Saturday, October 25, 2008

Critical Mass

Part One

I've reached a sort of "point of no return" stage in my Ashtanga practice (probably the first of many). My teacher has given me enough positions that my practice now takes close to an hour to complete, and the time commitment is only going to increase as I get further into the training.

In other words, I'm at the point (again, probably the first of many) where I have to decide whether I can work out my life to fit the requirements of my practice or whether Ashtanga "isn't for me."

Luckily, the choice is easy: I can absolutely re-arrange my schedule to sleep earlier and get up earlier so I can have enough time to practice before work, either on my own or at Mysore class. But it's interesting because this is about the same time limit I found myself butting up against when practicing the piano: once I hit the hour mark, I would get up from the piano and leave. My teacher in college always tried to sell me on the virtue of practicing three hours per day, and I never exactly took that advice.

So, fine. I'll get up a bit earlier and spend an hour on Ashtanga. No big deal.

I wonder what will happen at the 90-minute mark.

Part Two

From teh internets, on how yoga practice affects weight:

If you are not overweight, your weight will remain about the same. If you are underweight, you will gain weight. The weight you gain will be healthy firm muscle tissue, not fat. That is, yoga will tend to produce the ideal body structure for you. This is due to yoga's effect of fixing glandular activity.

Now, I have no idea whether or not these particular internets are reliable. (Glandular activity what now?) But the idea of yoga producing the "ideal body structure" for me is intriguing.

Unfortunately, the body structure it seems to be producing is one dress size bigger than the body structure I used to have.

I've been studying Ashtanga now for three months. I've also been walking 3.4 miles five days a week, to and from the office. I've toned up a bit. To put it in plain English, my stomach is firm and my underarms do not wiggle!

But I've also gotten... larger. And this is distressing me to the point where I am spending far too much energy perservating over it.

Before everyone gets all "dude, muscle weighs more than fat, so of course the scale should be going up," let me re-emphasize that I am increasing in mass as well as in weight. When I finally bought the ATL dress that I had followed from the front display to the discount rack, I found out that an ATL size 2 no longer fit and I was (gasp!) a size 4.

What to do?

I started out by doing what any self-respecting young woman would do in this situation: I instantly put myself on a diet. Starting October 1, I told anyone who cared to know that I was on "The Last Days of George W. Bush Detox Diet," which meant that I wasn't going to be ridiculous and restrict actual food, but I was going to swear off the stream of free cookies, donuts, etc. that continually poured into our office, just to see if that was causing the problem.

So between October 1 and October 15 nary a cookie, cake, muffin, or Hershey's Kiss crossed my lips. (That's part of the reason my Obama-Biden Pie was made out of fruit and yogurt.)

Between October 1 and October 15, two things happened:

1. I got extremely constipated


2. I put on three pounds.

On October 15 I canceled the "diet" and celebrated by enjoying an organic pumpkin cupcake at Hello Cupcake.

Between October 15 and today I enjoyed several more cupcakes, because they were just that good.

Currently am no longer constipated and remain the exact same weight I was on 10/15.

So. What to do? Y'all have seen my eating habits and my exercise habits, and for all intents and purposes I seem to be living a healthy lifestyle. Is this a metabolism thing? Does it have something to do with the fact that I turn 27 on election day?

Or is the yoga website right and this is in fact "the ideal weight" for me? ^__^

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