All posts by Andy Yoga

Yoga Teacher & Photographer serving East-Central Illinois RYT-200 Yoga Alliance Ashtanga Immersion 50 hr CrossFit Level I trainer CF Olympic Weightlifting Gymnastics Movement Former Army Drill Instructor Microbiology, mycology, plant pathology, Ph.D. Fly fisher, kayaker, backpacker, musician Husband, friend, dog lover Runner, Olympic weightlifter, CrossFit (Rocket Yoga 100 hour, Feb 2016)

Went Grocery Shopping

Skip to the end if you need my 5 Tips for staying healthy.

This isn’t my pic, but it wasn’t far from what I saw this morning. Thankfully, we were able to get most of what was on our list. I went when the store opened at 7am, though it is usually open 24 hours. I half expected shelves to be full. I didn’t want to go on the weekend when everyone was likely rushing to the store. I thought, early Monday morning would be different. Maybe it was.

While I found most of what I needed, it was sad that I got the last couple of each of the items I wanted. That stuff probably won’t be there by now (10:30am). I don’t expect a lot of re-stocking until the overnight hours again.

Haha, you realize the kinds of things people really don’t like or want. I’m mostly Paleo/Keto, so I don’t buy bread things. But we were going to have hot dogs in a dad-gum biscuit (aka, pigs in a blanket). They had a small shelf of Hawaiian crescent rolls (which nobody appeared to want). There was one Pillsbury crescent roll package and I bought it. I wanted some heavy cream and I bought the last 1 of 3. I was happy they had lots of bird food. At least I can do my part and attract some birdies that I can enjoy watching. But they haven’t been coming around as much either.

I’m working from home indefinitely. It is such a pain. At least the huge TV screen (that didn’t work before) worked with my work computer. So I have that going for me. Its been a pain to do all communications online. Our work has a limited number of VPN slots and we get kicked out after 2 hours. I guess that’s OK. Then I have an excuse just to get down to work and not be bothered. I can still use my home wifi to look up stuff. So it should work out. And I’m still in my jammies, so that’s good too.

I took wet wipes in the car to the grocery store. I was careful to wipe my hands, door handles, steering wheel, when I got back to the car. Then, we wiped all the groceries before putting them away and then the chain of events walking into the house (door handles, etc.). I washed my hands for 20 seconds a couple times each as well. We made sure not to pet the dogs until we had washed up.

Like my trusted doctor on TV said, we should be doing some of this anyway when we are in flu season or other contagious outbreaks. So its a good test of our skills.

Honestly, my undergrad degree was in microbiology. Well, my Master’s and Ph.D. were technically microbiology related too because I studied fungi. We use the aseptic technique when plating samples to petri dishes. We also double autoclave utensils, plates, media, and other equipment. So its something I know a lot about. And its super easy to see on a Petri dish, even with good skills, how easy it is to get contamination.

What many people don’t realize is there are bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other allergens (like pollen) that are floating around all the time. You are never free from it. They are in oceans, soil, clouds, everywhere. You are always getting them on your skin and breathing them in. Its not all bad either. I won’t go into all of it. But imagine all the dead skin, fingernail clippings, leaves, and all other organic debris that we produce. If we didn’t have these microorganisms that are good at degrading and recycling those products, we’d have a real mess. That little piece of meat or cheese or tofu that you drop on the carpet is likely rendered harmless and seemingly non-existent when the microorganisms do their work.

But in the same mind frame, our exposure to microbes is unavoidable. Its not always harmful and mild exposure builds immunity. When you open a tub of yogurt and leave it there for even seconds, a swoop of millions of microbes just entered your product. Believe me, from using a Bunsen burner and small metal hoop under a flow hood with the best technique, we still get contamination. So having a glass of water open on your dinner table means that water now has lots of bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Its unavoidable and nothing to freak out about.

We still need to be as cautious as we can. Our first line of defense is being healthy. That means (in order of Dr. Andy’s priorities):
1. getting good sleep
2. eating healthy foods; veggies, proteins, fats, et al.
3. staying adequately hydrated
4. getting your blood pumping; did you know your lymph that carries many immune cells doesn’t have its own pumping mechanism? You have to move to make it circulate. Walk, run, lift, yoga, sweat,…its all good for you.
5. exposure to sun light (even through clouds) – and for more reasons than just UV light and infrared exposure. It affects hormones (testosterone, cortisol, melatonin,…) circadian patterns. This is all super important to our health!!

