This is a picture of my seat. I've toyed with the idea of getting a "proper" zafu/zabuton set, but why? As I've gotten older, I've leaned more towards a minimalist state of mind. These blankets work and they work well. They offer lots of support, are easy to put way and don't require me to spend anymore money. Plus, they add the extra benefit of doubling as blankets! Done.
I enjoy guided meditations from time to time, especially if deep in a dark mood and my mind just cannot seem to settle itself. My favorite app for guided meditations is Insight Timer. Insight Timer offers loads of different types of guided meditations...anything you can imagine. One of my favorite guided meditation series is Live Awake - Sarah Blondin. Her voice is soothing and her meditations/reflections are a good reminder that what I am feeling (no matter what it is) is part of the universal human experience.
Follow the link. Check her out. She's great.
I am reading today's lesson...not finished yet, but I was struck by this sentence, " You could honestly stop this course right now and come away a better person simply by learning breath awareness." From my experience, this is 100% true. Let me tell you why.
My very normal 3 year old pitches some horrific, dramatic fits over the smallest, most inconsequential details of life. But, that's 3...everything seems new and important to her and totally worth screaming about if it doesn't go her way. I get it. Guess what has been the MOST effective way of calming her down? BREATH. I started it with pretending to blow up balloons with her. Then, moved on to just talking her through a few deep breaths. It's like magic. "Remember what we talked about? Breathe." We take a deep breath together. "Good. Breathe." Another deep breath. "Okay. One more." Last deep breath together. Fit over. We talk about it. I feel like the best parent on the face of the Earth for the next half our until something else sets her into a panic.....
I woke up this morning with that "Holy shit! It's Christmas" feeling. Day 1 of a new Kenzai program! Whoopee! Unfortunately, it seems that I am awake before the program actually switches from Day 0 to Day 1. I know, you're like, WTF are you doing up before 4AM?! It's just my constitution. I crash between 8-9 at night, wake up with the birds...and, yes, there actually was one bird calling at 3:30 this morning. Enough excuse to get out of bed after I settled Bianca back to sleep with a warm bottle.
So, nice to be back after a long absence. I was in Kenzai hibernation. Well, actually, I've been busting my butt at my day job for the last couple of months and needed to take the time to focus on that aspect of my life. We turned in our FY2018 report on Friday, and now, I'm under a little less pressure. Perfect time to try a new Kenzai adventure. I feel grateful to be able to come back to this Kenzai Kommunity and find a program that addresses exactly my needs at this moment in time. I'm even double grateful to be extended the honor to assistant train Mind. I look forward to navigating the obstacle course of the human mind with all of you!
Kenzai Reach - Burnout GRADUATION POST
This training round was a total flop for me. In reflecting on why, I've come to this conclusion. I needed a break from a structured training cycle and didn't listen to my body/brain. From time to time, I like to step back from Kenzai and come back with a fresh enthusiasm and perspective. With that learning, I've decided to wait until October for another training cycle when I will tackle Kettlebell. I've heard such good things about the program, and its timed perfectly to give me some space to relax and regroup.
In the meantime, I'll be here doing lighter exercises that focus on rehabilitating my core. It's odd...my core feels strong and integrated, especially in the balance poses, but I still struggle with bladder control issues and a slight gap in my abs. My goal for the next 6 weeks is to do daily simple deep core exercises. Consistency over intensity.
Thanks for always being supportive, even when I am off the grid.
I picked a difficult time period to try to navigate a Kenzai program. I'm actually surprised that Ward hasn't kicked me out of the program yet! Wow.
