So there I was feeling all strong, lifting less than 15% of my body weight on a metal ball, and then this tiny ant comes along, carrying a hunk of grasshopper leg, up and down a steep wall! And I learn a fascinating ant-fact: ants can carry 10 - 50 times their body weight and they do so, routinely 😱
Right there, it felt like a reality check from the universe. A very humbling experience to place things in perspective. Creatures great and small, do the most amazing, mind-boggling things all around us, while we fret and sweat over a lot less.
Lesson learnt with gratitude 🙏
Meanwhile, the workouts are all on track. Attempted mountain-climbers for my free cardio for the first time today and Lord, was I a sweaty miserable mess 😥 Couldn't go beyond 15 mins, so did a brisk walk to complete the workout.
Diet was a bit off Friday night, coz I ran out of protein options and my bro could only find KFC chicken! While the rest of the family didn't mind it much, and my son had a party, I struggled a bit to get some clean meat on my plate. Likewise, Saturday was a bit of a disaster too. We went to catch the new Incredibles movie at the mall, where my son's pictures from a modelling assignment for Max Fashion were showing too! Was a bit taken aback to notice the sheer attack of the calories screaming at visitors from every nook and corner at the mall. At least 4 ice cream joints, any number of donut stores, cakes and bakes, fries and sauces... the works!! Family decided to have ice cream, and for the first time, I opted out. Guess I made the right choice coz everyone was complaining about the sweetness and richness later on and it made my mom so sick, she had to actually throw-up half-way through the film!
I ended up having a tuna sub at Subway for dinner, which was the healthiest option available. Back on track today. Mom is better too. Hope the group's doing great! Looking forward to Monday...
Pics include the ant and my sonny boy in front of his own advertisement for football-wear, at the mall.
Day 11 is past us already, and it's nice to also realise I've been on Kenzai for over a year now. Started this journey in June last year and it's been great so far. On Intl. Yoga Day, today, did a good Kettlebell workout instead of Yoga, and I'm not regretting it. Waiting for the actual 'swings', 'clean' and 'snatch' moves to get started.
Meanwhile, been busy in the kitchen 😊 The fruits are the best part! A summer program is great in the tropics with the fascinating variety of fruits flooding the markets in India. While we await our organic mangoes from my brother's farm to ripen, I'm really enjoying the lychees, mangosteen, rambutan, black jamuns and jackfruit.
Lunch today was rather different too. Had boiled cassava for my carbs with fish (a piece from curry in raw mango, coconut gravy) and a piece of fried mackerel (slightly indulgent), some prawn cooked with boiled jackfruit seeds (really yumm 😋), with stir fried bitter gourd, cooked raw mangoes and a salad of carrots and radish (doused in lots of fresh lemon juice & garnished with generous amounts if coriander/ cilantro, to remove the bite from the radish).
In all, workouts are good and diet is on track. No complaints. But I'd like to pick up on what George said in his blog about decreasing fruit portions and upping cardio for better results. I was wondering especially about the portion of fruits post dinner, in my current diet. I happen to have high cholesterol, and was advised to skip fruits past lunch time. Do you think I should cut out the last fruit snack from my diet?! Any thoughts...
Hope everyone else is rocking da bellz 🔔😁
Week 2, and in typical Kenzai fashion, things have already moved up a notch with the Bells. All was well today, except for that killer exercise called the Scoop Push-up! I've always found that one tough, and I really felt it today as well.
Diet on track today. No excesses or misses. Spent a lot of time in the kitchen putting together enough to last the next couple of days. Not sure that'll happen, coz when I'm on a Kenzai Prog, invariably the entire family ends up eating Kenzai meals like me.
In response to Thomas' suggestion, sharing pics of what was on my plate today, for b'fast, lunch and dinner. If I am what I eat, I should be a multi-coloured 🌈 soon 😉 How's everyone else in the group doing?
It's been a super Sunday so far! Nice long walk around the lake this morning, a traditional Keralite power breakfast- 'puttu', with a twist. Steamed ragi (finger millet) instead of the usual rice flour, with grated coconut from our tree at home, sweetened slightly with jaggery instead of sugar and flavoured lightly with ground cardamom. And, some super sightings today- lovely foliage along the walking path, an incredible pupa, that looked curiously like an alien pod, and a new winged creature poised for flight 😀
Sharing images of everything and hoping you guys are all having a great weekend too!