Best workouts of my life

I had self-quarantined not for any old virus, but just a sore throat. I think the sound of my voice alone would send people running the other way. So I didn’t want to cause panic.

Meanwhile, I’ve had some of the best workouts of my life. Despite feeling a little down, painful swallowing, and a mild headache, my body has felt good. Even though I wasn’t super excited to workout, when I did, it felt wonderful!

My best result was doing a half-Cindy CrossFit workout. I got over 10 rounds in 10 minutes. That’s pretty good for me. However, I did scale the pull-ups a bit, though I’d have to say they were only a couple percentage points easier. Usually, I would kip or butterfly kip pullups. But since my shoulder injury, I put a stacked foam mat under my feet. I could grab my bars with about 1 inch of leeway. It has hurt my shoulder to totally hang. Then, when I got to the bottom, I wouldn’t bounce. Instead, I waited a millisecond and then pulled up again. So basically I was doing all strict pull-ups. Here is what Cindy looks like:

20 minutes AMRAP (I did 10 minutes, as many rounds as possible)
5 pullups
10 pushups
15 squats

I’m still feeling the squats a little today. But for 150 squats, I’m not that bad off.

I’ve actually had some amazing workouts overall. I’ve had lots of strength. My shoulder pain has been going away dramatically in the past month. Chaturangas (yoga half-pushup) have still felt painful, but getting better. I also feel some pain with bench presses, but that’s slowly getting better. Overhead work and pullups are better. I’m super happy with progress.

I was thinking of a CrossFit competition later in April. We’ll see if that gets cancelled or not. But I’m feeling close to being able to do something like that. Since my yoga studio is closed for a while, I will use this time away from yoga teaching to find true healing and strength. I think its all possible.

I would encourage everyone to look at the bright side. There are so many opportunities for growth. Maybe up your pushup game. Do a lot more squats and lunges. And by all means, do a lot of yoga. Especially crow pose and inversions. Explore and find new ways to build strength and flexibility. And do your self-study. Learn more about your body and mind.

To Serve and Protect

Being an Army Veteran means I know what its like to put on a uniform. When I was in Basic Training and later as an Infantry Drill Instructor, we recited our Code of Conduct:

I am an American fighting man. I serve the forces which guard our country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense.

We all know what we sign up for hoping that the day will never come when blood is shed. I didn’t know a single soldier who found glory in death. But that’s the price that is sometimes paid for freedom.

So when I think of the men and women in Blue who are out there every day, I feel for them. I see people, even friends of mine, who post news articles heavily slanted away from support of our police officers. Yet, I know if their lives are in danger, they are going to be the first ones to dial 9-1-1. Its all convenient in the comfort of a safe home with a computer keyboard in front of you. But not when you are alone and in trouble.

I have many friends who are police officers. They have families like we do. They have the same hobbies, crafts, and favorite things to do. They care for people just like you do. Yet many people make them out to be storm troopers. Honestly, people watch too much TV. I think these villainous images are the product of the media that’s placed in front of us on a daily basis. People lose track of reality. The real problem is hate. People love to hate. They love to scapegoat. They always want someone to blame. And the evil Police Officer is who they often set their sights on.

Can I tell you a secret? If every police officer witnessed responsible citizens doing the right thing every day, then that makes their day. They never want to pull their handgun from a holster. They never want to have to arrest someone. Its the best day ever when everyone is lawful.

But guess what, sometimes police officers see the worst in society. They see when children are abused and neglected. They see pets that have been mistreated. It breaks their hearts to have to see all of that. They see when someone is assaulted. They see death. They see things the average citizen never wants to see. They see pure evil, the worst society can fathom.

Yet, you complain about being pulled over for going 20 mph over the speed limit. When that is chump change to the horrors they may have seen the day before.

You don’t see the acts of kindness that they do every day. You heard a rattle at the window so they come and make sure all is ok. There is a service the County Sheriff’s office provides when you are on vacation. You can ask and they will check your house periodically to make sure everything is fine. I know of officers who will give someone gloves or a coat when in need. I know of many who listen and offer their sympathy. Yet the general public refuses to acknowledge their kindness.

To people who are always filled with hate and looking to blame others, why not think the best in people? Always assume people are good first. It doesn’t matter what they wear, if they have tattoos, what color their skin is, or what car they drive; assume the best first. The same for the person in blue. Assume first that they are there to help. They have families they want to go home to. They are there to maintain peace and to keep you safe.

More love, less hate.

TFL: Tensor Fasciae Latae

Don’t foam roll your IT band!!

