Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Today I finished my 100th's class, into the triple digits now and halfway to my goal of doubles every day for 100 days.  I wanted to write a long post about my journey thus far, and maybe that will happen tomorrow, but tonight I am too tired to do any sort of justice to what I would like to write, and I am not about to start sacrificing sleep when I am only halfway done.


Monday, May 19, 2014


When I started this blog, I wrote daily because I felt like I had a lot to share.  Then I wrote daily because that was my routine, and I was still able to put something together every evening.  My routine has been thrown off the last few days, and without anything pressing to share I took a few unexpected days off from blogging.

Seems for a couple of days my readers were content, but going on day three, I had multiple people ask about my blog today and why there haven't been any new posts.  I can assure you, I'm not even halfway done with this blog yet.

I would catch you up on the last couple of days and the progress I have made, but I think I will leave that for my day 50 post tomorrow.  Oh yeah, did I mention that tomorrow is the top of the mountain for my hundred day challenge?

More on that tomorrow.

Today felt like a really rough day.  I made the choice to sleep in, skipping my usual 6 am class in favor of the 11 am.  I knew full well the consequences, but at 2 am my brain was willing to take that risk.

I sat out more sets than usual today, and the room seemed hotter.  In the morning class I don't think the door was cracked or the fans turned up even once.  Despite some use of the fans, the afternoon class did not feel any cooler.

When I walked into the afternoon class the hot room was almost full, the only remaining spot in the front row was near the window, a place I try to avoid on sunny days like today because the direct sun can make the heat feel just that much warmer.  I didn't start directly in the sun, but as the sun drifted lower in the sky I was soon enough laying directly in a rectangle of light like something straight out of Citizen Kane.

In savasana this afternoon I kept placing my water bottle next to my head to block the sun from shining directly in my eyes.  It was a mind game that I was losing, not unlike early in my practice several weeks ago laying under an unmoving fan.

Midway through the floor series I glanced over at Roy.  Roy being the guy who paced me for the end of the thirty days and just kept on coming back, racking up a very impressive forty-eight classes in thirty days.  Roy had a wide grin across his face, a contagious smile that I could not help but emulate.

Smiling is a fantastic strategy against the various mind games you may encounter in yoga practice, especially if you are trying to hold in triangle pose for those last few seconds.

I found out after class what he was smiling about, and it turns out it was me. He said he looked over and saw me laying directly in the sun, and that he could see steam rising off of me.  The part that made him smile?  He swore he saw a rainbow in the rising steam.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

I Lost My Phone

To cap off the comedy of errors that my day has been, I now seem to have lost my phone.  So, there is that.  Who wants to take bets on whether I can wake up for 6 am yoga without the alarm on my phone?

I don't even...

Well, I came back by the house to search for my phone and get a quick post up if I couldn't find it.  This is me getting up a quick post so that I can get back to my house sitting job and give antibiotics and painkillers to an adorable, sweet kitty.

If I am not able to make it to the 6 am, I guess there is always the 9 and 11 am classes tomorrow.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014


Posting from my phone for the first time tonight, which will likely have some effect on the length of my post, though hopefully not on the quality.

I stayed up much later last night than usual, though in very good company.  I had the opportunity to voice a story that I don't often share, and one that I doubt will be shared in this blog, or at least not anytime soon.

It was interesting, with so much practice over the last month and a half on really paying attention to what my body was telling me, how strongly I could feel my own energy.  My levels of anxiety and apprehension, even though I was in a safe space, were dramatically raised.  It is not an easy story to tell.

It put into stark contrast the relative calm and peace that I have cultivated in the last month and a half.  Certainly last night was evidence I still have a lot of healing to do, but I am healing.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

I Hurt

I just found this scrap of writing from just about four months ago, posted below with just a few small edits for clarity.  It doesn't have much to do with my yoga practice, other than perhaps to give some insight into the space I was in before I began this endeavor.  I was two weeks out of a very unexpected breakup at the time, to give some perspective of where some of this came from.  I have certainly had brighter days.

