Yoga Dragon Sequence or as I’ve Renamed It- My Ex Sequence

One of my yoga instructors is enamored with “dragon sequence” which I have, just this evening renamed “my ex sequence”.  Allow me to explain .  Since describing the dragon wil take more words than I’m wiling to write and certainly you to read, here is an instructional video. 

Just a few points not to mislead, before I proceed. I cannot do everything in is video.  Like, that twisting upside down thing ain’t happening.  I could go on about all the other things I can’t do, but let me offer this analogy as to what I think I look like when we do this. Ever seen an enormous male dog, like a lab or a golden retriever try to copulate with a small female like a daschund or a toy poodle in heat?  If you’ve ever watched those enthusiastic but misguided attempts to contort their bodies so the act will still not work, that’s me doing dragon.  If you’re wondering if I’m the large dog or the small do, take your pick. Also, there’s timing.  While this video is 7 min long, keep in mind we’re doing this for 35 minutes. 

Yoga goddess says this is to “open our heart and lung meridians of energy”. This is yoga speak for we’re going. To do a series of difficult and strenuous movements so fast you’re going to seriously contemplate your heart exploding while you’re asphyxiating from gasping for air, while you trying to control your breathing and not sound like a freshmen in high school in PE class having to run 5 miles in an hour st 9:30 am. You’ll also notice that the video instructor explains ways to “modify” the pose in a variety of ways.   Encouragement to modify your pose is yoga speak for, “please God  do not push yourself to the point of actually passing out, because our liability carrier requires us to call and ambulance for any loss of consciousness and that will screw up the rest of class.”  

So, the first time I was exposed to this “dragon” was a couple of months ago.  I really don’t remember much about that first time, other than spending the entire 35 minutes contemplating my mortality.  My thoughts went from an “OMG, I’m gonna die” to a welcoming acceptance and looking forward to it in a Jesus on the cross, “into your hands I commend my spirit”, kind of way.

Then we did it in a couple of more classes where I was just miserable, but not calling for death like it was a long lost friend who needed to visit soon.  

She announced last week we were going to do dragon this week, particularly because I had grumbled about it. Now I love this yoga instructor  because she gets so filled with joy she giggles. During class. A lot. Although I’ve become a little suspicious that she’s really watching me move through asanas and vinyasas and wondering whether I’m the big or small dog.  I had a choice tonight between the county bar’s annual holiday party in a spectacular setting, with yummy catered food and an open bar…. Or yoga class.  I marveled at my choice of masochism instead of a party all the way there. Hold this thought a moment

She also recommended that during class we might want to employ Thicht Nach Hahn, the extraordinary Vietnamese Buddhist Monks famous mantra, “as I breathe in I relax, as I breathe out I smile”.  Hold this thought too.  

  (BTW, my favorite quote of his is: ” “When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have problems with our friends or family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and argument. That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you  understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change”.

So I’m rotating and gasping and doing my miserable thing, and I’m marveling at my masochistic choice.  Then I realize I’m kinda getting used to it, and I have the epiphany, “hey, this is like my ex marriage”. Then I notice the “I breath in I relax, I breathe out I smile is not having the desired meditative effect and I think, “when I breathe in, I get divorced, when I breathe out, I’m giddy with joy” and all of a sudden, I’m in my happy place. Hence, my renaming the dragon, “my ex”. Hopefully I’ll learn from the dragon, oops my ex some of the same things like non judgment, non attachment, personal responsibility, self awareness, boundaries and compassion.  Or maybe my heart will just explode. 

