Detox, Food, Gratitude, Health and fitness, Introspection, Us

Fitness Diary – Day 11 and Day 12

Day 11

I was half asleep yesterday before I realized that I had forgotten the journal entry for the day. It was too late to turnaround and make amends.

Eats – so so. Dark chocolate is my vice. Thank God for this workshop because yesterday would have been one of those days I would have indulged in gluttony but good sense prevailed and the damage was minimized. 

Workout – 17 mins jogging. Meditation – 9 mins. Hydration – so so.  

Gratitude – thankful that I did not go overboard with the eating, thankful that I was able to take the day off to catch up on some household projects, thankful that I had a partially productive day.

Focus in the workshop was exercise – aerobics, anaerobics and flexibility. It is recommended that aerobics be done for not more than 3 days per week. High Intensity Interval Training, a form of anaerobic exercise is the most efficient way to lose excess fat. Personally, I tend to focus only on aerobic exercise. I have weights at home, time to dust them out. I also want to spend one day recovering by doing  yoga, perhaps surya namskar.

Day 12

Today was spent reflecting on random things. I was getting a little frustrated about a certain paperwork that was taking longer than I had hoped for. But I am proud of myself for not letting the frustration get the better of me, I kept chugging along.

Eats – so so. Besan chila for breakfast, ragi dosai for lunch, tacos and veggie rice bowl for dinner. So so because of the raisin toast and the extra dark chocolates that I had.

Workout – 17 mins of running. Meditation – 9 mins. Hydration – bad, did not even attempt. Sleep – so so.

Gratitude – 1. Thankful that I kept reframing and refocusing today and channeled my frustration to productive work. 2. Thankful that although the odds were not in my favor, I managed to pay my monthly visit to the parlor. 3. Thankful for the healing power of space and time – sickness, disappointments, frustrations, squabbles – we have a tendency to hasten the healing in an attempt to make ourselves better sooner than later. But healing takes space and time. Space to experience the unpleasantness and the time to put the suffering in perspective.  

Today’s focus was on eating seasonal and local foods. Eat what’s in season, and eat what’s local. This makes a lot of sense to me.  Here’s a useful link – http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=faq&dbid=28

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Detox, Experiences, Food, Gratitude, Health and fitness, Inspiration, Introspection, Kids, Little Moments, Sunday School

Fitness Diary – Day 7

Eats – bad.  I had a planned lapse (meaning the lapse was not due to temptation or craving but it was something I had budgeted for) so I don’t feel bad about it. What I do feel bad about is the four pieces of dark chocolate I had. Dark chocolate is allowed in the workshop but only one piece. I definitely need to work on my portions, will specifically focus on it this week. Otherwise the regular meals were ok. Raagi dosai with sambar for breakfast, pongal sambar for lunch, dinner sambar rice. Aarachu vitta sambar is a rare treat in our house, so when I make it I don’t miss an opportunity to devour it.  

Workout – 17 mins of jogging with the first born. It was so hard to pull myself out of the house. I had to keep reminding myself that the future me would regret if I let the workout slip by. And I am so glad I pushed myself. It was an absolute treat to get out early in the morning with the fresh cool air caressing my face. Hari thought so too!

Meditation – 9 mins. I did not do any nostril breathing. 

Hydration – so so. I think I nearly made it but did not pay particular attention to it.

Sleep – bad, slept only for six hours. I see the repeat of the story tomorrow. I don’t like that but unfortunately that’s the reality now. 

A day filled with gratitude.

