Breath for Yoga and Singing

Haven’t posted in ages and doubt that this is going to improve much given how busy we are at work, but I just wanted to put this down for posterity.

I have been practicing fairly gentle hatha yoga for some time now and have dabbled with Vinyasa flow and also taken up a now-interrupted Anusara class. Part of this was due to problems with my knees - years of poor alignment and training for a 5km event in October ensured that my left, especially started paining me with symptoms of beginning chondromalacia.

Recently my Anusara teacher and a visiting Iyengar specialist recommended that I do 2 things for my knees - align my knees especially lengthening and strengthening the muscles running along either side and strengthen and reinforce my arches. This has worked and while they still twinge occasionally, my lunges and squats are far more fluid (tho’ I’m still careful about how deep I go). I’ve also reduced the running to about once a week.

What’s interesting tho’ is that I noticed that aligning my knees and concentrating on the mucles on either side of the patella (kneecap) has actually allowed me to open up my lower back and my breathing has really improved as a result (at least when I remember to do it). Side-effects - 1) I ran 4.2km without my heart-rate sky-rocketing like it usually does. 2) My singing (did I mention that I sing classical repertoire?) has suddenly got tonnes more support and depth. I was always groping around wondering what vocal teachers meant when they asked me to support with my back muscles and suddenly I know!

Being scientifically-minded, I spent some time trying to figure out what was going on and idle googling turned up the Bandha Yoga site that looks at the effects of yoga on the muscles and bones. Click through here to a fantastic animation that shows how the psoas and quadratus lumborum (lower back muscle) work together to arch the spine and flex the ribs. The psoas is a long muscle that runs from the lumbar spine to the femur (thigh bone). Stabilising the knees stops the part of the psoas that links to the femur from moving, thus meaning that psoas contraction will stabilise and open the lumbar spine. Voila, the quadratus lumborum can contract and pull the ribs down - and I discover what singing support actually means!

Enhanced by Zemanta
10:30 pm, by betweenmoments 1  |  Comments
Bookmark and Share

Getting fit - P90X Lean

Meez 3D avatar avatars games

I posted a while ago that I was embarking on the P90X lean journey in order to get fitter for Kota Kinabalu. Well, I’m now into week 3, ‘tho mind you, I am not following it religiously - how can someone with any life at all follow an exercise program that calls for you to manage an hour to an hour and a half of exercise 6x a week?

I’m not the 5:30am wakeup call for exercise kind either - I tried that a few years ago and just felt awful the entire day. However, I am keeping it up as much as I can (exercising most evenings) ‘though its probably going to be closer to a P150X programme for me.

I also haven’t followed the diet plan religiously ‘tho I have consciously tried to eat low fat/high protein as far as possible (difficult when Asian diets are pretty much carb city).

While I haven’t lost a tonne of weight (0.5 - 1kg depending on the day I take it), but my body fat percentage has been showing a very nice and consistent drop with every week I’ve been on the programme and is now hovering at 26.7% (having started at 29.8%). Measurements have dropped too and I have halved the size of my incipient beer belly.

I have to say the programme was torturous at the beginning - I could only do 40 minutes of the 1 1/2 hour YogaX programme on my first try and less than half of all the ab exercises, but it’s been getting much more doable and I am now pretty much keeping up with the guys onscreen through about 80% of the workouts as a whole. I’m still not doing pullups and relying on the bands tho’ - I hope I’ll be able to graduate to pullups by the third month on the programme.

In short, if you can stick with it, the programme does seem to work - I’m hoping that I can keep it up through 2 business trips to Korea and China starting from next week…. Found that ripping the videos to MPEG and sticking them on my mobile phone seems to work.

One thing I’ve stuck to is low-fat chocolate milk immediately after workouts and it really seems to make consecutive days of exercise easier. I drink more if I feel really wasted after the workout and less if it doesn’t seem warranted - really seems to cut down on aching muscles and tiredness.

Enhanced by Zemanta

11:45 pm, by betweenmoments 1  |  Comments
Bookmark and Share

The Windmill Farmer

Boing Boing seems to be posting a crop of really nice videos lately. This is an animated short from the UCLA animation workshop - great to watch if you’ve had a bad day.

11:11 pm, by betweenmoments 1  |  Comments
Bookmark and Share
Bookmark and Share

Blueberry Cheescake ad

from OIC Singapore for BLU Shangri-La. Love the anime style…

  10:18 am, by betweenmoments 1  |  Comments
Bookmark and Share

How to Kiss - An Instructional Video

Totally non X-rated campy video spotted at Metropolis Magazine Tokyo. The magazine (and website) is definitely worth a read for a window into Tokyo (expat) life. Their most-read feature at the moment is this one on the life of a Tokyo bike messenger (bit old but good).

10:13 am, by betweenmoments  Comments
Bookmark and Share

Gary Numan plays “Cars” on Cars

This is a really cool ad even if you don’t want a car battery.

Enhanced by Zemanta
11:19 pm, by betweenmoments  Comments
Bookmark and Share

From Minimum Security blog by Stephanie McMillan

Enhanced by Zemanta
  06:47 pm, by betweenmoments 1  |  Comments
Bookmark and Share
Bookmark and Share

Liquid City Volume 2

Ever wondered what SE Asian comics might look like? Come September you’ll have a chance to find out with 22 tales of everything from robot rabbits to Muay Thai warriors from SE Asia’s comic book artists. Find out more by clicking through to the press release.

Very interesting variety of graphic styles too…

via OIC Singapore

Enhanced by Zemanta
09:47 pm, by betweenmoments  Comments
Bookmark and Share