Thursday, February 11, 2016

Every morning make your bed!

Post dedicated to my daughter.

There are mornings when it is just hard to get out of bed. Many do not even think that the bed should be made tightly and nicely, which is actually very important. 

Every morning, while coffee is in the coffee machine, I come into bedroom and make my bed. If I do it right, edges are equals, blanket is tensed, pillows centered exactly on each side of the bed. It's a simple task, but every morning it required patience and work. 

Maybe, to you it seemed a bit pointless, especially since you sleep well until afternoon. But this simple making a bed routine will eventually reveal to you the act of wisdom.

If you make the bed every morning, you've completed the first task of the day. This will give you a small sense of pride and encourage you to fill out another task. Then another. And another one. At the end of the day, this one completed task will turn into a lot of completed tasks. 

Making a bed will remind you how important the little things are. If you can not do it right, you will never be able to do large ones. And if by any chance you have a terrible day, you can always go back home to bed. The one that you have make yourself. A nice looking bed will give you hope that tomorrow will be better. 

If you want to change the world, start with the fact that you will make your bed.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Yoga and knee injury

Today is exactly two weeks since I injured my left knee. I was on vacation in Los Cabos, Mexico and I played beach volleyball. It was nice game, the entertainers against guests. The entertainers played very well and we lost the first game so we changed the sides and we started the second game. The ball was coming just above the net I jumped and smashed it. I fell on fully extended left leg and I hurt the knee. 

Upon arrival in Toronto, I visited emergency and did x-ray. All is okay, nothing broken and doctor said I need 2-6 weeks of recovery time. After two weeks, I feel not so great, still have pain while walking and my yoga practice is slow. I am not going deep into poses and I do it with great care not to aggravate the knee.

The best yoga poses for injured knee are: Chair pose, Trikonassana, Warriors and Bridge or Wheel pose.

These poses will strengthen the quadriceps, hamstrings, and abductors. It also increases blood flow to the lower region of the body, which can help with fluidity of movement. 

"Yoga is beneficial for all your joints, but particularly for your knees, because the poses bring the entire body into balance," says Sandy Blaine, author of Yoga for Healthy Knees. 

These poses strengthen and stretch calves, and ankles, which keep kneecaps stable and strong. Sustaining poses during practice sends blood rushing through muscles and connective tissues, delivering nourishment and oxygen to those areas. And that reduces inflammation, speeds healing, and repairs damage.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016


FEBRUARY 9, 2016

I am not happy with my life. I'm not young anymore and I feel it. I am 50 and skin changes, wrinkles, gray hair, belly fat, you name it, have started to show up and they won't go away. 

I am not going to give up so easily. 

I'm feeling motivated to eat better, exercise more, drink less... Making a lifestyle change is challenging. 

The changes are a process that take time and require careful monitoring. I'm ready to make the changes, I'm committing to do it and I'll following through on my blog. 

So here they are: 

1. Drink one cup of coffee, only in the morning. 

That means I will stop drinking a coffee during the day. Eventualy I will get rid of the morning coffee too.

2. No more refined carbohydrates in my diet. 

I'll be very careful not to eat the processed food. I will not eat: tacos, wraps, pizza, croissants, pasta, muffins, pastries, bagels, white bread, pretzels, doughnuts, cookies, biscuits, cakes, white rice, wheat, candy, sweets, potato chips, batter, pastry, desserts, jams, soft drinks, sodas and sugary drinks.

3. No more alcohol of any kind. 

I will stop drinking beer and wine. I have to learn to dance and laugh without alcohol. The challenge will be going out to the bars and clubs with my friends but for the beginning I'll avoid going there. The alcohol keeps my belly fat intact. And I'll save money too.

4. Regular, daily ashtanga yoga practice is a MUST. 

No more excuses. I need to return to 6 days a week, 60 minutes, half primary, practice. I am thinking to start another 30 days yoga challenge but my knee still hurts so that will wait until the left knee is completely recovered. 

5. Daily gym exercises. 

30 minutes, stomach and upper body one day and stomach and legs another day... 5 days a week, Saturday and Sunday will be rest days.

6. Daily recapitulation practice. 

30 minutes daily sitting, breathing and recapitulating events from my past. This will give me enough energy to stop making stupid decisions anymore. Lets hope it will work. :-)


Refined carbohydrates

Yesterday, on the New Moon day, I have done it. After three weeks, the half primary ashtanga yoga practice was good, I sweat and moved through the poses, slowly but steadily. My left knee did hurt but I was fully aware and I tried not to push too hard. Today, the practice number two...

