Yoga Progress

I thought I should make a note of how my yoga is going and any issues I am having with some of the poses, so that I can track improvements.

Last week I did 7 x 30 min beginner sessions from my Yoga Studio App*. (3 x combination (of flexibility and strength) and 4 x flexibility).

This week I created an extended routine concentrating on flexibility with some strength. These classes are 53 mins long.

Issues so far…

Easy Pose (and other poses sitting cross legged) – I need one of the blocks under my bottom to avoid lower back and right hip pain as they are so tight still.

Easy Pose with forward fold – I am so stiff that when I started I was barely moving forward at all, I am managing to bend forward a little but slow improvement so far.

Seated head to knee (sitting legs in front and leaning forward and holding your feet) – I still need a strap and can barely touch my toes, never mind hold my feet.

Hamstring opening (Bending forward, one knee bent and same side hand flat on ground and opposite arm pointing up) – I need the block under my supporting hand.

Vinyasa Block (plank, knees chest chin to mat, cobra and downward dog) – my issue is the knees chest chin…I get my knees down and then half way to getting my chest on the ground my arms give way and I splat on the floor. I have such weak arms it’s embarrassing.

Gate (kneeling with opposite leg to side and then lean over to the out stretched leg) – my angle of leaning is basically nonexistent, my inner thigh muscles are so tight and like steel rods in this pose.

Half Camel (kneeling with backward bend with one hand on foot behind and other arm reaching up) – I need my toes curled under to lift my heel to be able to reach it when leaning back.

Reclined goddess (lying on back with feet together but knees apart and hands holding opposite elbows overhead) – if I’m holding my elbows then my arms don’t reach the floor.

Happy baby (lying on back grab outside of each foot and hold legs in air…like a happy baby!) – this has been a nightmare, I started off and couldn’t grab my feet, now I can grab them if my head is up in the air and struggle to get it down again. Again this is an inner thigh stretch and my inner thighs are steel rods as previously mentioned.

Lizard (erm hard to explain this pose but it’s another hamstring stretcher) – I cannot get my elbows down on the mat.

Noticeable improvement

One legged king pigeon (another that’s hard to explain) – I have had the most noticeable improvements in this pose. This stretches the hip and there’s been an improvement from last week where I couldn’t lower my elbows to the ground, now I can get my arms right down and head on floor.

The other poses I am finding ok and mostly able to do to a satisfactory beginner level.

So that’s where I’m at so far, hopefully next time I post a yoga update there’ll be more in the noticeable improvement section. 🧘🏻‍♀️

A note about the Yoga Studio App

I was an early purchaser of the Yoga Studio App, so I am not on the subscription service that it converted to when Gaia bought it out. It now seems to be owned by another company ‘Fit for Life LLC’.

Myself and many others complained to Gaia we’d lost the app when the subscription service replaced what we’d paid for. After some users finding and quoting the relevant legal terms to Gaia the original users were allowed to keep access to the original areas of the app. I am very happy with the areas I still have access to.

This is a brilliant app and if I was working and hadn’t had the original access I would consider the subscription. It’s £20 for courses held locally to me for one session, so this app is great value in comparison. It tracks your classes, you can set up reminders, you can create your own classes by adding different poses and it links them, it has options for background music or sounds, instructions, just pose names or just glass tings when the poses change. It has pre-set classes of 15 mins, 30 mins and an hour. You can add your favourite classes to your Studio so they are easy to find. And these are just the features on the original version, subscribers have access to lots of classes I don’t have access to.

I am not affiliated or sponsored by them, just sharing this information as my own personal view of the app. There is a health and fitness disclaimer on the app and you should check that out before using. There’s also a free 7 day trial I notice on their website. I have no knowledge of other apps as I bought this years ago and I always come back to it.

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YOPP Update 1

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Progress for the first 2 weeks…

Drafting a routine

I got off to a slow start on my list, in the first week I didn’t do much but in week 2 I started to work to a rough routine.

    • Mondays have turned into my laundry and gardening days and I try to get the majority of ‘chores’ out of the way.
    • Tuesdays I try to do some ironing (I hate ironing more than any other household task).  I’m still way behind on ironing, when it is all done it will feel like I’ve bought new clothes!
    • Wednesdays and Thursdays are chore free and dedicated to crafting.  This should work well as my husband plays football on Thursday evenings, so I don’t even have the chore of cooking to do.  My aim is to keep 2 chore free weekdays.
    • Fridays I vacuum and clean the floors.  I need to fit in more of my big tasks on this day.  

