Tuesday, December 31, 2013

12 Days of Fitness Challenge - Day 7

Catherine Basu in Texas is hosting a fitness challenge - here's the link to the Facebook group - though we're just past the halfway mark!! Still - there's always room for one more - please join us for a Last Day of 2013 Workout! 'Even if it's just a 10 minute walk!'

Today I was able to take another Water Aerobics class! My daughter returned to work this week, so she couldn't join me, but her hubby is home with the kids (works for the college - so nice long winter holiday!) I needed to buy a new punch card - $31.50 for 10 classes - use at your own pace!

My friends Nancy & Emily were there, & we had fun doing our crunches, cross country, etc.
I used the 5# weights today (after reading Catherine's post on using heavier weights) ... but did shift to using them lower when Jason kept having us use them above our heads! Again, with the 'massage work outs,' I monitor pretty carefully what feels Okay, & what feels like it could be a strain!

I'm making Hopping John Soup - traditional in other parts of the country for NY eve! It's in the crock pot for a wee get together with friends this evening. One grew up Adventist, so I left the soup bones out, & will add them to my second round!
HAPPY NEW YEARs, one & all!!

12 Days of Fitness Challenge - Day 6

Catherine Basu in Texas is hosting a fitness challenge - here's the link to the Facebook group - though we're halfway through the challenge, there's always room for one more - please join us!! This is a nice way to get a head start on those intentions for the New Year, which often include eating better, getting in shape ...

Today I went to work!
Now, probably most of us went to work in some way, in an office, at home with kids ....

I'm a massage therapist.
Most working days, I'm with my toddler grandkids in the morning, then go to my office & see clients in the afternoon, so on a 'good day' I generally see 2 or 3 clients. Today I had five sessions, back to back (15 minute breaks), two of the sessions were 90 minutes; total: 6 hours of massage. I generally schedule a longer break midday, at least 1/2 hour - but our receptionist scheduled the last 2 before thinking of that ... kind co-workers had extra snacks (inc a great green smoothie!)

Years ago, we were told that offering massage ranked up with professional dance in terms of energy spent. And a calorie counter suggests I burned ~ 1450 calories doing those 5 sessions ....

My massage mentor had polio as an adult, & stressed we MTs need to have good body dynamics - or ergonomics - whenever we perform sessions. I took my first Tai Chi class at her (strong) suggestion, as she felt the principles of movement in that form would translate well to massage - & it does!
I bend my knees, & take a wider stance, rather than bending my back. I use my body weight for deeper work (especially when I'm offering Ashiatsu 'barefoot' massage)

During one of my breaks today, I did one round of the Cherokee (Tsalagi) Dance of Life /Dance to the Directions. I learned this in a workshop combining Cherokee & Buddhist teachings ~ 18 years ago, & as the commentary explains, it looks like Tai Chi or Qigong!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

12 Days of Fitness Challenge - Day 5

Catherine Basu in Texas is hosting a fitness challenge - here's the link to the Facebook group - though we're several days into the challenge, there's always room for one more - please join us!! This is a nice way to get a head start on those intentions for the New Year, which often include eating better, getting in shape ...

 Today I walked the ~ 13 blocks to church for our 11 AM service. I love to walk if I can, if the weather isn't too bad (it was overcast, but not raining! We had a TOUCH of snow earlier in Dec, but our normal 'valley winter' now. So it was a lovely day for a brisk walk ~ 20 minutes.

After the service, a couple of friends said they were going to see Part 2 of The Hobbit!! My daughter & her hubby saw it last week, & I'd been wanting to! I read those books when I was a sophomore in HS, & have read & reread them over the years.... so we walked (just 4 blocks there & back) to our local Natural Food Grocery & Deli for lunch - split pea soup, roasted veggies & extra olives for me (they have a number of Gluten Free options, bless them!)

Then, off to the movies!

It was fun - I even enjoyed the additions - which included a lovely and strong elf maiden Romantic interest! Now, if I can just find my paperback copy, which I've had almost 50 years!! (How is THAT possible??) ....

Saturday, December 28, 2013

12 Days Fitness Challenge - Day 4

Catherine Basu in Texas is hosting a fitness challenge - here's the link to the Facebook group - though we're several days into the challenge, there's always room for one more - please join us!!

Today was another Qigong day. I did three Palms Rising and 5-Element Standing Stake, about 10 minutes. Plus strolling around our Farmer's Market, getting wonderful OG kale, Collards (for Hoppin' John New Year's soup), parsley, squash, apples, & then a pasture raised (no grain!) leg of lamb.

It was also our second family Christmas party, with my son & his family, niece & her daughter at my daughter Mary's home. I completed my knitting project for my son; this pair of fingerless gloves (knit earlier in the week) & the Jacques Cousteaus hat, which I finished yesterday! It took awhile to get the size 'just right' - & to figure out the decrease - LOVE it, & plan to make a few more!

The wool is from a heritage flock of Navajo-Churro sheep from Bide A Wee farm. I was able to show off the finished goodies to my farmer Karen. The darker grey was commercially spun from their wool, & I spun the paler grey from washed wool I carded on wool cards my mom & her mom used when preparing wool for hooked rugs. The wool is a joy to work with, & I am growing increasingly fond of the meat!

