by no way is the jury out on this one.  I can only say so far, that parts of my skin are managing to have some good luck with elasticity. The truth on this will not be known for some time. I can say that with the increase in muscles at the same time as decrease in fat I have seen some decent results.  My legs seem to have a lot less cellulite, are much smaller, and have less skin issues then they did before I started.  So I guess that is a good sign.  I am no spring chicken so I don't expect miracles.  I just want to feel good and look good in my clothing.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Love what you see in the mirror.

Day 15:
This was Mark's last day with us this time around.  He will be back for a few days in June as part of the instructor training that is happening. He really taught me a lot and pushed me to my limits each class.  Good job Mark.

However today he slid in this little beauty about 10 minutes into the class. Just dropped it like a bomb and then went on like no body's business.  Yet it struck me as very important and a great thing to take out of today's Practice.

Love what you see in the Mirror.
Love what you see in the Mirror.
Love what you see in the Mirror.

Easier said than done.  Easier typed then said.  A profound concept.

Each of us has our issues with this.  What are we loving, our physical self, our soul, our sense of humor,  our accomplishments, our friends, our contacts, our page views....? What are we loving?  There, standing on my mat in half moon pose, I was looking myself in the eye and thinking about loving what I saw staring back at me.

Do I love myself? Sometimes.  Some of the things we love about our selves are not the obvious.  Maybe it is the way you raise an eye brow and think sarcastic thoughts. Some of the things we love are physical, your hair or not physical at all like a sense of humor.  None of us are the physical ideal we consider beautiful.    We all see our flaws.  

No matter what size I am I see myself in that mirror as not where I want to be.  Why do we need such validation from physical self when we are all a sum of such wonderful parts.  

Check out the link: Dove Real Beauty Sketches  This is a brilliant 3 minutes that you will happy you watched. 

As they say in the video "Our self image impacts everything. We spend a lot of time as women trying to fix the things that are not quite right... we should spend more time appreciating the things we do like."

We are our own worst critics seeing our flaws larger than life.  Some of this may come from your image of yourself as a child or teen, and some is ingrained from relationships with people that were less that good for us.  However, no matter how it came along we have our self image and it is steeped in pain and self doubt.  

Even those people who we consider to be so beautiful, see themselves as flawed and lacking. Even if they seem so confident and self assured they are still seeing themselves as lacking. Maybe it is their intellect they see as lacking or their professional success or lack their of. 

If you had to choose between physical beauty and intelligence which would you choose?  Where would your balance be between the two?

I may not like my double chin or my lower stomach or my round thighs but I love my brain.  I love my strength, I love my compassion. I love the fact that I am so powerful.  I am kind. I am real.  I am brave. These are all parts of ourselves. We need to see beyond our physical deficiencies and spend time loving the many powerful and strong parts of ourselves.

Love what you see in the mirror.
Love what you see in the mirror.
See in the mirror what you love.
See in the mirror what you love.  

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Tweeting Distruntled_Fem

So I am talking with my one of my greatest Na', and  she says I wonder if it exists on twitter.  Well who knew, I could get pretty close.  So I figured why not.  Not sure how active the twitter feed will be but who knows.  Following me at Disgruntled_Fem.  hehe.  

Twitter being the strange stream of consciousness that it is, deserves at least a couple of alter egos to balance out the yin and yang.  

You all come back now ya hear..

Flexibility and Strength = Balance

Day 14:  The instructor today, who I have learned is named Mark, focused on the concept that achieving balance is a mixture of flexibility and strength.  Life requires a different mix of those depending on what you are trying to achieve.  Some things it take more flexibility and some things more strength. With the two together you can accomplish most things.

I know that, for me, this is key.  I have tried many work out and diets routines in the past and I know I need flexibility in my choices or I will loose focus.  Cutting out all carbs, or sugars, or protein, etc does not work for me. I know it works for many people.  I need variety.  I was always the type of person that if you told me I could not do something or have something I wanted it more and found a way around to get it.  If you told me I couldn't have any carbs I would carb load like a beast.  If you told me no chocolate then I was off to the store to get a bar.  I somehow need to know I can at some point, have anything and everything and yet still keep within my plan.

This is why logging my food intake in a system like My Fitness Pal is working for me. I can track carbs, calories, net calories, fats, etc.   I don't have to be limited and I can experience flexibility. I still need a great deal of strength to keep my portions in line and my sweet tooth under control.  Yet the flexibility is key.

When it comes to work out I also think this is key. While I am on the 30 day challenge Hot Yoga is my focus.  Yet I know that I will need some variety.  During the build up to this current stage I was lucky to be able to do Curves and Yoga to get my work out in.  I also enjoy hiking, walking, gardening etc... lots of great ways to burn a few calories and build muscle.