Haha! I don’t know how many times I say that. You cannot affect your IT band by foam rolling it. The most likely culprit is the Tensor Fasciae Latae (TFL).

I was teaching Yoga Fundamentals last night and we worked through my ideas about hip flexors and extensors. The TFL is a muscle that connects the upper hip to the IT band. It is responsible for both hip flexion and, to a lesser extent, leg abduction.

Runner’s often experience pain in their knee caused by the IT band. But the poor IT band isn’t the root cause. As you are running, you flex and extend your hip thousands of times. The major muscles doing the work begin to get tired and some of the stabilizer muscles end up taking over. When those get tired, they fail to lengthen properly. Eventually they shorten and may even form trigger points, which are knots that form in a muscle when it begins to revolt from overuse.

So what really happens? When you TFL begins to pull tightly to the IT band, the ITB in turn pulls directly below your knee on your outer leg. That friction that occurs can be super painful.

But, don’t blame the IT band. The ITB is a very dense, fibrous material much like a bone. It is so hard that it can’t really be affected. When you feel intense pain while foam rolling your outer leg, it is the vastus lateralis, your outer quadriceps. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, they call that part of the leg the Hornet’s Nest. Most of the population feels tenderness there. But its not your IT band. Because of the pain, you feel like you are doing something effective, when you’re not. Absolutely not!

Instead, work a lacrosse ball either on the floor or with the ball on a block. Its not a very large muscle, so the belly of the muscle should be worked especially in any tender spots. Then stretch it with a lizard pose with the hip of the extended leg toward the floor. Repeat the lacrosse ball and stretches multiple times for it to release.

Squats are King (& Queen)

With regard to functional fitness, squats stand far above any other movement. The reason I say this? The day when you can’t get off the toilet will probably signal something terrible for you. For our major motor movements, getting off the toilet should be our foremost priority in life.

When I see people struggle, it is usually about getting out of a car from seated or standing from a soft couch or recliner. We have all seen it. Otherwise, you’re stuck needing some help.

Now for those of us who are young and healthy and think we can’t relate, try this. When I ran ultramarathons (running races beyond the marathon), these very same movements were exceedingly difficult. And painful. I’ve done CrossFit Murph too (many times), which is:
run 1 mile
100 pullups
200 pushups
300 air squats
run 1 mile
(do for time with optional 20 pound weight vest)
Murph can leave you a bed-ridden if you are not superbly conditioned for it. It is the ultimate test of empathy for those who are physically challenged.

In the old days, I’d spend about 2 months a year, usually July and November, where I would squat every day. It is just the shock that my system needed. This past Fall, I was in physical therapy for my shoulder, so I couldn’t bench press, overhead press, or do pullups. So I did squats. Every dad gum day!

I think a close second would be deadlifts as a functional movement. But I believe if you can squat, you can deadlift. Yeah, if you are a competitive powerlifter, you have to deadlift and it is a highly technical movement. But for every day citizens, squats should be the focus.

The other thing about squats are the variations and modifications. Regarding the aformentioned toilet, you can sit on a chair and stand up. Do that 10 times, or 50 times, or 100 times. That’s a workout!! You don’t need special equipment. There are also front squats, rack squats, safety squats, squats with chains, squats with bands, box squats, goblet squats, pause squats, full ATG squats, top side squats, banded knee squats, squat pistols, overhead squats, … (cue Bubba Gump Shrimp).

I was just talking about hip flexors and extensors in Yoga Fundamentals last night. The glutes are our largest and strongest muscles. When we start to get the old man (or young video gamer) butts where you need a belt or suspenders to hold up your britches, you know you haven’t been squatting. Muscle mass is the key, primary indicator of morbidity. You lose your butt, then you die.

And if you get bored of plain ole squats, search key words "booty fitness" and you’ll find hundreds of fitness girls doing their version of a booty pump. There are so many options and variables that makes it fun for everybody. But never neglect the squat for overall fitness and quality of life.

Go Hiking to Learn the Real You

I have two books about the Barefoot Sisters who hiked the entire Appalachian Trail (AT) from Maine to Georgia almost exclusively barefoot. Then, they yo-yo’d back North to do it again.

Anything is possible. Minimalist hiking teaches you so much about yourself.

So many people talk about excess, money, gluttony, and dependence on technology. But most people don’t do anything about it. They spout hypocrisy about decrying fossil fuel as they sit in a warm house filled with appliances with electricity that is derived mostly from coal. They talk about saving trees when they work, live, and play in buildings filled with studwork (trees) and write on papers (trees). If they really meant what they said, they’d find the source of all they do and truly rid themselves of those things.

