OK so only 3 days this week

Then vs now – fitness in middle to old age

I was thinking about how in the old days, before a 2-days in coach (meaning no sleep) journey home from India, I’d go up to Bangalore a day ahead (if coming back from Mysore), grab a few hours of sleep and then get up again early enough before the flight to get another practice in.

My first and last Ashtanga teacher, Greg, aka Fucknut, used to talk about how Manju (his one & only) said you could back off your practice at 50. That means the hard stuff, the joint shredding advanced series. Thing is, 3rd is the only really good workout with the first three series, once you’ve adapted to them. The first two are good workouts when you’re learning because of the struggle, but after that not so much.

What he should’ve said was that yogis should mix in other, more democratic forms of exercise as middle age progresses, to keep the body fit and healthy. That’s what it’s supposed to be all about right? Fitness first so that you have a good vessel for the cerebral. Manju wasn’t a great example though. He accumulated a lot of weight around his middle and had a heart attack that was kept on the down low. This was during the tail end of my involvement with studios, somewhere around 2011, 2012. He’s been much trimmer since then, which is good for him and his health, but my point is – look at who you ask for life advice.

Between Goa 2 and Miami 2012, I had all the fuel I needed to divest myself of any self-identification of “Ashtangi”

I was pondering what to do with my practice when I made that last visit to Rolf & Marci in Goa, my last trip to India, not knowing they’d been reading and obsessing over my blog since the first visit. She was anyway. She’d seemingly memorised it! There were three years between that first and second visit, and she referenced blogged events that occurred in the middle. They should’ve told me not to come. I was too transparent! Too direct! Too honest.

Anyway, I was fairly certain Rolf was still practicing advanced series, at a ragged looking late 50s, whereas both of my NYC teachers (both close to my own age) weren’t doing things by the book anymore. I’d wanted to talk to him about practicing and ageing, find out how he’d handled it, get some advice. Then I found out how he and she really felt about me! He compared me to a junkie, because of my need to write. I was stunned, upset… Cried for hours that day. The expats down at the conspiracy theory cafe said I should take the offer of the refund, and continue blogging, at the same space as the scurfy outdoor “shala” and cafe that housed that yoga group at the time.

I really should’ve taken my money back! In the end, I skipped a lot of those practices and just partied. I knew I wasn’t going to learn anything at all in terms of asana, and quite frankly my own room was a much better and warmer practice space. Also, since they were so openly and harshly critical of me, I turned the same microscope on them. OMG I don’t want any life advice from THAT guy!!! 

So now, when I do an Astanga practice, it’s a much different thing

These days I prioritise my seated meditation and chanting practice over exercise in general. Exercise is still important… I stress a little bit when I drop below 5-days in a week. But not that much. And if I’m not up to some sort of balls-out workout, I do something moderate.

You can tell what’s got top priority by where it occurs in my day. The meditation comes first. Then the art. I skipped my workout to figure out how to bring along my sketching supplies.

I have a very tiny, low budget carry-on. Figuring out how to travel with all the cat show supplies I’ll need (I have to check two bags) and all the sketching supplies I’d want really wasn’t easy. I wanted to carry just a small bag, but instead it’s going to be the giant Bagolini. I’ll check my carry-on and the Sturdi exhibition case. I’ll carry on my cat carrier, with small feline, and my Bagolini.

This is one of the many nice things I inherited via the passing of my good friend. Useful things. Stylish things. It just so happened we had the same size feet…

Never imagined that my first flight after March 15, 2015 would be to go to a cat show! I actually have to fly to Vancouver, Canada and then get an Uber to Abbortsford an hour away.



Slow but oddly satisfying Astanga

Normally when my HR is this low the practice would feel torturous, tedious and “sucky”, but today I was able to appreciate it for what it was. Would have been so much better to have done it yesterday! Michele killed my already sore upper body with that plank marathon in the abs! I could feel that today too, but it was ok. I didn’t warm up w/ the jump rope either b/c I wanted no part of any jumping.

Glad I got one in. Tomorrow’s gonna be my last day this week I can get a WO in & I’ll be back to Julia & another lower body, strength routine.


