Monday, April 28, 2014

Day 108 - Namaste

So here I am, on the other side of the Ultimate Yogi, all 108 days complete.  Let's reflect first on the juice feast and lessons learned:

Juice Feast
  1. Just because I lived off of V8 for 5 days when I was 19 doesn't mean that I can do it for 3 in my 30s.
  2. Smoothies taste delicious when all you've had is V8 and water (see #1)
  3. Soy Milk does not count as juice and there is no such thing as Beef Juice (even the drippings from your burger???!!!)
  4. Hunger comes and goes in spurts and gets easier day after day.
  5. Eating nothing for 3 days is actually easier than eating raw fruits and vegetables for 3 days - at least for me.
  6. On the third day I was seriously "hangry".
So with that done, I was ready to tackle my 108 Sun Salutation final challenge: 

108 Sun Salutations
  1. As with most of the program it is really hard to focus for 108 straight repetitions.
  2. I am still a perv - albeit a more enlightened perv.
  3. There is no such thing as the Ultimate Yogi or at least I will never be it.  However, I will be more centered, happier, supplement free, stronger, more flexible, more enlivened and more appreciative than I have ever been before.
  4. The middle 36 were probably the hardest because you are tired and you don't yet see the light at the end of the tunnel.
For those of you wondering about my prophecy on Day 2 - yes there were tears at the end.  I honestly don't know what came over me - whether it was hunger, sadness, fatigue, happiness, joy, pride, wussiness or a blend of all of the above, but tears were definitely involved.

So a number of you spambots may be wondering what is next?  Well more yoga of course.  This journey helped me realize that weight training is not for me anymore, at least for now (never say never).  I purchased Yoga Warrior 365 and after taking this weekend to get some perspective (read: get really drunk) I started the program today.  I can already tell it is slower paced and not as intense as the Ultimate Yogi, but that is a good thing too.  Perhaps the longer held poses will allow me to focus and work on testing my edges.

I have no current plans to post on that journey, but I encourage you all to check back once in a while as who knows when the spirit may move me.

I'll leave you in true corporate fashion with some key metrics about my journey:
  1. Days of Yoga: 108 (+1 @ Corporate HQ)
  2. Days to complete the journey: 116
  3. Days with sufficiently focused meditation: 0
  4. Days of Crazy Diets: 9
  5. Pounds lost on the program: 13
  6. Cumulative Pounds lost since re-finding Yoga in Jan 2013: 31
  7. Tears Shed: Too many
  8. Yogi Style Pushups: Too many

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Day 99 - Life is good

Can't believe I'm almost there.  It has been an incredible journey.  As Travis promised, I am finishing happier, healthier, fitter and more flexible than I have ever been.  I can't believe that after 10 years I am finally off the bodybuilding supplements and not feeling cruddy, not feeling sad, not feeling like I need them for focus, not feeling I need them for athletic performance.  I forgot what it felt like to feel so great so naturally.  I forgot how good you can feel just by taking a breath.

And guess what?

I'm even baking in 10-15 minutes daily for meditation and realizing that it really fuels and energizes me throughout the day.

My wife is so annoyed with me because I'm stopping to observe the trees, flowers, birds, really all the things that I normally would not care to notice.

I've also been taking a class through Coursera on Buddhism and Modern Psychology as well as reading some great books.  I highly recommend the Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga by Deepak Chopra for anyone who wants to explore the more spiritual side of yoga.  I keep them as calendar invites for myself now so I have some wisdom to guide me through each day.

I'm actually looking forward to the juice feast even though I know it will be a challenge.

Of course I still have my weaknesses.  I still get upset, sad, angry, pervy, bored, etc. just like anyone else, but I am better able to accept those things and better able to either control them or revert to a happier norm.

Grateful for this journey and now just wondering what I do once I complete the 108 days.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Day 79 - Surprise!

Betcha all thought I wouldn't be posting anymore, but I couldn't leave you hanging without telling you how the second detox went.

You might all remember the lessons learned from veganism post.   I have only one lesson learned from a raw diet: I never want to do that again.

Just kidding.  Well half.

The diet was really challenging and not so fun.  I found that eating raw trail mix, while filling, was not so satisfying after the first couple of cups...I also found that eating fruit, lettuce and nuts did not make for a very palate satisfying foodie adventure.

So I was ready to completely write it off as a terrible idea but then I noticed a few things happening:

  1. I lost nearly 5 lbs - no joke - and this was after I was certain I had plateaud.  I've since put back on 2.5, but the other 2.5 seems to be stubbornly staying off.  My favorite kind of stubborn.
  2. I noticed numerous other positive health impacts (but I will spare you the details).
  3. I had increased energy and less stress.

Still don't want to do it again, but it is a terrific reminder to eat leanly and that our body reacts so well to what we put into it.  It is almost a Karmic reaction and not surprising given that we are composed primarily of what we eat.

This was solidified by the next day where I ate a whole lot of junk and found myself feeling like junk - lethargic, more sullen, heavy and unmotivated.

My natural motivation is finally starting to come back to me and for the first time ever I don't feel like I need to get back on the supplements.  I still have bad days, but the trend is upwards.  I can do this naturally, not because I have to, not because it is "better", but simply because I want to.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Days 55-58 - In my own time

I was going to stop this blog altogether.  Reason being that I realized I was putting pressure on myself to keep it updated and that was counterintuitive to what I have been trying to accomplish here. I've been trying to convince myself to take life more easily.  Not to create arbitrary goals and work for myself.  Not to have the stress.

So I was going to say sayonara when I realized I was doing it again even when I was trying not to do it again.

I need to be better at letting go.  I need to accept that sometimes "giving up" is really the right choice, no matter how hard it might be for me.

But that also shouldn't come at the cost of a good thing - an outlet for me and hopefully others.  A chronicle of an important journey and a chance for me to pen thoughts in real time.

So I am going to give up on daily updates.  (I arguably did weeks ago!)
I'm going to give up on feeling like I have to post and only post because I want to post.
I am going to give up on caring so much about consistency and just say what I wish to say and only if I wish to say it.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Day 54 - A gentle touch

I've had this weird tingling in my right arm the last couple of days.  Not sure what it is and hoping it is not carpel tunnel.  Can't seem to catch a break! But other than that today's gentle yoga was just what the doctor ordered to give me the energy and the strength to effectively plow through my day.  It was a challenging day, but an interesting one as I learned more about my career and my future.  I am grateful to have some great colleagues who will help see me through this and give me good advice.

Anyway not much to add today so I better get to my meditation before I find more reasons to delay it.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Days 51, 52 and 53 - I owe updates

Wow a 3 for 1.  Here is me trying to convince you that my laziness in not updating this blog is actually a good deal for you because it gets you more efficiency in the post.

So what have I discovered over the last 3 days?

1) Hippie Chick is present and looks amazing in more workouts than I realized.  I think I've developed my first vegan crush.
2) I am the kind of person that assumes that the hippie looking girl in the yoga program is a vegan and indeed the only vegan.
3) The other ladies are still pretty hot and distracting.  Particularly given the skimpy attire they wear.  Meredith is super buxom in the balance workout and Lauren looks like a ballerina when scissoring in the flexibility workout.  Sigh...

I'll stop there because things always work better in threes.

But I couldn't possibly justify that alone as an update soooooo...this is a perfect time to talk about meditation.

I'm still failing to meditate on most days, but I found a great app called Headspace that gives you the first 10 days free.  There is a lot of haterade in the reviews about how it is advertised as free, but really isn't.  I don't think it is advertised as free and honestly find it strange that anyone in this day and age is indignant about in-app purchases or a subscription model.