Looking forward to Monday...
Hey Team Firedrake!
This is the first Kenzai Prog, where I've done cycle workouts for so many days in a row, and am happy that it's going to stay this way for the rest of the Kettlebell training. I like having to put everything in place before starting the workout, so I can move seamlessly from one exercise to the next without a hitch, and get through the entire set in HIIT style. Prepping ahead has always been my bane, and I've often felt I couldn't sustain the long maintenance workouts coz it takes quite long, setting things up as I go, and it gets even worse when my flow is broken by having to respond to someone on social media, etc!
Instead, now I just go into do-not-disturb mode and do it all in one go. Seems like the answer to my problems.
So far so good. All workouts are in. Interesting to note days 4, 5 & 6 were repeats of days 1, 2 & 3. I can also see how some of the resistance band moves are building up to the k-bell exercises to come ahead. On the diet front, mostly on track, with the odd stray indulgence in the form of peanuts and green tea in the evening instead of only fruits, or a bit of honey on my french toast for breakfast yesterday. Will get rid of all that starting Monday. Noticed that my week 1 diet already has no carbs for dinner. It's what I need right now... getting a bit strict.
Sharing pics of my bfast yesterday and another of my 6 kg k-bell. When I get a perfect avocado, bright peppers with carrots, the rainbow is already on my plate!
I'm hoping my single k-bell is going to be enough, even though it weighs a little less than 15% of my body weight. I've had pain in my right elbow coming into this Prog, which is why I decided not to get a heavier one just yet. If things improve, I'll probably invest in a second, bigger k-bell.
Hope everyone else is doing good 💪👍
It’s great to be back on another Kenzai Program formally, after a full three months off the grid. I finished Reach in March and hadn’t quite managed to make the time to fit in another Prog until now. With the summer holidays ending, and my son back in school, I can now get back to my routine too.
I’m already a bit late on my blogs, so will get straight to the point. To answer Thomas’ questions:
1. What do you want to get out of this training?
Quite simply, I’d like to get back on track. It’s always better to have the discipline of following a set plan- in terms of workouts and diet, rather than follow the hit-and-miss approach of maintenance. I’d like to clean things up again and pull up my socks. Want to get leaner, fitter, stronger. I’ve used a Kettlebell before starting on the Kenzai journey, but without any formal training. I mostly watched YouTube tutorials and created my own workout schedules in the past. So, although I’m familiar with the basic moves and some of the terminology, I’m hoping Kenzai will teach me the right way to go about it, and make the most of it.
2. What do you need in order to make that happen? I’ll need to show up, first- both physically and on the blog. Although I’ve had a late start on the blog, I hope to be more regular going forward. Even though I’ve stayed mostly ‘Kompliant’ on the diet front and worked out at least 5 days a week in between programs, I’ve never blogged while on maintenance mode. One loses that community feeling while being on one’s own, and I think showing up here again, will help to get the K-bell swinging in a fun way.
I noticed some familiar faces in the group, including the Head Trainer :-) I look forward to getting to know the rest of you over the next few days…
Sharing pictures of my ‘Kenzai family’ working up a sweat at the park last weekend, and my somewhat lazy/ sleepy canine companions, who aren’t really rooting for me, when I pick up my K-bell ;-)
Day 4, done.
Reached, and Arrived💃🏁 GRADUATION POST
Reach wasn’t an easy Program, but I thoroughly enjoyed the 56 day challenge getting used to the process of stretching my limits, a little at a time, thrice a day. Although it ended yesterday, I found myself doing the dynamic stretches again this morning, followed by the Sun Salutations and the first maintenance flexibility workout. So, if this is my new normal, I’m happy to be here 😃
In Feb 2016, I fractured my right wrist after falling from a 6ft ladder. This put an abrupt stop to my Yoga practice, which was coming along fine until then. It took longer than I expected for my bones to heal, and I simply couldn’t find the strength or alignment to go back to doing most of the standard poses in the Surya Namaskara set or most other asanas, because it involved putting strain on the joints, especially the wrists. In fact when I began KB 1 in June, I struggled with the chest dips, tricep dips, pull-ups and push-ups mostly because of this old injury and had to opt for alternatives at times. I’m really relieved that with Reach, I have found my old self again. My wrist seems to have finally healed, letting me pull, push, lift my own weight, and finally form a 90º angle without wincing.
