New Year, New Dude, New US?

Since it’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I’ll also remind folks of an older post with a photo of The Rev. Dr. King on a bicycle. Thanks to the pandemic, there was no rally with speakers and then march. I’ve attended them on an off over the years here in Austin and was at a huge gathering and march after the police killings of George Floyd, Breona Taylor and other Black people. I was fortunate to be able to participate in some Black Lives Matter protests last summer and a pair of Black History Bicycle Rides.

Even though this blog is mostly about biking and my other fitness pursuits, I feel strongly about the evils of racism and have written about them before. It must really piss off the white supremacists that it’s a federal holiday. King was assassinated by one of their ilk on April 4, 1968. As they say, SAY HIS NAME! and, Presente! It boggles the mind that almost 53 years later the US (if not the world) is having a resurgence of racial hatred. Education is key and perhaps with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, we will have better role models than the outgoing asterisk president. Adios, Tinyhands Orangehead, ya big loser!

With no rally and march, I continued my daily activities. Biking less has allowed me more time for other things. It’s as good a time as any to do a quick check-in about what I’m up to both on and off the bike.

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How Yoga With Adriene’s 30-Day Program Can Help Start or Improve Your Yoga

Each January Austin, Texas yoga teacher Adriene (Mishler) — personal friend of mine (a quote from somewhere, though I did meet her once) — puts out a themed set of videos for the New Year. Smartly capitalizing on the resolution crowd, she also uses the opportunity to earn more adherents. With 9,000,000 followers now on her YouTube channel, Yoga With Adriene, clearly she has a recipe for success. During the coronavirus global pandemic, even more people are turning to stress-reducing practices and at-home fitness. Whether you currently have a practice like old A Dude Abikes here (seven years every day as of this past Christmas), used to but quit yoga due to lockdowns, or maybe have always wanted to try it, well, I recommend you give young Ms. Mishler’s current program — BREATH – A 30-Day Yoga Journey — a try. I’ll tell you why I am doing it, and why you’ll be glad you did if you do, too.

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7 Years of My Consecutive Daily Yoga Practice

It’s Christmas Day here in Austin, Texas, USA. And you know what that means for this Jewd (Jewish + Dude = Jewd — Trademark me!): Another year of daily 30 minutes (or more) of yoga has come to a close, and another begins. Lucky number seven. Yoga is second nature to me now, but in those first days and weeks, I didn’t know how long I would continue, or if it would stick at all. I was just taking it a day at a time, and in a way, I still do. But it has stuck (sort of like my sticky mat), for over 2,500 days, which is nothing short of a miracle for A Dude. Which needs replacing, and Harry Hanukkah and that other guy with the red suit didn’t bring me one… again. Sigh… deep breath in, deep breath out. But given my other streaks in biking, walking and writing, all that yoga is no small thing and deserves some recognition, I think you’ll agree.

Here’s what I wrote about today’s event in my Strava fitness app notes:

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The Heart of the Matter

It was the end of a cool autumn day, and I was sitting on my yoga mat. I thought back to the morning (albeit late morning); my ablutions were complete and I got out on my daily constitutional. (That means walk for those not in the American South.) Walking is good for the heart, I thought, and then I remembered that I was supposed to have some heart tests this year. They were too expensive without insurance, so I didn’t have the tests. What with the pandemic and not getting younger, I’ve been wrestling with the beast that is U.S. health insurance (and losing). So after my walk, I read some stuff on the internet and called some people.

On one of those calls, I got some bad news from a friend, a colleague, really. They were pretty ill, but getting through it. Although I wasn’t raised to pray to a deity, this person was and has a good heart; I’ve always admired their sunny disposition. I’ve also known some Quakers and always appreciated their practice of sitting in silence, and their concept of “holding someone in the light.” So tonight after my bike ride and daily yoga, I flipped my Insight Meditation Timer app over to meditate and chose a five-minute one about compassion in honor of my friend. Usually I wait until I’m hitting the hay to meditate, so I tend to pass out before it’s done, or it doesn’t make much of an impact. Today, for some reason, it stuck with me.