Poses Comments
Suryas & Standing Fundamentals w/ standing arches in Surya As, no hanuman, two 5-breath handstands @ the end
Primary+ Skipping 4 poses of primary w/ added LBH
Ardha Matseyendrasana, var through the legs bind – is helping crack open the Pashasana again
Shalabhasana A, B
Bhekasana, 1/2 & full
Dhanurasana A, B
Ustrasana hips to wall, keeping them fwd
Laghu Vajrasana
Hanuman 1min, foot against wall, 20sec upright, 40 back bending. This time I waited until 15sec to look back & held it. Like this new way
Rack Used 3lb weights instead of 5s and it’s better
Kapo B
Urdhva D come to standing
Dropbacks 3x
Ticks 3x

Happy Spring HIIT & Freestyle Workout

This was a really low burn for such a long WO, but I knew I probably should’ve done yoga. I just didn’t want to. I was really sore tho. Used low weights. Lots of stops & starts. But whatevs. The main point now is to just get it moving and do something. The specifics are not that important.


Happy Spring HIIT & Freestyle Workout

Part 1: 10/30 3 rounds
1. Alternate Reverse Lunge – Twist Opposite Elbow to Front Knee 10
2. Squat Bicep Curl to Overhead Tricep Extension 10s
3. Criss Cross 10
4. Oblique Mountain Climbers
5. Ball V-Up 10

Circuit 1: 3 Rounds √, √, √
1. Around the World (Clockwise) Turn Right & Right Plies Squat/Turn Front Right Reverse Lunge & Twist over Front Knee 12x 1st round 15. 2nd & 3rd rounds – two 5s
2. Around the World (Counter Clockwise) Turn Left & Left Plies Squat/Turn Left Reverse Lunge & Twist over Front Knee 12x
3. Tricep push-up / side plank Dive Bombers 6x I changed this just b/c yesterday’s WO had a lot of dive bombers and I have to be REALLY careful of the weak spot in the left tricep / tendon area with this one style of push-up. Really slows me down but of course that’s better than making a weak spot sore and angry! I did along w/ vid round 1 & the side planks w/ oblique squeeze took about twice the time so I halved the reps. 3rd round I added two 10lb weights for side plank press up (w/ stacked feet)

Alternate Reverse Lunge (w/ 3 bicep curls) Squat between – Hop into Plank
& 2x Plank Jack 10x 15

Wasted all kinds of time trying to find the start to the 2nd circuit b/c YouTube wasn’t showing the little preview frames on the bottom so couldn’t find the orange section divider.

Circuit 2: 3 Rounds √, √, √

1. (Right Leg) Front Bench Cross Over Lunge/Right
Plies Pulse 2x’s/Hop Up 12x 1st round – two 5s, 2nd & 3rd rounds same but added 8lb vest
2. (Left Leg) Front Bench Cross Over Lunge/Left Plies
Pulse 2x’s/Hop Up 12x
3. Plank Push-up – Turn Side Arm Raise/Face Front
Hop Feet in 2x’s Bicep Curl in low squat to Deadlift
w/Up-right Row 10x 10s Get feet staggered this time. Didn’t know a side plank was coming when I chose my swap-out move in the 1st circuit! LOVED THIS MOVE THO. w/ maybe 2 rounds I’d do w/ 15s

1x Jack w/Bicep Curl to 2x Jump Lunge w/Overhead Pull 10x 5s Not a fan of this one but at least it was hella quicker than the last move, #3

Bonus Abs: 30/30 4 Rounds (Each Number) Should’ve been called Brutal Shoulder Killer!
1. Buzz Saw Plank/Plank Jacks
2. Russian Twist 5lbs last no rest combo was brutal on the shoulders/Mountain Climbers
3. Plank Tap Opposite Hand to Foot/Oblique Mountain Climbers
4. Cat Pose (Hold knees off floor)/Pendulum
5. Hovering Star Crunch/Hyperextension

some stretching – cut a bit short.


Strength and cardio HIIT #3: back focus & yoga / yesterday’s rest day

Had a nice rest day, yesterday

I did my navel gazing downtown, “off hill.” It’s been steadily way too damp and cold to consider working outside. Took the last morning bus downtown to accomplish my two minor errands, picking up stuff at Vitamin Shoppe & Target, and sat at two different-but-close-by chain cafes the entire rest of the time I had to kill before lunch at Jake’s. The one on SW Tenth Ave is one of my few, “regular” spots in PDX.