My biggest achievement over the past 2 months has been the relative success in getting my palms down flat in the Forward Bend position. What is still out of reach for me is the destination of the Wide Angle Forward Bend. I tried my best and the most I could do, was get my elbows to touch the floor. I’ve moved a fair distance from where I began on Jan 15th. The max distance between my fingertips and groin then was 17”, whereas, on day 56, it was over 27”. Also, my hips are a lot more flexible now, as the angle to which my legs can stretch is a lot wider than before.
That said, I have to admit that everyday, I feel like I’m starting from scratch. The first few dynamic stretches feel harder and it isn’t until I’ve reached my fourth round of Sun Salutations, that my body starts to loosen up and get in the flow. I am still adjusting my heels in the transition to Downward Dog, and I don’t get my palms down flat naturally each time I have to Forward Bend. But overall, I’m quite pleased with my progress and to not have missed a single day’s workout. That I managed to stick with the diet plan for the most part, is also quite heartening. All the damage from Xmas and New Year indulgences has been taken care of. My weight is stable, I’m still off sugar and not craving treats. Got myself some stevia, in case I feel like a cup of chai (chai-tea), and I’m able to manage with a fraction of the quantity per sachet, also because I don’t quite like the aftertaste.
Think, post Reach, I’ll be sticking to a mix of Yoga and strength training for my maintenance workouts, as far as possible. Received Patrick’s article on ‘Abs’ via email last week, (https://www.kenzai.com/pulse/abs-abs-abs/?utm_source=Master+List&utm_campaign=9b6605a3b3-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_03_07&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_a69566740a-9b6605a3b3-119025153) and in hindsight, I think the Wide Angle Forward Bend is somewhat like the coveted, yet unnecessary hankering for the elusive six-packs! Of course, this could be a case of sour grapes 😉
Until later, thank you for the wisdom, the encouragement and the bonhomie, Kenzai. Thanks Kim and Kate, for always being around, and to a lovely team of fellow-grasshoppers! Cheers, Team Shalabhasana…
Sharing some before and after pics. Putting up so many pictures feels rather narcissistic, but I assure you, the purpose is fairly academic!
Am starting with the Forward Bend and Downward Dog comparisons, where change is very visible, followed by the Wide Angle Forward Bend. In the Wall Backbend, the curvature of my spine has improved greatly. The distance between my toes and wall has gone up from 32” to 36”. The Wall Twist feels easier, though I did not take measurements. Shoulder Raise on Wall, doesn’t seem to have changed much. The Rear Clasped Hand Raise has improved slightly. Back Scratch Test is good. This is one more posture where my broken wrist was bothering me earlier. Now I can clasp my fingers behind my back. The Broomstick Raise also seems to have improved slightly. In the Pyramid Forward bend, I’m now able to touch my head to the floor and get back up. The Calf Touch to the Wall varied on both legs for me in Jan I was able to bend my right knee more than the left, at a distance of 12", whereas my left foot trailed at 11.5". After Reach, both calves are more and equally strong with an increased distance from heel to wall measure of 13.5" for both legs. The Active Leg Raise- I seem to have missed this in Jan, but feels good now. My Jack-Knife posture in Jan was rather off, I think, but looks better now. The Squat Test is good. I’ve shared this before- I can go down all the way and get back up. The Cobbler Test was fine in Jan, and has stayed good all along. For me, it is part of the Butterfly Pose (Patangasana), where you flap your folded legs like the wings of a butterfly. This is the initial pose of that asana. There’s almost no gap between groin and heels for me. The Seated Forward Bend was also doable in Jan for me, but has become easier now. The Wide Angle Legs on Wall poses seem to show the improvement in flexibility over two months. Much better now. During the Floor Spine Twist, my hands were able to make good contact with the floor and the twist was quite complete. The Active Backbend is also fairly good. Not posting a picture here, as I’ve already shared pics of Chaturanga earlier. The last one is the Floor Shoulder Mobility Test. Here, my palms touching the floor stage looked kind of silly in Jan, but looks better now. Meanwhile, the Samsung Health app on my phone tells me, I’ve had a really active health streak for a while. Chuffed to be ranked amongst the top 2% of the most active females in my age group, using the app! Small joys 😄
And with that, it’s a wrap! It’s been great getting to know you guys. Thanks for indulging me and my 🐶🐕 doggies See you all, some place else, soon 🤞👋