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My Yogaversary Began 7 Years Ago Today, but My History With Yoga Goes Way Back

December 4, 2013 is when I started to do yoga every day. On the 23rd and 24th of that year, I was recovering from a minor medical test and was too out of it to practice. So nowadays I count the beginning date of my streak as December 25. And it was the starting of it all that was of utmost importance. “A journey of 1,000 steps begins with one,” Confucius said. What’s interesting to me, and hopefully to you, Dear Reader, is reflecting back on how it all began — my introduction to yoga and the ensuing years since. Why do I do it so religiously (especially since in most other senses, I’m an agnostic atheist)? Why did it take so long for me to develop a regular practice? What does it mean to me and do for me? And am I as bendy as Phoebe Buffet claims she is to Chandler on Friends?

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2,500 Consecutive Days of Yoga: Streaking Towards 7 Years

Back on May 30, 2019, I wrote a post titled 2,000 Consecutive Days of Yoga: Oh Yes, I Did It! Now I’ve come to another round number, over a year later. As of October 28, 2020 (my mother’s birthday — congratulations to her for her milestone!), I completed 2,500 days of yoga in a row. I began on December 6, 2013, but since I had to take two days off a few weeks later, my true anniversary is Christmas Day. I didn’t begin tracking it until several years later with Insight Meditation Timer. It took many years after spending a summer at a yoga center, but I finally developed a regular yoga practice and somehow, miraculously, have stuck with it. Starting streaks and maintaining them is kinda what we do here at A Dude Abikes, so grab your sticky mat and stick with me while we talk about my sticking with yoga.

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Why Are Exercises Called Activit-Ease When They’re So Hard?

I joke, but it’s true. Exercise is work. That’s why it’s called a work out. Used to be, you could only do it outside. Then some lazy people said let’s invent air conditioning, and then the exercise fanatics said let’s work in. But that term never caught on so they called them Jim Nayseeums. To not embarrass their founder, they spelled it differently, to make people think it was the Greeks. Oh, I’m just being told that is really was the Greeks. Never mind.

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What Should You Do When You Hit an Exercise Plateau?

You’ve heard the term. It’s when, despite your best efforts, to improve your [insert exercise – in my case, biking, walking and yoga], you don’t get any better. It’s frustrating. You may want to take an extended break, or even quit. No one would blame you if you did. All that effort seemingly gone up in smoke. I’m no sports psychologist, though I certainly touch on it since it is a big part of the point of this blog is to try to inspire other older, overweight or just less active folks to try doing more. So let’s examine this whole plateau notion, shall we? Well, not in whole, just a few parts. As always, consult a medical professional before doing anything risky for you.

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124 Consecutive Days of Bicycling… and Counting

After a couple of days off the bicycle, I began riding daily on October 11, 2019. Every day since then, I’ve mounted my trusty steel steed Sophie, the Fairdale Weekender Archer to go places. Some days just a few miles were traversed; most days it’s closer to 20 miles, and a few even more. There have been no true rest days, as I am still walking and doing yoga daily, and now I’ve added an occasional lap swimming into the mix. It’s all rather exhausting, even if a particular ride isn’t taxing. The cumulative effect seems to be taking its toll. What’s A Dude with no car and #BikeGoals to do? Take the bus? Pshaw!

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2,191 Days (6 Years) of Daily Yoga Practice 12/6/19: Let’s Twist Again, Like We Did Last Summer

December 6 may be the most special day of the year for me, right after my birthday and of course Festivus. But seriously, it’s very important, because it’s when I celebrate my yogaversary. My as yet unbroken daily yoga habit started as a challenge from my sister-in-law in 2013. Then it became a test to see if I could keep going. In turn it transmogrified into a streak (as in #DontBreakTheChain). Now it’s a non-negotiable. But there’s really just one basic point: I just do yoga every day.

Pretty simple. All the other words I have, could and will say about it pale in comparison to that simple phrase. The additional descriptions are so much chatter in the mind. And maybe therein lies a deeper truth about the practice: it changes you, but in subtle ways, and at a body level so that talking about it doesn’t even really get to the point. It’s a feeling. If you do it you know, but if you don’t, you ought to try it – you might like it, even if it’s not daily.

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