September 30, 2013

October Goals and Yoga Giveaway: Flexibility and Stability

So we have a great giveaway for our goal check-in this month: it's a year's subscription to My Yoga Online. This normally costs $89.95 and it's pretty cool: they have vast numbers of streaming videos featuring yoga classes, pilates, meditation and other related om-o-licious things. Plus anyone who has an internet connection anywhere in the world can win, not just U.S. folks for once.

Another aspect of the giveaway I'm psyched about?  The prize also fits quite nicely into a fitness and self-improvement theme, as yoga is known for developing flexibility, and well as its opposite/complement, stability. Hooray for abundant metaphorical opportunities, the lazy blogger's best friend!

Because while you need stability and flexibility in order to get out of bed in the morning without falling on your face, they are necessary for pretty much everything else in life as well.  You need 'em whether we're talking relationships, productivity, happiness, growth, or the ability to tight-rope walk between skyscrapers while dodging flaming arrows and juggling bowling balls, should this be something you care to try some day.

However, I will try to keep this discussion brief due to some, er, flexibility issues of my own.

(Hi there, ACE Health Coach Certification! Yeah, so sorry I abandoned you in favor of a carefree Toronto vacation and a bazillion other distractions. But I haven't forgotten about you entirely. I paid good money for you and am WAY too freakin' cheap to let you expire without taking that test!)

Yes, do enter, Crabby--or you may never get a red shirt of your own.

Flexible Thinking: Going Beyond the Obvious

So flexibility is generally such a good thing to have that we get nagged about it all the time in all sorts different contexts. We're urged to mix things up, to avoid becoming a slave to routine or to perfectionism, to take that road less traveled by, to boldly blast through the boundaries of our comfort zones, and to go ahead and make hamburger meat out of our most beloved sacred cows. Flexible people are easy-going and spontaneous and creative and can think "outside the box."

Too many off-color caption possibilities...
how 'bout if I take the high road?

So yeah, whatever, it's all true but it's kinda boring and not exactly an exciting original line of thought.

But there is one aspect of "flexible thinking" that can be very useful for goal achievement, yet it is rarely advocated so I'm gonna jump right on it:

Learn to Reject Logic and be Totally Unreasonable.

So yep, Crabby is at it again with the crazy talk, as this harkens back to her belief that you should know whent to say the hell with "truth" and create your own reality.

But anyone who has studied cognitive psychology knows that the secret to a happy productive life is to be more rational, not less, right? There is a whole slew of faulty thinking styles that therapists spend years trying to eradicate from their clients' brains, why would I suggest you adopt them on a regular basis?

Because I'm a believer in strategic thinking, even when it results in logical contradictions. Sometimes the "truths" that motivate you to do something can be in complete contradiction to the "truths" that can keep you on track if you didn't do something.

For example, consider:

"It is vitally important to my long term health goals that I eat healthy meals and get some sort of exercise every day."

This can be a helpful thought!  Perhaps not literally true, because the whole "daily" thing is probably not essential as long as most days you are pretty good. And everyone knows that "musts" and "shoulds" are bad, right?

But for some of us, to get something done "most days," it may be more strategic to adopt the belief that it should happen every day.  I personally always aim for daily good behaviors, because life has a way of throwing up distractions and obstacles.  If I consciously aim for "most days," guess what... crap happens and I end up not with "most" but with "some" days.

But then, let's say you've started your day with your helpful thought above: "It is vitally important to my long term health goals that I eat healthy and get some sort of exercise every day!"

And instead temptations occur and you don't resist and you go off the rails and miss working out and dinner is a cheeseburger and fries followed by a slice of cake the size of your head.

What next, logical consistency? Or illogical inconsistency?

For me, after a f--ck-up, beating myself up with the "truth" that motivated me could lead to self-defeating thoughts.  It's not that far a leap for the subconscious to go from "I just f--cked up a vitally important health goal" to "I am a f--ckup, who can not seem to accomplish my health goals." Subconscious thoughts are sneaky that way.

