Thursday, December 16, 2010

Say No To Shovelling Snow!

Let me start by telling you that I absolutely lurve Yoga Journal.
I have a years subscription and I hover at the mail box around the 10th of the month waiting for the delivery...and also so I can tell the mail man off for ruining the front lawn as he wheel spins onto the main road like he is gearing up for the Daytona 500. Only in America do we have a mail delivery where they don't even have to leave their vehicles to deliver the post! Together with the drive through bank, dry cleaners, ice cream stand and pharmacy, soon babies will come out of the womb in a 4x4 with standard fat arse and Dunkin Donuts coffee cup in hand!
I digress!
So, then with my lovely mag in my hot little hand, I tend to sneak into the loo, the only place where I am guaranteed that the ever conversational Mr F will not disturb, and settle in to a good read. And Yoga Journal never disappoints. It is always packed with inspirational stories, great posture clinics, fabulous sequence ideas, yummy recipes and interesting out of the box articles.
Can you tell I am a fan?
However, when I was poring over this months issue there was one small, half page piece that really made me laugh. It was intended as a serious piece, with tips on how to use your yoga practice to help you cope with the Christmas season, specifically, on shovelling snow and being injury free. Great idea in theory but...really?! Now let me set the scene.
You are out in freezing temperatures, bundled up in a thousand layers, probably late for work or a party or simply just a little bit peeved, having decided that if you don't bloody well shovel the drive then no-one else is going to. Are you thinking good posture and sound technique? No, you are thinking, "Why am I out here freezing my butt off while my husband is skulking in the warm cosy house pretending to be on an important business call which will miraculously end as soon as the  path is clear and the shovel is safely back in the garage...git!"
I simply cannot imagine that at any time, "core, posture, breath" is going through your mind!
You may wish it had been, the next day when your shoulders feel like they are falling out of their sockets and your lower back feels like a rusty hinge that is in dire need of some WD40.
I love the thought that us yogis are using our yoga tools to live our everyday life, making it easier, happier, smoother, keeping us all healthier and more balanced, but is it just me, or does everything that make sense for the rest of the year go out the window in the silly season?
Maybe I am just a bad yogini!
However, now writing this post, maybe I should be more aware of the yogic me over the Christmas period. 

  • Like when I am precariously balanced on my grandfathers rickety wooden step ladder, with a tangle of LEDs in my freezing cold hands dropping twist ties on the drive, spewing swear words from my foul mouth while attempting to hang my parents outside lights. 
  • Or when I am very grumpily, twenty minutes into the 3 mile long queue in Zara, sweltering in my boots, coat, scarf, gloves and hat in the shop's tropical temperatures to buy an outfit for New Years eve, which may not even fit by then anyway after all the turkey and roast potatoes and Quality Street and booze. 
  • Or when I am the wrong side of an afternoon of Bucks Fizz on Boxing Day being competitive in The Cereal Box game showing off my bendy, but generally not warmed up body!

Nice thought yoga Journal and although I think of yoga as a way of life, December is my month off!
I will be bending down without engaging my core and keeping a micro bend in my knees. I will be over-indulging, waking up with a hangover and then doing it all over again the next day. I will be stressing and swearing and probably swapping a hot yoga flow for a hot mulled wine flow.
But most of all I will be skidding across the snowy driveway and going off sledging with my Nephews!
Say no to shovelling snow!

Monday, December 13, 2010

It appears I am on a holiday go slow doesn't it? Sorry about that lovely Freedom followers. Please excuse my lack of posts this week. It has been a little manic to say the least. I shall endeavour to post very soon with good yogic vibes and holiday cheer. Until then, wish me luck on the Christmas shopping on which I am about to embark.
A good few rounds of Kaphalbhati are in order I think before I brave the throngs of grumpy consumers!
Isn't it the season to be jolly?!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Gnarly Biker Dudes

