logisticslad: (Default)
I was able to do the pose called Half-Moon in yoga class tonight for the first time:

http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/784

I'm very proud of myself!
logisticslad: (Default)
Despite several obstacles, I made myself return to Monday night yoga class at my gym. The teacher had been out on maternity leave and I hadn't clicked with any of her subs. I recently heard that she was back after having had a baby girl. I was a bit rusty, but was very glad to be back. I was pleased to see that the upperbody work that I have been doing at the gym has allowed me to hold the Downward Dog position for much longer. I felt great after the class and plan to keep going. It's good for my spirit as well as my body.
logisticslad: (Default)
So tonight at Yoga our regular teacher's sub needed a sub, so we had a new teacher. She and I did not click at all. She went through the moves very fast and did not provide adequate warmup, for me at least. Plus, she played bouncy music and her overall tone was too upbeat rather than relaxing. She got the job done, but I simply did not enjoy it. I would not take another class with her. Oh well :-( At least I went.
logisticslad: (super)
I feel like I am in the midst of many long term projects this year, both at work and at home. Taking [livejournal.com profile] yesthattom's advice about time management to heart, I have been trying to break them down into manageable portions that I can accomplish each week. That way, I can always feel like I am making progress.

So today I returned to the task of painting my bathroom. Some of you may recall my story about how hideous the original bathroom had been with three different kinds of wallpaper, a sponge painted ceiling, and wooden molding. Over the last three years, I have removed the wallpaper, covered the plaster with drywall, sanded everything down, primed and painted the ceiling white and the walls a light blue color that Benjamin Moore calls "sapphireberry." I liked it, but I didn't like the contrast that it made with the wooden molding. So I decided to paint the molding a darker blue. Actually, since I had left the painter's tape up for so long, I realized that I had grown attached to that color, so that's the color I've chosen to paint the molding! Today I primed an painted the bottom molding, and I think it looks great! I've also painted the rims of the hideous metallic green light fixtures the same color and may even get around to reinstalling them some day. The next steps are to remove the tape from the upper molding and paint that, and then take a tiny brush and work on smoothing out the transitions between the dark and light blue paint.

It felt good to accomplish this today and the cats helped by staying out of the way while the paint was drying.

My next house task is to decide whether or not I'm actually going to replace the gas forced air heater this year, and possibly get a central humidifier and air conditioning. I've obtained several quotes and I feel like I'm close to making a decision. The hardest part will be planning out how to afford it. Since I don't truly know when my potential salary increase will take effect (that will come whenever my promotion happens and the earliest would be end of January), I am trying not to count on that in my plans.

Another long term task that has been going pretty well has been my weight management program. I've been eating more mindfully, keeping a food journal and documenting my increased exercise in order to figure out how to reverse my creeping weight gain. Success! I have lost 5 pounds over the last three weeks, and I am very glad to feel like I am finally getting a handle on managing this.

I've been working from home one day a week starting this summer and that has allowed me to make progress on a number of backlogged work projects. Because of that I have been able to submit three manuscripts, get four others to the point of being submitted soon, and submit four abstracts for conference poster presentations. That's excellent productivity for the summer!

So by focusing on what I can accomplish on a daily or weekly basis, I am avoiding feeling overwhelmed with all of these long term projects. I'm proud of myself for making it happen and look forward to keeping it up through the upcoming rollercoaster ride that the Fall often is for me. Stress reduction through progress is a wonderful thing!
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Following my doctor's advice, I've been keeping a food journal and being mindful of what I'm eating. Over 3 days, I calculate that I've been averaging 1600 calories/day. I've worked out twice for 30 min on the elliptical, burning about 300 calories each time. Today I'm playing D&D, and I've given myself permission to indulge in the usual snackfest, which I will balance by increased workout over the next few days.

I realized that I have an LJ tag for "sick" and a tag for "exercise," but no tag for being healthy. So I've created "wellness" as a new tag for me :-)

Ouch!

Jul. 21st, 2007 06:12 pm
logisticslad: (wolvie)
I did battle with the jungle growing in the backyard this afternoon. After mowing it into submission, I went to work on the strangling vines and in the process of removing them was stung by a wasp. Ouch! Fortunately, I am not allergic to them, but my wrist did swell up where I was stung. I took an antihistamine and decided that that was enough for today.