In life in general I need strength to keep focused and flexibility to keep my options open.  These together do help achieve balance.  I wish you all a balanced day.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Disclaimers and Yoga Breakdowns.

Day 12: I did another early morning flow class.  I needed to be done early to go down to the Planting Festival in Southern Missouri to get garden plants. We all have to have our priorities you know.  Non GMO heritage starts are important parts of my summer.  

So I felt like I got a lot more out of this flow class. I knew what to expect and when it was going to get real and when it was on the down hill slide.  That is a great thing about having a consistent class. You really can pace yourself.

Anyway I wanted to discuss an important issue. Hot Yoga is not for everyone. Every person's Journey is different.  I can't tell you the number of times someone said to me..."all you have to do is XYZ".  I usually wanted to hit them over the head with a rolling pins at those times.  How can anyone truly know what makes me tick or what will work for me.  In that light I can't begin to tell you what will work for you.  Maybe you are absolutely perfect and healthy and need no improvements or maybe you are feeling as stuck as I have for the last million years.  This Journey is personal, and as such is a very dynamic and customized experience.

As I have told people about what is working for me, I have had some people say they could not do this or could not do that.  I totally understand.  Even when I started Curves I was not ready to journal my intake and when I started Hot Yoga I had no idea where I was headed.   I am not in any way telling you to follow my steps. I am only hoping that the things I share will help motivate you in what ever journey you are on.  

Day 13:  So close to 15 and half way it is odd. I told a friend today that it no longer feels like this 30 days is an insurmountable journey more that it is just the daily work out.  I feel strong and feel motivated to keep going. I am sure when I am done 30 I will need and deserve a much appreciated break.   I am getting better at some poses.  I have started to stray a little from some of the modifications I created to help me be able to do some of the more difficult positions.  Lets face facts, I have a long way to go and my body shape, which is rather top heavy, will have a hard time doing some things for a long time.

I had a very strange experience today on the mat.  I had heard about yoga breakdowns.  I had heard that you can get very emotional out there.  Well my grandmother is quite ill and is starting to decline. She is 99 years old.  I live 1000 miles away from my family and at times feel very separated emotionally and physically   Yet every time I go to visit back home I would visit my grandmother.  We have not had the closest of relationships as she was Scotch and rather reserved. My Mothers side is Eastern European and does not even know the word reserved.  So the contrast between my grandparents growing up was marked.

Anyway I was on my mat and started to think about my grandmother, my father, and what everyone was about to go through. I started to have some pretty strong emotions and would have broken down in tears if I had let myself.  It came up so fast and so strong. Rather odd for someone who prides themselves on control.  Yet here I was in a yoga class where you control your movements and breath and my heart was screaming.

I managed to get a hold of myself and shake it off.  I could not face losing it in front of the yoga class.  Not sure what one does at that point.  Anyway during the final resting pose at the end of the class I was laying there and tears were streaming down my cheeks.  At least I think it was tears.  Could have been sweat mixed with tears.  Anyway I allowed myself to feel the release for a couple minutes and I was up and off to my day.  I am kind of scared and a little excited to see what will happen tomorrow.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Self Image, lordy lordy

Self image is so unbelievably hard to shake. Ever since I could remember I have looked at myself and seen the imperfections as major issues. We all have this image. Not sure if you have seen the Dove Campaign video called dove portraits. It is great and shows how we have this vision of what we look like. If we describe how we look it will be very different from how another person would describe us.

So here I am looking myself in the eye and trying to see the changes. Begging to see the changes in my body. I know I am changing and I sometime see the differences and then I am right back into my self image. It is a hard thing to break. Going through my photo stream on my camera helps on the voyage. I have to remember that I have a long way to go and to just let the river flow.

So one way I can see the difference is in clothing. Trying on my old clothing is great as I see some things starting to fit better and other things no longer as attractive. You know you wear styles to hide areas and when those areas reduce the styles need to change too. Some of my empire waist dresses are not doing me any favors, if you know what I mean.

Every few weeks I go to Kohls and try on clothing. Some times I will buy a piece or two, however just as often I walk out with nothing. I can see how I have changed based on specific sizes that are not stretched out and old. Also I get to try clothing that is in different styles. Some of my old clothing is just out of style, plane and simple, even in Missouri. Sorry folks but true.

I have put so much store in this 30 day challenge thinking of it for about two months before. Now I am battling through at Day 11. I have to admit I have been craving chocolate. Not sure what that is about. But pretty strong cravings. I know this is a long term commitment, 30 days aside.

