Stephen's blog posts tagged with 'yoga'

Mr Twits Great Upside Down Monkey Circus - Get Fit Challenge - Day minus 1

Apr

30

I've given myself a few challenges for May which I'll share with you over the next few blogs (next and blog - this is my first ever). The first though is part of my Yoga practice. I started Yoga in January 2012, whilst suffering an ongoing knee injury and experiencing a growing waistline, and have probably embraced it more than any other activity since I was a kid. What I've noticed since doing yoga is that loads of normal people do it, and some even do it at home, and some haven't even heard of Sting, even Ryan Giggs does it. During class I've noticed that headstand (Shirshasana) looks pretty cool and people that I know that practice at home always seem to mention it.

So I asked my general and dynamic yoga teacher, Karen Creffield, whether she would spend some time with me and try to teach me how to do a headstand, and that practice started today. You can have the abridged version...

Karen started by describing the technique required and which muscle groups needed to do the work so that I firstly didn't break my neck and secondly send myself catapulting head over arse. We decided on a hand grip that I'd tried once before, the ashtanga style. From kneeling I put my hands together and my hands and forearms onto the mat, stuck my head in between them and then got up on my feet and started to walk towards my head. As I approached a point where I was on tiptoes and ready to go up my temperature shot up, as if my head and had been stuck in an oven. I came back down and Karen suggested we give the other method a go, apparently my face had gone bright red. Making a fist rather than interlocked fingers I went down on my knees again. This time I didn't go bright red so we decided to go for this method, for now.

Karen had demonstrated going from tiptoes to bent legs with feet in the air. It looked easy but I suspected otherwise, and I wasn't ready for this. I thought this would be week 3 or something. Anyway after a couple of attempts I gained the bottle to launch from tiptoes, I was very wobbly but I knew either Karen or the wall would stop me going right over, so I straighted my legs. Wow, I'm doing it, engage stomach muscles. Eventually my heels hit the wall and Karen supported me but in essence I was doing my first headstand and that would be more than enough for today, I felt hot and sweaty and tired and I'd only inverted myself.

After Savasana I wandered back to work. I still felt tired, my stomach and shoulders felt like I'd done a hundred crunches and pulls. Although pleased with the progress I'd made I wonder if I've bitten off more than I can chew for a month.

Mr Twit's Great Upside Down Monkey Circus Part 2 - Commit To Get Fit Challenge

May

09

Well we're on day 9 now and most of the personal challenges have been exploritory and insightful. As someone that has a high cholesterol count I've been avoiding saturates for the past couple of years. A visit to the quack last week and an interesting talk from Terry "Eat Better, Feel Better" has made me re-start the process of what goes in and what doesn't. For now I'll stick with the weekly salmon/trout, the wholewheat breakfast cereal and some sort of greenery with all meals that contain meat/processed food.

TOP TIP: Tinned Tuna - the canning process breaks down the long Omega 3 chain - eat fresh tuna and beware of the mercury!

I'm also trying to drink 4 glasses of water a day (plus anything drunk during exercise) and failing miserably. Back in a mo. Ok I've now had one glass of water today. Walkers have also taken a hit, I'm down from 2 bags of crisps a day to 3 so far this month.

The headstand is heading in the right direction. I had a practice at home (much to my 3 year old daughter's amusement) and found that I could get off my toes without bursting a blood vessel. "Do it again Daddy" - "No". "Do it again Daddy" - "No". "DO IT AGAIN DADDY" - "Do you want a bit of melon?". I've learnt how to distract her when losing an arguement.

I met Karen again on Tuesday, keen to show my slight improvement. Slight improvement shown, what do I do now? Oh the scarey bit. Stick my feet up in the air. I tried, much to Karen's suprise, luckily she just managed to break my fall as I went up and then over.

We moved to the wall. I got my feet up but I've no idea what is vertical. My heel hit the wall. Only one heel, that was promising. As I removed one heel I'd sway and replace that heel with one from the other foot. So there were moments where I was upside down without contact with anything but the floor. I think I stayed upside down for about a minute and I enjoyed it. With my confidence a little higher than it was last week I had a quick go today on my own. I can get up pretty well but I just can't find that balance point, but I remember learning to drive and having to find biting point.

 

 

 

Commit to get fit Challenge - ITS Group - week 3

May

23

We made a recruit or two last week. Michele joined the group and Jeff joined us for spin.

 

7 members of ITS made it to a group spin class, there was a whiff of solidarity in the air that would have made Lech Lewenza's knees wobble. 40 minutes of panting, sweating, grinding and swearing later and I could sense the relief of finishing. The consensus was that it was good exercise but the bike needs getting used to. For Angi it was cycle 2 ever and cycle 2 in 2 days. Cheers to Andy for coming in especially to take the class.