However, suppose I temporarily switch my conscious belief to: "It is NOT vitally important to my long term health goals that I eat healthy and get some sort of exercise every day." But add: "As long as I am good most days. And I have been being mostly good and so I am obviously very capable of good behavior and I will be back on track tomorrow."

Voila, much better sense of self-esteem and self-efficacy and a greater ability to accomplish goals!

Note: my repeated experiments with irrational and/or inconsistent thoughts have not yet led me to entirely lose my grip on reality, at least in those instances when logical thinking is useful.  But stay tuned!

Stability: Not as Sexy as Flexibility but Just as Important

So lately I have been plowing through some exercise physiology material and learning about stuff like scapulothoracic and glenohumeral joints and the importance of force couples and other many other formerly mysterious body parts and processes. And I am struck by how freakin little I am able to recall once I turn the page the fascinating way stability and flexibility work in the human body!

In short: You can't lift big shit up safely if the muscles don't work together, and some parts need to move and some parts need to NOT move. You can't just pay attention to the noticeable flexible parts of the body that move and neglect the stable parts that don't, or you won't get much done.

And, again, hello metaphorical opportunity--this seems true for life and goal attainment as well.

In order to reach for the stars, you gotta have a strong enough foundation not to topple over when you throw your arms up to the sky.  To try to achieve new goals, you have to have a lot that's already working smoothly in your life to support you or you will just be flailing around in chaos.

For example, while it might be great for you to finish the last two thirds of that amazing and totally original screenplay you hope will make you famous...what if meanwhile you're about to be evicted from your apartment and the cupboards are bare and you still haven't gotten around to filling out any job applications, and you never tried to patch things up with your estranged family and haven't made any patient friends with couches you can sleep on? (Wait, I mean the couches for sleeping on, not the patient friends. Unless they're unusually soft and comfy).  Chances are, if you don't have a stable situation to chase your dreams from, that bright shiny successful future you're hoping for ain't gonna happen.

Yet it's so easy to forget to nurture and appreciate the more stable areas of life that provide the personal strength and sanity to enable you to be flexible--because they are just "there."

Your spouse or friends or family or home or community or your spiritual practice or your health or your need to get outdoors or the food that nourishes you... these may not be as exciting as that shiny new goal, but may be integral to achieving it in sneaky ways.

Because the quickest way to find out how important stability is? Just watch what happens when it's suddenly yanked out from underneath you.  Ask anyone who is going through a divorce, or who just received a discouraging medical diagnosis or a pink slip, or who used to live in the path of raging floodwaters, back when they had a house to live in. Even crappy situations that need to be ended can still cause all kinds of angst during the transition.

Plus, it's always good to nurture and appreciate awesome things in life while you have them just on general principle! Remember that famous Joni Mitchell song Big Yellow Taxi, in which a pair of gay guys put up a parking lot? As you may recall:

Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till it's gone.

So it may be a good idea check in with the things that support you in life, and do a bit of maintenance and tweaking every now and then.

The Goal Post and Yoga Giveaway

So it's time again to find out how everyone is doing and what they're up to!  To quote a previous post:

The monthly "goal post" encourages Cranketeers to share their quests and accomplishments, and also to reply to other people's comments in a supportive fashion. This sometimes results in prizes but more importantly makes other people feel really good.

At the end of the month, there will be a somewhat-but-not-entirely-random drawing in which a winner will be selected from commenters below.

I'm also going to check out a subscription myself, which the kind YogaOnline people gave me for free, and tell you what I think so that those who don't win but are curious can figure out if they may want to spring for it.

So it has recently come to my attention that many people find comment prompts at the end of blog posts annoying. And yet I seem powerless to stop myself from asking: Any thoughts on stability and flexibility?  What are you guys working on these days, and how is it going?