At any rate, the free 10 days are 10 minutes (really 11) a piece.  Although I've found it relaxing and helpful, it is pretty much the same thing every day and I just finished Day 6 so I don't know if it is worth plunking the extra cash down later.  That said the other segments are supposed to be different, but it is hard to tell for sure without seeing what they are like.  Perhaps a better business model would be to do a sampling of segments for the free trial, but what do I know.  I still haven't launched a business.

I'm also reading this terrific book called the Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.  Still not sure whether I will be able to really modify bad habits, but it sure helps to understand them.  I actually have been working on some bad habits with some good progress so please keep your fingers crossed for my continued success.

Ok - low battery warning - better finish up.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Days 49 and 50 - An Ode to Hippie Chick

So there is one lady in the group I haven't discussed, but shame on me for ignoring her just because of her hippie headband and vegan crunchy granola attire.  There is a beautiful lady and wonderful yogi who doesn't get nearly as much attention from the camera as she deserves.  Sure she is not as busty as Meredith, leggy as Lauren or toned as Patty.  But overall she has the total beautiful yogi package.  She is pretty, diligent, flexible, toned and dare I say it without knowing anything about her - humble.  I know so little I haven't even found out her name like the rest.  Nevertheless, there she is in most of the workouts, quietly unassumingly being such an asset to the program.

Sadly the best pic I could find of her on the interweb...(based on a 30 sec web search)...


That's her on the right in front of Travis.  Look how deep her warrior one goes! I know it's not a competition, but she is kind of putting the incredibly hot Lauren to shame in this pic.

Go hippie chick! (Scar chest is also lunging pretty deeply!)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Day 48 - Twist those organs

I mean purify those orga...blergh gotta use the restroom again.

Twist after twist after twist.  Challenging as always, but loads of fun.

Believe it or not I deliberately said "no beef" to my bibimbap today and would have had a fully vegan meal but for the two small fishcakes I had on the side.  I just feel better when eating healthier and that is worth everything.

I would be lying if I said I didn't miss the supplements.  This is the first time I've been feeling "normal" off supplements.  But normal is still negative, pessimistic, gripey and generally tired.  Which beats the "feel like death" every day that usually happens when I come off supplements.   I keep wondering why not get the best of all worlds and have the yoga with the positive effects of the supplements?

Still struggling to focus, but that is improving too.  If I was certain to have focus and a full light at the end of the happiness tunnel I would stay off....more to think about

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Days 46 and 47 - Gently Flex

I really like that flexibility workout.  It is a perfect mix of challenge and soothe.  Push hard but get looser.  Part of me wishes I practiced in the evening so I could really make progress in the workout.  In the morning I always feel sooooo stiff.  But hey it loosens me up so what more could I want.

The gentle yoga today was good too.  Really relaxing and set me in just the right mood for work.  Amazing that I did so well on just one cup of coffee.  No depression, no sadness, no feeling overly stressed.

You might also be wondering why I don't do the hardcore anymore.  In a nutshell - because I don't need to.  I am getting an excellent workout without it and part of "letting go" is letting go of the perfectionism I need for the hardcore.

I've also been doing a daily meditation, which has been pretty good for me.  Just 10 minutes a day.  It is in an app and is guided.  This was my 4th day and the first I had trouble with it.  Perhaps it is too repetitive, but I will keep doing it for now and right a separate post on it in due time.


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Days 44 and 45 - Rebalancing for strength

I can't believe it has been a whole week since a man called Bibo did these two workouts with me.  It was really nice to have someone to practice with.  The energy is a whole lot better.

The balance workout is really difficult, but it makes perfect sense why yogis seem to love the balance metaphor for life.  Allowing yourself to try your best, but be comfortable when you fall is a real challenge to the ego.  The important thing is not in whether you fall, but rather in how you respond when you do fall.

For me most of the balancing and falling was spent staring at Meredith's biground eyes...honestly - quite the pretty lady.

Image courtesy of

Ok...I might have snuck a glance or two at her ample bosom.  I mean seriously folks, did she have to wear something so low cut and stand in the front row?  Torture, especially when you need to focus not to fall.

The balance workout is also a great reminder of how important it is to balance efforts when exercising.  By going 100% you open yourself to injury.  By not working hard enough you won't get results, but by pushing yourself at a good 80% - where you feel it, but it's not too much and recalibrating to remain there you get the best results.

This is really important for me to remember because I am such an extreme person and I tend to believe you do all or nothing.  That is sad because the 80/20 rule seems to be a much more accurate way of living life.

Today's strength workout was fine.  I really am regaining the strength in my back and shoulder, though it is annoyingly still hurting.  My hip is probably out again because last night the pain was pretty bad.  Still, the mornings are getting easier and they used to be the worst and stiffest.  This is one of the longer ones so it will always be challenging and by layering clothes I managed to get a good sweat.

I have only one thing to say to my main man Bibo - "5 more yogi style pushups"

Friday, February 14, 2014

Days 42 & 43 - Let's get that cardio flow & crack/pop goes the Tito

Just as I finish complaining about not sweating enough I encounter the cardio workout the next day.  Nothing gets you going quite like some sweet cardio flow.  Drizzled sweat on my matt, but not as sweaty as a man called Bibo (that's what you get for chasing me!)

Today I got through the Mountain (no surprise), the Pranayama breathing (no surprise) and failed the meditation (no surprise).  This time I just turned it off at the beginning.  Skipped meditation last night.  I just am not comfortable in my own mind.

I went to an awesome new chiropractor today.  I haven't felt this normal in a long time.  I still have some minor discomfort in my shoulder, but he really got the right adjustments.  Glad I finally switched.  This guy asked all the right questions and saw all the right stuff.  My hip was out of alignment so my right leg was actually 1/2 an inch longer than my left.  Once back in alignment through some adjustments (neck, rib, shoulder) the pain was gone and my legs were back the same length.  Crazy...

Pop goes the Tito!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Day 41 - Want to sweat

Today's workout was tough as usual, but I noticed I'm really not sweating that much anymore.  I think it is a combination of (a) the cold; (b) holding back because of my back; and (c) getting used to the routines.  I'm thinking I may need to find ways to warm up and sweat more.

I'm wondering what to do re: supplements.  Each day is a challenge.  The yoga is really helping me through it, but just barely.  I'm still mostly unmotivated and generally feel like crap.  The first time I realized the supplements were dramatically artificially improving my mood, my response was - I'd rather be on these supplements than on prozac since I get an athletic benefit too and none of the side effects.

In 10 years of supplement usage I never had any prolonged negative side effects, though query whether the one way ratchet of mood elevation and my difficulty of finding joy/motivation once off them is the worst side effect of all.

A lot to think about.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Day 40 - So gentle and sweet

I enjoyed the gentle yoga today.  It really is hard to take a break from the hustle and bustle, but I take it as a huge step forward that I feel as alert and good as I do now despite not having the athletic morning. I had conditioned so many bad habits in my life that I truly began to believe all the negativity that I had thought.  I had created and fed myself with bad thoughts.  "I can't do it if I don't...", "I'm just not whole without...",  "I'm useless before..."

What destructive thoughts.  Now I just breathe and know that alertness and awareness will come to me.  In truth, I still struggle every morning and I still crave and miss the supplements.  The level of goodness in my day never reaches that level of excitement I had before.  The feelings of inadequacy continue to well in me.  The feelings of failure and insufficiency plague my mind, but it is a process and one I am trying to overcome.   This 108 day journey is so much more than a physical journey.  It really is a time of self-reflection.  I truly hope that this inward acceptance is the first painful step to overcoming and leading a more natural happier healthier life.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Day 39 - Flexibility

What a great workout today.  I was a little nervous when I saw that Yin Yoga was no longer a part of the program for the next few weeks.  I really enjoyed that practice, but the flexibility workout seems to combine the best elements of Yin with a much more dynamic practice.

