Thursday, May 31, 2007

Restorative Yoga

On Wednesday William gave us a restorative yoga class... this is when we hold postures for at least 3 minutes. We are allowed to work the posture as much as we like, meaning we can either relax into the posture or be active in the posture on a muscular level. The restorative postures are extremely rejuvenating to the CNS.

Examples of restorative postures would be downward facing dog with the top of your head resting on a support. The significance of pressure on the top of the head is supposed to give calm and quiet to the brain. I know in the world of acupuncture the top of the head is a point given to calm someone down. Other postures we hold for extended periods of time are forward bends, supported back bends and reclining postures. Plus in Iyengar yogaland we always practice timed head and shoulder stands (10 minutes). The emphasis is on turning the gaze inward, turning off outside distraction, rejuvenating the nervous system and calming the brain.

The way I understand yoga asana is that it was exercises for the yogis. These people spent huge amounts of time in seated meditation... this will really goof up your physical body if you don't move it around. All the postures are for something... particularly increasing circulation, the wringing and renewal of blood to internal organs is mentioned several times in Light on Yoga.

My only practice was yoga on Wednesday... the sun was shining when I got home so I had to dig in my garden. I got a new wheelbarrow to try out and hostas to plant, weeds to pull and I didn't want to miss my chance for some nice weather.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Back to the Grind

I think I may have damaged my lat (very minor)... in my last entry I mentioned my back muscles felt like they were changing... well only the left side feels just not quite right. Plus now my right shoulder is bugging me. I have no clue what is wrong with my shoulders, but occasionally I have joint pain. I have experienced this since I was a teenager. I don't think it is an injury, I feel better when I take ibuprofen and when I move it. I have been to see chiropractors and an osteopath. They don't know, the osteopath is very helpful, but not a permanent fix. I'm sure it is form a lack of balance in my practice, an impingement or something like that. Anywhooo....

Practice today

Swings - 16kg - 20 X 3

Snatches - 12kg - 5/5 X2
12kg - 10/10 x3

TGU's - 16kg - 3/3

Lunge w/press - 8kg 8 steps out, 8 back + 8 push ups X3

Single hand swings - 12,16,20kgs 7/7/7/7/7/7 X2

About 20 minutes of standing asana.

Friday, May 25, 2007


It was an easy day at the gym 4 clients. I got to sleep in and had the morning to myself. I had a really nice yoga practice this morning.

Standing postures, Surya Namaskar, arm balances, shoulder stand - 10 minutes with variations. Practiced for about an hour and a half.

Then I worked in my garden. Got home from the gym, worked in my garden some more. No KB workout today. Aaron and I are going up to visit his parent this weekend. I am bringing the KB's, I think Aaron's mom might like K'bells.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Training Thursday...

Thursdays are my other busy day... only eight clients today. I did write down my workout, however, I managed to leave it at the gym. I did a little workout in the morning between clients. I meant to get a yoga practice in, but I needed to get new tires on my car, so errands got in the way. My little morning practice, it went something like....

some swings

Snatches - 16kg

C+FSQ+P - 16kg

Afternoon Workout

Two hand Swings - 16kg
20, 20, 20

Snatches - 16kg

Step back Lunges - 16kg
8 outside in, 8 inside out - Left
8 outside in, 8 inside out - Right
left, right, left, right

Single Leg Squat 12kg/16kg (work balance)
5L/5R X 3

I noticed the muscles in my back, mid thorasic (erectors, intercostals, lats I can't tell?) feel like they are changing... I can't really explain the feeling. Not bad, but tight and weird. Better yoga tomorrow for sure.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Yoga Wednesday

I just got home from my yoga class with William. Excellent class like always... Today we focused on refining technique on the standing asanas. Nice... I like doing the standing postures, and I know there could be some improvement. We did three postures (virabhadrasana 1, virabhadrasana 2, and parsvakonasana) with one foot standing on a block. The point of this exercise was to elevate the heal, allowing the knee to drop in to a 90 degree angle easier. Knee flexion is not my challenge. However, anterior pelvic tilt is a challenge in standing postures for me. That was the first half of class. Whoever thinks yoga is easy, do a half hour of standing postures, holding the posture for 30 seconds - 1 minute, while the instructor tries to get you to tip your pelvis back so your ASIS are pointing straight ahead, while pulling the floating ribs in line with the others. As William says "Thank god for impermanence!"

