Categories
Fitness Humor Inspiration Weight Loss Yoga

“Squeeze Your Anus” Ashtanga Workshop Weekend

You’re about to learn more about your “pelvic floor” than you thought was possible or maybe even what a “pelvic floor” is and how squeezing your anus can change your life. Or at least, your pelvic floor. Irresistible title, I know.  

Not long ago, In October of 2015, I wrote “Ashtanga Yoga – A primer” passing on my introductory knowledge of Ashtanga derived from two classes which consisted of the advice of “skip class and have a friend hit you in the stomach with a shovel.”  Ashtanga a primer  Imbued with this new found knowledge my logical thought was, “I should go to a class every week after the holly days.”  (Not very smart, I know)

A slightly more elucidating description of Ashtanga is “This form of yoga is intensely physical and athletic. Ashtanga yogis practice a prescribed set of asanas, channel energy through the body using bandhas (locks), and concentrate on singular points using drishti (gaze) in asanas.”  (An asana is a pose or movement running from the easiest of, “bend over and touch your toes” (or the floor or put your palms on the floor and bend your elbows out) to a more complicated form of twister where you fashion yourself into a pretzel and look at parts of your body you’ve never seen before.    Like this. 

 You don’t even want to know how to get into this. In one class, a girl said someone should clone a life alert bracelet into a yoga alert bracelet – “help, I fell  into this pose and I can’t get out    Just for the record, I can not do this now, nor ever imagine it happening. 

After happily surviving NOT passing out the first two classes in January I follow my plan of regular weekly attendance when I see that internationally know Ashtanga Yoga teacher, is coming to the studio to do 10 1/ hours of instruction on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday in April, and I look at the individual classes with a la Carte pricing, and one fixed fee for the whole shebang, including waterboarding and I think, “YEAH, that’s me”!!! (Again, not smart.  If you’re a regular reader you know good judgement is not my hallmark.  Although, Senator Bob Packwood did say, “Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment ) 

Today is Sunday and I have survived,  however, I am using my last functional appendage, one hand, to type this message.  By Friday morning, two days ago, I am anticipating the start of the first class Friday night with a mixture of fear and excitement.  Or terror.  Or dread.  However, Friday was pretty much a 2 1/2 hour lecture practice on paranyama (breathing) and bandhas, (locks)  (Hold on, we’re almost to the squeeze your anus part) 

First breathing. Ashtanga uses a from of breathing called Ujayi (pronounced “ooo jay) in which “…Ujjayi (translated as “victorious”) breathing should be both energizing and relaxing. In the Yoga Sutra, Patanjali suggests that the breath should be both dirga (long) and suksma (smooth). The sound of Ujjayi is created by gently constricting the opening of the throat to create some resistance to the passage of air. Gently pulling the breath in on inhalation and gently pushing the breath out on exhalation against this resistance creates a well-modulated and soothing sound—something like the sound of ocean waves rolling in and out.”  Ujjayi Breath.  More simply, open your mouth an exhale as if you were fogging a mirror.  Now,  close your mouth and exhale, keeping the same restriction in your throat. MOST simply, I call this Darth Vader breath.  Breathing through your nose with Mouth closed, do your best impression of Darth Vader breathing,  this is Ujjayi breath.  (Now, try to breath this way for an hour- Bahahahahahaha)

Ah, finally bandhas.  Mula Bandha.   “Squeeze your anus”, he says.  “Huh?”  This is probably not an exact transcription of what  what he said but here goes at the very bottom of the bowl of your pelvis, you have a network of muscles attaching front to back and side to side like a warm apple pie’s top lattice Crust, nicely browned and perfectly weaved.  (Ok, he didn’t say the pie part, but I was hungry ). The muscle part was true though (kinda)  

 and by contacting these muscles, you help to lift your internal organs from crushing each other and eventually, bring peace to the Middle East. Or maybe kill your craving for Cocoa Puffs.  To do this, squeeze your anus.  Then while doing that, contract the muscles you need to stop. Urinating mid stream.  Now, you may be laughing, and you may be trying to squeeze your anus right now but if you’re trying to do both, when I tell you to hold this for the next hour, you’ll stop laughing.  However, when he said this eventually reverses something of the natural incontinent type symptoms which advancing age brings, I though, “hell yeah, I’m in!!!). However, he did point out that your supposed to keep these muscles permanently locked (meaning squeeze your anus 24 hours a day) unless, you’re using the bathroom, giving birth, menstruating, or drinking tequila with a stripped named Mercedes in Guadalajara.  I’m pretty sure  I squeezed my anus once for 24 hours in college and it made me want to vote republican.  