Funnily but I suppose unsurprisingly enough, the strength and flexibility workouts meet their stereotypes with the former being dude dominated and the latter being lady loaded.  *insert crass joke about flexible ladies* va voom!

But srsly folks.  It was athletically challenging and yet so rewarding.  Really a fun workout.  The one pose I couldn't begin to do was the yogic squat with bind.  I'm not sure that's the name, but in any event, I'm pretty sure my body doesn't bend like that.

My hamstrings are still so tight, but hopefully through this workout they can get better.

It was a great start to the morning.  Too bad the rest of the day sucked.  I can't wait to do it again.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Days 37 & 38 - Balancing with Bibo

A man named Bibo came to visit.  Together we did yoga.  It was great.  Really nice to have a real life classmate.  We were both distracted by the buxom Mila Kunis lookalike (Meredith).  Why did she have to be in the front row for the balance class?  I pretty much go into an anime like nosebleed tailspin every time I see her so putting her up front and center in a balance class is a cruel distraction.

That Bibo guy was a lot more focused than I was though.

Today's strength workout was harder on him though - I'm pretty sure I heard a few "no...please..." groans coming from him.  Reminds me of my first week on the program.

I'll give a more detailed breakdown of the balance class next week, but suffice it to say, you need to do a little more than tree pose...

Given my poor hamstring flexibility and calf weakness it was probably my hardest class to date and I'm looking forward to trying it again.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Day 36 - Phase I complete

And there you have it - 36 sun salutations done.  The hardest part has been restraint.  Knowing that I could get more athletically from doing up dogs and additional push ups, but also knowing that my back would regret it later.  I've had a hard time not doing what feels right in the moment and deferring for future gain.  I was able to do it though.  Although that made the 36 "easy", the challenge really was in holding back and I'm proud to have done it.  I hope that by day 72 my back will be better and I can really push myself in the sun salutations.   The other challenging thing was that Meredith (aka hotter Mila Kunis) was wearing a very low cut top and they kept focusing on her swooping up and down in the sun salutations.  Ohhhhh Travis, how you manage to challenge us in so many different ways!!!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Day 35 - I am cleansed and edified

9 lessons learned as a 3-day vegan:

  1. Chicken and beef really aren't vegetables, no matter how much I want them to be.
  2. Everything tastes great with chili sauce.
  3. I will not die of malnutrition if I don't eat meat for 3 days, but I might be a little hungrier throughout the day.
  4. I will be lighter and more energetic if not weighed down by our animal friends.
  5. Just because there is free food on the table you don't have to eat it.  
    • Seriously - having the willpower to avoid all animal based foods required me to turn down some mighty tasty free foods.  But if I can do it then, I can do it otherwise (not healthy, not really that tasty, spoil appetite, etc.)
  6. Apples and chick peas are remarkably filling.  Humus, while tasty, is not.
  7. Tofu doesn't taste like meat, but it is still tasty when slathered in chili sauce (see #2).
  8. I won't smell really bad because of my diet.  I just smell bad in general.
  9. Cooking creatively is a lot of fun and allows you to discover great new combinations (e.g. soy sauce + fermented soy bean paste ~ fish sauce).

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Days 33-34 - Be Gentle

Yesterday was the first day of eating vegan.  Probably ever.  As I write this I am staring at my bowl of roasted red pepper hommous and thinking that veganism actually is not that terrible.  I have had more energy, felt lighter and more refreshed.  But I've also felt more hungry.  I think I tend to get fuller faster over fewer calories but then my body gives a backlash so I end up eating more frequently.

Yesterday I made a cauliflower and chick pea curry.  Proud of myself because I did it with no recipe and it was actually pretty tasty.  Today I made a spicy bok choy with pad thai noodles.  Tomorrow I'm thinking of doing something with tofu.

Today's yoga practice was the first time doing gentle yoga.  Not really my cup of tea.  Much prefer the yin yoga (which is tomorrow's practice).  I couldn't focus well, but I'm sure it didn't help that I was freezing, exhausted and running late.   Work has become insane again and I'm trying to motivate, but it is very hard without the supplements to delude me into a happier mindset.

I better get to bed and do a little meditation - starting to feel hazy and today was extremely stressful.  Glad to be ending it in a good mood.  Tomorrow I have back to back meetings all day, but I still have my Yin Yoga practice so I know I will be fine.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Day 32 - Detoxify

Perfect idea to put the detox workout right before the vegan cleanse.  Good workout.  I finally got to a chiropractor.  His assessment - rib out of joint.  He popped it back in, but warned that it wouldn't stay.  He prescribed no pushups or other exercises that activate the back, which is no easy challenge with doing the Ultimate Yogi.

Had a nice meditation last night and pretty much passed out right after.

Really need more sleep though.  Cheated myself out of a good night's rest by getting up this morning only to realize that all I needed to do was Mountain pose.  Nothing eventful there except that doing all this without supplements or sleep is really hard.

Will give a better update about my first day of veganism tomorrow!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Day 31 - Can't do pushups.

I've lost the ability to do pushups because of my back pain.  I think it is a hybrid neck, shoulder, back thing.  Really starting to wonder about the pros and cons here.  I feel healthier and stronger overall, but I also seem to be falling apart.  I've now been supplement free for 2 days, but I only feel more tired and high stress.  A little afraid of my vegan detox starting in 2 days.  I actually thought it started tomorrow so I gorged myself on wings and pizza on this superbowl Sunday.  Sigh.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Days 29 and 30 - No more drinking

I surprised myself by pulling off a mid-day Yoga session and despite the walking around all day was full of energy and focused.  The looseness after the workout really helped my back, which was otherwise very stiff.  It seems to be getting worse not better.  That's what I get for seeing a doctor and not a chiropractor.

Doctors - "Chiropractors don't really know medicine.  Here take these pills and hope the problem goes away".

Chiropractors - "Let's work on the acute problem through adjustments and physical therapy and let's stop the recurring problem by exercising to strengthen and add flexibility to the areas that triggered the problem."

I don't know about you, but I'm consistently disappointed with the reactive and generally unhelpful nature of modern medicine.

So things were on the upswing, but sadly I made the same rookie error I always do and I drank too much.  But this time it was way too much.  Over the limit too much making me an angry and bitter person ruining the special occasion for my special lady.  Never again.

I need to learn to moderate.  I've always been such an extreme person and that just gets me into trouble and causes me to make bad decisions.  So I need to decide whether it makes sense to do the extreme of not drinking at all or whether I can train myself to not test my boundaries and go spilling over.  The latter is nicer in practice and in line with the moderation philosophy.  The former is more extreme, but more likely I will be able to abide.

In any event today's cardio workout was good and necessary to sweat out some of the crap causing my head to ache.

The poor lady can't get out of bed and we are ruining wasting her special occasion.  One more McD's for the road

Friday, January 31, 2014

Getting fat again

Too many days off the diet and I'm piling on the pounds. Also stomach killing me. Going to NY this weekend for foodie trip. In trouble

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Day 28

Didn't shy away from pizza and beer today either, but I did my mountain and pranayama.  Gave up on the meditation as usual.  Back getting worse again...

Another X

Acquisition day - drank pizza and beer.  No yoga.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Days 26 and 27 - Need more detox & vitality

The namesake workouts are great for their purposes, but I just can't shake this back pain.  Every morning I wake up and it is soooo stiff.  The yoga loosens it up as do the anti-inflammatories, but I can't wait until things rectify themselves.

Definitely suffering from a lack of energy too.  Not sure how much longer I can go without supplements and I'm still on a half a so crazy, but I have to remember what Travis says.  No matter what you've got to just keep putting one foot in front of the other.  Valuable advise indeed.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Days 24 and 25: Back on the repair

I was nervous about yesterday's strength practice because that is the one that uses the most back strengthening poses and my back has still been in trouble.  I just made sure not to overdo the bow poses and things actually worked out pretty well.  Still the same thing that the morning is the most painful, but the day gets better progressively.

