Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The New Workout

I don't usually give endorsements, but I will say this...TapOut XT is not only the first workout I wanted to puke half way through, but it's the first one where not only could I not complete the Ab workout, it's the first one I didn't make it 5 minutes into it. 

Either I am ridiculously out of shape (which is possible) or holy balls this workout is hardcore. Definitely harder than the other 90 day workout I did and I love that it works in strikes even in the Ab workout! We'll have to see how it goes as I try to get back into shape. 

It's been hard lately as my sleep schedule has been more and more irregular and I'm not sure these new meds are working right, but it is what it is. Roll with the punches and keep going! At least I have my little man as my coach. No seriously, this toddler can yell like he is a drill sergeant! Heck, as soon as he got down from his chair afterward, the boy was doing push ups and hitting his punching bag. Mommy's little warrior!

175 pounds

Friday, October 5, 2012

Big Things In The Works

So I wanted to put out there that I have a couple of projects in the works at the moment, so this blog (and even my workouts, unfortunately) have kind of taken a back seat. Things are stressful at work, but I'm trying to ride it out, though my sanity is being tested, I think.

Outside of that, I have two projects in the final phases, one project in the "research" phase, as well as another project that is starting from the top down. This last one specifically deals with turning our small online group called Pagans Against Sexual and Domestic Violence into a full fledged working group of active volunteers in their local community (and eventual 501(c)3). The webspace has been purchased, the symbol is pretty much done, and we're discussing volunteer ideas so if anyone is interested, feel free to do a search for the group "Pagans Against Sexual and Domestic Violence" on facebook (though I will warn, those with a history of violence need not apply nor will you be tolerated).

As things become completed, I'll definitely be updating (if only to make sure this blog doesn't get neglected). Eventually I hope to get back into my heavier workout focus, but for now - I'm scratching things off my bucket list and holding on for dear life!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

"May I ask how you incorporate physical 'warriorness' in your life this day and age?"

Original Entry Oct 29, 2006

Another interesting question posed to me. This comes from a Yahoo group specifically focusing on the Morrigan (Irish Goddess of War, Lust and Death). Questions like this in a group that is, in essense, dedicated to war always makes me raise my eyebrow in confusion.

Question to me:

May I ask how you incorporate physical "warriorness" in your life this day and age?

And what would you say to someone who was called to this path who is not so into violence, let alone combat. there is little opportunity to change things for the better by fists alone, you're more likely to be sued for assault.

My response:

A warrior is one who is prepared for physical confrontation at a moments notice, but does not necessarily walk into one hoping it will happen. They are one who has the focus and courage should the need arise in such a situation. Hand to hand combat and weapons training can come from any martial arts form.

One who is a warrior doesn't have a need for violence or fighting, but knows how to fight when needed. When physical confrontation arises they know how to act...not react.

In my experience, it is the politicians that start the dispute and the warriors that end it.

Not all are called to warrior status...there were the farmers, the bards, the seers, ect. Not all are called to be a warrior first and foremost, but, in a specifically Celtic sense, all were trained, including the women (or so the Romans have written).

My question is...how can a Goddess of war be useful to someone who is appalled by the very thought and nature of war?

175 pounds

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Pre-workout Meditation

So I've begun applying the ADF Two Powers "focus" to my personal meditation, but my meditation is not at all passive. My meditation of choice is quite the opposite as it is part of my "physical training." My issue, and it's not uncommon I have come to find, is that I am not a fan of "quiet" and "sitting" meditation. I'm not a fan of my rituals being that way either so there is at least some form of movement in my personal rites in order to help gather energy. I guess growing up in a noisy house where one couldn't even sleep without the TV on, I've become accustomed to that.

As I consider myself first and foremost on the warrior path, my pre-training ritual is to take a second to acknowledge my patron, The Morrígan. I do consider my training part of my worship to Her. I have found an easy way to incorporate the ideal of the Two Powers (fire/deity and water/ancestors) in conjunction with my original ritual. I do light a candle specifically for The Morrígan, but now I'm incorporating two more candles. To use a candle to also represent water may seem counter intuitive, but the flame always seems to help me focus and clear my mind.