I had accidentally broken the cool tumbler with Japanese characters on it that I use as my cats' upstairs water dish, so I stopped by BloodBath&Beyond in order to see if I could find a replacement. Alas, the one they had in the equivalent style was much too small to serve as a water dish. Next stop is Linens&Things. The cats seem to be wondering why I've taken their beloved water away...

Did half an hour on the elliptical at the gym and felt tired but good about it. Then ran some errands with my gym buddy including stopping by Benjamin Moore paints to select a nice royal blue color for the trim in the bathroom (Note that I've been working on this bathroom since I moved in almost 4 years ago, so there is obviously no rush in my mind to complete it - however each step I take toward finishing it feels good to accomplish). I found several possibilities, so I took some paint chips home to see what it will look like under the actual lighting conditions of the bathroom. This may motivate me to finally remove the painter's tape that's been up for over 6 months :-)

On our way through Chestnut Hill, we noticed lots of kids and adults dressed up as wizards and a number of outdoor displays. It looked like everyone was having a lot of fun, so we smiled and waved as we drove by.

My dear friends P&L have loaned me their newly arrived copy of Harry Potter (since they are each in the midst of rereading the series and don't expect to be done htis week). Woo-hoo! I know what I'll be doing tonight!!!
logisticslad: (Default)
Both J. and I had stopped going to our Monday night yoga class for about 6 weeks while J. had been dealing with the decline and death of his partner. We returned to class last week, and it was very hard to get back up to speed. J. is still dealing with his own health issues (vertigo) and isn't well enough yet to go regularly, so I went without him last night. It was worth it, but by 40 min into it, I simply could not make my body do any more. The great thing about this class is that the teacher routinely says that one should listen to one's body and only push if it feel right to do so. She also presents alternate forms to do, if what she is doing is too hard or tiring for members of the class. So I felt like I had full permission to rest when I needed to, and that gave me enough energy to make it through to the end. Since it's the beginning of the year, there are a lot of new members to the class, which gives it a different feel, but it's still good. The instructor makes a point of personally connecting with each class member at some point during the class (anything from a simple, "Hi, I'm glad you could make it." to a whispered, "If you move your arm this way, it will help with your balance while attempting Half Moon."). She also reminds us that we are not competing with each other, and that everyone has limits on what their bodies can do. Her teaching style totally works for me.

So last night, we worked on High Runner's Lunge, Warrior I, and Thunderbolt, which are all related forms that involve strength in the legs and core muscles. Then we did Dancing Warrior, which requires balancing on one leg (which I am usually pretty good at doing, but not so much last night). After every variation, we would do a set of vinyasa flow moves that took us through Plank, Cobra or Up Dog, and then Downward Dog. I simply do not have enough strength in my upper body to do Downward Dog for very long, so I often do Puppy Dog instead and track my progress by noticing how much my time in Downward Dog increases over the classes. I have found that sitting on a block helps give me the extra room to do a number of things from a seated position that I do not yet have the flexibility to do. I find that I can do Supported Bridge with no problem, and am now working on Wheel. I was able to do Level 3 Boat last night and that is something I was very proud of, since it requires major core strength in order to achieve. Class always ends with us laying down on our mats, doing some cool down stretches, and relaxing with our eyes closed. It is my favorite part of the class (no not because it is the end, but because of how good it feels to acknowledge and thank my body for having done all it could do through the class). This is the meditative part of yoga that does work for me.

I am really enjoying being back in yoga class!!!
logisticslad: (Default)
I've been doing the yoga class at the gym for three months now and tonight I was able to achieve several poses that I simply could not do before. I've been learning how to lengthen my spine and control my abs so as to increase my core flexibility and I made a breakthrough. I can now bend and fold myself over much more, despite my tummy being in the way. I also was able to hold the Boat pose at level three for the first time! That is the one where you balance on your butt on the floor and make a V with your torso and your legs holding your arms out. I now have enough core strength to be able to do it. It felt great! I was also able to achieve parts of Warrior Three and Dancing Warrior, both of which involve balancing on one leg and floating the arms and the other leg in interesting ways. My balance is pretty good, but these poses definitely challenge it. I was also able to do Fish (another one that needs major core strength) for the first time tonight, too. I love the relaxed feeling that I have at the end of the class and tonight I also left with a feeling of quiet pride.
logisticslad: (Default)
My gym buddy and I tried a second yoga class last night called Stress Relief Yoga. In this class, everyone sat in a circle and the instructor created a kind of ritual space within which we were supposed to relax and meditate. Then we did some of the poses at a much slower pace and level of intensity than in the other class. The positions actually felt easy to do after our three weeks of experience in the other class. I felt like this instructor had something to teach, but that I wasn't interested in learning it from her. I didn't connect with her teaching style and I felt like I had been participating in a ritual without my full consent. I am much more comfortable with a more athletic, physically demanding approach to yoga through which I can choose to concentrate on the spiritual aspects or not at my option. That's actually very similar to my approach to dancing. While I'm aware that I am resistant to the spiritual/meditative aspect of yoga, I don't think that I'll return to this class any time soon. I feel like I got what the class offers, but that it wasn't for me.