Clearly, I’ve summarized the 2 hours and thirty minutes but suffice it to say that by the end, I was thinking the last time I put so much focus on Darth Vader breathing and squeezing my anus was when my freshman dorm mate Pat and I double dated the two sorority girls to USC homecoming in 1975.  Lesson learned, “remember where you park your car anytime your”re parking with 40,000 other cars- it’s a loong wait till the parking lot is empty  and you can see it.  Which equally applies to squeezing your anus for an hour)

My greatest fear the last seven years of yoga was being in a completely packed yoga room, mats only inches apart, 7-8 yogis in a row and I lose my balance falling over into the hot chick next to me creating a human yogis dominoes effect.  I escaped that fear for 7 years. Until today.  While the entire row didn’t fall over, I took her out like a linebacker sacking the quarterback in the playoffs.  

 
On the positive side, she we very gracious about it, the class got some much needed comic relief (who doesn’t like being laughed at by 50 people?) and I lived.  Reminder lesson, even when our greatest fear comes true, it’s not as bad as we have catastrophized.  

My best moment?  Yesterday morning, we’re over an hour in where we’re trying to do several of the harder poses in the middle of the sequence and I’m not even close to doing it right and looking around the room, literally dripping sweat all over my mat, and thinking, just as a matter of observation, that I have clearly the absolute WORST form of anyone in the class, and he comes over, taps my foot and says “good job).  I only made it 6 1/2 hours of the 10.5 for the weekend, but hooray for me.  

As I was leaving today,  the studio owner goddess guru sweetheart asked if I was coming back for the last two hours, called “Do WHAT with my leg”, in which hip openers are offered to allow you to put your feet behind your head while sitting up.  “No,” I said, “I have Chik Fil A hips, they’re closed on Sunday’s.”  

IMG_6011

Categories
Fitness Humor Inspiration Uncategorized Weight Loss Yoga

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. 

IMG_6011

Categories
Fitness Humor Weight Loss Yoga

Ashtanga Yoga- A Primer

We had a sub teacher in yoga class today. She practices Ashtanga yoga. As I frequently talk to people who either ask me or want a recommendation for what “style” of yoga to take as a beginner, this is not it. But some explication might be helpful.

This was my second Ashtanga class. I don’t have much memory from the first, but like with many traumatic events, I have PTSD, but cloudy memories.  Since this was my second class and I maintained consciousness (mostly) I think I’m better able to guide you.

Ashtanga is a Sanskrit word combining our words of “pain” and “agony”.  There are 5 series of Ashtanga, maybe 6, but I was starting to lose consciousness when this was mentioned. You do the same poses in the same order for each series. i The first five are pain and agony, more pain and agony, most pain and agony, excruciating pain and agony and unbearable pain and agony.

You do a vinyasa between every pose.  Vinyasa means movement to and while focusing on your breath while ignoring that your heart just exploded in the center of your chest for exceeding your maximum heart rate.

The first half is designed to build heat in your body.  This means, simply, that even in an 80 degree room, you will sweat like Miley Cyrus on the front pew of a southern baptist church.  The second half is meant to wring whatever remaining sweat that did not except your pores from the first half.

This was my first yoga class in a week, as I had business out of town last week and a couple of social engagements. When I miss a week of yoga, it often feels like starting over and I marvel at how much fitness I can lose in a week.  This intensified that feeling, much like going on a run straight from a recovery room after surgery.  Un anesthetized.

If you’ve never tried yoga before, don’t do this. Or, just have a friend hit you in the stomach with a shovel.

Categories
Humor Yoga

“Creep Yourself Out”- some musings on Yoga Speak

Anyone who is a regular yoga class attendee, or even taken a few classes is familiar with yoga speak.  “Drop your shoulders”, “rotate your thighs inward”, “balance on the four corners of your feet”, “pull your shoulders (blades), down your back” , “pull your lower belly up and in”.  Some, like “drop your chin to your chest” are simple enough. Some like “rotate your thighs inward” are meaningless to me but I’m not sure if that’s because I just can’t do them, or if they’re just truly meaningless it I accept them like a warm smooth story about Santa. I know he’s not showing up, but I can like the story anyway.