The hum of the fans in the tower beside me are only silent when I don’t remember they are there, white noise that betrays quiet and solitude that I might achieve if they were still, the monitor black, the miscellany of other peoples lives not constantly refreshing and pinging me with moment to moment updates.  Social media as I sit alone with silent lips.

I want to talk for hours, and texting is no substitute.  The quality of the spoken word, imperfection and inflection would lend more meaning to the same words, but the words wouldn’t be the same.  Conversations more quickly understood, more organic, alive with ideas and reflections. Laughs shared.

I need to voice my voice, and not in so idle a practice as small talk and chit chat of, “how was your day,” and the oft repeated, “fine.”

I am not fine.  I am never fine.  I don’t know who knows.

I don’t fit in.  Never have.

I don’t think people are cogs, though some endeavor to perform the task.  I never fit quite right.

I am tired.

So tired.

I don’t think I’ll ever commit suicide.  I often wondered if I would, but perpetually I am optimistic enough to see hope, even if I don’t believe it.

I have lived a life.  It occurred to me earlier today.  Or, was it yesterday?  No matter.

I have lived.  I was in love, got married, had my heart broken.  I have felt joy, sorrow, pleasure, pain.  I have fought.  I have been in the ocean, the woods, the dessert, fields, mountains, rivers, valleys, at cliffs and waterfalls, on hikes through the deep wilderness.  I have traveled on bikes, in cars, on planes, trains, and boats.  I have been published and printed, recognized to some small degree as an artist and writer.  I served in the military, operating a wide assortment of firearms and military vehicles.  I have loving parents, loving sisters.

I have cried, a lot. I have smiled, likely as much.

I laugh.

I want to love.

I want to love myself, and I don’t know that I do.

I am a stranger, having distanced myself from me. I don’t really remember why.

I have been kind, and had kindness given.

I have started fires, watched them burn.

I am loved.

I hurt.


Monday, May 12, 2014

The Emperor's New Clothes

I got my new yoga shorts today!

They arrived this afternoon, so I was able to wear them to my second class today.  They fit well, were generally comfortable, and more importantly they moved well and there was no binding as I went through all of the postures.  The fabric is moderately heavy to provide a modicum of modesty.  Well, as much modesty as wearing nothing but form fitting shorts can allow.

I was not aware just how much sweat my other shorts wicked from my body during my yoga practice.  With the new shorts, I think my legs were doubly wet, which I did not even consider to be within the realm of possibility.  I also had not given much thought to how much more exposed I would feel.  If I felt half naked before, now I feel almost fully exposed.

I think to the story of the emperor's new clothes, his procession naked through the streets, and nobody saying a word.  Yoga is similar in that nearly everyone in the room is wearing as little as possible, every curve and imperfection bare.  The difference is that everyone walks into the room knowing full well they are in their most raw form.

There is a beauty in facing yourself in the mirror like that.  For those that are not familiar, Bikram yoga is practiced facing a wall covered in mirrors.  The first lines of every class, "everyone stand and face the mirror."  Facing a mirror, you are really facing yourself, forced to see the naked truth or free to see the beauty of where you are in that moment.
I was surprised how comfortable I was standing nearly naked in the full mirror.  It was not something I could have comfortably done before I started this challenge.  It was not a direction in which I expected to grow.  I am glad this is a journey that can still surprise me.


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day

I wake, my usual weekend time,
And out of bed I slowly climb.
Already lights on in the home,
About the house I slowly roam.

Up and dressed, now using Skype,
She is the early rising type.
Seeing this is Mother's Day,
My sister calls from far away.

She also gets her gift from me,
A little cutout chickadee.
Its shape is plump, and color rusted,
And in the garden will be trusted.

Off to yoga, bright and early,
To stretch my body, big and burly.
Touch my toes, and head-to-knee,
Soon more flexible I'll be.

