Yoga – nice free videos

I like the moving parts of yoga, the spiritual stuff I struggle with – I can’t even bring myself to “om” in front of my cat

When my last yoga teacher was fired from my gym (don’t ask) I took their advice and signed up to YogaGlo – which is fine and has loads of teachers some of whom are fab

However in the second half of last year I found my enthusiasm for yoga flagging, not great when paying a subscription fee (plus currency conversation costs) so when I was pointed in the direction of free yoga videos on YouTube with a fun teacher I was intrigued

(Photo from Pinterest)

Yoga With Adriene is certainly fun, a little more basic then I’m used to however I’m at least a bit more motivated again so that can’t be bad and I’ll probably go back to Glo when the weather stops being permanently grey and rain-filled

If you’ve never tried yoga then Adriene did a pretty beginner friendly set of classes in January, including a fun floor one

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Yoga: Humming bee breath

I am on the mailing list for a couple of yoga classes that were near my old house and, depressingly, turn out to still be the nearest to my new house!

One of them mentioned “humming bee breath” and I’d never heard of it before, so I asked Google

The proper name is Bhramari pranayama and it is a breathing exercise to calm the mind – or so it claims!

First step – sit up straight and close your eyes. Apparently you should keep a gentle smile on your face…

Take a deep breath in and then breath out whilst making a humming sound – like a bee!

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Yoga: Utkatasana Explosions – Laughing whilst falling

I recently came across the concept of utkatasana explosions, this was a complete curveball and also very exciting!

Utkatasana, which seems to be pronounced OOT-kah-tah-sahn by most of the yoga teachers I’ve worked with, is also known as chair pose and has  never been massively popular in any yoga class that I’ve attended. It involves bending your knees as it you are going to sit down… and then hanging out in that position!

 Yoga Journal has a good description of the core pose, but basically:

  • You stand tall with your feet as together as you can
  • Raise your arms above your head at about 90% – aka perpendicular, with your palms facing inwards.
  • Bend your knees, the aim is to have the thighs nearly parallel to the floor – the reality may be very different!

The explosion element is then lifting up one leg and tucking into a ball whilst standing on the remaining leg, then popping out into a stretch with all three non-standing limbs.

I am wobbly as heck at the moment still, but it is fun!

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Redundant spinning – Not a good combination

I like my spin class, I am probably addicted to it. Which makes the current lack of classes irritating, what is all the more irritating is the reason for the lack of classes.

The person who holds the class is in a potential redundancy situation. I don’t know the gory details but it seems like since this happened they have decided not to get up at silly o’clock in the morning to do their job.

unhappy stick person

(Picture from some DevianTart)

They are a good spin teacher – although seems to suck at everything else, but I am pretty sure that not holding the classes isn’t exactly going to make them look good. Although I very much hope that they don’t get made redundant.

It has also highlighted my crappy lack of motivation when I am not being shouted at.

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Pilates – Trying something new …and wondering why I bothered

My usual Pilates session was cancelled this week so I decided to try two new Pilates classes instead – partly because I could and partly because I have wondered why my gym has three classes a week with three different teachers.

First class was Tuesday afternoon, seven students in the room and the woman immediately noticed that I was new. I immediately noticed that her socks and top were the same neon shade of yellow-green but somehow they didn’t match.

She also had more props than I’d ever seen in one class – in six months attendance my usual class has used a bender ball twice and a resistance band once. This class used a pillow, a small ball, a circle with pads on and a resistance band!

pilates ring

(Photo from yorkfitness.com)

The moves were more basic than I was used to, but there were more of them as she only did five reps on most things. She was also very hands on, by which I mean she poked people randomly, which was a bit of a surprise as I’m used to being warned before a teacher touches me (even to correct something)!

I didn’t feel very worked at the time, but the next day I was more aware of my upper abs than I expected so I guess it did something!

The second class was on Thursday and I was told that this teacher used music, in contrast to the other two who do not, making this Musical Pilates – which sounded a rather funky idea. The reality was the music sounded like elevator music for a yoga class, it was not worthy of being called music.

