27 February, 2014

Running on empty

Today I am so tired.

Yesterday I did some sort of mellow 30-40 minute vinyasa, being so tired then too. And today is supposed to be another day of yoga, I told myself. But I am so tired. I don't really want to do it. And there's the voice in my head that says that discipline is doing things when you don't want to do them. And then there's the other voice in my head that says that the practice is listening to your body. And how do these voices fight it out? And how do I come to the right answer.

Perhaps the solution is to sit and not think about it.

My shoulder blade thing is fucked again. I don't know if it's from doing headstand again a few days ago, or from being tired, or from falling down the stairs. I suppose any one of those could be a valid explanation. It was bad enough yesterday that I actually felt like Chaturanga was irritating it, which means it is worse than last month. Fortunately I have massage scheduled for Sunday.

So, it's either Hatha (no Chaturanga), or meditation (no yoga), or sleep.

The intelligence in me says that I gain little by forcing my body through a workout just to not feel like I am letting myself off the hook, which I am obviously beat. And I recognize I am justifying it here to you as if it will somehow make it feel justified for me.

Okay. I stop now.

24 February, 2014

Going all out when you're all in

Today was hotel vinyasa in Munich.

It was a long day. From waking to sleeping, it was 18 hours, of which I spent 14 in the office working. There was nothing going to stop me being productive today. The only breaks were for a walk at lunch, dinner with colleagues and, of course, yoga. I pushed myself so hard today that I ended up falling down some stairs, dropping my phone, and messing up some calendar events on my work schedule. And I also irritated the shoulder blade problem I had a few weeks ago either by falling, or from the headstands I decided to do during my hotel yoga practice, immediately after falling down the stairs.

I don't know what it was today, but I felt all in, and wanted to go all out.

Whereas yesterday's practice was a very deliberate, traditional Baptiste flow, today was "whatever comes to mind" with an emphasis on movement, lots of crescent lunge and warrior poses, very few twists and, as mentioned earlier, back to the headstands again. Probably not the greatest idea, but that's what I was feeling.

It feels good to be motivated. I know what it feels like to be entirely unmotivated too. I know this won't last forever, but I will ride the wave while it persists.

23 February, 2014

Same mat, different country

Today was vinyasa in the hotel in Munich.

How many countries is it now? Well, actually not that many. Just US, Italy, Germany, England, and Switzerland. But that's nothing to sneeze at. The one constant in the practice is the mat under the feet, and the feet over the mat.

I walk down the streets of Munich, in brisk but pleasant cool of the morning, with bright sunshine, looking at the buildings around me, all of which have been here for hundreds of years, unless they were destroyed, in which case, they were built again to exactly resemble the originals. Everything is perfect. Everything is beautiful. It is easy to find the present moment, when surroundings are evoking such strong connection.

Today was a simple Baptiste flow. Nothing fancy, no tricks. The concentration is pretty good right now. Any imbalances that shook me last week seem to have dissolved into harmony this week. For some reason, the back half of a trip always seems to be smoother than the front half. I often carry into a new situation all of the anxieties (if unconscious) about whether it will go well. But once I hit the ground running, it always smooths out.

These are good times.

20 February, 2014

More yoga in Zurich

Today was vinyasa (mellow flow) at the hotel.

I made a conscious decision to keep it easy today since I did a pretty full session yesterday with lots of chairs and crescent lunges, etc. I stayed relatively close to the floor for a lot of it, and only did one chair, and a couple of Sun B with Warrior II added, and Side Angle added. Then I did some twisted lunge, and a half moon, and low lunges, and lizards, and tree. You know the deal. Just tried to keep the energy light, probably only 3-5 Chaturanga in total, which was enough. I feel good, but I don't want to go overboard since I am theoretically jetlagged, though I have been handling the time change pretty well.

Mind a little quieter than yesterday.

19 February, 2014

Yoga in Zurich

Today was vinyasa in the hotel room in Zurich.

It's a good day. In spite of the overnight flight, and a long day at work, in a new office, the yoga was there this evening, and my energy was good. I did a decent vinyasa flow, pretty standard Baptiste. I had some work thoughts floating through my head, but nothing big, nothing bad. Just a little noise in the background.

Feeling pretty positive this week, and looking forward to what more is to come.

17 February, 2014

Finding the moment in chaos

Today was vinyasa with Ara at Live Love Flow.

I had a stressful couple of hours this morning before class, really shaken, and losing my center. Truth is, my "losing of center" is far less dramatic than it would have been a few years ago, but I still felt really out of balance. For the first time in days, my mood was worse than neutral (I have actually started tracking moods using a cool app from trackyourhappiness.org - that's a different blog entry I am yet to write). Anyhow, today is the last day that I will get to a yoga studio, since I am traveling for work for 2 weeks. And I had a ton of stuff that I need to get done today. On top of that, there was some emotional stress. How am I gonna get all this together? Is everything going to be alright?

It was one of those times where you show up on the mat, and aren't sure what's going to happen.

