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)...

Source: seekretreat.com

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 Flickr.com

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 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