I had a pair of yoga pants

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Republished with a nod to Marcus Stone at GotYoga.com.

When my kids were young, one of our favorite family reads was a book called Joseph Had a Little Overcoat about a resourceful man who recycles a coat down to a little button. An excerpt:

Joseph had a little overcoat. It was old and worn. So he made a jacket out of it and went to the fair.

Joseph had a little jacket. It got old and worn. So he made a vest out of it and danced at his nephew’s wedding.

~ Joseph Had a Little Overcoat, © Simms Taback, 1999

In memoriam to a pair of faithful, but recently retired yoga pants, I have written my own version:

I had a pair of yoga pants. They were new and snazzy. So I put them on, went to yoga class, and did Adho Mukha Svanasana about 400 times.

I had a pair of yoga pants. They were old and worn. So I designated them as home office wear, and wore them all winter while I wrote medical website copy.

I had a pair of office pants. They were old and worn. So I turned them into cleaning pants, and mucked out the utility room.

I had a pair of cleaning pants. They were old and worn. So I cut them off above the knees, and wore them to spade the garden.

I had a pair of garden shorts. They were old and worn. So I retired them, took them to the garage, and used them to wipe down the car.

I had a rag to wipe the car. It was old and worn. So we used it to block a gap under the garage door on a 9 degree morning.

Which was today. I don’t think there is anywhere for them to go now but into the trash. A sorry ending for a loyal companion.

Namaste.

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P is for Posture

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I never realized how much time I spent on my feet during the day until I went back to work in an office – and started spending most of my day on another part of my anatomy.

When I worked out of my home, I was up out of the chair on a fairly regular basis. I spent some entire days standing, or in transit from meeting to meeting. But now, I spend most of my day at my desk.

Sitting all day can be a pain in the…well, you know.

It sure can bring on the aches and pains. Frankly, the last thing I need is more tension in my neck and shoulders. I already feel like I must look like a pained, female version of The Thinker.

I’m fortunate to have a desk that converts to a standing desk, and I do stand part of the day. But my neighbor stands all day, and I just can’t bring myself to inflict my haggard, aging presence on this cute, young person all day. So I stand when she is at meetings or at lunch, and sit when she’s not. It seems like the courteous thing to do.

I also stand and stretch from time to time. I’m sure my coworkers appreciate those gyrations a great deal. But it helps.

To combat bad posture, try these yoga hacks to Undo the Damage of a Desk Job from Jenn Godbout – she has tips for both those of us at “sitting desks” and those of us at “standing desks”.

Can’t hurt, can it? Let’s face it – our cube neighbors already think we’re weird. We don’t have much to lose.

Monday…Q is for Quality Footwear

Read the series at A is for About

E is for Eking out Exercise

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In the days since I returned to work full-time, my fitness routine has taken a major hit. No more hopping on the treadmill in the middle of the day when I need a break from my freelance work. No more scheduling around mid-morning yoga classes.

I’m getting it together – slowly. But I was beyond grateful when a friend posted this quick 10-minute yoga workout on Facebook the other day. After all, a little exercise is better than no exercise, right?

The best part? It’s really more like 6.5 minutes long. Enjoy that extra 3.5 minutes.

And just an aside…isn’t “eking” the weirdest word you’ve ever seen?

 Read the series at A is for About

My own worst enemy

IMG_0164Imaginary friend you say? Sure, I see her in the mirror every day. Had coffee with her just this morning. But I’m not sure I’d call her a friend. She’s a harsh critic.

“Looking a little gray,” she’ll say. “And worn out. You look like you could use a nap.”

“No time for a nap,” I snap back. “Too much to do.”

“You wouldn’t have so much to do if you were more organized. You were home half the day yesterday. What, exactly, did you accomplish?”

“Are you kidding? I did a ton. I raced off to an early morning meeting. Did the grocery shopping. Washed and folded three loads of laundry. I checked in on my pending projects. Spent two hours helping H. study for a test. Made dinner. Plus it was my day on the carpool. How is that nothing?”

“Well, it still looks like a cesspool around here. You didn’t get all that laundry put away, did you? And there’s more to do. It’s late October already. Have you thought about cleaning up the yard? Washing the windows? Having the furnace checked? The holidays will be here before you know it. Any plans there?”