Today's Yin Yoga was just what the doctor ordered.  I still think it is hilarious that Travis talks about the forward fold as "a little treat".  My pretzels at Auntie Annies today - those are a little treat?  The pretzel dogs I ate tonight b/c I was still craving pretzel goodness - treat.  The cheese plate I prepared to watch the grammy's with - treat.  The caramel nut tart the wife prepared - treat.  Bending forward and reaching out for my not sure why that's a treat.  Probably would help if my hamstrings weren't so tight that I could actually get somewhere in the pose.

Anyway from the above I'm sure you can guess that I'm failing the food program pretty miserably.  Was doing well, but seem to have fallen off the wagon.  Need to get back on the train.  Winter always makes me want to hibernate.  Also doesn't help to be hungover today...

Yeah I feel off that wagon too.  Boss had a big party so couldn't say no to the open bar...nor the shots once I got home.  Ok step 1 - stop drinking.  Step 2 - stop eating junk.  Step 3 - rule the world.  Well even if its just my world that's good enough.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Day 23 - Electrify that spine

I swear that Travis Eliot might have been the Rock in a former career.  He has so many catchy catch phrases like "Electrify that spine" and "See you on the mat" all of which sound like WWE catch phrases.  He truly is the people's Yogi.

My focus has been remarkably strange.  I no longer perve so much - even Lauren Eckstrom in brown yoga pants can't catch my glare when I'm on, but little things (like an errant $75 credit card charge) can drain 10-15 minutes of my workout on and off.  Really frustrating.  But I am getting better at pushing it out of my mind and coming back to my breath.

The cardio portion of the workout was actually pretty easy today.  Sadly because of my back condition I couldn't do certain moves like plow ("Darn!") and so of course I used that as an opportunity to perv on Lauren and the equally hot Patti who is super hot in that Brazilian muscular chick way (though I have no idea if she actually is Brazilian).  Of course she is not quite as hot as the uber beautiful Victoria Gracie from the Georges St. Pierre Rushfit series.

Which I think is a site that pervs on the ladies from Iron Man 2

Yes I said Gracie.  In other words she could probably triangle choke you out in a few seconds and if not, her brothers/uncles would be sure to kick your a$$!  It was a hard day when I decided to quit the program due to shoulder and wrist pain, mainly because I wouldn't be able to see her beaming on a daily basis.

Anyway - the good news according to the doc and my X-rays is that nothing is broken or slipped in my scapula.  The bad news is that it is unclear what is causing the pain.  Doc suspects it is "muscular", but it could take a few weeks of physical therapy to improve...which I take to mean more yoga.  I'll just be careful when I electrify my spine...

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Days 21 and 22 - Oy

Man - as things get more hectic at work they also get more hectic for me to keep up with this blog, but I am loving the program still and keeping strongly with it.  The only catch is I can't shake the neck crook, which seems to have migrated into upper back pain.  I've tried the foam roller, more stretching, taking anti-inflammatories, resting, etc. but it just keeps on droning at me.  Really frustrating.  I tried to get to a chiropractor today, but couldn't get one to pick up the phone.  It is worst in the mornings, but I think it is progressively getting worse, not better (though the neck is definitely better).

Yesterday's meditation was atrocious and kept me in a foul and aggravated mood all day.  I didn't even make it to the end of my work day before I had to leave.  I know the meditation is supposed to put me at ease, but I think sitting in the cross-legged posture for so long with no back support is one of those things really aggravating my upper back pain. time I do it, I will go through it in a savasana pose and hope that solves the problem.  Luckily I had an amazing evening by seeing my little boy just love the Android app I created for him.  It is such a simple app, but right up that little 19 month old's alley.  So the evening ended on such a high note.

Despite the back pain I actually had very little trouble with my cross-training workout today and was able to go deeper in most poses than I had before including finally being able to bind on both sides!  I consider that a huge milestone as the only time I ever pulled that off before was after about 5 months of daily yoga.  Can't wait to see where I am on day 108.

Didn't have time for Hardcore this morning as I was already going to be about 20 minutes late to work so I tried it this evening, but between the lethargy, hunger for dinner and back pain during the iso holds I couldn't get all the way through it.

Still have to do meditation...yeah about that...

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Day 20 - Vingt, 3shreen, Hatsuka, Yi-Ship

20 days in.  Wow.  Despite a few setbacks I still feel energized with the program and I can't wait to keep moving forward with it.  I've actually been losing weight and feeling better (minus those damn neck crooks).

Been nice to have my "Goo gir" back again and she is the perfect hot water bottle for the cold winter days.

Today's vitality class was fun.  It is not the most challenging of the power yoga classes, but it has a lot of unique motions that make it a fun practice.  At the end of the practice my dog came to curl up in between my legs during savasana.

I still can't meditate well, but I did get through the full 10 minutes last night (barely), which is actually the first time I've even tried in quite a while.

I'm afraid of tomorrow's gratitude meditation, but I will do my best.  That's all I can hope for.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Days 18 & 19 - Double Your Money

2 posts for the price of one.  Doesn't get better than that?  Reason being - not much exciting to report.  After a day where I was too sick to get out of bed I did manage to bring myself to the mat for Yin Yoga yesterday.  It was just what the Dr. ordered and I honestly started feeling better afterwards.  But just being able to walk around again and get out of bed seemed like a miracle.  Also the mystery neck crook had returned and didn't seem to want to go away anytime soon.

Well the decision point came - do we give up our beloved dog of 4 years or do we try somehow to keep her despite our overly hectic schedules? Our mother-in-law had been taking care of her for the few months leading up to this, but suffered a broken elbow after slipping on the ice when our dog tugged on her.  The irony is I had just been saying to my mother-in-law the day before that we should consider finding the dog another home because it would be a better life for the dog.  Better than receiving two short walks each day and being left alone all day.  Better than being seen as a burden and a chore.  She should be somewhere she can run off lead and be with a family that loves her.  That is in the dog's best interest.  It is also in our best interest because we can relieve ourselves of the commitment.

But after spending a weekend with her a few things happened:

  • I saw how loving an animal she is.  She came to curl up with me just like old times, keeping me warm when I was shivering from my illness, laying down outside of my son's room while he slept, and otherwise just being by our side.
  • I realized how much my son loves her already.  He chases her around saying "Goo Gir" (good girl) and patting her.  He would feed her kibble by kibble.  The smile on his face is just priceless. What an amazing opportunity it is for him to grow up with the love of animals - something my parents never gave to me or my siblings and something we had to develop (and only some of us did).
  • I came to understand that all her "bad behaviors" were really not hers at all, but rather the byproduct of bad ownership on our part.  I was saddened to see everyone else willing to discard her just because she was inconvenient, but all the memories of all the times she had been there for us in the last four years came flooding to me.  
So I decided I could not give up on her.  If she truly was a member of the family, something I always maintained, then I needed to fight for her like I would every other member of this ragtag group I call a family.  The dog stays.

As I wrote this she came into the living room and just jumped into my lap and laid down.  She's a great dog and indeed a "Goo Gir".

So with a clear conscience I awoke this morning and commenced the detox workout.  Partially due to the illness, this was easily the hardest workout I've faced yet and I was sweating buckets, but I made it through and at the time of writing this, I realize I haven't had medicine in nearly 8 hours and I feel great - except for that neck crank.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Day X2

My illness is so bad that I barely can roll out of bed to write this.  No yoga today... :( Hopefully tomorrow is a better day.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Day 17 - Strength through Sickness

Definitely caught my bros cold.  But it was great to see him nonetheless.  Still.  I'm feeling pretty exhausted and run down.  Last thing you need is a 5 hour flight (with the delays) when you are under the weather and DayQuil really doesn't do what it used to.  That's what I get for trusting in the "no more vitamins or supplements" philosophy that is all the rave now.  I have been sleeping just fine and otherwise keeping very healthy. :-/

Feeling way too tired to complete this post right now so let me leave the usual sarcastic jibes for another day.