I've found a comfortable visualization for myself. Lighting the Water/Ancestors candle I picture myself standing in a stream as the ancients fight around me, blood being spilled mixing with the water and that energy flowing up through my feet. While focusing on the Fire/Deity candle, I picture the "fire in the head" and see a glow from mine out to the air around me where the deities are watching from afar, then visualize their energy radiating back in. Both energies meet in the center as I light The Morrígan candle.

This process takes about a minute to begin, but holding on to that visualization can be difficult. I do, however, find that it truly helps me focus on my full body and focused breathing on that centered energy. Granted, there is a struggle, but I can at least hold on to the feeling at the beginning of the work out. Next step is seeing how long I can keep it as my workouts last around an hour.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Checking In...

Hey there all -

So I haven't forgotten about this blog. In fact, it's always in the back of my mind. I've just been busy with other projects that I'll definitely share when they're ready. I've been dealing with my thyroid issues along with finding out I have lots of other "low levels," so I'm on a bunch of supplements. I'm trying to get back to "working" condition, but I won't lie, my energy levels aren't even close to normal.

On the plus side, I fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans and some of my rings are fitting the way they used to before I was pregnant. It's nice to see the results of the work I have been able to do. At least I know the meds helped get that jump started.

I have plenty of ideas for blogs, so stay tuned. When I have the energy to focus on more than one project, I'll be back with the next installment of "My Mommy The Pagan Warrior."

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Bare Knuckles

You would think, as someone interested in the martial arts, that the martial arts workout for the week would be something I would be interested in. Yea, that would make sense. Unfortunately, this is more of what I would call "aerobic martial arts." Don't get me wrong, I actually do enjoy it, but the simple fact is that if you had no other training and you expected anything that you do in this workout to be practical, you would have your ass handed to you before you got the first punch out. I think I figured out how to make it worthwhile though and that has me somewhat more optimistic about doing it.

Today, I knew I really wanted to get on my punching bag again. I had let it slip since I started The X-Factor workouts because I wanted to follow the program as closely as possible. Well, my unofficial A.D.D. has kicked in and it was time to mix it up. While I love wailing on my bag, it doesn't keep me motivated for any length of time past about ten minutes. This prompted me to mix my bag with the "aerobic martial arts."

As I began with the simple combos to start, I quickly realized that at the steady pace we were going, I could focus on how I was punching. Granted, I wasn't going full force as to burn myself out (I did need to be able to last for an hour), but I could focus on my knuckle placement. This was ultimately the best part of the workout for me.

Anyone who has taken any kind of boxing or martial art which teaches you to punch, the instructor has hopefully explained to you the importance of knuckle placement when you strike. It can make the difference between hurting you and hurting your target. Two things always need to be considered when striking - knuckle placement and a strong wrist. Either one of these things get left out and you're likely to break your hand or your wrist, which could leave you useless for the rest of your fight.

As not to confuse anyone, though Krav Maga tends to focus on palm striking as to avoid the possibility of these injuries, I'm still a fan of boxing and therefore do focus on boxing combinations when working with my bag. Being able to utilize this time to have a "focused" bag routine was great and I know that "muscle memory" was helped with the time today. I solely focused specifically on knuckle placement as opposed to force and I definitely felt good by the end. In fact, that proof was written all over my knuckles when my workout was done. Some may shudder at the sight of bright red knuckles, but I love it. It's proof that I was working hard and doing it right.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Say No To Yoga

I've joked on and off about my disdain for yoga. I can see it a as helpful meditation tool for some or as a way to stretch out before or after a long work out for others. What I can't understand is using it as a fat burning workout. Blame my (figuratively speaking) ADHD or perhaps I have an outdated mindset on working out, but I'm pretty sure you have to be active in order to burn calories.

These last few weeks I've begun a new workout routine and my hubby is actually doing it with me. Because I don't want to fall into the trap of becoming a PR person for this particular workout I'll refer to it as "The X Factor." The X Factor workouts range in time frame from 45 minutes to an hour and a half depending on the workout for the day. Can you guess which one takes an hour and a half? Yup, my favorite, the yoga. Why does it take so long? Because The X Factor tries to guarantee a specific calorie burn per workout and yoga ain't gonna do it in an hour (probably not even in two hours at the high rate of burn they advertise).