I can feel my pulse quicken. My head start to pound. This chick is the worst.

“You said you’d get the house in order before this project kicks off. Clean off your desk. When are you going to do those things? You’re running out of time!”

“It’s not that bad,” I say, not really believing it.

“Well, I don’t see many items checked off that to-do list.”

Silence.

I wish I could see less of this friend. But if it weren’t for her, I’d be alone much of the time. What’s worse, isolation or constant reflection? Is there an in-between? A way to turn this nag into a motivating force? If there is, I can’t see it.

“Alright, I’m done here,” I say. “I’m headed to yoga class.”

“I’ll get my coat,” she says.

“Sorry, you can’t come,” I say, with, I admit, a great deal of satisfaction. “It’s the one place you aren’t welcome.”

I feel myself relax as I shut the door in her face, start the car, head down the driveway. But I know she’ll be there when I get back. Just hope she’s made some more coffee as she awaits my return.

This is a Daily Post #postaday piece. Read other posts here

 

One last Fitness 5 on Friday

Fitness 5Better late than never, right? It’s time for one last Fitness 5 on Friday, a link-up courtesy of JVKom Chronicles. This week, Jen asked us:

1. Have you ever taken a fitness class? Not a general fitness class, although I’ve taken yoga and dance classes.

2. Why do you workout? I’m a health nut, and exercise is an important part of a health regime. It helps me sleep, maintain strength and flexibility, and relieve stress.

3. What is your biggest motivator? I just plain feel better after I exercise. I try to stick to activities I really enjoy – if it’s something I don’t like, I’ll avoid it.

4. Where do you draw your inspiration from? The teachers at my yoga studio are incredible people. In addition to holding regular classes, they teach individuals with disabilities, returning vets with post traumatic stress disorder, and others with special needs. They are upbeat, positive, and generous with themselves.

5. Do you have routine physicals? (it’s very important to check your health). Yes, but I’m not as good about it as I could be. Definitely an area I need to work on.

Thanks again, Jen, for another fun month of link-ups. Visit her site, JVKom Chronicles, to join the Friday 5 linkup and read other posts.

Fitness 5 on Friday

Fitness 5It’s Friday, and time for another Fitness 5 on Friday link-up courtesy of JVKom Chronicles. This week, Jen posed these questions:

1. What is your favorite time of day to workout? Morning, for sure. The farther I get into the day, the less likely I am to get that workout in.

2. What is your favorite Super Food? I think I like them all, actually, but I eat almonds and kale almost every day. My kids will eat at least a head of kale a day if I make it into chips. (They’ll also eat it in a salad).

3. What are some of your fitness goals? I want to keep my strength and mobility as I age, because I want to be able to do those all-important things like lug a vacuum cleaner up the stairs. I used to have a lot of trouble with my back, but it is in really good shape now and I want to keep it that way.

4. What is your favorite vegetable? I love beets, also acorn squash, kale, avocados…actually, it’s a long list. I prefer vegetables to fruits.

5. What is something fitness or health related that you’d like to work on? I am a yoga fan, and this year I’ve been working on learning to love headstand again. Adding strength training to my routine has really improved some of my yoga poses, including this one.

Visit JVKom Chronicles to join the Friday 5 linkup or read other posts.

The Fab Fitness 5

Fitness 5For June, Jen at JVKom Chronicles is asking us a series of fitness questions, making it very easy to produce a Friday blog post. Thanks, Jen! Here are my answers to this week’s questions:

1. How many minutes of cardio did you do this week? Only about 60. Meant to do more but didn’t manage it, unless going up and down the stairs with baskets of laundry counts.

2. What is your favorite physical activity? Yoga. You’d think I’d do nothing but yoga all day long as much as I enjoy it, but I’m too busy feeling guilty for not doing more cardio.

3. How much water do you drink on a daily basis? Not enough. One of the things that helps me drink more is infusing it with fruit or herbs. Some of my favorite combinations: strawberry/mint, lemon/basil, and strawberry/ginger. Raspberries are good, too, but as my daughter found out you can create alcohol quite quickly if you leave them in your infuser too long. (I think her water bottle violated the school’s zero tolerance policy.)