Good to see my boy again.  Have an important decision to make this weekend...more on that later.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Day 16 - Hotel Room Yoga

Nothing like doing yoga in a hotel room on a little laptop screen.  I guess I'm spoiled to normally be able to do it at home.  Anyway, the warmer weather here actually made for a more sweaty workout which I appreciated.  The cardio workout is one of the most physically demanding in the program.  Unfortunately, I mistimed things so I had to skip the last few minutes of the program and I certainly have not been keeping up with my meditation.

I suppose that even this update is a way of procrastinating from doing my meditation.

On the flipside, I got some sunshine and just generally had a really good time here catching up with friends, meeting new people, being in a new environment, etc.  Got to eat at the world famous "Tech Company" cafeteria and it was even better than I had heard.  Even got to see my brother for dinner so all in all a great day.

Well I'm looking forward to going home and seeing the wife and kid.  I know it has been a rough week for the Mrs. so I am hoping I can bring back some California sunshine to her day.

So with an elevated mood that is definitely part of the goal - no?  Of course I did have supplements the last couple of days too. :-/

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Day X - Another Yoga

Those of you who know me know that I work for a subsidiary of a big tech company.  I am visiting the headquarters of our parent this week and had my awesome colleague sneak me into the gym for a live yoga class.  I did my first headstand today...I think ever in my life.  It really wasn't that difficult.  The class was super fun, but I'm looking forward to getting back to the program tomorrow.  Still, it was nice to do something a little different and actually be in the presence of people.  Oh and *hint* *hint* the food and perks on the campus is amazing.  If only we had those kinds of perks at our subsidiary.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Day 15 - Backlash

It is as if there was a backlash on my inability to meditate.  Not only did I have a terrible day yesterday, but my mountain of negative thoughts remained with me this morning.  I had to try again and again to get my focus back this morning.  I repeatedly failed, but that's ok.  More negativity than I could muster. I made it through the workout.  With more focus I could have done more, but I worked hard and still managed to get up a sweat.  The best thing is that through the cloud of negativity, bitterness, anger and fear I was feeling I managed to hone in on what I believe is the source of the problem.  I am too unfocused.  I have too many goals and am constantly spreading myself too thinly.

This was a blessing in my younger days as I proved myself capable of taking on challenges.  I also learned, early in life, that the less I have to do, the more miserable I am.  I learned this when taking only 7 credits one semester to get some "down time" while writing (or not really writing) a thesis and attending one class a week.  I spent every day holed up playing Final Fantasy or some RPG and every night with my music groups developing a hatred for singing that would take nearly 10 years to unwind and even when it unwound I never found the pleasure I formerly had.  So the following semester I did the opposite - I loaded up to 20 credits including 3 MBA courses, took leadership positions in student groups, did an internship 20 hours a week in a brokerage and reignited my social life.  It was one of the best times of my life and I never forgot it.

Well that pendulum strikes in both ways indeed.  There are limits and I have surpassed my own.  I need to accept that.  I need to accept that it is ok to try your best and fail.  What is not ok is to keep driving on when you are deeply unhappy.  When you are overwhelmed it does not make sense to stubbornly try and keep juggling everything while the balls drop behind you.  Unfortunately, the easiest solution is to back off of the things that I enjoy in life, but this is not an ideal solution either otherwise all you have is work and misery.  Instead, I need to find a way to minimize the drain of those things that are dragging me down, even if that is a scary path.  However, the key is to implement one change at a time.  When I try to change them all, I will only fail.

I have a lot of reflecting to do and I'm scared.  The fear makes me angry and I run away by continuing to do what I do rather than face the fear head on.  I am hoping to find the courage and strength I need to soldier forward.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Day 14 - Can't meditate

Geeze - keeping this one short because it has been a horrible day and I'm swamped at work.  Lots to do before traveling tomorrow.

Meditation was so crappy today.  I just can't do it.  My back aches when I try and sit up for so long.  I tried Savasana instead, but kept getting anxious and stir crazy (and cold).  When asked to give gratitude I could only give bitterness.  When asked to give forgiveness I could only give blame.  When asked to focus I could only have my mind wander.  How did I get to be so far from gratitude?  Why is this concept so difficult for me.  Trying to be grateful actually makes me angry.  I feel a quiet rage instead and just have to bottle it up.  I made it through the practice, but it was so painful.

I guess it really set me up for the rest of the day because I ended up having a horrible crazy day - only to realize that there was nothing special about today.  Every day is like this, my perspective is just changing.  I really need a hard reset.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Day 13 - Tall glass of shut the hell up...

In the preamble today Travis tells us to put down our caffeinated beverages and drink a tall glass of yoga vitality.  The subject of this post is a reference to Ben Stiller's character in Happy Gilmore at this part:

But seriously dude - don't you know that it was Saturday last night so I caved and had a few too many meaning that I was up too late, slept too little and had a thumping hangover.  Not only did I need 2/3 a scoop of NoXplode today, but I also needed a cup of coffee before I got into my workout.  That said the workout was awesomely energizing.  Pretty sure I still needed the caffeine, but I was so pleased with how well the workout went given how hungover I should have been.  And the energy carried me through most of the day.  Only needed a little bit of tea here and there to see me through the day caffeine wise.

Still skipping meditation.  I know I need to be better.  Will try again tonight.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Day 12 - Get those toxins out

Wowza - today's detox workout was probably the hardest one I've faced so far, but also one of the most satisfying.  I had some of the best focus I've had yet.  I think the following contributed:

  • Sleeping in and working out when the boy took his nap in the afternoon;
  • A warmer living room; and
  • Finding my breath.
This was perfect - especially b/c I did something very unnatural yesterday and zapped all my back hair. Yes, actually my 5th session of laser hair removal.  So painful and all for vanity, but yoga breathing helped sooooo much to avoid the pain.  Ironically the place I go to for hair removal also operates a yoga studio and I met the Yin Yoga teacher.  Go figure - maybe I will try it after I am done with the 108, but I still wonder if there is a contradiction in places that have that kind of focus on aesthetics also being a yoga studio.  Then again, I noticed while doing hardcore today that Travis Eliot's body is virtually hairless, yet he definitely has a healthy amount of stubble on his face.  Guessing that body is not naturally that (antonym of hirsute?)

Anyway - my few distraction thoughts today: Brazilian looking lady is named Patti (Patty?).  She is also hot.  One dude has a shitty blue tiger tattoo on his shoulder that reminds me of my best friend Bibo's shitty tiger tattoo.  That Lauren Eckstrom really is pretty hot.

Same thoughts as usual I guess, the key is that the frequency was much less.  I focused for most of the workout.  Still suffering on meditation though.

I also have a dilemma.  I'm traveling next week and thought was to do yoga in my hotel room by just bringing my DVDs, but after reaching out to a colleague to see if there was a good space she suggested a yoga class on the company campus.  I really want to check it out, but it is the same day as my cardio day so I don't think I could handle both workouts!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Day 11 - Ancient Chinese Secret

Who would have thunk it? Today I woke up with the crook in my neck again.  Maybe a little better, but on the whole still painful to move around.  Honestly was so tired this morning that I'm not sure if I took some tylenol, but to be honest it hasn't been that helpful.  Then get this - after my yin yoga practice today, the pain is mostly gone.  I don't really understand it, but maybe there is something to this healing art of getting into connective tissue / fascia of the joint that Travis keeps harping on about.  I'm not 100% better, but I can now turn my neck most of the way to the left and the right before it starts hurting.

