Sweat Psychology

Some years back, on my first trip to Mexico, I wondered if I could make it there.  You see, my arrival in Mexico was directly on the heels of being in Florida for the previous seven months.  Oddly enough, for Florida, it wasn’t constant heat and humidity as I was closer to central Florida than south.  So, when I stepped off of the bus from the airport and walked through the village to my new home, I was drenched in sweat before I even made it to my room.  I immediately became concerned that I simply wouldn’t be able to make it there for six months if I couldn’t stop sweating for two minutes.  I would literally get out of the shower and start sweating.  It was nuts!

Eventually, I learned to start ignoring the sweat – it didn’t stop – it’s Mexico for Pete’s sake! So unless it was an ungodly hot day, I just soaked it up.

Fast forward a decade and change (OMG, really?!?!), and I’m living in Colorado. I’m working on my fitness and flexibility goals. To this end, I started taking a Bikram yoga class once a week. Now, in order to get the most benefits out of this, my understanding is that I would really need to be going several times a week, but the reality is that I just don’t have that much free time on my hands, so once a week it is.  In case you aren’t familiar with Bikram, it’s a series of 26 poses with breathing exercises between them.  Oh, yeah, and the room is heated to about 104 degrees and pumped full of humidity. With all due respect to Justin Timberlake, Sweat Me A River.

Typically, in my workout world, things are too easy or too boring.  I’m a bit of an extremist I suppose.  Trapeze? Constantly changing, learning new tricks, improving, WIN. Pole? Put my hand there and then put my leg WHERE?!?! It doesn’t get any tougher. P90X? Daily changes kicking my arse. I’ve tried a couple different forms of yoga, and while they did a great job of calming my mind for about 3 minutes, I couldn’t get out of my head because I wasn’t being challenged enough. Enter the Bikram.

For my first class, I went in what I thought would be typical yoga attire: capri pants and a full-length tank top. OMG hot. OMG sweaty.  For the second class, I thought I’d try a different route and I wore shorts and a midriff-baring tank top. OMG hot. OMG even more sweaty?!?!  First class – I made it through. It was tough but I felt pretty good.  Second class – I made it through but it was a struggle.  I’m chalking up the differences to all being in my head.  Why? Well, in the first class, I knew that I must be sweating.  The guy in front of me literally had rivers of sweat running off of him (it was really gross), and while my super powers are strong, I just don’t think I’m that badass.  The clothing – the clothing kept the sweat away from my body, away from my mat, away from my overenthusiastic brain, thus giving it time to concentrate on balancing on my left middle toe while holding my right middle toe behind my head and scratching my nose with my elbow.

Something in my head said, wear less clothing the next time you go, so I did.  For some folks, this might not be an issue, but if you’re me or one of the entities living in my head, this is not the case. Now, I’m fully in my head.  Every move takes forever. I can not only see the sweat running off of me and pooling in a disgusting circle at my feet, I can feel it.  Everywhere. It’s horrid. I’m trying to towel off constantly. As such, my focus is in the complete wrong place. I’m not enjoying my practice; I’m not in the proper positions; I’m not receiving all there is to receive.

So what is this psychology of sweat?  There have been studies done about seeing the temperature and reacting accordingly.  Here’s a story about another time I was crazy sweaty.  I don’t like to sweat or be sweaty.  I’m no dummy; I know that it’s a part of life and a part of living, but that doesn’t mean I have to enjoy it.  I’m coming to the conclusion that out of sight, out of mind means more to me than I originally thought.  If I can’t see those cookies (which is why we have a cabinet full of junk that I forget about), then I won’t eat them.  If I can’t see that unopened bottle of wine (or 4) on the counter, I won’t open them and imbibe. If I can’t see that I’m a sweaty mess, I’ll keep pushing hard until the class is over.  Having a preoccupation with something, anything else seems to make almost anything an attainable goal.  Perhaps this is also why I like to keep a million things on my plate at once.  Do they all get done?  Hell no.  But I also don’t spend a ridiculous amount of time worrying about what’s on the plate.  I just pick something to handle and handle it. 

What about you? Do you join me in overthinking? Or are you one of the lucky without this affliction?

Sleep, I Knew Thee Well

For oh so long, I’ve been fortunate enough to put my head on the pillow, close my eyes, and really call it a night – see you tomorrow. It appears that my days of good fortune have come to an end, temporarily I hope. I believe this is now day four without a good night’s sleep. I realize that many folks deal with this on a daily basis, and, right now, I am feeling for all of you.

Not sure what little switch got clicked in my brain, but whomever turned it on needs to take his/her happy ass right back in there to switch it back. This is something I might understand if I were overly concerned about something, anything, at the moment, but I’m not. Mentally exhausted after work some days? Sure. That shouldn’t keep me from knocking out at night.