Brief update. I am about 40% on program. After the last update, I traveled to Uganda to co-facilitate a couple of workshops. The picture is where I was staying last week. My diet became extra relaxed but not terrible. I did morning stretches nearly every day. The evening stretches are still my arch-nemesis. I don't remember the last time I did them. I even stopped doing the yoga work as prescribed by Kenzai. I did yoga but I did it my own way. I stopped jump-roping because I was fed up with peeing myself and started doing alternative cardio that is more mom-friendly. I was doing the plank challenge and 8MA challenge but decided to stop it and replace it with a daily diastasis recti friendly core routine. I felt that my separation was getting worse instead of better so thought to dial-back the core work and spend some time reconnecting to my deep core and pelvic floor.
So, basically, I've gone rogue, but not in a bad way. I regret not being more social on the blogs, but my internet in Uganda was spotty. I spent the time I was online connecting with my family instead of with Kenzai. Priorities. The good news is that I didn't just give up on my fitness. The bad news is that I haven't connected well with this program.
Oh yeah, and I won't be able to update my picture today. My phone disappeared in the Addis Ababa airport while I was taking a nap. I am still working on getting a replacement phone up and running. But, for the nutrition team, I'm about the same as I was at the end of week three. Perhaps I gained a 1/2 kg while eating a bit loosely, in Kampala, but I'm sure the diet at this moment is still relevant.
Yeah, I know, I disappeared on you guys. Like girl on fire then up in smoke! Poof! Vanished.
I traveled to Zambia for one week with the sweet little stinkers to visit their family that side. Per usual, I thought I would be able to handle the travel, the children and the Kenzai. Unfortunately, I could really only handle the travel and the children. Everything else went to the wayside. I did one Reach workout. One only. Yikes! Let's not even discuss the diet. I ate some carrots for breakfast a couple mornings. At least a few clean veggies passed my lips. I traveled via local transportation. How many of you have ever ridden local transport in a developing country? You guys know what I'm talking about...as for the rest of you, it can't be explained with words. I'm sorry. Maybe the picture below will give a better idea? Okay, it wasn't THAT bad but pretty damn close.
I'm home now and preparing to travel to Uganda on Wednesday for 10 days (via airplane). I'll be sans children, so I should be able to manage my workouts and keep up with the community, at the very least. Now, let me go check out the rest of you and see how all my teammates are getting along...
When I uploaded this week's picture, I realized that somehow I missed a weekly photo, but in my mind, I can't understand where that week went...I thought I was on time and doing just fine. This is what I know. I've Reached everyday. I've measured grams for most meals everyday. How I missed that photo? No clue, because I've been here doing it all from the beginning. After uploading this week's photo, it seems as if it shows that I've made backward progress. Interesting. May be the time of day the picture was taken. Or, may also be that I've been doing daily strength work along with Reaching? I'm working some Sculpt workouts again to keep those legs nice and strong.
Yesterday, the balance poses were surprisingly easy for me. Warrior III has always been a nemesis, but yesterday I glided in smoothly, held strong for 6 breaths and glided out just as gracefully. WTF?! Sculpt. That is the answer. Sculpt trained those small balance muscles in my legs and gave me the integrated core that is necessary for improving balance. For me, it's a staggering result that I only now see as I'm moving into a different program. Another testament for my Sculpt training - I worked through the Kenzai 8-minute abs with my man on Saturday. He's in Week 3 of Kenzai Body. He has those showy 8-pack abs that people define as the picture of true strength. I have my stretched, somewhat imperfect belly...there's abs somewhere in there. Here is what happened. He collapsed in the middle of the O-ups...not even halfway through the 8 minutes. He continued after some seconds of rest but he stopped to rest. My Kenzai integrated body pounded through the 8-minutes, with burn yes but with endurance, too. No rest for Momma. Goes to show...what glitters isn't always gold! ;-) And, even those that look like they don't need Kenzai could use a little Kenzai in their life. Anyway, I'm sure he'll catch up and surpass me soon enough as he explores Kenzai Body.
