Sunday, January 4, 2015

December 2014 Review

December centered on finishing the work year and seeing family for the holidays.

1. Pain free daily yoga - Studio practice 3-4x a week, home practice all other days but 4. Pranayama 1-2x a week. The missed practices were due to work demands, Christmas and intentionally resting at year end. One day I attended 3 studio classes. It was too much.

I am managing irritation in my left knee, probably from over-use. I need to reduce volume next month. My elbow is still improving, though not at 100%. Shoulders feel great.

I considered the local studio's teacher training, but the apparent benefit to my practice didn't match the dollar or time cost. I have no desire to teach people yoga, and I'm already getting the other training through studio classes.

My primary teacher for the past year and a half held his last class towards the end of the month. I'm fortunate to have a few other high quality teachers to rely upon, but I'll miss his classes. The change does mean I'll no longer take my two hardest yoga classes of the week back to back, which is a positive shift towards my goal of pain free yoga.

I read the Upanishads and a sequencing book. The sequencing book lead to a great home practice. I need time working with the formula, but it is promising. There are key concepts I had no appreciation of. Even my coarse understanding has lead to significant improvements.

I memorized the Invocation to Sage Patanjali, since once of my weekly classes starts with it. I started reading the Hatha Yoga Pradipika and expect to finish it next month. The books I've been reading lately, I'll need to revisit with more experience, but I am learning a lot now.

Practice focused on opening my adductors and hamstrings early in the month, the internal rotators of my shoulders towards the end of the month. I think the adductor work might have been too aggressive and contributed to my knee pain, so I'll back off for awhile. The internal rotator work appears to have a positive impact. I'll stick with it.

Inversions were frequent, both at the studio and during home practice. Half a dozen studio classes included forearm balance and handstand. Home practice saw many handstands. I got blankets setup for shoulder stands at home. My headstand suffered due to focus on the other inversions, but I think a big part of the problem was trying to balance on the front of my head instead of the crown. I'll be able to work it at home more, now that I can neutralize the neck work with shoulder stands.

Next month will see more focus on alignment and energetic balance, less on heavy vinyasas or deep opening. I need to let my knee rest as the first priority. I will cap studio classes at 3 per week. I may purposefully skip one practice day per week.

I'll finish the Hatha Yoga Pradipika and might read another book by the sequencing author. Yoga Sutras will be shelved for at least another month. Anatomy Trains is slowly working its way up the queue as well. I am quickly approaching the point of diminishing returns for books.

I may sign up for a 6 week meditation class with a man that spent two decades as a Buddhist monk. That starts in February. Laurie Blakeny is back in town mid-February. I am debating on taking her workshop. She's very gifted, but I am already learning so many new things from my regular teachers, and they have time to understand my practice and cater to my specific needs.

2. 1 2 3 at 145 - This month was themed around a reduction in calories. With the holidays, I was only marginal successful, moving from 160 to 158. Given I averaged 2400-2500 calories per day, including some extremely high intake days, this is expected. Given my compliance difficulty, I'm going to spend January focused on eating cleanly (opposed to whatever fits within my calorie cap), using 2200 calories per day as a general goal, but will not track them.

Strength remained stable. Supplements were DHA, D3, vitamin and protein. Some days I had flax oil. No creatine. Lifting centered around lighter weights, shorter rest periods and a little more volume. I also played around with applying some of the sequencing ideas from yoga to my lifting program.

With the reduction in walks and heavy vinyasa yoga classes, my cardio has started to become a limiting factor while lifting. I'll do nothing about it during January. I have no interest in competing with new years resolution transients for equipment. I may put some hours in spinning my legs during February and March.

I'm going to start using a modified 5 3 1 template to manage my lifting as of January, removing decision making from my day to day lifting sessions. I think this will lead to more appropriate volume and intensity, as well as less time spent around lifting.

3. Advance my Profession - Reviews happened in December. My current path approach is meeting expectations

Most of my time centered on delivering one of our biggest releases to date. The addition of our QA team member has made a big impact on overall productivity. We also took minor steps forward with TFS sophistication. It's not the pace I'd like, but the entire team is invested in the change. I got to initiate design on a project to refactor system security, which offers several interesting problems.

Next month will theme on the security refactor and bringing our QA up to speed on new parts of the system. I have some tedious database scripting looming. I'm the best equipped to do it, especially on the time frame we have, but I am not looking forward to it. We'll need to get an admin system in place for the features this year, but it's going to take time.

Home technology work was intentionally non-existent. With the de-comissioning of my website, other than this blog, there's very little computer activity outside of work. The company values my nerd time more than anyone else, so I'm giving it to them.

4. Connect - My objective metric went poorly. New patterns for home life are still developing from the work change initiated in October. Growing pains limited progress.

My perspective on qualitative factors is inherently biased, but I believe they went well. I got some extra social time with coworkers. I had a very full Christmas. I was able to take a few extra yoga classes with my wife, my Mom and one of my favorite teachers. Losing my primary teacher was a bummer, but he does still live in the area. Maybe the call to teach will eventually bring him back.

Time with non-yoga friends was non-existent. Everyone was busy juggling work and family commitments. I do have several events setup for January.

Overall the month went well. I expect more balance in early 2015.