One way we can throw off all this burden is backpacking. After a few miles on the trail, you realize what is important in life. First, you realize how much crap you carry. You learn about the importance of water. You realize you can’t just bop into the store and grab a kombucha and mangos. Most of our ideas about diet, exercise, and what we think is healthy living is based on a First World availability of resources. All of those resources traveled by ship, planes, trains, and 18-wheeler trucks. And nearly none of that transportation is based on alternative fuels. So if you eat a passion fruit and papaya, you are already undermining the "live a wholesome life" mantra. Believe me, those foods don’t grow in central Illinois or likely most other places you live.

Backpacking teaches us about living a diurnal life. You do like other diurnal animals and get up with the sun and go to sleep when it goes down. Every ounce of water is savored and never wasted. You realize that long-lasting fat calories are super important because the weight to energy ratio is so amazing. Sugar never lasts long nor any of its complex chain relatives. You learn this out on the trail.

You start to appreciate life. All of life. If you look at homesteaders and people who live off the land in Alaska, you’ll be in the extreme minority if you are a vegetarian. And if you are living off the land, you’ll probably die a vegetarian. Most indigenous Alaskans live on an almost plant free diet. Its not by choice, but by necessity.

Do you realize if you didn’t live in a big city, you wouldn’t have access to most of the things you eat and do? Yet these are the same majority of populous who wants to decide elections.

One Fall, I went backpacking by myself out in the middle of nowhere. Actually "nowhere" was near a huge corn field. And as I was laying there trying to get my beauty rest, there was a farmer out there harvesting all night long with a loud tractor and bright lights. Every time I thought I was falling asleep, he (or she) would come by for another pass. Knowing the weather forecast, there was probably a storm coming in. So this farmer had to get the crops harvested or risk losing the crop. The crop may rot, lodge, fruit falls to the ground, or whatever travesty if he didn’t harvest now. That’s the life of the farmer. Most people in cushy suburbia don’t see that sacrifice. They just don’t know. They may see things on TV, but never connect the reality of it all.

Do me a favor. Keep a diary for one day and think of what you consume, what you see, and what gives you comfort. Then contrast that with what you’d experience without those things. Or simply go backpacking. Then, either live a hypocrite free life or live a life appreciating the things we have because of fossil fuels, because of the timber industry, and because of the technology that we are grateful to have. But always find a reset by living on the trail. It can keep you on a path of honest integrity.

Tone Deaf People on Socialism

Google it!

I say that more often than I should. But today, we have so much information at our fingertips, there is no reason we should be unaware of anything.

I heard multiple times where today’s youth, and I mean college age to 30 as well, are asked if they heard of figures like Joseph Stalin, Fidel Castro, and Mao Zedong. Amazingly a majority don’t have a clue.

So here’s your homework, search Joseph Stalin on Wikipedia. Browse through the text because it is super long. You’ll read how he came from a poor family. He started out by robbing, strong arm racketeering, and counterfeiting money to live. Then, as he started to follow Lenin and Marxist concepts, he continued doing those things to support his cause. He considered himself a modern Robin Hood of the time. Even upon meeting Lenin, Lenin chastised him for his tactics. He did not condone his way of making money. Steal from the rich, give to himself. That was Stalin in a nutshell.

Eventually, when he assumed power by force, he continued using his thugs to fight and kill the Nation’s Army, the Red Army. He jailed whomever was against him. In fact, he jailed a million people and put to death 700,000 in those death camps.

In the end, he is accredited with killing 20 million of his own people.

People talk about the only endearing trait Fidel Castro had, which was his literacy program. Haha what a joke. It wasn’t literacy for the sake of people reading. It was literacy so people would read the Communist Manifesto. Numerous articles have popped up in my news feed from Cuban-American’s who were raised under Castro’s strong fist. If people would only do their own research, they’d realize all of this.

I heard an amazing quote yesterday that I’ve since forgotten. But it speaks to the envy of youth. I remember this feeling myself. I wanted a nice car. I wanted fun toys. I wanted all the things the neighbor kids had down the street. If someone says they’ll give you stuff for free, you are all over it. And as a young adult, if someone says they’ll forgive student debt, offer college for free, and give you free health care, then the gullible will believe that could happen.