I think you can see why once again I didn’t bother getting out my sketchbook.

I always do penance by carrying art supplies with me though! What if something is actually beautiful and / or interesting? Lunch was good. I’ve stopped photographing my food. One of my two friends in town happens to be a militant vegan, in a deeply evangelical phase. The last time I posed a non veg food picture, t a bit of a Facebook scuffle ensued on that thread. Though I wasn’t a part of it, it’s just not worth it! Virtuous food pictures are the only kind worth posting and I’m no longer a participant.

That could apply to FB itself. I’m not going to delete it this time. I’m pretty good with cutting off and letting go, but there are a few people who I just recently reconnected with after many years, Norman being my favourite. There are also some new cat connections who might be important / useful in the future as well as random connections I don’t interact with elsewhere. The thing to do is limit my posting.

The highlight of the day was lunch with my friend

Tom, at a place extremely nostalgic for us both, Jake’s. We were so naive! I said, talking of the first time we three, now two, had met up there, when they were staying their two weeks just a few months after I’d moved here, looking for a place of their own.

It used to be so normal, to meet up with friends for lunch, or an early happy hour after work. I’m sure I appeared stupidly giddy to the waiter, not that he’d have noticed all that much. Middle-aged ladies become increasingly invisible, as if practicing for our spectral phase. Not that that matters to me now. I am very focused in Scorpio these days. My solar return ascendant is Scorpio, as is natal & solar return Mars. Two years and counting in my cave on The Hill, after all. I was in a better mood after that. I’ve got some huge, for me, expenses coming up next weekend and I’d gotten a Trimet day pass, so I didn’t Uber home. I minded the long, uphill walk down the windy, no sidewalk Dosch less than usual too, just because that was my only real exercise for the day. Charlie and I went out for a light, early dinner after and that was that.


Warmup: (10/30×6=4min) jump rope Since the 1st set was reps – which I planned on doing at a nice, relaxed pace – I did my own warm-up.

Strength and cardio HIIT #3: back focus

5×5 √, √, √, √, √
1. Bent rows 2+ 2 oblique plank hops 20s
2. Halo slams 5/side 20
3. Clean and press 20s, weights perpendicular to body
4. Dive bomber to DL 20s, weights parallel to body

Weighted Hiit 50:10 2x 6 mins Joined video here.
1. cross/cross + hook/hook plank hop 5s
2. cross-cross/ uppercut-uppercut, hook-hook 2 squat jumps 5s
3. Squat jump fwd and back 4 crosses, plank hop angry donkey up 5s

Tabata pyramid: 6 mins
1. Kickthrough Burpee
2. Lateral touchdowns 4 + 2 star jumps

My legs were still so fatigued from last x lower body WO that the 2nd move of the tabata pyramid just KILLED me. The burpees were like vacation. I paused the video here (43 before notes) & did some asana. Single 10/60 intervals of paschimo & hanumanasana

Hiit 50:10 2x 10 mins I used two 10lb weights for all the bosu moves.
1. Fast feet Burpee
2. LL OH Bosu curtsy plank hops
3. Bosu Jack push-up bunny hop
4. RL OH Bosu curtsy plank hops
5. Yoga tricep push up Burpee

Tabata Pair: 4 mins
1. Iron leg Burpee
2. Divebomber to jumping jack

Time = 1:06

Skipped the video’s yoga cool down & did my longer, solo version:


About 28min

  • Virasana, supta v, malasana, uttanasana, krounchasana, ustrasana, anjenayasana, upavistha kona, parighasana, baddha kona A
  • Some finishing

PURE Strength Workout #5: Complete Upper Body by Jamie B

As fiery as I was yesterday, today I was… inert, like soggy earth. All I did all day was lie around and read, internet and books. I’d totally have done a rest day, but for the fact that next week will be a 4-days. With the bus situation, lunch plans with a friend involve taking the last morning bus and killing time (that’s ok in this case though – I’ve got some errands to run and quite frankly, I’m bored enough for it). And then there’s the cat show next weekend. Let’s hope the Uber from Vancouver airport to Abbotsford goes ok! (I sure wish the first time I’m getting on a plane since I flew here in 2015 was to a more interesting destination than a cat show, but it is what it is.)

And ya I probably should’ve done some yoga after and ya I’m getting to be more ok with shorter WOs. Is all good. Whatevs.