Yoga

I managed to do 30 mins yoga each day this week and hope to increase duration this week.  i have been shocked by how inflexible and stiff/sore my lower back and hips have become over the last 18 months.  When I know how much better I feel after doing yoga I don’t understand why I haven’t kept it up in the past.  I am determined this time to stick with it and for accountability (for my own purposes) I am sharing the Yoga app calendar screenprint.  

Diet

This week we ate healthier, I made more fresh meals, ate more fruit and veggies and did manage to lose 3lb.  I started the week well on steps count per day, but we had torrential rain and flooding in my town later in the week which made it hard to get out.  I bought some new wellington boots yesterday so the rain shouldn’t stop me if it continues.  My others had become too tight on my calves and ended up cracking.

Year of Personal Projects – July 2019 to June 2020

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I felt I needed a list of Personal Projects to work on during the same time period that the creative Year of Projects runs on my main blog. 

Last year I focussed so much on my creative projects I lost site of some of the things around my home and own physical health.  I did great work on my mental health through crafting, but just need some balance between mental and physical health and keeping on top of things around the house.

So here’s my list of personal projects to work on over the next 12 months.

 

Home & Garden

House

  • Re-pot houseplants
  • New flooring in en-suite
  • Paint en-suite 
  • Paint downstairs loo
  • Sort storage of camping equipment

Garage

  • Continue decluttering
  • Organise shelves
  • Paint garage door
  • Clear drain in front
  • Hang more hooks for tools

Garden

  • Fix waterbutt leak
  • Paint picnic table
  • Transplant curly hazel tree from pot to garden
  • Trim back conifers
  • Plant remaining clematis
  • Hang rope to make path for climbers
  • Train rose along the fence
  • Paint pale patches on fence
  • Weed front borders and re-define edges
  • Sort out wild strawberries that are taking over

 

Physical & Mental Health

  • Get up and dressed by 9am at the latest.
  • Create a daily/weekly schedule to allow time for exercise, yoga, creative projects and household chores
  • Regular yoga routine at least 2 hours per week to start. 🧘🏻‍♀️
  • Regular aerobic exercise 
  • 10,000 steps a day on average for the week
  • Get back to healthy weight / BMI band
  • Continue decluttering and organising cupboards etc.

 

My Desert Island Discs 2019

For weeks I have been listening to the Desert Island Disc podcast library.  I have listened to dozens of episodes so far and there are many more in my queue.  This BBC Radio 4 show has been going for over 77 years!

The concept I don’t believe has changed during that time.  You are going to be stranded on a desert island and…

  • You pick 8 discs (that’s single songs, not albums…although some people have chosen poetry readings, a radio episode of their favourite show and Dame Judy Dench requested the BBC Radio 4 shipping forecast as one of her discs!)
  • You are given a copy of the Bible, the complete works of Shakespeare and you may pick one other book.
  • You are also allowed to pick a luxury.  You aren’t allowed to pick a raft or boat!  Ray Mears, survival expert, says you can use shells as knives, so you don’t need a knife!  I seem to remember his luxury item was massive speakers to blast his songs out…so he obviously thinks you don’t need anything practical.  You can’t take a person or animal.

Anyway, obviously listening to so many episodes it gets you thinking about what songs, book and luxury you’d want to take.  I have come up with my list and I thought I’d post it here as a record of what I was thinking in 2019.  Perhaps in years to come this will change, but here it is at the moment.

 

Songs

Track 1:

Artist: Muse

Song: The 2nd Law:  Unsustainable

Why?: This may seem an odd choice but I love this song, it is like a dozen songs and styles in one, with choral, classical and electronic with some spoken words and some wacky bits at the end.  It needs to be played full blast.  My husband went to see Muse with his friend, so I tease him about how he went to see one of my favourite bands without me, so it would remind me of him.

YouTube 

Track 2: 

Artist:  Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman

Song: Come What May (from Moulin Rouge Soundtrackj

Why?: I love Ewan McGregor!  The only fan mail I have ever written in my whole life was to him, to say how much I LOVED ‘The Long Way Round’ series, where he and Charley Boorman rode from London to New York.  I have seen the whole series at least 25 times.  I met Charley Boorman in Inverness, when he was giving a talk and when he put his arm around me for a photo, I thought…”that arm he’s hugging me with has hugged Ewan!!!”   Why then have I not picked the theme tune to that series, sung by The Stereophonics?  Well it isn’t sung by Ewan and I love singing along to Come What May at the top of my voice. 