In a room of five people there were two new people, me and a bloke (let’s call him Bob). The woman noticed Bob was new and got very excited, so excited that she didn’t notice me. Which was fine by me, but it didn’t encourage me to trust her powers of observation.

In terms of props she used a small ball and a resistance band – she used the band so much that my hands smelt of rubber even after I’d scrubbed them!

I am unsure if it was (or wasn’t) a more challenging class than Tuesday, but it was less fun and I felt almost invisible – which is a shock given my Wednesday class tends to have three people in and the teacher constantly pushes us to ‘glow’ more.

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When the NHS re-enact Abu Ghraib to avoid fixing my knee

I was rather excited to see the hospital specialist physiotherapist, I also had rather high hopes – these were dashed by the time I was escorted through a sticky looking door marked “men’s changing”.

Being led into a dimly lit low-roofed room that seemed to be a smaller version of an indoor sports hall on a severe austerity budget didn’t boost my hopes. It then became apparent that this was an assessment session for me and six other people of various genders.

There were no privacy screens or any attempt to pretend the ‘patients’ had any dignity as the NHS ‘specialists’ ordered various garments to be removed and actions performed.

Fortunately I was wearing clothing that let my knee be examined without the need to shed clothing – I did feel sorry for the woman who was told to run on the spot in just her underwear and the rotund boxer-clad chap told to stand on one leg with his eyes closed for 5 minutes whilst the NHS staff sniggered.

egyptian pyramids

(Photo from Wiki)

I had a nagging feeling that the whole thing was either candid camera or sadistic NHS staff having decided that the abuse in Abu Ghraib sounded a bit of a laugh

The woman that I saw made me recant the entire history of my knee pain and made it clear that she hadn’t bothered looked at my notes or my scan. She was also a master of stating the obvious, she agrees that my knee cap is high – this is an IS and can’t be changed. She also said that my muscle strength is ok, although the inside quad on left leg is slightly weaker.

She commented that the outside of my left leg was tight and this is pulling the knee cap out of alignment and that the swelling under the knee (which is presumably the fat pad) is pushing out the front of the knee cap at an angle – the top of the kneecap is the further point out.

The only  new thing was she declared that I need to build up my core strength as this would help stablise the leg – although this was a throw away comment.

So for 45 minutes I was poked and prodded, with no treatment or advice given. This wasn’t what I expected and I also wasn’t expecting there to be a three week wait for the next possible appointment slot. However I’ve taken the slot and am hoping that the next session will bear less resemblance to the abuses committed by a few bored and stupid member of global Superpower and might actually be a bit more useful.

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Slippery yoga mat is trying to kill me

My overpriced and extra thick yoga mat is trying to kill me.

It has suddenly become very very slippery, which isn’t exactly reassuring when you are in a particularly tricky upside down balancing pose.

yoga class walkers stadium

(Photo from the BBC)

Someone suggested that I wash it – at 40 degrees, with no detergent and no tumble drying.

I was pleasantly surprised that the mat hadn’t deteriorated at the end of the wash cycle, but my ‘friend’ didn’t mention is it would take over 48 hours to dry… if it ever does dry then I am hoping that it will be less slippery but at the moment I am tempted to just buy a new mat!

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Knee: Light at the end of the tunnel – hopefully not via a keyhole

Just over a week after my very long wait at the hospital for a very short chat with a specialist about my knee I got an appointment letter from the hospital.

Well the letter said they had an appointment for me, but that I needed to phone them within a week on the appointments line which is only open between 10am and 2pm three days a week.

knee smiles

(Photo from andsoitburns.blogspot.co.uk)

I had nightmare visions of endless phone queues and dire holding music for hours on end, however they picked up pretty quickly and they found my notes on the computer after only 15 minutes of searching. Then they were able to make me an appointment in three weeks time; not a choice of appointments just the one slot – take it or give up.

