Thursday, August 5, 2010

Exercise and The Weight

Vickie's comment nudged me to write this post that has been percolating for a few (maybe several) days. Like many of Us, I find it hard to write when I am struggling...putting words to what is going on can be painful. Of course, I know that from pain comes growth...

I've been doing badly with The Weight. I have gained back quite a bit of what I lost last year pre-St. John vacation...I still am about 9 pounds below where I started last year and 19 below THN (The Horrible Number), but what I see on the scale each day is NOT GOOD.

I still weigh every matter how bad it is. And that probably has kept me from completely going off the deep end. I have many excuses, but there is, I think, one big reason and one small reason for why this has happened:

Small reason: Not eating perfectly on plan. No perfect days anymore although most are very good.

BIG REASON: No real exercise since ski season stopped for us in May.

For some reason, once I let the exercise slack off, it is extremely hard for me to get back in that good rut. I do take a small walk each morning to get coffee (about a mile round trip) but, while that is a very good habit, it is not enough.

I have been beating myself up about this for several weeks...and this week I finally really made an effort to DO something about it.

Monday night, DB and I took a very long beach walk (probably about 3+ miles). Beach walking is hard on my knees so I always am concerned. This has made our recent beach walks (we still have done one or two a week through this HORRIBLY GRAY summer) slower than they should be for real exercise. We stroll. Monday we didn't stroll...we walked hard enough to break a sweat. This meant no's easier to really stride when you are not physically connected. We could use more of our bodies (arms) while we walked. We walked a lot farther than we have in a long time. And it felt good. My knees were fine. The next day I felt a teeny bit sore in my legs and butt and that was good.

Tuesday night I had resolved to do yoga. I miss yoga. My thumb/wrist has been better enough for at least a few weeks to have gone. But I still am struggling with the studio...the vibe there is just, I don't know, TOO MUCH. The teacher/owner is so very peppy and everyone is so chatty before and after class and the studio is too small to really get away from all that SCATTERED energy.

I spent most of Tuesday thinking about what to do off-and-on. I was determined to practice my yoga...checked out a website that does streaming on demand classes, but it seemed to be all ashtanga/power yoga. NOT what I need. Thought about The Studio. Even e-mailed the teacher and told her I might be back. But something kept me from totally committing to this. I thought about practicing at home, but I have never been truly successful with a home practice...never push myself enough...never get really peaceful...monkey-mind working overtime...never able to just feel what I need and do it.

On the drive home from work, I was still undecided. I put some bhajans into the cd player and chanted. It became clear to me that The Studio was not going to make me least not that day. I reminded myself that I know yoga very very well and that after all these years of study I certainly should be able to put what I know into practice. MY PERSONAL PRACTICE. The final sign was a guy about 3 blocks from my home that I saw wearing a hoodie that said "guru". Yes, I said to myself, you are your own guru...remember that.

So I went home. Got DB to agree to leave the living room/kitchen area to me for an hour (he was happy to) because the ceiling upstairs in my office is not high enough for me to really stretch UP. I got all my props downstairs, got my "yoga" playlist going on my iTunes on the computer, lit incense, turned off most of the lights and sat down on my bolster to begin.

I took my time. I really waited to begin asana until my breath was calmer. I did alternate nostril breathing to balance. I cleared my head. Even sitting on the bolster hurt my hips...I am so out of yoga-shape.

When I started to move (still seated on the bolster), I moved slowly and with intention. I paid attention to the parts of me that felt sore. I moved instinctively into more asana from there...

I warmed up my body with variations on sun salutations and standing poses. I saved my favorites (trikonasana and half moon) for last as a treat. My body remembers the poses...even if it can't do them the way it used to. It felt good. I held poses for just as long as I should...if I felt too much physical discomfort or pain, I moved on to the next. (None of this is possible for me in a class...there is always some point where you are doing what the teacher says, not what your body does.)

After the standing poses, I worked my way down and did some intense ab work, bridge and bow. Then stretches, twists, headstand and shoulder stand. I finished off in my favorite way with fish pose, then savasana. I took my time with savasana...I've never been able to do that before in home practice.

Throughout the practice when the spirit moved me I chanted along with the music...and when I sat up after savasana, I chanted while I sat and thanked the universe for a truly spectacular home practice...I thanked ME.

I felt so great and empowered by this practice the other night. I can't wait to try again tonight (last night we had to do shopping for Grandbaby's belated birthday celebration on Friday).

My body is still sore in a good way today. And a few pounds have come off this week.

I will keep trying.


Vickie said...

Lovely, centered, focused, calm post.

It was inspiring to read.

sharla said...

wow, this was moving to read!

Helen said...

Last night, I did personal home practice again. A colleague just went on maternity leave this week (twins as first babies at 40!) and I am (at least for now) doing her job and mine. So I was late getting home. Tried very hard not to stress, but I felt pressed.

My practice was not as great as on Tuesday although it was still good. I was still very sore from Tuesday so had to take some things easier...I don't want to hurt myself because I'm sore and don't do something right/get my alignment off. I got distracted when my dog wandered onto my mat at the beginning and that threw me off. But I DID IT.

And I will keep practicing this way for a while. Just need to let the soreness go away over the weekend. I plan to walk and play with grandkids for exercise. :-)

Cindy...154 said...

what a great post. I have been working out at my own pace lately and it is helping. When I read "horribly gray summer" I thought it perfectly described the summer I have had. But I feel like I am getting better a little bit at a time. thanks for a wonderful post!

Vickie said...

her ring is in a drawer and it is not on face book because he doesn't want to tell the kids. . .

sharla said...

how are you doing Helen?