So, today is the penultimate day of the Reach Program, and it’s now done and dusted. It’s been an incredible 55 days of testing my stretching limits. I’m really relieved to discover that I’m not as stuck-up or brittle as I feared before I started out. After KB1 in last Sept, I felt pretty stiff and tight. Jump roping was the hardest activity for me, at the start of KB1. It left my calves so tight, I struggled to walk properly, in the early weeks, and going down the stairs or squatting felt particularly difficult. I often needed to squat in the garden or when I took pictures of little insects, and getting back up really hurt by calves. Although things changed and I got a lot better with time, I was concerned about the lack of flexibility in my muscles overall, which I enjoyed pre-Kenzai. Thanks to Reach, I’ve not only regained the suppleness, I feel like I’ve acquired a new level of comfortable bendiness, I didn’t imagine I was capable of. We may not have done headstands, or handstands, arm balances, bound poses or inversions during Reach, but that’s quite alright. This has been quite intense, and the lessons have been really enlightening. A lot of what I’ve learnt, is likely to stay with me for good. As a student of Hatha Yoga, the blend of methods and techniques in this Prog, were easy for me to transition into. A big thank you to Kenzai, for another terrific Program, excellent back-up and feedback from trainers and teammates.
There’re a couple of unrelated things, that’ve been weighing me down lately, which I’d like to bring up. These are connected to our basic needs- food and water.
Quick on the heels of the devastating news about Cape Town running dry, the BBC (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-42982959) put out a list of 11 cities across the globe, facing the highest risk of facing a similar future. Next to Sao Paulo in Brazil, my own city, Bangalore, is on that list! If the situation isn’t fixed asap, the prospects are indeed bleak. Needless to say, it worries me immensely.
Next to that is the news about how poultry in several parts of the world, including India is no longer safe for human consumption because the birds are indiscriminately being fed last-hope antibiotics like colistin. Drugs like colistin are meant to treat patients critically ill with infections that have become resistant to nearly all other drugs. But it turns out, chickens are routinely fed theses medicines to protect them from diseases or to make them gain weight faster. This kind of mindless profit-oriented approach is leading to worldwide drug resistance, which is simply unthinkable. Here’s the report: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/a-game-of-chicken-how-indias-poultry-farms-are-spawning-global-superbugs/article22597845.ece
Thanks to such worrisome news, we as a family have been in search of safer protein substitutes. While a steady diet of chicken breast had sustained us for a while, we’ve now diversified, to include some mutton and mostly fish. If one had to gradually go off sources of animal protein, what would you suggest as the most reliable alternatives? I’ve gone off meat completely in the past mostly because I find it hard to reconcile killing animals for food, being an animal-lover. Now, if I had to add health and nutrition concerns to that, what choices am I left with? I know there are several vegetarians and even some vegans on Kenzai. What do they do for protein?
Maybe I should’ve posted this on the blog earlier, rather than waiting for the end of Reach.
Hope everyone else is doing well…
Sharing a few pictures- one is of a really large grass hopper I spotted recently. This one is dedicated to the ‘Locust’ group. Also, a few shots of my doggies- Mani, the youngest pup, happy to go to sleep on the yoga mat, next to me, as I go into Shavasana, and Simba and gang showing off their inspiring happy dog poses. Some of Simba’s stretches seem impossible to emulate 🤓
Hey Team, so the last week of Reach is already here, and it feels like one long process of pulling, pushing & detangling imaginary muscle knots is now reaching a crescendo. The buildup to this process has left me feeling like clay, kneading and loosening up so I could take up a better shape & form, move and sit with greater control, and know from within, that it is mind over body- I can tell myself to relax and go just that much farther each time, expecting the limits to stretch, so long as I go through the paces and keep at it.
Apart from PNF, the 4-part mantra/visualization technique developed by the Vietnamese Zen monk Thich Nhat Hanh has been a real revelation to me, these past few days. I find the breathing-in and out phrases really helpful, especially during the long evening stretches. It helps me pace my breathing, making it slow and long, and distracts me from feeling the strain of stretched muscles. And, it really compliments the PNF technique.
