Archives for February 2013
I have to stamp out this blog post before the time passes and it’s assimilated in my thought process completely and I’ve moved on and forgotten it, because then I can’t write about it anymore. Run on sentence.
Just last year, at the age of 28/29, I realized that one day, I’m going to die. It finally hit me that I am not invincible. Sure, I’ve thought about the after life a lot and have my thoughts about it (I’m hoping we just change form into some other cool existence), but up until this time, I never experienced aging before, so I guess I didn’t realize it would eventually come.
I really didn’t want to die. And I kept passively thinking about it for a couple months. Then finally, toward the end of the year 2012, I found this song. It’s kind of cheesy. But I love it.
He keeps repeating lines like, “Know that one day I must die, I’m alive” and “Yes I know that one day I must die, I’m alive.”
That drove it home really well. He kept reiterating that he’s alive. And that’s really all that matters. A great song. You may think it sucks, and that’s all right, because music is hella subjective. But it’s what helped me find my breakthrough to help accept and move forward from this realization.
So anyway… conclusion? I’m alive. Life is very much fun and exciting. The least I could do is just be healthy and have fun at the same time as much as possible. I don’t want to succumb to degenerative diseases. Diseases that present themselves purely cause I’m getting older and we don’t age well? Fuck that. I want to ride horses and bicycles when I’m over 100 years old. (Note to self: Learn how to ride horses.) I’m going to make the best of my life and always try to exceed my abilities. That doesn’t mean I’m never going to potentially harm myself though. That’s kind of impossible to do if I want to live a fun, adventurous life. I’m going to revel in the beauty contained in every decade.
“One of the most significant facts about us may finally be that we all begin
with the natural equipment to live a thousand kinds of life
but end in the end having lived only one.”
~ Clifford Geertz ~
UPDATE! This is an old blog post from 2013. But in 2017 I created YouTube video without even realizing I had made such a blog post. So here is the video and you could read the rest later:
For a long time my posture wasn’t very good. Like a typical computer-user, I had rounded shoulders and forward-head-syndrome. As of late, I’ve been trying to achieve perfect posture. Thanks to a consistent yoga practice, this has become much more possible and my kinesthetic awareness has increased. (Update: With a combination of yoga and rings-oriented strength training, it’s become very easy to hold good posture.)
One of the things I’ve noticed is that I always stand unevenly, with one knee bent and the other leg straight. And it’s not just me. Look around anywhere and it turns out that every single person stands like this. You stand unevenly too. Don’t believe me? Stand up now, walk around the room and then just stand like you normally would. You probably won’t stand evenly with both legs straight with your body weight distributed on both sides.
So for the past few weeks I’ve been making a conscious effort to stand evenly as I feel this is one of those little things I need to correct. Coincidentally, this is known as “mountain pose” (“tadasana”) in Yoga. All it basically means is, standing with both legs evenly with perfect posture. Go ahead, try it now. Stand with both legs evenly with your hands to the side with your back straight and chin level. See how good that feels? It feels so grounding and powerful, and it’s such a simple change.
- In the first week it took me several minutes of standing to notice (and correct) my stance.
- In the second week I started catching onto the asymmetry after about a minute.
- And now, this week, I’ve been correcting myself almost instantly (within seconds).
- In the past few days I’m sometimes standing evenly without having to correct myself.
Things I’ve noticed right off the bat:
- I feel very grounded.
- I’m definitely taller.
- I feel more confident.
- It’s much easier to hold a good posture.
Stand evenly and look down at your inner arches
If you just stand normally on two feet and compare your inner arches, you may notice your ‘plant foot’ (the one you normally revert to standing on and putting all the pressure on) will have a more pronounced inner arch than the other and the other one is flatter. The difference exists simply because you spend more time on one leg than another and the leg that you spend more time on has a better developed arch.
Why should you care?
Years ago I stopped putting a wallet in my back pocket because sitting on a wallet makes one hip higher than the other. After years of sitting like this, the misalignment of your hips causes the rest of your spine to be laterally uneven. And your spine is literally an extension of your brain. You are, afterall, not just bones or muscle, but one continuous unit working together. All the nerves in your body converge at the spinal nerves. I feel like if I want to have a balanced life with a clear mind and healthy body, all of these things go hand in hand. The spinal column may literally be the gateway between your body and mind. And there’s no doubt that posture is a reflection of ones emotions, mood and confidence. It’s a two way street and I’ll try to do everything in my power to be at peace within myself in every way possible.
Hope that helps someone out there in Internet land!
Next, I recommend you next check out: How to sit perfectly in five seconds.
The Drakensberg is the highest mountain range in Southern Africa, rising to 3,482 metres (11,424 ft).