Well that's pretty awesome.  I'm also a little sore in the core again, which is doubly awesome because it makes me feel like I'm making progress.  I was a little disappointed I wasn't getting sore anymore (guess I'm somewhat masochistic).  I was able to get into all the poses a little better today, in part because of increased flexibility (one hopes) and in part because I bought a new ceramic space heater for the living room.  The space heater works really really well until it trips the circuit in the room.  After this happens twice I decide that third time might be the charm, but only if I use it on low heat.  This works.  :)  Not as nice and toasty, but better than freezing my buns off.

I'm definitely less focused than last week and I realize why (no not Mila Kunis lookalike's low cut top) - my reduced supplement dosage.  For years I have used NoXplode not only for its strength and energy enhancing purposes (the primary purpose of the product), but also for its feel good and mental focus functions.  This is why the stuff gets so addictive.  You feel great, though like any drug that feeling wears off over time and you need increased dosages.  You also have great mental focus and intellectual capability.  It is actually a form of cheating, but in our competitive world it is hard to keep up without it.  Occasionally I still kick myself for not taking my supplements the day of my LSAT.  I actually performed about 5 points lower than my testing average as a result.  Still not sure why I made the call not to take it, but maybe it was for the best for reasons beyond the scope of this post.

Anyway, that is a very helpful realization because it allows me to be more patient with myself in this transition phase.  This is made more poignant by Travis' discussion of the lifespan of professional athletes.  Won't give it away, but it really helps put things into perspective.  If I want to live a long and happy life, without the anxiety and tension of stimulants, without the aches and pains of using chemical means to push myself harder than I should (mentally and physically), then I need to accept that my performance may not be at its peak level and that's ok.  Artificial high performance may benefit my company, my friends, my family or even me in the short run, but in the long run it does damage and can limit the time I have on this Earth with my son and nothing in this limited lifetime is more important than that.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Day 10 - No Strength

Ok an overstatement, but still have this crook in my neck and not sure why it is not going again.  That reminds me I need some tylenol - one sec.

Ok I'm back.  Man its hard to stay natural when you are popping tylenol.   On the plus side I haven't caved to the evils of melatonin, energy drinks or increasing my dosage of NoXplode.  You 2 spammer readers as my witness I will be off NoXplode by the end of the first 36 days.

Man - it has taken me all day to write this much.  Not because I'm not motivated, but because work has become insane again.  It really makes me wonder whether I made the right decision.  Definitely something I need to meditate on if I could actually bring myself to meditate.

Despite the title of this post, I actually did have a fair bit of strength today and did well in the workout though Hardcore was only about 50%.  Ok, I'm pretty much passing out while trying to write this and I still need to meditate.  Maybe I try that meditate while trying to get ready for sleep trick again...maybe it will work this time....zzzzz

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Day 9 - Neck Crack

Man that crook in my neck hasn't gotten any better yet.  Trying to figure out which pose or poses is doing it to me.  I don't have any problem while in the workouts, but something seems to be creating an issue.  Guess its a tylenol day.

Today's cardio workout was lot of fun.  I wore heavy sweats and a sweater so that I could survive the freezer that is my living room.  Good plan.  Definitely broke a sweat today.  I try and do a pushup between each sun salutation, but I started to fail towards the end and my upward dogs became cobras for sure.

I finally got around to watching the introduction.  Leggy brunette is Lauren Eckstrom.  You can find her here.  A suitably hot name for a suitably hot lady. 

Courtesy of

Have I mentioned that I love Yoga?

Apparently she is a yoga instructor in Santa Monica and teaches retreats with Travis (I've secretly been wondering if they are an item).  She lost like 6 lbs or something doing the program. (N.B. it was actually 16 but srsly folks? I fluctuate 10 in a day).

We meet a few other people.  I was totally going to raz on the guy I like to call sweaty Marky Mark in a future session.  Then we find out he was addicted to Aderol and Anti-depressants and yoga gave him his life back.  Now I just feel like an a$$h*le (which I am, but I don't need YOU to remind me).

Obv last night's meditation was a failure so won't go into it.


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Day 8 - Rinse and Repeat

We return to the Cross-Training workout.  I notice that most of the cast was there all along, including the hotter than Mila Kunis lady and the Otaku/Eurotrash dude who is now wearing a bright orange 80s headband and look's like the guy still trapped in that decade (e.g. my older brother). I swear this guy is a chameleon. We learn his name is Norm.  This seems appropriate for an Otaku.

The workout was not as challenging this time.  I'd like to think it was because I'm getting that much better, but I know the truth is that it is really really cold in my living room so I'm probably just having trouble working up a sweat.  So I don't feel quite as mellow/tranquil at the end, but I still have a wonderful workout and feel really good afterwards.

The hardcore is productive and I get through about 70%.

All this despite waking up with a slight crook in my neck.  (Betting it was that damn plow)

Looking forward to another shot at meditation tonight.  Really struggling with that, but want to take the challenge.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Day 7 - Mountain Poses & Pranayama Meditation

January 6, 2014

Bet you guys were worried I already gave up.  Nah, just late to the party because I had a crazy day getting back to work.  Happy New Year to me.  I don't promise to always update on the day of, but I will try to post something on each of the 108 days.  After a while I'll stop the workout posts and post on other fun yoga related topics since it might get boring/creepy to hear me go "aaarrghhh Travis no please not the PLOW"..."aarrghh that brunette chick in the leg warmers is SOOOOOO hot...." for 108 days.

Well today's workout was actually the first one I failed at.  How can I fail a day about breathing and meditation? You'd think you just have to show up.  Well you underestimate the ability of my little one to pick impeccable timing to get up early.  His moans turned into cries and then into screams and wails.  Sheesh.  I had to go get him.  Plus Travis was going on about being grateful to grasshoppers or something and I'm not exactly the grateful type.  When others are grateful for getting over a cold I wonder why they had to get one in the first place.  A deeper more metaphysical conversation for another time.  Oh and it was -15 today so definitely wasn't feeling grateful, particularly when I had to dig my nanny's car back out of the snow again.

I tried to make it up by doing 10 minutes of meditation this evening, but I got through only 7 and then started checking Instagram...I'm not even sure I should be calling myself the Mediocre Yogi right now...

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Day 6 - Vitality

Last night's idea of meditation was - why not do it in bed? That way I can fall asleep right after.  Um note to self - it doesn't work like that.  Apparently it was just a poor way for me to add an extra 10 minutes tossing and turning like I usually do when I try to sleep.  I did get to sleep without melatonin again though.  First step - sleep without drugs.  Second step - become ultimate yogi.  Third step - rule the world!

I won't belabor the cast shake up again except to say I'm glad to see Mila Kunis lookalike again.  About 10 minutes in my little one wakes up (about an hour and a quarter before his usual wake up time).  Uh oh.  I give it 10 minutes, but he starts getting louder.  I go up with some water and pray that does the trick.  It does! Blissfully he goes back down to sleep and I manage to get through the workout.

The vitality postures comprise a fair number of the heart opening and back bending poses.  Surprisingly, though the workout is tough, I think this might have been my easiest one yet.  It caters to strength, which is one of the few things I'm not shy on.  Even wheel pose is not too bad given years of wrestling practice, but it was a lot easier when I weighed 140 then now when I weigh 2 *cough cough* what was I saying?

Of course Travis has to put us in plow...again.  This pose is fine for the ultimate yogi or even the ordinary toothpick yogi, but when you are the overly rotund mediocre yogi you really start to worry if you are going to get stuck there and never make it back out.

Like all the other workouts, this is a long one.  Weirdly I am feeling more drained than vitalized.  For some reason I am more sleepy than I have been for the other workouts.  Not sure why as last night was the first Saturday in about a year that I didn't get completely schlonked.  In fact, I *gasp* haven't had a drink all weekend.