I am not religious. Religions freak me out. The word God freaks me out. As a result, I don't know how to pray. Prayer makes me feel silly and ridiculous. Who am I talking to? As far as I'm concerned, there is no big dude in the sky listening to me talk to myself. But, somehow, in my soul, I believe prayer is important, and I want to open up more space in my life to practice prayer. Not so that God will bless me with a $10,000,000 or a brand new car or immortality, but prayer seems to be to be a way to practice gratitude, offer love and good vibes to the world and work through life's difficulties.
I just don't know how to do it without bring up all the religious baggage that surrounds it. How do I not feel silly? How do I open up to prayer?
I am Jenny. I live in Malawi. Currently, outside of work and family, I spend my time obsessing about a business plan for a start-up I'm envisioning on the property right next door to where I currently live. What makes me happy these days? Finding that little gem of alone time to do whatever I want.
Why Reach? I think it's important to intersperse some flexibility work in with the strength work once in awhile. Makes me more well-rounded. Reach also lends itself to introspection, as we explored in today's lesson, and I am in that sort of stage now, with the business planning underway. As part of the plan, I signed up for yoga teacher training, which seems to match Reach well. :)
I'm a mommy. I've got kids. I like to think of them as distractions rather than barriers...but sometimes they are difficult distractions to step around or hop over. I'm getting the hang of balancing work, kids and my own needs, though. Still a challenge but a manageable one.
Karaoke song. No thought necessary on this one. "Like a Prayer" Madonna. Also, oddly, "Welcome to the Jungle" Gun n' Roses. Both of these were big hits with the crowd when I performed them. Brought down the house! Of course, for a group effort, "Love Shack" B-52s is a classic.
Question of the week! Let's get this one done. Core Beliefs. I've been thinking a lot about this over the last few years, brought on by having children. What do I want to model for my children? What are those values that I want them to pick up from me? Well, in my business plan, I wrote the business will operate on the values of peace, strength, honesty, growth, simplicity and equity, because these are the core values that I find top the list in my own life. The business will be a health and wellness center with many different services, all of which I hope will bring more of these values into the lives of people living in Malawi.
Life is crazy busy right now, but time to give my flexibility some attention. Starting photo up! Let's see how much deeper I can get into that forward bend. Flexibility is so interesting. For some comparison, I've posted my deep squat. Super flexible hips but those hamstrings are tight. Looking forward to my second attempt at Reach. I'll be around to catch up on blogs in due course.
Sculpt Graduation - The Belfie GRADUATION POST
Before you do anything else, please go to the photos and check the before picture and after picture. That before is as epically terrible as any before picture posted by Fish (https://kenzai.me/jasonf/blog - this is Fish, check him out, he's pretty cool, just finished Chizzle). The booty is looking good in pink...thanks to the Kenzai team and the awesomeness that was Sculpt. By far, my favorite program. I absolutely love leg focused work, probably because I am good at it. I've got strong legs, weak upper body. That is me. I also adore ballet and idolize ballerinas. Ballerinas do amazing things with their bodies, and they make it all look so easy. They are so slim and wispy and fragile-looking but it's all an optical illusion. There is strength and power and flexibility rolled up into one Superhero package. See beautiful Ballerina at the Beach shot below. Just wow.
In a way, I wish this program was longer, but I am glad to take a two week break before starting Reach. The last week was brutal for me. I was toast. I did every workout and stayed the diet course about 90%. I admit to reaching for a couple chocolate coconut cookies in a moment of bone-tired, deep weakness. But, I dropped 1 kg between week 5 and week 6 after holding steady most of the program. Some of the last pregnancy fat reserves left my body in that time and the workouts from week 5 were tough. I could feel it. Friday, totally zonked. Saturday I did an easy yin yoga routine and blasted through the final workout at 4:30 AM on Sunday morning, so that I could really enjoy my Sunday. Btw, those weird arabesque lunges were clearly dreamed up by the devil.
And, that's it for me. As always, I'm excited to see what new challenges lie around the corner and what new fitness goals I can take on. I am also super, duper excited that my partner is signing on for the July Kenzai Body group. I won't have to feel so guilty about feeding him bland, steamed vegetables and boiled/baked meats every night.
