You may wonder what the six title items have to do with each other. Especially since the weekend is not yet half over. Read on.
I took an extra day off for Memorial weekend, Friday through Monday, four glorious days, something I don’t get to do during my busy season. We don’t have any travel plans, and four days doesn’t really qualify as a stay-cation, so my plan was rest, relaxation, and fitness.
The rest and relaxation part is pretty obvious, so I’ll explain the fitness part. While it’s not like I don’t make time to workout during the week, it can be a challenge to go much beyond the basics. I can run two or three days a week, hit the gym for a weight workout twice, practice yoga a few times (except this month during my Yoga Challenge, when I am practicing every day). I was planning, with my extra time off, to run a little farther, take a bike ride for the first time in a long time, and go to yoga class all four days.
On Friday, I got up early because I wanted to take a run, then hit the 8:00 yoga class at Worlds. We are experiencing unseasonably cool weather here in the desert (after about two weeks of unseasonably hot weather), but still, it is nice to get the run finished in the cool of the morning. The predicted winds had not started, but the temperatures were in the 60s for my run. I kept it short, only four miles, because I wanted to get home, eat, and freshen up before heading to yoga.
I’ve been practicing yoga consistently since January. I’d had an on and off relationship with yoga before that, but I’ve come to love it. I had the good fortune, in my return, to practice at Yoga Central, with my friend April and her other instructors, all of whom are excellent teachers, and friendly and caring individuals. This, of course, is wonderful, but it has spoiled me. Taking yoga at the gym is not quite the same.
I arrived about 15 minutes early, and the instructor, Art, was already there, talking to some of his regular students. I actually guessed he was the teacher, because he didn’t greet me, but when he took his place at the front of the room, I knew I was right. I don’t know much about forms of yoga, but Art’s class consisted of a lot of work on the floor, no sun salutations, a lot of planks, and way too many hero’s poses. My knees do not like hero’s pose.
While I found Art’s class to be too easy, his instruction was pretty good. He gave breathing and alignment cues, although he remained in his position at the front of the room. His music was okay, traditional yoga music. I’ll go back, in a pinch, but it won’t be the highlight of my day.
When April told me that she would be taking Sunday’s off for now, I decided to go to her Saturday class. As I told her, I needed her to kick my butt. The plan was a morning run, then class at 9:00. Now here is where the wind comes in.
High winds had been predicted for the weekend, and other areas of California were already having problems. With gusts of up to 60 mph forecast, the wind was apparently the price we had to pay for our cool weather. But, through Friday morning, no wind! As the day went on though, they started to increase, and by bedtime, it was roaring outside. As I lay in bed, I could feel the house shake!
When Alan woke up, the first thing he did was look outside to check our fence. It had been a bit wobbly lately, and the gusts through the night were the final straw. This is what we woke up to:
With five dogs used to instant access through their doggie door, this was not good. Plans were changed. Instead of a run with Penny (my Dalmatian running partner), we took a short walk with all the dogs and assessed the situation. A trip to Lowe’s for lumber and concrete, a trip to Ace (later on) for wood screws, and I watched the time tick away as Alan and I first had to wait for the wind to calm down a bit, then set about on fence repair. By the time we set the post and added the concrete, it was too late for Yoga Central.
Instead, I hit World’s Gym again for their 10:30 class. The concrete had to set, didn’t it? Today’s instructor, Janice, arrived right at 10:30. She quickly started her music (again, okay, but traditional), set up her mat at the front of the room and began her class. Believe me when I tell you that there were virtually no breathing cues or alignment instruction or anything actually approaching teaching during this class. Janice did her workout, told us what to do, and that was about it.
Ironically, I enjoyed Janice’s class much more than Art’s. It was a more challenging, vinyasa flow style of yoga that I like. I kept reminding myself of my breathing and my alignment (even though I’m pretty new to yoga, I am an experienced group exercise instructor and personal trainer, remember), plus I had a mirror to check my positioning. I would worry, though, about anyone who was inexperienced or didn’t have the background that I do. As she led us into a plough pose near the end of class, without any cues about spinal alignment, I thought, “this is how people are injured in yoga.” Fortunately, all the students in my class survived.
(I know I’m a little harsh on the instructors, but remember, that while I don’t teach yoga, I am a group exercise instructor. I know what should be done to teach an interesting, varied level, and safe class. Janice’s class was so dangerous, simply because she was so oblivious, that I really feel I need to call her on it.)
By the time I got home, the concrete had set enough so that we could finish the fence. I say we, but my job was holding the slats in place. Alan did all the other work. Credit where it’s due. It took another hour or so, and we need to buy a few more slats, but for now, the fence is up and strong enough to withstand wind and dogs.
So, with the fence repaired, my plan for tomorrow is again, an early run with both Alan and Penny, followed by yoga at Yoga Central. April won’t be there, but I know that Kinsey, the instructor, will be fresh, original, fun, and most of all, safe.
Okay, we’re halfway through the long weekend (and most of the way through this long post). All that’s left from the title tease is Cats.
You may know that Alan, the dog and calf rescuer, is also a feral cat caretaker. He feeds, cares for, and gets medical attention for, including spaying and neutering when he can, the feral cats in our neighborhood. I took a few pictures today. Enjoy.