Yoga cat: Amy Groark ; Outside the box: D.W. Dyer; Fun Crazy Lady: Orin Zebest Weightlifter: wikipedia; Someecard:


  1. So, yeah, my goal this month is to pass the freakin' Ace Health Coach Exam. I'm a bit behind, but it's definitely doable if I buckle down. I scheduled a test date so there's no backing out unless I want to pay $150 bucks to reschedule, which is NOT gonna happen.

    And in a brilliant move, I actually took my own advice for once and have signed up for some test-prep coaching; the first session is today. Why did I wait so long? It's totally got me motivated and on back on track to meet my targets! Which is an interesting insight for me as a coach: sometimes even when you know help is available and could make a huge difference, you keep putting off making the call. Next step will be to figure out how I made the mental shift myself and use that for marketing my own coaching. Sneaky, huh?

    As to last months goals, I did at least start getting back into the studying and began to build momentum, plus I've done really well in terms of healthy eating and exercise, and meditation is turning into more of a regular habit! Albeit the sort of "aim for every day, be happy with most days" habit that is aided by illogical thinking.

    Can't wait to hear what you all are up to!

    1. Go Crabby!!! I definitely feel a pass coming on for you. I feel it in my bones! Yay to meditation turning into more of a regular habit. I like that.

      No need to include me in the giveaway. I so love my yoga teacher that nothing would induce me to do yoga at home.

    2. go Crabby! You will succeed, because the world (or at least the internet) needs you as a health coach.

      "sometimes even when you know help is available and could make a huge difference, you keep putting off making the call." That. When I am avoiding major traffic slowdowns and going home from my second job a different way, I pass the Jewish Family and Career Counseling office. (You don't have to be Jewish, or a family, and it's FREE.) And I think "Oh! I should schedule an appointment to stir up some ideas about what job I can do when my arthritis finally makes working with dogs impossible." And as yet I have not done that. But see below, about cutting back hours so I have a day off. It will happen eventually.

      Mary Anne in Kentucky

  2. I like comment prompts!!!
    Lately my flexibility has me tied in knots - not sure if it is true flexibility or just too many directional pulls. After some issues the past few days I think that the best goal for me right now is to learn to ask for help!!! (maybe that will help make me more stable, too).

    1. Excellent point Kim about the confusion and lack of focus that can happen when we get TOO flexible! I suffer from that as well. And yeah, that whole asking for help thing... why is it so darn hard? In fact that was gonna be this month's theme but I decided to do it next month, so stay tuned for more tedious Cranky Fitness musings on that one. :)

  3. I've just gotten back to doing my Tibetan Rites and it has made big difference. Three weeks ago I got up from a squatting position and made one of those "oooofff" sounds as I got up. My cousin remarked, "That sounded old."
    She was right.
    Now after about two weeks of the Tibetan yoga stretches the "ooofffs" are gone and I feel much better.
    I'm currently field-testing the crane position where one stands on one with the eyes closed. It is not going well. I can manage a few seconds with my eyes open, however, so I have some hope.
    Anyway, yay to flexibility and stability, and keep me out of the draw, I won't use the prize.

    1. Love the "ooof/old" test Leah!

      That's great about the Tibetan Rites, so glad it's helping.

      And, in a cranky coincidence, one of the balance tests in my coach training manual involves a crane-like pose WHICH I TOTALLY FLUNKED. I flunked the alternative balance test as well. As in not meeting the minimum time expected for an elderly totally-out-of-shape person, let alone someone who aspires to be at least normal for her age. Sigh.

      I hope the yoga thing helps me too!

  4. That's for sure!!

    Of course sometimes you don't know what you've been missing till you find it :-)

    1. "Sometimes you don't know what you've been missing till you find it" would make a great tshirt or bumper sticker Dr. J! Excellent observation.

