Friday, December 14, 2012

Legs up to there

I've had a little niggle in my lower back lately -- nothing crazy or worrisome. Just a bit tender, maybe from crazy inversions, maybe from the wild amount of book lifting from last week, but whatever. It seems to have set itself right after a week of taking things easily and more considered.

The pain, as angering and frustrating and stupid as it was, also made me more aware as I worked into poses. I have always known my core to be my weak(er) point and something I need to activate more. Well, nothing like a little pain in the low back to get you back into feeling. A roadblock, detour ahead. Yeah, you want to go to your back? Think again, that road is closed! Take the core path.

I also became aware of this incredible muscle in the body called the PSOAS, which links the bottom of the spinal column (starting at the 12th thoracic vertebrae) through the hips to the upper inner thigh bone. It is one of the largest and thickest muscles in the body (also known as the tenderloin in animals).  Check it out below, cool eh?

Apparently it is a tough muscle to massage, needing access through the hip, accessed under the intestines, quite the personal area, smack IN the hips, a space full of emotion.

But anyways, seeing the layout of this muscle, it got me thinking about internal rotation of the legs, and the sheer length of the legs. Internally rotating my legs, thinking of the PSOAS, means that I am accessing that muscle but also extending into opening my back. So my legs don't end with my leg bones but actually extend into my lower back. Now that is something to think about in yoga classes. Learning anatomy (and getting injured, HA!) is just an incredible way to deepen a practice.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


There are a few conversations in my little life thus far (27 beckons on Monday), that I remember with utmost clarity and gravity.

Out to dinner one night with a friend, I remember talking about astrology or energy or chakras or something like that and I was quite shy, sheepish and dismissive about it. Calmly, he responded something to the effect 'If you believe it, own it'.

Ever since I have remembered that moment and chosen to be steadfast and bold in my beliefs; believe in who you are.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Two days later

When I was in high school and college, more than having a good night's sleep the night before, the common advice became to get a good night's sleep two nights before. Somehow the body and the mind has a memory that goes beyond 24 hours.

Two days after the inversions workshop I did, I find myself finding new little spots to stretch and discover, when yesterday I was feeling good.

The body in constant evolution.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Vegan. Discuss.

A surefire way to stimulate conversation? Go vegan.

I can't tell you the number of conversations I have had about the way I am eating lately. Invariably it begins with a quizzical inventory of what I don't eat. Which naturally leads to a curiosity to how long I've been holding this up. And then a discussion of what I do eat and what I am missing.

Really, I don't mind this conversation. People are curious, I enjoy chatting about food. It is a way to share knowledge.

What is really interesting are the stories that come out. This past weekend, with guests over for dinner, we talked about veganism and how it affects travel, but, more interestingly, we talked about different approaches to food, family stories, personal histories. Food is universal and we all have some sort of relationship to it, as fuel, as family time, as personal journey. It truly is fascinating.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Let Life Surprise You

Yesterday, I went to an inversions workshop with a lot of floating, flipping, jumping... Now, I've always been able to get up with a wall nearby but somehow, being further away, I've always freaked out.

Learning to fall (tucking your chin to your sternum) was a good first step. I tried distancing myself away from the wall, with plenty of cushy mat to fall on, but still, my instinct was not wanting to fall out of forearm stand. I knew I could do it, but a big mental hurdle remained. Brendan, the teacher, simply said, I can't help you. And while infuriating, he was right, that mental block has nothing to do with strength or alignment - all things that are already in my arsenal - this last step of the journey I would have to go at alone.

Then, somewhere near the end of class, we were going through scorpion pose, and I distanced myself a little further from the wall, maybe a little more than an arm's length - not too close, but not too far - and, tired from a long day of yoga, floated up into a forearm stand, and then leaned into a scorpion, wall-free.

And there it was. That moment when it all clicks. When things snap into place quietly and without warning. Without thinking. Sometimes life just surprises you.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Ask for What You Want

Yesterday I got my ears lowered as my beloved childhood babysitter used to say when I got my hair cut. A funny little barber shop around the corner from my house called Rocket Barber Shop. All the guys cutting, using mostly electric trimmers, had slick hair and some sort of ink. Vintage knickknacks covered the walls, 50s music blared from the open hood of the half car that sat in the corner. I kinda felt like I was on the set of Grease.

Anyways, I was getting my hair cut and had a very clear idea of what I wanted. When my barber thought he was done, I made another request. And then another. While I felt a bit pushy, I truly just believe that I was asking for what I wanted. In the end, I left satisfied with my cut - a feeling I rarely have after a haircut. But the formula is simple, ask for what you want, communicate and those around you will hear your voice.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Pick a Word

A short post, just an idea really, based on a happenstance experiment last night.

A great way to switch up your playlist instead of searching for artist or album? Just pick a word. Brown, Fall, Right, Where... whatever really, see what happens - it can lead to a fun foray through your music library.

Last night's Fall playlist was quite the experience.