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Karmic Lessons from Yoga Class

Note to self or Karmic lessons for the day:
1. Ordering drinks called “Devils Lips” at the monthly Dirty Old Mens Club Benevolent Association dinner is GOING to bite you in the ass at a 9:30 am yoga class taught by the studio owner (duh).
2. Apparently, the Sacroiliac joint,

IMG_2667-0.PNGwhich I don’t recall ever having heard of, is responsible for all the hamstring, hip, and Piriformis issues I’ve had the last 6 years in yoga class. (Whatever I did or whoever I hurt I am so sorry).
3. Looking at illustration of the joint, you wouldn’t think someone could find movements to stress just that one area for an hour but they can. (I have no idea why the CIA water boarded terrorists when 2400 hundred yoga teachers were available to work them over at $8 an hour on a pass card.
4. I always wondered, but never asked how the owner came up the name “Holy Cow” for the name of the studio. Because the shopping center owner wouldn’t let her put “HOLY #%£!” on the sign. This came to me when I felt my “SI” joint, as she “affectionately” referred to it throughout the class, split apart- is that too strong?- let me say, then- exploded, and I said, “HOLY #%£!”, which in a meditative moment, made me realize that’s where the name of the studio come from. This was also,the same time I came back to consciousness to hear her say, “and this will make you say “Holy schmokes”, which I knew just meant “holy #%£!” (Saying #%£! In yoga class is never appropriate, even in Sanskrit, in which case is spelled {€%!).
5. This was the 6 th yoga class in 8 days BECAUSE I had the BRILLIANT IDEA that since the ZUMBA Instructor was off in Buenos Aires for the yearly Tango trip, I would try a new yoga class for each ZUMBA class missed. Karma lessons: thou shalt not complain about ZUMBA or the yoga classes your were already taking; things can always be worse- sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel is a train.
6. I was still in pain from Wednesday first attempt at “YIN” yoga. “Yin yoga is a slow-paced style of yoga with poses or asanas that are held for longer periods of time—five minutes or longer per pose is typical. Yin yoga poses apply moderate stress to the connective tissues—the tendons, fascia, and ligaments—with with the aim of increasing circulation in the joints and improving flexibility. “. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yin_yoga. All the exercises are done on the floor and they make it sound deceptively “opposite” the heat building energy demanding “yang” of hatha yoga. Here’s all you need to know. Somebody figured out a way to do yoga poses and leave your muscles alone but make EVERYTHING ELSE in your body hurt. All at once. (Whatever I did or whoever I did it too I am so sorry).

Those are my Karma lessons for today. Well, it’s only noon. Whew!!!

Zumba Causes Narcolepsy

For the first time, I made it to 3.75 Zumba classes this week. Here’s what happened. Fourteen months ago, I started going once a week. Loyal readers, both of you, know that after 10 minutes, I was gasping for air and praying for death. As the months wore on, and the pounds fell off, I started going twice a week. A couple of months ago, I dabbled a couple of times with going THREE times a week. In order to fit this on my schedule, this necessitated going to class two days in a row. How can I prosaically describe the effect this had on me? What words will convey the true effect this had on my body, mind, and soul? I know, it KICKED MY ASS.

As April and May approached, I saw my six month July doctors check up looming on the calendar which coincided with my celebrating losing 30 ponds since last July. At the same time, this rate of loss is nowhere near my type A, overachiever, obsessive compulsive addictive personality that wants to be losing 2 pounds a week is satisfied with, so I’ve been constantly been tweaking what I’ve been eating and my Zumba/Yoga/tango regimen trying to get the weekly weight loss up to what I consider a respectable level.

So, this was the week I decided I’d try FOUR Zumba classes and two yoga classes. Here’s how the week went starting with last Saturday.

Saturday June 7: Go to zumba class 9 am as usual. Come home, shower, head to Lowes, buy potting soil, drainage rock, two pavers. Set pavers, level for new outdoor table purchased by GF, plant new deck plants (also purchased by GF), and paint one of two outdoor corner shelves built by GF. Shower, put on costume, attend tango Milonga. 17,000 steps for the day.

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Sunday June 8: go to yoga class: already beyond exhausted. Fall asleep in savasana, or deep relaxation at end of class. I think I snored.

Monday June 9: Go to Zumba class: this is the class I don’t normally attend. I am fired up. Gonna make three in a row this week. Woooo Hoooo.

