Posts Tagged ‘ yoga ’

Why Exercise Is Not Shaping Up For Me

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

This year I decided to make some New Year’s resolutions I could keep. It included running and yoga a few times a week. On the second week, my resolutions went out the window due to an epic 5 days of illness by my petri dish children. But I decided I wasn’t going to give up. I got back on track and, because I’m a person of extremes, (probably one gene away from being manic like my late mother), I signed up for Bikram yoga.

Bikram is yoga in a 105-degree carpeted room (gross) with 31 other near-naked adults (gross again), where you hold eagle and 25 other poses for a minute. I did Bikram in my pre-kid life and decided maybe it was the fastest way to get limber and in shape again, despite the cult-like feel. The real selling point was the fact that it was across from Emmett’s preschool and it is an hour-long class (as opposed to 90 minutes, which is typical) that ends right at pick-up time.  I could leave just before the final part of the class: the odd guttural breathing that Bikram addicts swear by. Picture a raccoon in heat. With rabies. That’s what it sounds like.

“Just be sure and do the breathing in your car so you get all the benefits of your Bikram,” said the overly chirpy but hard-core instructor. Yep, got it. Not happening.

I took my first class there and I’ve never heard someone rattle on like this woman. Seems like each particular pose “cures cancer, releases toxins, drains glands, prevents arthritis, helps anxiety, alleviates depression, helps insomnia and cures chronic pain.”  This, despite making me feel the opposite. The place smells like a typical Bikram studio of old sweat and super bugs. They claim their carpet is anti-microbial but I know I’m getting MRSA/a staph infection. However, I’m soldiering on because I bought a $45 unlimited pass for the month and I want to get my money’s worth.

Having said that, I don’t think it does much for my stomach muscles, even though it supposedly does “everything.” Here’s the problem with my belly: Most women have boobs that protrude further out than their stomach. When their shirts hang down, they hang from the furthest point out on the boob. I’ve never had big boobs, but since having kids, mine have gone inward. Concave. So instead my shirts going out and over my stomach, my stomach sticks out further than my boobs, making the shirt cling and me look like a tree trunk that cross-pollinated with a pear. Phil and my brother both tell me it’s my posture that makes my stomach stick out–and that’s partially true too. I decided I should try mat-based Pilates for posture and core strength. It goes along with yoga, right?

I showed up to an environment that was so sterile and quiet I almost missed the chirping Bikram instructor. It felt devoid of fun. Even the cult-like Bikram people have a sort of vibe that does give you some energy. Not this. We began class at 9:05 sharp. A bit later I looked at the clock, hoping we were halfway done. It was only 9:12. Time was standing more still than it does when I’m playing make believe with my kids. We used a round Pilates gadget that is supposed to help with your workout. Kind of like a tension band. Or a freestyle guillotine. I didn’t jive with this object and it didn’t jive with me. It kept falling over my head and onto my shoulders. In the stillness of the others, I sensed I was making a scene. I wanted to leave, but there were only 3 of us. Given my dirt obsession, the only thing I excelled at was cleaning the mat at the end. (Yesterday I went around the house with a razor blade and goo-gone and scraped/cleaned every drawer handle and doorknob. Time for hypnotherapy again.)

Running has always been my go-to. I haven’t gotten totally back into it since my marathon days, but it almost always clears my mind. I get grounded when I feel my feet hit the pavement rhythmically. I don’t have to rely on anyone but myself. And therein lies the problem with my latest run. We took the kids to Fia’s soccer lesson on Sunday in Griffith Park. I decided to go for a run while Phil watched Emmett. I told him I’d be back in 25 minutes. I got lost and ended up at the Los Angeles Zoo–which doesn’t tell you much if you’re not from here. But suffice it to say, my 2.5 mile run turned into 5. When I realized I had missed my turn on the path leading back, I debated cutting through the golf course that separated me from my route. But when I saw the lone coyote roaming around, I figured I risked getting rabies and/or hit by a golf ball. I stuck to the path until it wound me around to the zoo, then headed back to soccer. I showed up dirty and starving.

“I spaced out and missed my turn,” I said, panting to Phil.

“I figured something like that happened,” he replied unfazed. The dude knows me.

We took the kids to the merry-go-round (right next to the soccer field) where I ate a pound of nachos with fake cheese and slurped down a diet Coke. We drove home where I collapsed in bed for 2 hours. Phil just shook his head.

I’m not sure what is happening but my “easy and attainable” New Year’s resolutions are not turning out as I expected. Not sure where to go from here…

 

Exercise equipment via Shutterstock

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Milestone Monday: Is Your Toddler Different At School?

Monday, July 9th, 2012

Is it a milestone to suddenly turn shy? To go from boisterous to bashful?

The other day I went to pick Fia up from preschool. I asked the director if she was the wildest one in her class. What she said made no sense to me.

“Fia? No, she’s probably the quietest one.”

Huh? Feral Fia? The one who never stops chatting at home? Who oozes personality and spunk? Who dances and climbs and twirls? Even the other day while we were sitting at dinner, she squeezed her eyes shut, put her hands in prayer position, and went into a yoga chant. Phil and I almost died laughing.

“Fia, where did you learn that?”

“From yoga at school!” she exclaimed.