Sometimes you see stuff in life that makes you stop and smile and for just a moment, the cynic in you is silenced and you regain your faith in the human race.
On Sunday, I had such an experience in a mall parking lot of all places!
On the first Sunday in December every year, thousands of gnarly, scary, hardcore bikers gather in this parking lot in Merritt Island. They decorate their bikes and themselves for Christmas and most importantly, each has a toy tightly strapped to their machines. Then the powers that be, close off all the streets from Merritt Island to Melbourne and led by the very serious and impressive looking Sherriff's department on their cruisers, Santa rips out of the parking lot with a wave and a rev of his huge Harley engine followed by the throng of 6000.
This was the 29th annual ABATE Toys For Tots bike run which benefits the Shriners Children's Hospital amongst other local charities and it has to be the coolest event I have seen in a long time.
The bikes are amazing and I am certainly not a petrol head, but they all are immaculate with gleaming chrome and enviable paint jobs. (Well I wasn't envious but John who has a 1974 Triumph TR6 was green!) Then of course you have the bikers, tattooed, leather clad, weather beaten, tabacco chewing. And that's just the women! You certainly would not want to mess with any of them outside a bar or in a road rage incident but here they totally went against any stereotype you ever had for them. They were madly polishing their engines (!) whilst wearing Santa outfits and elves ears, attaching bells to their handlebars and checking that the Tonka truck or the giant teddy bear was securely fastened for the ride.
John and I wandered around playing paparazzi for an hour before the kickstands went up. We saw some unbelievable sights. Lots of guys who could legitimately be Santa, many women in chaps, some who could pull them off, others, not so much! We saw, Harleys, Triumphs, Kawasakis, Ducattis, Vespas, bikes with side cars, 3 wheelers, 4 wheelers, and the list goes on. Let me tell you, the noise of the engines and the smell of fuel was intense and the buzz of excitement was just as intoxicating. The sheer volume of people and the good will behind the event was, I hate to sound American but here goes...AWESOME!
We took some great pictures and had a front kerb seat as they all pulled out, rather fast and rather close to my toes in some cases.
A great morning all for a great cause.
Hope you like the pictures!
Triumph engine

Gnarly Biker Dude

This will get very tangled on the ride!

Mr and Mrs Clause?

Leader of the pack

resting up for the big ride

My friend Rhonda

me shinning up a lampost to capture it all  on my Flip

Imagine 100 times this
"Merry Christmas Man!"

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Mighty Magnesium

I am floating!
I didn't realise quite how tense and knotted up my whole body was until this morning and after an hours worth of a firm yet "kind" massage. I feel like a different woman, thank God!
You see yesterday was my Birthday! Boo! I was planning a non-Birthday as the advancing years are really too depressing to keep on celebrating, but  I guess everyone else thought differently and I had lots of lovely cards and messages (thank you Facebook) and it turned into an event after all. A low key one but an event none the less,with singing and wine and gifts. Thank you everyone!
John bought me amongst other things, a hot stone massage. I managed to get an appointment this morning and it was the most amazingly gorgeous experience ever! It was one hour of being totally blissed out.
First  of all I had to strip off...obviously! I always get worried at that point when they don't specify. Strip off completely? Leave on the under-crackers? Of course prior to that there was the initial dilemma at home, which undies to wear! Then, after I decided to protect my modesty (first time ever I hear you say!)  and I was in place on the table, there was the awkward prolonged wait. How will she know when I am nakedy and under the covers? Do I need to cough or yell out? I opted to do nothing but lie there, relax and send out psychic vibes that I was ready...It seemed to work but maybe massage therapists have a 6th sense about that!
Imagine a normal massage but the warm, oily hands were interspersed with hot flat stones. She actually used the stones to massage me and it was the most intense wonderful heat that went deep down into my used and abused muscles. She broke up crunchy lactic acid crystals in my neck and my middle back, my overworked calves (bloody running) and my feet. It was one of those experiences you just don't want to end and when I dragged my butt off the massage table I felt like jelly. So relaxed and so pampered!
I was then presented with a bottle of liquid magnesium with a wink and a smile and was told that it could work wonders for me.
This therapist was like Glenda the good witch!
So true to form I came home, took the dose and then Googled magnesium!
Did you know that headaches, muscle fatigue and cramps, high blood pressure, sleep problems, diabetes, osteoporosis, heart arrhythmia and a number of other common diseases and ailments can be helped by getting a regular daily dose of magnesium. I don't want to be the bearer of bad news but the magnesium in take for American's has dropped 50% over the last century. Also, many people are loading up on calcium which actually flushes magnesium out of the cells.
Now don't ditch the calcium, its important too but make sure that for every 2 milligrams of calcium you treat your body to 1milligram of magnesium. "How do we measure that Fee?" We don't! Well you may be able to but I am too busy! I am just going to take a supplement like all  lazy 21st century people should! I am also going to up my intake of all the good magnesium loaded foods, like spinach, cashews, yoghurt and chocolate pudding (gotta love that!)
I am told by Glenda that I will sleep better and my headaches will disappear, as will the majority of my aches and pains.
You can't get much better than that, right?!
So here's to hot stone massages and mighty magnesium!