Arms:

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Time: About ten minutes, or two and a half Dada Life tracks.

Review:  I have weak arms.  This hurt.  Half way through I went to my knees, and for the last ten I moved to a table top and did them at an incline.  I seriously need to work on my push up power!  For the purpose of this challenge, I really wanted to limit myself to exercises that required no props (weights, yoga mats, stretch bands, etc.) but I found it pretty difficult to find an upper body workout that did not require some kind of weights.  This push up one is simple, though, and really great.  It definitely targets the whole upper arms and trap.  Add a plank for your core and I think we have a winner.

Abs: 

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Time: I had enough time to do this before I got in the shower to get ready for work.  During this time I would normally be pressing snooze two times on my alarm clock.

Review:  Not being someone who knows a lot about crunches, I’m not sure I got the form right on some of these.  If I were to do this again, I would probably want to do some googling on proper crunch technique.  Other than that, It didn’t seem like too hard of a pill to swallow.

Going through these work outs that target muscle strength and that don’t have much of a cardio element to them makes me realize how much I enjoy getting my heart rate up. Without the cardio, the endorphins don’t really get there.  It makes these work outs a little boring.

Yoga:

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Time: Yep.  8 minutes.

Review: Being my first week back working in preschool for the year, my back is already starting to ache from being hunched down with those little three year olds all day.  This workout was quick, and helped me chill out after week one of preschool boot camp.  I put on some chill out tunes (yep, spottily “Love Life. Love Yoga” genre), got out my mat, and went through these poses.  I added some chatarangas at the end and a few warrior ones, and it was really nice.  My back felt better too!

This week I plan on making sure to get that cardio in!

Sorely yours,

C

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I’ve pretty much been dancing since I could walk.  In some capacity.  In formal ballet classes, in just-for-fun hip hop classes, a little exotic belly dance here and there.  I kind of considered myself a natural – always confident, eager to be in the front at the barre, and the first across the floor en pointe.

Not so much yesterday.  Oh poi dance… you’re movements vex me.

I missed a class last week by accident, so I was already nervous going in last night, but Tierany assured me we were still just doing the same things over and over again.  The thing is, what the other students seemed to have mastered in class one, I was still completely perplexed by.  It was like they all had some magic flashlight of understanding, and I was left in the dark.

At the end of class, we all did little performances for each other.  I imagine it’s always nerve-wracking to get up in front of your peers to perform, but for me, this time, it was actually painful.  I felt so embarrassed; so put on the spot.  I felt my cheeks flaming and my stomach churning as I struggled to keep up with my dance partner, expertly swinging her socks in even planes. 

The thing is, on the other hand, it feels kind of good to be humbled like this.  I’m amazed that something so simple could put me so completely out of my comfort zone.  Even as I struggled through probably the easiest poi dance routine available, I somehow knew that there was growth to be found within my struggle.

When Tierany asked our class who would be back for the next session of poi dance, of course I said I would.  

Humbly yours,

C

On Thursday I went to a studio in Seattle, WA, while I was visiting my family. Bikram Yoga Seattle is a beautiful studio in the Fremont area. It has wonderful facilities, including a water faucet in the class, so if you run out of water you can get more without leaving the room and disrupting your body’s temperature.

It was a busy class (4PM) and it was full of people of many different body types and many different levels – more diverse that the studio I usually go to in Vancouver. At the beginning of the class, it was clear to me that the teacher was going to do nothing to challenge me, but in it’s own way that was a challenge. I think I have mentioned it here before, that Katie (one of my favourite teachers I have had) likes to remind us “I don’t have to make the class hard for you, it is hard enough on it’s own.”

During the class, I pushed myself as hard as I could. This is a different experience than having a teacher who makes the class difficult. A teacher can make a class more difficult by being strict with timing, and encouraging the students to push themselves, lock their knees, and “stretch back, fall back, lean back, way back” in the backward bending poses. A less demanding teacher can still be just as valuable in her own way.

It is so important to know how to challenge yourself and push yourself, because most of the time in life you don’t get a teacher telling you to study harder, wake up earlier, and do the other real-life equivalents of locking the knee. Ideally you come to a place where you can set your own challenges in life, and force yourself to do the things that will help you achieve your goals.

This reminds me of one of my favourite quotes by Bikram: “you want the key to success in life? Lock the f****ing knee.”

This week I’ll hopefully get to give a studio in Newport a try. This is the only Bikram studio I have been able to locate in RI at all… the whole state. So we will see if I can make it there, and what kind of class the beautiful state of Rhode Island has to offer.

In the meantime, I will be tanning on the beach, eating good food, and relaxing with my family.

Lock the knee!

-C