Monthly Archives: March 2012

PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE

I have completed 29 days of daily yoga practice.  I have 2 more days until the end of the month but I’m going to keep up this routine. I have attended Bikram every day since March 1 have doubled up with either another session of Bikram or my vinyasa flow at least 4 days a week.  I didn’t declare at the beginning of the month that I was in a 30 days challenge but as it turns out I have completed one.  I’ll have to sign up for a real one now and do it again.

I did notice today that my hips were tired and during my triangle posture I was really crunched into hips instead of having strong sturdy hips beneath me they were more like couch cushions that I was collapsed into.  My instructor brought it to my attention and I changed my form.  It does go to show that even daily yoga can fatigue the body.  A good fatigue but fatigue none the less.  I’m looking forward to seeing how long I can make this last with my daily practice and see when I start to notice real changes in my practice.

Tonight my husband and I are heading to our yoga class together and even after all this time I still struggle with chaturanga due to my lack of upper body strength, therefore, I interested to see how long it takes to develop that posture and get more fluid with that flow. My husband is amazing and real rock star in our class. He doesn’t like me to brag on him or be his “cheerleader” during after class in front of everyone but he likes the praise when it is just the 2 of us in the car on our way home, totally content and exhausted.

MADE THE COMMITMENT

Today I made the commitment to acupuncture and booked 3 appointments for April. I write regularly that I’m one looking for specials and that I’m thrifty when it comes to all my fitness and health wants.  There was a sign that not only rained down on me it poured and the thinking time was over and I’m switching to doing.  I received an e-mail that my yoga instructor was running a special for 3 visits on Tuesday’s only for the months of April and May. This was perfect because I could try it at an introductory rate and get a few sessions to see how I really liked it as well it is on Tuesday which is my PT day.  I just swapped out 3 PT sessions for 3 acupuncture sessions. I would have to say it was one loud sign that I needed to try acupuncture and now I will.

I still have the worries to deal with but if it works perhaps I can alternate between acupuncture and PT as needed.  Also I have been talking to other people that use acupuncture as part of their regiment and they have encouraged me to get a prescription from my doctor and with the help from my doctor push harder with my insurance company.  It’s all good advice and I love good advice.  I’ll be blogging in the coming weeks about my experience. This was a big step just taking action and booking my appointments.

BORDER LINE FLARE

Yesterday was a yin meets yang day for me.  I woke up with some stiffness and a sore throat but once I got moving things seemed to fall back into place and I was alright.  I proceeded to the gym for my workout and to Bikram all the while not really feeling like I had all my strength and I was carrying some fatigue.

I knew I was border line in flare-up but my nephew was coming over which I didn’t want to cancel but at the same time I don’t like my family to worry. I brought my nephew back here for a play date and when a nearly 2 year old is running around wild playing with everything he shouldn’t when there are hundreds of things he could, it is enough of a distraction that my husband didn’t say anything and when my mom stopped by she didn’t mention anything either.  I had it all planned to take a nice long nap when he did but to my surprise he decided no nap was needed yesterday. 

I believe he was more interested in what his Uncle Matt was doing rather than grabbing monkey and closing his eyes for a bit. Once I took him home and put the house back together my husband looked at me and said this is more than toddler fatigue, are you flaring?  I admitted I was border line and that the fatigue was extreme and some joint pain but no chills and I could still run after and pick up my nephew which is what really mattered to me.  My husband put in a movie for me and said rest and within minutes I was completely asleep after enjoying an wonderful day with two of my favorite men.

Today I’m dealing with residual fatigue but I’ll take it slow today and just go to Bikram to stretch everything out and get some heat into these bones.  I am also carrying a high level of fluid on my joints today which I need to relieve as well. Bikram helps me with all of that.

CONSIDERING ACCUPUNCTURE

It is no secret that I have tried many things where my MCTD is concerned. Some have worked, some have not and some work for a short time and the effects ware off. The medications for MCTD usually run their course in about 5 years.  I too have experienced this but my main medication plaguenil has been with me for nearly 9 years now.  This is typically unheard of especially for a medication as mild as plaquenil and since it doesn’t carry a lot of side effects the longer I can stay on it the better before I have to change to a stronger medication that may cause more severe side effects.  My doctor and I believe that I have been able to stay pretty well managed over the last several years because I do look at alternatives to medicine.

A couple of years ago I considered acupuncture but turned to yoga and especially Bikram yoga instead.  The postures do wonders for my knees, hips, ankles, and lower back.  I find that I have a range of motion in my knees that I didn’t prior to starting Bikram and just getting down on the floor was difficult because it hurt my knees and hips being in any squatting position.  Now I’m on the floor and anywhere my nephew needs me to be for that matter with ease.  With that said, I am considering acupuncture again. One of my yoga instructors is a registered acupuncturist and I trust her.  When I told my husband about it his response was “you have tried all kinds of things for MCTD, why wouldn’t you try this especially since you know her and trust her?”  I understand what he is saying and it makes sense so what is stopping me?  A – I’m a little afraid of the needles. B – I’m worried about finding time to do it. C – I’m worried that it will make me feel better but only for short amounts of time and I’ll need a regular regiment of it. D- I’d be a fool not to take into consideration the fact of the expense which my insurance has already declared they will not contribute to.  With all those worries, I still think I want to try it.  I can replace my regular PT with acupuncture. I can work out the expense with my husband and our house-hold. I can be diligent with my doctor and insurance to see if down the road I can have it added.  I can just close my eyes and get over the fact that they are needles. I can put all my positive energy into this and try it.  I have tried crazy things and from what I have read and heard this isn’t a crazy idea.

