Posts Tagged ‘aikido’

Every day I’m shufflin’ …which is why I fall on my ass and go BOOM!


Just to be clear.

Aikido didn’t go so well last night. Again. Peeps – this is a thing that actually might kill me.  So far, in 6 weeks, I’ve managed to jam up both shoulders, jam my wrist, and get my big toe bent back painfully.  Last night, I decided to try and move a little faster in some of the roll practice – apparently forgetting everything I ever learned about it in the process. Peeps, I swear – the unpleasant crunching sound that came from my shoulder sounded like it called me dumbass! I swear it did!

And that was my good shoulder. Which isn’t so good right now. OUCH!!  This one’s gonna take a few days or 10 to get back to good.  *sigh*


It’s hard. It involves grimacing. But you power through because the only thought worse than the pain is the thought that you’re about to have to call your husband to come help you get your sports bra off. No man should have to witness such a process.  *sigh*

HOWEVER – this whole fact that I can’t move my left arm so great didn’t stop me from registering for Run the Bluegrass this morning.  Early registration opened today and the race is capped on size limit. I wanted in and BAM! Registration done. So what if I can’t move my arm, I can run 13.1 miles – right?  Okay, the race is next Spring and I’m pretty sure the shoulder will be okay by then, but still – nothing like a humiliating painful injury to make you go register for an endurance race. What? Sure, why not.

In fact, I’m pretty sure I might be able to knock out some mileage later today – if I can figure out how to get a sports bra on without using my arms…

I’ve had starting points on the brain, Peeps. The places where we begin.  Circling around, these thoughts are.

As I mentioned, I’ve been starting some things lately – starting distance running again, starting to learn aikido, starting to teach yoga. Beginnings of a different kind, each of them.  Beginning again something I have done before. Beginning something I have never done. Beginning a new role as teacher in a thing I have done for a long time.


There is a banner that usually hangs in the downtown yoga studio that says “always keep to the beginner’s mind”. I love that banner. The more I think of that banner, and the more dreams I reach for, the more I love that banner. Then I think about that banner some more. It’s been taken down recently to create space for an art exhibit, but I still look to it’s space whenever I am there and consider my state of mind.

IMG_1708_edit A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of watching a friend of mine endure a rather grueling blackbelt test. One of the most difficult physical contests I have ever witnessed. As part of the proceedings, the sensei spoke about how the achievement of a blackbelt is not a completion of training, but rather, a beginning. A transition.

Then recently, I had an opportunity (which I took) to sub in as teacher for a Yoga for Beginners class.  I knew about this opportunity almost a month ahead of time and made it a point to go take that teacher’s class so I could see her approach, have familiarity with the progress of her students. After which I sat down to (over-) think it through –  what does a beginner need to know? what is most important? what do I want to share with them?  I let some friends know I was doing this class, as many have expressed wanting to check out my newbie teaching, and I got one response that kind of surprised me. A friend said she didn’t think she would be interested in a beginner class, she was too advanced. As soon as she said it, my knee-jerk thought – “I don’t think you understand what advanced means.”  I didn’t say that aloud, but the thought resounded with me.

What does it mean to be a beginner?

It used to be that when I would start a new thing – really didn’t matter what it was – I would prepare in advance. Do homework ahead of time. Make sure I had the practice in and every confidence that I knew the answers before I ever entered class. I felt well armed. I would spend my energy proving what I already knew and trying to fit the context of new information into the grid of knowledge I’d already created. Trust me when I say, that is an EXHAUSTING approach to being in the world. But still, each to their own and that is one way to do things.

Lately, when I begin a new thing, I’ve taken to trying to dump anything I might already know about it out of my head. Acknowledge for myself that there are some things I might know, but that I might find I don’t know anything at all once I really start to learn something. I let myself be dumb. It’s an interesting feeling to do that – thoughts leap up to you, pushing questions up to block the new learnings – trying to get you back inside the box of what you already know.  But I shush them down, tell them to listen. Hand reigns over to imagination. “Because I am stupid, I am free.” I let the information come to me instead of forcing myself upon it. Again, each to their own but I’ve found this way of doing things GLORIOUS. Relaxing even. And I think I am learning even better for it.

If that what it means to begin a thing, then what does it mean to be advanced?

To me, the same thing.  Maybe it’s my age speaking, but the longer I’m in the world, the more I come to realize that someone who is advanced knows they are always beginning – does not dismiss beginners. Each time you step to a yoga mat, take the first stride on a run, cross the threshold of the dojo – you’re at a beginning. Of that day. Of that task.  In application, when I come to the yoga mat as an experienced student taking a beginner’s class, I use that opportunity to begin all over again. Re-examine my form. Sometimes a simple movement – a beginner’s movement – can be made harder just by slowing it down – being more particular with details of the movement. Checking your stride. Dropping deeper into a lunge. Lowering a push-up more slowly to the floor and rising up again even more slowly. Or the opposite – speeding it up. If a beginner is doing 3 sun salutations, can you get in a 4th or even a 5th in the same amount of time?

To me, being advanced means FINDING A WAY TO PUSH YOUR OWN LIMIT no matter what the task at hand is. A beginner learns the sun salutations, but even the most advanced of students still practices them. A person who says – I’ve perfected sun salutations so I’m going to stop doing them –  is a fool.

Not really sure what my end thought is for this – probably because I’m focused on beginnings – so my first sentence has more of my focus than my last. But I am curious how others feel on the topic. What do  you think beginning/being advanced means? If you’re advanced at something, what would your approach to a beginner’s class be? Would you even bother with a beginner’s class?


