catching up and coming in last

I’ve spent this week sick, on the couch. It’s okay. Really, it is.

It’s actually kind of nice to just rest and do what my body tells me to – quite a change from the working years when we just had to push through. Take drugs to stop coughing, stop blowing, stay alert. Then collapse the minute we walked in the door at the end of the day. No time to look after ourselves.

handquilted 2Well, now I have time. After two years of retirement, I’m finally at a place where I can give my body what it needs when it’s sick: rest. I’ve lazed around, sleeping when I need to, chain-drinking pots of tea, moving around when I need to. I feel like I’m charting the progress of this cold. It changes every day. It’s interesting, in a scientific sort of way. Uncomfortable, even painful at times…but interesting.

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I’m getting lots of reading in. And some small bouts of sewing. I get up and putter a bit, then go lay down for awhile, then get up again and putter some more. It took me two days to make one splendid sampler block. And that’s perfectly okay. It brings new meaning to living simply – something I’ve been striving for.

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And just in case you think I gave up on the A-Z challenge: I didn’t. I’m just coming in last.

XYZ

 

 

 

 

I couldn’t find a single pose that begins with the letters x, y or z. So what I’m going to do is tell you about something I’ve challenged myself with. It’s the end of the alphabet, after all. What comes next? My personal goal: Crow Pose

my challengeSomeday I will be able to do this. I don’t know why, but I just know that in this pose I will know myself to be physically strong. That hovering in crow pose, I will be as strong as I will ever need to be.

Partly it’s because this pose requires strength from the entire body: tremendous core strength and the shoulder & arm strength that I have been lacking. And mental strength, too, to overcome the fear of falling forward and doing a face plant on the floor.

Inside myself, I think of this as the Raven pose.

crow pose

I miss the ravens of the Yukon. I miss their burbling and clicking and cawing and the thousands of different sounds they make. I miss them being ever present and watchfully perched on the lamp posts, heads tilted. I miss the way they fluff their feather up so they look like they’re wearing furry black parkas in the winter  If I were ever to get a tattoo, it would be of a raven. If I ever master this pose, maybe I will.

 

The End (of the alphabet and the a-z challenge.)

What comes next for you?

S is for the Splendid Sampler and Side Plank

Every once in awhile I enjoy participating in a block-of-the-month quilt-along. That’s when a block is posted on a regular basis, and at the end of the year, you have enough blocks to make a quilt.

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Pam’s wedding quilt was made this way. So was the Trifle Dish quilt that I made for Dee.

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These little blocks I’m showing here all belong to The Splendid Sampler quilt-along. The instructions for these tiny 6″ blocks come out twice per week. Yes…twice!

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How big is six inches? Not very big, let me tell ya!

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Every Sunday and Thursday you can find me in my sewing room, tossing around scraps and assembling the little block du jour.

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Except for the backgrounds, I’m mostly using Kaffe Fassett prints. Mostly. If you’re a Kaffe fan, you’ll notice a few non-Kaffe prints in there, like Sis-Boom. Can you spot the block with the Sis-Boom prints?

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At first I wasn’t going to participate. My first reaction to the idea of making over one hundred 6-inch blocks was that I wouldn’t be able to do it. Not a good enough sewer. Blah blah blah. Screw that attitude! If I don’t try, how will I ever get better?

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Already – after only 22 blocks – I am better. It’s a wonderful world. 🙂

And last but certainly not least: the A-Z in April challenge:

S

http://www.yogajournal.com/pose/side-plank-pose/

Side Plank Pose is one I’ve recently mastered. It’s one of those poses I was talking about yesterday, when I said I can tell I’m getting stronger because I can get into poses I couldn’t do before.

 

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Getting into and holding Side Plank was HUGE for me, because I have very little upper body strength.

I have the ab strength to hold the pose, it’s my lack of shoulder strength that has been the problem. Even here, you can see that my supporting arm is still a bit too far forward. But I’m up! I’m up and sticking it!

 

sideplankThe next progression of Side Plank is to lift that top leg.

 

 

 

FullSizeRender-7I keep trying to lift that top leg…

I gave it a try for the sake of this post. Here I am, falling out of it. At least I’m giving it a try! Eventually I will do it.

 

Do you want to work up to doing a full side plank, too? Because you can, you know.

Here are some short videos to get you started:


You can do it!!!! You can be strong!!!!!

Catching up with the letters Q and R

I got a little behind there for a couple of days. Sorry about that! Today I’m going to catch up with the April A-Z blogging challenge with the letters Q and R. 🙂

QQuotes

Honestly…I could not find a single pose that starts with the letter Q! But there are some lovely quotes floating around out there in cyber space, so I thought I’d apply a couple of them to my own thoughts around my home practice.

th2I admit it…yoga doesn’t meet the usual definition of working out. We aren’t racing our bicycles down the highway or dancing in a zumba class or running on a treadmill in a gym. We’re in our bare feet, doing what looks, to the uninitiated, like a lot of stretching. We’re sweating lightly instead of moping it off our faces with a towel. We’re slightly out of breath instead of gasping for air. When our practice is over, we lay down on the floor like we’re all taking naps together in kindergarten. We’re smiling and looking peaceful and trusting. We’re breathing with the effort, softening, looking inward, setting intention and releasing what doesn’t serve us.

 

th7I practice yoga for a lot of reasons. One of the main reasons is that I want to be strong. And happily, what I’ve have found since I’ve been practicing  two to three times each week is that it’s working. I’ve been getting stronger. Physically stronger. Poses are easier to get into. I can stay in them longer. I can bend into them deeper.

Let me say it right out: Yoga builds physical strength.

Because we move through the poses using our own body weight, the muscles develop in a natural way … following the natural movements of the body.

This feels so much more natural to me than going to the gym and lifting weights, listening to the clank and clatter of the metal disks and the loud pumping music.

th1What I enjoy about building strength through yoga is that my brain feels just as refreshed as my body does when I’m finished.

I always feel as though the day has slowed down and I’ve slipped those 30 or 60 minutes into it, like a love letter into the envelope of my day. ♥

*  *  *

RAnd for the letter R… the Rag Doll pose

 

 

 

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th5If the small of your back doesn’t care to have the entire weight of your upper body hanging off those few vertebra, go ahead and do a forward bend.

 

If you can’t touch your fingers to the floor, bend your knees, or use a block or a book or even a couple of soup cans to raise the floor closer to your hands. Whatever it takes.

 

 

th6Or do it sitting on a chair.