  5. I'm struggling with stability and flexibility at this point - I'm early in my second trimester of pregnancy, and every week brings completely different aches and abilities. Just when the queasiness and fatigue end, my belly gets clenchy if I try to go for a run and my legs and back start to ache at the slightest provocation. It's a tough slog to keep up with any sort of fitness when I can't rely on my body from week to week.

    I'm sticking to my strength training - bench presses and deadlifts (as long as they're comfortable) make me feel stronger and more in control of this unpredictable time. To balance that out, I signed up for a local prenatal yoga class that starts in a few weeks. I'm hoping that it can help me work out my aches help my body stay a little more flexible in the coming months.

    1. Welcome to CrankyLand, elsewise!

      Sure sounds like you're taking a sensible approach to pregnancy despite the high degree of difficulty--paying attention to how fitness is a strong foundation, but being flexible about how you go about it. Does indeed sound like a tough slog and combining gentleness with persistence and experimentation sound really smart!

    2. Oh elsewise, I wish I had been careful about my body during my pregnancy days. I tended to go with the "I'm creating an entire human being out of my own flesh -- what more do you want from me?' approach. Perhaps too flexibile in my thinking, because there were many aches and pains. You sound like you're being really smart about it!

    3. Hope you are feeling better and that the prenatal yoga works out for you!

  6. My goal right now is to get through a tightly packed schedule of mostly business travel without forgetting how to ride my bike and run. Starting September 1 I started my trips - have not been/will not be home for more than 5 days in a row until November. I am loving the visits but NOT the airports!

    So finding running routes in new places, not letting myself collapse into bed without stretching, fitting in rides when I can - in support of which my bike was shipped to Omaha where I will catch up with it tomorrow.

    I will manage to add at least one new state to the list of states I have ridden in, and maybe will be able to add a couple of others. So definitely some fun in this crazy schedule.

    Crabby, I also want to feel like that cat in the first photo. You think that's a reasonanle goal???

    1. DRG, wowza, that's a lot of business travel! The Lobster is doing something similar so I know how challenging it is to fit in fitness on the road. Love that you are being so proactive about figuring out alternatives and making things happen... I'm guessing the number of business travelers who ship bikes along to stay fit is pretty darn small.

      And yeah, feeling like that cat especially with lots of plane trips would be a challenging goal but if anyone could it would be you DRG!

  7. Hoo boy, Cranky, I have not been around here commenting lately. So a new month and new goal post (goalpost? Ha!) is a good reason.

    I have recently let both strength training AND flexibility kind of fall by the wayside. I just started foam rolling again yesterday, something I should absolutely be doing regularly. And I just put a yoga playlist together this morning so that when I get home tonight I can do some yoga in my living room.

    So, I want to focus October on stretching and strengthening. I usually do yoga once a week (on Wednesdays at work) anyway, but would like to add a 2nd short session per week, which could be done at home. I will commit to using my good ol' foam roller AT LEAST on every day that I run, but ideally more.

    Then on the strength training tip. I used to do a class at the gym for this, but fell out of the habit. I can go on Sundays. I will be out of town on 10/6, but I will attend that class on 10/13 and 10/27 for sure. 10/20 I have to drive up to Ontario (California, not Canada) so may not have the time that day.

    And now, I have to copy this comment into an email and send it to myself so I don't forget I've committed to this. =p

    1. OTF, that's so cool that you are catching the strength and flexibility drift and turning it back around. I'm like you--those are always the first to go, yet the more I run the more I need them!

      Must start doing the foam roller thing myself, ugh.

      Good luck getting back on track!

    2. I love reading about all the yogis we have here. So cool!

  8. My only real love is strength training, so I rely on my awesome personal trainer to feed me the flexibility and balance stuff in bites small enough that I don't just spit them out again. I should pay her more.

    Metaphorically speaking, I'm as flexible as they come. Life is a constant shuffling of priorities, some important, some trivial but fun, some long-term, some short. I just reassess constantly, trying to rembember to give longer-term goals their full weight, and not beating myself up for decisions I made in the past.