I should mention here, that around August last year, when I first heard about the Sitting Rising Test (SRT) developed by Brazilian physician Claudio Gil Araujo and his colleagues (https://youtu.be/LWyRUYMQ7ws) I was quite shocked to find that I could neither sit straight down without support, nor could I rise back up without using at least a finger for help. But, after practicing the Reach exercises, and making it a point to try SRT daily, I have improved greatly and can now do it ten times out of ten. Up until last week, I was at about 8/10. This is no mean feat for me!
Last week’s question is a tough one for me: Are you using your power efficiently? Could you make any changes to give you more time and energy for your real priorities? I know I waste a lot time on unnecessary things and go in circles, where one task links to another without a clear plan, before I realise I’m out of time for the essentials! I did not download or fill out Laura Vanderkam's 168 hours method, mostly because I’m afraid to be found out!! I know I should be doing better.
This week’s question, ‘What activity consistently gets you into the flow state? Are you making some time each week to allow flow states to occur?’
I’m most at peace when in natural surroundings and pottering about in the garden can take up all my time, if I could afford it. But I’m not sure that requires great skill. Nature photography is perhaps the thing that interests me most, next to simply being in the midst of nature. I find myself absorbed in it quite often, which is very rewarding, but the downside is, I have a huge library of images now, and almost no time left to use them. Haven’t been too active on my Instagram or FB photography page lately.
Sharing images of improvements in some areas. The Chaturanga, is surely on of them. Shalabasana (locust pose) and Dhanushasana (bow pose) are work in progress.
I’m doing the PNF strap glute stretch using the strap now, though I can technically hold my foot out sideways, and fold both legs sideways.
My Upwards Pigeon is fine, but there’s too much gap between the floor and me, during the Pigeon holding pose.
Let’s finish strong, everyone 👍
Quick Recap of days 43, 44, and 45. Monday (Day 43) felt a bit tough, mostly because I really felt the pain in my upper body from doing pull-ups, standing ovations, forward shoulder raises, tricep dips, etc during Sunday’s strength-training workout. Also felt like I needed to eat in between my workout, which is unusual. So had my egg and some milk after my skipping session, before starting the yoga stretches.
Am liking the ‘Flow’ sequences. Monday’s Warrior II flow was fairly smooth. My Half Moon Pose has improved. I’m able to hold the pose and lift my head enough to look in front, although I tend to lose balance if I try to look up at the sky. The Reverse Plank is still quite tough. I’m surprised to be able to do the strap glute and strap hamstring stretches without needing to use a strap. But I’m not sure how to relax the stretch during the PNF exhalations, with my fingers holding my toes up. I loosen the stretch and bend my knee slightly during the pause, and go back to a full stretch soon after. Is that alright? Also, while the Happy Baby Pose, looks simple, I seem to really struggle to bring my knees closer to the mat, and make the thighs parallel to the floor, like Thomas in the pics.
Yesterday (Day 44), the Warrior I Flow wasn’t very smooth. The transition from Warrior I to III was fine but the Side Pyramid Pose is tough, as it takes me some time to get my palm flat down, while keeping the leg stretched straight. It feels really intense, and transitioning from there to the Dancer pose is not easy at all. I wobble during the transition and then fall off after about the first 3 breaths in the Dancer Pose.
Triangle Flow today was ok, except for some difficulty in landing the palm flat on the ground in both Reverse Triangle and Reverse Half Moon poses.
With the evening stretches, the Front Split, which used to be quite hard at first has become much better now, but the Wide Angle Forward Bend is still a struggle.
Sharing some pics. I’ve been switching around my carb options slightly. Had dosas made of ragi (finger millet, an ancient grain), with tomato chutney for breakfast, as tomatoes are plentiful right now. Also had kappa and meen curry (pressure cooked cassava with fish broth)- a staple from my home-state, Kerala. Was surprised that my portion of 80 gms for lunch was barely 3 pieces! Normally I’d have had more than double that quantity. Veggies and egg whites for dinner suit me. I often pair the left over veggies next morning with the left over pasta grams from my son’s school lunch to make a fun breakfast.