Tuesday June 10: Can’t get up for work. Go to office. Fall asleep at desk at 2:30. Give up. Take entire day off. Go home. Go to Zumba class at 5:45. This building where she has class doubles as children’s something or other and, I think, large oven for baked goods the size of SUV’s. Or it must, judging from the usual temperature in there.

Wednesday June 11: What day is it? I want to take today off too. Am exhausted. Make it to office. Am really excited about making it to THREE Zumba classes in a row. leave work early at 4 pm. Get home change clothes. Can’t. Keep. Eyes. Open. It’s 5:45. I have 30 minutes before I have to leave for class at 6:15 which starts at 6:45. Ok, I can take a power nap. Set alarm on I phone for 22 min. Close eyes. Pass out. Alarm goes off. 6:07. Great, I can sit here for 5 minutes. Next thing I know, I wake up and it’s 7:45. YUP, ZUMBA CAUSES NARCOLEPSY!!!! (Or maybe I need a little more rest, or a little more time to get used to this schedule- whew,). I dash out the door, race to class and get there 15 minutes late….so, I made it to 2.75 classes this week.

Thursday June 12: regular yoga class. Maria, the teacher, has left for her summer vacation. Who do we get for our sub? The yoga instructor who is also the marathon runner. You can’t make this stuff up. Insert your own punch line here. I pray for a quick death during savasana.

Friday June 13: No exercise today, but I do have to drive four hours round trip to teach the last two hours of a certification class. Have also noticed my weight has fluctuated three pounds this week even though my diet has not changed at all. I assume this is analogous to how terminal patients, as they approach death, will refuse food and water. I’m guessing by the end of the week, my body, from the Zumba overdose, has started hoarding water for the coming apocalypse. I get back to charleston at 7 pm and meet a friend for dinner.

Saturday June 14: I make it to Zumba class no 3.75 this week. I don’t know my name, I swear, just by looking I have 6 fingers on my right hand, I can’t get enough sleep but I woke up at 5:30 am and could not get back to sleep. Class was great. I did notice by one of the last songs, I was having trouble distinguishing between my right and left foot.

You know what I keep thinking, don’t you? She DOES teach a class EVERY DAY at the senior center at 8 am. Lemme google narcolepsy drugs…….

Zumba One Year Anniversary Wednesday April 23rd 2014

WOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOO I made it a year, and like yoga, and Argentine Tango, I have never been so happy to be doing something I am no better at than when I started. I think Anniversaries are a time for reflection, so I wanted to share what I’ve learned and accomplished in a year. Let’s start with just a little of what I wrote exactly one year ago today:

“Just got back from my first ever Zumba class. Thankfully no scarlet letters or getting tied to a stake was involved. Yes, if you’ve never been, the rest of the class looks like those happy, healthy people you’ve seen on the infomercials dancing to a joyous, driving beat. I, on the other hand, looked like a cardiac patient playing Charades to the same music and my word was “epileptic seizure”. ….. Thanks Dale Ellison. Can’t wait to come back. Maybe for my next class of charades I’ll try “drunk on a electric fence”.” (The rest can be found at https://humorforthehorizontallychallenged.wordpress.com/2013/04/)

So lets reflect on the progress made and things learned over one year:
1. Out of about 79 completely different routines I am pretty confident on 3. Well maybe 4. But definitely 3. And, if she leaves any one of those off her playlist for two long, then I have to relearn it. It’s a constant Alzheimer’s exam. And I’m failing.

2. I now look (make that gasp) at the clock every 15 minutes; First quarter – “ugh”. 30 minutes – “damn it, I’m running out of gas”. 45 minutes – “I am soooo toast, but I can make it 15 more minutes”. (or maybe not). But a year ago I was going once a week and now I’m going three times a week. Which probably suggests I need therapy.

3. All of the songs are fun and I like them all and all of the choreography is my favorite and I like it all. Do NOT tease/satirize the songs/choice of songs/choreography of songs or in anyway appear to do so in your blog ‘cuz the instructor (Momma) owns the playlist and the choreography and she will get even. Consciously or unconsciously. All of the songs are fun and I like them all and all of the choreography is my favorite and I like it all. Having done that several times, there are now several songs in which the movements of a hummingbird look like an old person on Quaaludes to me. No matter how fast you think a song is, or hard the routine is, there’s one out there that’s faster and harder. Note to self – Shut up. All of the songs are fun and I like them all and all of the choreography is my favorite and I like it all.