  • Just when I woke up this morning, Ram who was sleeping right next to me, kissed and put his arms around me with such warmth that it melted my heart and rendered it into a pot of mush.  Ironically, what the love bug told me next left me feeling like the most apathatic and horrible mom in the whole wide world – “I am so excited amma. I wonder how much money the Tooth Fairy has left for me. I am tempted to look under my pillow.”  Oh no, how could I? Last night a certain someone had signaled to certain someone else to take care of it and that someone else conveniently forgot it the very next moment it was told to her. Aiyoo.!! After chiding myself and catastrophizing the whole situation in my head,  I woke up my knight in shining armour, who was snoring blissfully, and muttered to the clueless soul in broken hindi “mein dhanth keliyo jho rakna hai, woh bhool gayee”  (as you may have guessed, the child does not know hindi but it did not matter because he was mentally lost in counting his treasury… if I get $1, I will have $32 pocket money, if I get $5, I will have…) The knight in shining armour woke up laughing heartily, went out of the room under the guise of having to use the restroom.. Long story short, five minutes later, the child’s eye lit up as he pulled out a crumpled $5 note. I heaved a sigh of relief and made the best cup of tea to my knight in shining armour who saved the day for this forgetful mommy. Thank you, thank you and thank you.
  • Hari slept undisturbed the whole night last night. The child has had fragmented sleep for the past several weeks due to allergies. We think the trigger is construction related dust. Poor child, poor child, wakes up two to three times with a congested nose, and terrible sneezes. So every night he catches good sleep, I offer my gratitude from the bottom of my heart. 
  • Sunday school started today. Yesterday, I was overwhelmed with how thinly I have stretched myself and was convinced that I should think twice before committing next year. It’s too much preparation and too much time commitment. But this morning when I went to school, my heart was full with gratitude. This the place where I get my ix of India every week. Where I get to sing Vande Mataram and Hum Honge Khamiyaap loudly and proudly. Where as much as my kids want to make fun of the accent, in a strange sense feel like they belong. It was such a treat to see kids from last year come up to me and catch up. I am assisting Hari’s class in the first hour, I had taught some kids in this class five years back, my very first batch and there was a certain ease and friendliness in the air. I was also thrilled to see my new kids this year, can’t wait to see where they will take me on this journey this year.
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Detox, Food, Health and fitness, Introspection, Work life balance

Fitness Diary – Day 5

Intensive work calls, sick child at home, and kids’ dentist appointment – that was my day today.

I had my aha moment this morning when I realized that all this week I have slept well. A nice deep slumber for 8 hours. I have not had this kind of consistency in sleep pattern in a really long time. I thought it was attributable to the stress associated with the business of adulting (cooking, cleaning, nagging,… etc.). That might still be part of the reason but I think the true culprit is my caffeine intake. For whatever reason, I just assumed that my body is immune to caffeine. That an increased intake would not affect me as much. Apparently not. The amount of sleep I get seems to be indirectly proportional to my caffeine intake. Lesson learnt..!

Today’s focus was on nostril breathing three times per day. That is, close one nostril with the thumb, breathe in slowly. Close the other nostril with the pointer and breath out slowly. I did it twice when I was getting stressed out at work. I have to practice more to see if it works or not for me. The way I look at it, atleast it is better than escaping from the situation by surfing, whatsapping, facebooking etc.

Eats – ok. Baked potato for breakfast, quinoa salad for lunch, a long list of snack (green tea, corn on the cob, nuts and raisin, apple), and dinner was split pea soup and grain based bread with home made basil pesto spread. Grapes and fig for dessert.

Hydration – did ok I think. Sleep – 9 hours of fragmented sleep. I liked the one hour of no screen time prior to bedtime. Jogging – 17 mins. 

What I am thankful for today?

  • TGIF. Amen to that!
  • I am thankful that intensive work calls are not the norm in my work life.
  • I am thankful that I could afford the luxury of keeping the sick child at home without having to take the day off. I am thankful that the sick child did not hinder my productivity at work.
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Detox, Food, Gratitude, Health and fitness, Introspection

Fitness Diary – Day 4

Oh boy, leading a healthy lifestyle is easier said than done. I tell you, it’s  a full time job! No wonder, I keep falling off the wagon so very often. Nonetheless, it is a goal worth striving for. Baby steps, consistent efforts, incremental results. I tell myself, one day I will get there.  Even if I don’t, it’s worth trying and failing.

Today’s focus in the workshop is avoiding screen time for an hour prior to bedtime. This is very hard for me because that’s the time I spend catching up on pending work stuff, personal emails, writing blog posts, and watching T.V.  I don’t think I can do it on a daily basis. On the flip side, I see value in that idea. I am in front of the laptop for the most part of the day.  I keep wishing that I read more and spent more time with the kids, which is currently non-existent. May be this is an opportunity to see those wishes come to life – may be I can avoid screen time for half an hour before bedtime for 3 to 4 days during the week?  

Eats – not too happy, my portions were not good. Breakfast – chia seeds with fruits and nuts, lunch – good old quinoa salad, snack – poha with a mug of rasam, dinner – vegetable adai.

Exercise – 20 mins jogging. Meditation – 9 mins. Mind still wandering but came back to the present more often too. The sounds around me anchor me in the NOW than the breath. Hydration – again, didn’t count but I have a feeling I met the quota.

Things I am grateful for.