Also attaching pics of the Hamstring Stretch and the Cobbler pose, which for some reason, is rather easy for me
Thrilled today, to discover a new level of flexibility in my bones and muscles 😀
At Day 41 of the Program, all that bending, pulling, stretching and reaching appears to be convincing my brain that the body can indeed breach barriers and reach new lengths.
Was able to actually land both my palms flat down on the floor in the forward bend pose today, something I simply could not do earlier, no matter how hard I tried.
Posting before and after pics of day 1 and day 41, for comparison.
The forward bend with feet apart helped to add that little extra, apart from the PNF technique and improved flexibility in general. I was able ro also touch my forhead to my knees for the first time today! Yayyy 💃👏👏
How's everyone else on team Shalabhasana?
Hey everyone! Back after a break. Been slacking on the blog for a bit. I’ve probably been pushing off answering the recent questions of the week, subconsciously. But I guess, I might as well get down to it. To me, both the questions from last week and this one, are linked.
“Think about a time when you life knocked you down. How did you come back to equilibrium, and what did you learn from the experience? Has your life ever taken an unexpected twist? Can you imagine how things would be different if this twist hadn't come along?”
Well, this month marks the 10th death anniversary of my husband, and to me, that one big event covers most things about being knocked down and getting back up, and about the unexpected twist that turned things topsy turvy for me. It was a bolt from the blue; something I could never have prepared for, especially when our infant son was only 4 months old, and I was living far away from home in Italy, a virtual stranger in the country, where I had no friends except through my late husband, or relatives except for his. I still had to find my feet really quickly to cope with the aftermath, take far-reaching decisions, have my wits about me, and be there for my child, who was a lot less prepared than I, for everything that was to come. Oddly, I think, I found comfort in something as basic as the everyday routine of caring for my son. From every little daily ritual of changing his diapers, to getting each meal ready on time, cleaning, washing etc… there was so much to do, that it kept me occupied in a positive way. After he turned 1, I had more time for myself. I found it very useful to start exercising at home. I lost weight, got in shape, felt a little better. Just before he turned 2, I returned to India, and went back to work. A lot has changed since, but after all these years, I feel a lot more in control of my life today. I’ve learnt many lessons along the way, but most of all, I’ve learnt that nothing is permanent. Every situation can turn on its head in an instant, but to despair is not the answer. You make the best of a bad situation and carry on. No matter what, you need to find a reason to wake up every morning, have something to look forward to, things to do, people to meet and talk to, love and care for. Life, is too precious a gift to waste away, so feel alive, be grateful for your gifts, and live as best as you can.
If this “unexpected twist” hadn’t occurred, I guess my life story would have been quite different. But I’ve had the opportunity to introspect, come back to my roots and take another shot at life in ways I never really anticipated. And Kenzai is probably part of that journey…
Meanwhile, over the weekend, I seem to have got the hang of the Half Moon pose, the Reverse Half Moon and to a lesser extent, the Wide Angle Forward bend Twist.
Was unsure about the breath counts during the PNF stretches at first. But I figured it’s 2 breaths (contraction), 1 exhalation, 2 deep breaths- and this pattern repeated 5 times makes 20 breaths. Am I right? The World Pincer stretch ends really wide for me after 20 breaths. Does that sound about right? During the Seated Forward Bend, are you supposed to keep going deeper? I can almost touch my forehead to my knees. In the Wide Angle PNF pose, I realised I hardly shift at all from my max stretch. Today, still struggled with the Side Pyramid. Can touch hands down for barely 2 of the 5 breaths, without the hamstrings screaming. And the Reverse Plank last week- that one’s a real killer. Just can’t form the outstretched pose, with pointy feet, in the way Thomas does in the demo.
So, for the first time today, I managed to get my elbows to touch the mat, during the Wide Angle Forward Bend- a huge milestone for me, after struggling with it for days! Can finally say, I'm making some progress with what is hard for me. The One Leg Side Bend was also not that hard today, and I seem to be getting the hang of the Half Moon pose gradually, as well. So far, so good, but the Side Pyramid pose was quite difficult today.
Food is great, when I'm able to eat at home. And I've decided, Simba is my Valentine 😁😍
We're past the half-way mark on Reach... how's everyone else doing?