Yoga

Jul. 4th, 2006 02:43 pm
logisticslad: (Default)
I tried my first Yoga class at the gym last night and had a good time and a good workout! It was fun! I was surprised at how much I could actually do (or at least come close to doing). I clearly have a long way to go to be any good at it, but the point is to do something that makes me feel good about myself. My biggest challenge will be maintaining regular breathing. That's not something that I've ever been good at, but it seems like working on it could go a long way to helping me feel more relaxed and centered. The teacher was great and she suggested several alternate forms for those of us who were unable to do the ones that she was presenting. For example, I learned how to do "Puppy Dog" in place of "Downward Dog." Halfway through, I was sure that I'd never make it to the end of class, but she switched gears and had us sitting or laying down so I made it through. My back felt great and every muscle felt tired. I felt exhausted by the end of it, but had a great sense of accomplishment. I'll be back next week!
logisticslad: (Default)
I started the day by signing all the refinancing paperwork to extend my Home Equity line of credit so that I could pay for my new roof (and recent hot water heater). It's all good. I have a rate that is below prime and I can use my home equity to stabilize my financial situation, which is somewhat strapped. The roof is basically done and the hole in the ceiling is patched. They have to come back for a few finishing touches, but it looks good and withstood the rain. I still wish that I had something more visible to show off for all the money, but I do value the peace of mind.

I paid some bills and went grocery shopping. I stopped at CVS to buy my mother a birthday card.

I went to the gym and worked out for 45 min on the treadmill and elliptical. I stretched before and after which definitely helped reduce my piriformous (sp?) pain (I have been feeling a literal pain in my ass and hip on the left when I work out). Advil helps, too, but perhaps a visit to a massage therapist or a chiropractor would be a good idea. I'm still feeling frustrated that I am not reducing my weight despite working out 3-4 times a week, but I have to remember that I am also dealing with a lot of work stress this month and I should be good to myself. Exercise is definitely helping reduce stress.

My friends L & S stopped over this afternoon sans baby and were impressed at all the progress I've made on the house since they were last here (over six months ago). That perspective felt really good. We caught up on things and had a delicious dinner of authentic Philly cheese steaks (okay, okay, I do see the link between cheese steaks and lack of weight management, but I did have yogurt and granola for lunch). We had fun trying to identify which are flowers and which are weeds growing in my back yard. We found a large stalk of my bleeding heart broken off on the ground, so I brought it inside to try to get it to root. My cat came to see if the visitors would pet him and they did. Their visit interfered with his nap time, though, so he vanished after a bit.

I finished grading essay exams for my Neuroscience grad students and I was overall disappointed with their work. Many of them included irrelevant details or failed to answer all parts of the question. I gave them unlimited time on this closed book exam and I expected better. I will have to have a little chat with them. Of course, this result may serve to make my job easier as we decide who gets to stay in the program and who will be dismissed. Two more weeks of class and another week of grading essays to go!

I'm going to veg out with a book for the rest of the evening. I'm in the midst of reading George RR Martin's A Feast For Crows. It's hard to read too much of it at once, since there are literally hundreds of characters to keep track of, but I love the richness of his world.

So that's my day.

Still here

Jan. 8th, 2006 09:33 am
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I haven't felt much like posting recently and I realized that it's because I seem to have a limit on how much creative expression I can manage. What with all the teaching, manuscript writing, and grant writing I'm doing this month, posting on LJ feels more like a chore than a fun thing. Never fear, I'm still reading it, though. I'm going to have brunch with my parents today, then exchange the Full Screen version of Serentity DVD that I accidentally bought for the widescreen version, then work on my grant and maybe go to the gym. Life is good, just being very busy.

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