 

Last week saw smaller groups take on life circuits, power hoop, racketball and an interesting 3 person badminton match. On an individual basis new activities included the gym, goal setting, running, yoga, zumba, H.I.T., boxercise, legs, bums and tums. Jane apparently had a wheelbarrow race at her allotment.

 

What I've picked up on though is that its not just the participants that are thinking about their fitness. There is interest in the department, small groups talking about their fitness activities.

 

And for those that were wondering, Terry still hasn't got his sticky pads.

Mr Twits Great Upside Down Monkey Circus - Get Fit Challenge - Week 4

May

28

The penultimate week - week 4 saw a step back towards the reality of more time with the world topsy turvy.

 

10 minutes upside down didn't seem to much of a challenge - finding 10 minutes seemed more of a challenge last Tuesday. By the time the kids were in bed I rushed downstairs to invert myself. Dinner was about to be served. I scoffed my dinner, waited 10 minutes and then announced my intentions. I was given the support I needed, "You're an idiot, your dinner will reappear". I didn't want that so sat down and watched the tv for half an hour. Miranda was on next. Now seemed like the perfect moment to disappear to the far end of the room. I went up into a headstand with my legs resting against the wall (remember the intention was just to get used to being upside down). After a while a began to feel a little weird and asked my wife how long I'd been doing it. "5 minutes" came the disappointing reply, I'd reckoned at least 7. Ho hum. Miranda was still wittering on in the background. I decided the best way of getting through the next 5 minutes was to zone out a little, so I closed my eyes and relaxed. The next 5 minutes flew by.

 

I met Karen on Weds. On our way into the practice room I found that I've got a new fan. Fan number 2 after my daughter. Donna, "Can I come and watch?", Me, "When I can do it?", Donna "But it sounds like you can do it from what I've been reading".... I've tried to be positive about the progress I've made but there is no way that I could demonstrate a headstand yet, with a wall yes, without a wall no. As predicted it was time to leave the wall. Now was the time to master getting up steadily. This week I wasn't going to raise my legs, just lift them from the floor and leave them bent into my chest. I was getting the hang of getting off the floor and into position. 5 seconds ok and then wobble a bit and then down. I've been stuck on 5 seconds the whole week. The problem is I find it pretty tiring still and can only do a couple of practices in a row. I've seen Karen today but that is for my final blog. I'm not keeping anything from you it just belongs in the next blog.

 

Water consumption is still miserable but I didn't have a single packet of crisps last week. Apple consumption has gone up and appears to be my work snack of choice. Carb intake has gone down. It's amazing how nearly every meal is based around a large carb intake. It's hard removing it from my evening meals, pasta, rice and potatoes with everything. A reduction in portion size seems the best thing.

 

Commit to Schedule - Dealing with Injury, Illness and DOMS

May

11

What is great about Commit to Get Fit is that you get a bunch of team mates together, most of us don't know each other well and then you've got something to relate to other than work and like any relationship you then have a building block. The same is true at the additional classes. You can see people every lunch time heading for the sports centre and there's a fair chance they're commiting to get fit.

 

This year I'm trying to get a fitness programme together. I injured my knee nearly 4 years ago and it took over 3 years to get a diagnosis. Before my injury I used to run, not at any particular level but I enjoyed pounding the streets. However I always needed a goal, 10k here, 1/2 marathon there and one marathon. After that I tried a triathlon and really enjoyed it, despite not being a great swimmer. Shortly after that I injured my knee. After a few months out I needed something so I found Yoga and Spin. My knee got worse and the spin had to go. I saw an NHS physio, a chiropractor and got some suggestions from the Sussexsports team. I started Life Circuits twice a week and included some recovery exercises in that. I returned to the NHS and finally got referred to Orthopaedics, who then sent me back to my original physio who diagnosed me with quadriceps tendonitis.

 

Having a diagnosis means that I have some exercises that will help overcome the injury, or at least keep it at check. I does mean that I have to go to the gym once a week and extend my left quadricep. I've started running sporadiacally and go to spin lessons again. I haven't got a clue where my limit lies, this is something that I've decided to test. So the theory is let's aim for a 1/2 marathon and a beginners triathalon within a year. I've done two casual 5 milers this year and I've a 10K coming up in June. One thing is clear though, I won't make 10K without training.

 

So this year's CTGF is a weekly program of gym, outdoor run, indoor cycle, a 25 min swim and 1 or 2 yoga classes. I'll also be trying out Charleston and Bouldering as group activities.