For a Sunday, today was anything but a holiday! Woke up at 5.30am, left home at 7.30am, to chaperone my son to his Olympiad exams, which was an all day affair, as he had to do English, Science and Math between 9am - 3pm. And while he was putting his mind to work, I and my brother decided to get our cardio workout done. We left behind a large crowd of parents of other competing kids, of varying shapes and sizes parked under shady trees to beat the heat and left our car behind to walk a fair distance to the large wholesale veggie market to pick up our weekly supplies. Pre-Kenzai, we’d probably be sitting idle too, after all I’d carried my laptop and other gadgets, had a lot of reading to catch up on, & plenty of digital garbage to purge too. But we decided to get off our backsides and hit the road. It was hot even at 11am when we started and the mercury kept rising up until 12.30pm, by when we had to return to pick up the kid for lunch. Got quite a tan in the process, but managed to walk over 12.45 km today. Not bad, for a Sunday!
My brother got quite a workout from lugging the very heavy bag of groceries all the way…
Lunch was not perfect. Just 2 rotis, some dal (lentils) and paneer (cottage cheese) at the neighbourhood eatery. Couldn’t find large or small helpings of clean fresh veggies Kenzai-style. But had carried apples & bananas, also had a bowl of other cut fruits- muskmelon, watermelon, sapotas, pineapple etc, and some tender coconut water. Later, also had some ice-cream to cope with the weather! (In addition to the pizza from day before, that’s quite an indulgence, this week) Got home early evening, and managed to complete today’s strength training too. Feeling quite accomplished.
Now, to answer the question of the outgoing week: ‘When you look at your life, what trends are moving in the wrong direction? What trends are moving in the right direction?
What’s right is that my health situation seems to be under control. Not that I had any real issues, but with my weight and eating habits in order, I don’t feel predisposed to any disease or condition. My dad had Type 2 Diabetes and now my mum has it too, but having kicked sugar from my diet, cleaning up in general and including exercise as a daily ritual, I’m confident I might not follow the trajectory of my parents.
What’s moving in the wrong direction? Well, I used to be very career-oriented in my early years, and almost married to my job. But I quit working as a 24/7 TV journalist about 5 years ago, and chose to work from home/ freelance. I’ve been on a break for a while, and haven’t quite managed to go back. I’m hoping to change that now, as my son grows older, and more independent.
Sharing pics of my progress so far with the Tree pose and the Dancer pose. I hope one day, I can lift my leg up high like Thomas in the demo pic. Might be a long wait…
I haven't been very regular with my blogs, but I have been doing all my workouts, and diet is also on track. I find the new 'balance poses' as part of the Skillful Movement practice both challenging and fun. It’s rather humbling to find myself clumsily tumble out of poses without control! The Tree Hold on Monday for example- I couldn’t stay in position for longer than 3 secs at a time. But amazingly, the same pose today seemed really easy. My standing foot hardly wobbled and I felt I could go on standing a lot longer than the prescribed time. Likewise, with other poses that seemed intimidating at first, like the Balancing Cat and Boat Pose, I was really surprised that I could actually do them without much difficulty. The new Side Toe Tap Foot morning stretch feels hard to do. But, what I’m really struggling with still is the Half Moon Pose. I tried a few times today, but couldn’t hold on continuously for longer than 3 breaths. It seems odd, given that I have no real trouble with the Warrior III Pose, which is quite similar. Balancing on one foot with arms pointed straight ahead is far easier, than coordinating it with the arms flayed pointing to the ground and to the sky. In fact, I find that I lose balance the moment I try to look up instead of in front, which is the more challenging version of the pose.
But on the flip side, I’m able to touch my head to the ground easily now in the Pyramid pose, and rise back up using only shoulder strength. For the first time, I was able to sit in the Yoga Squat Pose from a standing position without support, go down fully and stand back up. Also, the Seated One Leg Forward Twist (evening stretch), which I was convinced I wouldn’t be able to do at first, was actually possible to do!
Holding the Front Split pose for 5 a full mins in the evenings is still literally quite a stretch. Towards the end, the hamstrings really want to stop being pulled. Progress on the 10 mins Wide Angle Forward Bend is also slow and not that great. But overall, I think I definitely have the flexibility I thought I’d lost, back. The rest now, is a bonus 😉 Meanwhile, my 🐶🐕seem to find my Yoga poses rather cozy!
How’s everyone else doing?