"The Navajo-Churro sheep were brought to the North America by the Spanish Conquistadors in the 16th century as a source of food and clothing for their armies. By the 17th century Churros were popular with the Spanish settlers in the upper Rio Grande Valley.  Flocks of Churros were also acquired by Native Americans through raids and trading, and soon became an important part of the Navajo economy and culture.  A series of US Government sponsored flock reductions and "improvements" (by cross breeding) decimated the Navajo flocks until the old type Churro sheep nearly disappeared."

What did you do for your health & well being today?

Friday, December 27, 2013

12 Days Fitness Challenge - Day 3

Catherine Basu in Texas is hosting a fitness challenge - here's the link to the Facebook group - please join us!!

Today I've been finishing some Christmas presents (for our family gathering this weekend) so my FINGERS have been busy knitting! And playing some tunes from my new harp book, a Christmas present from daughter Mary and family.

I returned to Qigong today, doing the longer 'Soaring Crane Qigong' form (~ 30 minutes) that I learned over a decade ago. A lovely feature of qigong is its focus on INTERNAL movement, while practicing the forms, one's mind is on vitality (qi or chi) & the movement.
Master Zhao, Jin-xiang began teaching his form in 1980, & it was brought to the US by professor Chen, Hui-xian. My teacher learned it from Prof. Chen when she was teaching at the Oriental Medicine College (OCOM) in Portland Oregon.

Master Zhao had pleurisy & tuberculosis, & was sent to a sanatorium in 1962, where he learned a seated form of Qigong, developed by the head of the sanatorium. His health improved enough for him to return home, where he continued to practice. Eventually, he began treating patients (having learned Traditional Chinese Medicine), & realized that could help them help themselves if he taught them Qigong. He began to develop his own form, which is very effective in eliminating disease.

One of my massage clients was taking Soaring Crane when she realized she had breast cancer (Professor Chen was recovering from breast cancer when she met & studied with Master Zhao). My client refused radiation or chemotherapy, though she did have the lumps removed. She began coming to me for Reiki (which goes hand in hand with qigong, energizing the the giver as well as the recipient) & massage. 15 years later, she is still cancer free, & comes monthly for sessions. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

12 Days Fitness Challenge - Day 2

Besides my early morning Qigong (just 3 palms Rising today), my daughter Mary & 1st Granddaughter joined me at the pool for WATER AEROBICS! So an hour of cross country, crunches, dolphin kicks, pull ups (LOVE pull-ups on the side of the pool!) & weights. Then a bit of time in the hot tub, ahhh....

Nadya, Alyssa & Mary
I got to W A fairly regularly until my youngest grandson needed day care when Mama Mary returned to work, & I began spending mornings with the little guy ~ 2 1/2 years ago.

But with Mary & her hubby off this week, we've been able to go to the deep water class! It's been SO much fun to have Mary, then this morning 'Sissa join us! Our friend Nancy goes regularly, & we convinced her daughter 'Juju' (who used to babysit the kids) to come to - the 'girls' both agreed, but ONLY if the other was coming.

If you've never done water aerobics - it's fun, and a GREAT way to exercise if you have any limitations to movement. Our friend Donna, who's diabetic, isn't able to do high impact classes .... water aerobics classes are perfect for her!

Today marks my mom's passing - nine years ago!  She loved teaching her nieces & nephews to swim in the pond at home, but by the time I came along, the swimming pool was the only option.... that wouldn't be an issue for many folks, but my mom was on crutches from having polio when she was nine. Her ankles had been set for ~ 3/4" heels (popular in the 1920s), so she couldn't walk barefoot. & HATED to ask for any special treatment ... you had to shower, etc.
She did go swimming a few times long after there was a new pool with one of those lift slings, & I think she enjoyed it. So our 3 generation pool time today was extra special! Love you, little mama!!

Now, off with the granddaughters for a 'girl day!' 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

12 Days of Christmas Fitness Challenge - 1

On the First day ....

Catherine Basu in Texas has put out a call for a fitness challenge - beginning today. The holidays are a classic time for both indulgence, & for declaring one's intention for doing better - soon! Here's the link to the Facebook group - please join us!!

As a fitness consultant, she invites us to get out there & get moving; & blog about what we do - even if it's 'just' a 10 minute walk.
For years, living in the temperate Pacific NW, a Christmas tradition has been a walk around the neighborhood, seeing what's in bloom! Often 'at least' dandelions, but we had pretty cold temps in early December, so haven't seen any.

Today I did Qigong for 10 minutes, at about noon. The ideal times to practice my form are from 5-7 (AM or PM) & 11-1 (mid day or mid night).

For the last decade, I've focused more on Qigong and dance as my main movement forms.

Last spring I was certified to teach 5 Element Standing Stake Qigong, & do that form almost daily. In 2012, when I participated in an online Qigong intensive, I followed up with the 100 day practice 'challenge' & do the form for 100 days!

I have been doing Soaring Crane & several other forms 2-4x a week for several years, & and took my first Tai Chi/qigong classes 30 years ago, when I was studying massage.

With the holiday 'time off,' I've been puttering around cleaning & organizing a bit. I have a Lamb shoulder roast in the oven -  from a pasture raised heritage herd of Navajo-Churro and Jacob sheep herd at nearby Bide A Wee farm - I have been getting meat from Karen at our Farmers Markets for a couple of years now - and am getting more & more fond of it!

I made some 'John the Baptist Balls' for our family gathering this afternoon - locust (carob), sunflower & pumpkin seeds (soaked first), dates, figs, chocolate, shredded coconut, cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla ... 

Merry Christmas!