Friday, March 1, 2013

February 2013 Review

February was a great month for yoga. Everything else suffered.

1. Move better - I completed 28 yoga classes in 28 days. Yoga improved dramatically, lifting regressed slightly. I need rest. I am tired of so much activity and eating to support it.

I obtained the DVDs / videos from the yoga instructor leading my June workshop and am working through them. I am in way over my head. I will be "worse" at yoga than just about everyone at the seminar. That means I get to learn the most, I suppose.

Next month I'll drop down to 3 yoga studio visits a week, with a double on Saturdays. I'll resume lifting normally. I may try to introduce short home yoga sessions, to start on the Ashtanga yoga primary series for the seminar. I'll return to eating normally as well.

2. Beat the internet - This was much improved over January. Quite simply, I didn't have time to play on the internet.

Time boxing work went fine, but I failed to track my time again. With the extra yoga and new hires, I was too busy to worry about managing time perfectly. I probably did some extra work, but that's ok. I was too tired to do anything else anyway.

Next month I may need to re-focus on time tracking, as I'll have a lot more free time available.

3. Make my money work - Grocery spending remained relatively low. I updated my budget for 2013. I am tiring of my nutritional crutches, which tend to be expensive, so that could lead to some savings next month. With so little free time, I had few discretionary expenses.

I finished the investing book. I'm not sure I see the value in pursuing a more complex investment strategy. The learning involved to gain an advantage would take years. It makes more financial sense to spend that energy on my career. My career is more fun than complicated math, too.

I'm not sure if / when I'll re-introduce video games, now that I've finished the investing book. Scotch might see a minor re-introduction, but given the yoga seminar is only 3 months away, it would have to be very limited.

4. Socialize - Yoga was my primary social outlet this month. I did share a few meals with people, but that was about it.

Next month, I'm hosting a party. I'll also start reaching out to people and try to re-fill my calendar.

February was fun, but I'm excited to return to a more balanced life in March.

28 Day Yoga Challenge

February I participated in a 28 day yoga challenge. The goal was 28 classes at the studio in 28 days. Despite being unable to visit the studio 8 days out of the month, I managed to log 28 classes.

Poses progressed rapidly at the start of the month. As work accumulated, physical growth stalled out. I had 10 days of doubles, so it's not shocking. As the month drew to a close, it also became clear my body relies upon physical re-balancing from lifting that yoga does not provide. Overall though, a number of poses that were my limit starting the month became comfortable by the end.

Most importantly, the month changed my relationship with yoga. I ran head first into my physical limits. This left me with no choice but to drop the expectation that every yoga class will be my "best" class ever. My overall yoga experience has grown as a result.

Amusingly, it's one of the lessons every instructor mentions every class. I've been doing yoga for almost a year now, but the entire idea is in direct opposition to my personality. The only way I was going to learn was by beating myself into the ground and experiencing the merits first hand.

There were a number of smaller milestones.

- I adapted to the heat and am comfortable with the room at 88-90 degrees.

- Doubles have become a permanent part of my practice. Probably once a week on Saturday.

- I got over my resistance to doing yoga with a range of teachers. This meant learning some new flows and poses.

- I managed to keep my weight up, but had to eat close to a dozen pints of ice cream to do so.

- I learned doubles two days in a row is a bad fit for me. The inroad into my recovery ability is simply too deep. The 4th class is also completely un-productive.

- Lifting provides important balance to all the chatarungas and lunges in yoga. My body missed the high rep accessory work, especially rows and deadlifts.

- I learned to jump back from crow to low plank

- I managed to get my head to the floor during prasarita, though I have yet to lift up into headstand.

- Birds and tree became much more stable poses

- I got comfortable with doing extended side angle with my hand on the floor

- I got comfortable with doing twists hand to block during crescent lunge and chair pose

- My forward folds definitely got deeper, though not quite enough to plant my hands on the floor for a floaty jump back into low plank. I'd guess it's a month or two away.

- My back bends opened towards the beginning of the month, but as time went on, strain in my hamstrings removed the flexibility improvements.

- I did a few 90 second planks and started to learn how to pull my weight into my legs

Injury Prevention
- Pain in my left elbow forced me to re-evaluate form in chatarunga. Instead of coming forward and down, I was pushing like a bench press. Fixing that was key to landing my jump back from crow. I am still prone to doing it incorrectly as I tire.

- Low lunge and half pigeon strained my left knee. I have not figured out the solution, other than modifying to different poses.

- I found myself with jaw pain a few times, after clenching during direct ab work. Old habits die hard.

- Heavy use of moisturizer, a file and new skin let me avoid any serious skin tears in my feet, despite all the extra volume