It turns out, Ara was substituting for Jaime. I had been looking forward to Jaime's positive energy. But Ara was just as good. She had a very deliberate, slow but deep flow. Challenging, but very focused on landing in every pose. And it grounded me. It slowed me down. It brought me back. Even during the class, I started recognizing that the things that were upsetting me earlier made a lot of sense, and that the situation was not catastrophic.

I am so glad I found the time to take that class today.

For the next 11 days, it will be yoga on the road, in hotel rooms in Switzerland, and then Germany. It will be tiring, but it will be exciting.

Stay tuned...

16 February, 2014

Am I the only one?

Yesterday's morning class with Nicole was tough, but it wasn't ridiculously hard or anything. I sweated a bit, but not a ridiculous amount or anything. Yet, somehow, I didn't drink enough water during the day, and it resulted in my waking up with a hangover this morning. Does this only happen to me? I didn't have a drop of alcohol. Not even a glass of wine. But I obviously became very dehydrated, and I don't understand why. I didn't really have anything else to say about it. Part of the problem yesterday was that I was so absorbed in what I was doing all day, I didn't make time for things like eating and drinking. I recognize that is not taking care of myself. And I will make a mental note to do a better job. But still... why would the class make me so dehydrated that I get a headache?

15 February, 2014

I really can't move in the morning

Today was vinyasa with Nicole.

First time taking her class in I don't know how long, mostly because of schedule. Today I was awake, having returned from a 5:30am airport drop-off, and it seemed reasonable to stay awake, and do the yoga early. But my body really doesn't want to move that early. Chaturangas felt like a ton of lead. Forward folds felt stiff and iffy. An hour felt long.

Nonetheless, I was up.

I felt a lot of emotion in the class, and a fair amount of resistance. I was worried a little that today might mark a slide down in the motivation and mood, mainly because I am shifting phases. I have been staying local, and spending a lot of time with company, and have abruptly transitioned into a weekend, where I expect to spend a lot of time alone, followed by two weeks of traveling for work. These things make me anxious and then I start thinking about everything I need to get done, and it's easy to slip...

But I am trying not to do that.

Today was an interesting day of working on a side project that has nothing to do with my job or my yoga practice, but is oddly connected to both of those things. Intriguingly enough, I find the combination to be very interesting. And it makes me ask questions about what I could do in the future for my life to make more of my time able to be spent doing projects like this.

My own tempo

Today was vinyasa with Tina.

I decided from the start that this needed to be a relatively easy day. Maybe I was kidding myself... But that is what I set my intention on. It has been a busy week. I tried to find ways to make it feel less trying. Not simple in a Tina class.

Toward the end of class I took a lot of liberties. Funny how that works. I know it is something that happens off the mat too... Not wanting to finish things. I recognize it.

And for now, on the mat, some days, I accept it...

12 February, 2014

Today I did yoga

Today was vinyasa with Sean.

Second time this week that I am on a late-night (as in, 7pm) class due to work schedule, and the desire to avoid the long 90 minute classes. i missed yesterday due to what seemed to be food poisoning, but didn’t impact me too severely. only enough so that it seemed ill advised to do yoga. Sean’s class is always hard and this was no exception. He holds you in a position, or has rapid fire repeats, where you want to get mad at him, and then he calls out the fact that you’re probably wanting to get mad at him right now. at that point, what can you do, but smile to yourself, and recognize that he’s right. that is the practice, and that is life. you don’t always get to decide how easy or hard it’s going to be or how long it’s going to last. might as well get used to it.

feeling reasonably strong and i have been feeling super-energized at work lately, almost manic, but also a bit swamped. somehow, though, my motivation clicked on, and now all i want to do is work. i am forcing myself not to do just that, because there is a social life to be had. but i could easily work all day and all night when i get in this mode. it happens rarely so i should probably run with it. 

i would not have believed it possible that this would be where i am at, only a few weeks ago.

and now i am on the verge of going to europe for a big long work trip. it’s going to be pretty intense…

but there will be yoga, one way or another.

10 February, 2014

Finding enough space

today was vinyasa with vanessa.

been a really long time since i took her class, and she’s almost like a completely different person in the classroom from when i first took her class. both were good, but it’s just dramatically different, no doubt as a result of the teachers she has had. it was insanely crowded in class, and it was insanely difficult. it was all i could do to not fall apart. at one point she wanted us to go from triangle pose or side angle directly into side plank without lowering our top arm. i tried it, and came crashing down onto the mat of the stranger next to me, which was slightly awkward to say the least, but hey, what can you do.

that’s about it. working hard, and wanting to work harder. i guess that must be true both on and off the mat...

08 February, 2014

Getting it done

Today was Vinyasa with Chelle Swierz.

I don't have anything to say about the yoga. It was a good class, basics, and I felt reasonably strong.

This weekend, I decided I was going to get something done for work, and it amounted to spending most of the weekend days working. It was tempting to get spiraled into the "I shouldn't have to do this" mode of thinking. But the fact is, I wanted to finish it. I really want to accomplish things, and the weekend was the opportunity to do it, and deliver something before Monday.

There are always going to be things that are not the way they should be.

