Triggered by Steve

I started something new in this January. Steve, a consultant from our vendor at work, told me how he'd been into Bikram Yoga when he worked on site last year. He takes a class everyday. He was not chubby to begin with, but now he's very lean. I have never been physically active in any means in my whole life. I can tell I'm the last person to go to a gym in the whole planet. I have no interest in so it called sports and exercise, either playing or watching. But I had a reason to think of yoga...

Last fall, I was moving some pots to get ready for winter in the yard. Those pots were not so heavy regardless their sizes. 10 minutes later carrying the second pot, I couldn't even stand up. Sharp pains ran on the spine. Sadly, this was not the first time. I've had a back problem since my early twenties. Whenever I had the problem since I came to the US, I did some stretching the bodywork doctor, whom I used to see in Japan, told me. They ease the pain by loosening the strained muscle and align the spine. My back needed more muscle to support the spine and keep it in place all the time. It's not easy to build muscle on the back. I still didn't want to go to a gym. I thought yoga might work for me.

At the first class, I saw Neil, my neighbor, at the studio. He has a knee problem. He said yoga had been helping him. The heat was not much challenge to me since I grew up in a sort of tropical weather, but the poses were. My body was not ready for them at all. Neil told me to have a lot of water and rest after the class. He also added that I would tell Chad he told me to do so. That was exactly what I did that day. For the next couple of weeks, I was besties with the body ache.

There is one thing Steve never told me about Bikram Yoga: the smell
It was a quite challenge to me to stay in the studio because of that. The first three months, I got sick quite often. Shirley asked me how I liked the yoga. I answered honestly, "I don't like it, but I have to continue." She tried to help me to look at the positive side, "But don't you feel good after class?" "No I feel sick." She is like a mother to me, so I sometimes whine in front of her. ... Since then, when I see her on weekend, she asks me with grinning "How was your yoga class?"

We do the same 26 poses in every class. It is very hard to do them correctly and perfectly. So, we listen to our teachers and keep trying. Sometimes, I catch teacher's words I'd been missing. Sometimes, things just click between my body and mind. The way to breath, shift the body weight, the order to construct poses, and timings of all make poses easy and hard. Listening the body is as important as listening to teacher's instructions. When you cannot do one pose, you break it down to steps and complete one by one. This process is like a physical therapy. There is still a long way ahead of me. The body reacts differently in every class. It is pretty interesting how your diet, sleep, daily routines and some exceptions affect your body differently.

By the way, my favorite pose is the Savasana, aka dead body pose. This is an exactly my kind of pose. It is to adjust breathing, heart rate, and relax the body. Can I just lay down and meditate sweating in a hot room for 90 minutes like that instead of 26 of them?

I had some back problems earlier this year, but I haven't had one since summer. There is a series of poses focuse on the back in class. Yoga is working. I feel some muscle on the lower back when I do the Locust pose. I'm glad I didn't quit. It also helps me to build some muscle on the thighs which I need for horse back riding. At this point, I've got to keep going. I cannot lose what I've gotten over my laziness.

Then Spin-off... as Usual

Stuff for yoga is hard to fit in one bag because of a yoga mat. I didn't want to carry around either a huge bag or multiple bags. After looking for my ideal yoga bag for a while, I decided to make one.

As always, I have a very supportive supervisor. She is good at telling me when I need to take a break... with her.

At this point, I didn't know how long I would last with Bikram yoga. I might decide to try a different type of yoga. So, I designed to make sure no matter what type of yoga I practice, the bag could carry everything I need for class - a mat, a belt, blocks, towels, a water bottle, fresh cloths for after class, a wallet and keys.

I found fabric I got for pillows a little while ago in the closet. I was thinking wide cotton webbing for the straps, but no one carried it in dark brown near by. Some found left over brown fabric would do it. I put thick interface to the straps, but they were still not sturdy enough. They also looked too plain. So, I layered with the same color rough texture ribbon. They were not as thick as webbing, but strong enough for straps.

I put interface to each piece to give the bag a body. The bottom seemed to be sagging, so super thick interface was added.

The liner was attached. A zipper to cover the contents. I left the sides of the cover open on purpose, so the inside of the bag gets aired. Everything for class is in the bag. There was still room in the bag. The mat is attached to the side of the bag. There is a pocket on the other side. Thus, my yoga bag project completed.

Once it was finished, I noticed that this could be used as a beach bag or a picnic bag. You can put a beach towel or a blanket on the side instead of a yoga mat. No sand or dirt would be in the bag. The bag is big enough to carry lunch, snack, drink (of course a wine bottle or two and glasses), sunscreen and books or magazines.

When I showed the picture of the bag to Youssef, he suggested to put it on Etsy. "Just put it up and see what happens." I was not so excited with the idea. It seemed a lot to do. A little while later, I thought I might enjoy doing this when I get retired. It might not be a bad idea to check the water.

I made some bags and some table runners. Table runners are the things hard to find what I really like and they tend to be too short for my dining table. Especially short ones look silly on a table. So, I started making ones a couple years ago. I thought somebody might have the same problem. The selection of fabric is totally my taste, something I would use for my home. I don't care about the trend so much. It's more important those things make you feel the space your place, your home.

It was fun to set up a shop at Etsy. I wanted the shop to interact with this blog, my life style. I designed the logo having that idea in my mind. I am not committed to heavily involved to the shop right now since I have some other things I'm interested. So, I'll add more stuff as I get a chance to produce. All proceeds go to charities of my choice;

The list might grow over time, but these are in my mind so far.

Thankfully, some people added some of my items as their favorites. Since the shop stats shows who added the items to their favorites, I sometimes check what kind of things they like. Some people have similar tastes as mine. Some have totally different one. It is fun to learn about them. Thus, my shop, Smitten Home Needle is quietly open.

Cooking and baking are also big part of my life as a foodie, but I'm not comfortable selling food on line. This shop carries fabric items and possibly some craft items. For baked goods, I already have an idea, which was also suggested by somebody at work. I generally do things just for fun, so it is interesting how people suggest me to turn them into businesses. It takes some time to make this happen.

My not-so-determined resolutions are almost making it to the end of the year. Let's see how far they would go.