Friday, July 16, 2010

Different Styles

So I did the exact thing yesterday that I said I wouldn’t do ever again. I did my New Rules workout around 3:30pm then went to that weird step-aerobics/yoga class at 6:30pm. I was totally prepared for the class to be a disaster and for me to hate myself for it. Thankfully, miracles happen.

If you are new to yoga, you may get very nervous when you show up to an empty … or nearly empty … studio. What am I going to do with just me and the instructor? She is going to notice me. Ahh!

If you have been practicing for awhile and you show up to an empty classroom, your first thought is most likely WAHOOOOOO! An empty or near empty yoga class means personalized instruction, which is the best. It means that not only will your instructor notice you but he or she will most likely tailor the practice to your needs. That is what happened at Internal Muscle Shift class yesterday.

I arrived tired. I know I keep repeating myself, but I have been really tired this week. I am mostly over my illness but I think that the Cipro is draining my energy. So I showed up to grueling, heated step-aerobics yoga and I was pretty much dead on my feet. But then I noticed that there was only one other student in addition to me and I immediately perked up. Then a third student/ part-owner showed up and said she was tired. Then the instructor, Kim, asked us the magical question…Do you want to just have a yoga class? Yes, Yes Please.

Kim promised us a tough power yoga style class but about 2 minutes in I think she realized what she had on her hands – three very tired, very stressed out women who needed some yoga love. So the practice was slow and flowing with endless attention to detail. I felt like she spent the entire class focusing on me and my alignment. She also was apparently focused on my breathing…or lack thereof…since she handed me a cough drop halfway through to help ease my sniffling and coughing.

A friend of mine has recently started taking a bunch of different yoga classes and has discovered, as I have, how very different they are. The styles are different, the studios are different, the words and phrases are different and the instructors are different. If you start playing around with all these different yoga options, you will find not only a style that fits you, but you may discover that you fit many different styles.

I still consider Vinyasa to be ‘my yoga’ but I have discovered that I love Hatha yoga equally and for different reasons. We have to listen to our bodies…sometimes we crave hard work and sweat. And sometimes we crave deep stretch and calm. I personally struggle with allowing myself to accept an easier, calmer yoga practice…I was very lucky last night to have an instructor that recognized exactly what I needed, even if I didn’t.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Try Hard

I am still avoiding difficult cardio.  But man am I tired.  I think my lungs and body really got walloped with that sickness.  I did the stationary bike for an hour at lunch today in the attempt at a lazy, low endurance cardio workout.  I pretty much felt like a loser peddling my bike and reading my book while people pounded away on treadmills around me...but it would have been worse if not for yesterday.

Yesterday I made my way to the gym for New Rules Stage 3 Workout A and a few hours later for Victoria's class.  That New Rules workout is a killer!  Remember when I told you about Single Dumbbell Overhead Squats?  Did anyone run home or to the gym to try those out??  Well yesterday, as I was diligently squatting with a weight held over my head, a trainer came up to me and said "Wow, where'd you learn that move?  Its my favorite one but I never see anyone else doing it.  Good Job."  I was pretty proud.

Later, another trainer came up to me.  This particular trainer has tried to bring me on as a client several times and I have made it very clear to him that I am beyond dirt poor so I will just stick with my little workout book, thankyouverymuch.  Anyway, I am wary of this trainer.  But this time, he comes up to me and says "You know, you are one self-motivated girl.  You never miss a workout - I wish my clients were like you.  You ever need any help with that book of yours, just ask.  I'm happy to help, free of charge."

A few hours later, as I returned to the gym for Vinyasa class a third trainer looks at me and says "You were JUST HERE.  You are always here!"

And I supposed its true.  I spend a lot of time at my gym.  And in yoga studios.  And (somewhat) running on the streets and sidewalks.  I know I try hard.  But sometimes, on weeks like this when I can't run and I feel lazy, it feels nice to realize that other people, perfect strangers, recognize that I try hard too.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I had an interesting question from one of you yesterday about how to get back on track when you feel like things have gotten unhealthy. It is an interesting question because, for me, I find that I start to behave or feel like I am behaving unhealthily when my life has gotten out of control. And my advice for getting back on track and feeling in control again is just to stop for a minute. Seriously stop. Stop trying to fix it. Stop trying to cram in one more thing. Stop counting your calories. Stop counting your workouts. Just stop, breathe and reset.