Home to shower, dress, and eat,
Fix my mom a breakfast treat.
Waffles offered, she says "no."
Not how I thought that would go.

Eggs instead, fruit on the side,
Bacon, mushroom, kale inside.
She says she likes it when I cook
(Especially when she's off the hook).

Laundry turned, I turn to nap,
My bed is like a snuggly trap.
Briefly wake, my clothes to dry,
Then back to bed for more shut eye.

Wake to throw on shirt and tie,
Then to church by car I fly.
No time for a proper lunch,
Grab an apple, grapes (a bunch).

Straight from church to yoga rush,
Each request their patrons hush.
Stretching further than before,
Stretch like tree, cobra, and more.

Numbers, logic, order, math,
A knack in these my mother hath.
Patterns do delight her mind,
And so this pattern I did find:

Eighty-two, an easy one,
Current yoga classes done,
Also happens, as luck would be,
To be the year the world met me.

At home, my parents busy packing,
Again a meal is clearly lacking.
My happy task then to prepare
An evening meal for us to share.

Together as I seem to be,
Little credit goes to me.
Though you will never hear her boast,
My mother deserves this credit most.

To her I say, you taught me of
The importance that I act with love.
So, just like any other day,
I close my post with, "Namaste."

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Day 40

I bought new jeans today.  The regular fit jeans that I bought back in March were looking downright baggy, and I just couldn't take it anymore.  I dropped four inches in my waist line, down to a 36, which I haven't fit into since I don't know when.

Also, I weighed in at 269.4 lbs. this morning, a net loss of 16 pounds in the last 40 days, or .4 pounds of weight loss a day.  At that rate, I could get down under 250 lbs. by July, a weight I probably haven't seen since I was in the Army.


Friday, May 9, 2014


Motivation is a strange beast.  The driving force which carries us through a task.  At the start, the newness was its own motivation.  Doing something new has always had a strong pull as a motivator for me, and without a transition into other forms of motivation my interest can wain.

Thinking back, I think that excitement was the motivator I found second, and that lasted quite some time.  The speed at which I developed in my postures was quicker in the beginning, I was meeting and getting to know new teachers at the studio, and my personal challenge was a regular topic of discussion.

In the middle of my initial thirty days, when I felt like I was breaking down, and the newness and excitement had somewhat tarnished, I had to change gears and rely on determination.  Determination is a nice way of saying that I am stubborn, a trait which sometimes works out to my benefit.

Perhaps one of the most dangerous motivators is habit, which is where I feel like I am now.  Dangerous because it is less actively motivating than the previous three.  100 days is so far off that it is hard to draw motivation from, and so I try not to think about what exact day I am on or how many classes I have done.

I think those have been my major motivators over the last several weeks, though certainly there have been less constant ones.  Ego more than once has offered its form of motivation, especially, as mentioned, in triangle pose.  Subtly different than ego, the desire to impress has also motivated me from time to time.

For day thirty, when my sister was in town to celebrate, I think there were many strong motivators that came into play.  I was excited to be finishing the thirty days, I wanted to see just how well I could do at the postures, and I had a strong drive to do my very best, more so than any other time I have walked into that room.

I think that it is important to bring motivation into the room anytime you practice, whether or not you take the care to identify it.  The more motivation you can bring, the more energy the class has, and the easier it is for everyone.  If you have abundant motivation, others around you will feel it.  Conversely, if your motivation is waning, feel free to draw from outside yourself.


Water Weight

I looked down today, a rain of sweat splashed against the towel.  So saturated, the drops had to spread out to dissipate into the fabric slow enough to watch the overhead lights reflected in the drops before they each soaked down.

I was spreading my legs for the second set of triangle pose, right foot out four feet in the same position, only this time it slipped and I watched as it slid those few inches, sweat from the drenched carpet curled like a tiny wave in front of the side of my foot as it slid.

