fitness

Patience + practice = progress

Last night’s yoga class was a giant step forward for me. I pretty much manages a headstand.

Not an achievement if you’re a 7 year old, it’s just something you can do, but I’m knocking on 52, and last night I got a real sense of achievement.
We were supposed to be preparing for a headstand, so arms and head in position, and walking the feet forward.

We were told by Susan, that we would do the preparation over the next few weeks until we could walk up so our hips were over our shoulders.
When I walked my feet up, I got a gentle tap on my side and heard her say “Your hips are already over your shoulders. Slowly lift your feet”
I started lifting, and she gently put her hands on my hips in case I went over, and the next thing I heard “Congratulations, you’ve done it.”

I was really chuffed.

That’s two things I can do thanks to yoga that I couldn’t as a kid. The headstand, and urdhva dhanurasana (wheel pose).

The life lesson I’m taking from this is, patience and practice and you can achieve results you want. Life isn’t about instant gratification, if you persevere you can push yourself you achieve things you never thought you could do.

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Imminent trip

In two weeks I’ll be off to Thailand for three weeks, and I can’t wait.
I’ve got a travel yoga mat ready to go. Rolls up really small but is actually heavier than a regular mat, but really grippy. My wife is using one on top of her regular mat which has lost it’s grip, and loves it.

I picked up what was going to be be one of my books to take, M Train by Patti Smith. The other was going to be Dirty Kids: Chasing Freedom with America’s Nomads, BUT I usually take books to read that I don’t mind leaving behind/passing on, and I don’t want to do that with these, so I’ll have a look in a charity shop and see if anything catches my eye.

I’ve been looking forward to this trip for months. We’ve got 10 days at Phuket, where I’m hoping to take some more surf lessons, after taking some in Bali last year. After Phuket, it’s on to Chang Mai, Bangkok, and finally a couple of days in Dubai on the way back.

I’m hoping to come back a calmer person, and be able to blitz the piles of dvd’s etc that I still need to clear out. I’ve been slacking on the downsizing front lately and need to get back on it.

I also have to get in touch with the tattooist to arrange to get more ink when I get back. I’m planning to go and see him before I leave to talk over the design, and book a date for getting it done.

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Back running

Sport wise, my first love is running. I went from couch to 5k to 10k to running club, to 1/2 marathons to marathon (only only 1, but I ticked it off and went back to 1/2’s).
I had a regular running buddy in work, but last year she left, and gradually I dropped away from running. At the weekend I realised I really missed it, and on Monday, put my running shoes on and went for a wee 4k run. It hurt. My breathing was rubbish and my legs were killing me. When I finished I was done in and felt great that I’d actually taken that first painful step.

Yesterday I did the same route and it was a lot easier. I knew now how unfit I was and allowed for that in my pace. As a result my breathing was ok, and when I finished, I felt better than I had on Monday.

It’s going to be a slow road back to anywhere near where I was at, but I’ve done that first run and that’s the hardest thing to do.

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First Hatha class & a mental switch (unrelated)

I’ve just been to my first Hatha class, and really enjoyed it. It was as different from the Vinyasa flow class I go to, as the vinyasa flow is from the Ashtanga course I went on. Really nice lunchime pick-me-up to boost me into the afternoon. I like that.

On a different note, the last couple of days have been a bit…..odd, headspace wise. I feel calmer and happier in myself than I have for a long time. I don’t know what’s triggered this, but long may it continue.

At the weekend I picked up a travel yoga mat for taking on holiday with me. Not much in the way of cushioning, coming in at only 1.5mm, BUT it’s seriously grippy, so on grass, or something it should be excellent. I bought it at Decathalon, and if you’re interested, it’s here.

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Course finished

So the Introduction to Ashtanga course I’ve been doing for the last six weeks has finished, and I loved it. It’s given me a structured practice that I can do at home, but I did miss not going to the class last night, so I might have to find a guided class that I can go to. Despite what the teacher said, I don’t feel that I know the routine well enough to go to a Mysore class, and I don’t want to be constantly asking “Does “X” come next or is it “Y”?”, so yeah, I think a guided class is the way forward for the moment, and as luck would have it, there’s a guided class on a Tuesday evening that would fit in time-wise, with finishing work.

