Assume the position: Lotus pose

If you’re like me, you might be humbled by your yoga practice. There are some poses that I look at and think “Um…That‘s not going to happen. Not yet…” Meanwhile, there are others that are not too difficult. (Thank you, Warrior 2!)

And then there are the ninja poses. You know the ones. They’re like wolves in sheep’s clothing. You might see a photo of a pose in a book or watch it on a DVD, tell yourself, “I am so there!!” And then, when you try it, you realize that you’re about as flexible as a nail.

That’s me when it comes to the lotus position. I’ve seen it more than once, and every time I give it a shot, I come up with nothing but a big, fat fail.

“WTF is wrong with me that I can’t fold my feet like a pretzel in front of my crotch?”

I mean, really.

In lieu of lotus, I’ve taken to doing either a lazy version of bound angle pose, or a simple cross-legged posture. Still, I don’t want to give up. A few days ago, I found this video.

I have yet to do lotus perfectly. But at least I know that there are folks out there who offer tips on technique!

Work It Out: Yogify

For the past little while I’ve managed to do a yoga workout every day. In addition to books, I have a couple of reliable DVDs. I also own a pair of yoga apps.

Last year, I downloaded Yogify, and purchased their Level 1 bundle.

Back then, I didn’t try any of their workouts. Not even their freebies.

However, on Saturday, I got the notion that I ought to get down to business. Yogify’s routines are divided into 3 categories–strength, balance, and flexibility. Under each of these, there are five workouts which vary in length, from fifteen minutes to an hour.

So far, so good. As for caveats, the only one I can think of is minimal. Specifically, the pace of each workout. Apart from the obligatory pauses for plank and downward dog, I feel as though Yogify leads users swiftly through routines–faster than what I’m used to on DVDS or other apps such as All-In Yoga.

Meanwhile, the postures seem realistic. Asanas such as half-boat pose may be challenging. But if they weren’t included in these early routines, an amateur like me might not have anything to strive for.

Dear Podcasting Peeps

I got tongue-tied while I was trying to talk about this morning, so I thought I’d write it out for you.

If, like me, you haven’t used GarageBand in ages and are stepping into its newest edition, don’t be alarmed. The podcasting features are still available. (For what it’s worth, I have version 10.0.2.) Now, I know, I know. It doesn’t look like the capability is there. Don’t fret.

Seriously. Don’t be like me. I nearly had a heart attack. For Pete’s sake. I almost used Audacity.

If you’re in my shoes, I urge you to calm down and do a search instead.

Look to your left:

GarageBandPodcasting

A good podcast always begins with a decent voice. I remembered that I used to record using the “Female Radio” setting. Hence, I did a search for “Radio”. Apparently it’s under GarageBand’s “Legacy” settings.

I’m not quite sure why.

Dear Apple:

People haven’t stopped podcasting. In fact, I bet that it’s the only reason that some people use GarageBand in the first place. Kindly keep that in mind when you go to concoct your software’s next edition.

Best,

Claire

Guys, downward dog is the worst.

THE. WORST.

downwarddog
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I’ve done yoga every now and then in the past, and now I’m trying to make it a regular part of my life.

There’s just one problem. I hate downward dog.

It’s a very basic pose, but I keep feeling like I’m doing it wrong.

Which just means that I have to work to make it my b!tch. Right?!?

Really, though.

Whenever I assume the position my feet never completely touch the ground, and my arms burn.

Still, I have to believe that I’ll get better.

If like me, you’re frustrated, here are a couple of links to tips on doin’ the ‘dog:

What Not to Do in Downward Facing Dog – from Fitsugar

What Yoga Beginners Need to Know About Downward Dog – via MindBodyGreen. I love the title of that article. It sounds like they’re preparing me to join a secret society. ;)

I look forward to improving!

Unloc’ed: What’s up with my hair?

clairehairnov2011
Same hair. Old photo.

Well for one thing, it’s loose again. In case we haven’t met, my name is Claire, and I’ve tried to loc my hair several times. Considering how fickle I’ve been in the past, I may try again in a few days or a few years. Who knows?

For now, though, my attempts are over.

Shortly after I came back home this spring, I started to undo my dreads. This decision was completely random. Unlike the last time, there wasn’t a declaration that “I miss my ‘fro!”. I just put my hands in my head and said, “Time to take these out!”

Although I didn’t know why, I felt determined. (Thank God my mother pitched in!) We worked hard and finished after several days.

Along the way, I learned that my drive was driven by destiny.

In the past I’ve been put off of dreads because I’ve had problems with build-up. (Once I gave up after finding lint from a scarf in one of them.) Sadly, this time around was no exception. As we undid the twists at the nape of my neck, we made a discovery. One loc in particular seemed to have absorbed every piece of dust that had crossed its path.

