A personal case for building strength

Last weekend, I trained to become a volunteer for Children’s Disaster Services, so that if there was ever a local disaster I might be of some use.  The training lasted 27 hours and involved sleeping on cots in our church.  Before I arrived, I was a little worried about re-stuffing my sleeping bag into its stuff sack.  I remember my futile struggle with it the last time Jim and I went camping, and Jim had to finish the stuffing for me.  But, before the sleeping bag could be a problem, we had to set up the cots.  The gentleman I was helping and I were surprised that I was able to put the cots together so quickly.  Then, the next morning when I did finally attempt to put my sleeping bag away; I did it. 

I have become so much stronger than I was a year ago.  I lost my wonderful husband a year ago, on the 25th of this month.  My mental strength may still be “iffy” at times, but my physical strength has definitely increased.  The only reason for this is that I don’t have a hubby to pick up this or that heavy thing, or to hand a jar with a stuck lid, or to open a too tight valve, or to cut a really thick limb or to constantly pick up a toddler/little girl.  And, no, I’m not going to ask every other guy I know to do things for me.  Frankly, I’m too impatient.  Plus, if you don’t want to play the role of victim, you would react the same way in my situation.

So, here is my advice and admittedly it is for women.  Work on your strength before you need it, and especially after you know you will need it.  To do this, take more opportunities to do the hard things yourself.  You will need to increase your hand strength.  Remember your hands and think of how you may strengthen them in every yoga asana you practice.  Also, find some thera-putty used in hand/wrist/forearm physical therapy.  (Click HERE for a great article on thera-putty hand exercises.)  Next, you will want to protect your back.  Asanas that strengthen your core are actually more important than ones that will strengthen your back because a strong core protects your back.  Once you do over-use your back, and you will, be sure to stretch your back afterwards or the quite annoying twitching and cramping will occur.  Twists and chest-openers (ie. gentle back-bends) would be good for both strengthening and stretching.  Then, because you will be doing more lifting than you can anticipate, work on strengthening your arms.  Your legs will naturally become stronger, but you must be sure your balance increases first because you will be climbing and carrying more than before.  A very focused practice of both mountain and tree pose would be good to remember.

I wrote this for women of all ages, from newly-weds to those lucky enough to surpass 50th anniversaries.  I don’t want you to ever need this advice, but statistically you may.

Note: Some of you may not know I write two blogs: Living with Cancer and a Toddler and Johnson City Does Yoga.  Please visit LWCAAT should you wish more information on young families during and after cancer, and JCDY for information on my yoga class or just general yoga info.  I have never posted the same blog for both sites, but this one had too much information for women reading either blog to miss.

Sarah:  Now get ready to laugh out loud.

While my original intent was to have Sarah spend the night with me at the Children’s Disaster Services training, I quickly figured out that wasn’t going to be a good idea because there would be a few hours of training that night.  So, I called my friend Kris Axtell to tell her what time I could drop off Sarah the next morning, and told her I needed to quick find one of my neighbors to babysit that night.  Her response, “Really Beckie, I think she should just spend the night here.”  To which I think I probably laughingly snorted into the phone.  So, Sarah had her first sleep-over with Kris, Paul and their four boys.  The only reason why Kris had to finally move Sarah onto a mattress in their room was because Sarah was still talking to the boys at 11:00 pm, meanwhile, the boys had fallen asleep.  The next day, one of the boys even asked if Sarah could spend the night again, and of course Sarah wanted to go back once she got home.

Also, it appears Kris solved the last of my potty training problems.  Apparently, that night Sarah did something in her pull-ups.  Well, as Kris put it, “Welcome to Boot Camp!”  Sarah had to do the clean-up work, and when she got herself dirty the screams were heard by all.  The boys thought it was pretty funny as Kris was retelling the story when I picked up Sarah.  I think it’s pretty funny that now Sarah runs past me saying, “Gotta go potty,” and doesn’t even wait for me to go with her.

