Wednesday, April 27, 2016

In praise of YouTube yoga

I thought I was making a moderately large sacrifice when I switched from amazing-human-instructor yoga to YouTube-in-the-dining-room yoga, but I’m not so sure. Now that I have the benefit of several years of amazing-human-instructor yoga experience under my belt and know what to do, there is almost no downside to YouTube-in-the-dining-room yoga. In fact, here’s the complete list of the advantages of each:

YouTube-in-the-dining-room advantages:
  • Free
  • Get to choose my class every day
  • Can be done on any schedule
  • Can be done for any length of time
  • Can be paused at will
  • Can be done wearing anything I want
  • Impossible to forget my ponytail holder
  • No peer pressure to do or not do anything
  • No driving
  • Always get my “spot”
  • Can meditate immediately afterward for as long as I want
  • Can make tea right before starting so it’s ready as soon as I’m done
  • Natural light and proximity of pretty flowers
Amazing-human-instructor advantages:
  • Get to chat with amazing human instructor
  • Opportunity to ask questions about poses if needed
  • Don’t have to watch a 15-second ad
  • Don’t have to worry about UPS coming to the door
  • Other very nice people to talk to
I was kind of afraid that the awesome yoga high I got after class was from chatting with all the very nice people, but I see now that that’s mostly just the yoga itself. I may still go back to class one day to visit, but DANG this other thing is working out well.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The urge to purge

I got the sequel to Marie Kondo’s book from the library and am having a delightful time reading it—though just a bit at a time, because I am still very, very busy and have a child to put through college in four minutes. If you haven’t read one of her books, I recommend them, for three reasons:
  • Her view of tidying as her sacred calling is sweet and unintentionally hilarious.
  • Her personification of inanimate objects is sweet and unintentionally hilarious.
  • Her method works really well.
It’s not that I actually believe that my possessions enjoy being used and treasured or that my kids’ old toys are sad because they’ve not been played with for a while or whatever. It’s that choosing to act as if you believe those things makes a real difference.

I kind of equate it to some of the sillier things that are said in yoga. If I’m in Warrior II and someone tells me to shoot energy out my fingertips, well, it turns out I can get more out of the pose if I shoot energy out of my darned fingertips. I don’t think there’s actual energy shooting out my fingertips. It’s just that it’s a sort of beneficial shorthand to pretend there is.

Anyway, I expect a renewed energy to purge the aforementioned toys is on its way to my house.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Worth it

Just another post because I’m procrastinating from the horrible work I’ve been doing for a week and a half. I know I should be reminding myself that I really do love working from home—and oh by the way I have a child to put through college starting in about five minutes—but instead let’s admire my dining room table:


Lovely, right? This is a $5 bouquet from the grocery store, still going strong after 11 days.

Just behind the closest chair there is my new yoga studio—in other words the spot in the house I’ve chosen to do my YouTube class every day. It’s in full view of anyone who comes up to the front door, so I am always hoping no one chooses that moment to drop by unexpectedly. (Of course, every other minute of the day I would be fine with unexpected visitors, just because I want them to be impressed by my purty flowers.)

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Podcasting weather

Our weather has been pretty nice, so I’ve been diligently getting outside to work in the yard—which is also starting to look pretty nice, if I do say so myself. It helps that I usually do more than the mandated 15 minutes, but I have a couple of podcasts I like that last around 20 to 25 minutes, so I usually stay out until the audio is finished.

I don’t know if you’ve picked up on the fact that I’ve become a podcast… uh, maniac? in the past few months. The ones I like tend to mention other ones I will like, and the must-listen roster keeps growing (I just checked, and it’s at 13 podcasts, even after a recent pruning of the list). It’s gotten so that if I utter the word “podcast” in front of my family, their eyes glaze over immediately—as if they weren’t just about to have their lives enriched. Weirdos.

It kind of reminds me of the early days of my triathlon obsession, when I started a blog literally just to have an outlet to talk about the sport so I wouldn’t have to drive everyone around me insane. This is different, though, because it’s not like it’s the form of podcasting I’m obsessed with. It’s more that the constant stream of information and ideas keep me in New Life Plan mode constantly, which is my idea of fun.

