Saturday, August 31, 2013

August 2013 Review

August was a productive month, a nice end to the goal year.

1. Move better - Lifting and yoga went well.

My lifts keep slowly moving up on 5/3/1. I really expected to hit a wall this month, but I had PR rep sets on squat, bench and deadlift. I don't understand how this works, but awesome.

I am still figuring out my yoga instruction. The two local teachers with Ashtanga experience have not panned out how I'd hoped. I enjoy their classes, but one has transitioned to a heavily alignment based style. It is good long term, but not causing much change in my Ashtanga. The other keeps teaching when I am working. Thus far, I don't think it's realistic to ask the studio owner to offer an Ashtanga class. I need more interest among the teachers at the studio first. I'll keep inviting them to the led half-primary class.

I did make it back to the led half-primary class. The teacher is fantastic. She has aggressive adjustments down, knows the practice deeply, does her own personal practice, and understands how to break down what her students are doing and clearly communicate fixes. The main down side is the class is at noon on Saturdays, an hour away, eating a 4-5 hour block out of my day.

Home yoga has improved substantially, just through trying to do it. I find my best ritual is getting up early, having tea while I do something introspective, taking a short walk, then doing yoga. It takes awhile.  Mental chatter remains a problem, but turning up the music and keeping my breath on count helps.

Physical progress is steady, but slow. I see the most change when taking classes at the yoga studio, especially when we hit poses that are not part of the Ashtanga sequence. Positions that felt impossible a few months ago, I am easily slipping into. It's pretty cool. I am still working on getting my headstand in the middle of the room. At this point, my only barrier is fear of falling, but it's tough to get past.

My breathing needs some work. One of the mysore yoga teachers told me I need to treat the poses as a container for the breath. The other told me I need to focus on bringing my stomach up and in as I exhale, specifically during prasarita. I've also noticed I have a tendency to lose my "yoga" breathing as I get tired.

Jumping through and back is getting lighter, but won't really improve until I fix the problem uncovered by my led class instructor. I have been cheating like crazy on Navasana, letting my hip flexors check out completely. They are a short, weak link in the center of my body. They are also a critical area of support for many poses. I work around it by finding strength in the back of my body, leading to mis-alignment and physical obstruction. Fixing this is my top yoga focus for September.

Elbows have been feeling pretty good lately. I think dropping grippers and jumping into most Chatarungas has made the difference.

Diet and supplementation is doing ok, not great. I am getting my multi-vitamin, D3, creatine and protein in ok. It's really the Omega 3 fats I am missing. My flax oil ran out, and I think taking the DHA is a waste without that base of a few grams of ALA. I've got more flax oil now. I also experimented with eating a little less, due to my upcoming goals for next year. I had a few mis-fires, where I tried to be too aggressive given my activity levels. I'll get it figured out by the end of next month, I'm sure.

After a year of this goal, I am definitely moving better. I like the goal, and it's going to be refined.

2. Beat the internet - Again, I am screwing around online more than is optimal. It still comes down to having alternatives that push the internet out of my life. Will power sucks. I did avoid the TV series trap that sucks me into Netflix for days on end. I also configured the firewall in my wireless router to block some of my most time consuming websites. Short of renting an office and disconnecting home internet entirely, this may be the magic bullet.

Time boxing work went poorly. I worked way too much, even worse, on things that make me no better at my career long term. Yuck. The current team structure leads to big peaks and valleys in my work queue. I am trying to address it, but the patterns will be tough to change without a new hire.

After a year of this goal, I have an improved approach to the internet and my work. However, I think the strategy could use some substantial revision.

3. Make my money work - The spending pattern I adopted in May remains sustainable. Not much more to this goal.

After a year of this goal, I am happy with my spending.

4. Socialize - Similar to last month, I just fell back on my baseline activity level. Provided I fill holes in my calendar at the start of the month, it's solid. A nice end to the goal year.

After a year of this goal (two years, really), I have a strong network of people I spend time with. However, that's not the same as connecting with them. This goal needs a quality focus.

Overall, August was an excellent end to my goal year, one of the best months. I have my next year planned out and am already working on it.