I step back to my mat and towel to a plopping sound like treading on wet leaves on the pavement.

Water trickles down my body, tributaries paying tribute to perseverance.

I read an article where a woman was perturbed that a little sweat had been accidentally flung on her during a hot yoga class, but what did she think she was breathing?  The humidity rises rapidly during a class.  Once I walked into the room after a full class and my glasses fogged.  Just one more reason to keep taking the early classes as my routine.

After class my towel doesn't have the capacity to hold all the sweat that it did when it was out flat across my mat, and I leave puddles anywhere I stand too long.  At the water fountain where I fill my water bottle to drain and fill and drain again.  Out in the lobby where I catch my breath, reflect, and do my Facebook check-in, I leave more puddles.

A liter in the morning before class, another during.  Two more after class before I even leave the studio.  Five, six, maybe even seven before the afternoon.  Another during class, and two more after.  If I drink two more that night, I drank twelve liters of water, or just over three gallons of water a day.

I drink three gallons of water a day.

A gallon of water weighs roughly eight pounds.  I drink twenty four pounds of water a day.

Weigh myself in the morning before class, drink eight pounds of water, practice yoga, and still weigh two pounds lighter when I get home.  I lose roughly ten pounds of water weight in each yoga class.  Three hours out of every day I am shedding twenty pounds of water, or a little better than a gallon of sweat per class.

I think I will go refill my water bottle and get some sleep, so this is me signing off.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014


A month ago today I defeated the posture that had been my early nemesis.  A month strong I have performed every set of every posture of triangle pose.  The math: Four sets a day for thirty one days (inclusive), equals one hundred and twenty four sets.  There have been several times that I have nearly fallen out, and I can admit that it has sometimes been pure ego that has kept me from collapsing, but everything before it and everything after is made easier by having conquered just that one posture.

I asked Dara today what I should write about, and her suggestion was that I should write about how I was doing in the postures.  Specifically she said that she thought my standing bow pulling posture was coming along really well.  I am actually pretty excited she mentioned that posture specifically, because all the way back last month on the 12th, when I wrote the post Adapting, I had identified standing bow pose as my new nemesis.

While I defeated my first nemesis in a week, this second has taken quite a bit longer.  The major delay was my elbow, which was getting worse while I was otherwise getting stronger.  When I should have been making gains, I was slowly losing the posture, and there was a time when I had to sit out the posture entirely.  Fixing my sleep fixed my elbow, and fixing my elbow has allowed me to really make an effort in getting bow pulling pose conquered.

I still fall out (a lot).  It is a particularly difficult posture, and while I can get into it pretty deep, invariably I lose my balance and fall out.  Falling out just means that I am pushing myself, and that I am that much closer to defeating this nemesis and moving on to the next one.

Standing bow is not the only posture that I am making gains in.  I remember how excited I was early on just to get my forehead to my knee in the aptly named head to knee pose.  Now I can regularly get my leg all the way straight and my heel off the ground with my forehead to knee.

On the other hand, standing head to knee might have to be the next nemesis I choose, as it seems like it has been a long while since I have seen any sort of gain there.  Mostly because when I am rounding over to pick up my foot, I still have too much to round over, though that is slowly changing.

Really, all of my postures are coming along.  I am in a space where I feel really good about my practice, I am enjoying the benefits of practicing so often.  Also, this may be the most successful I have ever been in fighting off a cold, which is something I attribute wholly to my yoga practice.

Today it seemed to come up several times how my challenge and this blog have inspired others in their own practice.  I am both gladdened and humbled that sharing my journey has had a positive impact on others.  It was never my intention to do anything more than my own personal yoga practice, and certainly I never expected the response from the community that it has created.  Thank you to everyone that is a part of this community, and for everything that you do to lift each other up.


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Kill It With Yoga!

Back on track today with my routine.

It is a good thing I had the routine to fall back on, because my motivation sure wasn't going to get me there.  I have been feeling like I have been coming down with something for a couple of days.  Just a tickle on Sunday, then soreness and congestion yesterday.