    Which is the reason I don't do goals. I can't just convince myself that the most important thing today now will still be the most important thing tomorrow. Good luck to you all, with your silly mental discipline!

    1. Trabb's Boy, I wish I could teach myself to love strength training! (And your personal trainer sounds amazing.)

      The whole "goal" thing would be unnecessary for me if I were as good as you are at shifting intuitively to what needs doing... instead I tend to drift to the convenient or habitual rather than the truly important. I gotta consciously take some time out to have a bit of a plan or I don't seem to follow through long enough on any particular quest to see results. Still, I aspire to be more like you and not need to have pesky goals!

  9. My monthly goal is to maintain my weight minus 5 pounds. I didn't want to be too extreme because that's when you end up crash dieting, binging, and plateau' I'm going to do this slowly but surely :)

    1. That's great Kari, sounds like you are approaching it very sensibly. Slowly but surely is definitely the way to go!

    2. Good luck with your goal Kari!

  10. I love flexi kitty and comment prompts do not bother me in the least! Perhaps they might, IF comments were solicited in order to inflate the numbers. It seems to me, you are interested in what people have to say, so the invitation/encouragement is not manipulative.
    I am wrapping up Sept. and going into Oct. with the goal of disengaging from activities and interactions that crack my "base"/stability. In my case, this entails being LESS flexible, at least in regard to making myself available to others on 24/7 basis. As mental health goes, I am applying your reframing of the concept of acceptable behavior and care of self. Hope this will provide some physical and emotional balance.
    Good luck in achieving red t-shirt status. Totally worth the effort!

    1. Thanks dlamb! But hell, I'd probably be a lot more manipulative if I had any clue how to do it. :)

      Excellent idea to shore up that base and regain stability; I'm thinking your mental health is crucial both for your own well being and anyone else who depends on you. I don't think anyone can realistically sustain sufficient self-care while being on call for others 24/7!

  11. This is a really interesting post. This month I have had a long term staff member leave my small business, causing short term havoc as a whole bunch of processes were thrown out of wack. and it really got my thinking about this topic. In order for me to have stability I need structure. I need to build "support structures" if you like both mentally, personally and professionally. Personally that structure can take the form of things like healthy meal plans drawn up in advance every sunday without fail. From a business perspective i'm putting all our key activities into easy to understand checklists so that anyone can pick up and run the processes.

    1. Sorry to hear about the work chaos Cathy, but seems like your plans to get a good structure in place both personally and professionally is an excellent idea!

  12. I enjoy the comment prompts, but usually forget the questions when I get down here. Today I used the handy copy and paste function. My thoughts on stability and flexibility...hmm...I guess I get both at yoga! I could use some work in other parts of my life though...especially the flexibility part.

    I met my torturous September goal (a mini-goal as part of my goal of 365 days of meditation). It was something along the lines of 30 days of silent, unguided meditation. I did it. It hurt some days, but I did it. I will be happy to get back to guided meditations and chanted meditations, but I am going to squeeze in some silent, unguided meditations as well.

    The meditation continues!!!

    1. Wow, I continue to be amazed by your meditation practice Kimberley! Great job on the 30 day experiment.

      I've been using some spacey binaural beat music, so not quite solo but I find it "hurts" a little less. :) Some days I just fall asleep, some I can't focus worth a crap, but there have been some downright pleasant sessions too! Have not noticed any amazing brain benefits yet, but I am still pretty crappy at getting absorbed for more than a few seconds at a time before popping into think mode again.

      You continue to inspire me!

    2. You inspire me, too; I've actually been adding about five minutes of pranayama to my yoga once a week or so. I need to do it more, but time constraints are constraining. I must get my yoga done before I eat, because I don't stay up long enough after supper to do it later, and I come home hungry.