Anyway, these last few weeks I've been "bulking up" a bit more than I intended so I have begun looking at the workout to make it more cardio heavy with some weight training, where as it was about 50/50 cardio to weights. With the more cardio intensive side I decided to try the full yoga workout for the first time as I had been substituting other workouts before. Well, I can tell you, it's official. I HATE yoga!

There is nothing about it that gets me excited. From the breathing, to the downward dog and from the Namaste to the Vinyasa - the art of yoga can bite me. I have little patience for a workout that is stationary, doesn't get my heart rate up and drives me nuts with the earthy musical tones in the background. When I want to work out, I want to feel the burn as the sweat drips from my pores. I want my legs moving and I want my muscles flexing. I want to feel like I'm accomplishing something. Yoga just doesn't cut it.

I will say though, with this new workout routine, while it's not as focused on fighting as is usually my preference, it definitely has me focused on taking the time to clear my head and make it a true "meditation time." This is my time to think about one thing only, the betterment of me. I try to start with a short acknowledgement of my training for An Morrigan. During water breaks, I also take a second to acknowledge her and during the workout itself I focus on my breathing, my movements, and clear my mind. It's very hard for me to be passive in anything I do to include my workout which is my meditation.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Strong Female Character

Inspired by a recent conversation I began to look for pictures to put together a semi-"shrine" in my workout area to make a space that reflects the devotional act to which my workouts are sometimes intended. I began looking for pictures of women that I consider strong, but that I can personally identify with. This lead me on a search for strong female characters in movies and television. After going through a simple Google search I was able to find some great pictures that I'll be adding to my wall once I can get them printed out. Of course, this same search also brought up a bevy of articles that caught my attention. One in particular is ‘Tough, Cold, Terse, Taciturn and Prone to Not Saying Goodbye When They Hang Up the Phone’.

The author might be shocked to know that there are indeed women just like the author so vaguely describes in her "cliché" definition; women who know how to fight, carry guns, are professional soldiers or warrior types and yet, are still most definitely women. Last I checked, the only thing that one needed to biologically be a woman was a vagina and a lack of a Y chromosome. I understand the author's issue is with the phrase "strong female characters" and the implication that said characters are basically vapid "monomaniacal gloomy ninjas with commitment issues." Now that could be a decent argument if the next example of such a character wasn't Natalie Portman in "No Strings Attached." Last I checked she wasn't an action hero to which the sentence prior focuses on and there is a wide leap from characters who are predominantly physically inclined to kick ass and a skinny commitmentphobic love interest in a dramady.

Drawing specific attention to the aforementioned "cliché" the author is basically stating that the term "strong female character" addresses these characters as having the "gendered behavior taken out" and yet misses that the "masculine" traits to which she points to are just as ingrained in many females as they are in males. Society dictated what is "manly" and what is "girly," not nature. And apparently she hasn't read the story about the tough female cop that single-handedly took down a gunman that killed 12 people? Or read about the grandmother who refused to be a victim and had no qualms about shooting the man breaking into her house? Or been on the other end of a phone call for help where a mother of four stares down a gang of five teens threatening two other young boys that came to her for help because she is the mom in the complex you don't mess with (this would be personal experience). These types of women are most definitely real and their actions are most definitely the characteristics of a strong woman.

The author seems to think that the actions of these "monomaniacal ninjas" from the movies aren't relatable or even real examples of women. I say they are a direct reflection of real women and the actions that they take every day. The author may not be comfortable with that fact and think these characters would be more interesting if they embraced their "girlishness." I say that this is art finally imitating an example of women too long overlooked. Women have had to be "ladies" for far too long and those who weren't became the "antagonist" or "bitch" of the story. It's about damn time they were the main characters and heroes!

In the immortal words of one of the strongest female characters on TV today, "Nothing gets in the way of me taking care of my family, especially my conscience." Gemma Teller, Sons of Anarchy