After 7 years, I’ve heard what has now become my number one favorite.  I was in yoga class the other day, with one of my favorite instructors whose musings during class sound like Kahil Gibran singing with Simon and Garfunkle when she asked us, sitting cross-legged on the floor, to bend forward, extend both hands on the finger tips directly in front of us, and “creep ourselves out.”   I think she meant stretch a little farther, but the first image that popped into my mind was me, outside of my condo late at night, peering in the window at myself, and “creeping myself out”.

I immediately busted out laughing and another yoga instructor, who was attending class and sitting on the mat next to me, also busted out laughing, so I took solace in knowing I was not the only one who thought this instruction bizarre, but wildly entertaining.

I admit I spent the remainder of class in a “creep yourself out” meditation, so I thought I’d share some of the ideas I have for creeping yourself out, as you may have some awesome ideas as well.

1.   Follow yourself, and call, text and e-mail yourself dozens of times in a day.  The “stalk yourself”.

2.  Make kinda creepy sexual innuendos to your self.  “Pervert yourself”

3.  Relate to a SUBSTANTIALLY younger part of yourself, and ask yourself out on a date.  “Lecher yourself”

4.   Catch yourself staring at your own butt for the entire class. “Voyeur yourself”.

5. Spend the entire class talking to yourself, about yourself, including all you past failed relationships.  “First date yourself- from hell.

6.  Demand to know where you are and who you’re with, from yourself at all times, down to the minute.  “Abuse yourself”

Oops, class is almost over, back to the real world.  My last fantasy was imagining if one know famous TV SHOW, could have incorpatedmthis meme in their wonderful “treat yourself” vignettes. Watch this video, and imagine a slew of “creep yourself” segments.

Categories
Humor Yoga

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!!!

Categories
Humor

Work Out Clothes

Eros-Sport-Collection-Page-6-up_1024x1024There is no version of this universe and no alternate universe, no matter how much weight I lose, or how “svelte” I get that I’m wearing any version of those clothes to yoga class. Or any other workout class. Or zumba class. Or a gym. I just don’t get workout clothes.

I’ve toyed with this subject, albeit briefly, once before, a litle over a year ago. My fellow Zumberanians have a penchant for belly scarfs. http://humorforthehorizontallychallenged.com/2013/06/29/zumba-class-an…he-belly-scarf/ They want me to get one. I’ve been debating for a year between the camouflage, image< and the Pirate Skull:
image<

I’ve been taking votes most of the last year. The pirate skull won out. I actually modeled some for the Zumberanians. They brought a purple number for me to try on.
zumba purple belly skirt<

While purple may be my color, pirate is definitely the way for me to go here.

But workout clothes just puzzle me in general. About a month ago, in workout class, a woman had the words “WHINING” in all white caps emblazoned on her ass, with a circle around the “HINI” with a line through it. I found myself thrust back in Philosophy class for the rest of the next hour. Is that “NO Whining?” or “no Hini?”, I asked myself” and if the former, was that for her kids, and if the latter was that for her husband, and what did that have to do with working out? If the “whining” had to do with working out, who was the admonition for? I mean, if it was meant to remind HER not to whine, shouldn’t it be somewhere where SHE could see it, like on the FRONT of her shorts, so when she bent over, she, or bent down, she’d remember, “no whining?” If it was meant for all of us behind her, I was wondering when all the whiny people in a workout class had gotten on her class. Maybe I should hyperventilate a little quieter. Maybe I should gasp for air with a little less enthusiasm.

And why didn’t the circle go around the ENTIRE word. The shorts were big enough. Why just for the “hini” part? And they seemed to very male gym shorts at that but I didn’t even want to go there. After class, I asked the girl next to me what they were all about and she simple said, ” Motivation, no whining”, so I guess I was making too much out of the whole thing. Or she missed the whole, “no hini” part.

At this point, I went looking for something on the internet about the recent Lulemon see through yoga pants fashion disaster to illustrate some point in my brain when I found this: http://www.fadedindustry.com/hot-girls-wearing-yoga-pants-happy-hump-day/

By the time I got to the end of the pictures, I had no idea what my post was. In fact, I have no idea what my objection to work out clothing is. Hmmm, maybe purple is my color. In the meantime, I’ll just wait for the pirate scarf. And keep wearing baggy clothes.

