20 October 2011

Now what?

 So, there I was. It was just after midnight, and I couldn't sleep. I had planned to attend the 6AM class but that was looking less and less likely due to my restlessness. I reached for my phone and opened up Facebook. The first entry was from the studio. My jaw dropped when I saw it. It read as follows:

"We deeply regret the short notice that we will be closing temporarily as we reorganize and rebuild... We will keep you informed to the best of our ability.  Please stay tuned for updates.  We apologize for the inconvenience."

My heart sank.

The one place... the ONLY place where I could hope to quiet my brain and focus on myself is closed. A renovation was begun last fall but it languished for reasons unknown. Yet, we all went and took class, and made the best of it. Now, it has been shut down for an unspecified length of time. 

I feel empty. Even with another long, tiring week in progress, my Tuesday class was the best in months! I was looking so forward to getting in there and starting my day off in a positive fashion. Instead, I really feel bad. I don't want to eat, and my body is upset (headache, queasiness). I'd like to write more but I must take care of my loved ones. Don't know when I'll be back, and since the nearest studio is 35 minutes from here, I don't know when my next class will be.
To all who stop by: BE STRONG!! BREATHE!!! LOCK THAT KNEE!!! 

If you want, you can drop a line to the email at the top of the page.

Until next time (whenever that is....) 


12 October 2011

Thud. (Epilogue)

I made it in to the room last night for the first time since Thursday.

It did not go well. At all.

Trouble started right away. Kept gasping and taking extra breaths in Pranayama. My breathing was never in synch. Hands-to-Feet was OK, but Awkward was horrid. Eagle was the high point of my class, somehow I was able to hook both feet -- not completely, but they did hook, and I released my interlocked fingers and tried to achieve prayer position. I was a lot closer to it than I ever thought....

After that, however, my class went downhill at about the same rate as an avalanche. No balance in Standing H2K, or Standing Bow, or Balancing Stick (Stick was the worst of all -- only got to 3 before falling out -- ankles kept rolling. SSL Stretching and Triangle are the Evil Twins of my practice. I can't even grab my heels in Stretching -- every time I try there is pain from my hips down the sides of my legs as if they are going to instantly cramp, so I stand back up and walk in place to get the muscles to let go. In Triangle, I will never get my legs to look like an upside down 'L' -- I'm quite sure of that. My hamstrings scream and I either stand back up or fall to my mat. In SSLH2K, my gut gets in the way and I start to gasp for air, so I fall out. Tree was OK; I did not attempt Toe Stand. By this time I was getting spasms in my back and I knew I was toast. Tried Wind-Removing but barely got through. Situps were not practical, and I simply laid on my stomach during the spine series, with my back muscles refusing to let go. When the class transitioned into Fixed Firm, I exited the chamber, found a bench in the back room, and tried to get my back to let go. Didn't happen.

I guess I should have stayed home, but it was my work study night and I needed to be there. This morning was no better. The weather change (cooler and rain) caused so much congestion that I had to race to get an inhaler because I flat out could not breathe. (Weather change, my a$$, it's those damn cigarettes!!)  Like, "climb the stairs and gasp for air" could not breathe. As I wrote yesterday, I am a wreck, and I'm at a loss. I am usually the positive, "things will get better", guy. Unless I'm talking about me, in which case I'm the  "What's the point?" guy.

So, looks like I'm back at the beginning. Eat better. Hydrate. For the love of God, find a way to stay away from smoking (Prescription? Hypnosis?). I have to find a way. For me. For my Sweetie. Besides, I'm really tired of writing all these "downer" entries. I'm sure it's not fun to read. Damn sure isn't fun to write, but at least it is cathartic in some ways. Tomorrow is another chance to start again...

A number of current Training blogs that I follow related a story of taking an Advanced class on their off day. As I understand it, the regular 90 minute class is the warm up, and one ends up spending 5 hours in the room. I cannot imagine that. You men and women are so much stronger than I can hope to be.


