Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Last night I dreamed the strangest dream



Last night I dreamed that The SweatBox was hiring a new teacher. I was eager to take her class as I had never met her before (unusual circumstances). I overslept and had to run to the studio. I got there about halfway through the class, frantic and breathless already, only to find about fifty students sitting around big old library tables, studying! The teacher was lying on the podium at the front of the class on a towel. Asleep.

I marched right up to this teacher, shook her awake and said, "Hi. Do you know who I am?" She blankly looked at me and half-awake drawled, "What?...No?....."
"I'm the owner," I bellowed, "and you're fired!"
This was obviously a dream because, even in intense anger, I do not have the cojones to be such a hard-ass. If only I could be such a hard-ass....

Anyway, in my dream, after firing the teacher, I yelled to all the students, "Move these tables! Put those books away! Get out your mats!" After all of the students were neatly placed on their mats, I gave a reprimand. "You are working too much. You do NOT NEED to be working. You NEED to be taking care of yourselves, doing your yoga. YOU WORK ENOUGH!"

Now, it is true that I am highly stressed right now. I'm moving, construction around my business continues to hammer away at my sense of calm and well-being, school's out for the summer.... But the response in my dream was extreme. Severe. And so true.
This morning when I taught, I told the students about my dream. I said, "this is why we don't offer shorter classes. We need to make more time for yoga, not more time for work." Research shows that self-care ultimately increases productivity, yet many of us continue to think that working more hours creates better outcomes.

Sometimes committing to 90-minutes seems like self-indulgence. We fight against doing it because there are so many other forces pulling us--- If only I could squeeze this in to my lunch time or If only I could make the 8:15am bus. The reasons for wanting to short-change ourselves are endless. The reason that you shouldn't short change yourself is that, once you start (cutting your yoga practice short; eating dinner standing up instead of sitting down; sleeping six hours instead of eight; brushing your teeth for one minute instead of two) in order to make more time for work, it is like a runaway train. It's really hard to stop.

So, go from the other direction. Make time for your self-care, your yoga, your sleep, your meals, and structure your work to fit into this life. It will be hard at first. Sometimes justifying additional time for self-care creates more stress than just succumbing to the work pull, but in the long run, short-changing ourselves leads to bigger problems. Start small. If you are practicing once a week, do twice. If you are sleeping six hours, try six and a half. You'll start to notice that, while you are spending fewer hours working, more hours taking care of yourself, probably your life is better, not just in your personal life but in your work life too. See you in class.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

You can walk if you want to!

Since my last post about training for a half-marathon, I have revised the idea a bit. Kate, my running partner, told me that she had a goal to run 200 miles this summer. And, being the competitive, team-player that I am, I jumped on that bus! So, here we are, separately, and sometimes together, trying to accomplish this 200 mile goal. It averages to somewhere between 15-20 miles a week which, so far, has been okay. Most days it's only 3-5 miles with one 6 or 7-miler a week. Those, for me, are the killers. I die on the long runs. I sometimes die on the short runs.

Currently, Kate is on an extended vacation with her family for a month so I am left to run the death marches solo. For the past two weeks I've managed to do a long run on my own. The first week, I used Kate's technique of pretending I was in the Hunger Games while I ran through Seward Park. That worked great! The second week, I managed to clock 6.8 miles because my partner Nancy and my daughter Lucia came with me. They rode bikes while I ran. Periodically, we'd all stop and jump in the lake. They'd get back on their bikes and I'd run to our next dunking destination. That was fun!

In support of our challenge, another friend sent an article about the importance of walking to support faster running. The article suggests that, "walking reduces the impact forces on the muscles, joints, and tendons, and reduces breathing rate and heart rate, so runners are able to cover more distance with better form and alignment, and a reduced risk of fatigue." What!? I can walk when I run and it holds therapeutic and performance value? This, for me, was groundbreaking. I have always felt like a loser when I have to walk during a run. Not anymore.

On Monday night after a long day of work and a pretty significant bike commute, I forced myself to do a 4 mile run. It was dusk so it wasn't so hot, and I anticipated that I would have an easy run. But it wasn't easy. I was dehydrated. I was tired. It was a grind from the moment I walked out my front door. As I ran down my street towards the hill on the Chief Sealth Trail about a mile into my run, I remembered the article. "I can walk up this hill!" I did. I managed that run okay. It wasn't easy and I had to walk two more times, but I did it. My plan for that night was to meet two of my favorite friends for a beer at the end of the run. I managed to sprint the last quarter mile to my destination. I think the walking helped.