Next we worked on a bunch of arm balances. Eka Pada Koundinyasana 1, Eka Pada Koundinyasans 2, Bhujapidasana. Then Headstand and moving into Bakasana and Parsva Bakasana. Fun stuff. This part of class was less serious that the first part. You have to have a sense of humor to practice arm balances. We laughed at each other and at ourselves... Arm balances are really difficult, some of them come much easier than others. Koundinyasana 2 comes much easier then Koundinyasana 1. weird....

One last thing... do not apply lemon body oil before yoga class, my skin was way too slippery to get a good grip on the arm balances.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Monday and Tuesday

Monday is my busiest day at the club. I train 11 people on Monday. So, I am proud to say I trained myself for an hour that morning. Usually I treat Mondays like a marathon... I try to reserve my energy and not exert too much. This Monday I had an early am cancellation and made the best of it. I can't remember exactly what I did but it went something like this...

Lots of swings... two hands and one hand. Maybe like 60 -70 swings.
Then I did snatches, like 60 snatches.
Clean, Squat, Press, Neg. Press with 16's 5L/5R three sets - this was the theme for the day... I think I did this combo about a million times.
Lunges with k'bell (16) in rack position... 8 steps out 8 pushups 8 steps back X 3
More swings, a couple other things I can't remember... took about an hour. Tried not to rest too much between sets.

Met with a Z Health guy. He took a look at one of my clients, made some adjustments, now we get to see what happens. I am not the type of person who believes what others have to say... I like to see it for myself. I will try to say more about this experience. It was very interesting, in a good way. I guess I will be trying to learn that now. I picked up the R-phase manual.

Tuesday... today

Went to Andrea's drop in class...

We did timed snatches for one minute on 30 sec rest. YIKES! Two sets of one minute left and one minute right about killed my grip. Holy crap my Popeye muscles were SCREAMING. Then we did a last set, 30 seconds right and 30 seconds left. I will say this... I consistently did 23 snatches in a minute on each arm every time, all sets were done with the 12kg. After that we did 1 minute swings, two sets 16kg. The biggest killer by far was my grip. Then we did a bunch of stuff I don't remember... I think we did Over Head Press standing on one foot. That is always a good one.

Saturday and Sunday

Saturday I did no KB's. I went to the farmers market and bought some plants for my garden. Mostly I just grow flowers. I got three HUGE hostas, a flat of magenta impatiens and some herbs. I worked in my garden all of Saturday afternoon. Planting my new things, digging and moving other things. It was a wonderful day.

I got an awesome facial from my friend Mary between Farmer's Market and planting. Now that I am in my mid thirties, I consider it preventive medicine to have a facial. Six years ago I got a deep 2nd and 3rd degree burns on my face. These were really bad burns that took over 6 weeks to heal and usually mean a skin transplant. The doctor wanted to schedule me for a skin graph, I resisted and thanks to treatments from Mary, I hardly have a noticeable scar. I still have no feeling in a portion of my face, where my hair won't grow, near my left temple... but at least I don't have a skin graph.

Sunday I went to yoga school with Lisa. Class was difficult, but fun. We worked on handstands, which I love doing. I also talked my yoga friend Deb into trying kettlebells. She is very long and lean and yin... kettlebells will be good for her. She needs some explosive energy in her life.

Friday, May 18, 2007

My hands hurt...

Well, I have been full steam ahead with Kettlebells. I have been training all my clients with Kettlebells, and so far I have had a very favorable response. I have been doing lots of Kettlebell demos at the gym, just to gain a little more exposure. I have been showing anyone who is interested how to train with them. I am starting morning group classes two days a week.

Plus, my primo comrade, Angela (who is also a trainer at Gold's) and I have been goofing around with Kettlebell techniques and combos. Ang is probably one of the most hard core women I know. When I showed her Kettlebells, she was the only person at Gold's who cared. In fact, not only did Ang care about Kettlebells, she LOVES them, probably as much as I do.