And yes, in certain poses I felt my increased belly fat. Call it a belly fat or just a beer belly, it does not matter, it is what it is... a bulging waist of too much stored fat around the stomach and it is worse than it looks. 

I am not so concerned about how it looks. The abdominal belly fat is a sign of reduced health and lowered testosterone. Sadly, for men over 40 the problem has become so common, I have noticed on my vacation, it is now a worldwide epidemic.

Getting rid of belly fat has become an obsession for me for quite some time. I had a great success in November 2014 when by mindful eating and exercises I put my weight at 86 kg. (I am now 91 kg).

Every second day I'm going to gym. While gym exercises such sit-ups and crunches are popular trend everywhere, these approaches are never truly successful for me because the problem is in my body metabolism, not the muscles. 

I workout regularly yet still carry around a lot of belly fat, despite all the calories burned in yoga and gym. 

So, on the internet, I've investigated the belly fat in details. 

The most common cause of belly fat is refined carbohydrate consumption: Bread, cereal, pasta, potatoes, soda drinks and chocolate bars, any kind of sugar, and alcohol. 

I've found that When consumed, the refined carbohydrate cause a higher production of insulin, the hormone that converts such food into stored fat, typically in the belly. Insulin also weaken the ability of the body to burn its stored fat for energy.

So it’s simple: If I want to reduce belly fat, I have to stop eating refined carbohydrates! No more white bread, Italian pasta, French fries, coca cola, or any juice... no more sugar. And no more beer and wine. 

From now on, I will take out all these from my diet: tacos, corn chips, wraps, pizza, croissants, pasta, rolls, muffins, pastries, bagels, white bread, buns, pretzels, doughnuts, cookies, biscuits, cakes, white rice, wheat, corn, candy, toffee, sweets, potato chips, batter, pastry, desserts, jams, jelly, jello, dumplings, pies, granola bars, breakfast bars, cereals, soft drinks, sodas and sugary drinks.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Ashtanga yoga practice starts

I got up at 5:30 a.m. and now I am drinking a coffee. Today is a new moon but I haven't done any yoga for almost three weeks so I'll practice today. A week before vacation my yoga practice was short and sporadic, then vacation came and after that a week of knee injury. 

I've been writing here how to get into a regular practice of home yoga for almost three years. It's my main saying – the core message that underlies everything else I write here.

Want to have more courage in life? Do more yoga, I say. Want to find your true self? Try adding yoga to your day, I suggest. And not just any yoga, ashtanga yoga at home – the yoga with set and strict rules. Get on your yoga mat, just for God's sake get off the couch, I tell people, and start by paying attention to what your body really wants.

Of course, it doesn't have to be yoga. Outside in the real world there is an epidemic of large bellies, large fat stomachs. Do you see it, do you recognize it in your own life? Go to gym, do some heavy lifting and take care of yourself. Dance! Whatever. There are other ways to build courage, creativity, curiosity, connection and purpose. Yoga is the way that works for me.

At least it works when I'm doing it.

But lately I haven't been doing much yoga. I've been excited about vacation, planning, packing, scheduling and over the past few weeks, I've lost the thread of my home yoga practice.

Today is the day!

I am starting my regular, daily, ashtanga, yoga practice again. What that means is that I'm starting to get on my yoga mat six times a week. I chose to be free and to do something about my life, I chose to sweat and bend.

So I'll start now, immediately after I post this. I'll start small, where I am, with the brace around my left knee and go from there. I'll put Sharath's DVD and let move through the poses. I'll be kind to myself and observe any changes in my left knee.

For me, like for so many others, the home yoga practice is a struggle. It is really hard to establish a consistent practice. And today's day is something special. It is a beginning. It’s wonderful! Honestly, I feel alive and free and that's exactly what I need.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Returning into regular routine

The things are returning into regular daily routine. Tomorrow I'll wake up at 5:30 a.m. and I'll do yoga practice. Whether you hate it or love it, rising early is something that you can and should do every day. For me, waking up early is the most effective way to clear my mind and it allowing me time to establish my priorities.

My knee is much better, I can walk and I can do yoga. The belly fat war is on and I have to watch what I eat. I checked my weight this morning, 90 kg. The ideal weight of 85 kg will come. I have to be mindful and stop drinking beer and wine. Yes, no more alcohol. I am becoming a true yogi.

Right now the Angel and I having a coffee. We returned from the groceries shopping. She will go to her home soon. We had a wonderful time watching movies and listening music last night until 1 a.m. 

There is nothing more to be told... The most important things at present moment are:

    • establish daily yoga practice
    • continue recapitulation practice
    • change eating habits
    • go to gym and keep fit and strong body
The health is the single and most important thing in the life.