Tuesday, December 2, 2014

November 2014 Review

November saw an increase in free time.

1. Pain free daily yoga - Studio practice occurred 3-4x a week, with home practice all other days but two. The misses were from getting caught up on the internet and over-eating on Thanksgiving. Pranayama happened 1-2x a week. Pain during practice was delightfully absent.

I attended a workshop on inversions. The biggest take away was 90% of the information had already been covered in the past week with my regular teachers. Workshops are rapidly losing their luster.

My focus during asana was long forward folds and moving away from the wall during headstand. I picked up a much better way of entering handstand. I played around with making a bolster out of my mat and some blocks, using that to support pranayama and shoulder stand.

I read a lot:

Guruji: A Portrait of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois Through the Eyes of His Students
The Bhagavad Gita
Functional Anatomy of Yoga by David Keil

Next month, I expect winter weather to force more home practice. Heavy reading will continue, with books on sequencing, the yoga sutras and the upanishads in my queue. Depending on progress, I may purchase the hatha yoga pradipika.

2. 1 2 3 at 145 - Strength continued to rise, against a planned 2700 calories per day. Squats and deadlifts are as strong as they've ever been. Supplements were protein, creatine, multi-vitamain, flax, D3 and DHA. Unfortunately, I found myself regularly eating more than planned, and my weight climbed to 160. My winter clothes are too tight, and I'm against the weight cap I'd set.

My shoulders and elbows are 95% pain free at this point, so I'd been considering a strong 5 3 1 push. However, thanks to all the yoga, I am intimately aware of the postural defects in my shoulder girdle, that originally lead to my pain. While I feel better due to smarter movement selection, the underlying problem is not resolved.

Additionally, the strength that already exists in my posterior chain is hampering my yoga. People with half my strength effortlessly move into poses I struggle with, because they aren't fighting tightness built up through squats and deadlifts.

All of this argues towards dropping calories and riding a cycle down to 150lbs or so. I'm not eager to be cold during the winter, but given the myriad of other factors supporting change, it is time. I'll start December at 2300 calories per day, stepping daily calories by 50-100 per week, targeting a change of 1lb per week. I'll also cycle off of creatine for this period. I expect to valley out in the high 140's in early march, stabilizing around 150 by the end of April. 155 will be the new cap.

Lifting will remain focused on balancing my shoulders while limiting joint stress.

3. Advance my Profession - The month was focused upon on transitioning my position to work with the new QA hire. I am spending less time with new technology, more time on business analysis, project management and security. Team throughput has substantially increased. Taking the last week of the month off limited career progress.

I moved all personal accounts off of godaddy and opted to shutter a website I've managed for years. That required a refresher on DNS and lead to learning more about two factor authentication.

I made some changes to improve work / home separation, introducing some of the heaviest compartmentalization I've had since starting my career. It appears to have a positive impact on productivity.

Next month includes another week of vacation, so career progress will be somewhat limited. We do have time planned to work on TFS adoption as a team. I might see real change as a result of that. It's possible the new QA hire has stabilized enough that I'll be able to dig into new technology. Reviews happen, so I'll do some planning for 2015 as well.

4. Connect - Progress on my objective metric started strong, derailed due to work obligations mid-month, then failed to pick back up. I ended up a little under 50% of goal. I've pared down those work obligations a bit for December and expect improvements to result.

Reduction of stress in other areas of life has improved my ability to focus on the people and moment currently in front of me. This is a positive change, but takes a lot of energy.

I spent the month working hard at eliminating objects and obligations from my past that are inconsistent with the person I am today. This required releasing false self perceptions. Some were held strongly for a long time. The process is freeing, but challenging. It really needs to be an ongoing habit.

I keep running into areas of my life I've structured to "win", where upon deeper review, I am trading significant time, energy or space for trivial gain. This win at all costs mentality is deeply engrained and holds me back. I am fighting it. The loosest thread appears to be generosity with other people. Rather than approach each interaction as a zero sum game, I am trying to have an abundance mentality. By my old standard, it means I "lose", leaving resources on the table. I still have plenty though, and others seem to appreciate the result more than I would expect.

Work has become more social with the shift into management. The holidays meant extra time with friends and family. Extra free time allowed more yoga classes. This was a very full month socially.

Overall, I'm happy with a month centered upon goals 1 and 4. December will be more of the same. Given what I've done to establish more free time, it's appropriate the extra energy goes towards these goals.