  • My cleaner. As I have written here before, I am fond of her. I am thankful that she cleans my house every fortnight. She does a better job than I would in half the time I would take. One big reason I am able to do volunteering activities is because I get to outsource the cleaning.  I also get the satisfaction of having made a small difference to someone’s monthly earnings.
  • Thank God for dosais and adais. For some the repetition may be boring, but for me it’s a life savior. Eating healthy, tasty, fresh, home cooked, gluten free, wholesome meal that can be made without too much planning as long as you have the batter ready. And how many variations one can make with them! Thankful for South Indian cuisine that makes gluten free diet possible for me.
  • My thanks to Da for taking care of dinner and giving Ram his bath tonight. I had to take care of pending work mails during dinner time to be able to  honor the one hour no screen time stipulation. All I had to do was ask him..!

Hope you are all well in your neck of the woods.

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Detox, Food, Gratitude, Health and fitness, Introspection, Wishes

Fitness Diary – Day 2

After faltering, falling flat on my face, rising up only to fall flat faster and harder in August, I have taken up the two-week nutrition workshop. God bless the nutritionist for coming up with these seasonal workshops! As part of the workshop, we are are suppose to maintain a daily journal, reflecting on what worked and what didn’t, and express gratitude for three things every day.  I jotted yesterday’s thoughts on google plus. But switching to my blog starting today. 

Today’s focus in the workshop was hydration. For my weight, I am suppose to drink 8 cups of water. I don’t think I had 8 cups but definitely drank more than what I normally would. My eats were ok – oats with fruits for breakfast, quinoa salad for lunch, banana for snack, and adai with sambar (poor combination, I know! But truth be told my adai is more like dosai than adai ) for dinner. The banana snack did not cut it out, I need to have something more substantial. I had sugar and caffeine withdrawals late evening. A couple of dry figs made a difference. Meditated for 9 mins – the mind was all over the place but it was peaceful just to sit in one place. I jogged for 20 mins today.

Three things I am grateful for today.

  • I had a productive day at work. Thankful that I could maneuver around a crisis situation at work and could knock of some critical To Dos.
  • Today, my childhood friend’s son turned 15 years old. I can’t believe 15 years have gone by just like that. I feel fortunate that I have been part of this child’s growing up and I am mighty proud of the fine lad that he is blossoming into…!
  • The 87 degrees outside – loved that I could could go out wearing my old salwar without having to worry about a pullover or sneakers.
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Inspiration, Introspection, Learnings, Little Moments, Me, Reading, Uncategorized, Us

On reading

We were resting in the tent indulging in the leisure that a beach trip rewards you with. I looked up from my book and declared to nobody in particular, “Poor Mr. Darcy. All because he was an introvert!” My unintentional and sudden outburst elicited uncontrollable giggles from my offsprings. After the amusement settled down, the first born quizzed, “Who is Mr. Darcy”, the second born questioned, “What does an introvert mean?”  Their questions were lost on me, as I had long delved back into the world of  Lizzy, Darcy, Jane and Bingley, oblivious to my curious boys. They gave up and ran back to the waves. 

It felt so good to be lost in this world that Jane Austen had built that it was a sweet burden to pull the mind back to where the body was. What fine writing!

The reading experience was reassuring because I was beginning to wonder if my love for reading was just a figment of my imagination; something that I made up in my mind. Perhaps I liked the idea of reading more than reading itself?  I felt like an imposter when I borrowed books from the library. Finally,  I feel liberated from those self-doubts! For sure, I can say, I too love reading!

A couple of weeks back during our road trip, the conversation meandered to reading styles and habits. I told the family how I tend to take a long time to warm up to characters and story plot. That I read the first few pages very very slowly, and at some point, there is a flip of the switch and the pace picks up. Hari, who likes to read books in one sitting, said he has a different style. “I love reading the first portion of any book. It is so exciting to get introduced to all the characters and see the story unfold. It is in the middle that I slow down.” Da, who is a very fast reader, commented that for him it is the last part of any story that slows him down. And not wanting to be left out, the voracious reader of the family, our Ram, piped in, “I don’t slow down at all. I like reading the first, the second and the last part”  Atta boy! I thought to myself. Not necessarily for what he said on his reading style but that he made his opinion matter. A lot of times, may be because he is small relative to the rest of us, we overlook him on subjects that involve deeper discussion but he always stands tall,  makes his voice heard, and weighs in with his thoughts. Never ceases to surprise me. Anyway, I digress.