Today (Monday) I am dealing with people who don't want to do what they should be doing, and with technology that doesn't want to work the way it should be working.

This is the way it goes.

07 February, 2014

Laura C. for the win

Today was vinyasa with Laura Calcaterra on hitPLAYyoga.

As per usual, her classes are a big win. It takes a lot for a teacher to command presence and peace from afar, and she really does it. By the end of the class, I can see the blue wall to my right, the gray wall to my left, and the windows behind me, even though I am not even in her studio.

I decided to practice at home today, partly because I couldn't get out of work early enough for the 4pm, but also because it seemed reasonable to not go back to the heat again after Tina's class yesterday. My mind was a little drifty, but not so bad... not so bad... definitely not the extreme noise of the other day. I am starting to work toward focus again, breaking things up into smaller pieces in life, to move forward, without getting analysis paralysis. It feels good to know that I will be "delivering" things soon in my work. I will feel less stress when that happens.

Today there was a bit of a monkey wrench thrown at us that could potentially alter my travel plans for a big trip I am expecting to take at work. Then again, it might not alter them at all. My initial reaction was to get defensive, and push back about why I can't have my "Big Plan" disrupted. But after the meeting was over, and time passed, I realized, "What difference does it really make?" On the one hand, if the trip happens, I "win" because it will be great to go on that trip. But on the other hand, if the trip doesn't happen, I "win" because I will have less fatigue of traveling, and more time to focus on the things in my life here. It's a no-lose situation. But I started digging in the heels and getting married to one outcome or the other.

Should I know better than that by now? Probably :)

06 February, 2014

It is what it is

Today was Vinyasa with Tina.

As usual, I had the mixture of apprehension about Tina's class, knowing how difficult it would be, combined with awareness of my tendency toward this apprehension, and a willingness to ignore it. Of course, I was not surprised. In fact, I would have to say that, as Tina classes go, this one was moderate. There were a lot of people. It seemed that every possible position in the room was occupied. I'd thought that I'd placed myself in a location where I would be able to do my Sun Salutations with my arms wide, but the relative position of those around me didn't quite turn out how I'd imagined either, so I had to just suck it up and do it like everyone else was doing it. I guess you call that going with the flow.

I have had a lot of complaining about my life lately. I can't say I am unhappy, but there's been more complaining than production. Today, I finally started implementing some steps to move toward production, because it would really feel better to be delivering, than talking about how I don't have time to deliver.

That's all.

05 February, 2014

Noisy mind

Today was vinyasa home practice. Again.

I see a pattern developing here.

It's been difficult keeping my head focused lately, both on and off the mat. I feel like I have so much to do, but I find myself not wanting to do the things that are most important, instead getting caught up in little puzzle-like tasks that are more entertaining to me. It's almost like I am looking for the Angry Birds of tasks to do. The distraction tasks. I have been complaining a lot lately about not having time to get things done, but not just setting to doing them.

Today's practice was about 47 minutes. It was a good practice, in the sense of body and breath. But it was not as good, in the sense of presence. My mind kept wandering. First, I would wander to the logistics of all the things I need to get done. Then I would wander to berating myself for having a bad plan, bad strategy, things aren't going to work. Then I would wander to the minutiae of logistics. And then, I would drag myself back to what was happening on the mat.

It's sort of what my work has been like lately, in a microcosm, on the mat.

It would be so much less painful to just get shit done.

03 February, 2014

Hard promises

Today was vinyasa home practice (in the hotel) in California.

We had dinner plans after work today with a group of people. It was a lot of fun, and there was plenty of food, and some drinks included. I exercised reasonable moderation, and arrived home without any intoxication, though I did have 2 glasses of wine. That left me with the yoga promise to self, commencing around 10pm. I did about 50 minutes of yoga, and it was actually (once again, I keep surprising myself) a respectable practice, all things considered.

I did find I was a bit vertigous (coining a word) at some points, perhaps alcohol-driven. Or maybe it was from having been on an airplane, messing with my vestibular system.

Not much else to say about this one. I have been laying off the headstands, not out of fear or avoidance, but to let the neck muscles really relax for a bit, before starting over again, with my head in the correct alignment.

01 February, 2014

Sometimes I feel like "The Basics" are more than enough

Today was yoga basics vinyasa class with Chelle Swierz.

At the start of class, we had a chance to chat about the earlier conversation about inversions. I shared with Chelle the fact that I had started working on the headstands only 1-2 weeks after the class of hers where I'd made a firm proclamation to myself that I had zero interest or intention in doing inversions. It's still intriguing to me. Perhaps the shift came from the recognition about how absurd it was for me to make such an arbitrary decision.

Anyway, today was the basics class that J. Politi use to teach. It's a good class. Although there are half as many Chaturangas, and there are omissions of a couple of the standard Baptiste sequences, to fit things into a 60-minute session at a slow pace, I still broke a serious sweat, and still felt like I had about enough work for my body.

It's true that there's benefit to pushing way past the point that you want to go, to understand the boundaries, the edge, whatever you want to call it. But perhaps I don't want to dance on the edge every day. Am I being lazy? I don't know. Who knows?

Nobody does.