Friday, August 2, 2013

July 2013 Review

July was a productive month.

1. Move better - Lifting and yoga both went well.

My lifts are creeping up. I credit the creatine. It's hard to say if this will be a single bump in the trendline, or an ongoing change in my rate of progress. While I hope for the latter, I am happy either way.

Yoga has settled into a "regular" schedule, 5 times per week. There are two variations:

Mysore weeks
- Guided Baptiste classes at the studio 1-2x
- Ashtanga home yoga 1-2x
- Two Mysore style Ashtanga classes at a local shala

Guided Primary weeks
- Guided Baptiste classes at the studio 2x
- Ashtanga home yoga 2x
- Guided primary series DVD at home 1x

Replacing studio classes with home yoga saves time, letting me do yoga more frequently. My synchronization of breathe with movement has improved dramatically. I've got a rough working script memorized for the first half of the Ashtanga primary series. Jumping back and through is my biggest focus, but growth is everywhere. I am getting pretty comfortable with a headstand against the wall and considering moving to the center of the room. I managed to attend one led half-primary class in person and learned quite a bit from it. I've identified two teachers at my local studio with Ashtanaga experience. I am attending their classes preferentially and will start asking for an Ashtanga class next month.

One of the biggest challenges to overcome has been starting home yoga. I had a few mis-fires, including:

- Trying to do yoga while monitoring email (worst yoga ever)
- Deferring my start to do chores, until I got so hungry I was too dizzy for yoga
- Attempting to do yoga a few hours after a large taco dinner, ugh
- Literal cold feet, making it difficult to stretch and jump
- Extending the breath count per pose to 8 and adding postures, exhausting myself by the time I finished the standing sequence

I've started to figured out the details now:

- Use a mysore rug instead of a mat towel or bare mat. This accomodates the coolness of the basement while keeping traction as I start to sweat
- Drink tea immediately upon waking. This ensures I'm hydrated and prevents bathroom breaks.
- Walk for 20 minutes prior to starting, so my muscles are warm and pliable
- Plan to do yoga 45 minutes after waking, setting up everything the night before.
- Schedule an hour for the practice, with an alarm set 5 minutes before any hard stops
- Keep an aggressive pace, holding strictly to 5 breathes per pose, ensuring my body stays hot

Home yoga has still requires a lot of decision making, which makes it hard to reach the same level of mental freedom I get from a studio class. Gradually I expect to internalize the series, turning home yoga into a meditative practice. It's going to take time. I have a lot of mental chatter.

I have put a hold on spending any new money on yoga, so I stay focused on working my plan.

Supplementation has kept on track. Creatine migrated from my protein shakes into my tea. Protein shakes are pushed out by real food sometimes, but that's ok. I put vitamin D back in the rotation. My elbows are still bothering me a little, but have improved. I credit removal of grippers from my lifting program, as well fewer high plank to low plank transitions during yoga.

2. Beat the internet - I did a more screwing around online than is optimal, but much better than last month. It comes down to having alternatives that push the internet out of my life. Will power only goes so far. Avoiding any TV shows on Netflix definitely makes a big difference. Movies are more than sufficient for when I lift, and they do not bring the risk of getting my attention stuck on a multi-season series.

Time boxing work was easy. Summer vacations reduced the load on my time considerably.

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

4. Socialize - Very basic month here. I went to a couple parties, did yoga, and shared meals with friends, family and coworkers. Given that this was a baseline amount of activity, and I saw people every week, I'm happy with progress made against the goal.

July went well overall. August will end my goal year. I expect another low key month.