This morning I was feeling pretty yucky (I say "yucky" because Facebook doesn't recognize "queasy" as a legitimate feeling), but opted to go to yoga regardless.  Taking a page from the Barney Stinson playbook, I decided to stop being sick and be awesome instead, slightly altering the mantra "kill it with fire" to "kill it with yoga."

In the morning class I did not feel particularly awesome, but I persevered.  A combination of the heat, humidity, and breathing did wonders for my sinuses.  After yoga I went and got some Airborne, came home, and proceeded to sleep for most of the day.

Afternoon yoga went exceptionally well, I was feeling great, I had energy, and my residual congestion was again wiped out.  Not that all of my symptoms are gone, I still have that tickle at the back of my throat, and I am sure the congestion will be back for another round in the morning, but I am excited that getting sick has not gotten in the way of my yoga practice.  Rather, I am excited that yoga has seemed to help so much in lessening the impact of getting sick.  As those that know me can attest, I can be a pretty big baby when it comes to getting sick.

Extra glad that the yoga made me feel so good this afternoon, because coming out of class I got a text from Alison, my cousin, saying she was in town, so I was able to go out for dinner and catch up with one of my very favorite people.

Living the day to day of weight loss, the change is so gradual that it can be hard to see the whole scope of the change that you have gone through.  Alison remarked that I looked great, and so much thinner.  I get a lot of the same compliments at the studio when somebody sees me that hasn't been in for a few days, or just draws comparison to what they thought when they first saw me.

The weight loss has become evident to me in a few ways.  I bought new shorts for practice at the very beginning of my challenge.  They are athletic shorts with a short inseam, like running shorts, and I thought they would work well because they had an elastic band down the side.  I was wrong.  They bind in all the standing postures, and from day one I have had to pull up the shorts to the tops of my thighs so that I can bend my legs how I need to without being restricted by the fabric.

When I lifted the legs of my shorts in the first few days of practice they were tight around my thighs, perhaps even stretched a little.  This had the benefit of holding them in place through the rest of the postures, which was nice.  As time went by they slowly became looser, so that they would occasionally fall down between sets, and I would have to hike them up again.  These days they just kind of billow down, which would not be an issue if they still didn't bind up my legs when I try to do most of the postures in the standing series, so I find myself pulling them up between almost every set.

There are worse problems to have, I know.

A couple of days ago I ordered myself a pair of yoga shorts online after scouring the internet for the style I was looking for in my size.  Turns out most retailers believe that men my size shouldn't be wearing spandex, and make that choice for me by not offering those styles in my size.  The ones I did find only offered my size in black, and not any of the other colors they offered in the same style for smaller sizes.

In determining what size shorts to get, I took the waistband of my size 40 waist jeans that I bought after losing 15 pounds in February, and crossed the waistband over itself around my waist about 4 inches.  You can imagine how baggy my four inch too large jeans are fitting me these days.  Again, there are worse problems to have.

I have not really talked much about a goal weight.  My goal was always just to finish the thirty days, and the weight loss was ancillary.  Ideally, I would like to get back under what I weighed coming out of basic training.  Not that I was a feather weight by any means, but that 230 pounds was the most hard fought shape of my life.

Speaking of hard fought, I am going to need more sleep if I am going to fight off this cold, so this is me signing off.


Monday, May 5, 2014

Adequate Sleep

Nothing eloquent tonight.  Not that my posts are ever particularly eloquent.  I am tired, so I am going to give my body the rest that it deserves just as soon as I hack out a post here.  So, nothing eloquent.

Today was pretty harsh.  I slept through almost every alarm today, which nearly caused me to miss my 6 am class, and actually did cause me to miss the 4:30 pm class this afternoon.  I woke up with a start at 4:25 and it was obvious that I wasn't going to make it downhill to class in just five minutes, so I ended up going to the 6:30 pm class instead, which is why I am writing this now and not already in bed.