The class was good. It was dude again. He was good. I tried a few things I had not done before. I really through a lot about my breath. The instructor talked about yoga being the marriage of active and inactive practice. The action of the poses and the rest of the Shavasinnas. The Shavasinna is the dead body pose where you lay flat and absorb the energy, healing, peace etc that are the result of the practice. It is hard to actually relax into this pose.

The pose has you laying on your back with your legs out and the insides of your heals together and your feet rotating out. Your arms are along your body with your palms up and arms rotated. This sounds easy but it actually was impossible for me when I first started. My arms did not rotate that way. I had to push my chest out and my shoulder blades together to get my arms to rotate out. I also had a hard time bringing my thighs together enough to get my heals together. Now I can relax and let my body do this.

Anyway there are shavasinnas throughout the practice you start and end that way and have breaks in that position as well as in child pose. These rests are needed and help you back up and into the positions for the active sections of the practice.

This day I tried to think about the active and inactive poses and honor them allowing my body to get the full benefit of both. If I focus on each day, each breath and not my body image, not how I see my self, not my imperfections, I can enjoy this process and travel this path to where it leads me.

Saturday, May 4, 2013


So the trifecta that seems to have worked so far has been Curves which I started in the fall, My Fitness Pal which I started December 31st and Hot yoga which I started December 19th. The combination of constant work outs and shocking the system up and down has really helped me get in control of my body.

I had a realization on the mat the other day. This was before I started the Challenge of doing Hot Yoga for 30 days. I was in tree pose. This is at a point in the work out where you have completed the two most challenging parts of the routine, the standing series and the flow series. You are sealing in your practice. The rest the class, probably 20 minutes, is floor work, stretching and cool down.

So, I was in tree pose. I was looking myself directly in the eye and being thankful and congratulatory to myself. This is a time of connection and thankfulness. Anyway, So I thought to myself that my body had carried me through the first half of life and now it was my turn to carry my body through the second half. This was thought with love and determination.

The self reflection of the connection made in looking yourself in the eye for a yoga practice each day is tremendous. A inner journey as well as an external one. So there I was looking over the continental dived of my life picking up the burden and challenge of healing my body and carrying it forward with purposeful steps. Over we go ladies and gentlemen.

Radiant heat and the healing power of yoga.

Day 9: I did an early morning flow class because my day was power packed. I am a faculty member for Stephens College, a private women college in Missouri. Today was graduation for our on line programs and masters level students. So I did the 7:00 am class with the help of the lovely Emily coming to watch the kids and feed them breakfast.

I did a longer flow class in Toronto in March that was similar but had radiant heat. At Moksha Hot Yoga in North York and Thornhill they have bamboo flooring that had radiant heat. There was no escape to get out of the heat. It came at you from below. Yet it was effective. It was also not humid there. I love the humidity in the class at Sumit. I love the sweat. It is cleansing.

Anyway I digress. The Sumit flow class was only an hour long and it seemed to be over rather quickly. It was effective and there were some new moves that made me once again a novice in the corner giggling to myself. Hehe hahaha there is no way my bottom should be directly above my head at this point. lol. The regular Sumit program is 80 minutes long and it stays the same each time so you work and work to get better and better at the same sequence. Some times there is a slight change in the fourth flow but that is still only two variations. So doing something different in this hour flow class was good and also odd.

Day 10: Today I got back to my 80 minutes. There was a new instructor today. A dude. Not used to a dude but he was really good. Each instructor adds their own position pointers and adjustments. It makes it fresh and a spiral of learning. The dude was very nice and added on a twist to the warrior 2.

I think I am through the hip pain. It was a little sensitive yesterday but today is much better. Less pain, but still limited mobility in the right hip. I think this hip thing may be from years of caring babies on my hip. Oh well. As yoga seems to be healing so many of my physical and mental concerns this too shall pass.

Thinking about healing. I feel like I have been on quite the journey of healing. Not just getting in shape and losing weight but actual healing. When I went to have a check up recently the following things were of note:

I am taking less thyroid medication and my numbers are good on that.

My blood pressure is 110 or 67, down from 130 over something or other last year.

My sitting pulse is at 58.

My weight was down.

I have not had a major flue or sickness since I started hot yoga almost 5 months ago. However even saying the last point makes me scared to tempt the fates of life and flaunt that records. As my maternal grandmother would say, bleee eyen hora, which is without the evil eye, phee phee phee.

Lastly I am over an inch taller. Yes taller. At the ripe age of 43 I have grown over an inch. I am now 5 foot 1 and a half. I was 5 foot nothing for the last 31 years...

So yes yoga is healing.

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Key to Hot Yoga

I had uncovered the key. One really kick butt workout resulted in a burn of about 1400 calories. Yes I said 1400 calories. If I could burn that much in one session. Hell if I did it twice a week it was like doing a bloody fast. Shock the system. I know that working out is key to me losing weight. Maybe this would break my cycle.