Yoga aside, the weather has finally got reasonable enough that I have started cycling to work again. As well as being healthier for me and the environment, it’s healthier for my wallet to the tune of £57 a month, so that’s a good reason to do it.

Next thing I’ve got to look forward to is our trip to Thailand in a little over a month. We’re away for three weeks, and are taking in Phuket, Chang Mai, and finally Bangkok, with two nights in Dubai to break up the flight home.
I’m hoping I can try surfing again in Phuket. I took some lessons in Bali last year as it’s something I’d always wanted to try (I used to skateboard, and I snowboard intermittently) and I finally got to try it and it was as amazing as I’d hoped. So I really want to do it again.

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Yoga course update

Last night was the 5th week of the 6 week introduction to Ashtanga course, and it was awesome.
By the time we’d finished, I felt. physically “lighter” is the only way I can describe it. It was an incredible sensation. I can still feel it this morning, but not as intensely. It’s as if my physical body has woken up. That’s the feeling.

The teacher is hoping to get a slot in the studio so she can run a beginners Mysore class, that will allow those of us who have never been to a Mysore class, and find the idea daunting, the chance to get into the practice knowing that everyone else in the room is in the same boat. It’s a good idea.

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Red sky at morning

Was at the second class of the introduction to Ashtanga course that I signed up for. So that’s Sun Salutations A and B covered, and breathing, and moving with the breath.
As with last week, I can really feel it in my upper arms this morning. Not sore, just tired in a “I know I did some exercise last night” kind of way.
By the end of the six weeks we’ll have covered enough to do a Half Primary Series class, and we’ve been told that going to a Mysore class would be good, and that it’s not intimidating like we’d think it is (not having been to one before).
I have to admit, at the moment I’d not be confident walking into a room where I *think* everyone but me knows exactly what they’re doing, and I’m the idiot in the room. Again, I know that’s my projection and it’s probably far from the reality, but at the moment, I don’t think going to a class that isn’t lead, would be anywhere near to inside my comfort zone. Which in itself is probably a good reason to give it a try.

Anyway, here’s a photo of the sky over Glasgow this morning when I left for work. It’s was stunning.

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Ashtanga course

So last night was the first of the Introduction to Ashtanga classes, and I really liked it.
I’m feeling it today, physically tired, so that’s a good sign that I was actually doing something and not going through the motions.
Started off with a wee talk on the history and background of Ashtanga, before going through Sun Salutation A. The rest of the time was spent going through this, and making sure alignment and postures were correct, before finishing off with Savasana.

It was tiring, but enjoyable, and I think I’m going to get a lot out of it. Roll on next week.

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Quick update

So if anyone isn’t in the UK, in Scotland, were were pretty much snowed in for the most of last week. Huge dump of snow. Transport ground to a halt and police were telling people not to drive.
On the plus side I got 3 days off work that I never expected, and went into the snow covered Pollok Estate with my camera (pics to follow once I sort them out). We even went sledging in Linn Park, which was great fun.

Tonight, I’ve got the first of the Intro to Ashtanga, course that I’ve signed up to. It’s the same teacher that takes the Vinyasa Flow class that I go to on a Thursday. I’m looking forward to this. A bit of variation never hurt anyone.

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Ouchie no more

Before Christmas, I had a brand new experience. A corn on my foot. On the toe next to the pinkie toe on my left foot. I tried corn plasters, and after a fair bit of pain and hobbling about, after about a week, it fell off.
Well, a couple of weeks ago it came back with a vengeance, so this time, after some cajoling from friends, instead of resorting to corn plasters and limping, I made an appointment with a podiatrist, and this morning, she sat me down, took a scalpel to my foot, et voila, no corn, and no pain.
It actually feels odd not to have that burning stabbing in my toe. It’s also a relief.

That’s my foot all good to go now, so I can now start to ease myself back into running again, which I’ve really missed. I can also turn up at the yoga class and not worry that people are grossed out by my mutant toe 🙂

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