Atomic Number Ten

Update #1 – it really does take about 3 days to get the smell of Desitin off all yer parts. You needed to know that.  Really. You did.

Soooo much to remember about the long runs – and getting re-educated fast.

With generally neglecting this place while I got busy with being out in the world, I figure an update is overdue – and let me tell you – I have some VERY EXCITING THINGS to tell you. But I can’t tell you about them yet.  Nope. Not gonna. Made promises. Can’t.  These lips are SEALED. Until they aren’t sealed – when I’m just gonna blabberblabbityblab all over you.  But ’til then. Nada.

I know – I TOTALLY SUCK. But here’s what I can tell you –

The running thing – it’s been going pretty well. Like I said, up until last weekend’s long run, I was putting my time into developing my short run approach and hitting the trail at work regularly. Then the running groups came back from a short break and I decided to start going along. I have some long runs in my future. I haven’t picked a fall race yet, thought Indy is a contender, but fo sho I will be doing Run the Bluegrass again next year – which by the way, has a super cheap early registration ($60) weekend coming up next weekend – go check out their site! So I’ve started adding the distance back in  – and the hill repeats.  I gotta say – group did a 5 mile hit of hill repeats on Wednesday and I killed them! A little slower than I wanted – but they were the kind of hills that usually do me in and this time I powered through every. single. freaking. repeat. – a total of 9 of them.  Who’s a rock star? THIS GIRL!

 A closeup on the art of my beautiful friend Erin –

Also, I haven’t missed a week yet on doing my trail runs – except that I’ll probably miss this week due to some yoga stuff. Unless I can figure out how to get it done.  Which I still might. Seriously loving the trail runs right now!!!

You Do Yoga Cincinnati

You Do Yoga Cincinnati

I “officially” started teaching yoga at the beginning of July.  So far class attendance has been a little small – it’s a 5:30am class – did I say A. M.?, yes, I said A.M.  (I totally heard THE VERY FIRST BIRD of the day start up the other day it’s that freakin’ early) – that’s a little hard on growing a following, but these things take time to build. I have patience. Oodles & oodles of patience.  Frankly, the small class size has been nice while I get used to teaching and working out the kinks in my style. Smoothing my approach. Putting playlists together. Did I mention that I really like it? I like teaching. I like making people feel good about themselves and their bodies and moving in a good way.  (Also, kudos to the husband who has been getting up with me to go to my class!)

Of course the yoga studio is right next door to a bar

I also “officially” started my 500-hour teacher training for yoga! This girl – gettin’ more legit! More serious! More dedicated! I’ve been in an Anatomy & Physiology Intensive all this week that’s harder than my average work day.  But it’s okay. I’m kind of an A&P geek. I love knowing how a body works! Seriously athlete friends, if you have a chance to get your range of motion assessed – DO IT!! It is a seriously freeing experience. When people say things like “my body just doesn’t do that” – guess what? They’re usually right. Now I know the  science of why.  I’m also learning that Humbert’s Cherry Lime drink – which I discovered at a shop down the street from the yoga studio while on a break –  would be awesome with some muddled mint and vodka in it….that thought right there has me a bit preoccupied.

Started a new thing too. Aikido.  The dojo is a serious place. SERIOUS. In the way where I’ve come to understand that ‘aikido’ is Japanese for ‘buy more ice packs’. It’s a multi-art dojo, but when I’m there we mostly do aikido. Right now, everyone is being pretty easy on me because I’ve only been at it a month and am still learning how to fall decently, but I’ve managed to get more than one fugly bruise every week, jacked up my wrist practicing on my own and got my toe jammed with a nasty wince and cuss word. But I’m learning some really cool shit peeps! Aikido is freakin’ amazing!  I know there’s some weird juxta-positioning of yoga and aikido going on in someone’s mind – like, how can you practice martial arts and yoga – which is a peaceful practice – simultaneously? But if you have a good understanding of martial arts, then you understand that practicing something like aikido actually enhances a peaceful mindset – it doesn’t detract from it. It’s weird, but it’s very true. I found that with kickboxing too. Everyone always jokes that “I better not joke with you or you’ll kick my ass”, but honestly – that couldn’t be further from my state of mind most of the time. Some day I’ll make an effort to explain it, but that’s not today.


Still working on the photo thing. I’ve gotten some pretty huge compliments too!  Mostly I’ve been doing some friend and family events which I can’t share here. The idea of putting photos up of someone’s kids/family on the internet weirds me out.  So not too much I can put up to show you – but one of my friends asked me if she could use a couple of my photos as gifts and that meant a LOT to me – that she thought that highly of the pics I took.  Been learning about the differences in resolution and getting prints made between a screen and print work. Learning more about editing.  Learning more about action photography – one of the events I shot was a friend’s blackbelt test in the dojo – that was some FAST movement!! So, upping my skill level whenever I have a chance.


I was so busy shooting and editing those photos that I didn’t get to share these with you sooner. All the pics on this post are from what is called “Final Friday” – the last Friday of every month most of the vendors on Main Street and some surrounding streets stay open really late. It’s like a mini-street festival. These pics are from end of April. Since the Yoga studio is on Main St, they do an open house of sorts too – usually showcasing work for a local artist and doing “Acro Yoga” – which I think the pics pretty much explain. If I’m Downtown for Final Friday – this is usually where you’ll find me. (I’m behind the lens on these.) Oh, and by the way, Final Friday for July is tomorrow.