Breathing Lessons

Yoga DVD

When I was very young, I used to watch my mother doing yoga in the living room along with Lilias, courtesy of PBS. I’ve got friends and net-friends who practice, and a yoga center just opened in the local shopping center I like to visit, but I’m not ready for a formal class yet.

I was pretty excited, therefore, when I got the chance to review a yoga dvd. It’s the “Gentle Practice” disc from, and I’ve just finished my first half-hour session. I had to wait til I could breathe without coughing before I could try it.

Tonight, as a gentle rain fell beyond the window, I dimmed the lights and popped in the disc.

I was greeted by the teacher, a woman named Zyrka, whose manner and appearance reminded me very strongly of Donna Murphy’s character in Star Trek: Insurrection – very centered and serene, and with a sense of stillness that was extremely comfortable. Some exercise DVDs are intimidating; this one is not. From the moment Zyrka appeared on my screen, I was on board. She spends several minutes explaining how to dress (comfortable, movable, layers), and what equipment you need (a mat and yoga block are fine, but all you really need is a carpeted floor and a blanket). She stresses that you shouldn’t drink water (unless you’re pregnant) during the session, but MUST hydrate before and after, and she also goes through information like not to do inversion exercises if you have high blood pressure or during your period.

As I’ve been sick for a couple weeks, and, as posted earlier, am pretty tired today, and because I’ve never done yoga before, I chose to try the easiest shortest practice session, a 33 minute gentle workout for beginners. I’m a little too stiff in the knees for a couple of the poses, but I didn’t feel like I was straining. In fact, I feel pleasantly warm, and calm, but not tired, twenty minutes after completion.

Before actually doing a session I explored the DVD. There are six practice sessions available, a beginning series of roughly half, three-quarters, and a whole hour each, and a more challenging series of roughly the same lengths of time. The first one is mainly sitting poses.

There is also a pose guide, where you can work through the different poses at your own pace, to get a feel for how they should, well, feel. I explored that feature a little bit, and will look at it again before I do another session.

I’m really excited by this disc, and I think I’ll be adding a Sunday session to my week from now on. It just seems like the perfect calming/centering/stretching thing to cap a weekend and transition back into Monday.

I should add, that while I’m open to experiencing different spiritual traditions, some people are not. There is nothing of mysticism in this DVD. It’s all just being in tune with your body and breath.

Of course, now I’m hyper-conscious of my breathing, but that will pass.

The company that produces this yoga dvd, RealBodyWork, also makes a Tai Chi disc. I’m curious to see what that’s like.

Say Cheese

We spent much of yesterday rushing around and today I’m so tired that if we had a bottle of energy pills, I’d totally be popping them like candy. We don’t however, so I had a healthy turkey and provolone sandwich with slices of tomato on whole grain bread, and a bunch of red seedless grapes.

The choice of turkey was perhaps not the wisest considering that I’m still feeling drained, but mmm, it was good. It was turkey roasted with sundried tomatoes and herbs. Fuzzy said it smelled like sausage in the bag. He’s wrong. But he often is, and I love him anyway.

After the vet, we went to the pet store, to buy crunchy food for Miss Cleo. Dick Van Patten’s rolled food has been the standard around here since we stopped the BARF diet, and apparently his company makes crunchy stuff, too, so Miss Cleo and Zorro chowed down this weekend on Potato and Duck dog food, loaded with omega three oils and totally grain free.

We also visited Hollywood Video, because the branch in our neighborhood was closing, and everything was on sale. I picked up Waitress and Caffeine for $4 each. Fuzzy got some Zombie movies that I refuse to watch because of my issue with anything where the characters are scared, cold, wet, dirty and short on toilet paper.

We delivered movies to Blockbuster, where there were adorable girl scouts hawking cookies. I don’t KNOW any girl scouts this year, so I was pleased about this – we took home 2 boxes of samoas and 4 of thin mints, but almost everything went into the freezer.

We lunched at Panera, where I bought a loaf of Irish soda bread, it being mid-March and all. I had some this morning with strong tea, while I read the Sunday paper. Mmm. Domestic bliss.

After lunch, we hit Radio Shack for a new RF modulator for the bedroom, because our tv is so old it doesn’t have the right inputs and outputs for cable AND tivo. The old RF modulator was whiting out everything. This one has restored normal color. We bought a second one for the tv currently in my office, which is being moved to the library for two reasons: One, so that I can play exercise videos in there when the weather is crappy, and two, so that when my parents come to visit (or anyone) they can have a place to crash and veg with television without stressing about waking us.

We were about to leave RS when I literally ran into the camera display. I have a very old $1000 at the time it was purchased Sony Cybershot with a telephoto lens permanently attached, infrared and night vision laser focus. It’s very cool, but it’s as bulky as an old-school SLR, and I hate lugging it around. I’ve been lusting after a teeny camera for a while, and now I have one. It’s a Samsung S85 – 8.2 megapixels, 5x zoom, a special portrait mode, and it’s sleek and black and fits in my pocket. Also, for $20 I got a 2 gb flash card for it, so I may never have to empty it unless I want to.

We went grocery shopping, skipped Target, and had sushi for dinner. I could live on sushi. Really. It’s such soothing food.

We stopped at Half Price Books on the way home, and I grabbed some vintage Nero Wolfe novels, a Trek novel I’d read in ebook format and wanted in physical form, and a Zone cookbook ($5).

Is it any wonder I’m exhausted today?