      Mary Anne in Kentucky

  13. Testing, testing... If this comment actually works I'll type a proper one!

    1. Wow! A comment actually showed up! Hope this one does too...

      Totally with you on aiming for perfection, then accepting whatever you get when you inevitably fall short. Sounds perfectly rational to me!

      I actually have a sort-of health related goal for October, unusually for me. As a long-term caffeine addict, I long ago got to the point of needing a half dozen strong cafetiere coffees just to feel "normal" and I've slowly come to realise I've lost all the benefits of drinking the stuff. Less than six coffees = asleep, more than six coffees = bad taste in mouth, tension and headache - when you're already maxed out on your caffeine tolerance, there's nothing left for the days when you really need it!

      So my goal for October is to do a "caffeine reset". No caffeine at all in any form for a whole month (I've been tapering off for a few weeks, no cold turkey for this duck!), in the hope that I can lose the coffee habit and get back to the point where I only drink it when I really need it, and where it actually has some effect on me!

      By the way: just to make sure it's not too easy (HAahhahahhhaahahHAHAhA), this has turned out to coincide with me working my first nightshifts for ten years... Wish me luck!

    2. You slay dragons in your spare time? I've had to drop caffeine a couple times in my life, and it is hard! Serious headaches and a less-than-winning personality for a while. But I got through it, and you're right that it does reset. It's not like an addiction where you're right back to six cups after your first sip. Good luck!

    3. Sorry about the comment problem lucky duck! But glad it seems to be letting you in, I've missed ya!

      Wow, good luck on the caffeine reset thing, paired with night shift, that could be quite a challenge!

      Even when I cut back I have to do lots of decaf coffee & tea, as my oral fixation requires I quaff SOMETHING all day long and water is kinda boring.

      Oddly enough, in my case, I discovered that the insomnia problems I was having are actually made WORSE by cutting down on caffeine, and that I sleep BETTER when I have more coffee! Makes no sense, but yay. I usually do a blend of reg/decaf so I can drink more cups. Though it probably ends up being the equivalent of 2-3 (largish) cups of real coffee a day, 6 would probably be pushing it for me.

      And thanks Trabb's Boy, for the painful real life research!

      So 23andMe says I'm a slow caffeine metabolizer, which means I shouldn't be able to get away with as much as I'm drinking, but I love the buzz and the feeling I can workout like a madwoman and eventually achieve world domination. (But no wonder I fall asleep when I try to meditate late afternoon or evenings!)

    4. Trabb's Boy; I've been tapering down my caffeine intake for a while to get to the point where I can (hopefully) get through this, and while I had a couple of sub-par days it hasn't been too bad. At the moment it's around 28 hours since my last fix (a cup of green tea) and I'm not feeling more or less okay so far, slightly tired and headachey but I've had worse days when I was drinking coffee.

      Crabby; I can recommend Peppermint Tea as a caffeine-free alternative, I love the stuff and drink buckets of it! Strangely, while we both have paradoxical reactions to cutting down caffeine, mine is exactly the opposite of yours - I'm sleeping much the same as ever but actually finding it easier to get out of bed. Go figure.

      It'll be interesting to see how the rest of the month develops!

    5. ... I'm (delete the "not") feeling more or less okay so far...

      Caffeine withdrawal apparently affects my ability to proofread (or it was a Freudian slip). #8-/

  14. The good, I instigated a 30/30 challenge with my wt loss and healthy lifestyle group. I was blown away by the response! Many of them have signed up. The challenge is to do 30 minutes per day of one exercise such as walking or biking...your choice but it is only one type. Then you commit to doing that for 30 days straight, every day. I started on the 26th cuz thirty days from then is my birthday. It's been great motivation.

    The bad, I am gaining weight and honestly am not too sure why. Thursday is my annual checkup. Good timing! I plan to ask the doc. :)

    The ugly, my knee is slowing me down. Again though, I see doc on Thursday. Relief should be a zap in the knee and I'll be good for another year or three.