YouTube

Track 3: 

Artist:  Nina Simone

Song: Sinnerman

Why?: I love her voice and part of my reason for picking this track of hers, is it is longer than most of her songs.  This also reminds me of the movie The Thomas Crown Affair (the Pierce Brosnan version), this movie reminds me of the 90s and going to the cinema every week with my best friend at the time.  So it sets me off down a rabbit warren of happy memories.  Also I love the fast beat in the music and can imagine me doing some clapping and stomping and clicking and dancing away on the beach.

YouTube

Track 4: 

Artist:  Barbra Streisand (with Bryan Adams)

Song: I finally found someone

Why?: Oh goodness this was a tough decision.  In my music collection, by far the most albums I own are Barbra Streisand.  I love her voice, love her choice of songs, duet partners, love her movies.  I have so many memories that she evokes.  Some sad, but mostly happy.  In 1989 when I was 16 I was doing a Barbra Streisand appreciation session with my best pal Stephen in High School.  I clearly remember us sitting on my bedroom floor and me playing various tracks to him of different cassettes and him hating them all.  We lost touch and he died before he reached 40, just before our 25 year school reunion.  If my husband and I had had a typical wedding/reception and had a first dance then I would have tried to persuade him to let us have this song.  I thought about a song from Yentl, but I know all the lyrics to those and can sing them anyway…as I can with 90% of her songs!

YouTube

Track 5: 

Artist:  Queen

Song: Princes of the Universe (from Highlander soundtrack)

Why?: I love Queen and hearing their songs evokes so many happy memories.  My dad and Aunty Pauline are big fans, I mean who isn’t a fan.  I had to pick something from the Highlander movie soundtrack, and listened to the album a few times back to back trying to whittle it down to one song, the song that came closest was Gimme the Prize.  I first saw the movie Highlander when I was 13 years old, on the French exchange in La Rochelle and obviously it was in French!  I thought what on earth is going on during this whole movie, then I got home and saw it at the cinema in English, then went to see it again.  Then bought it on Video and wore it out I watched it sooooo many times, then bought it on DVD and now on Blu-Ray.  After about 8 years of living in the Highlands it occurred to me that probably the reason the Highlands felt so much like home, was because I had watched the movie easily 200 times!!  

YouTube

Track 6: 

Artist:  Peter Gabriel (and The New Blood Orchestra)

Song: San Jacinto 

Why?: I knew I wanted a song from this album as I never ever get bored of listening to it.  I was tempted to pick ‘The Intruder’ or ‘Darkness’ off the same album, but thought alone on a desert island I may spook myself too much listening to it, but I love those songs.  As I’m writing this I am listening to the New Blood album it is on…so many brilliant tunes on this album…arrgghhh decisions decisions.  My husband bought me the Blu-ray of New Blood Live in London, which is his concert in 3D, plus 2D and DVD, so I can play it basically on all the TVs.  Full blast on surround sound system is fantastic.  Peter Gabriel reminds me of being young and listening to my sister playing his So album, she has no recollection of owning it!  My husband and I went to see his 25th Anniversary tour of the So album.  Fantastic singer and the lyrics are so beautiful.

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Track 7: 

Artist:  Evanescence

Song: Bring Me To Life

Why?: This may seem like a wacky choice, in comparison to my previous easy listening tunes!  I feel I would need a song to seriously rock out to, scream at the top of my lungs along to and Evanescence is about as heavy as my taste gets.  Whilst I love the songs ‘Lithium’ and ‘Tournique’ I thought they aren’t really going to fit the purpose, as the lyrics are a bit gloomy, although I do love them.  I have 2 of their albums and it was hard to pick the right song because once I start playing them I am singing along to them all.  But this one seems a good one for a desert island.

YouTube (this video has 611 million views!!!!!  By far the most of my 8 songs.) 

Track 8: 

Artist:  José González

Song: Stay Alive (from The Secret Life of Walter Mitty soundtrack)

Why?: He has a beautiful voice, these are beautiful lyrics, it’s from one of my top 5 favourite movies and I can imagine listening to this whilst lying on the sand looking up at the blue skies and watching clouds going by.  The only thing I don’t like about this song is how quickly it ends!  