I don't really count training with clients, goofing around with Angela, or demonstrating Kettlebells as my "work out". I will say this... all combined, has made my hands sore. I made myself some "Tracy Gloves", yesterday so I could show Aaron how to snatch. I used them all day today. Aaron and I did a bunch of snatches outside in our yard again today. Tracy... patent your gloves... it's your million dollar fitness invention.

I went to Andrea's class yesterday. Excellent class, like always. I meant to blog yesterday, but I had a long day. When I got home from work, I was beat.

I will try to remember what I did. I have to start keeping better track of what I do. I guess I keep tract of what other people do all day, I just want a break...

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Wednesday Yoga

I just got home from my Wednesday yoga class with William. He is such an awesome teacher, I am so lucky to be able to take classes right in town with someone of his caliber! We did a lot of back bends again. I was thinking of Tracy Reifkind, you would have loved this class.

William is scientific about yoga. He really knows his anatomy and physiology. He speaks and teaches in a way that I can understand. I see visually with my mind's eye when he explains the movement and action of the postures. His teaching style just makes sense to me. I know it is snobbish and unethical to look down on other practices... but I believe William is simply superior to most everything out there.

William actually inspired me to become a trainer. He would hurl if he ever found that out. A few years ago he mentioned to me twice in one summer that I should start teaching. My thoughts on teaching yoga is that there are so many crap yoga teachers out there, why on earth would I want to be part of that? Plus, the best yoga advice I could give anyone is to take William's class. Why on earth should I teach when there is a real teacher in town? So, I was William's assistant for about a year and a half. I also tried taking some yoga teacher training classes offered by another Iyengar yoga school in town. Unfortunately... the instructors were not a good match for me. The biggest problem with training with an excellent instructors, is that is now what I expect... excellence. I'm spoiled.

Lessons learned in class today....

It is not my lack of spinal flexibility that has changed my back bends, it is my SHOULDERS. I really need to keep on top of my shoulder health.

Helping someone else stand up out of a back bend... hook your thumbs on the ASIS, press palms fingers around the hips, using the for arm as the 5th quadricep, rock three time for momentum... assistant loads hips as back bender presses heels into the ground and stands up.

We did a long (10 minutes) shoulderstand and headstand with variations. I need to add that back into my practice. Now that I am thicker... twisting is difficult, it never used to be. Sheeesh. I guess I am just a girl who wants the fancy back bend and a big deadlift. I can see William's eyes roll, followed with an ego lecture.

Nothing to do with yoga... I am joining the Z Health bandwagon. I am taking one of my clients to see a certified Z guy Monday. I am really looking forward to checking this stuff out for myself. We have been doing certain drills in Andrea's class, which perked up my interest. Geoff trains Z, and now I am wanting to as least explore for myself what it is, and does. I WAS planning on giving my pea brain a break for the summer... the new Harry Potter is coming in July. Oh, well.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Tuesday training

Mondays are very busy for me, so I don't really train on Mondays. I usually see between 9-12 clients. I know that is too many, but I go home for lunch and chill out for a little while. Plus I am attached to all my clients.

Tuesday are an easy day... I usually only see between 2-4 clients at the gym, then I have my yoga class then I see two ladies at their house. So, I had some time to myself today. I want to brag about one of my clients... I train a woman who is in her mid 50's, proud grandmother, weighs close to 150lbs, working toward fat loss and general health... She benched 95lbs, 3 reps, two sets! She is a little power house.

1 hour Asana... standing postures, handstands, pynches, and down dogs. Some seated postures, forward bends and hip postures. Nice practice.

15 minutes of K'bells.... quick and dirty

Swings 12 X 3 16kg
12X 2 24kg
12X 2 16/16kg

Snatches 10L/10R/10L/10R 12kg
10L/10R 16kg
10L/10R 16kg

FSQ 5X2 24kg

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day

I went to the Saint Paul Farmers Market this morning. I LOVE the Farmers Market, Saint Paul has a really nice market. Everything sold there has to be either grown or made within 50 miles of the city limits. Spring in Minnesota means lots of flowers, ruhbarb, young seedlings for us folks who can't get it together enough to plant indoors ahead of time.