I’m still in the considering the phase but with my husband’s support and encouragement I’ll probably make the leap soon. I haven’t actually brought it up to my instructor yet only because if I decide not to do it then I don’t have to feel bad about putting it out there to her.  It seems like I’m giving this way more thought than necessary but this is who I am and what I do.

YOGA IMMERSION

Yesterday was my yoga immersion class and I had doubts about going since it was 60 degrees here in Portland Maine with bright sunshine but I have committed to learning and practicing yoga on and off the mat and considering summer is on the way I’m still committed to these class. I went to Bikram, headed in town to see a little of the St Patrick’s day parade and then headed to my class. There were 2 new women there. I believe they thought they were joining a beginner yoga class but our instructor let them know this was an immersion class and they stayed.  I have been to 4 different classes over the last 4 months and it is different every time with people.  Sometimes I’m by myself sometimes women will show up but I don’t see them again.  The first class a man was there and I see him a lot in the classes throughout the week but not at the immersion class. 

Yesterday we did series of sun salutations very slowly so we could feel every movement.  There is an idea that one must flow quickly through yoga postures to heat up the system and accelerate the heart rate but the truth is that the slower you go the more you feel and the more you can connect to your body, breath and inner voice.  My focus for the next month is to slow down my practice and feel those moves and recognize them.  She also said that when I’m in classes I don’t have to move quickly with the group that most beginners move quickly so if she sees me slowing down my breath and moving through postures she’ll know I’ve found my own way.

We then talked a little bit about the yamas to get the other women up to speed and since our focus this month was judgmental or not being judgmental as it were I thought at the beginning of the month that I was fairly open to all people and situations and didn’t pass judgment since it is not my right to and at the end of the month I still feel that way.  I wouldn’t want someone to pass judgment on me and therefore I’m careful not to pass judgment on others.  This month is not stealing and I think I blogged before that I wouldn’t take something that didn’t belong to me as in theft but do I steal other people’s peace?  Is taking time at work to get on the internet and do something besides work stealing from my company?  These are the types of stealing questions I will work on this month.

KIDNEY YANG

I have been in the Bikram studio every day for the last 14 days and sometimes more than once a day but one of my instructors noticed that I was wearing long pants and long sleeved shirts.  I have been dressing like this for several months but it dawned on her yesterday during class and she asked me about it after class. I explained that I just wasn’t getting warm enough during class and that when instructors open the door to cool us off I get a real chill. It is not as hot in the winter months as it is in the warmer months for obvious reasons but she also remembered that I had Raynaud’s as well and put two and two together and thought that my energy was running on the cold side.

She is also an acupuncturist and when I was talking to her this morning she mentioned that perhaps I needed to warm my kidney yang.  I have not heard of this term before but I trust this instructor and willing to hear her ideas.  She gave me a website to look at that recommends foods for warming kidney yang and which foods to stay away from. It doesn’t necessarily mean eating warm or cold foods by temperature but also by energy.  Dairy carries a strong cold energy and I think I knew that from reading my Ayurveda books but it came back to when reading her list.  I love yogurt and have at least one per day.  I also have other forms of dairy so I’ll try decreasing the amount of dairy I take in and eating raw fruits and vegetables.  I don’t really understand the concept of stewed fruit so I’m not sure how I’ll do with that.  I also literally love all fruits especially apples and eat fruit all the time.

There are herbs for warming kidney yang as well and I’ll have to do some research on that stuff, but for the next few days I’ll be trying to understand what kidney yang is and how mine is effected and see if I can’t warm my kidney yang so I don’t feel so cold all the time.  I was thinking that I was probably getting use to the heat at Bikram and since we can’t get it as warm or humid right now that I just needed some extra layers but it does look a little strange when most people are barely clothed and I’m covered from neck to feet and barely sweating.  I do sweat for sure by the end of the class but not as much as my fellow yogis.  The sweating is what I use to reduce the fluid I carry in my hands and feet and if I’m not doing a fair amount of sweating it isn’t helping. I long for the extreme warm days of summer and the high humid that makes feel warm through my entire body.

SPRING IS IN THE AIR

Yesterday my husband and I ventured to the Portland Flower and Home show.  What a way to really put spring on the brain.  The day was a gorgeous 60 degrees and some might be wondering what we would want to be inside for on a day like that but we were inside looking at the flowers, shrubs, patio displays, BBQ backyards, waterfalls and ponds.  The smell of dirt and mulch along with the delicious aromas of flowers was incredible.  We walked around that show for 3 or more hours, mostly dreaming of the days when we get to experience this for real and also looking for ideas for our own home. It is amazing how when you see things laid out in a display it just starts the ideas flowing.

I kept getting business cards and my husband was just looking at me like I had lost my mind but the looking is the best part and it never hurts to talk to people along the way.  I told him we were doing a big project this year he could choose it whether we go in or out I didn’t care I just wanted one big project done this year.  His fear is that this will take time away from his enjoying summer.  That is why I was picking up all the business cards, I’m not spending my summer on a project either but I don’t mind paying someone else to do it. Once we were on the same page his ideas were just a flowing too. It put me in the mood for spring and now I’m just counting down the days until it is warm every day, lighter in the mornings again, delightful enough to be walking outside daily.  Those days will be here soon just not soon enough.