Friday, April 1, 2016

GREAT resolutions for April

It’s April, and the 10-day weather forecast is delightful, which means it is a great time of year to be without a gym membership—why, what a coincidence! It’s also a great time for some enthusiastic, spring-y resolutions, which are as follows:
  • Goal: Keep flowers on the table. Dex gave his girlfriend a bouquet of flowers last month before prom, and since she needed to put them in water and was not going home anytime soon, they ended up living on our dining room table. It was lovely. And I realized there’s no reason I couldn’t spend a few bucks a week to feel like the dining room is lovely all the time. 
  • Rule: Do some yard work for 15 minutes every day. Every spring I put forth the theory that the yard and tiny garden could be well-maintained in just a few minutes a day if one were diligent about it. Time to test it out. Free sunshine is a bonus.
  • Exercise: Walking/cleaning/yoga. I’m trying to keep up most of my old resolutions even as I add new ones, but the fact is you can’t do everything every day. So what I want to do this month is try for two out of the three of the above every day. No time limits on anything—just deliberately set aside some time to walk and do yoga. Or to clean house and do yoga. Or to walk and clean house. You get it.
  • Affirmation: I take great care of myself and my family. It’s not that I can’t think of any other affirmations, just that this one is so important that it’s worth another month of focus.
  • Task: Get the ring appraised. My sister and I have been trying to figure out what to do with a diamond ring our grandmother gave to us, and the first step is getting it appraised. Which we’ve been putting off for, I don’t know, three or four years now? I have it in my possession, and this is the month it finally happens.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

March report card

Here’s how I did on my March resolutions:
  • Goal: Memorize 1 John 1. Pretty easy in that it was short—but also pretty hard in that pretty much everything John says, he says three times in three different ways. I want to memorize something else, but maybe a month off first while I work on other goals. A
  • Rule: Start each weekday with an hour of diligent work at my standing desk. I learned that the ease or difficulty of this depends heavily on the kind of work I’m doing, and I had a few days when I absolutely needed my two monitors side by side and had to settle for an hour of diligent work while sitting. Still, this was a good rule, followed, oh, 92 percent of the time, and I get an A.
  • Exercise: Explore some more sources of yoga. I explored quite a bit and found a handful of free YouTube classes I liked. It will take months and months of actually doing them to find out which ones I love, but overall it was enough to make me feel pretty darn good about my decision to quit the gym. A
  • Affirmation: I take great care of myself and my family. I was not so great about this, frankly. But you can’t fail “Affirmation” if you did the affirming. B
  • Task: Purge and clean the desk area off of the kitchen. I did this in stages, but I didn’t actually get to all the stages. I think I’ll just finish up next month, because April’s task is a lot less time-consuming. C
GPA: 3.4

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The update before the storm

I haven’t blogged in a few weeks, which means updates are probably in order before I launch into my end-of-the-month/start-of-the-month posting flurry of report cards and new goals and whatnot. Actually (go-getter that I am), I’ve already written the bulk of those posts. I’m convinced that having thought through a set of priorities for the year has changed this whole GREAT exercise from a hilarious novelty to something actually useful, and I am psyched about it.

Anyway, Update One is that I’ve been taking ibuprofen for my shoulder for going on three weeks now, and it is feeling much better. The law is that I have to do it for eight full weeks, no matter how good it feels, to make sure it’s healed. So that’s a bummer, but it will be so worth it in the end (you know, unless it causes kidney failure or something)!

Update Two is that I have not worried about one single thing once since deciding that I would worry at 11:08 a.m. every day. What happens is, if I start worrying at night, I reassure myself that I can worry at 11:08. Then 11:08 arrives—and even if I notice, which I don’t—I can’t get worked up about anything anyway. So that’s convenient.

Update Three is that I swam with the group at my gym one last time before my membership lapses on April 1. It was really fun, and I can still join them for $5 on any given Monday if I want, but it hurt my shoulder just enough for me to realize that I should not be swimming yet. Plus, I hate what chlorine does to my skin and hair. I’m just going to have to move to a warmer climate and swim in nature.

Update Four is that I also attended my last yoga class at the gym. That was kind of sad but, again, I can pay to go once in a while if I want ($10 in this case). I do like YouTube yoga, but it is definitely not the same.

Update Five (and then I’ll stop) is that the lousy Smarch weather has made me realize that walking really is going to be pretty difficult here for a lot of the year without access to a treadmill. So I made a New Life Plan that when I don’t feel like braving the hail, sleet, wind, or whatever, I’ll spend an hour or so cleaning or decluttering my house instead, just to be moving around. Win-win! If I can make myself do it!