Let me tell you something, nothing is free. It takes hard work to be successful in life. Even for people with natural talent, they find how perilous the silver platter can be. Think of how many NBA and NFL stars are now destitute without a penny to their name. Being lavished with money doesn’t change the person who you are to your core.

Instead of wanting stuff for free, make a plan to make yourself a better person. Be a do-er instead of a talker. Most activism is shallow. Posting memes on Facebook and carrying a sign down the street doesn’t change things. Actually giving money to a cause and putting your feet on the ground to help is what works. Everything takes hard work. Don’t let some flashy persona tempt you into thinking you’ll win the lottery if you just keep putting your pennies toward a pipe dream.

It all comes down to education. Learning to manage a budget. Learning to live within your means. Learning to make a plan for your life. Learning to save for retirement. And just learning. History has a lot to tell us. Take some time to read and study the past. Believe me, its all been done before. History continually repeats itself. Live and learn.

People are Strange

People are strange when you’re a stranger…– Jim Morrison, The Doors

Its true!

What is so weird, the people I am most alike are those who I grew up with in Kansas. Even though we had vast differences, we all seem to think very much alike. They are my stranger brothers and sisters.

So if I get on a tangent about small talk, it would be about—
College football, MMA, wrestling, Muay Thai fighting
Backpacking, adventure travel, ultralight weight packing, minimalist footwear
Yoga, yoga teaching, Rocket Yoga, Ashtanga, yoga styles
Army, military, basic training, overseas living
Exercise, CrossFit, powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting, strongman
Running, ultramarathons, trail running, gear, races
Fly fishing, fishing, trout adventures, saltwater
Kayaking, paddle boarding, sailing, boating
Delicately if we are alike—politics, religion, society

What is super weird is, for the most part, there are not even a handful of people at my work that have these things in common with me. There are very few that have more than one thing in common. Its so weird. I mean, you think of guys stopping at the water cooler commonly saying "what about that game?" The people at my work are like "what game?" Its just weird. It gets particularly weird when you end up having to travel or sit in a meeting with them. They just don’t carry on conversations like the normal people I know. Its like pulling teeth to get people to talk and open up. There are a few who I can go to, but not very many.

In my yoga community, we can talk yoga all day. They are often creative minds with open hearts. So we can always find some rabbit hole to travel down. But similarly, we are often very different. One characteristic about yoga-minded people is many are vegan/vegetarian. I don’t have that in common at all. So its never like "let’s have a potluck" or "wanna meet for lunch?" Fortunately, several are backpackers, rock climbers, and many enjoy fitness and mindfuluness pursuits. Because of their insightful minds, they are always easy to talk with. We can always hang out and talk for days. But we are still very different people. And that’s OK. Its not uncomfortable at all. I always feel so close to yogis.

Do you find similar things in life? Are there places you go to find like-minded people? Sometimes its fun to find people different from you. Other times, its just awkward.

Why? People are Strange.

The Miracle of 21-15-9

If you’re in the know, 21-15-9 is the rep scheme for many of the original "girl" workouts in CrossFit. Its usually a couplet of two somewhat antagonistic exercises. That refers to a push-pull, press-pulldown, or other combination. Sometimes I do what I call a heartbreaker WOD (workout of the day) that involves two aerobic exercises for calories or reps (running, rowing, ski erg, jumprope, boxjumps,…). So it doesn’t always have to be antagonistic.

21-15-9 is doing one exercise of 21 reps, then the other for 21, then 15 each, then 9 each.

These are the workouts I did the past 2 days:
– wallballs & close grip rows
– ski erg for Calories & kettlebell swings
– deadlifts & pec dec flyes

The beauty of 21-15-9 is how it feels on your body. Its painful. But you know the pain only lasts under 5 minutes. That point has to be highlighted. Make it under 5 minutes. If you don’t do a lot of pullups and you have to string together singles and doubles to get it done, you’ve just undermined the purpose of the workout. It should be fast. Instead, sub the pull-ups for lat pulldowns, ring rows, or even jumping pull-ups. For selecting the weight for a movement, make it so that 21 is possible unbroken, but just barely. Even one quick break is OK too. But don’t make it where you have to do doubles or triples to get it done.

I’ve been short on time and energy the past two days, so this WOD has been instrumental. I did a 21-15-9 Sunday morning when I only had about 10 minutes to workout. Then I did another later in the afternoon. Yesterday, I found out I was teaching a yoga class, so I did a quick 21-15-9 beforehand. Another huge benefit of 21-15-9 is that, even though it kills you, you are only dead for a short time. Then you can go about your regular day. You don’t even get super sore from it. Just very tone and your heart and lungs get a super taxing workout.