Being healthy is an ongoing practice - similar to yoga. In yoga, we focus on where we are each moment, accept that moment with acknowledgement and not judgment, and move on. Keeping a constant eye on some goal, some point of perfection can be destructive in practice. A very, very wise friend once told me that ‘Perfect is the Enemy of Good’. What was that Yoda? Think about it … If you are striving to be perfect, every misstep, every backslide is a disaster. You have failed. You suck. Might as well pack it in and go find the cupcakes.

Silly, right? None of us are perfect…and we are not going to be perfect. And what would being perfect look like anyway? I do not think that a perfect, healthy person runs 10 miles a day and eats carrot sticks and egg whites at each meal. I imagine that the perfect, happy person laughs a lot. She eats ice cream on hot days. She enjoys a run with friends. She likes to make healthy, nourishing meals not because that is what she is supposed to do, but because that makes her feel good.

To me, that is healthy – living a happy, balanced life. And I do not think that that life is achieved by focusing on being perfect all the time…because a healthy life isn’t perfect, it is real. Is that too abstract?

My point, as vague as it may be, is this: When you are acting in a way that makes you feel unhealthy, just stop doing it. Do not dwell on it. Acknowledge that it happened – write it down if you want – and move on. Forgive yourself – you are just human. You are not perfect but you are doing a great job.

I also suggest getting back on track as quickly as possible. Press the reset button. Not the next day, not at the next meal, but at that moment. This does not mean lacing up your sneakers and running a million miles to burn off the bag of Cheetos you fell into. It does not mean lettuce with fat free dressing for dinner. It means picking yourself up and getting back into your normal, healthy routine. Make a nice, homemade dinner. Do whatever workout you have scheduled. You have a rest night scheduled, including drinks with friends? That’s okay too. Just forgive the past indiscretions and move on and keep living your (healthy, balanced, fun) life.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Still Sick

Remember when I said "Lesson Noted" and not "Lesson Learned"?  Well I continued that theme through the weekend.  I skipped Vinyasa class Friday in order to leave work early and get to the doctor's office.  Result?  Seventy-Six Dollars later I am officially diagnosed with Bronchitis, a Sinus Infection, some kind of throat issue/infection and ears almost at ear infection level and am the proud owner of multiple drugs.  Going to the doctor's is tough for me - I don't like to do it because: 1) it is expensive; 2) it is time consuming; and 3) it inevitably ends up with me having to take medicine.  I know that there are people who get by without medicines and I wish I was one of them.  I hate taking them - I am the poster child for side effects.

After the doctor's I picked up my meds and some stuff for dinner and went home, whined to Bill, ate a dinner I couldn't taste and watched Jaws 2.  All good - operation recovery in effect. 

Saturday morning I was up at 6:41am and off the the races!!  I couldn't sleep because of (insert one of a million illness symptoms here) so I got up to take my Cipro.  Woo!  Man does that stuff make me wired.   And Nauseous.  And thirsty.  And while setting up that there link I also read that it causes tendinitis in active people.  Awesome.  So I took the Cipro, made breakfast, read my book club book, worked in the garden and then hit a 9:00am 90 minute power yoga class at Revelation.  I was supposed to go running too but both my lungs and my doctor said no.

The yoga class was great - very tough and very hot.  I felt like I was going to throw up a few times but that was probably the Cipro more than anything else.  Otherwise I felt fine the whole class and worked up a ridiculous sweat.  I then headed home and cleaned the bathroom, including unclogging the drains. 

Then I crashed.  Big time.  My head was officially a big ball of ewww.  Still I couldn't rest.  I tried taking a nap...I think it was driving Bill crazy that I was simultaneously complaining about feeling like crap and running around like a mad woman.  I am not sure if that was caused by the Cipro, me or both.  I would guess both but I can blame the Cipro because apparently you are not supposed to combine it with caffeine or it makes you a nutcase:

"Do not drink or eat a lot of caffeine-containing products such as coffee, tea, energy drinks, cola, or chocolate. Ciprofloxacin may increase nervousness, sleeplessness, heart pounding, and anxiety caused by caffeine."

I am pretty sure I had my usual 4-5 cups of coffee on Saturday.  I probably should have read the warnings first. 

Oh and I ended the night by going to a concert where I partied it up.  Yup. 

Surprisingly, I felt better Sunday.  Not great but better...I barely moved from the couch all day except to tend to the tomato plants for 20 minutes.  Today I went to work but they sent me home fearing I would infect the office ... but I am better.  Really, it feels like I just have a cold now.  So I will go to yoga tonight and hopefully I will lift weights and finally make it back to Victoria's class tomorrow night.  Still no running for the week at least - doctor's orders.