My First Yoga-to-Dance aha! Moment!

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My First Yoga-to-Dance aha! Moment!

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for awhile now, i’ve been able to have more input into yoga, via my fitness studies with AFAA, SilverSneakers, and Zumba workshops, than from yoga into my other fitness routines, jazzercise dance etc

some of these items included, among much more:

non-stricture regarding breathing only through my nose if needed; optimal times for adding a small snack before, during or after a class or routine for muscle rebuilding; importance of respecting where one is starting from or currently “at” regarding expectations and how hard to “push”; and special precautions when dealing with either special populations or conditions and illnesses

these are fitness tidbits i may eventually do some posts on, but do routinely discuss in my classes

Adan Lerma - www.yoga-adan.com
Adan Lerma - http://www.yoga-adan.com

yesterday, after a three week hiatus, due to myriad factors (my yoga teaching immersion, worst weather of the year, and visiting family), i finally got to go to jazzercise with a fabulous teacher, vanessa, in clear lake

my wife sheila’s and mine AFAA studies indicated that enhanced aerobic fitness diminishes in as quickly as 2-3 weeks of inactivity [1] and they had 😉

granted, i’ve done a “few” things during that time, but, as i point out in class, each fitness activity enhances some one or more aspect of our total self – and frankly, i’ve not found any one exercise type, fun or not 😉 to provide everything to the highest degree that’s possible to me

and it’s obvious to me, that pure concentrated aerobic dance does more for my heart and lungs and increased/enhanced oxygen uptake, than, say, elastic bands (which i also love to us), or yoga (which i’m loving more and more each day)

all that said, whew! 😉 what did i gain during jazzercise from yoga that helped me enjoy and benefit from my jazzercise routine that much more?

well, as some of ya’ll probably know better than me, in holding a pose for an extended time, there’s a lilt and musical movement one sometimes becomes aware of in the steady inhalation exhalation, a lilting lifting releasing living tiny steady movement, natural to being alive and breathing that’s quite comforting…

so, i’m enjoying doing a much broader quicker range of motion (ROM) than i have for several weeks, to some great contemporary music (one of jazzercise’s strong points i enjoy), and, in the middle of a few hip flexing chasses and sachets, my body-memory [2] of my yoga-pose-breathing kicked in and i was breathing in and breathing out in memory and in reality – the two experiences merged in a smile that caught me by surprise 😉

then, during some fun single-single-and-a double‘s, the merged-memory kicked in again – now those are some fun rewarding aha – yes’s 😉

next time sheila and i zumba, i’ll see if i have a three-way memory-merge – zumba, jazzercise, and yoga!

namaste – con dios – god be with you

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footnotes

[1] luckily, the same studies indicate, recovering one’s fitness level won’t be like when you first started, and will come back quite quickly; even if with non-use-pay-the-price-aches reminding oneself “it’d been awhile” 😉

[2] i first heard and learned of the term body-memory, around 1980; my children and i were doing an outdoor musical, “the lone star,” on galveston island for the summer, and my son, barely nine, was learning a staged fight scene he and his friend were greatly enjoying 😉

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“Cross Country” – Meditation, or Illusion?

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“cross country” – meditation, or illusion?

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featured in the ebook –

101  Sports Poems – The Poems

and

participated 011912 in dVersepoets prompt “Imagism”

especially in regard to the moderator, ‘s, quote:

 “Pound further defined an image: ‘that which presents an intellectual and emotional complex in an instant of time.’”

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Bricks, the Spaces Between the Paths
Bricks, the Spaces Between the Paths


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below is a poem i wrote nearly 17 years ago, “cross country”

i didn’t know what i know now, and all i did was describe what i experienced, occasionally, when i ran what was then a distance for me, several miles, and would now be, a marathan  😉

posted on my old art site in 2007, i’ve incuded the short commentary i placed under the poem then

monday, valentines’s day, my wife sheila’s birthday, i’ll post “heart beats”

both poems will, eventually, help me write my next multi-part post, due tuesday: “meditation: am i doing it yet?”


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Cross Country

 Pace.

Learning to pace is key.