    No need to enter me in the drawing. I already do yoga twice a week. It is a wonderful flexibility and strength training exercise! I wouldn't do it at home enough to warrant getting this prize. :) Thank you very much.

    1. Wow, that's great about the 30 day challenge! And what a great way to lead up to your birthday.

      Bummer about the weight and the knee, hope the doc has some good solutions. Zapping sounds very science fictiony, don't know if it's cortisol or some sort of new fangled ray-gun, I prefer to think the latter.

      So cool you are already doing yoga! I still gotta get going on my subscription. Maybe I can study standing on my head...

  15. I like the comment prompts. You actually DO want to start a discussion, and they're never obnoxious. Some folks just take things differently.

    As far as flexibility, it's something I've always had to work on both physically and mentally. I was never a flexible kid. (Ask the ballet teacher who stood on my knees when I was nine because I couldn't push my feet together and have my knees on the floor. Oddly, I didn't stay in ballet. Wonder why. :-P) I was the same way mentally, liking to have my plans, routines, and routes firmly set in advance. Improvising just freaked me out, and though I've grown much better about it through the years, it's still not a natural tendency for me. So, yeah, must continue to work on flexibility.

    Now, stability, I'm all about that and I agree with Cathy on building support structures. I need a base from which to operate. A fort, even! I do love forts. It's funny; I had never realized that about myself until you asked, Crabby. You've given me some excellent food for thought today. :-)

    As for what I'm working on, I'm two weeks into a six-week fitness challenge and have met all my goals so far, even the main goal of fitting into jeans the next size down. It's kicking my butt, and I'm loving it. Seeing as how it ends October 27, I'll stick to those goals for this month and see where I end up! Oh, and that whole work thing is happening, but you know. Priorities. ;-)

    1. Heather, love the fort image, I can almost picture it! And sounds like you must have a pretty strong and stable one if you are tackling this fitness challenge and being such a bad-ass about it! Note: I have a whole post in mind on "comfort zones" the gist of which is: the whole "you must jump out of yours" is over-emphasized. Sure, sometimes maybe, if absolutely necessary. But for some of us it's much more effective and less stressful to gradually expand it from INSIDE, by summoning extra resources, both logistical and psychological. Anyway, be prepared for another tedious 50,000 words on that at some point...

      And that ballet teacher: gah! arrghhk!! Evil!

    2. Oooh, that'll be a great post! As someone who gets stressed out over changing bicycle routes, I look forward to reading that one. I've always been an expand gradually out of the zone type.

      Yeah, I thought that teacher was the spawn of hell. I realize now she was very young and really thought she was helping, but I'm pretty sure she's the reason my knees have been poppy and borked since. That's okay, though; weightlifting seems to fix everything. :-D

  16. I love yoga!

    Sometimes I wonder if I’m not TOO flexible… whenever there’s a debate I can’t make up my mind, because both sides usually have valid arguments.

    With life habits in general (eating clean and exercising, but also work ethic and other issues), being flexible is VITAL. I used to see everything in black and white, which also meant that if I failed once I would think “Oh, it’s ruined now, to hell with it”. I know better now. Made a mistake? Get back on your feet and look ahead. Using that kind of strategy I have been able to accomplish so much more.

    Being rational is good in some ways (see the whole spectrum of possibilities instead of expecting only the worst to happen, for example), but we also need those false, mislead ideas in order to be happy. The absurdity of life is such that we need to enliven reality, otherwise we would all be depressed!

    As for change, I think that change in one area of your life at a time is good. More than that is destabilizing. Less than that (i.e. no change) is boring.

    Really enjoyed reading this post.

    1. Thanks so much HSH, and I can so relate to the "too flexible" thing. And totally agree that black/white can be motivating when it works but totally discouraging if it doesn't. (And I was gonna say something about shades of grey but a certain book kinda ruined that analogy for me for the forseeable future...)