PURE Strength Workout #5: Complete Upper Body by Jamie B

SA Superset | 4 sets √, √, √, √ Should’ve added 2lb wrist weights to @ last ½ the rounds, but, lazy-ish.er work
1. Chest Press x10/arm (alt palm facing fwd / in) 20s – hold weight up w/ non-moving arm
2. Bent Over Row x10/arm (nonworking hand and knee on bench – alt palm facing in / rev grip, facing fwd) 20s

Progressive Tri-Set | 4 sets √, √, √, √
1. Seated bent arm Lateral Raise x10 (arms bent at 90 throughout) Rnds 1&2 – 15s, Rnds 3&4 12
2. Seated Wide Hammer Curl + W-Press x10 (wide curl up keeping elbows to sides into W, press up and out into V, wide down = 1 rep) Rnds 1&2 13lbs ea hand (a 10 & a 3) Next 2 dropped to 10 to keep wrist weights on.
3. Tricep Dip x12

Tri-Set | 3 sets √, √, √ +2lb wrist weights
1. Hammer Curl + Narrow Shoulder Press x10 10s lower than 15s b/c wrist weights
2. Seated Chest Fly + Top Lateral Raise x8 (start with arms straight out in front of chest, palms facing fwd, then fly out to T, laterally raise straight arms up, reverse movement back to start = 1 rep) 5s
3. Alt SA Front Raise + Lateral Raise x8/arm (front raise + lateral raise = 1 rep) 10

Banded Bodyweight Superset | 4 sets √, √, √, √
*Light weight band around wrists. I finally unwrapped this band, from the cheaper set I got before I finally caved & got the good thigh bands that Julia recommended. So, this blue one was good for something at least a single time, lol.

1. Tricep Push-Up x8
2. External Rotation x15 (sit on heels or kneel- keep elbows pinned to sides)

Just under 46min I totally took my time. Was good tho. Then I wasted a couple minutes deciding whether or not I was going to add anything into today’s workout – looked @ Bender. Decided nay & went on to my burnout.

Inner Outer Thigh Burnout

 I hardly ever do GymRa WOs. Generally I find the “presenters” too newscaster syrupy. This one seemed cool in my preview  tho, so I gave it a try.
+2lb ankle weights – debated on the 5s, but the 2 ended up being quite enough. This’d be worth detailing out to do as reps from a breakdown.

PURE Strength Workout #4: Complete Legs by Jamie B

Ever work out like you’re marching into battle?

Witchy fitness tip: plan your work to overlap an hour ruled by Mars.


  • Warmup: (10/30×6=4min) jump rope Was gonna skip it but then I took note of how short the video is. Figured that w/ a warm-up and my slow pace I could stretch it to close to an hour.

PURE Strength Workout #4: Complete Legs by Jamie B

  • Video WO is about 37min long. I did mine entirely from breakdown

Superset | 4 sets √, √, √, √
1. SL Box Squat x8/leg 10 I’m still being careful w/ my right knee but I hardly need ANY weight for this move to be challenging. 
2. Goodmorning x10 BL sandbag

Tri-Set | 3 sets √, √, √
Working out in the hour of Mars w/ LOUD music! HR was high here. Hit 180. Supposed to be out of range for a 51 year old, but I felt fine. Took breaks bet rounds tho, to be prudent.
1. Alt Curtsy Lunge x8/leg BL sandbag
2. DB Pendulum Lunge + Step-Up x8/leg (start with feet together, step fwd for lunge to land right in front of bench, step up onto bench, reverse movement back to start = 1 rep – all reps on 1 leg before the other15s
3. Bodyweight Narrow + Wide Squat Jump x10 (touching floor w/ fingertips ea out & in 2=1)

**Alternate the next 2 groups- perform 1st group, rest, perform 2nd group, rest, back to 1st group, etc. until x3 sets of each group have been performed.

