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The Highland Hippie's Grand Adventures


Pat (pogo69)

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Finally time for me to create a workout log on here.

I don't think I have ever done so, prior.  But if I did, I couldn't find it.

Its genesis was inspired by @Craig's challenge over on Facebook:

Ignite the Furnace - 300 Days of Practice Challenge

https://www.facebook.com/events/231667147985855/

Essentially, a way to engage people to commit to practising "something" for 300 days straight (WITHOUT EXCEPTION).

RULES OF ENGAGEMENT:

  1. Do not miss any days
  2. DO NOT MISS ANY DAYS I'M SERIOUS
  3. Set a target for practice - I originally chose 30 minutes straight of the breathing practice I was doing at the time, but you can work with anywhere from 5 mins to 60 mins depending on your starting point, and with any exercise you like. Pick something you think you can manage.
  4. Let's say you have a horrible day and you don't get any time for practice and it's now late at night and you just want to go to sleep. You have to still do at least 5 - 10 mins of whatever your practice was before going to bed. These moments are really important and will train your willpower to degrees you cannot imagine right now.
  5. If you miss a day, add 3 days to your finish time (i.e. don't miss any days).
  6. If you want to rotate through different exercises you can, but each individual exercise must be practiced for AT LEAST 30 days straight before you change away from it.
  7. "Do it. Just do it. Don't let your dreams be dreams. Yesterday, you said tomorrow. So just do it. Make your dreams come true. Just do it. Some people dream of success, while you're gonna wake up and work hard at it. Nothing is impossible. You should get to the point where anyone else would quit, and you're not gonna stop there. No, what are you waiting for? Do it! Just do it! Yes you can. Just do it. If you're tired of starting over, stop giving up." - Shia LaBeouf

As I wrote in a reply to a "call to action" post in the Event:

Quote

I have always been resistant any kind of "<x> Challenge". But several things have made me consider this differently:

- I like the premise. Consistency of practise in "something".
- For a combination of reasons, I am suffering motivational issues. While not unprecedented, it is highly unusual for me.
- External motivators are being taken away from me: eg. Adventure Races being cancelled and/or postponed, and at this stage who knows for how long? This is not a major factor in above-mentioned motivational issues, but it sure doesn't help.

So, I figured out what I want to do, and took the plunge.

I will post updates in the Facebook Event.  But thought that, given the subject matter of my chosen commitments, it might be of interest here, also.

 

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Challenge starts today.  My chosen practise consists of 300 straight days of:

  •  5 mins conscious breathing (+5 mins bonus box breathing)
  • 10 mins hip flexor and piriformis stretching
  • 10 mins sitting meditation

It is a modest commitment.  But it is both doable in a life typically scattered with uncertainty, and of great practical utility to my well-being.

Each element is directly useful in isolation, but also synergistically beneficial to the others.

Bonus effect before I even started: after mentioning it to my partner on the weekend, she will now be joining me for:
- the stretching (with her focusing instead on thoracic opening via passive back bend) and;
- the sitting meditation

My intention is to periodically share how these practises are affecting me, my physical and mental health, my other physical practises, my sleep etc.

Edit:

Stretching (Limbering, actually) consists of:

  • Hip-flexor: Solo Wall Hip-Flexor stretch
  • Piriformis: Advanced Piriformis stretch
Edited by pogo69
Specify stretches
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52 minutes ago, pogo69 said:

Ignite the Furnace - 300 Days of Practice Challenge

Nice! Somehow I missed this post, so thanks for sharing. I'm going to think about what to commit to and join the party :D

46 minutes ago, pogo69 said:

(with her focusing instead on thoracic opening via passive back bend)

She can backbend over you while you're in the adv. piri stretch for a reciprocal partner assist ;)

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20 hours ago, Nathan said:

Somehow I missed this post, so thanks for sharing. I'm going to think about what to commit to and join the party 

YAY!

20 hours ago, Nathan said:

She can backbend over you while you're in the adv. piri stretch for a reciprocal partner assist 

We may give this a go, some time down the track.  Possibly as an additional or separate practise.  We both want to introduce at least once weekly partner stretching.  Given that we'll be home a lot soon, it will probably be easier to find the time.

For now, I am already assisting her back-bending by pushing her ribs down and in.  They have always flared somewhat, but markedly more-so with a diastasis recti that considerably worsened through our little fella's pregnancy/birth.

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Day #1 done.

Conscious breathing in the morning, done in a wedged squat against the wall.  Tried to get myself relaxed in as deep a squat as possible.

Stretching and sitting meditation in the evening, after the little one was bedded down.

That will probably be (for the most part) the regular routine.

Claire started with 3 mins back bend, and will build to 10 mins as she feels comfortable.  She did some pelvic floor work, while I stretched, then we sat/meditated together.