 

Week 1

Thurs - Boundary Walk - CANCELLED due to ILLNESS

Sat - Swim - CANCELLED due to ILLNESS

Great start but unavoidable.

 

Week 2

Mon - Yoga - CANCELLED due to Bank Holiday

Tues - Life Circuits - Great class, team reps, good fun with a smigeon of competition

Weds - Run - Blowing a hoolie so I headed up to Falmer Sportscentre gym for the first time in about 9 years. Did 5K at pb speed? Lent forward in an attempt to start a change of running style. Calves are feeling it afterwards.

Thurs - Charleston - Really good fun and alot more energetic than I imagined it would be.

Fri - Spin - My legs are dead. I've no power in them at all but I give all I've got.

Sat - Swim - Enough is enough - CANCELLED due to DOMS (Delayed onset muscle soreness) has kicked in. I need to rest or I'll injure myself.

 

Now I go into Week 3 with some thoughts. Where did I over do it? I certainly went for it a little hard running on the treadmill and the Charleston was more energetic that expected. I think I'll stick to the program, yoga, spin and life circuits are classes so I'll do as expected. I want to up my distance for running by 1k per week, so 6k this week at a normal pace, and a 25 min swim. The knee is a little sore as I start, but yoga and life circuits should help that.

 

I've also read Sports Physio Tom Groom's notes from last year.......hopefully they'll keep me in check.

CTGF - I love it when a plan comes together

May

18

So this year's CTGF is a weekly program of gym, outdoor run, indoor cycle, a 25 min swim and 1 or 2 yoga classes. I'll also be trying out Charleston and Bouldering as group activities.

After last week's failure I did it.

Week 3

Monday - Yoga.

Tuesday - Circuits.

Wednesday - Spin - not as much energy as I'd have liked.

Thursday - Yoga.

Friday - Run - 6K - desired improvement of 1K over last week.

Saturday - 800m non-stop breaststroke. This may be (or at least equals) my pb!

 

This week I have Bouldering tonight and Charleston on Thursday, hope I don't over do it.

CTGF - What a difference a year makes

May

26

So this year's CTGF is a weekly program of gym, outdoor run, indoor cycle, a 25 min swim and 1 or 2 yoga classes. I'll also be trying out Charleston and Bouldering as group activities.

Week 4

Monday - Yoga.

Monday evening - Bouldering - I absoultely loved it. After promising Jane that I won't get all macho and gun-ho I got stuck right in. Managed a few yellows and a couple of purple and blacks, highest being a 4a which required a jump up to a handle.

Tuesday - Circuits. My arms ACHED after boldering. Before starting circuits I tried a row, fine, a chest press, fine, and the a press-up and a shoulder press. NO NO NO. No way. Switched those for some knee strengthening exercises.

Wednesday - Spin.

Thursday - Charleston - too knackered to do it and gave it a miss (or rather had a hangover from watching Sunderland secure premiership football for another season Cool).

Friday - Holiday - Run - 7K - Dropped the kids off at school and took a 7K route home along the Worthing seafront. Desired improvement of 1K over last week.

Saturday - 100m 'non-stop' front crawl. I've never been able to master front crawl and this was last year's failed CTFG challenge. I didn't think I was going to manage it on Saturday either after a couple of aborted attempts around the 50m mark.

1 week to go which should be pretty standard except for the highlight of the Boundary Run.

CTGF - Twice Round the Daffodils

Jun

05

So this year's CTGF is a weekly program of gym, outdoor run, indoor cycle, a 25 min swim and 1 or 2 yoga classes. I'll also be trying out Charleston and Bouldering as group activities.

Week 5

Monday - Yoga.

Tuesday - Circuits.

Wednesday - Boundary Run - boundary run is 2.5 miles / 4 km, my scheduled run for this week was 8km, so I went round twice. Really good fun. Not sure how my time compared with previous runs but I didn't the second lap quicker than the first. The second lap at the hill running up from Northfields was a killer but I made it.

Thursday - Hatha Yoga

Really enjoyed today's session. Did a bakasana and didn't fall on my face (that's not me in the photo).

bakasana 

 and then eka hasta bhujasana (that's not me either).

eka hasta bhujasana

Photo source

Friday - Spin.

Saturday - Well I should have rounded of CTGF 2015 with a swim but the kids were on 1/2 term and therefore not at swimming and that mean's I don't go either. It's all part of the schedule ;)

 

Well I'm sorry if I've bored you to tears with my blogs but I've achieved exactly what I wanted to and more. I'm on schedule for my first offical 10km in 4 years this coming Sunday. I've stuck to my my program albeit with a false start. I've got to know people better within my departmental team and met other people around the university.