4. What is your favorite healthy snack? Chocolate – just kidding. I like to spread goat cheese and olive tapenade on crackers or flatbread and top it with sliced cucumber, peppers and tomatoes. It’s fabulous. I think I’ll go make some right now.

5. What’s your favorite athletic shoe? My favorite pair ever was a shoe made by ecco, but they apparently burned the mold after I bought the only pair. I tend to roll to the outside of my foot which limits my options. The last time I shopped for shoes I had to go to a specific store and they only had two different shoes I could wear, both ugly. I bought one of them, but only after the salesperson agreed to swap out the garish laces for a nice, boring gray pair (to go with my ugly sweatshirt).

Visit JVKom Chronicles to join the Friday 5 linkup or read other posts.

 

Still on the move

imageWell, I’ve wrapped up my participation in the May Fitness Challenge, and I’ve learned a few things. I liked the premise of this challenge, working twenty minutes of activity into each day, and the idea that it didn’t have to be formal exercise – it just needed to be movement. I definitely gained a new appreciation of how often I’m in motion.

When we started the challenge, I set two goals: 1) to get back on my exercise schedule – yoga, strength training and walking/running on the treadmill; and 2) to work some yoga into the days I’m not in a class. I met the first goal but not the second. I’m still struggling to establish a home yoga practice, and I probably always will. Guess I’ll have to stick to sneaking a little yoga into my day.

But I did become more aware of the physical activities that are a routine part of my day like housework, yard work, and running around with my kids. I learned to acknowledge that after several hours of strenuous yard work I won’t feel like jumping on the treadmill, and I shouldn’t feel guilty about that. And that vacuuming my house, which is no small chore, gets me moving, stretching, bending, reaching – hey, it may be mundane, but it is physical! And there are worse things than feeling virtuous after vacuuming.

All in all, I think I’ve gained a more holistic view of the movement in my days. I’m doing OK, and I feel good.

Thanks, Jen and Samantha, for the opportunity. Next up for me – the  Blogging University daily Writing 101 challenge. Exercise the body, exercise the mind.

This post is part of the May Fitness Challenge sponsored by:

Jen at JVKom Chronicles

Samantha at 24to30

Twenty minutes to stand still

imageWeek 2 – May Fitness Challenge

Well, I didn’t do a great job this week accomplishing the goals I set last week. I did get to my scheduled workouts – two yoga classes and a strength training session – but the second goal, of working some yoga into each day, went by the wayside.

This brings out the dirty, little secret I don’t share with my yoga teachers or fellow students – I have no home practice. I used to have a home practice, sort of, but it more or less disappeared as soon as my first child learned to crawl.  I can remember sitting on the floor in a particularly challenging pose and having my toddler land square on my knee. Not exactly a restful experience.

Now the most I manage is a few deep breaths from time to time, or a quick twist when I’m in my car at a stoplight. I had a teacher years ago who generously called this “sneaking a little yoga into your day.”

I did learn something important about myself, though. I never stop moving. At least not when I’m home. I run around all darned day. Which made me wonder whether I ought to consciously schedule twenty minutes each day to stand still.

Visit these terrific bloggers to learn more about the May Fitness Challenge:

Jen at JVKom Chronicles

Samantha at 24to30

 

So…define fitness?

My friend Jen over at JVKom Chronicles is starting a May fitness challenge. The goal? Twenty minutes of movement a day. She’s asked us to track and report our activity.

I have to say, I don’t know where to start. My quest for fitness is more like an imageobsession, something to feel inadequate about when I do it, and guilty about when I don’t do it. (And it is ridiculous – anyone else out there feel guilty when they skip yoga class for the treadmill? Pathetic.)

Not that I’m that dedicated. (Jen’s statement that we could count twenty minutes of housework got me wondering whether twenty minutes working a crossword puzzle would count.)

For exercise, I alternate yoga with the treadmill and once-a-week strength training. But it’s the sheer running around I do that kills me. I know I stand a lot, but am I really moving? Or am I just propped in front of a cutting board exercising my forearms as I dice vegetables?

Ever since I had the flu in March, followed closely by spring break, I’ve been off my game. I decided Jen’s challenge is an opportunity to do two things: 1) get back on a schedule; and 2) work some yoga into the days I’m not in a class.

We’ll see how I do.