Monday, March 28, 2011

Around here we call it Giggle Cast

You all are listening to YIP! Podcast, right? RIGHT!?! I found them when Carolena linked to their interview with her and Megha, but I'm not going to link to those episodes because you should go and listen to them all.

My boyfriend calls it Giggle Cast, because Tammy and Mary are always laughing. I enjoy the fact that they are having fun, that they mix up light and serious discussions, and that they cover all sorts of belly dance styles and events. I will load up a new podcast and listen while cooking, which is the best sort of multitasking. Sometimes I'll listen when I'm sewing but since my machine drowns out my stereo and I don't want to miss a thing, I don't do it very often.

This blog gets a <"a href="">wee mention in a recent episode. I got to meet Mary for a brief moment at TribalCon, but then barely saw her the rest of the weekend. It seems that is in part because she was interviewing tons of people for future release, so you should head over there and get caught up on the back episodes. Some of my person favorites are the ones with Donna Mejia, Mira Betz, Carolena and Megha, and Florida dancer Carol (who tells it like it is).

Friday, March 18, 2011

Off my practice track

So my back is still bugging me and I'm off my practice routine. I did go to my classes Thursday night. Moving around doesn't make me hurt any more, and actually while I was moving I felt better even if it didn't last. I made sure to take it easy, though, and iced the hurty spot between classes. The worst part is the pain makes me feel snappy, so I'm not at my best right now mentally.

I'm getting my first massage ever Monday morning (too bad I have to go to work afterwards). If that doesn't help, it'll be off to the doctor. In the meantime I need to figure out some gentle practice to keep me moving. I think the culprit was yoga, so I'm not keen on jumping back in. I don't want to drill to much, as I'm worried the tension I hold when drilling over and over would not be a good idea. I'm going to maybe work with some combos and choreography bits instead.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What to do now?

So I've borked my back. Not sure how I did it but Sunday it there was a twingy sore spot under my left shouder blade and it is not much better Tuesday night. Two weeks ago I pulled something from the top back of my right shoulder blade so it hurt up over my shoulder, but that worked it's way out after a few days. This new one is quite painful. I've been taking ibuprofen. I tried using a tennis ball to roll it out, but I think it's too deep/bad for the ball. We canceled practice tonight. I made some cookies while wearing an icy/hot patch, and now I'm in bed laying against a pillow case wrapped freezer pack, alternating it with a sock of rice heated in the microwave "heating pad".

Part of me had been feeling bad that I did not grab a slot at the Art of the Belly festival this weekend. Now I'm a little glad, because the practice would have left my poor back a mess. Instead I'll be booth sitting for friends while they are performing, and I'll be socializing. And maybe taking long walks on the beach, enjoying candlelit dinners, and cuddling by a fire. Oh, wait, that was from my online personals ad. * Sorry.

As for my practice, what do I do now? For the past few days I've been practicing my shimmies sitting down. I realized surf rock is the perfect music for fast shimmies, so I downloaded Dick Dale's "Miserlou" and put it on repeat. Then I practiced alternating between my "straight" legged shimmies and my active hip shimmies (er, need a better term). Shimmying up to full speed is hard for me, so this is actually good practice!

Tonight I am not sure. I may send my SO downstairs to grab my zills and practice patterns and free zilling to songs. I also just got Belly, so I might watch that. Or shimmy more. And there is, of course, the revolutionary idea of just resting. Imagine that!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Month Two of Practice

Here is the run down for February. It's getting easier to find the self motivation every day, but still hard to find the time.

Inspired by A Year of Practice :