On a normal day, I may start or finish a powerlifting or bodybuilding style workout with a 21-15-9. Or it may surround an Olympic weightlifting session. I may also do several in a row. You can do the same thing with a different rep scheme, like 15-9-6, but make it super heavy or technical. For instance, if you are just developing your handstand pushups or muscle ups, this may be the time for a shorter rep scheme. Heavy power cleans, heavy squats, or stone loading may be other options. If the workout tends toward 8-10 minutes, that’s OK. Just make sure you keep moving. But its better if you can do it in 5 minutes. If you are stuck in a hotel, you could do pushups and situps.

In a Ben Greenfield podcast, he talked about research that said the time interval that produces the most testosterone response is 6 seconds. Yeah!! That’s it. Also, if you hear people talk about hypertrophy, the only requirement is that you lift a weight close to failure. If you set up a 21-15-9 knowing that it is near your maximum for the 21, then you’ll benefit from both a testosterone response and hypertrophy.

What we haven’t mentioned is entering into the glycolytic metabolic phase. This means you are reaching that super uncomfortable anaerobic glycolysis where you are taxing your system beyond the oxygen you have available. This is where we maximize all aspects of fitness from strength to endurance. This means you are beyond the Bro session of doing a set and then sitting around for 5 minutes before the next set. And its not a comfortable steady state jog that lasts an hour. Its where the two worlds meet in a Blitzkrieg fashion. Get the best of all worlds.

Try a 21-15-9 and see what it does for you. No, it isn’t meant to be the entire workout and your’re done. But it could be. There’s never an excuse not to workout. Ask yourself, do I have 10 minutes free? That’s all you need. And you can literally take yourself to death’s door in that amount of time. Believe me.

OTHER: Fran is the ultimate test in this realm. It is 21-15-9 of thrusters at 95 pounds for men and 65 pounds for women, then pull-ups. Thrusters are with a barbell in the front rack position. Squat down and then "thrust’ the weight overhead to full extension. Try it out and tell me what you think.

Update: Lessons Learned from Shoulder Injury

Patience.

That’s the key. And its difficult for me. I’m a very impatient person. I suppose that’s relative. But when it comes to working out and my health, I want to be 100% right MEOW!

Just to recap, I was teaching an Acro Yoga class and caught someone while they were falling. I immediately heard something pop. I took it "easier" but I was still trying to do my normal routines of teaching yoga and CrossFit. I remember still bench pressing, though very sore and with pain, and trying overhead presses. My doctor diagnosed me with an injury to my subscapularis. These tests were correct and that was a problem. I figured, muscle strains heal fairly quickly, but after a few months, I wasn’t feeling healed at all. So I entered Physical Therapy. They diagnosed me with a torn shoulder labrum. That seems more serious. So the biggest part of my treatment was rest by way of avoidance. I didn’t do any pressing or overhead movements at all. I didn’t demonstrate chaturanga’s or anything crazy when I taught yoga. I think this was the right course of action. I also worked hard on my shoulder stability, which I still do today.

The problem with the process is how slowly the healing has been. Even last week, I was thinking I would need surgery because I wasn’t improving. The "avoidance" was necessary because I feel that healing has taken place in my labrum. But I totally lost mobility and strength. I haven’t done a pullup or bench press in more than 3 months. But just this week I felt closer to doing those things. I did bench presses last weekend and they felt good. I went really light though, never over 135# (60 kilos). I did incline dumbbell presses. And just two days ago, I did jumping pullups, something that was super painful a few months ago. I thought I would have pain and would totally have regretted doing them. But I feel pretty good. Actually, really good.

Last night, I taught Rocket Yoga and then Hot Yoga. I felt like my muscles in my pecs, lats, and shoulder have gained back the pliability that they had lost. I am moving so much better and feel stronger. I don’t think it was until last night that I felt like I was really improving.

I am going to Costa Rica in June and hope to start Massage School in the Fall. I thought if I needed surgery, it would derail all my plans. But now I’m much more hopeful. Though, I know I’m not out of the woods yet. I still have to play safe. I’m still not ready to go back to Acro Yoga yet. And, anything forceful or unstable to my shoulder is just not happening for a while. No heavy bag work, no heavy stone lifts, and no butterfly kipping pullups. But I’m happy where I am right now. I do what I can do. And I’m getting much stronger and healthier.

So I am happy! Happy Valentine’s Day!