So the wife gets home from taking care of her mom, I've made us a breakfast of potatoes, chorizo, spinach and eggs.  After an idyllic breakfast reality sets in.  More snow.  Ugh...I'm going to take a nap.  I try to nap, but the little one starts groaning again.  Ok, he who hesitates/procrastinates...

An hour long 80s montage later we have a clean driveway and I have two frostbitten fingers and am feeling even less vitalized.  Mmmmm...wife baked chocolate croissants.  One bite never hurt anyone *consumes entire croissant, numerous chocolate chip cookies and a lemon poppy seed muffin*

Still hungry.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Day 5 - Detox

January 4, 2013

I had a much better meditation session last night and get this - I actually fell asleep without melatonin last night.  It wasn't right after meditation, and I was up for an extra hour or so longer than I wanted to be, but I fell asleep naturally, which for those of you who know me is quite an accomplishment.

I wake up this morning and take only half a scoop of NoXplode.  In case you are wondering what that is, it is my pre-workout igniter.  I've been using it on and off (more on) since 2004 so after 10 years of use I can be relatively sure it is not something that will kill me in the short run.  In the long run on the other hand...

Image courtesy of

I buy it from (direct link to product) because they have great prices, great customer service, helpful reviews and are always doing awesome promos with freebies.  Ok, enough with the free commercial for them.  But seriously, if you do wish to supplement, consider using them or another online vendor.  You can save over 50% on retail (read: GNC) prices usually.

OK - back to yoga.  Today's workout is called Detox, but I've been fooled enough over the last few days to know this will be anything but easy.  Plus yesterday's workout was supposed to be the less athletically intense midweek break, so in the words of Tony Horton - "Get Ready, Cause it's coming"

Cast of characters has changed again.  Mila Kunis out, Asian girl back in. Scar chest back in too, but no nipple rings. (They are just accessories??!)  We learn his name is Jason when at one point he is feeling "a little spunky".  Erm - no comment Travis.  Otaku dude is still here, but he looks less Otaku and more French/Eurotrash artsy dude.  What a transformation! Can't wait to see what I become in 108 days.

Workout involves a ton of twists, which are difficult, but sooooooo satisfying.  Definitely manage to work up a great sweat.  

Also I realize that I want to be a yoga instructor when I grow up.  Am I drawn to the meditative calm? Nope.   The lean chiseled physique? Nope.  The ability help guide people through a journey and improve their lives? Nope.  What other profession makes it so acceptable for a dude to get so hands on and be thanked for it?  I notice this as Travis adjusts the leggy brunette's pose by slowly and delicately pressing her against her bare upper thigh.  To be fair he does later adjust one of the men's poses by adjusting his ankles...

Maybe since I'm a well known creeper I'm reading too much into it, but I remember all to well the "interesting positions" that Bryan Kest placed his students in.  I mean, I think you can get the gist by looking at the covers for power 2 and power 3.

Bear in mind folks that prior to doing the Ultimate Yogi this was the best yoga I had ever done. 

Photos courtesy of the listings at here and here respectively.  No I don't still have a VHS player, I bought the 3-in-1 DVD set and honestly recommend it highly.

The practice was fantastic, but I'll save details for the next time I do the workout.  Last thing I wanted to mention today is that I completely bungled the diets in my earlier postings.  It is not each 36 days.  Each diet lasts for the 3 days leading up to the sun salutations. Phew.  Ok - I'm going to give them a shot!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Day 4 - Yin Yoga

Let's start with last night's meditation.  10 minutes of profound thoughts about how much I really don't want to go back to work.  Not much of a meditation, but was still nice to lay on the ground for 10 minutes.

Today's practice - Yin Yoga.  Wikipedia describes Yin Yoga as "a slow-paced style of yoga with postures or asanas that are held for comparatively long periods of time."  

Finally, a chance to take it easy. I'll take this Yin with a side of Yang please. I also notice that the cast of characters seems slightly shaken up. Tattoo scar chest seems to have been replaced by a guy that looks like a mildly bearded Otaku who left the computer to try and get in shape...just like me! Cool, I can do this. Cute Asian girl has also been replaced with cute South East Asian girl. One of the brunettes looks like a much prettier Mila Kunis, but is wearing a conspicuously low cut tank top. I like Yin Yoga.

First pose of the day is

- courtesy of @ here

What the funk? My body doesn't bend like that. Travis says "we're going to hold this for 3 minutes". Seriously?

Turns out each pose is held for 3-5 minutes to allow you to really work into the poses and release all the fascia or something like that in your connective tissue. I'm just thinking "ow". Apparently this will make me feel rejuvenated, but right now I just feel "ow".

Then the truth comes out. "Some of you might be thinking this is the hardest practice". Well to be honest, I don't think it is harder or easier. It is harder in some ways, but easier athletically. Some poses are really difficult, but others feel really good. Nevertheless, I find it remarkable how each of the poses manages to work into and release some area where I've had a pre-existing injury. Of course I'm careful not to overdue it so as not to hurt those places. Travis mentions that this practice is designed to help heal those injuries. Huh, just what the doctor ordered. Still I'm amazed how much of my weaknesses this practice targets and it overall feels really good..."like a good massage" to quote Bryan Kest. My injuries are a large part of the reason why I fell back into yoga, but that is another story for another time.

I never enjoyed slow paced yoga before, but I would highly recommend Yin Yoga to anyone looking for a change of pace and a chance to work on some problem spots.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Day 3 - Strength

January 2, 2014

I woke up this morning definitely feeling groggy.  First day back to work means first day waking up at 5:30 again.  My body is still sore from the last two days, particularly my core, which is feeling the effects of being pushed to hard in hardcore and then again through the twists in the cardio sequence.  Also didn't help to have to shovel feet of snow last night.  That's what I get for buying a house only miles from the lake...(oh it's beaauuuutiful here...).

Today's challenge, which I chose to accept was the strength workout.  Thankfully my upper body is already plenty strong from years of weights.  I can't do more than 3 pull-ups at a time, but boy can I push some heavy weights off my chest in a vertical up and down motion.  Talk about functional strength!

The workout is challenging, but not as bad as the first two...this is going to be a cakewalk - wait more twists and inversions?  Did I mention that my core is sore?  In particular my obliques are failing me.  In the midst of my pain, my fear returns.  That dude's chest markings look like someone sliced him with a knife 6 times symmetrically (himself)?  I bet he's one of those people who everyone goes.  "Oh Bob? He's suuuuper nice"

I don't know if it was the fact that I was quarter-asleep (the NoXplode helped with 1/2 and the yoga a 1/4), but I really had trouble focusing and my mind kept wandering.  I would love to pretend it was wondering for wholesome reasons, but if you know me and/or have read any previous post you know I was perving again.  One of my resolutions this year is to be more honest so hooray for honesty.  More honesty - probably didn't help that I completely cheated the common sense food program again by eating way too many buffalo chicken/ketchup flavored potato chips last night (I really need to get the snacks out of my house).

Next up was the Hardcore workout again.  You'd think given some crazy sore obliques that I'd just back off for today in true Yogi fashion.  Nope, that's not the Mediocre Yogi style.  I decide to "push through the pain" Rocky style.  In moments like this, I ask myself, what would the Governator do?  He would call me a girly man and then ridicule me until I did the workout.  So I give it a shot, epically fail (about 20-30% of reps) and clutch my side in pain.  I think I really am a girly man.

Timing is perfect, just as I'm finishing up, my nanny comes through the door with her little daughter who starts running around the house screaming "OUR CAR IS STUCK IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD! OUR CAR IS STUCK IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD! WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO????!!!"  I'm not feeling very zen right now, but I do the only thing that makes sense and offer to dig the car out from the snow.  Brilliant.