I figured out how to hold ‘Crow Pose’ (pictured above) a couple months ago and it felt like suuuuuuuuuuuch an accomplishment. It took weeks of practice but now looking back, I realized why it took so long.
- In the beginning I wasn’t able to hold the pose for more than a second because my wrists, forearms and shoulders weren’t strong enough.
- As they got stronger, I realized I kept falling back because when you start to fall forward, your head goes upside down and it feels scary. It’s almost a terrifying feeling because it’s totally against your instinct.
- Then a couple more weeks passed and everything came together when I realized I had to engage my core really hard and be very active in the pose to hold it for more than a few seconds. You can’t just passively get into it and expect to stay up there.
Now it is such a great thing because my arms are strong enough to now start learning how to do handstands! Life is so cool!!!
To make the pose more challenging:
- Do it with arms straight (elbows bent is a good variation for beginners)
- Put the knees up higher on the triceps. The higher they go, the higher your center of gravity will be.
- Try to deliberately (and carefully) rock back and forth or side to side. At this moment, doing that even the slightest makes me lose my balance almost instantly, but that too will change with practice.
Want to try crow pose? Follow Esther Ekhart’s beautiful 3 minute instructional video:
I’m about 2 weeks into doing something I’ve never done before: Counting my calories.
Early on I realized I eat about 2,500 calories a day and easily go over 3,000.
When I first poured 1 serving of cereal into a measuring cup to see what 1 cup was like, I realized I eat not just one but several servings of cereal in the morning.
Good thing I’m extremely active! If I wasn’t, I’d definitely be racking on the fat, especially for my age (nearly 30 baby!). I realized I’ve been eating A LOT, especially on the day following after an intense bike ride.
I’ve decided to curtail my intake of calories and see where that takes me. Calorie counting has opened my eyes into understanding that…
a) I do a considerable amount of snacking between meals and all that adds up.
b) Completely filling my plate puts on way more food than necessary.
b) I love dark chocolate covered almonds.
c) Eating less than you’re used to for the first few days makes you cranky and your extremities will feel cold. (Thankfully that was very temporary).
d) Eating less makes you poop a lot less. (Science!)
e) Eating slowly is very gratifying.
f) And last, we Americans, OVEREAT LIKE MOTHER FUCKERS.
So anyway, I’m about 2 weeks into this. MyFitnessPal has been the combination iPhone app/website I’ve been using to record everything. As tedious as calorie-counting is, that app makes everything super easy. If the food I’m eating is packaged, I just scan the bar code and enter the # o servings. If it’s home-made, I find something comparable and just enter it.
Protip: I often pack my lunch at home in the morning and I log it right then and there since I know I’ll be eventually eating it, so I don’t have to open the app later on. Also if I have something like… say, a candy bar or a sandwich and I only eat half of it, but I know I’m going to eat the other half later, I simply record that I ate the full thing from the get-go so I don’t have to enter it twice. This helps makes everything a lot more streamlined and efficient.
What are my goals? I don’t have any numerical weight-goal. Body measurements are more important to me than weight so I wrapped a cloth measuring tape around my thighs (24″), waist (34″) and hips (35.5″). I’ll see what it’s like every few weeks I suppose.
I’m just going to do this until I feel like I’m a little bit leaner and lighter. Hopefully by then I’ll have a very good idea of what <2,000 calories really feels like because I sure as hell underestimate it at the moment. I will continue my yoga practice and hopefully with time my giant thighs won’t be as giant and inversions will be less tricky as well. 🙂
Whenever people want to try out the traveling rings for the first time, many are often scared they are going suck at them. I’m always encouraging people to do it and am very supportive of them the entire time because I was terrible at it when I first started. I couldn’t even hang on for too long because I was heavy and my grip wasn’t strong enough. Over the past year, I’ve helped dozens of people try them out for the first time and I’ve seen them improve tremendously.
The first time you try something, is basically the worst you will ever be at it. The next time you go back, you are pretty much guaranteed to be better at it.
Does that sound bad? That you’d be the worst at something the first time you do it? Not really. That’s just the truth. You were terrible the first time you had sex. You were terrible the first time you tried to snowboard. You were terrible the first time you tried to not poop yourself. But you got the hang of it eventually. So don’t be afraid of trying something new just because you’re going to suck at it. Who cares!? Once you try it, you’ll only get better at it!
Related article: [Perfect] Practice Makes Perfect
I’m always encouraging people to do it and am very supportive of them the entire time because I was terrible at it when I first started. I couldn’t even hang on for too long because I was heavy and my grip wasn’t strong enough. Over the past year, I’ve helped dozens of people try them out for the first time and I’ve seen them improve tremendously.