Hands Free Thai Yoga Massage

I can’t tell you how excited I am for my next training. I’ve enjoyed it all so far. But this is going to be fun to the nth degree. We will learn to use knees, legs, and feet for Thai massage. It saves wrists & shoulders for those who work with upper body techniques more. I already know some techniques from other courses. Its thrilling to know that there is so much more.

If you are in the CU-Illinois area, check out this page or Facebook for openings. After March 9th, I’ll have a whole bunch of new tricks up my sleeve (errr, pants sleeves).

Happy Day all my peeps!

Rocket Man: Rest In Peace

Larry Schultz passed from this life 7 years ago today. When I did a Rocket Yoga intensive with my teacher in Cincinnati a few years ago, we were in training on this date. It was so amazing to hear first person accounts of Larry. To have learned from him, lived in his studio, and traveling with him would have been such a blessing to anyone’s life. My teacher provided us with his quotes and his philosophy of many things in life. I’m finding much more depth in what I teach. I often think, "what would Larry say?" I’m my own person, but I’d like to leave a legacy of what Larry left behind. It continues in many of my students as I’ve tried to share his life.

Last night while teaching Rocket 1, I told the story of how Larry stumbled upon Ashtanga Yoga. I told of his complete fascination with the beauty of the practice. It wasn’t in a studio or some convention hall, it was what he saw of someone’s personal practice on the beach. And Larry had the fortitude to go and ask about what he was seeing. After the man explained that what he was doing was Ashtanga Yoga, Larry said, "I’ve got to get me some of that Ashtanga!" Of course, I told this story while we were in Navasana. I think Larry would have wanted it that way.

"You are Stronger than you think!"

(Larry while studying with Pattabhi Jois)

Let The Games Begin!

Part 1 of 3
I’m not signing up for the actual CrossFit Games Open this year like I’ve done in years past, but I do plan to do all the workouts on my own. What makes CrossFit different from many other fitness endeavors is that its a community. We all are doing the exact same workout. Its why I love Ashtanga Yoga too. Somewhere, someone is doing the exact same sequence I’m doing. So when I’m doing the CrossFit WOD and I’m struggling with something, I know there are thousands of others feeling the same struggle. I know I don’t have to feel pity on myself even though I’m doing this by myself. And, since years of teaching yoga, I’m not fraught with comparisons anymore. But I’d still like to know that my effort is comparable and that I’m on track with my fitness.

Part 2 of 3
Since I am a Master’s athlete, I am strongly considering doing the Festivus Games (for real). I honestly struggle with some CrossFit movements, so actual competitions would be difficult. But this is made for the novice-intermediate athlete. And I’m sure I could work with the Rx weights and movements of the intermediate athlete, I’ll probably do the Master’s options. Yes, I can do lot of pullups, but I’m not going to be shy with only doing ring rows. Being a yogi means that I’m OK with whatever I do. No judgement, no self harm.

Part 3 of 3
I am signed up for the Wanderlust event in Chicago this May. I used to be an ultramarathoner. Going out for a 6 hour training run wasn’t a big deal at all. And a 50K race was my jam! But injuries started to creep in to where it was difficult to run a half mile without my calf going haywire. In the old days, a 5K was a warm-up for something bigger. Now, that’s going to be my race. But you know what? Even in the little things, we should strive to do well. So I’m using the Festivus Games training as my training for this race. I can shift to more specific running in the few weeks prior. My muscles and heart will be strong already.

So that’s my plan and should keep me occupied until Summer. Then I’ll be ready for swimsuit season — haha!!!

Thai Yoga Anatomy

thai-yoga-massage (1)

To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t super excited to take my required Thai Yoga Anatomy course. I had two-semesters of human anatomy, comparative anatomy, gross human anatomy (yes, dissections), and kinesiology (I think it relates in this context). I had numerous courses in biology that covered aspects of anatomy. I studied cell biology where we went into detail of muscles, fibers, sarcomeres, blah-blah-blah. I knew I’d learn something, but I didn’t know how much.

Boy was I wrong!!

It started out with 12 hours of online instruction. The videos were well done and involved not only the rudimentary topics of names, origins, insertions, etc…. It also had sections on palpation, range of motion, and other tests of muscle function. When I arrived for the on-site training, we built heavily upon the online portion. Most of our time was spent feeling the muscles and doing various tests. It makes a huge difference from seeing something with your eyes or looking at inanimate models of bones and muscles, to actually evaluating muscles on different bodies.

