IMG_0339It was like something out of the Mists of Avalon, all the way up through the Inside Passage into Glacier Bay of Alaska, gorgeous rolling mists and fog. This mountain reminded me of my mental picture of the Tor in Avalon, which (as I just learned while looking up the right spelling of ‘Tor”) actually exists. I thought it was fictional! We were on a cruise ship of course – line of choice, Holland America. We are now two-star members!

The sun broke through for one of the few sunny days of their summer at both the Johns Hopkins Glacier and again the next port of call at Ketchikan. We did a lot of walking on deck, and a lot of reading – reading in the Thermal Suite on heated benches, and reading in the ship board library and coffee shop (see photo below). I got through two Isabel Dalhousie books and at least one of the Corduroy Mansion series. (Have you read any Alexander McCall Smith books? My new catch phrase is now “what would Isabel do?)

We also played scrabble in the coffee bar, something we haven’t done for years. I remembered why: I tend to win, making my husband work harder than he’d like to. Oh yes and the other main activity was eating. I heard more than one woman sigh blissfully at the start of our trip: no cooking and cleaning up for a week! A cruise really is the woman’s vacation.

And then it was home and back to work the next day (except my work feels like play) and starting back with Nia and the routine Awake. And I have two new routines to play with: Soul, which features Native American music and the 52 moves of Nia, and Fly with its fun dance-y music and the five sensations of Nia (FAMSS): flexibility, agility, mobility, strength and stability. And it looks like the year’s new routines will be out very soon! I love getting new routines because I have the opportunity to be a beginner. Yes, even though I’m a seasoned Nia instructor, when I have a new combination to learn I am like any beginner as my brain figures out the Neuromuscular Integrative Action (NIA) or new to me move.

I’m also starting a new study focus this year with Katy Bowman’s Restorative Exercise™ program. I have been interested in this for a long time, I actually realized that this kind of alignment was a big attraction when I was studying yoga (especially my teacher’s training).  I decided to offer alignment classes after being asked by several different people for stretches and alignment help with uterine prolapse, incontinence, herniated lumbar disks and sacral pain. Not all the same person, thankfully. But problems are not usually isolated. My acupuncturist shared that about half the women she sees have pelvic floor problems.

What I’m finding as I make myself my first student, is that alignment-wise, I’m in not as good a shape as I thought because I’m hyper-mobile and I’ve (probably) been using the space in and around  my joints for flexibility and mobility rather than my muscles. And I sort of knew this but loved how Katy Bowman put it:

People who are hyper-mobile actually have poor muscle flexibility. And stretching is difficult because these folks don’t *feel* anything in a stretch because they open the joints — not the muscles.

So, my calves and hamstring muscles are tighter than I realized and as I do the exercises to stretch them properly, I can see a difference in my abdominal muscles, which is why, even though I gained a few pounds on vacation, I feel more streamlined.

So, anyway I am getting my head around having tight muscles in my legs. Well, all of me, actually I think because I do too much sitting, especially computer work. You’ve heard the big new ‘dis-ease’ is the sitting disease, right? Which is why I’m now going to stand and do some movement. I’ll be keeping you updated on my progress with Restorative Exercise.

IMG_0364 photo - Deborah

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