exercise

On yoga, effort, and life

Working with yoga is often interesting. You stretch and twist and focus, trying to be very conscious and aware of your movements, and then one day in the middle of a twisting pose you see your left foot coming out from behind your right ear. At first that’s a real surprise, a shock. You think, “Well, that can’t be my foot over there”, and then you realize it is your foot, and with that comes a strong sense of accomplishment, and maybe a little smile.

Then you do the same pose in the opposition direction, but twist and stretch as you might, your right foot doesn’t come out from behind your left ear. You know you can’t push it any more, at least not while doing the pose properly, so you realize you have a little imbalance. You accept that you have some work to do, but it’s a good thing, so you push on.

I think life is like that too, or can be like that. If you enjoy the struggle, if it’s a worthy struggle — Castaneda’s “a path with heart” — the effort comes willingly, and with its own rewards.

Namaste

Don’t be intimidated

When I went to the gym today a very large young man looked at me like, “What are you doing in my gym, old man?” Before he left, he gave me the “You’re welcome to come back” nod of approval.

Don’t let a rare blood disease, multiple types of cancer, or musclebound young men intimidate you. :)

American doctors, and medicating the effect rather than treating the cause

I recently went through a period where my blood pressure (BP) went up to 150/100 and stayed there. My normal BP is ~115/70, so I monitored it for a few days, and when it stayed there I made an appointment with my primary care physician (PCP). I explained everything to her, how I eat almost exclusively organic foods that I prepare at home, and I exercise harder than I have since 2011. I told her that I started feeling a little sick about two weeks ago, and that I was now feeling worse. I suggested that I probably had an infection, because that had been a recurring problem before we knew about the mast cell disease, and I had also just had a surgery in December. To me there was no logical reason that my BP should be that high unless I’m having an infection or some sort of heart issue.

Nonetheless, without doing any tests, her recommendation was that I should increase my Lisinopril dosage from 20mg to 40mg — which is the max you can take, and also has potentially severe side effects. My response was along the lines of, “Okay, whatev,” and after I left her office I made an appointment to see a specialist. I felt like she was just medicating the effect, and had little interest in understanding the cause.

How LeBron James overcame his back problem to continue playing basketball (and inspiration)

LeBron James is a basketball player who’s had a back problem and now does a lot of hard work just so he can play basketball. As a former business owner and consultant who has a rare blood disease and is working to get back to a regular 40-hour work week, I found this espn.com story about LBJ’s training regimen inspirational. Two good quotes:

  • ...his thoughtful and ever-evolving approach toward training and recovery...
  • “It’s every day. Around the clock every single day, working on my body.”

And this:

Work hard.
Train hard.
Play hard.

“You watchin’ this?”

While I’m on the treadmill, an extremely large, muscular guy walks into the fitness center. He looks at the big-screen television, which is currently playing a commercial, and then looks at me. “You watchin’ this?,” he asks forcefully.

As he turned to look at me, the show I was watching came back on. I catch my breath, point at the tv, and say, “The Princess Bride.”

He turns and looks back at the tv for a few moments. “Cool,” he says, and begins to lift some weights.

Eight minutes on the elliptical trainer

I made it eight minutes on the elliptical trainer yesterday. That’s pretty much a record since all of this mast cell disease stuff started becoming a problem in 2011/2012.

#The ComebackContinues