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  1. MrBalloonHands liked a blog entry by Lorelei, Paris: Je t'aime!   
    We arrived home from our trip to Paris on Friday afternoon.  Yes, that Friday.  Upon arrival, our phones blew up with concerned texts from friends and family.  Our newly beloved Paris was under attack as we headed home from her.  As a matter of fact, we had spent the previous day wandering the neighborhood near Bataclan, the concert venue of the attacks.  We'd gone to see an exhibit at a tiny gallery in the area.  Having just been there makes the attacks more closely felt and more heartbreaking to my husband and to me.
    Our trip was simply blissful.  The hotel room was tiny and romantic and the building itself elegant.  There was barely room in it to do a decent yoga practice (but I worked it out); the view was a lovely flower-boxed building across the street from us, and we listened to French voices wafting through our balcony window as we drifted to sleep each night.  My French was adequate, which was exciting.  
    According to my Fitbit, we logged between 20,00 and 33,000 steps a day to all the must-see sites, along with many neighborhoods where we found ourselves lost without caring.  The steps (and a solo early morning run along the Seine) offset the macarons (Laduree.....yum!), red wine, croissants at each breakfast, hot milk in my coffee, and simply-fresh-delicious french food at every meal. There might have been a Nutella crepe that happened too.  Not a pound gained during a week of less organized exercise and more food intake.....that is reason to celebrate.  
    All in all, this trip was what it was meant to be:  An adventure that was lovely, restful, and a great getaway for two marrieds with kids, etc.  
    Thanks for the well wishes and great tips.  Good to be home!

  2. MrBalloonHands liked a blog entry by robert, Sequancing to work deaper into poses (Hip opening sequance)   
    I did a sequence in class that caught my interest,  running through a similar sequence twice both times resulting in a 'side angle namaste twist', but gradually increasing it's intensity by changing which leg is forward while twisting in the same direction. The sequence:
    1: Down dog, step through (left), crescent lunge, twist to the right with hands in namaste with arm on shin
    2: Down dog, step through (right), crescent lunge, twist to the right with hands in namaste with arm on shin
    3: Repeat opposite
    I find this interesting as it may deepen the second round pose by doing a weaker variation first, preparing the body.
  3. MrBalloonHands liked a blog entry by yogafire, End of Week 3 - Trying to maintain perspective   
    Day 17:
    Before practice: I was sad that I re-injured my neck - I was sleeping with a u-shaped neck pillow on my back (not my side) and still managed to get hurt, but I have no idea how. After practice: I decided to take it easy and do some static poses for 10 min to relieve shoulders and do gentle neck releases.  I felt relief and gratitude that I knew enough about my body to pick yoga stretches I found to be most helpful.   Day 18: I meant to do some light yoga after a quick run, but I ended up doing neither - instead I squeezed in a quick round of physical therapy exercises before bed.  Then I learned the hard way after a pretty stubborn headed (on my part) conversation with my husband that I was not doing my physical therapy exercises correctly.     I asked my husband, "How do I differentiate being easy on myself vs. making excuses for not doing yoga / running / physical therapy?"  He agreed I move from the extremes of judging myself too harshly and then being too easy on myself to the point I don't have motivation - currently I'm not trying hard enough. I did not take the news easily because I thought I was lying to myself all last week, patting myself on the pack for being more patient, when I haven't prioritized the most important thing - my health and neck.    So, I guess a better method going forward for me to handle criticism is to remember that any current judgment doesn't take away my past victories.  I wasn't lying to myself, I just didn't know I was doing my exercises incorrectly.   Day 19: Before practice: A little foggy, but, woke up to my alarm to attend a free yoga event in honor of National Yoga month instead of sleeping in. After practice: Proud of myself for moving forward.  I modified about 75% of my vinyasas to address my wrist pain, but I did some full version ones without pain.  I even attempted side crow, for the second time in my life, and I was able to lift up a foot briefly.   I even had my husband check my form for my physical therapy resistance band exercises after. I realized I could approach them more mindfully and contracted slowly.   Finally, I looked at the schedule and realized Day 19 was a rest day - I didn't actually miss out on a day then and swapped out day 18 and 19. Funny how things work out.   Day 20: Before practice: Went on "chores" mode, so did Candace's 30 min twists video (for a previous day) while letting something simmer on the stovetop. After practice: Felt pleased and had some fun with a new pose (sun dial) that was not close at all, but I loved the build up of different stages on how to get there. I also liked this video because we held poses for longer than other vinyasa focused ones. P.S. The muscles around my armpit have been sore! Yay, I've been doing my physical therapy exercises correctly!   Day 21: Before practice: Tense - long day of sitting at work. My lower back sometimes feels somewhat sharp pain, which was already sore from walking 6+ miles over the weekend (I need to focus more on my posture). The chill out sequence looked perfect for me! After practice: Head felt clearer after I stood up. The sequence helped release my lower back (it popped when I did the supine spinal twist). I will need to repeat this sequence as breaks from work more often!
  4. MrBalloonHands liked a blog entry by yogafire, Thank You, Yoga Practice   
    Thank you, yoga practice, for teaching me core strength and balance that saved me from feeling like a fool today in my first TRX class!

    Thank you, yoga practice, for making me do hard one-legged bridge poses that gave me the confidence that I could last through my first class. I was out of breath already after the warm up of doing But then the next exercise was hamstring-focused with one foot strapped in the air while doing hip raises on our back. After I heard everyone else in class groan after that exercise when I felt like I could keep going, I knew yoga would help me finish the class.

    Thank you, yoga practice, for showing me how to keep my core engaged and how to breathe through discomfort and hold a position.

    Thank you, yoga practice, for developing my balance, which I utilized when we did the TRX exercise transitioning between a one-legged squat and a Warrior 3.

    Thank you, yoga practice, for introducing me the concepts of restraint and listening to my body. I skipped many reps throughout the class without judging myself, knowing I had already reached my own personal point of exhaustion or needed well-deserved rest.

    Thank you, YBC Forum, for reminding me the importance to engage muscles in ALL exercise and not hyperextend! Many of the TRX exercises required "straight" elbows, so I made sure I was relying on my arm muscles to pull myself up, keeping the elbow slightly bent and never locked.