At first I was disgusted.

I didn’t get it. I was careful! I’d done my best to follow the (un)written rules of dreadloc care:

I had a black satin pillowcase and slept with a scarf (to avoid oddly-coloured lint while I slept). I only washed my hair with transparent shampoo. As for products, I hadn’t used any that I could think of…Except for perhaps a light hair oil, maybe once or twice

I didn’t understand what could’ve turned my head into Dirt Central. I still don’t.* Especially since I was facing–what I thought was–a worst-case scenario. I’d had buildup before. But not like this!

Quite honestly, a part of me felt defeated. Since my last big chop, my hair had grown to the point where taking care of it had become a bit of a chore. In order to ease some of my workload, locs felt like the next logical step.

I also felt angry and ashamed. During the months that my locs were developing, someone I know seemed a little too fond of telling me, ”Your hair is dirty.” Since this person doesn’t like natural hair, I just thought they were being rude.

Boy was I wrong!

So now what?

Well, I’m right where I didn’t want to be–dealing with loose medium-length hair. (If you need a reference, it’s about as long as it was in the photo at the top of this post. Stretched it reaches my shoulders.)

I didn’t think I’d have the patience to deal with my crowning glory again, but it doesn’t matter. Because now, I have to.

These days forces seem to be conspiring to teach me lessons about patience. It looks like my hair is just another part of the plan.

I’m curious. Have any of you tried to loc your hair and wound up frustrated? Feel free to tell me about it!

*Even today, every now and then I wistfully contemplate getting locs again. I wonder what I’d have to do–keep my hair covered 24/7?

My Health: Your Reminder

I’ve put off this post for a while, and to my detriment. I have a ton of ideas swirling in my head. Meanwhile, for some reason I don’t feel comfortable with the idea of releasing them until I get past this subject.

I should warn you that this post is a personal one. Some of the content might offer TMI. It’s definitely different from the lighter fare I usually share.

Nevertheless…

Over the past few months I’ve faced an interesting health challenge. It’s been nothing critical, yet nothing to sing about, either.

Dear (Female) Reader, I’ve had a very uncomfortable and somewhat dangerous experience with fibroids.

Fibroids can be tricky. Some women have them and experience no symptoms. That was me, years ago, when I first learned I had them. However, in 2014, my luck ran out.

Thankfully, my problems seem to have been solved via emergency surgery. It’s been over a week, and I’m doing well! (The only problem that remains now is anemia. My hemoglobin is ridiculously low, and I’m on an iron supplement.)

I don’t know if I’ll share more information in the future. When I first drafted this post, it was epic. I’ve since decided to edit myself.

However, I will address the core of what I wanted to say:

When it comes to your health, DO NOT procrastinate.

Think about it. You may balk at the idea of missing a few hours of work or–in my case, school–because of a medical appointment or two. But isn’t that better than missing days or weeks because you’re physically not up to par?

Thank God I wised up and took time off in my final month of classes. Prior to that, though, my behaviour still has my head shaking.

I was doing my best to be my normal self. I was a full-time student, trying to live her full-time life.

UterusMeme
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Regarding the female reproductive system, although I reckon there are exceptions, there are also a few guidelines that I’m aware of. Generally speaking, your periods shouldn’t last longer than 7 days. You should not have to change your feminine hygiene products in under an hour. (That’s not just me talking. That’s perfectly Google-able information. ;) )

Now, for all I know, you may think it’s disgusting that I’ve mentioned menses. But my concern is that somewhere out there, there’s a woman who is thinking the way I was. She might be ignoring her menstrual changes, dragging herself to the doctor because of severe weakness (caused by anemia), all the while ignoring the reason she has anemia in the first place.

I’m on the other side now. But over the past few weeks, I was almost inconsolable. I felt like I was slowly bleeding to death.

Care for yourselves, please.

I never thought something that seemed as harmless as my period would leave me evaluating how seriously I take myself, or how much I value my life.

And yet, here I am.

Thank God.

I’ve been working…

On my Tumblr.

Long ago a friend suggested create a writing portfolio. I’m still deciding where it will be.

As for this post, a few weeks ago I started studying copywriting via Skillshare. I’m behind–and I’ll post about why soon. ;) But as soon as I started, I was inspired to create some fake advertisements.

Check them out!

Stretch Studio - Urban

I can’t take credit for the photos in either of these. I found them on Flickr.

a4gpa took the photo used for the ad above and shared it with an Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike license. Just looking at it inspired me. I wonder if a place that’s as funky as Stretch Studio actually exists–even if it’s not in Toronto.

Toronto - 2

In this piece, I used a shot by Pedro Szekely, who presented his work under an Attribution 2.0 license. It’s such a gorgeous shot–it almost broke my heart to crop it.

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