Wednesday, February 19, 2014

What Yoga has Taught Me

A few months ago, I was doing yoga daily in my home and feeling great.  Then things changed and I dropped it.  A couple weeks ago, I started up again.  Much to my surprise, I wasn't fleixble anymore!  Even the basic moves were hard.  I couldn't touch my toes or hold downdog or plank for nearly as long. For the first week of starting again, I detested doing it, though I kept it up because I knew it was good for me.  As of a couple days ago, I let the yoga run it, instead of me trying to meet a quota of moves to do and seconds to hold it.  I focused on how each move made me feel and listened to my body responding to yoga.  I felt the stress wash away and flexibility enter.  I was too focused on moving, that I lost sight of actual yoga.  I've found a pretty decent routine that I can handle.  I want to be more of a pro at these before moving on.  The routine may change based on how each muscle feels or the time I have (e.g. going into the office and having 5-10 minutes).
  • Half moon pose (Ardha Chandrasana)
  • Standing forward bend (uttanasana)
  • Awkward pose (Uksatasana)
  • Eagle pose (Garutasana)
  • Standing Head to Knee (Dandayamana Janushirasana)
  • Standing Bow Pulling pose (Dandayamana Dhanurasana)
  • Balancing Stick pose (Tuladandsana)
  • Tree pose (Tadasana)
  • Lunge (utthita ashwa sanchalanasana)
  • Warrior II (Virabhadasana II)
  • Modified Side Angle (parsvakonasana)
  • Triangle pose (Trikonasana)
  • Low warrior (Ardha Virabhadasana)
  • Warrior III (Virbhadrasana)
  • Table (Svanasana)
  • Cat (Marjariasana)
  • Cow (Bitilasana)
  • Sunbird (Chakravakasana)
  • Child pose (garbhasana)
  • Plank (Phalakasana)
  • Downward Dog (Adha Mukha Svanasasana)
  • Half downward dog
  • Upward Dog
  • Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
  • Full Locust Pose (Pooma Salabhasana)
  • Fixed Firm pose (Supta Vajrasana)
  • Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
  • Spine Twisting pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
  • Breath of Fire (Kapalbhati Breathing)
Wow, looks like a lot more written down than it feels.  I try to be as fluid as possible with the moves and switching to a different one.  I feel refreshed once I've completed.

Morning Ritual

In three weeks, I lost 9 pounds and 3 inches from my midriff.  I don't feel deprived at all and I think it has a lot to do with how I start the day.  Everyone should have their own ritual based on their needs and time, but here's my own on days I work from home (which is more often than not).

  1. Usual morning things, wash face, brush teeth, fix messy hair, etc.
  2. Down the rest of the water in my canning jar that I didn't wake up in the middle of the night to drink (having the heat on really dries you out!).
  3. Sign on to my work computer and check email.
  4. Cut a slice of lemon and squeeze it into a fresh jar of water.
  5. Drink half of that before yoga.
  6. Put yoga station on Pandora.
  7. Do yoga moves for 10-15 minutes.
  8. Plank for as long as possible (currently only 40 seconds).
  9. Put yoga mat away and take out office chair.  This transition into the work day is important, though I try to stand for the first hour of the day.
  10. Listen to Ellie Goulding or Florence and the Machine radio on Pandora.
  11. Finish lemon water while working.
  12. Drink green tea with organic cinnamon, honey, and ginger.
  13. (optional) Drink beet juice with cucumber, kiwi, lime, carrots, granny smith apple, tomato, and ginger.  If I don't drink it in the morning, I'll drink it around lunch time.
  14. Make special coffee: grind coffee beans, boil water, add coarsely ground coffee to french press with cinnamon and cayenne pepper, pour boiling water in, let sit for 5 minutes, then sip until lunch.
  15. Listen to upbeat, fast-paced music and dance in my chair or, for really good songs or when I'm already standing, bust a move.
  16. Weather permitting, take the dog for a walk during lunch.
I try to stand for the first hour of the day and then intermittently throughout the rest of the day.  Sitting is killing us, so I try to combat it.

I've found that this routine gives me energy and clarity for work.