My partner has a knack for taking flattering bootie pictures. I must say, I am pleased with the results in the Week 5 picture...or at least pleased with the camera angle. Ha!
I am still loving the barre workouts, despite the evil that was Saturday's workout. For the first time, I was quivering while doing the hip tucks and those have always felt easy! Not after all the ridiculous pulse work, heel lift, double time action. Ouch! I would love to do a lot more of this bootie building, and in fact, I think I might continue it. I've established a realistic morning routine for this round of training and would like to take it into an enhanced Reach training. By enhanced, I mean layering the barre work with some flexibility work. I've already seen an increase in my flexibility in this program. Imagine focusing on it! Some of the ideas I'm floating for after Sculpt.
For now, let's focus on this week! My goal for this week is to keep the diet perfect. Gram for gram. Hit every workout with a sense of enthusiasm. And, crawl into bed on time, every night, regardless of the amount of sleep my children allow me to enjoy. I envision a perfect week ahead and a big celebration at the end! Wishing everyone else the week of their dreams!
I am running a tight ship over here in Southern Africa. I know I am because I am getting hungry. I snarfed my dinner last night (chicken mince and mushroom whole-wheat fusilli with a side of garlic beet greens), looked at my partner and said I could eat another plate just like that...I am soooo hungry! But, I didn't and with the AMAYW fruit snack to follow in short-order, I felt some solace. That said, I may have sheepishly eaten 10 grams of my daughter's Hershey cookies and cream bar, which was 55 extra calories. I know this because I am engaging an experiment of sorts....
I've never been a calorie counter. I just trusted the Kenzai approach and went with it. I got results and that was enough for me, but I'm becoming more interested in the process. Therefore, I decided to start counting the calories to see just how the diet stacked up to my caloric needs. I estimated my base need to be around 1750 calories as a 39 year old breastfeeding mother of my size and shape. I added on about 250 calories for daily exercising, which may be more or less depending on the point in the program. That puts me at about 2000 for my daily needs if I want to maintain my weight. I downloaded an app that does this calorie stuff for me...I can add food consumed and exercise and it gives me some nice visuals of where I am at with my daily intake versus daily need and how close I am to reaching my exercise targets for the week. Anyway, the app isn't perfect but it was right on track with my own estimation of my daily needs and offers lots of food choices with the option to create foods....blah, blah, blah.
Here is what I've discovered so far. Chen's diet is right on. On the days where I am following the diet to the gram, I am left with a deficit of between 100 - 300 calories. The days that are closer to 100 are the days that I use my vegetarian option and eat some beans/nuts in place of meat. The days that are closer to 300 are the days that I eat nice lean meats, like chicken or fish. And, if I slip and eat a 10 gram piece of chocolate, it won't break my diet but when I have to log it, I think real hard about whether I want to sacrifice those calories for an itsy bitsy treat. And, if I don't want to totally f-up my diet, it must be an ITSY BITSY piece. If I ate the whole bar, it is the difference between a calorie deficit for the day and just breaking even. Just breaking even will not deliver on that fat loss that will highlight those fantastic muscles I've been busting my ass to build the last 4 weeks. So, the calorie counter puts an interesting spin on keeping me accountable. A few little bites of high calorie foods over the course of the day, and I could mindlessly pass the break even point.
Anyway, interesting lessons. I like quantifying the diet. I learned a lot in less than a week.
More information here: https://kenzai.me/ward/blog/it-s-baaaaaaack-the-return-of-kung-fu-body
I completed this program back in 2010 and loved it. I found that it increased my core strength and opened up my hips a lot. Plus, it was just a different kind of training that I found to be tons of fun. I spent a lot of time pretending I was one of the ass-kicking heroines from the Kill Bill series. You can check out my blog at this link for some inspiration: http://thekungfubody-jenny.blogspot.com/