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On finding a yoga top

I had the idea last week to try on my old yoga tops to see which ones still fit.  That’s when humility and panic came to visit.  None of my tops fit.  (I do yoga in the morning, and I just wear my pj’s.)  So, yesterday, I went to Austin to find a top or two.  Humility and panic apparently hitched a ride with me.  I’m a 5 foot tall, almost 110 lb. petite person.  Shopping for clothes has always been a challenge, but the recession has really made petite clothes hard to find.  So, I was finding that if the top fit around my ribs, then the shoulder straps sat an inch or two above my shoulders.  If the straps fit, then I had weird bulges coming out the arm holes.  Arrrgh! 

I did find a sleeveless shirt and yoga pants at Academy.  The yoga tops they had, with a pretty design on the front, were completely white on the back.  My instant thought was, “Really?  I’m going to be on the ground…”  Then I went to Ross, but they didn’t have anything that fit.  TJ Max had the biggest selection, and I managed to find a real-live yoga top there.  Whew.  Panic went home.  But, I think humility is here to stay.  (They also had yoga mats for $12.99.)  Then I went to Whole Earth, just in case they had something on the sale rack.  Wow, what a total waste of time.  They had 2 yoga tops, and 2 that could have passed as yoga tops, but none of those fit.  However, what shocked me was to find that apparently yoga has a season.  What?  They had tons of PrAna clothes, but only three different yoga tops, and that was only because the same top came in three different colors.  Dull colors at that.  I will admit, if I had been willing to pay for it, I would have had no problem finding something at Title Nine (NW corner of 5th St. and N. Lamar, entry to parking lot on Baylor).  I love Title Nine.  Don’t laugh – I have given myself permission to get something from there once every six months.  Athleta has several pants and cover-ups that look good too, but their tops are still cut too tight.  There is a large variety of cute and well designed (empire waists, pleats & longer looser cuts) yoga tops on the internet, maybe they’ll be in more stores soon…

I just wanted to share what happened to the yoga teacher.  I thought you’d enjoy it.

Note: Sorry this is a repost, but the first one didn’t make it to my Facebook page.  I know just enough about blogging to be dangerous.  😉

On finding a yoga top

I had the idea last week to try on my old yoga tops to see which ones still fit.  That’s when humility and panic came to visit.  None of my tops fit.  (I do yoga in the morning, and I just wear my pj’s.)  So, yesterday, I went to Austin to find a top or two.  Humility and panic apparently hitched a ride with me.  I’m a 5 foot tall, almost 110 lb. petite person.  Shopping for clothes has always been a challenge, but the recession has really made petite clothes hard to find.  So, I was finding that if the top fit around my ribs, then the shoulder straps sat an inch or two above my shoulders.  If the straps fit, then I had weird bulges coming out the arm holes.  Arrrgh! 

I did find a sleeveless shirt and yoga pants at Academy.  The yoga tops they had, with a pretty design on the front, were completely white on the back.  My instant thought was, “Really?  I’m going to be on the ground…”  Then I went to Ross, but they didn’t have anything that fit.  TJ Max had the biggest selection, and I managed to find a real-live yoga top there.  Whew.  Panic went home.  But, I think humility is here to stay.  (They also had yoga mats for $12.99.)  Then I went to Whole Earth, just in case they had something on the sale rack.  Wow, what a total waste of time.  They had 2 yoga tops, and 2 that could have passed as yoga tops, but none of those fit.  However, what shocked me was to find that apparently yoga has a season.  What?  They had tons of PrAna clothes, but only three different yoga tops, and that was only because the same top came in three different colors.  Dull colors at that.  I will admit, if I had been willing to pay for it, I would have had no problem finding something at Title Nine (NW corner of 5th St. and N. Lamar, entry to parking lot on Baylor).  I love Title Nine.  Don’t laugh – I have given myself permission to get something from there once every six months.  Athleta has several pants and cover-ups that look good too, but their tops are still cut too tight.  There is a large variety of cute and well designed (empire waists, pleats & longer looser cuts) yoga tops on the internet, maybe they’ll be in more stores soon…

I just wanted to share what happened to the yoga teacher.  I thought you’d enjoy it.

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