Letting the thud thump

of one’s feet slip

skip into a heart beat.

Allowing the mind to find the eye’s

range into any distance.

Rough broken edges of rocks

soften.  The round turns of

foliage and trees sharpen.

Green and brown and blue become bound.

One’s view and nature

grow balanced between the

thud thump heart-feet-beat

of one’s breath beginning to

settle easily through and out

the gliding body.

The floating consciousness

breathes lightly through the views.

And the countryside within and without

becomes covered, crossed and claimed

by one heart.  One vision.

© 1994-2011 adam light creations/adan lerma

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Artist’s Comment: though many of my writings are more empathy/research based than experiential, this one is one i’ve lived and felt just like it’s written

though i didn’t go on to become like a devotee of the sport, i touched it enough to see and feel beyond the sweat and ability to eat more than i do now 🙂  i saw and felt the world around me, within

adan – december 15, 2007

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i just assumed, when i wrote my post-run post-poem artist’s comment, i was simply taking a mystic stance in the midst of science

so what is the consensus or expert opinion, is “cross country” meditation?

one answer, meant for yoga, but possibly also applicable for me, is from a guest author on the yoga lunchbox:

“Repetitive sequences may look limiting from the outside, but I find them enabling. They are like a container that supports me and continues to expand as I expand. Once I learn a sequence, I do not need to think about what is coming next or what I think I might want to do. My mind becomes more still as I just flow from one posture to the next. Outer structure leads to inner freedom…This is why Ashtanga is often called a moving meditation.”

sounds pretty good to me

but i don’t practice Ashtanga per se, i’m still experimenting…

so when i post my new series, “meditation: am i doing it yet?” next week, i’ll attempt to do so from a post-run post-poem post-artist-only viewpoint  😉

will it still qualify as a yogic viewpoint? maybe?

and what might my viewpoint be in 2020? what type of view point could it be?

a nano-point perhaps  😉

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Asanas (Poses) – do I HAVE to do the pose this way? part 2: no, but…

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Asanas (poses) “do i have to do the pose this way?” part 1: no…

Asanas (poses) “do i have to do the pose this way?” part 2: no, but…

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Part 2

the opinions and ideas that follow are meant as general suggestions; each person should check or have checked with their medical professional regarding the suitability of their own practice of any posture or asana

part 1 is my attempt to say that each of us are unique, and that general pose guidelines are just that, guidelines

asanas are not a drill team exercise, not a machine, and should not emulate the sensation of mass production

but…

as the old saying goes, we’re all different, yes, but we each can only jump so high in general, can only be so tall or so short within a range, and must breathe and eat within a certain time frame

ie, there are limitations as to how “free” we can be with our bodies

my own perspective for these guidelines, til proven otherwise, is to follow the type of guidelines generally used for safe and effective exercise; for me, those guidelines are informed by my studies with AFAA (Aerobics and Fitness Association of America) and also reinforced by my studies with Zumba, SilverSneakers, and most yoga teachers

i have no doubt studies from other national fitness certifiying organizations, such as ACE or ACSM, are equally valid, but since i haven’t studied through them, i don’t feel qualified to refer to them

AFAA has developed what they call the 5 Questions regarding any exercise; safe and effective are two of the question components

safe and effective are used by almost every fitness program i’ve come across so far

SilverSneakers has frequent referencs to ROM (range of motion) and countless other movement and condition factors, such as how to determine “your” proper resistance for resistance tubing

Zumba‘s instructor workshops likewise, while encouraging “feeling” those suave latin side to side beat moves, reminds that feet and knees should remain aligned on those twist outs

and prominent yoga instructors, like in this interview on the yoga lunchbox, say, “asana is individually adapted to the individual body so that the energy body aligns properly and the prana flows…I help create a condition where a student can experience prana in a safe, open, and exploratory environment.”