Today I picked up two Sweet 100 Cherry tomato plants. I buy form the same farm every year, and these plants will give you at least 200 tomatoes easily. I am not a big tomato eater, too much sugar and it is a night shade... but I do have tomatoes in the summer. I also picked up some pretty little orange and yellow symphony flowers to plant in my front mini rock garden. I got my mom a New Guinna impatiens hanging basket, a really pretty bright pink.

Went to Lisa's yoga class 90 minutes... which is always challenging. I felt pretty good in class, all postures came naturally. One new posture... an ardha dandasana pressing up with the extended leg, while extending up with the leg and arm... it feel like my lats are in the way, I'm sure it is more like my lack of shoulder mobility is in the way. The yoga sutras say, "Work for no reward, Love with no object." I think about that surta often, more on that latter.

I had my mom over for lunch... I was feeling pretty low on energy, so I kept it simple. Warm new potato salad with Spinach, Saracene Olives and Feta Cheese. I also grilled some chicken breast, skin on, lots of sea salt. Low heat, so the fat melted off with out causing a fire, while flavoring the flesh. Aioli and pita bread. Pineapple for dessert. I'm not a dessert person.

Cleaned up from lunch... worked in the yard planting flowers, watering, pulling weeds. I love summer. No KB's today.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Gun Day

I see clients at the gym on Saturday am. My two regulars are at 7:30 and 8:30, they are a married couple, scientists in the boomer generation, I really like them both. I have been training them for about six months. I can't say I love getting up at 6am to collect my wits enough to train Saturday am, but once we get going, everything is just fine..... Any whoooo

Aaron and I went to the gun range today. I love and hate the gun range. I am always amazed to see how many people there are in TERRIBLE physical condition. Not just over weight, but soft with awful posture, oblivious the there environment. I know most gun owners are very intelligent, likable and aware people. Gun ranges on Saturday attract an odd crowd.

When I shoot, I do alright, not great. Shooting takes a lot of concentration. I love to shoot our Firestorm .22, and I love to shoot my Sig 9mm. I'm not a great shot, but I hit the colored part more than I hit the white part of the target. When I shoot a flier (white part) I get terribly detracted and usually hit more fliers... Aaron is an awesome shot. Shooting is meditation, I always think of William, my Jewish (by ethnicity) Buddhist, Yoga teacher. I think he would be a excellent shoot much to his chagrin.... Mindfulness can be practiced awareness cannot. Most poignant lesson, when I hit a blank (pulled the trigger no bullet came out), I really jerked the gun. Which I already knew... because my grouping is off to the right. But to see it without the recoil was educational.

No Kettlebells today, No yoga either..... Tomorrow is Lisa's yoga class which will kick my butt! I did some yard work.... And, it's mothers day tomorrow, my mom and her husband (who I love) are coming over in the afternoon. Plus I am going to the Farmers Market early to get some stuff for my garden and a pretty flower thing for my Mama. Meow!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Good start....

I had a really nice start to my day. I didn't have to be at the gym until 10am, so I had a really nice yoga practice this morning. I also cleaned off my desk and threw away a pile of crap that needed to be thrown out. Very liberating. I finished work early today, so I got home early and took the dog for a walk.

45 minutes Asana practice
Vanilla practice, standing postures, surya namaskar and back bends - which felt great, funny how that works. Doing back bends more than once a week makes them easier!

45 minutes K'bells

Swings - 20 swings, 16kg one minute rest 5 sets

Presses - 5L 5R, 12kg 3 sets

SHS - 10 Swings, 8kg, 12kg, 16kg, L R L, R L R - 2 sets

FSQ - 2/20kg 5 reps, 3 sets plus one clean each set

RDL - 2/20kg 5 reps, 3 sets

Renegade Rows - 12kg 10 push ups, 5L 5R rows, 2 sets

Plus I did lunges with a client with 16's racked, 8 steps out, 10 pushups, 8 steps back X 2
Oh yah, training a client I demonstrated about 50 snatches with the 12. I don't think that really counts as training for me....

I am thinking doing only K'bells and yoga for the summer. However, when I train FSQ's, 88lbs just isn't enough weight to make the squat challenging, I only have one 24kg at the gym, even if I had two, at that weight I'm sure I would still be board. I'm used to training FSQ's and RDL's with at least 135lbs. I may have to train with barbells after all.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Training today...