Categories
Humor Yoga

Yoga Class Update: “Recruit Your Belly”

I’m in yoga class Thursday night, minding my own business, because 1, that’s kind of the mindful Zen point and 2, because due to work interfering with my regular life, this is my first yoga class in 11 days and my body feels like I’m completely starting over and I’m sweating out every toxin I didn’t even think I took into my body in 11 days, secretly trying not to wish for death in the first 30 minutes when Maria, the Yoga instructor, in walking us thru a pose says, “recruit your belly”. As anyone who has ever been in, around or heard of a yoga class knows, the mantra is “listen to your body” so this is what I heard.

Lower Belly: “toke, toke; shhh! Who is that!?!?!

Upper Belly: ” it’s the yoga instructor dude, put that out!! Shit!!! Hide the stuff.

Lower Belly: What does SHE want!!!

Upper Belly: I don’t know, man.

Maria: …..and recruit your lower belly……then….

Lower Belly: Recruit for what? Do we have any Doritos?

Upper Belly: No, dammit, we don’t have any Doritos. I haven’t seen a Doritos down here in 2 years. How would I know what she’s recruiting for, I try put my little belly mind somewhere else while we’re here. It’s too traumatic. It’s too early in class for boat pose.

Lower Belly: Do I get anything for signing up?

Brain: Hey, you fat ass slab of bacon down there! She wants you to constrict for as long as possible, until the point of exhaustion, preferably so that some of your fibers break down, and at least until you send me a sufficient amount of chemicals from the process that I register such a sufficient pain response so he gives up and so that when you heal over the next couple of days, you’ll be stronger, leaner and harder than ever.

Lower Belly: F*ck that. light that thing back up. And turn up that Jason Darulo, “Talk Dirty to Me”, You Tube Video, will you?

Maria: “And if your mind starts to wander, return to your breath and the intention you set at the beginning of class.” Really? Ohhhhh… Ok.

Om…… namaste ya’ll.

Categories
Dance Humor Zumba

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 http://humorforthehorizontallychallenged.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.

Categories
Humor Yoga

Clarifying Yoga Instructions or “Pull Your Lower Belly In and Up”

Ok, I admit it. After 6 years of yoga classes there are still some yoga instructions regularly given in every basic class that make absolutely no sense to me so I’m here to confess.

The last straw, in cliché speak, was in Maria’s (we’ll call her “Maria” ’cause that’s, well, her real name) Thursday night yoga class at the Holy Sutra and Va Va Voom Vinyassa Yoga Studio. (Not the real name, you don’t think I’m stupid, do you? Ok, not a good question to ask).

So, we’re standing at the top of the mat, and Maria says she’s going to explain the oft-repeated instruction to “pull in your lower belly”. Oh good, I think, because when I send this command from my brain to my nether regions, absolutely NOTHING happens. In this way, yoga has helped me to understand what it must feel like to be paralyzed. There are many yoga instructions where I send these commands to my whatever part of the body, absolutely NOTHING happens.

“Called “uddiyana bandha” (ooo-dee-YAH-na BAHN-da)”, she says, measure three fingers below your navel, and then feel this muscle. This is the transverse abdominal, or the muscle that you engage, when you’re asked to ‘pull in your lower belly”. I follow this instruction. I feel no muscle whatsoever. I do however feel something akin to the last time I went to a butcher and had a five-pound fresh slab of extra fatty smoked bacon prepared for me. I’m tempted to speak up and ask what if I feel THAT, but I know from experience the skinny people do not always appreciate these comments. In case you think I’m making this up, (which wouldn’t be completely unfair since that’s the nature of hyperbole), or in the completely weird event you’re actually INTERESTED in the topic and want a SERIOUS discussion, see http://www.thesecretsofyoga.com/yoga-articles/Uddiyana-Bandha.html.

For those of you who are considering yoga but have not taken it, it helps if you understand that all yoga instructors are from the marvel comics, but have to go to Dalai Lama school before they can teach yoga. This insures they can both handle their super power (you know, levitate right side up AND UPSIDE DOWN, do a handstand with no hands, make their soul glow in the dark, or shoot rainbows out their ass. I swear I saw that once. Ok, maybe I was delirious) AND that you won’t, in projecting your self frustration at not being able to “pull in your lower belly” stab them in the parking lot after class.