Sleeping through alarms just added stronger punctuation to something I was already aware of.  A clear sign that I am not giving my body enough sleep.

If I had not made it clear in earlier posts, this challenge has required a lot more sleep than usual.  It is pretty common for me to come home from my morning class, shower, eat, and then fall right back asleep until lunch.  I am trying to find a happy medium where I am not sleeping the day away and still able to tend to other things in my life regularly, but I am going to start with making sure that I am getting to sleep plenty early at night.

Speaking of sleep, this is me signing off to go and do just that.



I really have little idea what I will write every evening as I sit to write my daily blog post.  This evening I have less idea than usual.  I feel that I should mention that, as this is my thirtieth post, I have been doing this blog for a month now.

I have no idea how I continue to have consistent readership.  Tomorrow I will likely cross 2,500 pageviews for the blog.  That works out to be approximately eighty people a day reading whatever it is I happen to punch out as a stream of consciousness while I try to reign in my thoughts to remain relevant to the focus of the blog.

I must say, I am finding it difficult to write tonight.  Every paragraph I write next, I delete again.  Strange I haven't yet deleted this one, and perhaps I will leave it here and go on to delete the next.

Yep, I deleted several more attempts at paragraphs!  I am taking this as a clear sign that tonight's post is just not going to get off the ground, so I will leave it here.


Saturday, May 3, 2014


As poor as yesterday went, that was how good my practice felt today.  I have found more and more that the swings in performance from one class to another can be fairly severe.  From one of my more challenging days yesterday, to come out and get so much deeper into postures today left me feeling pretty good about my decision to continue to 100 days.

Roy, the yogi who paced me like a marathon runner for the last several days of my initial thirty day challenge (and brought the sparkling cider to celebrate after my 60th class), confirmed today what I was feeling yesterday.  I saw him going into class at 9 am this morning after I was out of my 7 am class, then he was back again for the 4:30, and he said I was definitely right about getting enough recovery time between classes.

I feel that somehow doing two classes closer together is even worse than doing classes back to back, which was something I only tried once during my initial thirty days.  At least if you are doing the classes back to back you are still in the same mode and you are already plenty warmed up.  With the reduced recovery time of two classes closer together you are cooled down, but not quite recovered enough yet for another class.

I was thinking the other day about what Roy said about pacing me like a marathon runner for the last couple miles.  It occurred to me that not taking a break after my initial thirty days is akin to finishing a marathon and deciding on a lark to go ahead and make it an ultra-marathon.  Ultra-marathoners are the kind of crazy that I aspire to be, so I guess that is good, right?

I have been given the advice more than once now that I should take a break if I need one.  Let me say right here and now, that if I needed a break, I would be taking one.  Today was evidence to me that I am still healthy, making progress, and getting stronger, so while I may get to a point before the 100 days that I need a break, today is not that day, and I don't think that day is likely to come anytime soon.

I truly appreciate that the instructors take serious interest in the health and well being of each of their students.  Not only me, but I hear them in conversations with everyone about how they are feeling, how they are doing in class, how they can improve or get better in this posture or that, and even things completely unrelated to the practice of yoga.  The care the teachers take in getting to know each of the students is awesome, and the care they show towards those same students is inspiring.

To the instructors reading this, whether or not you have had me in a class or even teach at the studio in West Linn, I want to express my deep gratitude for everything that you do.  For choosing and following this path, you are awesome.


Friday, May 2, 2014


As it turns out, I had a pretty good routine going.

For a month straight, with only a very few exceptions, I was going to 6 am yoga (7 on weekends) and then 4:30 pm yoga after a nine (or eight) hour recovery between classes.  This worked out exceptionally well for several reasons.  I had enough energy for my morning class, then home for breakfast, lunch around noon, and still plenty of time to not have a full stomach for the afternoon class, after which I would have dinner at a descent hour.