It’s a vicious circle that has a couple more points to keep it round. Goes kinda like this:

  • 10 pm – Lay it down and try to start relaxing
  • 11 pm – Toss, turn, turn, toss
  • 1 am – Up to pee
  • 3 am – Up to pee. Wonder what time it is. Look at clock. Sigh deeply
  • 3:35 am – It must be time to get up now. Look at clock. Sigh deeply
  • 4:15 am – I must have been asleep for 2 hours. Look at clock. Sigh deeply
  • 5 am – Damn, you’re here already/how could it have taken you so long to get here
  • 5:15 am – Let’s work out
  • 7:30 am – Start work
  • 8 am – Coffee #1
  • 9 am – Probably coffee #2
  • 10 am – Hit the wall (considering adding a ripper here to get through the day)
  • 11 am – Brain function at an all-time low leaving me frustrated about my work and ridiculously tired
  • 1 pm – LUNCH!
  • 3 pm – Dragging ass
  • 4:30 pm – Brave traffic to get home
  • 5:30 pm – I want to do things here (trapeze, pole, something, anything) but I’m too damn tired

Hubby’s theory is that I’m not eating enough to do all I try to do. He could be correct, but oddly enough, I hope not because I don’t know if I could honestly shove any more food down my gullet in a day. I take a daily multi-vitamin (semi-daily…I forget sometimes) so it shouldn’t be the usual iron deficiency that I tend to have. It’s gotta be the sleep. Ack! What do you do when your old friend sleep has turned his back on you and thrown you under the bus?!?! Tonight, I’ll be trying some melatonin. Hopefully I won’t have to progress past that.

In other (pole) news, the spring showcase at Boulder Spirals is creeping up on me. For my preparation timeline for a performance, I’m right on schedule having chosen my song with a mere 17 days till showtime. I’m shooting for sexy this time. We’ll see how that goes. I’m also mentally sitting on two other pole pieces that I want to put together: one with a friend from high school and one to rep one of my greatest loves ever. That’s all I am going to say about them at the moment, though, because I think that a million people read this blog (HAHAHAHA) and I want to make sure that I don’t give away my ideas so people can get to them before me. So, Cheryl, I didn’t forget about you! 🙂

Have a great day, folks. The time has come for me to pack up a lunch full of food that will hopefully keep me awake today. 🙂

Rebirth of Slick

Yes, indeed. I’m cool like that. (That’s a Digable Planets reference for those of you who are unaware.  Educate yourself here: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cM4kqL13jGM)

re·birth/rēˈbərTH/ – The action of reappearing or starting to flourish or increase after a decline; revival. 
Sarcee – hardiness, stubborn
Wachiwi – girl who dances

That is where I am right now.  Out with the old (Facebook) and in with the new! You see, I’m putting all, well almost all else to the side and centering my focus on artistic and creative me.  That means more dancing, more circus, more yoga, and more writing. A happier, more well-rounded me.

I believe that every pole dancer could/might go through this rebirth process.  Maybe you don’t delete your Facebook and start over, but you re-dedicate yourself to your art.  We come to this point for many different reasons. Some of us have decided to just be more serious about our art; some of us are just coming into ourselves in pole dancing and decide immediately to have the re-birth as a pole dancer; some of us have hit a plateau and need to step up our game in order to continue. For me, it’s a combination of finding a new level of serious and finding a new level of fitness.

The same as many of the ladies whom I have met through Boulder Spirals, I’m feeling as though I’ve reached a point where I cannot continue to progress until I have gained more strength, and on a lesser level, more flexibility. As such, today started another round of P90X.  About a month ago, I had started P90X2, but I found that I just couldn’t get into it the way that I do for the original.  After the last round of P90X, I was doing pole cats for days. Today, not so much, but I will get back there.  So, yes, get ready for even MORE push-ups! It’s for me, but it’s for you! Get on this fit train with me!

In terms of flexibility, of course, I’ll keep stretching and foam rolling at home as often as possible, but I’ve also added a weekly Bikram yoga class to the routine. Yesterday was my first class and all I can say is holy smokes.  More often than not, the reason I will try an activity a few times and then quit it is because it does not challenge me and/or I can’t get out of my head long enough to enjoy it.  This is certainly not the issue with Bikram.  I pushed myself and boy did I sweat. I hung my clothes up after class and I think they’re STILL wet! I live in Colorado! There’s no humidity here! Being in that beautiful heat and sweating like my first day in Mexico was absolutely wonderful. Even though I’m still exhausted the next day, I am very much looking forward to next week’s class.

Usually, when one gets serious about pole dancing, one purchases a pole. When one reaches re-birth, one dusts off the cookie jar to prepare it to hold a new dream.  With a pole already in my possession and no dedicated pole space, I grow weary of the set-up/take down process, almost as much as my husband tires of seeing the pole in the living room and maneuvering the coffee table around it.  The time has come to start saving up for an X-Stage. No more up and down plus the ability to pole in the back yard…..or the front if the HOA messes with me. It is exactly 8 months from my birthday and I think that an X-Stage will be a fantastic present to myself.  Weeeee!

So what about you? Are you ready to be re-born? Have you already? Wherever you are in your journey, I hope that you’ll keep pressing on. And if you ever hit a rough spot or a plateau, know that I, along with all of team Boulder Spirals, will be there to provide instruction, guidance, words of encouragement, and a whole lotta love! *Led Zepplin guitar riff!*