Monthly Archives: June 2007

Yoga for dummies

I had such a good yoga class the other night.  I’m really excited about doing this, and it highlights so clearly what I can do, what my strengths are – and how strong I actually am is a constant surprise, given the circumstances.  Of course, it also highlights my many weaknesses and what I need to work on … it is superb rehab therapy.

Yoga isn’t just about flipping yourself around into weird poses and showing off how flexible you are, which is what you might think from many teachers and classes around the place.  These are bad teachers and bad classes – believe me, I know what I’m talking about.  Yoga is about strength and stamina, maintaining a pose takes incredible physical control ; it also takes mental concentration, awareness and determination.  Good stuff.

Finding a good teacher is the hardest part, really.  Many teachers I’ve come across have been the airy-fairy new-agey type who’ve been all about the flipping into impossible positions, and haven’t focused on the need for that strength and body awareness.  The teacher who takes my class is wonderful, he is so very very good it’s quite miraculous! [yes I know I’m gushing but it is necessary]  He has an excellent understanding of joint instability and floppy wobbly joints like mine.  He can see my weaknesses and where I need to build strength and stamina; he can also see my strengths and makes me feel good about those, so I don’t feel like a total loser when I fall over halfway through a warrior pose … [that’s a standing pose and my feet, ankles, knees and hips just will not cooperate and instead flop about at random]

The teacher, M, understands how hard it is for me, and how I have to work much harder than “normal” people to maintain a  pose because I’m trying to control loose joints.  So in fact I’m stronger than most people in the class because I’m having to work twice as hard to compensate.  That’s kinda cool, and nice, and gives me a good feeling; exceedingly unusual for me to have any positive feelings relating to physical activity!  Years of being the klutzy clumsy unco one has left it’s mark …

Conversely, M will not let me over-stretch.  It’s easy for me to flip into a pose, particularly the scrunched up lying or sitting poses where you end up lying on your back with your feet tucked up behind your head.  But M will come by and tell me to pull back and correct my position.  This gives me great confidence in him as it means I can trust him as well as or better than myself what I should and should not be doing.  Over-stretching for me is exceedingly dangerous as I can dislocate or sublux [partial dislocation] hips and shoulders as easy as pie.  Not much fun, that.

Aside from the physical side of things, the building of excellent core strength and some serious muscle [I’m stronger already and my calves are getting the most intense work-out in their life] there is the mental component.   You can take what you like away from yoga, you can be as airy-fairy as you like, or as pragmatic, either way it is excellent exercise for the mind.  The development of mind-body awareness, intense concentration, breathing and freeing the mind of distraction and stress are neat side-effects of a good practice, and I’ve found those elements in yoga class most useful.

I must acknowledge and send big thank-you’s to the beautiful Ms Julia of All About The Pretty, who is a bit of a yoga superstar as well as a beauty junkie [and has the best philosophy of life of anyone I’ve read on the internets].  She inspired me to get back into yoga, and I am just loving it, even more than I love drooling over eye shadows and moisturisers.  It’s certainly more beneficial; well, as beneficial as moisturiser and sunscreen, the eye shadows are just icing on the cake. 

So yeah; yoga, for this loose-jointed wobbly dummy, is turning out to be fantastic for building up my strength and stamina [also flexibility, but I don’t exactly have a problem with that], and I’d recommend it to anyone wanting rehab therapy or “normal” folks wanting a really good workout – believe me, if you do it right, you sweat!  Just remember:  Keep breathing! 

[I have a tendency to hold my breath when I’m concentrating on a pose, then I wonder when I start turning blue … ]


Turkey in June

About the only thing I really, really love about Christmas is Christmas dinner and/or lunch, complete with turkey (many Aussies have abandoned the full-on trad British Christmas dinner in favour of seafood/barbeques, but I have to have my turkey fix).   Mum usually has the butcher prepare a turkey buffe (or however that’s spelled – the boned turkey roll thingy) with my homemade apricot-walnut-apple stuffing. 

Aside from Christmas though, one rarely sees turkey on the supermarket shelves or butcher shops; it is very much a seasonal thing.  I don’t know why, given it is low in cholesterol and fat and high in bliss-making tryptophan (the chemical that many tranquilisers are based on).  I think the low supply (due to low demand, I’m sure) is because so many people have bad Christmas turkey experiences.  A whole turkey is a tricky beast to manage; properly cooked legs and thighs usually means dried out breast meat. 

