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Mama Deb
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Mama Deb [userpic]
Pa-kua and Clothing

A few things.

I felt old last night. The first part of the class went fine - I ran nearly as much as I walked, I did okay when I punched and kicked - things like that. Things began to go a bit sour when she had us assume push up position and then changed her mind for sit-ups. And when I tried to get up, I got a cramp in my thigh. I've been getting a lot of leg muscle cramps lately.

It faded quickly enough and I got back on my feet and ran and it was fine. But Devorah wanted to do yoga because she was feeling stressed (personally, I find that sparring relieves my stress well - I like endorphins.) Yoga has never held any attraction to me, even in the way they teach it here, which only describes body positions - nothing that implies worship. I have *never* been flexible, not even when I was a little girl, with my hips as the stiffest of the lot.

But here we were, and I managed the position extremely badly twice - it involved bending back and then forward all the way down, and then bringing one leg back and sitting on it and then getting up again, and then doing it again with the opposite leg and on the second time, on the way up, that muscle cramped up again, and I was just sitting on the floor rubbing it. Master Ilona had them do this "simpler" form and came to me and rubbed my leg, and that didn't actually help. And she had me sit on the floor with my legs straight out and do the shadow form movements with just my arms, which included a lot of twisting because there are leg movements attached. So my hips were hurting by the end.

So I was feeling rather old and miserable and out of shape (and I haven't been in as good shape in 20 years) and left out because this is stuff I really don't think I can do. And the ten year old in the class didn't think there was much point in the exercise because *she* wasn't feeling any difficulties. So then they were all doing the harder version (granted the adults were having problems, but they could do an approximation) and I was waving my arms around. Ah, well. Maybe we'll do more fighting techniques tomorrow night.

I've been buying a fair bit of clothing lately, because all of my clothes decided to wear out at the same time. It takes a bit of searching to find tops that have the sleeves and the neckline I want that are also suitable for the office/synagogue. And I can still use more sleeveless t-shirts.

Current purchases - one soft green cableknit pullover, one white ribbed pullover, a print challis skirt, a khaki button-front skirt (that needs to be sewn closed because I will *never* unbutton it), three long-sleeved stretch blouses - soft blue, white and coral and two bras. I just lost a twinset. I'd like a denim skirt (full, at least 33 inches from the waist, no slits and preferably with pockets) and maybe a black blouse or something.

Meanwhile, I have the green sweater from LL Bean and the print skirt from Just My Size on today and they go together as if they were meant to do so, so that's very cool. Especially since I did not plan it that way.


I had a job interview yesterday at NCSY, and thought of you as I dressed for it. :) Basically, it was my plain grey below-the-knee skirt suit (which Browngirl claims I look frumpy in) with a blue turtleneck sweater that Mom had gotten on sale at Macy's, black tights, and sensible shoes. Hair was uncovered as I couldn't find my snoods or scarves. Good for the weather, too. :)

denim skirt

I found the perfect one at J-Jill. It's 34 inches long from the waist, no slits, and soft as well.

Only drawback is no pockets.

If you're interested, I'm pretty sure they're on line, but if not, I can send you a catalog.

Re: denim skirt

I found the J.Jill catalog. Does that skirt come in large sizes?

Re: denim skirt

I don't remember. I'll poke.

Re: denim skirt

I'm not seeing the skirt I have in denim anywhere, but there are variations on it in other colours in both of the spring catalogs. (see pages 32-33 in second catalog in particular.)

Re: denim skirt

NOd. I'll look.

Re: denim skirt

Don't know about this particular article of clothing, but a lot of J.Jill stuff comes up to a size 26. Or at least it used to in the 90s. My extremely thin size 4 sister in law and I got the biggest kick out of buying clothes from the same catalog, because as you know, that hardly ever happens.

Disclaimer: I am not a yoga expert. This is just me repeating what my instructors have said over the years.

That wasn't a yoga position, it was vinyasa (a flowing movement between a series of positions), and it isn't suitable for someone who is unfamiliar with the basic yoga poses unless that person is flexible, accustomed to exercise, and physically skilled - able to see a movement and duplicate it precisely without trouble or pause for thought. Yoga (as an exercise; I'm not into the spiritual aspect of it at all at all) is built on breath control and body control. You need to know exactly how to hold and move your body, and many of the most important things, safety-wise, are not obvious just from watching, especially from watching a flowing series. Doing a vinyasa when you've never done the poses, and thus don't know how to move, is a really good way to push your body way past its comfort level and into the danger-bad-stretchy zone.

Yoga is a fantastic tool for someone with a very tight, inflexible body; it can be adapted to any body type or flexibility level, and it's easy to learn and do. I've never found anything quite as good for loosening and strengthening my muscles and teaching me how to move and stand so that I do less damage to my body during my hiatuses. (Every once in a while, I'll become convinced that feeling good means I can stop doing hateful, hateful exercise. And then two months later I feel like crap and my shoulders ache from tension all the time and I think, I never used to feel this way. What changed? ...Oh. Right. I stopped doing yoga.) Every time I return to yoga, it's easier to pick up where I left off, and that's part of the charm of it; you learn the exercises and they change how you move all the time.

And I am short, fat, and amazingly clumsy. (Seriously. There are times when I just randomly fall over because I forget where my feet are. Stuff like that.) If it's a physical skill and I can do it, almost anyone can. Which is not to say you should, of course - just that I would hate to see you decide yoga is not for you based on an exercise that really wasn't for you.

Most of all, though, I wanted to say: I would encourage you to avoid doing yoga that way in the future, because you might get hurt.

She called it "active yoga", which makes sense if it were really vinyasa, and you did confirm something for me. I have NEVER done any yoga positions before, and therefore I had no business doing these things. I'll talk to her about this tomorrow. Because I am not the sort of person who moves without thought. At least without damaging myself or others.

I have found that doing Pa-kua regularly and properly has helped with my general flexibility (and like you, I am short, fat and clumsy), but that includes doing the regular stretching movements and being careful about posture and, yes, breathing. Breathing is *key*.

I have a tzniusdik denim skirt with pockets that I got via the Lane Bryant catalog. I'll see if I can track down the ordering info.