4. This is a lesson I started doing in yoga class, which I have transferred to Zumba class. When in intense pain, I tend to curse loudly and vociferously, (but silently, very silently) in my own head. I know, this is not very Zen and I am working on changing this habit. While I am working on finding a better mantra, for now, when I do this, I smile broadly. The instructors love this. I love that I’m smiling, all the while thinking “MOTHER fu%*er” in my pain seared brain. It also makes the pain more tolerable.(Sometimes I think other things, but you get the idea, and I do try to keep this as PG as possible, which is why I post so seldom as this seriously limits what gets past my filter)

5. All the women in class are smart, lovely, joyous, friendly, warm, welcoming, and interesting. Especially the Alpha’s, you know how you are. And the tango crossovers. And I’m not positive, but I think maybe the lady from Brooklyn is not going to have me wacked after all. However, after a year, I have just graduated to “token ‘dude’, ‘guy’ ‘man’. I’m not sure if that means my masculinity is or isn’t in question. Besides the “token” thing, its making me a little nervous, but I’ve kept my filter on. I’ve just “smiled”. Last night, in class, a girl walks up to me before class starts and says; “You’re a man taking this class!”. My mind immediately raced through a half dozen smart ass replies, but Dale has me on a very short leash, so I said, “Yes”, not sure if it was a compliment or not that she noticed. She actually had invited her Dad to class and was just excited there actually was a guy who had committed hari kari and had been going for a year.

6. Sheniqua is on the injured list, and is out for the season with a knee injury, but Dale has put up yellow crime scene tape around her spot, and we’re awaiting word from Marcus Lattimore’s knee surgeon as to when we can expect her return to the team. Go SHENIQUA!!!!!

8. They had a party tonight for my Anniversary. Ok, it wasn’t for my anniversary. Ok, it had nothing to do with me, they have a social get together a couple of times a year, and it just happened to fall on my one year anniversary, but hey, I got invited. It was a beautiful home. How beautiful you ask? Have you been to the Biltmore estate and toured the house? That nice, but updated, with nicer countertops and appliances. And on the beach. With a pool. My condo would fit in the kitchen. Both floors. I resisted all my favorite things, like chocolate covered strawberries and liquor filled pudding cups. On one of the refusals, someone was very sweet and commented on my 27lb weight loss ( I really don’t look any smaller yet, at this size, I need to lose ANOTHER 30 pounds before you can really see a difference but I had just posted about it that morning on FB) and I said, thanks, but I have 88 pounds to go. She said, ” were you 88 pounds less, recently? “Yes”, I said, “1979. And that seems very recently to me.”

I love these people. I love this class. I could NOT be any worse at it. All of the songs are fun and I like them all and all of the choreography is my favorite and I like it all.

Christmas Cruise Zumba, a Fitbit and a Happy New Year

Apologies to my legions of blog fans, (ok both of them) who have been complaining about my complete laziness and neglect of my blog for three months. (Actually, I think it’s really just the one, because I think Sheniqua is just being polite when she comes to Zumba class as there is only so much to talk about for the 120 seconds before and after class).

The GF and I did go on a Christmas cruise which did have a Zumba class!! They were excellent!! I watched three. I even dozed off a little bit during third. They were conducted at the pool in front of the entire ship. The first two rows clearly had experienced Zumberanians. The next two rows had folks who you could tell had been to a class or two. The last two rows had folks who had clearly had two too many tequilas, and would eventually regret both doing this in public and the advent of digital video. (I really need to devote an entire blog to this Christmas cruise on the ship with a two story library, but no bars with any music recorded after 1890. I can’t prove it, but I think the spa, salon and fitness center were former embalming centers. “Celebrity Cruise lines – come die on the water with us”).