Back in Belfast (where Tuxedo’s dad cooked Christmas dinner and oh my heavens, that turkey was the best thing ever … I drool still, just thinking about it) turkey pieces, breast and legs and wings, were readily available throughout the year at the local Tesco.  I’m not a fan of the breast meat, finding it just too dry no matter how it’s cooked, but the dark meat mmm mmmmm … in fact it was a turkey experience that converted me from white-meat-only lover to chowing down on every bit of thigh and leg I could snaffle.

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The Fourth Reich – Update

Further to this previous post, I was somewhat horrified to learn that the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, and now Archbishop Barry Hickey of Perth, Western Australia, have both threatened, under papal order, that any (Catholic) Parliamentarian voting for, or any Catholic supporting the overturning of legislation regarding therapeutic cloning and stem cell research, will be denied communion and EXCOMMUNICATED.

A bit OTT, don’t you think?  Both have denied they meant their comments to “sound threatening”, but as a WA Parliamentarian said, they must be the only ones who think that.  I mean, how else is one supposed to take it?  It’s hardly friendly encouragement.

Australia has always kept church and state separate; it seems “un-Australian” to mix religion and politics/science – unlike the US, and countries such as Ireland with it’s long long history of religious interference in private health issues (and all facets of life), Australia has always seemed fairly even-handed and sensible in this respect.  But this attack on individual thought is of enormous concern;  that even Parliamentarians, who are voted in by “the people” who are of many different races and creeds, are not to be allowed the freedom of having an individual conscience and opinion.

Scary stuff … I do not feel that organised religion and it’s lobbying power should have any say in what goes on in national and global health and science matters; religion and science are not compatible.  There’s a Simpsons episode where a judge rules (something like, I can’t remember exactly) that a restraining order should be applied to science and religion and they should not be allowed within 500 metres of each other …  I could not agree more.

Book blurb: Wintersmith – Terry Pratchett

The Discworld Series, by Terry Pratchett, has to be Tuxedo’s and my favourite reading material.  One or other of the thirty-odd books is first choice for our “bedtime story” (we read a chapter or two of something aloud to each other at bedtime every night – you may shudder at the saccharine but we enjoy it and it helps lull us to sleepytime mode).  While each book can be read as a stand alone it helps immensely to have read them in order; for plot, backstory and most importantly, character development.

For character is what Pratchett does best.  Many shy away from Discworld because it’s categorised as “fantasy” – and yes, it does have trolls and vampires and werewolves, oh my, and magic rather than physics is the guiding principle (and it rides on the back of four giant elephants carried by a space turtle) – but few fantasy novels, let alone straight fiction, have such great well developed characters.  Ask any Pratchett fan who their favourite DW character is and you’ll hear yelps of “Vimes! Granny Weatherwax! No – DEATH!”.  (I tie between Sam Vimes and Granny, personally.  Not to mention Foul Ol’ Ron; “Buggrit, Millennium hand and shrimp, Burning my eyes with rays” etc.)

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Beauty and the beast: Wish list

I have a few products on my beauty radar at the moment – actually more than a few and certainly many many more than I can get in one haul, so purchases will be spaced out a little (um, a lot).  Anything else you’d recommend as a top beauty buy or something I “simply can’t live without”?  Do share.

(NB:  Yes I know these girly entries are incredibly trivial and deal with things that aren’t of global importance, and getting upset over an eye shadow is the height of self-indulgent materialism, but one can’t be deeply serious and contemplate profound issues all the time.  Taking yourself too seriously is the quickest way to earning a good slap – or making life even harder on yourself than it already is.  And if one feels pretty, one can behave pretty, too.)

. . . . . . . . . .

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Rodney the headache, Aoife’s antics, and pink pussies

Things I could have / should have posted about but haven’t in the last weeks include:

        An ongoing headache that has so far lasted five weeks and has developed in consequence pretty much it’s own personality.  It’s a mother-fucking cock-sucking sodding bastard is what it is.  I decided he needed a name and Tuxedo suggested “Rodney”.  Strangely enough – and not to Tux’s prior knowledge – Rodney was a particularly loathsome boyfriend of mine lo, many years ago so it seemed appropriate.  Rodney (the boyfriend) was A Big Mistake; I’d always sworn blind never ever to go out with someone who was (a) called Rodney; (b) Dutch; and (c) younger than 25 (I was 25 at the time).  He fulfilled all criteria and so I should not have gone there with a jousting stick attached to a barge-pole but hey, I was 25 and stupid and an emotional and physical mess so of course I needed more baggage and emotional abuse, didn’t I.  Anyways, Rodney the headache is still going strong.  And yes I have seen the doctor about, yes I have tried every medication/treatment known to mankind, no I don’t know what is causing him.  He’s just pissing me off right now and I wish I could dump him flat.

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