This makes it all the more amusing that I took the slot and hung up (politely), only to have them phone back a couple of minutes later as they hadn’t actually read my notes and had booked me in with the wrong person.

Now that they realised I needed to see a soft tissue specialist, although she prefers the term “orthopaedic physiotherapy specialist”. So now I have to wait an extra week for my appointment but I will hopefully see the correct person.

Progress?

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Knee: Wrong diagnosis but then I took an arrow in the knee

My knee utterly broke in July, it was swollen, sore, stiff, acutely painful and apparently covered by the vague term Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS) aka “runner’s knee”. The GP had no idea what the problem was, the physiotherapist said it was a tracking problem of the patella femoral joint and I pretty quickly stopped caring as long as it got fixed.

It took months to get physio on the NHS and then even longer to get a MRI  scan (Magnetic resonance imaging) which led to a written report that I didn’t understand. I was patient with the medical professionals, so very very patient despite the pain and the building irritation.

Until a week ago, when a doctor’s receptionist told me that they hadn’t made the referral that had been promised three days earlier and that they wouldn’t give me a phonecall to confirm when it had been made.

knee

(Photo from bthcc.co.uk)

At this point I got cross and said that I’d been nice up to this point but I’d cheerfully put in a formal complaint over this. Oddly enough I got a referral that afternoon, although apparently the initial unit they wanted to refer me to had closed down a week before – cutbacks apparently.

I ‘only’ had to wait a week to see the Orthopaedic specialist at the local NHS hospital. Although on the day of the appointment I had to wait over 90 minutes for what transpired to be under 5 minutes of face time with the specialist – this included him making a reference to what I guess is some football player.

The five minutes was useful in a rushed sort of way, the specialist confirmed that it wasn’t fundamentally tracking issue, it isn’t ligaments or cartilage. He thinks it is the infrapatellar fat pad (aka hoffa’s fat pad) and that I need to go back to physio now that we know the cause.

Which is certainly better than saying let’s try keyhole surgery! But still vexing as now I’m (hopefully) back on a waiting list!

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Pilates – Unexpectedly making celebrity gossip mandatory

I was inspired to try a Pilates class to balance out my yoga teacher’s semi-rant about what she views as good and bad foods. My employer offers onsite Pilates classes so I really should have tried one earlier! There are three classes a week on offer (one early and two in a late lunch slot) and they all have different teachers.

pilates

(Photo from NHS)

I went for an early morning one rather than argue with my boss about taking a late lunch. It transpires that the class I ‘picked’ was attended by the woeful head of HR, the despised head of what was key department before he ran it into the ground, the p*ss-poor female gym teacher who has a tendency to not turn up to the classes she is due to teach and the overly bubbly & oversharing ex-manager who ineffectually deals with a 3rd party supplier who are seriously screwing my employer over. So a really fun group.

The teacher is a vacuous, celebrity-obsessed woman with a self-confessed sugar addiction who would be a believable addition to ‘Sex in the City’ (or similar) as she refers to her partner by a *rather personal* nickname rather than a real name. I haven’t yet worked out if she is legitimately seeing this chap or if she is the ‘other woman’.

necker island

(Photo from mirror.co.uk)

Whilst the class are in positions she babbles on about celebrities that she’s seen or heard rumours about, her partner’s ‘business’ & perks of this and a lot about reality TV. Although I must admit that hearing all about how mediocre Richard Branson’s British Virgin Island (Necker Island) is was rather interesting and I am looking forward to later this month to hear her slag off some celebrity juice-diet get-away that is costing well over £1,500.

Despite this sounding like my personal vision of Hell I am actually enjoying the classes a lot and they are challenging – it seems that my yoga teacher really doesn’t touch the major core work and Pilates is certainly giving me pain in new places. As this was exactly what I wanted I am very very happy and am accidentally having exposure to a world that I now know I don’t want a part of!

Copyright © WhereEvilThoughts 2014 – excluding pictures! Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to WhereEvilThoughts with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.