  17. (Since I've been doing daily yoga practice for going on twenty years of my thirty years of yoga, leave me out of the giveaway and increase the odds for the nonUSians.)

    I'm recycling last month's goal this month. I was determined to ask my boss at my second job to let me cut back from two days to one, so I can finally have a day off to Get Things Done in. I didn't ask her the first two days I worked last month (busy, tired, she was talking to customers when I left) and I'd totally sworn I would ask her the next day I worked. On my third day there she left before lunch for the emergency room, and that evening had her gall bladder out, including a gallstone two inches in diameter! Last week she came back to work for the first time, only for three hours, and she was so gray in the face I didn't want to bother her. So, onward! This month I will find an appropriate time to talk to her about cutting my days back.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

    1. Oh how frustrating Mary Anne! Can't believe the gallstone thing came up right when you were ready to make your move. Here's to this being the month where you get a day of rest into your schedule, can't believe you've made it this long working 7 days a week!

  18. Do you REALLY get a red t-shirt?! (I know - out of all the actually TERRIFIC insights and info, THIS is what I'm preoccupied with?......)

    Well, then keep those books cracked open and pick your exam date!

    You KNOW you want that shirt AND maybe a clipboard and a shiny whistle on a lanyard. Ok- at least all that would totally motivate ME! Seriously. It's shallow and rather meaningless, I know. Except it's sort of symbolic of having achieved some level of 'ordination' to an exclusive group, yes?

    As to the actual substance of your post - well, it's just terrific! Funny. Insightful. Helpful. All that and then some and you did this in the middle of serious studying and everything ELSE? Amazing!
    Thanks for putting this all out there for our collective benefit, Crabby. Just one question (which I hope can be answered without setting off a maelstrom of innuendo; no - wait - I hope it does :)-
    What is a 'force couple'???????????

    1. Oh dear, had never even thought of the possible other "force couple" associations but it does sound kinda dirty now that I think of it! And the red shirt, should I decide I must have one, does not come free but I'm so used to associating them with buffed personal trainers at our San Diego gym that I have come to believe they come with magical powers to build muscle out of flab by merely donning them. But you're right, I think I'd need the whistle and lanyard and clipboard for optimum effect!

      Thanks so much for your kind words about the post! I meant for it to be a quick couple of paragraphs but so far seem incapable of doing that, sigh...

  19. Flexibility is sooooooooooooooooo important!!!!

    I am so behind & a bit overwhelmed right now.... I think rational thought is sometimes not it is all stacked up to be & other times we need it.. right now with all going on, I would like to run away! :)

    1. Sorry you're slammed with stuff Jody, know the feeling! Deep breaths... your awesomeness knows no bounds and I gotta believe you will be FINE no matter what life tosses your way.

  20. I love the idea of "strategic thinking" - I'm going to have to think on this one some more. But good luck with your ACE test! I know you'll do great:))

  21. Strategic and flexible thinking, great tips to go in for this year.
    Lovely blog, keep motivating.

  22. My goal this month is to add more flexibility to my movement. Not all the way to fit in the box but enough I can hold a pose in the cat photo without much pain. I'm also working on my stability with my left side. Thanks for the motivation.

  23. oh see?
    I am a misfit.
    I LOVE ME THE PROMPTS :-) and need me more stability.
    and sexiness :-)

  24. My goals this month are strategic thinking together with my flexibility. I finished visiting yoga classes (but I didn't finish my yoga!). Now I start doing yoga classes from my phone with Daily Yoga app. It's a great app and helps me every day. After and during yoga my mind is cleared and I start thinking fast and effective. Thanks for great post!

  25. My goal this month is to bring consistency to my yoga practice and continue to meet my day to day fitness goals. My husband and I also started walking in the evenings and it has been a really nice addition to the weekly fitness things we do, and it is nice to do it as a family.

    1. Hi Mad, these sound like great goals! And evening walks are such a win-win in terms of family and exercise time, hope that continues to work out for ya!


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