So instead of poo-pooing the idea of learning more anatomy, its all I think about now. Mind you that in early Thailand, and maybe today, human dissections are not considered. In the West, we always seek a scientific reason for why things have worked so well for thousands of years. Yoga is 5,000+ years old and Thai Yoga Massage has roots to more than 2,500 years. They worked fine without human anatomy. Unfortunately, most of us aren’t raised as a child being around Thai healing and having decades of innate knowledge at our fingertips. We have to catch up with less intuitive studies and more scientific reasoning. But its all good, right? In a sense, we greater legitimize the practice by bringing it into mainstream science.

We had similar training when I did yoga teacher training. The focus was different in that it was solely about human movement. I think there is great value in taking this in depth course. It is actually listed as training for Yoga as well as Thai Yoga massage. There is a lot that was missing in my initial yoga training, not to mention the years of college anatomy. Not only has my Thai Yoga massage cranked up many notches, but also my yoga teaching. I had a yogi come up to me last week asking about pain in the back of her knee during wide leg forward folds. Before this training, I wouldn’t have been able to tell her confidently that it was her gracilis muscle. Now I know! And I gave her tools to work on to heal it herself.

If you’re interested, look up Thai Bodyworks in Evanston, Illinois. They have a lot to offer!



Peaceful Thoughts

I  have more peace in my life now than I’ve felt in weeks. I put on a joyful face and try to have a good attitude at all times. But underneath, a cauldron often boils. I’ve had work woes for months, but things are now back on track. I just finished a yoga workshop yesterday that I’ve been fretting about for a while. I had a lot of good ideas but I didn’t know how I was going to put it together into something coherent and helpful to others. But I really think I accomplished my mission and I hope I helped greatly in the healing process. For the past two weeks, my Sleep Cycle app told me that my sleeping was sub-par. I average in the 70-75% range in sleep quality. Saturday night, I was at 59% and I felt it throughout the day. But last night, I hit a whopping 92%! I am almost never above 90%. My resting heart rate was lower too. I’m pretty sure if I had one of those brain wave devices, I would register in the Good Mood mode! Its a good feeling to feel at peace. But I still have work to do and I have a mentoring session this Friday where I give a 90 minute Thai yoga massage to one of my instructors. I’m nervous but feeling confident about it.

I wish you all peace and happiness. Find milestones in your life that says you are OK and on the right track. Then begin toward the next one.

Oh Not That Again!

crossfit hspu

I had a back injury (non-CrossFit) that kept me from working out late last Summer. Then I did my own rehab for about a month. When I felt I could start taking a load again, I went back to CrossFit. I started with the daily CrossFit.com WODs and eventually shifted to my own programming. Then the holidays kind of derailed all my good intentions. I ate a lot and sat in a car for hours to and from family visits across the country. Good habits can be broken.

So at the New Year, like most people, I vowed to make some changes. I don’t do resolutions because I think resolutions are made to be broken. I wanted to get back to a strong deadlift. And I wanted to make some body changes. So I start programming for those things. Lots of powerlifting and bodybuilding were thrown into the mix. And just because I know I need to control my bodyweight, I did some cardio as well. I was rowing, ski erging, and running. But all of that gets very boring. I started skipping workouts. I didn’t have time to get through all I wanted to get through and then would just not do it. It just wasn’t working.

So last night, I look at my sheet that has all my tasks for the day; the same things I’ve been doing since the New Year. I glared at my sheet and threw it in the trash. I programmed a triplet of trap bar deadlifts, dips, and wallballs. Nothing crazy, just something simple. Three rounds only took me 4:50, but it gave me that air sucking, nerves tingling into my fingers and toes, wanna lay down and die kinda feeling. But when the waves of pain goes away, you know you’ve done something. It combined all the things I had been doing for an hour into 5 minutes. Did you hear that? 5 minutes!!! That’s not all I did, but that’s all I had to do. I’m lightly sore this morning and its all good.

The key is: do a little warmup (something fun: I do hula hooping, pole dancing, trampoline hopping, BOSU ball balances). Then set up a wod. Make it something DO-able. Don’t make it crazy. Maybe add a moderately heavy movement and a bodyweight movement. Optionally add a cardio component like box jumps, burpees, or double unders. Then that’s all you have to do!! If you feel you have more energy, do some heavy work or bodybuilding. Olympic weightlifting is my Go-To since its mostly concentric (i.e., it doesn’t make you so sore). But the Oly’s also test mobility, balance, speed, and power. That’s it. Just do the WOD if you don’t have time. Then you’ve already done a lot!

I’m back baby!!