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This summer has been a blast.  As an adult, summers will never be the same as when I was a kid but I’d say this summer was probably the most fun I’ve had in the past 10 years.  Unfortunately, this summer was full of really bad eating and weight gain.  Yes, I kept up with my yoga practice but it was hindered by my poor diet.

My kids have been in school for two weeks now and I’ve started to change things in my life.  I’ve started working on learning a couple of new programming languages, I have more time for yoga and I’ve decided to really shake things up a bit.  More on that in a minute.

When school got out, my wife and I thought of some things we could do to make the summer fun for the girls.  We had a trip to Michigan planned and this time we drove.  We plotted out a lot of fun roadside attractions to look at along the way.  There was a lot of fast food one the road as well.  Once we got to my parent’s house in Michigan there were cookouts and we went out to eat at some of our favorite restaurants as well.  Yes, it was bad.  I figured it wouldn’t be so bad but upon getting home, the scale confirmed that it was so bad.

Throughout the summer work was busy as well.  When we get very busy at work there is catered food.  When there is catered food, there usually isn’t any weight loss.  The good news is it was all my choice to eat those foods.  Yes, I know that sounds funny but if I was forced to eat it then I probably would be forced to continue to eat it.  I’m now choosing to not eat those foods.

Last week was a pretty good week.  I lost 2 pounds and am taking steps to do more.  I am starting the Insanity workout this week.  I know that goes against everything I preach on my Minimalist Workout but I want a challenge and a change for a while.  I’ve gained a lot of strength and want to put it to good use to help me lose some quick weight.  I’m going back to disciplined eating and daily workouts.

I haven’t slept well lately and I know it is because of my added weight.  I plan on being back under 200 by winter.  I think the Insanity will help my yoga practice in the long run as well.  I’d also like to point out that I have NO desire to become a “Beach Body Coach” and make my blog about selling you DVDs.  If you want to buy them, just head over to your favorite search engine and do a search for it.

I will blog my progress, however, because that’s what I do.  I plan to write more in the fall and hope you enjoy following my progress.  I also will be working more on my book that I’ve been talking about for the past year.  Maybe I can get it out by Christmas.

Until next time!  Cheers!

Benefits of Yoga

I’ve been doing yoga for a couple of months now.  78 days to be exact (I have a counter on my phone).  I’ve been doing short video as well as my own practice for the most part.  Today I finally got the cable company to figure out why my internet was so slow.  You see, I do most of my yoga through my Blu Ray player and with my internet running so slow I was unable to watch long videos.  This has restricted me to short videos and shorter yoga work outs.

Today, with the internet speed fixed, I pulled up an hour-long ashtanga yoga video.  I decided I would go as long as I could as it is a pretty intense workout.  Yes, for you non yoga practitioners, yoga can be pretty hard.  Much to my surprise, I was able to finish the full house.  Yes, there were two or three times where I had to stop for a minute to rest.  My arms became tired after doing chataranga so many time. In the end, I was able to hang in there and finish strong.

So what did I learn from this?  Well, for one, I learned that I could do an hour of yoga.  Second, I realized that I know enough about yoga to keep up with a class or video.  I’ve avoided the thought of going to an actual class because I wasn’t sure I could keep up.  Now it is something I would consider.  I would still like to get more time in with the video before doing so but I’ve moved a step forward in my practice.  All of this is on top of the half hour of yoga I did earlier today.

After my practice I took a cold shower and cooled off.  I feel really good.  I may be a little sore or tired tomorrow but I’m drinking plenty of water and will have some protein and do some light stretching later.  I can’t wait to do this video again.

I have reached the end of my 30 day yoga challenge.  I’ve done a supported headstand every day for 30 days straight.  This was a great challenge and I feel I’ve reached a great mile stone.  To do anything 30 days in a row is quite an accomplishment.  So what did I learn?

Day 1 was rocky to say the least.  I could get in to a headstand but not very well.  In fact, I have a camera app called Blink which takes several pictures in rapid succession.  I had my wife use this app to get a picture of me with my feet straight up and had to pick the best one to display in my Day 1 blog post.  I was only able to hold this pose for a couple of seconds before falling over.  Many times I would fall backward which resulted in me rolling over my interlocked fingers which kind of hurt.  Still I pressed on.

Day two I took a picture but did not post it here.  My legs were slightly forward.  At this point in the game it was a little tough getting in to a headstand.  I struggled with it a little.  By day 4 I definitely felt like I was making some headway not only in getting in to the pose but in balance and staying in the pose.

Somewhere around day 16 I had a bad day.  I felt like it was very difficult to get in to the pose.  I got in to the pose and felt like I couldn’t hold it.  I felt tired for some reason.  Later I figured it was that I hadn’t done any warm up and my back was stiff.  A great lesson to learn and from that day forward I had no problems at all once I was properly stretched.

So now that I’ve hit day 30, I can get in to this pose very easily and hold it for a lot longer.  I tossed my wife my phone and asked her to take a picture of me.  I don’t think she realized what was going on.  I quickly got inverted and was standing on my head for about 15 seconds before I called out to her.  She responded, picked up my phone and as she was about to take a picture someone called.  She hung up on them and went back to the camera app.  I stood straight up on my head for about 30-40 seconds total before she took this picture.

Supported Headstand Day 30

Supported Headstand Day 30

What I love about this picture is how my back is almost straight but my legs are aligned over my head and my toes are pointed up about as much as I can point them at this time.  I held pretty straight like this for a good amount of time and it is the first time I’ve seen my accomplishment since day 4.  I am celebrating this victory today and feel a real sense of accomplishment.