It was a beautiful day here in Saint Paul, so I spent most of my free time out side. I did a little digging in my garden. Cut some lilacs for inside, pulled dandelions, watered the dry things, turned my compost pile, picked up a dog turd, and made lunch for Aaron and myself.

I did go to the gym a little early with the intention of training, and I did train kettlebells, but not before I spent a half hour chit chatting with Mike, the resident PLer, who regularly benches over 600lbs. So, for a work out this is how it went....

Transfers with a 12kg - 15L 15R

Snatch with the 12kg - 15L 15R
Snatch with the 16kg - 12L 12R
Snatch with the 16kg - 12L 12R

Then I remembered I wanted to try Tracy's Snatch with a negative press...

Snatch with a negative press using the 16kg - 8L 8R
I was going for 10, but I gassed out on 8 left side.... ouch! those negatives really hurt.
Snatch with a negative press using the 12kg - 10L 10R

That was about all I could take for upper body... plus I had about 5 minutes to get it together to train my next client.

That was my day....

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Yoga with William

I just got back from my Wednesday yoga class with William.... It was a mostly Vinyasa class, which is unusual for him. His classes are usually more instructional, with emphasis on alignment, joint and muscle action. William is a practicing Buddhist, so, he usually has some esoteric thinking to pass along.

Today I picked out this... "mindfulness can be practiced, awareness can not." What is the difference? I was going to ask, but I already used up my smart mouth comments for the day. I try to keep my commentary in William's class down to two... "better to practice a thousand times and ask one question, than to practice once and ask a thousand questions." I have to keep my practice around two thousand (what ever that means) to satisfy my two questions.

I feel so energized when I leave his classes.... I need to bring that to my own practice.

Practice with William... 1 Hour and 45 Minutes

Postures that stand out...

*Dropping into back bend from Pinca Mayurasana, felt awesome, still mobile enough to do this with comfort.
*Lift my chest and twist in Parsva Sarvangasana... twists are getting more difficult, because of weight training.
*My back bends are getting wider... thanks to deadlifting and ab work... Practice back bends more often, stop all direct ab work. FSQ's and TGU's work my abs fine.

My house is a mess, I have clients to deal with, I better get a move on.
My Shoulders are much less mobile... thanks to posterior chain work and pullups
I need to bring balance to my practices.

PM Training.....

I did a bunch of swings and cleans with one of my clients. I don't really count that as training... I squat 45 lb. plates on and off equipment all day... that is not really a leg workout. I did however manage to get in 2 sets of 12 snatches with the 16kg, each hand in about 7 minutes. They went up much easier that before the RKC weekend. Probably because I became serious with the 16kg. I had a couple minutes between clients. That is my MO - I do my work outs between clients. Twenty minutes is where it's at for me.... but I'm a lazy fucker.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Training Blog...

This is going to be a super boring blog.... I'm going to start posting my work-outs. I have been following Tracy and Mark's blogs for a little over a week, I was inspired to start accounting for my training in a formal way.

My primary training is Iyengar Yoga. I practice with excellent teachers, William Prottengiere and Lisa Belfiori. William is a world class Iyengar instructor. I have studied under William (on and off) for over a decade. When I started weight training... he is the one who called my the Yoganator.

Lisa teaches a hybrid of Ashtanga and Iyengar with her own Vinyasa sequencing twist, she is quite remarkable. Lisa's classes will kick your ass. I guarantee anyone who thinks yoga is for sissies, Lisa will twist that notion out of your thoughts.

There will be more about these two people later. I am also in love with Kettlebells. This is a new love. I have been training with Andrea Du Cane since October of last year. I just passed the instructor training of the RKC.

I had a cancellation today, so this was at the gym in my blank spot.... took me about 20 minutes

Transfers @ 16kg - 10L 10R

SH Swings 16kg - 10L 10R

Snatches 16kg - 10L 10R X3

OH Press 12kg - 6L 6R
16kg - 4L 4R
16kg - 3L 3R

FSQ 2/20kg - 8 X3, plus one clean each set

I spent 20 minutes preparing for the yoga class I teach on Tuesdays....

20 minutes of standing Asana