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the question then isn’t if there are useful guidelines a person practicing a pose should consider; it’s what is it that should be considered?

my trusty response comes up with two potential answers a person considering yoga might review

one, as per most fitness theory, barring being hooked up to a wireless heart- and/or other body activity monitor with large flat screen at the ready, or stopping the routine and thus getting a false reading, is the value of RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion)

RPE is determined, as per this site, “by paying attention to your overall effort, fatigue, and breathing during exercise…” –

sound familiar yoga fans?

there does appear to be a commonality among fitness activities, and a google search of RPE seems to begin to confirm that notion

a disadvantage of RPE is you the practitioner must become actively involved in the monitoring and evaluation of your rate of perceived exertion

an advantage of RPE is you the practitioner must become actively involved in the monitoring and evaluation of your rate of perceived exertion

yes, self awareness cuts both ways  😉  like any freedom

continued conscientious effort seems to definitely have made doing my own RPE easier; it’s a mandated cue for instructors in a SilverSneakers class

Meow...Leo doing the "Couch Potato"
Meow...Leo doing the "Couch Potato"

so, for example, i have mild scoliosis –

and while extending my stay in a seated twist pose that feels good to me, i begin lifting straightening rising in spirit and body as i inhale, eyes brightening –

then, twisting lightly firmly gently as i exhale keeping head and neck and spine aligned –

again, releasing lightly and rising lifting on a new inhale –

once again, twisting turning uhk…exhale; time to release some of the tension and sit through a few inhales and exhales, actually as many as i need, and see if i can resume, or slowly unravel…

it’s my responsibility to hone my RPE, it’s my responsibility to practice consistently developing sensitivity strength and confidence in my practice (“a practice” is the in-yoga way of saying “doing something you like consistently and conscientiously” – nice huh?)

it is also my responsibility to say to a teacher if a particularly helpful re-arrangement of my body parts just ain’t workin

two, find a teacher, or companion, you trust, and, who in turn, trusts and respects you

though suggestion # 1 was way longer being made than # 2, it may be the other way around in how it happens, that’s ok

ideally, these two components will merge

bottomline, the question for a yoga fan may eventually be, do i need to go my way?

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in a comment to a great running thread on the yoga lunchbox, i wrote:

“hopefully, from my pov, once a student has absorbed the discipline and consistency of being in a class, that person will find the ways to blend those competing needs of needing more instruction, needing to explore alone, and needing companionship, without feeling it’s an either/or choice.”

so, maybe the question is, should there by a new RPE for yoga?

like, “Range of Pose Explored, Yoga” or would that be, RPEy 😉

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Asanas (poses) “do i have to do the pose this way?” part 1: no…

Asanas (poses) “do i have to do the pose this way?” part 2: no, but…

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Asanas (Poses) – do I HAVE to do the pose this way? part 1: no…

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Asanas (poses) “do i have to do the pose this way?” part 1: no…

Asanas (poses) “do i have to do the pose this way?” part 2: no, but…

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Part 1

Pose of Spring First Blooms

i’ve a long-standing opinion regarding asanas, some will agree with it, some people won’t, which kinda proves my point about poses: though generally similar, the same name pose is uniquely different for each individual

my point isn’t regarding alignment, which should be as correct as possible for each person

nor the value of gentle safe pressing of range of motion, with “gentle safe” also defined by each person

my point is actually a pitchfork: two points 😉

one point is closer to the answer lex gillan

my recent yoga immersion teacher, gave to the question, “how many asanas are there in the world?”  the answer of course is, how many people are there in the world?

lex also pointed out that most of the really eye grabbing circus-gymnast-quality poses we see on magazine covers, are only doable by one in a million people – of which i almost asked “that many?” 😉

now this is a guy who’s been active with name-brand gurus and self-practice for decades, since the 70’s!  he’s older than me! and incredibly limber and active, so i’ll give his opinion a strong nod

i get an even stronger confirmation when viewing a short 18 minute interview done with Iyengar – it’s a DVD extra on the dvd “Enlighten Up!” i got from netflix

if you haven’t seen this short gem, rent borrow or imagine it, cause it’s good and important!  the abridged interview in the documentary is also good, but not nearly with the impact of the full 18 minute “extra”

my second point is probably easier to say via a recent comment i left on a site i like in new zealand, the yoga lunchbox