This discussion was a revelation to me. It made me cognizant of my reading style and helped me figure out why I have been reading less. The first few chapters requires that I stick to the book, so it can grip me.  Without understanding that piece, I have been expecting to instantly immerse myself in the story and have ended up feeling utterly disappointed.  I am not sure I got my reading mojo back but it is good to know that there is some mojo left.

What is your reading style? Do you ever suffer from a reading block? What are you reading? What is next on your list?

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Dance, Experiences, Gratitude, Introspection, Learnings, Life, Memories, Milestones, N40

Me, myself and my dance

Life beckons and I have to heed to it. Yet, I linger, wanting to soak in the sudden emptiness that I am feeling. For the past six months, dance has ranked high in my list of priorities. For the past six weeks, dance has been the center of my life. The critic in me chides me for not doing more, for not trying harder, for not making the most of the opportunity.  Yet, the pragmatic in me acknowledges that while there is always room to do more and be better, I did the best I could on any given day. Some days my best was good enough and on other days it was not.  And that’s part of being a human.

I have given my bare minimum to my family for the past several months. Dance is to me what sports is to Hari. In that we share a connection. A connection that is born out of setting your heart at something, working on it, feeling jubilant on some days, feeling disappointed on other days, and knowing that true strength lies in picking ourselves up every time we fall. Hari has shielded me with his pep talks, “Just imagine Ram and I waving at you amma if you get the jitters.”  He has held down the fort stepping up to be there for his little brother in my absence. And Ram what can I say about this little one, our very own Krishna? Dance has given us the gift of new bonding experience. I just love to sing “Avani rohini ashtami yele aradhajama nerathile avadharithaya” as I give a cheek rub to him, a rush of love washing over me. Da has been the pillar of support I have leaned on. Where do I even begin? Suffice to say that he walked the talk and did so wholeheartedly, doing all the heavy lifting, and making sure that the kids do not get shortchanged. I don’t think I would have been as unwavering in my support for him if I were in his shoes, so not for a second I take his support for granted. I am especially thankful to him for nailing the big picture in my head – it’s rare to get an opportunity to do something like this, outside of the commitments that life thrusts on us, at this stage of our lives and I should remember to derive positive energy from it and not get distracted with the noises. 

Over the past six weeks my dance mates and I have spent close to 30 hours per week in dance practices. I would love to say that all that time was spent dancing, but that’s not how it works. You wait a lot, then you practice some. Going after your passion may sound like pure bliss and all lofty. But the truth is even for pursuits of your choice, they come with their share of baggage. We were preparing for a 3-day dance event, one that we knew was going to be a labor of love. Taking care of the practical aspects was the easier part. It was the emotional part that involved a ton of hard work. To stay focused, to push oneself harder, to not get lost in the stories we tell ourselves, and to practice self compassion.

Some days were more challenging than others and a little TLC went a long way in building that resilience muscle. One of the best parts about the dance camp was the support group we developed and the plethora of opportunities we had to get to know each other as individuals. We rooted, helped, inspired, provided constructive feedback, showed appreciation, and hugged each other. On the day of the performance, we complimented each other on how we looked. I think it had less to do with makeup and costumes and more to do with how fond we had grown of each other. They say friends come into our lives for a reason, season or a lifetime. Only time will tell what path our friendships will take. One thing is for certain; the summer of this year will go down in the books of our lives as a time that weaved us all together in a shared experience, and from knowing  that we all gave it our all no matter what else was going in our lives.

I feel immensely thankful to my teacher for her bold vision and audacious dreams for her milestone production, and getting all of us pumped up about it. I am deeply grateful she introduced us to one of the finest teachers and choreographers, who we fondly address as Thiru anna. One who believes that everyone is capable, that imperfections are part of being a human, and that mistakes are ok but to remember to never lose the happiness one derives from dancing. It was a blessing to be part of anna’s creative process and seeing first hand how even a small act can be elevated to a higher level with willingness, creativity and effort. Such a precious and rewarding experience. 

If you had asked me last week, I would have told you that I can’t wait for this week to come. What I expected to feel was relief at being able to move on with other aspects of my life. What I am feeling instead is an emptiness that comes from having to let go something that gave an intense sense of purpose and pushed us beyond our comfort zones. I don’t want this emptiness to end, so I prolong. Checking whatsapp messages, refreshing facebook page, and going through the motions of the past six weeks, and itching to do more. 

Dance means different things to different people. To me, bharathanatyam is my Zen. It helps me discover more about myself,  be accepting of my strengths and weaknesses, quench my thirst to learn and grow as a person.  And for that I am eternally grateful and incredibly blessed. 

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