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11 hours ago, SwissDanny said:

Did we miss #2 and #3

:P

Nope.  Just nothing interesting to report.

Last couple of nights' sitting meditation have been pretty scattered for both Claire and I.  Difficult to focus, so we both kept drifting away.

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One week down!

Day #6

  • Did the box breathing again.  Again, time passed quickly.
  • Changed piriformis stretch.  I had been using the "Advanced Piriformis", with the usual stack of bolsters.  Moved to "Seated Piriformis" for a while.  Two days in, it has felt like the right move.

This reminds me that I hadn't specified what I was doing for stretching, so I'll add that back in, above.

Will also try to log additional limbering/stretching.  Hasn't been much of that, but I have gone through most of HtSfM a couple of times in the past week, a few sessions of Daily 5, and the occasional passive back-bend.

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Day #8

Added in a few CR intervals into the hip-flexor stretch.  Extraordinary effect on the depth of the subsequent stretch.

We were intending to do some partner stretching on the weekend, but... it didn't happen.

Sitting meditation has been a little better for both of us, the past couple of days.

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Cool! I just started Project Elephant Walk today. 10 minutes a day is my commitment. If/when the time comes it might transition to Project Jefferson Curl.

Either way, it's a gesture for my beloved hamstrings!

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Day #11

Did box breathing during the sitting meditation last night.  Felt like I needed "something" to help with focus.  For that, it was useful.

Sit was a little more comfortable than usual, but very stiff getting up.

Last couple of nights' hip-flexor stretching has felt a little restricted on the left.  Might shakes things up for a bit, to see if I can it to release.  Have also had a similar issue - left hip-flexor restriction - getting into position for sitting piriformis, with right knee forward.

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23 hours ago, pogo69 said:

Last couple of nights' hip-flexor stretching has felt a little restricted on the left.  Might shakes things up for a bit, to see if I can it to release.  Have also had a similar issue - left hip-flexor restriction - getting into position for sitting piriformis, with right knee forward.

Day #12

Broke up the limbering into smaller, interleaved sets.

I had been doing:

  1. 2'30" - Hip-flexor one side
  2. 2'30" - Hip-flexor other side
  3. 2'30" - Piriformis one side
  4. 2'30" - Piriformis other side

Last night I started, and will continue:

  • Alternating sides after 1'00", starting with the "problem" side, so that it gets an extra minute
  • Still hip-flexors, then piriformis; as I find it helps to loosen up the former before engaging the latter

Still not great focus in sitting meditation.  Varies, but staying focused, engaged, and "stacked" throughout is a daily journey.

Claire's sitting meditation is rapidly improving!  Her sit was noticeably more comfortable with least effort required since beginning.  Still not quite "relaxed", but getting there.  Her hips are far more mobile than mine, so she is using only a very small under-butt cushion.

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Day #13

Claire upped her passive back-bend from 3 to 4 mins.

Day #14

I've been using the Elephant Walk as part of a morning limber, on and off, for quite a while.  But admittedly, rather half-arsed.

Tried it again yesterday; making sure to pay attention to setup, sequencing, and cues from @Nathan is his reply to @Mick:

Totally different animal.  I thought I was trying to keep my chest against my thighs, but my half-arsedness and the lack of a proper setup meant that I was entirely missing the intention of the exercise.

See how it goes moving forward.

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Day #15

Went through HtSfM as I sat on the lounge-room floor, trying to get Mr.5 to eat his breakfast.

Hit a stumbling block with conscious breathing.  Have been doing it in a squat wedge against the wall.  Cannot currently sustain it right now, due to cellulitis (bacterial skin infection) in the lower leg.  Causing irritation and swelling if I sit like that for any length of time.

Will try sitting in (elevated) tailor's pose, until it clears up.

Claire can feel the beginnings of improvement to her posture from back-bends.

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Day #16

On 4/7/2020 at 12:58 PM, pogo69 said:

Will try sitting in (elevated) tailor's pose, until it clears up.

This was a mistake.  I cannot sit comfortably in an unsupported tailor's pose.  So I spent most of the time trying to hold myself upright, instead of consciously breathing.

Tried it a little different today, and it worked much better:

  • Less elevated.  Only thin cushion.
  • Wedged my back against the wall, as per wedged squat.
  • Used 5kg weights on knees to provide mild stretch, without effort.
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Days #19-22

On 4/8/2020 at 5:18 PM, pogo69 said:

Tried it a little different today, and it worked much better:

  • Less elevated.  Only thin cushion.
  • Wedged my back against the wall, as per wedged squat.
  • Used 5kg weights on knees to provide mild stretch, without effort.

