Friday, May 2, 2014

April 2014 Review

April was dominated by a cold. Getting sick held me back.

1. Learn the Ashtanga Half-Primary Series - I attended one studio class and one 3 hour workshop. The rest of the month, I depended upon my home practice. I view this as a big success.

Practice at home is getting easier. One key was accepting that if my practice does not happen in the morning, it is probably not happening. This prevents "I need to do yoga" from hanging over the day and provides extra incentive to practice immediately after waking.

The streaming classes from yoga works have been a big help. They are a very good alternative to the studio and remove much of the decision making from home yoga. I just pick a class that suits my body for the day and do what it says. This is much easier than grinding out the Ashtanga primary series until my joints call a stop.

Physical progress was limited due to getting sick. The cold meant a week to do nothing, then two weeks to recover from doing nothing. I am also limiting time spent in down dog / up dog / chaturanga, in an effort to manage my elbow pain. I did no video work.

The 3 hour workshop was with my teacher's teacher. No major insights, but great adjustments and solid feedback on my alignment. I tend to zone out when finer points of alignment are discussed, but when someone puts me there, it's immediately clear. This model of investing my yoga dollars in workshops, then practicing on my own, makes a lot more sense than doing every practice at a studio.

I ordered the Anatomy Trains book and am slowly working my way through it. I signed up for a 6 week pranayama course in June / July. It's a hassle to get to, but any training on pranayama is difficult to find.

May will see me continuing to explore the online classes. I might get to the yoga studio on a couple Sundays.

2. Post a Class IV Powerlifting Total - While sick, I ate whatever I wanted and skipped lifting. Given my impaired recovery, it was the most rational thing to do. This did mean the month lead to little net progress. It also set me on a path of eating too much junk, so I am walking around a few pounds heavier than last month, with similar levels of strength. I am struggling to find the motivation to resume cutting weight.

The quality of my protein drinks continues to improve. My chocolate recipe is both quick and delicious. I actually look forward to drinking it. I'm a week away from having vanilla sugar ready, for vanilla drinks. I got some containers and am pre-mixing the powder, including my creatine. This splits it up into even doses and simplifies prep of individual shakes. I am doing well taking a vitamin and flax oil every day. I keep missing my vitamin D and DHA though.

I'll continue on 5/3/1 in May. I am going to try and stabilize my weight around 160, without managing my calories. Before getting sick, my progress into the 150's was extremely slow, my energy levels were low, and I was frequently cold. I think my body compensated for the reduced calories by slowing down, and I need to speed it back up. I plan to stabilize at 160 with high energy levels, before I try to hold a lighter weight.

3. Advance my Profession - Due to a high priority release, I worked long hours while sick, instead of taking PTO. That burnt me out and impaired forward progress the rest of the month. Any gains were minor. The encrypted cloud backup finally finished. My team continues working towards full adoption of Microsoft's application life cycle management suite. I was trained on SQL Profiler and expect to use what I learned in May.

4. Connect - I spent time with friends, family and co-workers. I failed at the main intent of the goal though. I expect improvement in May, for a variety of reasons.

Overall, while April was not a huge success, it did leave me positioned well for May. I expect strong forward progress over the next month.