The schedule flowed well, though many days much of my recovery time was spent sleeping.  I have been attempting to curtail just how much I sleep between classes with life making other demands.

I mention this all today, because, after staying up too late last night writing my blog post and cycling the laundry, I had the bright idea this morning of attending the 9 am class instead of the 6 am class.

This was a mistake.

Those three hours had a huge impact on my energy level in the morning.  I was doing yoga when my body had become accustomed to having breakfast.  Practicing fourteen hours after I had had dinner the night before, my energy crashed after the standing series, and my whole practice was thrown off.  I was still able to make attempts at every set of all the postures, but only just barely.

Thinking that was bad enough, I then had my usual nine hour recovery time cut to six, and my afternoon class was markedly more difficult.  Practice today over both classes was one of my more difficult days so far.

All that said, I was still able to go zipper dancing tonight at Friday Night Fusion, which was fantastic, as always.  So, even on one of my more difficult days of yoga, I still had the energy to go dancing for three hours.  And, as hard as it was, today was a good day.

Moving forward I will be paying closer attention to trying to stick to my routine.  The three hours of mediocre sleep wasn't worth the hardship in my yoga practice.  Thankfully, I still have my streaks of triangle pose and consecutive classes with attempts at every posture going.

You might be thinking that I am up way too late again tonight writing my blog post (I am), but dancing and catching the last few seconds of the Trail Blazer game was worth it, and in just a few moments I can change over the laundry and get some sleep so that I can be up bright and early for 6 am yoga tomorrow.


Thursday, May 1, 2014

Treating Myself

Back when I was barefoot running, rather than reward myself with food, I tried to make a conscious effort to treat myself with non-consumables instead.  I was trimming down, so I bought myself some nice shirts to look as good as I was feeling.

Why shirts?  I am as susceptible as any to occasional bouts of vanity, though, I guess if you can be distracted mid-sentence by seeing yourself in a mirror, you might be defined as perhaps more susceptible, and "occasional" might not be the best word choice either.

This is not a recent development either.  I have vague recollections of being so distraught by not being able to find my regular shoes once as a child, that I skipped school rather than wear the snow boots that I was being forced to wear.  Apparently, my youthful vanity won out even over my love of swimming, because, if I remember correctly, we were taking a field trip to the swim center that day.

For those who attend class with me who are wondering now if I practice in the front row to satisfy my vanity, the answer is, "no."  No, I practice in the front row, because in the second or third row, without my glasses on, I am just a fuzzy blur in the mirror.  Seeing myself clearly helps me with my postures.  Smiling at myself in the mirror, and seeing the sunshine through the windows reflected in my eyes is just an added benefit.

Yesterday was all family, which was wonderful, but just like at the end of the standing series, I wanted to take a moment to honor myself and my accomplishment today.

Following in the pattern of my running success, the first thing I did was shop for a new shirt.  I was looking for something to button up, but opted for a simple black V-neck shirt instead.  The slimming effect, on top of my already considerable change in body composition, looks great.  Later, I would run the purchase past more experienced (feminine) eyes in order to make sure it passed muster, and my purchase made the grade.

Pro tip for guys:  Never trust your own judgement when it comes to fashion.  Run any clothing and accessory purchases past a woman with experience and good taste.  E.g. most of my best wardrobe items have been gifts from my sisters, all of whom are very qualified to make such judgements.  Also, my new (fabulous) fedora was picked out my my cousins Alison and Lindsey at Saturday Market when they were in town visiting back in March, and I couldn't be happier with it.

Then I stopped in at Powell's Books to pick myself up a copy of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, after which I took myself to lunch at Roxy's Island Grill, which you may remember from an earlier post, but I really can not say enough good things about that place.  Sitting alone in the late morning sun at Roxy's, reading The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and eating Hawaiian food was a little slice of the divine today.