“i woke thinking about if i’d really seen your little one doing a natural cobra [on a video posted on her site], and remembering how i’ve felt for a long time now, that all the asanas are resident and ready in our bodies when we are born (as potential) ; that yoga may be 5 or 6 thousand years old, but the imprints in our own bodies, 5-6000 yrs later, pre-date anything ever written and passed down…

“i imagined a non-tv watching no-phone non-guru person in india, sitting, watching a gaggle of playing children, maybe ages 6 mths to 3-4 years, all stretching and running and bent over and crawling, and, laying prone, their hands flat to the floor by their sides, heads lightly raised to peek out at a playmate or parent, smiling, their hearts out to the world 😉 …

“someone got it mixed up, this was not originally the ‘cobra’ – shoulda been the “playful child”  😉  ”

Leo doing the "couch potato"
Meow...Leo doing the "Couch Potato"

bottomline, for me: asanas are inherent and evolved from our very being, our DNA

right above the bottomline: names given to natural postures we get ourselves into, or find ourselves in, are grounded in the times of the observer

will we see wireless-centric names pop up for popular poses?

the nano-half-twist?

though i guess upside down dog is here to stay   😉   cat stretch anyone?

to be cont’d:

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Asanas (poses) “do i have to do the pose this way?” part 1: no…

Asanas (poses) “do i have to do the pose this way?” part 2: no, but…

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Teaching My First Yoga Class

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The path is pretty, are we there yet?

i’ve already tweeted my prep for the class, format things i was tweaking right to the day, reminders to breathe smile and cue appropriately – so now, two days past the “event” my thoughts about what this class meant to me, is finally meandering its way to the surface

and i’d taught a bit in the past, ESL to immigrants who are adamant about what we grew up assuming are our birthrights here in america (they are 😉 ) plus a week long class on procedures for doing the census as mandated by the constitution; and i guess i could count being a company commander in rotc in hs (though being cool was the “higher” requirement for being followed 😉 )

lastly, being oldest of 6 probably didn’t hurt; (did i mention helping raise 3 kids?)

naw, this was about confirmation

my wife sheila & i had, after decades of dance fitness via Jazzercise, had, this last year, decided we’d get some quick certifications and, for fun, teach a few fitness classes

the only thing quick was how quick the quick part of the plan died off 😉

slowly, via consistent persistent effort, we accumulated certifications and licenses in these, as we continued studying for our AFAA group fitness certs: Zumba and Zumba Gold for high energy or latin smooth fun; SilverSneakers for targeted focus on seniors (who knew seniors simply have a concentration of concerns flush in the whole population?); then the AFAA cert itself, based on a 500+ page theory & practice text, glazing the breadth of fitness from mind-body to weight training to special populations, muscles and bones, and how many energy systems are in our bodies –

even now, SilverSneakers Yoga is on our horizon…

in the interim, i completed my 200 hr YTT immersion

the real question, this first yoga class i was fortunate to be allowed to begin, with a group of seniors clearly my contemporaries, clearly as concerned as myself for a way to finish our years healthier and happier than we might’ve thought possible, was:

would i be able to communicate what i’d learned, in a way the class would like?

in yoga?

with sheila as my model 😉

confirmation received – i’d taught my first yoga class…

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cropped-valentines-day-zilker-park-austin-tx-2004.jpg

below is the full image the current header is cropped from

the image header, for now, will change by whim and season 😉

this image, Valentines Day Austin Tx 2004 was the last prev snow/ice event in austin

didn’t last long, though the memory has 😉  i remember the unusually complete silence and quiet (related differing sensations i think)

there was, i realize now, a meditative quality i sensed, but did not name – i think this is true of most all of us, we experience and know what meditation is, but don’t realize it as such, it’s simplicity and naturalness

little by little, slowly slowly, among all the many things that interest me, i’ll go back to this topic now and then; discovering my own moments of quiet meditation i can claim back…with new realizations….

valentines day zilker park austin tx 2004
Valentines Day Zilker Park Austin Tx 2004

valentine’s day is my wife sheila’s birthday too 😉

namaste – con dios – god be with you

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