Since I haven't got much to say on the craft front - though I do have some knit-sewing, basic projects up my sleeve - why don't I
I cannot tell you how grateful I am to have a practice to support me at this time. That practice isn't always the essence of conscious engagement. It sometimes suffers from my extreme tiredness at the end of the day, or my full-body muscle spasms re: the fun that is hormones. I inevitably follow it up with a glass of wine and, often, a treat. But hey, I'm doing it and I know it's keeping me sane. So let's raise a glass (and eat a bowl of chips) to that.
From the vantage point of shape-evolution, I wouldn't say I've slendered much more in the last month - mind you, I haven't lost any ground. As far as I'm concerned, that's ok. This transformation is a process and I've got time.
Truth is, I've also got a lot of cortisol running through my system lately because my job is flat out. What I do requires the ability to process and analyze large volumes of complex content quickly. Then to provide advice. Thereafter begins the potentially arduous (but worthy) time of negotiation. Simultaneously, I write a lot of documents and brief at a bunch of meetings. There's no acceptable margin of error and the pace is constant.
Those of us prone to the adhesion of fat at the midsection (the apple-shaped for want of a better term) are particularly susceptible to the impacts of cortisol. I can definitely feel, after a week of mega-stress at work, increased puffiness and a decrease in awareness in my abdominal region. No, that's not fat, but it's a warning sign and it's one I'm taking seriously.
As per usual, I walk to and from work daily. Moreover, I'm now practicing yoga 5 times a week. Would it help if I cut back on the nightly glass of wine (and half bottle on weekend days)? Um, sure - from the vantage point of continuing to slim - but I think my mind would be in way worse shape! Wine-drinking is a delicious, sensory experience that improves food and takes me from the stress of the day to the welcome calm of the evening. BTW, I do the yoga first, natch - and while it moves me from the stressed state to one of increasing tranquility, it's no substitute for the mood-alteration technique that is a glass of Chianti. (Note: My bet's on my mother calling me when she reads this post, just to ensure that I'm not descending into alcoholism.)
But let's talk more about the Regime...
- I have stopped doing "gym fitness". I really hate machines and bright lights and weights. I gave it a good try, and I'm sure I'll try it again in the future. But it still doesn't work for me.
- I have also stopped going to yoga classes the gym. Those classes were a means to an end, as I knew from the get go. While they are safe, and social - and while they enforce infrastructure - they are not "taught". They're also not adequately challenging. I sense the need to work more intensively to gain the kind of cardio-fix my body seems to crave. And, truly, my knowledge of yoga asana languishes in those classes. Sure, we're all beginners in the classroom, but I want to explore my body in a wide range of poses - not the 30 one encounters over and over in the average, mid-range vinyasa class.
- So, although the gym is a thing of the past - and thankfully too since it's fucking crowded and you can't swing a dead cat without running into people you know - my practice is happily ever-evolving. I have researched yoga studios that are known for small class sizes and new formats. I've begun to visit a couple of those to take a weekly class.
- I also practice in my home studio on 4 other occasions per week, averaging an hour each time. I either devise my own sequence or, when I'm very tired, and would prefer to be told what to do, I do a My Yoga Online class. This isn't my first foray into My Yoga Online, but the format really has improved dramatically (and it was a good resource to begin with). The site offers hundreds of classes - and new classes are added weekly. (Note: I always try to preview each class I intend to do, once in advance, because I practice without my glasses so I can't see what's happening on the screen. This allows me to weed out the practices that don't suit and to discover new teachers and sequences I prefer). The advanced classes are hardcore. The intermediate ones can be pretty hardcore too. And this platform favours the yin method (in addition to other styles though, alas, Iyengar is not represented). I'm going to do a post on Yin Yoga sometime soon but, in brief it is an excellent adjunct to active practice (which focuses predominantly on the development of muscular strength and balance) to improve flexibility and mindfulness. Especially given the extreme muscle and fascia tension I experience semi-regularly, as a result of hormonal shifts, I find it incredibly useful to practice in this style once or twice a week. Please note: Though it is sometimes classified as "passive", I do not recommend it for beginners. This style is very confrontational and it presumes a baseline of flexibility and structural body awareness. It is also quite distinct - though I didn't realize this before I started practicing the method - from supported practice in the Iyengar style. Both are very useful, btw, but they're not working on the same things in the same ways.
People have asked me lately how I don't get side-lined the minute I walk in my front door. What I'll say is this: I do not make dinner (if Scott doesn't cook, we forage - and that includes my kid). I do not listen to messages. I do not tidy things up. I do not talk to anyone. I wash my face, put on my yoga gear and walk into the yoga room with my computer. If those with whom I live try to talk to me, I answer them monosyllabically. If they ask me to do something, I tell them no.
The only way to prioritize one's practice - at least if you work full-time - is to put on a shield of selfishness. I can only urge you to become comfortable with that construct if you lead the "modern life" and you don't want to fall apart from stress and/or get fat.
On that topic, you'll notice my blogging is less frequent and it may remain this way until December. I LOVE to write, but it takes time. And the less time I have to do the things I love to write about, the less I have to say when I do have time to write. It's a circular scenario, apparently.
So that's where I'm at right now... I'd love to know if you work-out at home and, if yes, how do you keep yourself on track? (I need pointers! Full-time working mothers, your experience is particularly welcome...) Have you tried the Yin Yoga method? If yes, what are your thoughts on it? Do you find that work stress contributes to abdominal puffiness (wine consumption notwithstanding)? Is this my own personal experience? Let's talk!