A two week vacation was long enough to create a sense of excitement to return home. My law partner and paralegal and I missed our annual Christmas lunch and gift exchange before I left because they were both sick, so when I returned to work on Monday, I had my paralegals gifts waiting for me – a FITBIT!! For those of you that don’t know what a “fitbit” is, let me describe. A “fitbit” is a rubber watchstrap, with an insertable electronic device about the size of a suppository. (this is for another sci fi fitness blog). You download the fit bit app on your phone, and can access their website on your computer. From there you can set how many “steps” you want to take per day, (it defaults to 10,000), how much weight you want to lose if any. You can enter how much food you eat each day, how much water you drink, or what your activites are. It tracks how much water you drink, how many calories you burn, and will even track your sleep patterns telling you how much you slept and how restless you are.

The first day, I had 90 of my 10,000 steps. I calculated this was 3 of my 30 step trips to the bathroom. I posted on Facebook that I figured I only needed to go the bathroom 111 times a day to meet this goal. I tried to do this 10,0000 steps a day thing when it first became popular earlier last decade and got a pedometer back then. I never got over 8,000 steps on my best day. Dale the Zumba instructor told me I’d get 6500 to 7500 steps in her Zumba class, and I didn’t belive her. Until I attended her first class back and was greeted to her “happy new year” addition. A version of Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” – at 78 RPM, sung by the Chipmunks. This video will give you some idea.

Now, while THAT doesn’t look so bad, Dale’s choreography, which is soooo more appropriately challenging and destined to lead to fitness, looks more like a hummingbird on addeerall, who after accidentally taking a rock of crack back to its nest, just discovered a sugar feeder filled with pure Vermont maple syrup in your backyard.

This is not ACTUALLY me trying to watch Dale dance to this song, but it is close enough.

I DID get in 6000 steps than class though. Hummingbird steps. Ahhh, it’s good to be back. Happy New Year!!

Aging gracefully or like a rusting septic tank?

I’ve been thinking a good deal lately (“lately” at my age meaning the last 20 years) about aging and what it means to “get old”. I’ve also been thinking a lot lately (“lately” at my age meaning the last 20 minutes) if I could write something funny besides humiliating myself in an exercise class.   Here’s an opportunity to kill two birds with the same assault rifle.

I started thinking about this the first time I heard someone 50 called “middle-aged”.  Check  the mortality tables lately?  That train left the station at 40.

The second thing that got my attention were the famous and (not famous) actors, politicians, fitness gurus, granny’s graduating college, 90-year-old owner of the clothing store we all know, who despite their being well into their advanced years, just don’t seem “old” at all.

How do I get there? What does it mean to be “old”?  I did a little research. (Ok, VERY little research) Here’s just one website I found on “aging”. http://ask.healthline.com/galecontent/aging#1.  Here’s  one example why conventional medical science doesn’t clearly reflect what  we all see in the real world. Here’s the symptoms listed under “Diagnosis” on page two:
diminished, or lack of, desire for food
increased confusion
failure to thrive
urinary incontinence
dizziness
weight loss
falling

Seriously? Ok, if weight loss and diminished desire for food are symptoms, call the National Enquirer, I’m destined for  immortality. As for increased confusion, failure to thrive, dizziness, falling and urinary incontinence: frankly, that just sounds like my twenties. Wow, if I’d known that was aging I wouldn’t have cut back on my drinking.

So, I’m developing my own “anti aging” prescription list. Screw a bucket list, I wanna be Morgan Freeman, who turned 76  June 1,2013. Make EVERYDAY a bucket list day.

1. Keep up: if you can’t/won’t/don’t wanna use-learn cell phones, computers, social media, technology, you don’t only LOOK old, you are old. in general, KEEP UP. When you hear the “20’s”, “40’s”, “50’s”, or “80’s, s each decade evokes a certain menagerie of fashion, politics, technology, media,  design, and culture. I find this harder as the years go by. I admit I rely on my girlfriend to insure I don’t dress like its 1985. I’m constantly scrambling to listen to bands who have clearly gone viral for awhile. Vampire weekend? Yup, their third album is out. You get the drift. Keep up

2. Do NOT join the AARP. Does this really need any explanation? It’s a cult. I know they have kool aid. I’m not drinking it.