11 October 2011


"Steps taken forwards but sleepwalking back again
Dragged by the force of some inner tide"
 "High Hopes" -- From Pink Floyd's The Division Bell

Just home from work. Long six days, with work (driving me insane), a sick Sweetie (stomach flu... down for four days but now recovered), and a side project (completed) have meant 17, 18, even 19 hour days over that six day span. Made it to two classes last week (more on that in a minute). With so much to do and very little time, I jumped right back into old habits. Pizza. Cheeseburgers. Fried chicken. Fried fish. And all of it was take-out. Worse, I actually bought and drank at least one Dr. Pepper on five of those days. EVEN WORSE, I would smoke three, four, as many as six cigarettes a day!!! I was doing so well but give me long hours and stressful work conditions and I run right back to the old vices. I have fallen off the proverbial wagon on so many fronts.

Thing is, I don't feel very bad about it. I'm rationalizing all of this with reasons (excuses) such as:

     No use cooking for one.

     Needed the sugar and caffeine to keep going.

     Really no reason for smoking other than I wanted to.

Now, here I sit, with class just under two hours away, snacking on chips and cheese and trying to drink two liters of water in the next hour or two so that I am somewhat hydrated. It is my work study night, so I need to be there anyway. Might as well take class. Don't really want to. I'm tired, my knees ache, and I've had back spasms on and off since this morning. I am a wreck, and the last thing I want to do is sweat and pull and bend and groan and twist, twist, twist. Yet, given all of this, something inside tells me to keep going.

I stopped by the studio on Sunday to pick up the recycling. Sweetie is in charge of recycling and we are lucky to have two huge bins which the city empties weekly. As tired as I was, when I walked past the room, I paused. Both sets of doors were open slightly (class had ended 10 minutes earlier). As I walked past, I felt the heat hit me... must have been really toasty in there!! I stopped short and let the heat flow around me. The smells of the room overtook my nostrils -- the strong scent of perspiration, along with traces of tea tree oil and disinfectant (used when we clean the room). Added to those aromas, I swear, for just a fleeting moment, that I could smell emotions. Determination. Pain. Anger. Joy. Disappointment. Fear. Defeat. Surrender (not the same as defeat). For that tenth of a second, I think my mind went to a different place, a different level. I very badly wanted to take class right then and there. The moment stayed with me so briefly. I've tried to get back there but to no avail. Instead, my mind has dealt with the last six days, and now I don't even want to go. I feel like a failure (again). I'm so weak and inflexible and my mind is mush. At times I feel like giving up my work study spot and my practice. I feel like I do before I started practicing. Fat. Lazy. Without direction. Yes, at times I've wanted to cry. Cannot cry though... Don't let them see you cry....


My last class actually wasn't bad. It was last Thursday and the Really Difficult Teacher (I wrote about her here ) was teaching. Since the class was smaller than usual, I set up on the front row, something I rarely do and haven't tried in ages. Since I don't wear my glasses in class, It is blurry from the second row, and very difficult to focus on myself from the back row. Any way, she was her usual self -- pushing and pushing and asking us to take off the "training wheels" and push ourselves to a new level. This time however, most everything she said was clicking with me. I begin to see where she's coming from when she tells what us what muscles and bones are involved in a given posture.  Triangle was still elusive, but in Hands-to-Feet, as I pulled on my heels, I felt a sharp pop-pop-pop as my spine actually moved! I felt really strange for a second, then I couldn't keep from smiling. Definitely the high-point of class. I just wish she would hold it to six counts instead of 10-12 in Pranayama. Just saying...

One last thing for instructors: Want to make second set of Triangle more enjoyable? Find out if anyone is having a birthday in the next day or two. If so, once you get to "...just move your arms", have everyone sing "Happy Birthday" then come out and return to the set position. I actually made it through that set!!

Anyhow, time to shut it down. I'm going to go, and set up in the front. I am going to try my hardest and try to breathe correctly. Hopefully I find that place I found on Sunday, if only for a moment.


06 October 2011

Thought for the day...

"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on."

-- Steve Jobs   1955-2011 

So, what am I waiting for?