So I started. At first I could only do one a week. It took days to recover. Then I pushed it to two but I needed three days in between. I kept up doing curves on the off days. So I was getting something in almost every day. Slowly it took over from Curves as the dominate work out.

My best time was 9:00 am classes. At work by 11:00 feeling done but strong. I could do this twice a week and get two in over the weekend. This became the optimum with three curves workouts as well.

I would like to say it got easier but that is not quite correct. You see with yoga the better you can do it the more you can achieve and the more you can do. So there is an endless progress and advancement. It is what you put into it. The person who is new can get the same level of outcome as the master, you see, the outcome is relative to their practice. Boy did that sounds like yoga speak. hehe.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

My First Sumit Hot Yoga

I sometimes think I was very lucky to have found hot yoga. Living in Columbia Missouri we are not the first to get trends. Yet a student of mine told me about how wonderful hot yoga was. It sounded good. I grew up with a sauna and liked a good shvitz. So I figured it would be really relaxing sort of stretching in a sweat lodge. Boy was I in for a surprise.

The first time most people do Hot Yoga they hate it. You feel like you are cooking in a room with a bunch of people who have all signed up to be commanded through a routine from hell. You try to drink water while you watch your bodies moisture stream off you onto the floor to co-mingle with everyone else's shvitz. You then find yourself laying in your sweat trying to reabsorb it through your fat belly.

One time I overhead a conversation in the change room after class. One lady who had just had her first class told her friend "I would rather run a half marathon right now then ever get back into that room."

I called Sumits before I went the first time and asked what to bring etc. I looked it up on line and started to get educated. Then I got my friend Sarah to try it with me. Not only did I hate it the First time but I bolted about an hour in. I had signed up for a 2 week trial. Even though the first tiime I went I wanted to die, like sushi, I start to crave it. Maybe one more time. After all, I have to get my money out of the deal. So try it again....

So when I started I could not get anywhere near most of the positions. I felt like I was a rather large inflexible person in the middle of beautiful tight bodied young people. I would giggle to myself some times at the positions like it was an audacious concepts to think I could do them. I sweat, and sweat. At this point I did not want to be seen so I took a spot at the back corner of the room out of view.

Thankfully they have showers so each time I would I rushed out of class and get to the showers right off. Letting the cold water stream over me, reminding me to breath. Slowly I would dress and come out of the change rooms victorious. I expected the instructors to be stuck up and look down at my lowly status. But they were fantastic and helped me feel great about my accomplishment of as they say it "making it to your mat". I think if I had met with apathy or contempt I would not have kept coming back. However the incredible enthusiasm and support was enthralling and my yoga practice was born.

The nose knows.

OK so this is strange. Yoga has really started to balance things in my body. When I started this Journey I had started to experience some menopause symptoms. Hot flashes started about a year before. My period went crazy, some times skipping months other times lasting for weeks. Being only 42 it seemed early. Yet my mother had the longest menopause of anyone I had ever seen. So I guess I was not too surprised.

When I started hot yoga the hot flashes seemed to happen less often and less deep. A drink of alcohol used to spark one right off. Now just four months into this journey I can't remember my last hot flash. My period has also come back to some sort of normalcy.

Yesterday, on day 7 of my thirty day challenge, I noticed that I was smelling things that usually would have passed me by. I would not have considered myself as having a good sense of smell. In fact I was kind of on the dull side of smelling. Yet for the last couple of days I have felt like I am smelling all sorts of things. Just a scent here and a wave of smell there. Strawberries, body order, urine, mold, shampoo, smoke, dog, etc... The last time my sense of smell did this I was pregnant. I know I am not pregnant now. I guess the detox is working.

My hip had started to really bug me. I felt like it is inflamed from all the consecutive days of yoga and the extra labor I did in the yard recently. Several people I know, that have done 30 days challenges, told me there was a point that they experienced some major pain but they pushed through it and it got better. This could be that point but not sure.

Day 8: I had a hard time sleeping last night, I kept tossing and turning because my hips were too sore to lay for a long time on either side. This is what my nights used to be like before hot yoga, but actually worse.

I went to Sumits Hot Yoga and talked to the wonderful instructors about it. They were so knowledgeable it is wonderful. They made some really good suggestions including not going as deep into the warrior positions, working hard on the pigeon positions and adjusting the child poss to give the hips a break. I made these adjustments and was easy on myself. It helped a bunch. Just being in that hot room and doing most of the routine really got my hips going. I was scared it would tighten up during the day, especially because I had to spend hours at my desk grading in front of a computer screen. Yet, so far so good, it has been much better than yesterday.