Wednesday, July 20, 2022


Monday, September 30, 2013

How do you get stronger arms? Do push ups.

I went to Gaia Flow today to get a little more arm and ab work than what we get in Bikram yoga. Gaia Flow has a "Weekend Warrior" class that is fairly warm, though certainly not as hot as Bikram yoga. They start the class with something like 300-400 ab moves. Seriously...300-400...I guess it depends who it teaching or what kind of mood they are in. Then they move into the good stuff, arm balancing, core working postures where even the fittest of people start to quiver before the teacher says to move into another posture. And if you aren't challenged, there are always variations of the posture..I stayed with the basics.

I've been several times, they always stop after the ab work and discuss something the studio is "working" on or "focusing" on for the week. This week it was moderation. Moderation in your practice and in life; letting go of the ego and knowing your limits that day. I thought it was interesting and perhaps not a coincidence that I am participating in a moderation eating group and he referenced attempting to practice moderation in your only eating a few chips at a Mexican restaurant. And many of the things the teacher used as examples of moderation in yoga were things I try to communicate when I teach.

Today in class I tried to practice moderation and not kill myself doing postures I am not totally familiar with or frankly, that good at. Downward dog is a favorite and a "go to" transition posture for just about everything we did today. After awhile my wrists started to hurt. I probably could have stayed in the postures but only to the determent of my ability to move my hands later. I opted to be safe and sit out a posture here and there, sip my water and wipe the streaming sweat off my face. Much of the arm balancing postures I couldn't do, arm strength is not something I have and though we do some arm work in Bikram, it isn't one of our top selling points.

After class a friend and I were talking about what we thought of the class and I got to the part about class when we did the arm balancing postures and my weak arms. I commented that I was trying to "work" on my arms by doing push ups at home. He asked how many I was doing. "Uh, 3-4 at a time at the moment." he laughed and the proceeded to tell me I should be able to do 100 push ups a day. 100?! After we both had a good laugh, he looked at me completely serious and said, "yes, you should be able to do 100 push ups every day." Dude, I can barely do 5, how the heck am I suppose to do 100? He was kind enough to break it down and say I could do 10 push ups 10 times a day which sounded more achievable. And, because we did so many push up moves in class he said I should shoot for doing another 50 the rest of the day to make my 100. 50?! Sheesh...uh...ok....

I know, you are wondering if I made it. It wasn't easy but I did 50 push ups. Ten at a time. Oddly enough, the last two "reps" I was able to pump out 4 solid without stopping, then a few more, then boom, was done. It was as if my arms got STRONGER as I did more. Shocker I know. I'm eager to see what tomorrow brings. I will either be able to do 100 or my arms might feel so weak I won't be able to lift myself off the floor. Check back tomorrow to see if I can still pull myself up to the computer to type.

Friday, September 27, 2013

When step count doesn't matter.

Finally got on the bike again and went around White Rock Lake. The weather in Dallas was just perfect for a quick jaunt around the lake. I was impressed with my ability to maintain a somewhat reasonable pace considering I haven't been on the bike since April. 

I debated I've been using a pedometer to track my steps and have been astonished at how inactive I am some days. Some days I barely make it to 2000 steps. The only time I've ever gone more than 10000 steps was when I ran 4 miles.

I debated whether to run to get steps or do something different and ride. I decided it's more about being active which in the case of yoga and cycling don't include steps. So today, even though I'll barely crack 3000 steps, I feel pretty good about 12.5 miles on the bike.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Getting Rid of Pain with the MELT Method

MELT Method Hand and Foot Treatment Kit

Earlier this year a friend of mine posted she had been to the Hand and Foot MELT training. I was intrigued so I looked it up and saw it was balls and rollers and what looked to me on initial review to be pressure point massage. I have been using a foam roller for years and recommend them often to yoga students, runners, cyclists, etc that are feeling pain. Based on my previous knowledge of foam rolling, reflexology and fascia I thought MELT would be a great compliment to what I already teach. An boy was I right!

I just got back from the Hand and Foot MELT Training and am so excited to share how just a few minutes a day can help keep a person pain free. I mean, who doesn't feel pain every once in a while? I consider myself a fairly healthy person without a lot of pain but sometimes I get a crick in my neck or I get what feels like a knot in my muscles or when I am crazy enough to think I can run more than a 10K and my legs cramp up. Pain happens. Kind of like S**t. It just happens. But that doesn't mean you have to live with it.

Here is a real example that happened to me this weekend.

We were sitting for most of the two days learning about fascia, nerves, pressure points, etc. I was sitting at an angle I guess my body didn't completely agree with because once we took a break and stood up, I all the sudden felt a crick in my neck and had this pinching pain on the right side of my neck and shoulder area. When this happens at home I usually put some Tiger Balm on the area or get a neck roll, warm it up and put it around the area.

I didn't have any of those things but we were about to do a foot treatment. We started with the left foot and after just a few minutes on the left foot I all the sudden noticed my neck didn't hurt anymore! No more pain! IN MY NECK? How the heck does pressing on my feet help my neck? The body is an amazing thing. The connective tissue, fascia, that is just below the skin is all over the body and is all connected, thus I am sure why it is called "connective" tissue. So you can effect an area not close to the feet by simply pressing on some points and sending fluid through the body.

I vaguely knew this because of reflexology but I've never studied it and haven't done reflexology in response to a pain, it has always been as an add-on to a massage treatment.

What was completely the ah-ha moment was when Sue said connective tissue can be dehydrated, even if you drink a lot of water and most of the time what we feel when we are tight or stiff is not so much about the muscles, it is dehydrated connective tissue. And dehydrated connective tissue can create pain in your joints, stiffness, reduced movement and imbalance.

Want to learn more about MELT? Want to try it? Connect with me on twitter for news on upcoming classes, I'll be teaching classes in Austin and the Dallas area. If you are interested in more immediate help, email me at carolyn (at) bikerunyoga (dot) com.

Purchase MELT products and Sue's new book!

I took a full MELT Class the day before training started.

This is super cool, bunion treatment! 

Sue Hitzmann and me after the training, MELTed and happy!

New Bag Styles