KB Single Ladder | 3 sets √, √,  +8lb vest, round 1 only! 
*Always perform x2 of move #1, start with x1 for move #2 and add on a rep each time until x8 of the DL are done = 1 set 20s for both moves
1. Sumo Squat x2 (weights held low between legs)
2. Sumo Stiff Leg DL x1-8 Mid way thru the 1st ladder I’m like, “This isn’t so bad,” and then I realized I hadda do it twice more

Dropset | 3 sets
*Perform with heavy weight and bodyweight
1. Bulgarian x8/leg 20s

Total time, including warm-ups & breaks, about 57min

Set of 10 ab moves

  • Decided to just write my own abs burnout.
  • 10/40×2 w/ 30sec break bet rounds = 17:10
  1. Straight abs – toes under middle of weights (15s).
  2. Foot to opp leg, 5
  3. Other side
  4. V-ups, 5
  5. Rev curl, 3lbs bet feet, on bench
  6. Leg extensions
  7. Chest raise
  8. Tuck abs, 3lbs bet feet
  9. Bhujangasana
  10. Ustrasana Have to be careful here


  • About 16 min, timed, no vinyasa & some finishing poses

Random Friday musings

Took a rest day yesterday, because I ended up cooking a spontaneous, quite gourmet meal for Charlie and I. I’d been obsessed with getting a balsamic reduction right, based on having had a really good one, homemade by a friend, many years ago. To achieve this I followed the advice on one website and got a 10-year aged, Italian brand. They advised at least 5-7 years. Delicious!

I have an appointment downtown this afternoon, and I might take a second rest day. Not because I need it! Thursday’s Astanga totally fixed up the tweakiness in my right side. I’m SO grateful I have these body tuning skills in my toolbox. Anyway I  might get back too late to want to exercise. I’ve long been a morning person in that way…

It’s pretty cold out again, and I’ve checked the weather. Initially I was thinking I might scout out a late afternoon oil painting location. This is the painting date I’ve already postponed once. Unfortunately I’ll be out of town at what looks like the next good day for it, and landscape situations can change pretty quickly.

But maybe I’ll take bus 15 from my appointment to New Renaissance books & have a mosey around. I always enjoy the vibe of that place…

Surprise Astanga!

Very rare for me to get to Wednesday without taking a rest day, but I felt so dreary today and then I’ve got that bit of a glitchy situation going on in my right side. So I got a late afternoon / early evening one in.


Suryas & Standing Fundamentals w/ standing arches in Surya As, no hanuman, two 5-breath handstands @ the end
Primary+ Skipping 4 poses of primary w/ added LBH
Ardha Matseyendrasana, var through the legs bind – is helping crack open the Pashasana again
Shalabhasana A, B
Bhekasana, 1/2 & full
Dhanurasana A, B
Ustrasana hips to wall, keeping them fwd
Laghu Vajrasana
Hanuman 1min, foot against wall, 20sec upright, 40 back bending
Kapo B
Urdhva D come to standing
Dropbacks 3x
Ticks 3x

Super Circuit HIIT Workout

Well, I had to postpone my outdoor painting session I’d intended on for today, but it’s ok. I was really happy to see a new WO from Michele. Lately I’ve been grooving on the lower weight / lots of reps thing, here in my little vacuum.


Super Circuit HIIT Workout

Part 1: 5/25 4 rounds each group
1a. Jump Rope
1b. Mountain Climbers

2a. Burpee Chair Sit
2b. Plank Jack

3a. Skier Swings 10s
3b. Oblique Mountain Climbers

4a. Side to Side Jump Lunge
4b. Pendulums

5a. Jump Squat (Wide – Close)
5b. Flutter Kicks

Part 2: Circuits √, √, √
Circuit 1: 3 rounds
1. Right Reverse Lunge – on floor, lunge back & bicep curl, SL push up, DL up  10x 15s
2. Other side
3. Plies Step Out Right (bicep curl)/ Step out Left (Up-right row) 10x 10s I’d maxed biceps yesterday, so rounds 2 & 3 here I did step outs w/ orange band, no added weight 2=1

(hold dumbbell) Reverse Side Lunge – twist to outside of front knee w/Bicep Curl/Squat & repeat on other side 12x 10

Circuit 2: 3 rounds √, √
1. Right Side Lunge (weight to right foot on floor)/Right Reverse X-Over lunge (weight to outside knee) /Right Knee up &twist over knee 10x 10 Almost picked up a 15 for 3rd round, but my right knee is still a little sore & this is just a “because I can, for now” kind of workout. Some of us less privileged types have to choose between money or fitness! I managed to work it in in NYC w/ my short commute, even withOUT mommy or daddy subsidising my rent. That’s increasingly rare these days btw, especially with BFAs from art school, not that I’ll get a medal for it, lol.
2. Other side
3. (Bar) Bicep Curl to Press Overhead (Hold at chest)/Alternate Reverse Lunge – twist bar to outside of front knee, Right then Left (Repeat) 10x 10s