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They always ask, if you could only save one disc from washing away what would it be!!!!  Oh my this is so hard.  It seems an impossible choice, but I guess I will save ….Stay Alive…I think because the lyrics would help me get up, open my eyes and see a new day rise and help me stay alive.

 

Book: 

Author:  Pam Ayres 

TitleThe Works – Classic Collection

Why?: I have always loved Pam Ayres poems since I was a child.  I had the pleasure of meeting her after a talk she gave in Inverness.  I brought along my falling apart copy of her book of Children’s poems that I had since I was about 11, about the only thing I have left from being that age.  She kindly signed it.  I told her which of her poems was my favourite (Heaps of Stuff) and some weeks later I heard her on the radio and she mentioned and read this poem!  Now she wrote that poem 30 odd years earlier so I like to think it was me who reminded her about it.  I thought this would be better than a novel, as I can try to learn the poems by heart.

 

Luxury: 

Item:  Lifetime supply of yarns with interchangeable needles.  

Why?: The host allowed someone to have things to make coffee with including sugar and milk, so hopefully ‘knitting stuff’ counts as one luxury.  Worst case I could make some knitting needles from sticks or make yarn from coconut fibre!  But I think she’d allow both.

 
If you’d like to join in then please feel free to do your own post and share the link to your blog, or enter your list in the comments below! 

Hoarding update

And here’s my update on my hoard

HighlandHeffalump

Since writing my post about HoardingI have done a huge amount of ruthless clearing out, be it selling stuff on Facebook, donating items to the local Red Cross shop, taking things to the tip and filling our recycling wheelie bin.

Amazingly someone bought all the foam from our old sofa! Also the oil pastels, some acrylic yarn, a chair, a collection of rubber stamps and pending collection a massager and basket making supplies have been sold!

I?ve given away some poly/cotton thread reels and upholstery fabric.

I donated a huge suitcase, that was filled with bags of office clothes, summer clothes, clothes too small for me, coats, shoes, handbags. Plus some office equipment and drawing pads and coloured pencils and all sorts of random home office items.

I?ve thrown out broken picture frames and lots and lots of ?memorabilia?. I had every handwritten letter I have ever received, many…

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Hoarding!

This is perhaps more appropriate on my ramblings blog

HighlandHeffalump

I have been recording the series ?Hoarders – Buried Alive? and watching an episode each morning over breakfast. I started off watching it because it made me feel like in comparison I am tidy and organised and not a hoarder. Despite the size and eclectic nature of my crafting stash…everything has a place in a drawer or cupboard or bookcase…so its not piles everywhere.

However, what I have realised is there?s a common theme with many of the people who hoard…

  • They have always been collectors of things. ✅ that?s me, started with egg cups when I was about 8, then Winnie-the-Pooh, then Minions and now yarn and fibre. Can I part with any of my Pooh Bear or Minion stuff…nope!
  • They keep things with the intention to fix them up or the thought they may come in handy. ✅ that?s me too…I dismantled our old sofa and kept all…

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Arrrgghhh Anxiety!!!

I have been trying to deal with a really stressful situation for the last few months and hate the physical effects that it takes on my body and I’m just exhausted.  My Fitbit is telling me every day that I’m doing around 15 hours of fat burn because my pulse is racing so much and if I go for a casual stroll with the dog then it leaps to saying I’m doing Cardio!  It is crazy and it is exhausting, but how can you stop it…how can you stop being anxious about some things.

I am so jealous of my husband who is so laid back, nothing gets to him and he struggles to understand ‘why I let things get to me’…but is it that I am doing the ‘letting’??  It makes it sound like I have an option…but try as I may to stop things getting to me, they do…and so how can I stop it?

Anyone in their right mind wouldn’t ‘let’ things effect me in the way that they do.  Surely headaches, sore jaw from grinding it in the night, chest tightness and a racing heart beat when you are sat still are not something I’ve opted for?

I so wish I was built differently, that things could roll off me like water off a ducks back.  I know I can try meditation and yoga, but bending over at the moment makes me dizzy.

Today when I thought my heart was going to beat straight out of my chest I sat and did some spinning at my spinning wheel, which has helped in the past.  I even tried selling more of my crafting stash in an attempt to take my mind off things.

I’ll call my GP tomorrow and see what she recommends…but if anyone has any recommendations for handling anxiety better that would be great….please no “just don’t worry about it” or “just don’t take it to heart”…that just isn’t an option in my frazzled brain.

I wish I wish I wish…