I’ve seen her do downward dog and tree pose, but the chants blew me away. It was so damn funny.

The school situation has me baffled. They said that during free play, she usually just plays quietly with herself, reading books or coloring. During the structured activities she is with everyone else. But other times she’s kind of a loner.

They told me she often stands back and just watches the other kids; that she is an observer, not a participant. I don’t know why the thought of that breaks my heart, but it does. Is she shy? Scared? Not confident? This is a girl that for months couldn’t stop hugging every kid she met.

She’s 2 years and 7 months. Is this still the age of parallel play? Or is she insecure? This side of her is a mystery to me.

She only goes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The teachers suggested we bump her up to 3 days in a row. Tue-Wed-Thur. Perhaps the repetition will make her more interactive with the other kids.

I have no doubt this is a great preschool. So it’s not that. Maybe my girl is just more subdued in unfamiliar situations? Or larger crowds? The other day our nanny had 6 kids over. Phil observed from his study that while all the other kids were running through the sprinklers, Fia just stood back and watched. She did that for 10 minutes. When she is one-on-one with a playdate, she is much more engaged. I’ve never seen her just stand back.

Should I tell our nanny and the school to pull her into the group more? Or is this something where you take a hands off approach and let her find her own way? Is going to preschool for 3 days in a row a wise choice, so it becomes more familiar? (It’s only from 9-1 pm).

I’m looking for advice from the moms who have been there before me. I don’t want to overstep my bounds with her, but I don’t want to ignore something either. Thoughts?

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Do We Overbook Ourselves and Our Kids?

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

In the running world it’s called bonking. In motherhood it’s called overbooking. The end result is the same: exhaustion.

A few weeks ago I wrote about how the endless stream of company and chaos (albeit, self-imposed) affected my milk supply. Luckily I got it back up by putting brakes on the crazy. Things are much more calm around here lately.

I  started to think about why I pushed myself to such a ridiculous point and to to thinking: does it seem like our generation of moms feel the need to constantly get out and “do” more than previous generations? My mother-in-law, my aunt, and countless older moms have teased me about how much Fia and I were on the go the first two years. Part of it was living in an apartment in Brooklyn. You’ll go stir crazy if you don’t get outside. Part of it was the need to connect to other moms. But is there another part in our technologically-obsessed, plugged-in culture that makes us incapable of sitting at home? Or god forbid, letting our children entertain themselves?

Recently I was feeling guilty for not taking Emmett to the “Mommy and Me” movies. Every week in LA a couple of the movie theaters show a new release for moms.  You bring your babies. Diaper changes, crying and breastfeeding are the norm. No one cares because you’re all in the same boat. I did it when Fia was 3 months old (we were out here for a brief stretch). Her first movie was “Shutter Island.” Okay, now read the first sentence of this paragraph again. Guilty? For Emmett? He gets no benefit from the movies. It’s purely for me.

Could  the play date and having to ”do” something with the kids end up being harmful? Does it gear them up to think they ”have” to be entertained or go somewhere? Instead should we be teaching them calm and quiet? To play with themselves? Commune in nature?  My aunt thinks so. She feels that the drive in this generation of moms will lead to some uncontrollable kids/tweens/teens who don’t know what to do with themselves if they aren’t “doing.”  As she put it, “Being able to be alone with yourself, entertain yourself, read, etc., is paramount to becoming a well balanced, non-hyperactive teen and adult.”

Are we selfish in wanting to see movies and do yoga while dragging our babies along for the ride in the guise of “mommy and me” classes?  Or are we helping ourselves get through motherhood by creating our own villages? If it’s the latter, they are very activity-centered villages. At least mine always have been.

I’m sure the ability to text a friend and get an instant response contributes to the ease of meeting up. Before the age of email and cell phones, it may have been different by default, not choice. But is this the right choice for us and our kids? I don’t know. I think it’s something to ponder.

Thoughts anyone?

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Making Baby Affectionate

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

My daughter wasn’t a snuggler. At least not post-newborn stage after the limbs stopped flailing. At 6 months when she began to crawl, I’d hug her and she’d push away. She was far more interested mauling and smothering the cat. This puzzled me. Perhaps affection isn’t ingrained in everyone. In some, maybe it’s learned.

Thus began Operation Hugs and Snugs.

“Give mama a hug and a snug,” I’d say, picking her up and putting her entire cheek in my mouth. Phil cringed. “That sounds so stupid.” But a moment later, he’d be the one asking, “why isn’t our baby more cuddly?”

So Snugs and Hugs became my mantra.

Early on in the deployment of the Operation I noticed Fi would go up to our closest mom friend and hug her. Wtf? Granted, her boy Teddy was a huge hugger, but I’m the one who breathed life into her. Instead of getting upset about her misplaced loyalty, I decided to take this as proof my strategy was working.

I stepped it up a notch. Operation Hugs and Snugs enlisted the “Barnacle Baby.” I’d lie in child’s pose, pat my back and say, “Come barnacle on mama.” She began to scream in delight and climb on me. I’d go up on all fours and she’d sit on me as if riding a horse, giggling like mad. Then she’d lie down, her little arms wrapped around my sides, her head and warm stomach against my back. I’d inhale deeply, knowing there is nothing better (until she’d fall off head first and cry).

Barnacle Baby

Barnacle Baby

(more…)

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