3. Aches and pains. If you’re over 50, shut the hell up about them. If you’re between 9 and 49, bitch away. I hear my friends between 9 and 40 bitch about their migraines, bad backs, discs, constantly. It’s ok, if you’re “young”. Over 50, you sound 80.  That ’cause, that’s ALL old people talk about.   If it hurts, suck it up and shut up. Unless you got a scrip for hospice, don’t tell nobody.

4. Aging “gracefully”. I admit I succumbed to false vanity and struggled with this a bit but the bottom line is that you cannot hide the outward physical effects of aging. Translation- every bottle of scotch from 30 years ago is proudly showing up today on my face and saying “whee- look at me”. While I heartily recommend a good dermatologist, increased exercise, healthier eating and lifestyle in general, (along with your addictions and bad habits of choice) you all have that image of the “she’s had too much plastic surgery” and “who’s he fooling with that comb over”. Be comfortable in your own skin is good advice for any age.

5. Hang out with young people besides your grand kids. This is also an aging test. If you are a PITA (pain in the ass) they won’t hang out with you. Grumpiness is a sure sign of aging. See, e.g. The movies GRUMPY OLD MEN I,II,III, IV & V.

I’m happy to die today or 40 years from now, that’s inevitable. Aging? That’s optional

“We all live in a yellow submarine”. (This is a lyric from a song by a band called the “BEATLES”, which had a flash of popularity 50 years ago).

Zumba Class Two

Just home from Zumba class no 2. I was driving over thinking the second class had to be easier when I remembered my second colonoscopy this summer. At least I know what a fire hose with a Nikon professional paparazzi style camera and flash up my ass feels like so I won’t be surprised. But, there won’t be anesthesia. Walked in class. Nice lady who wasn’t there last time says, “first class”? I immediately try to decide what will be easier for me, tell the truth and have her astonished that no one can be that bad, even after two classes or lie, and get first Timer credit two classes in a row. I immediately think, “Mark Sanford got elected yesterday, I should lie”. “Yep, first timer”, I say. She says, “the trick is to bend your knees so you don’t hurt your knees or back”. I figure she works for the department of corrections and this is the advice she gives to newbies going into cells with lifers. “Bend your knees…..” Class begins. Minutes 0-10. OMG. I have depleted all the oxygen in my body. Already. Yes, I’m still breathing, but I can’t replace the oxygen going out fast enough. You’ve heard without enough oxygen to the brain, brain damage occurs rather quickly. It’s true, I recognized my own brain damage immediately. I thought what a traitor Governor Christie was. The last respectable fat guy we had – got lap band surgery. And lost 40 lbs before he fessed up. Bastard. Min 33. OMG. she’s playing ICE, ICE BABY. Holy shit, it’s on 78 Rpm. and she’s dancing that fast. We used to play regular records at 78 rpm and they sounded like the chipmunks. Im trying to dance at chipmunk speed. Min 40. Ok, I’m paying more attention to these hand movements this week. They kinda look more like those guys on the runways with the flashlights bringing in the planes to the gate – if they were really high and doin it to earth wind and fire played by a Latino band. Or, I can kinda see some priests I know saying mass, to Donna summer. This is some serious brain damage I’m thinking. The bend your knees lady came over to check on me. Really? Then, the song “get low” comes on by Flo Rida. A voice in my head says, “you got this”. I immediately recognize this as multiple personality disorder brought on by the brain damage. The OTHER voice says “you got what?”. I actually try to do the whole step it up, second wind, give it all I have thing. I’m clearly mentally Ill and should be committed. Min 48 Oh, it’s cool down song with the yoga moves I recognize,thank god. Class is over. I can’t wait for next week.

“We all live in a yellow submarine”

Copyrite  Lawrence Laddaga 2013