This has continued to be beneficial.  Both, as a relaxed position for my breath work, and as an adjunct to the regular hip stretching and sitting meditation.

Everything else ebbing and flowing, for the most part.

Both Claire and I are having better days than others.  I have experienced my first couple of days where the sit has just "clicked".  Still heavily bolstered, but everything felt relaxed and "stacked" throughout.  With it, a few meditation sessions that have been very focused.  A long way from consistent, but my hips have definitely started to feel more relaxed in the sit, and I am far less stiff in the aftermath.

Got one session of HtSfM in since the last post, and have been semi-regularly tinkering with (properly executed) Elephant Walks, and less regular Cossack Squats.  Also trying to get the Daily Five in, more or less daily.

 

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Almost forgot.  Possibly unrelated (is anything entirely unrelated?) but:

I had an amazing night's sleep last night.  It is my first night of solid, "remember nothing from falling asleep to awaking" sleep, in as long as I can remember, where there was no obvious external trigger (sex, weed and extreme exhaustion are pretty consistently helpful).  Certainly, I was very tired.  But I have been a lot worse.  Here's hoping it continues, however consistent.

Edit: Also forgot:

Keep forgetting to add CR into the occasional session.  Remembered part way through last night, and added a couple of CR intervals in the piriformis stretch.  Had already completed the hip-flexor stretching.

Still no partner stretching.

Edited by pogo69
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Day #23

Another really good sit, last night.  Not a particularly focused meditation session, but my sit is seeing definite improvements.

Continuing to play around with other mobility movements throughout the day.  Elephant walks, squatting, Cossack squats, extra piriformis (I can never have too much of this) limbering.

Have been doing my optional additional 5 mins box breathing, after the 5 mins conscious breathing, more days than not.

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Day #24

Another round of HtSfM, first thing in the morning while getting Mr.5 to eat his breakfast.

Good sit again last night.  So-so for the focus.

Sleep continues to be... tentatively speaking... better.  Not good by any measure, but when I am sleeping I feel I am more deeply so.  Has not had an appreciably positive effect on tiredness and/or energy levels, but still somewhat buoyed by the general trajectory.

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Days #25-28

Four weeks done!  I don't think that I have ever done anything, other than the autonomically necessary breathing etc, for 28 days straight.

Continuing to see gradual improvement in the comfort, quality and stackedness (?) of my sit.  While still heavily bolstered, and expect it to be so for some time, it is pleasing to see and feel the improvement in my sitting posture.

The meditation continues to fluctuate greatly in focus.  But I do think that the conscious breathing and box breathing (that I am still managing to add more days than not) are helping to build some resilience to distraction.

By far the most interesting thing: sleep.  I have been resistant to pin hope on it, but I have had a pretty consistent, and appreciable improvement to my sleep in the past week or two.  While I still do not sleep all the way through an evening, I generally fall asleep very easily, sleep MUCH more deeply when I am so, and can also generally fall back asleep after prematurely waking.

There are all sorts of things going on in our lives (most everyone's lives) at the moment.  So, it is unscientific to attribute credit to the introduction of a consistent limbering and meditation practice to my improved sleep.  But the correlative evidence is strong.

Oh.  Finally managed to purposefully add some CR intervals to my stretching last night.  I have decided that if, by Sunday evening, Claire and I have not done a partner stretching session, that Sunday evening's mobility work will be more of a stretch than a limber.

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Day #29

I have started adding a relaxation/release between my nightly mobility and meditation.

'Twas born of trying the relax and release pose, recently discussed here:

I refer to the pose referenced in @Craig's Instagram post, not the one-legged stance:

Slight digression: I LOVE the automatic embedding in this version of the forum software!

I have not yet done it for the length of time advised by Craig.  But I find even 2-3 mins to be very beneficial prior to the sitting meditation; particularly if I have just assisted Claire's back-bend, as it requires several minutes of glute engagement and downward pressure from my arms.  Helps release any built up tension.

In addition to relaxing the hips, I find that after a minute or two, that I can begin to feel (most of) my entire spine (from sacrum to the bottom of the cervical spine) relax into the floor.  Very nice to release tension in the thoracic spine prior to the sit.

I have also introduced random periods of this position during the day, helping to relieve tension from sitting at the computer.

 

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Day #30

Very good sit.

Meditation also not too bad.  Distractions, yes; but much more easily acknowledged and left behind, than usual.

Claire's sit has not been so good for the past couple of days.  Due to the sequencing of our evenings, I have not been providing the support/pressure on her rib-cage during her back-bends, and she is feeling the subsequent ill-effect.  We will be remedying that, from here forward.

Given that this will require not insignificant tension in my glutes, back, upper body, we will also be making time for me to use the above relax/release before our sitting meditation.

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