“Glide your shoulder blades down the back”. WHAT? Yes, I saw “Avatar”. AND the AVENGERS. So, what. Here’s the thing. My shoulders do one thing. Shrug. It’s a DNA guy thing. Ex GF- “I’m leaving you”. “Shrug”. “Do you want to talk to me or watch this TV program?” Shrug. I’m not even sure I HAVE shoulder blades. I don’t even know what that means?!?!?!

While you’re laying on your stomach, “put your toes, the top of your feet AND YOUR SHINS FLAT on the floor. I cannot get my shins on the floor from any position. Even kneeling. Here’s a little test you can try. Stick your leg out. Bend your foot forward. If your foot bends sooooooo far forward it’s at a 180 degree straight line with the rest of your leg, you can probably get your shins on the floor. You are also probably a Marvel Comics baby whether you know it or not, and should check in at the closest yoga studio so they can tell you about Dalai Lama school.

For a later blog, “press your hip points into the floor”. “Dalai Lama, Dalai Lama”.

Categories
Humor Zumba

Zumba on Flexeril and Karma for the Electric Slide Part II

In case you missed Part I, and to save you from having to scroll down, the short version is almost three weeks ago, I was struck with some lower back spasms on the left side I’ve experienced every two years for the last 35 only to finally find out from my massage therapist it’s called piriformis syndrome. This is a fancy name for the muscle involved, which in my case, has nothing to do with the back, of course, but… wait for it… my fat ass. Of course. This will save you lots of reading on the last blog.

Usually these bouts only last a few days, maximum a week, but this one has lasted over two weeks. Normally a couple of trips to the chiropractor and a little old fashioned stoicism nips it in the bud but this time it took the full Monty, including some Flexerils. Generally, I’m against taking medication except for recreational purposes, but I will take it for medicinal purposes if absolutely necessary. There is something about having to have a note to get medication that’s annoying to me. It was like having to have a note in school to go take a piss. Like if you didn’t get the note, you weren’t going to pee. I always kind of wondered why, as obnoxious as middle school students were, that they didn’t just revolt against the whole note thing and just pee all over those classrooms. No sense of revolution I guess.

Anyway, I had to back off the yoga classes for a little while, partially because it was suggested and partially because, when I tried to attempt a yoga pose, I found myself screaming loudly like Al Pacino at the end of Godfather III when his daughter gets shot and I thought that might be disturbing to the other yoga students. I did however, continue to go to Zumba class, because Dale plays the music so loud no one would notice I was screaming. I was right. I did however notice that the combination of Zumba and Flexural created an altered state which may NOT have been a good idea. For example: here was my thought pattern in Zumba class on flexeril:

Dale is playing yet ANOTHER song which I do NOT know the routine to but everybody else seems to. OMG. How many of these songs can there possibly be in her f#%*ing repertoire that I am going to have to learn? “The number π is a mathematical constant that is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, and is approximately equal to 3.14159. It has been represented by the Greek letter “π” since the mid-18th century, though it is also sometimes written as “pi” (/paɪ/).

Being an irrational number, π cannot be expressed exactly as a ratio of any two integers (fractions such as 22/7 are commonly used to approximate π but no fraction can be its exact value). Consequently, its decimal representation never ends………” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pi meaning her collection of these is probably infinite. (and kids in math class say, “when am I ever going to use this stuff”. (Wow, I think, I need another 5 milligrams of this flexeril when I get HOME!!!)

So, I confess, I prayed, “Lord, why am I subjected to this NEVER ENDING parade of songs I have to learn new routines too” when to my surprise, the booming Charlton Heston Ten Commandments Voice said, “Remember all those Hospital Conventions where you made fun, in your head, of those folks dancing the Electric Slide and Other group line dances?” “Ruh Roh”, I thought. “This is some bad karma mojo. But, it was all silent mockery”, I prayed. Silence. “How long will this last”, I asked “How many conventions was it”, she said. OMG (sorry for the ‘your name’ in vain, I thought). That’s 1-4 conventions a year for 30 years. That’s like 90 classes. Good times. I definitely need another 5 miligrams when I get home.

You know, come to think of it, maybe a back spasm every two years and a note for some drugs is not a bad thing after all.

“We all live in a yellow submarine”.