2/1/11: "Serpentine": yoga section and shoulder isolations. Love the yoga but it's too long for every day, maybe come up with my own shorter version. Practice veil parts for performance with skirt on.
2/2/11: Work on veil for CCT
2/3/11: Two hours of class
2/4/11: ATS group dance get together
2/5/11: Veil practice for CCT
2/6/11: Solo practice: listening to music to break down parts, associations for each part, brainstorm movements. Choli reconstruction
2/7/11: Veil practice for troupe, work on sections for solo
2/8/11: Troupe practice, partial costuming. On video.
2/9/11: Veil practice for troupe, work on sections for solo
2/10/11: 2 hours class, fun solo drum solos! Add ideas about focusing on arm work
2/11/11: Veil practice for troupe, solo practice in partial costume
2/12/11: Veil practice for troupe, solo practice - focus on arms/energy/extension
2/13/11: Practice for show
2/14/11: Practice for show, sew
2/15/11: Troupe practice for show, run solos for each other
2/16/11: Practice for show, sew
2/17/11: 2 hours of class, focus on technique
2/18/11: Practice for show, try not to let input from Thur class get in the way, no time to integrate most of that now, revisit next week
2/19/11: Run sets for show, finish costuming, performances
2/20/11: Yoga, finally!
2/21/11: Yoga
2/22/11: Yoga
2/23/11: Yoga
2/24/11: Tribal Con, Arrival: I Like Thinking Critically About Bellydance and I'm happy I got up to do yoga before my flight
2/25/11: Tribal Con, Day 1: My Zills Stink or John Compton has been playing zills longer than I've been alive and I want to incorporate them more in my dancing
2/26/11: Tribal Con, Day 2: Oh Boy I Need to Practice More or thank the gods for Yoga Toes
2/27/11: Tribal Con, Day Three: The Ass Kicking or yes, I will hang in there to the bitter end
2/28/11: Yoga, sweet yoga

Defeat the Beast

So, the 365 Days of Practice are going well. I need to update February, and I did miss one day in March so far. I'm pretty proud that my reaction was, "Whatever, I'll deal and get back on it tomorrow." That's a great reaction for me, because I like to stick with things I start and tend to be really hard on myself when I "fail", which is a pointless reaction because it's not failing if I miss a day and it's not the end of the world. Perhaps I had a better reaction because I knew I'd be getting back on the horse the next day. Perhaps it's because I missed practice because I had a fabulous time having a long dinner and evening of conversation with an old friend, which was way more important than that day's practice.

On the other hand, I think the regular practice is making me have a change in attitude about my physical body. I think I am having some sort of split between my body and brain, but in a necessary way. The other day I was thinking about my natural tendency to be lazy, to want to sit around and do nothing, to indulge my food whims. Then I thought about how good I felt at TribalCon, dancing and working and being on my feet (and sometimes other body parts) for hours, eating for pleasure and because I needed it. Sore but not totally wiped out, ready to start again the next day, ready to dance for fun at night.

I thought about how different are our modern needs nutritionally, physically and mentally compared to how our bodies have evolved to survive. Then this short phrase popped into my mind: my body wants to eat, spawn* and die. It wants to do what it has to to keep moving, pass on my genetic material as long and as much as it can, and that's about it. My body is capable of a lot physically, but it wants to do the minimum to get the work done.

The outcome of this thought process was this: I need to be a lot harder on my body. I'm not saying to hate myself or hurt myself or punish myself. I need to tell my body to suck it up, that we're dealing with modern times and my modern brain and it isn't going to get what it wants. My brain needs to have some control or my body is going to go to hell. The result of indulging all the laziness and sloth is pain, atrophy, ill health and frustration. Sure, I want to nurture my body, pamper it and treat it well, but nurturing cannot slide into excuses. Nurturing is an "also", not an "instead of." I need to get my brain more on board, too. I know what I should do, I know how I should eat and how much exercise I need and my brain needs to drop the excuses and learn to love the work. When I'm active and pushing myself and learning my brain feels better too.

So, things I am working on:

* Cooking healthier foods and acknowledging that enjoyment of food is necessary but that it is also fuel, and not every meal needs to be a huge production or an indulgent treat. When food is special, make it special so that the whole experience is set apart. Also, eat more raw veggies.

* Making sure my practice sessions are at least 30 minutes

* Getting up earlier so I can practice in the morning so I know it is taken care of for the day. Also, that way I can practice again later if I want, or do other physical things: gardening, walking, classes. This is the tough one, especially the days I work late. It's going to be gradual, so it might not happen soon but I'm working on it.

* Deepening my practices by approaching them on many levels. Not just doing the moves, but focusing on breathing, expression, tension, emotion, intention, control, speed, etc.

* Make downtime special. Don't have downtime because I get sucked into messing around online for hours. Acknowledge when it is happening so that it feels intentional and valid, not "wasted" time. It's okay to spend an afternoon sitting on the couch reading or blogging or whatever, but make it happen, not let it happen. And don't forget to make sure it happens, or else I'll burn out.

* I don't address any of the "spawning" things here because I'm childfree. Yep, sometimes my body says "Gogogo!" and my brains says, "Are you sure you're not making a mistake?", but it's not in the cards for me. The only thing I regret about my decision is for my parents sake, but at least my brother has kids.