Snatch Right & lower to shoulder (hold)/Left Front Lunge & twist to front Knee/Step back & Sumo Squat Deadlift (alt) 10x 15 Eliminated that little sumo b/c it felt “extra” and not enough weight to be worth making myself slower

Bonus: Abs 5/30 3 Rounds
1. Lay on Back – bent knees in air – lower right then left to floor
2. Crunch Knees in & Press Out
3. Reverse Crunch
4. Right Side Plank – Bottom knee crunch in
5. Left Side Plank – Bottom knee crunch in
6. Lay on Stomach – heel clicks w/legs off ground
7. Hyperextension

Did my own stretch, not quite as long as M but I’ll try to get in another Astanga this week.

PURE Strength Workout #2: Shoulders, Back, and Biceps by Jamie B

Almost forgot to post! This was a short WO. Instead of my usual yoga finisher I decided to pick out a random YouTube abs burnout & it was so bad! LOL. I did a set & then stopped.


PURE Strength Workout #2: Shoulders, Back, and Biceps by Jamie B

Superset | 4 sets √, √, √, √
*I added a single 10/50 interval of jump rope before every round, just to get the HR going.
1. Upright Row x8 15lbs
2. Shoulder Press x10 15s Was going to @ last start w/ 20s and try to do 2 rounds that way, but then I saw there’s a SA seated shoulder press later.

Ladder | 3 sets √, √, √
*Each move x1, then x2, etc. until x5 reps = 1 set
1. Underhand Front Raise 10lbs The 1st move is the killer.
2. Drag Curl (slide up torso bending elbows & pulling back- do not raise shoulders)

Superset | 4 sets √, √, √, √
1. SSD Bent Over Row x12, 10, 8, 6 (perform row on each arm singly, then together = 1 rep- increase weight while decreasing reps each set) 13s, 15s, 20s (for last 2 rounds)
2. Dropset: Lateral Raise x8 twice standing on orange Beachbody band & pulling up / 10lbs I didn’t want to hold a 10 & 3lb weight in ea hand for the heavy set. My other option was to do 10s & 2lb wrist weights, but I only do that for entire sets b/c it take extra time to get them on & off. Was glad I tried using the band b/c I was able to keep tension on the delts the entire time & work lateral raises in a new way.

Superset | 4 sets √, √, √, √
1. Seated SA Shoulder Press x8/arm 15s rnds 1&2, kept palms facing in. Added 2lb wrist weights for 3rd round, Used 20s 4th round Julia does 24s, lol. I’ve had a persistent sore spot @ the back of my left elbow for a bit.
2. Bicep 21’s 7 high / 7 low / 7 full 10s For me, the flow made more sense doing the highs before the lows (lol!), opp of video.

Incline High Volume Tri-Set | 3 sets √ I don’t have an incline so…
1. SA Back Fly x15/arm (One hand & knee on bench) 10
2. SA Hanging Bicep Curl x15/arm (One hand & knee on bench) 10s 1st rnd, 2nd rnd added 2lb wrist weights for this & the next move 12lbs still felt a bit light for this move, even after all the other biceps! But I was a weanie & didn’t step up to 15s b/c of the amount of reps.
3. Around the World x15 (on dinosaur, a thoracic back bending propArms out OH bring out & around down by sides & back – 5s. Thought about just doing it standing, bodyrock style, decided doing it in a backbend might be nice, since my only real “incline” option is this yoga prop. Was interesting! 7lbs was challenging for the targeted muscles @ this point in the WO. I’d do 8 at most but don’t have those.

Time = 55. Then I paused my timer to decide what to do next. I did a search for “10, 15 minute abs” on YouTube & picked one (which was right @ the top). Not a fan! I’d had it embedded but I wouldn’t link b/c I didn’t think it was any good. No transition time & unnecessary 30-sec breaks in short ab intervals, then a 1-min rest! Decided to just stop at an hour. Screw it, maybe I will get in a WO tomorrow before painting.