Sunday, April 27, 2014

Most likely to...

I went to a very prestigious business school and was voted the most likely to reenact Woodstock.  Not most likely to succeed, get my Mrs, get a job, no... it was most likely to re-create the quintessential music fest of the time of love and rebellion.  Yet I got the high achievement awards in both of my double majors so I was taking care of business and taking names.  So, apparently I was going to reenact it however come out in the black and make sure there were enough bathrooms.

So each year I head off to my escape from adulthood, parenthood and all other hoods.  A music festival in Northern Arkansas is my destination.   I am notably in the older crowd and thus camp in upgraded tree lined areas.  I find myself not quite in the middle of tent city, but still grinding with the peeps.

The only problem with the scenario is I am a bit of a musical barbarian.  I enjoy a sound, a funky groove, a feeling, a combination of sounds, however I rarely listen to what is being said and never remember who I am listening too.  I eventually will recognize the sounds of a band.

So when I am faced with a five day stretch full of music,  6 stages going almost around the clock, it can be a little confusing.  Each year I try to research bands based on the schedule to at least have some, must see's, picked out.

This year my husband is helping me.  He started to create a spotify playlist with a couple songs from each band we like.   As he does not get to come to the festival, this is also a way for him to experience the fun of the groove.   I have not really gotten into spotify before this for the same reasons I need to, I am a musical barbarian, and no name memory makes it hard to look up bands.

So we have been going methodically stage by stage day by day starting with the closest stage and working out.  Wow.  This world of automatic access to everything is unbelievable.  The Waka '14 playlist is a wonderful thing, up to over 100 songs and only part way through day two. At least I will have this as a memorial of this great year's music selection.

The ability to become educated and proficient at any subject is so within our finger tips.   Any subject or area of interest is within our phones, tablets and even computers waiting discovery.  No longer are we limited by our weaknesses or lack of access to knowledge.  Not saying I don't need to listen to this several times to drill anything into my long term memory.  

Does this mean I have to reenact Woodstock because 'I can do anything I want'... or does it mean I can do anything I want because I can reenact Woodstock, if I really wanted to...  I think for now I will just settle for a new bunch of sounds and some chill time to look forward to. Woodstock may have to wait a bit yet but I'm not ruling it out.    


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Contributing Factors

"Life is contributing factors" said a very good friend of mine, just when I needed to hear it.

Sometimes in life we just feel like we are overloaded with factors that contribute to our inability to do things or accomplish goals. This has been the story of my last couple week.   I could spend my day listing all the road blocks and obstacles that ended up in my way, however what good would that do.  On those days where we are just over the top with issues of health, family, work, school etc. we have two choices:

1) Fight to go beyond all the obstacles to accomplish the goals no matter what. 
2) Let the river flow and accept that the universe may have other plans for us than what we wish.  

The real challenge is in knowing which path to choose.  The majority of the time I choose number 1. However on those rare occasions when the deck is just too stacked against me I have to give in and go for door number 2.  

So this has been my world over the last couple of weeks.  It has been an entire week since I did hot yoga.  Not sure that has happened for many months.  The combination of hip pain, Passover, visiting friends, work overload, and family commitments pushed me over the edge.  I got to the point where there was just too many factors for me to ignore the message from the universe that said "SLOW DOWN!!!!".  Something had to give and it was my personal needs.  

To add to the situation it is currently Passover which has necessitated me to go off course on diet.  In the Jewish tradition we have two Passover dinners that include lots of wine, food and discussion.  This is one of my favorite holidays as it really makes you think about the things in life that hold you back and keep you from your personal freedoms.  

So at these dinners I drank wine and ate some sugar.  Each time I drank wine and ate sugar, even in small amounts, my feet would swell and I would feel fatigued.  The next morning I felt even worse as if I was running up hill all night.  Sustained deep sleep was hard to achieve and overall I felt mildly poisoned.  Some of this was natural exhaustion from contributing factors like the hard work of making a dinner for 16 people but most of it was directly attributed to input and output of the body.  

It has been two days since these dinners and I am just now starting to feel like I have some energy back and can go back to my yoga practice. I have learned much from being off the no-sugar wagon, so to speak.  I felt like my mind was cloudy, my body was sore, and my spirit was low.  The moral of the story is I need to stay away from sugar and other contributing factors.  

What this has all meant for my challenge is that, I finished up my challenge two hot yoga's short of the 30 in 40.  I stuck to the gluten free and the blood sugar maintenance diet. I felt tremendous movement in my goals.

Now that my overload is behind me I am back on track and will consider what the next goals should be.   I certainly have every confirmation that staying away from sugar and gluten is essential for my progress and my personal freedom.  

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Bikram check...

Hot yoga's most notable practice is Bikram, named after Bikram Choudhury, the first to patent and franchise the practice of Hot Yoga. He has been doing his system since the 1970's, however in the last few years hot yoga studios have popped up everywhere.  He is also the uncle of my yoga practice creator Sumit. 

Bikram is a 90 minute practice that is at 105 to 107 with a humidity of  around 40%.  The practice has 26 poses and it starts and ends with a breathing exercise.  The class is 100% poses, so no flows.  There is no music and they don't open the doors to let cold air in.   It is known as a serious challenge and people seem to either love or hate it.  I sort of feared that I would try it and find that I had been kidding myself all along thinking I was strong.  

So I took the kids to St. Louis for a couple days over March Break, (what Canadian's call Spring Break... Eh.) My folks were with us, so I had help but I also knew it was going to be a stressful experience.   So I planned to do a hot yoga on the second morning.  There was a bikram about 10 minutes from the hotel.   

The night before the practice I slept terribly.  I was in a Hampton Inn with my own room connecting to my folks and the kids.  I should have slept like a baby.  But I did not.  I was worried about doing Bikram.   I got up early when I heard the kids jumping around in the next room.  I got into my yoga clothing and got ready to head to bikram.  

When I got to the class I greeted the instructor and told her I had not done Bikram before but did have experience with hot yoga.   She gave me the run down and sent me towards the rooms.   She was very kind and I think her name was Deanne. 

When I got into the room the first thing that hit me was the smell.  Bikram has carpeted floors.  This seems like a very faulty plan for a class where you sweat and sweat and sweat.  I could tell they had tried to keep it as clean as possible but the fact is carpet absorbs liquid.  So as you got closer to the ground you smelled it more.   I got used to it rather quickly, which surprised me.   

So I found a place in the first row by the mirror.  A couple of nice people came up to me and recommended I move to the back if it was my first time.  I thanked them but said that I liked to be by the mirror to help with balance.  So I set up and waited for class to start.   

The class followed the same flow through the body as Sumits does.  It had many of the same poses but of course without the flows.  It had a nice starting pose that was for breathing and I enjoyed that.  The poses were often held a little longer then I was used to and required much strength.   

By half way through the class the instructor, with a little reassuring wave from me, realized I knew what I was doing and she did not have to outline things as much.  By the end of the class I felt great.  I not only made it through, frankly I made it through strong.   I took my usual amount of breaks but nothing out of the ordinary.  

Overall I would say it might be a stronger strength work out from holding poses, but it is by far a less strenuous cardiovascular work out then Sumits.  The flows really get my heart up and help me feel like I am getting the exercise I need.  I am not saying I would not do Bikram if given the chance, however I would say that I feel very thankful that Sumits is the club in my town.  

After the class the instructor told me I was very flexible and had a very strong practice. I then admitted that I was a Hot Yoga Junky.  She was very kind and I would recommend people who wish to try Bikram do so in Chesterfield Missouri.