Those of you who are actually bothering to read my ramblings with any semblance of interest may be wondering how this can be given that I shoveled feet of snow last night.  Erm...f*cked if I know, but there are feet of snow again.  WTF! So out I go, core screaming and shovel the driveway and all the snow that is under and around the car.  *Cue Rocky IV training montage music* Job done.

On the plus side I did actually do the 10 minute meditation last evening.  New working plan is to do the meditation before bed.  There is no rule that says I have to do it after my workout, and actually it was a really nice way to unwind.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Day 2 - Cardio

January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

So how many times have I heard about the fabled cardio benefits of a yoga workout? True, when I was a lard butt in the beginning of 2013 I used to sweat doing yoga, but I also sweat every time I walked up a flight of stairs or had to carry more than 2 beers at a time.  Having completed P90X, Les Mills Combat and other cardio intensive programs I expected this to be one of the lighter programs.  I did P90's plyo workout every Saturday meaning I was hungover every time.  If I can handle that, I can handle anything.  Oh boy am I mistaken.  This sh*t is hard!  Despite my freezing living room (I caulked the windows properly I swear!), I have broken a sweat in no time.  I'm no longer terrified of all the tattoos, which is awesome progress.  I'm also not perving on the Asian girl, though brunette chick in the brown yoga pants on the other hand...hey it's only day two so please cut me some slack!

Every time I think Travis is going to be done with the vinyasa, he tricks me and keeps going, but I am determined not to give up.  A few of my up dogs become cobras and I skip a couple transition pushups, but otherwise I actually manage to hang.  However, my nanny must think I am dying with all my grunts and groans.  She brings the boy to check up on me.  Great - just what I need - my little one to see his old man as some sweaty messed up dude in an awkward compromising posture.

Thank Jachweh he finally reaches the cool down postures.  Wait, what's this, bridges?  Oh man I thought we were done.  Plow...PLOW! My chiropractor told me that the one pose he doesn't do is plow because he knows if he ever goes in, it's all over, he's had it and he's never getting out of it.  I generally feel the same, but I've come this far so I've got to try.

I remember when researching this program I read a review on Amazon with the reviewer beautifully chronicling their journey and mentioning they cried on the last day of the program.  I couldn't help but think what a wuss.  But the darndest thing happened is I shed a few tears during one of the twists.  Day 2? I guess I'm a real wuss.  Must be the hangover...

Night 1 - NYE

December 31, 2013

The wife and I cook up a multicourse feast for her family.  Over dinner we discuss the program and I finally mention the last 36 days of diet.  "That's stupid" says my mother-in-law.  Geeze, apple really didn't fall far from the tree on that one! Did I mention she's a pastor and her husband wants to do a month-long spirit walk? To be fair, she called that stupid too...

I completely blow any semblance of any diet by ravenously eating all sorts of manners of processed foods and all the crap I can.  I also drink a bunch of shots and down some beers despite my "resolution" to quit drinking.  I get one more night right?

In any event, I can't wait to find out what's in store for a hungover me tomorrow.

Day 1 - Cross Training

December 31, 2013

So I decided to get started right away.  No time like the present to make a life change.  Why wait until tomorrow or some arbitrary fabricated socially reinforced holiday that caters to amateur hour partiers.  In a former life New Year's Eve was the night I pretended to look forward to ("Whooooohooooo"), but secretly loathed the necessity of paying about a $1,000 to freeze my butt off getting too drunk and having to get into fights with the other drunken DBs while defending the honor of my gf/fiance/wife/good friend's gay bff (yes that really happened and sadly not on a New Year's).

I watch the short introductory video.  Ok, the production values here are far too good.  So good, I'm starting to wonder if this is going to be hokey.  Then Travis Eliot starts talking about how he used to be an athlete, but started to feel the aches and pains of life and refused to accept that it was an inevitable consequence of growing older.  Hey, that's exactly what I wanted to hear.  I just quit doing insanity 10 days in not because it was too hard, but because it was too hard on my joints.  I was feeling achey in the knees, shoulders, forearms etc.  Hey, he has kids too? I have a kid - I can relate to this guy.  Um, but the weird looking yogi dude in the makeup and fake long beard makes me skeptical again.  Reminds me of a really bad Bollywood film.

I slip in the cross-training DVD and am surprised by (a) how good looking everyone is; and (b) how many tattoos there are everywhere.  My wife thinks I'm weird because I actually have a fear of tattoos. Like they are going to come alive and bite me or something.  Ok - grin and bear it.  If I could survive putting a tarantula on my hand this year I can deal with some tattoos. (N.B. wife has a tattoo and I'm afraid of her so my story checks out.)

The workout starts and I'm not sure I can get used to Travis' odd nasal voice.  Try not to be judgmental Mediocre Yogi.  Hmmm  - 3 mins in and I'm already used to his voice.  See that's not so bad.  "Downward Daaaaaaaaaaaawwwwgg" ok I'm annoyed again.

I expected this to be tough, but this workout is really really tough and long.  I'm really sweating and working hard and - hey - that Asian lady is pretty hot.  Ok - focus Mediocre Yogi focus.  This video reminds me of the Bryan Kest videos, but modernized to include tattoos and remove greasy early 90s hairdos.  Both have hot Asian women. (Wife is going to murder me if she reads this.)  Focus drifting again, wow - isn't that grey haired tattoo'd guy a little too old to have nipple rings and what are those straight line scars on his chest?!

Toward the end of the video Travis gets a close up at the screen and mentions about the common sense diet and "no stimulants".  I feel like his gaze is directed right at me.  Shoot - he's on to me!  How did he find out I took NOxplode this morning?!  I didn't put the disc in until after I finished drinking it.  I promise it was only 1 scoop Travis (maybe a heaping one, but still better than my usual 1.5-2).

I make it through the workout, but it is hard and I need to take a couple of breaks.  Next up is the Hardcore (abs) workout.  I probably do about 50-60% of the reps.  Find myself gasping "no...please..." a few times.

Last up meditation.  I could use a good 10 minutes to medidate.  I put on some music in Youtube and make it 4 minutes before giving up.  My meteoric life change may take some time...

Day 0 - First Impressions

December 30, 2013

Just received my copy of The Ultimate Yogi and super pumped!  Came sooner than expected and looks brand new (shrink wrap and everything).  Purchased it off of e-bay so expected it to be used.  Rock on.  I unwrap the packaging and everything is intact.  Each DVD individually wrapped, the program calendar neatly folded.  Wow, this looks really professional.  I must remember to leave positive feedback on e-bay (oops - still haven't done it).

First decision - do I start tomorrow or wait a day.  Why wait?  That has always been my philosophy.  When you want to get something done don't put it off, just make it happen.  Well, tomorrow is New Year's Eve so it is serendipitous timing for this to arrive right before the new year.  Starting on January 1st has a poetry to it, but then again I'm not one for resolutions (see philosophy above).  What to do...

Second decision - do I follow the diet plan or not?  First 36 days eat vegan? I don't think I've ever gone a day vegan.  The thought of it makes me a little queasy.  I'm that annoying guy who always waves my double cheeseburger in the face of the vegans.  Well, it might be possible if we count beef as a vegetable.  Second 36 days eat raw?  Oh man, I like my foods doused in oil and/or butter.  Not sure I can eat raw.  Last 36 days juice feast? Are you kidding me???!

Well I briefly entertain it as well.  I decide to run the first 36 days by the wife.
"That's just stupid."  This from a woman who made us eat gluten free for a month (ok...well she ate gluten free while I cheered her on) and has jumped on many a fad diet or exercise craze.  Then I mentioned the second 36.  "That's really stupid.  I'm not saying you are stupid, just that anyone who wants to do that is stupid." Haha, yeah, that's what I was thinking the whole time...really. :-/  Probably best not to mention the last 36.