Interestingly enough this fit really well in to my minimalist theory.  I took less than a minute a day to learn a new pose that was quite hard in the beginning.  I really had it learned in a little over 2 weeks but continue to perfect my skill and gain strength.

Strength is something that I still have to work on.  This takes a lot of arm and back strength to hold for this long.  I will most likely keep doing my headstands almost daily.  I really enjoy doing them because they give me confidence and for the strength.

Do you have pics of you doing headstands?  What should my next 30 day challenge be?

Namaste my friends.

So I’m on day 12 of my supported headstand yoga challenge and I thought I’d write an update.  Day 1 was a bit of a challenge in itself.  I wasn’t very stable and had problems staying upright for very long.  I wasn’t able to keep my feet together without falling over and was inverted for maybe 10 seconds.

It didn’t take me long to start to gain balance.  On day 4 I felt a lot more solid and I was able to hold the position with my feet together.  Now, on day 12 I feel like I can stay inverted for a much longer period of time and keep my feet together.  This stability gives me the opportunity to focus on my breathing which isn’t easy when inverted.  I’m confident that by day 30 I will have improved a great deal more.

So I was showing my friend who is a yoga instructor and she gave me a couple of tips which I don’t think I’m ready to implement.  Quite honestly, I don’t think I have the strength in my shoulders or back at this point.  She told me that I’ll eventually want to get in to the supported headstand pose by putting my arms and head down then walking my feet toward my body.  Then, as my friend showed me, I’ll keep my legs straight and feet together as I lift.  Right now I’m lifting one leg at a time and they’re bent.  Still, I’m reaping the benefit of being inverted as well as gaining strength in my shoulders and core.  

I’m more than 1/3 of the way through my challenge and still enjoying it.

I love a challenge.  Why wouldn’t I?  Since I was a young kid I’ve been challenged to keep up with my big brother, to learn how to use computers (as primitive as they were in the 80’s), to make the basketball team, to graduate high school then college, to get a job… I thrive on a challenge.

I went back in time on my personal facebook page.  Not far, I just wanted to see what day I started doing yoga.  I think it was March 1st and since it was the beginning of a new month, why not make that the date?  So I’ve been doing yoga for a month and a half.  Nearly ever day… nearly.

So I think I will challenge myself to something.  For the next 30 days I want to do a supported headstand pose.  It wont take long, just a minute or two but will help me in core strength and balance.  I also want to challenge myself to do yoga 6 days per week even if it is just a couple of poses.  I want to build and build upon this and focus on opening up my chest, gaining arm and core strength and improving hip flexibility.  At the end of 30 days I should be a lot further along than I am now and will issue myself a new challenge going forward.  Wanna start with me?  It starts tomorrow, April 15th.

So late last year I decided to start taking medication for my ADD.  I was seeing that my attention problems were causing some difficulties in my life and decided enough was enough.  Since ADD is treated with stimulants (non stimulants are available but they’re more costly) I decided to stop drinking coffee and tea with caffeine in it.

For a couple of weeks it was a bit of a struggle but I got used to it.  Besides, the medication helped me stay awake for a while.  Eventually I got used to the meds and they weren’t keeping me as awake.  Ever since I started doing yoga I’ve found a couple moves really get the blood flowing and the heart beating and increase my energy.  I start out my routine in a bridge pose before turning over and doing a cobra pose.  This combination invigorates me to the point where I feel like I’m going to pass out at times.  But after doing my morning yoga I feel as if I have energy to make it through the day.

As I stated previously, I’m about four weeks in to my yoga journey and I’ve been working a few minutes a day trying to improve my poses.  I want to learn my poses correctly and try not to worry about the health benefits of them, although that will happen naturally.  One pose I’ve been working on is called Crow Pose or Bakasana as it is called in Sanskrit.  It isn’t perfect and it takes a lot of effort but it is happening.

Crow Pose (Bakasana)

Crow Pose (Bakasana)

This pose take a lot of strength in your wrists and forearms as well as your core to accomplish.  It feels like a full body workout when I’m doing it and I can only hold it for about 5 seconds.  When I’m not working on this pose I’ve been doing some strength training trying to develop strength in my wrists.  It seems to be working as I’m able to get out of this pose without falling down now.

I wanted to learn a very advanced pose even though I’m a beginner.  I’m a bit impatient like that.  I looked through a lot of the poses and decided this one would be hard but not out of the question.  It didn’t require me standing on my head, just balance and strength.  I guess I didn’t realize how hard it would be but I found a video entitled “Hard Poses Made Easy” and decided to go for it.

This video was enough and as you can see I’ve accomplished a crow pose.  My butt is a little high and I can only hold it for so long but with time I plan on getting better and better.  Yoga really has been a great journey so far.

I’ve been practicing yoga for about four weeks now.  I’m not real good at it yet, nor am I that flexible but I’ve been able to accomplish a few things that my friend/yoga instructor has given me some praise for and it’s a great feeling.  After watching a video that showed me how to do an advanced pose called “Dancer Pose”.  It is a great pose for balance and I can really feel it in my thighs.

Dancer Pose (Natarajasana)

Tim doing dancer pose (Natarajasana)

As you can see, my 5 year old also loves doing yoga with me.  In fact, she has a kid’s yoga video that I put on for her that she loves doing.  I have a long way to go with this pose but it only takes a couple of minutes per day to work on.  In fact, looking at this picture I can already tell I am able to bend my leg up and lean forward a little more than I had last week when I had this picture taken.

Below is a video that will show you how to do this pose in 7 steps.  It is really quite easy to get in to the pose as a beginner and you can work on perfecting it as time goes on.

History of Yoga Infographic

History of Yoga Infographic

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