After lunch I treated myself to my first ever professional massage, which was kind of amazing.  I had been sitting on a gift card, and honoring myself and my accomplishment was just the occasion to finally use it.  I am not entirely sure that I didn't fall asleep, it was so relaxing.  So relaxing that I didn't even think about the fact that I was covered in a thin veneer of massage oil which I should have rinsed off before going to afternoon yoga.

That is right, I went to afternoon yoga today.  Morning yoga too.  Today was my thirty-first day of doubles, and I don't see any reason to quit now.  More on that.

If you ever want to play a practical joke on yourself, cover yourself in massage oil, and then try to do ninety minutes of yoga.  Some of my very serious attempts at the postures were just comical, and I could not help but just laugh through wind removing pose.  At least my laughter entertained some of my other classmates.

A combination of the massage oil on my feet, trying to stand in a puddle of my sweat, while seemingly holding triangle pose for what seemed like half again as long, nearly ended my streak of doing every second of every set of triangle pose.  I managed to stay in the posture, but only just barely.

The other streak I have going is a bit of an achievement.  For five classes now I have again been able to attempt every set of every posture without sitting out any sets.  It had been quite awhile since I had been able to say that, but I am serious when I say that I am getting stronger and building my practice up again.

Amy gave some very good advice about taking a break in her guest blog post, and it is something I most certainly would do if I had come to the end of the thirty days hurting or feeling broken down.  This endeavor has been about treating myself, and I mean that in more ways than one.

On the one hand it was about treating myself, as in treating myself well, respecting myself, and honoring myself and my physical health.  On the other hand, as I touched on in my initial post and in others, this has also been about treating myself mentally for my depression.

I can say that I have felt joy these last several days, that things have been looking up again.  Through the entirety of this initial endeavor, I can say that there was not a day that went by that the instructors and other students didn't make my laugh or smile.  I honestly feel loved.

Feeling loved is not a foreign feeling for me, and I hope that I have conveyed how much love there is in my family and in the support they give me, but I honestly did not expect to find love in yoga practice.  For those that have asked what the most surprising thing I found in my experience in the last thirty days, it was love.

My depression over the month, though I could feel it pull, and I teetered on both sides of the precipice, was not nearly as bad as in times past, and these last few days I have begun to feel the burden of depression lift again from my shoulders.  I will live my life with depression, but this month, through yoga, I was able to live my life with depression.

I wasn't perfect, but that was never the point.

Physically, the changes have been tremendous.  I find it difficult to put into words the changes that this month has brought to me physically.  It is easy to throw out a number and say that I lost 10.4 pounds, but that number means very little.  Because I stayed so far ahead of my hydration, I can say that I am likely carrying perhaps even a little more water weight than when I started, and my instructors and classmates can attest to the muscle that I have gained over the last month, in addition to how I have slimmed down.  My clothes fit loosely, having dropped a couple of pant sizes, and I have gone down from a hard earned XXL in my shirt size, to a comfortable XL.

At the end of February, when I had lost fifteen pounds just by changing my diet, I bought a couple of pairs of jeans.  They were the first 'regular fit' jeans I had ever worn, as previously I had worn exclusively relaxed fit jeans.  Just two months later the slim fitting jeans are now baggy again.

I would buy new jeans, but I think I will hold off a little longer, because I am not quite finished yet.

I mentioned earlier that I am not quitting.  Instead, having accomplished my initial goal of thirty days, I am going to raise the bar just a little bit higher.  I did the math awhile back and found out that it is exactly 100 days from when I started on April 1st until my birthday on July 9th.  How could I ignore such a coincidence?

So, if you are willing to follow my chronicle just a little bit longer, this blog is now going to be about my quest to complete 100 consecutive days of doubles.  In just two days, I will already be a third of the way done with my new goal, so it is certainly achievable.  I am not going to break myself or hurt myself to do this, and I am going to continue to listen closely to what my body tells me, but I am excited to see what further transformation I can achieve by my birthday this year.

So, yeah, I am still crazy, but I guess that's me.