Friday, February 9, 2018

I Tried Aerial Yoga So You Don't Have To

One of my resolutions this year is to try (more) new things. So I decided to give aerial yoga a try. It was...hard and not at all what I thought it was going to be. First, I've been doing yoga for a couple of years now. It's not my most favorite workout, but I L-O-V-E a good stretch. If yoga consisted of only stretching without all the poses and twisting, it would definitely be my number one. Second, aerial yoga is not offered at my regular gym so I went to an actual local yoga studio where I knew no one including the instructor. So right out of the gate I'm feeling uncomfortable and nothing is familiar.

Luckily, there were only two other yogis in class that night and of course the instructor. For most of the class I felt a little spastic. While the other two girls seemed to have control of their hammock and body, I often struggled to stay facing the front of the room and was flailing about for a solid portion of the hour. I wasn't a complete failure. I kept up with class and did as I was told, but maybe just not as gracefully. It was my first time after all.

There was one pose that reminded me of Spider Man. The one with Toby Maguire. When he lowers himself down, upside-down and kisses Mary-Jane played by Kirsten Dunst.

This is the pose we did. I was swaying a little and felt the need to drop my hands to the floor often. This however is not a photo from our class. Click the photo for the source.

One complaint that I have about this type of practice is I didn't walk away from the class having felt stretched or relaxed for that matter. Since I was a child, I have been involved in activities where stretching is part of the sport (i.e. gymnastics, dance, cheer etc.). So I've been abnormally flexible my whole life. In the aerial class, we never got into any deep stretches, so I missed that.

At the end of class you lay in your hammock for Savasana, all cocooned and squished up. Here are the two problems I had with that. One, a tight enclosed space is not my friend. Two, my hammock smelled like stale perspiration from yogis past. Not relaxing at all. Although, at the beginning of Savasana, the instructor crawled under each of us and gave us a short back massage and I DID like that. By the time it was time to say 'Namaste' and bow to the instructor, I was facing the back of the room again.

So as I was laying there I was internally struggling with myself. I really wanted someone to take a picture of me so that I would have physical proof that I tried it and that I was there. So I kept telling myself, "Just ask the instructor, it's not like you're going to come back here anyway. Explain to her that you want it for your blog, she will understand." But at the end of class we all started to clean up and I just didn't have the nerve to ask her to snap me in one of the poses. I'll have to get one at the next class I try.

The next day, I was sore. My right oblique was super sore and the surface of my hip bones still feel bruised from some of the poses we did where we had the hammock across our pelvis and we were putting our weight on it. It still feels a little tender.

I know I haven't said too many positive things about the class, but I didn't hate it. I would try it again just to see if it is something that you have to do more than once to like or if it really isn't my type of practice. If you are thinking about trying, you should! 

Susan "Namaste In Regular Yoga" B.

Monday, January 22, 2018

New York City Birthday Day 3

Day three of my New York City birthday was a little more low-key. I enjoyed each day for different reasons. Day one was all about learning and seeing as much as possible. Day two was all about my birthday and the parade and the Rockettes and day three was about stepping outside of the concrete jungle and into Central Park. We escaped  just outside The Big City and I felt like I could breathe.
This sign was across the street from our hotel.
 I needed to get the obligatory Time Square selfie.
 One of my besties, Diana, bought me the first season of Game of Thrones for Christmas in 2015. Sadly, it sat and collected dust on my dresser for a year and a half. Out of boredom one night, I decided to watch the first episode. I wasn't exactly "hooked', but I was curious. So, I hesitantly continued to watch. The more I watched, the more enthralled I became! Now, I can't believe I waited so long to devour and digest the story.
 So when we walked past the HBO building on our way to the New York City Library and I saw this window display, I had to take a few photos.
This is just outside the New York City Library. Inside, the original Winnie the Pooh stuffed animals that inspired A.A. Milne's stories about the silly 'ole bear and friends, live inside a class cage in the children's section. Many a movie were filmed in one of the study rooms. The library itself is huge and old and really, really beautiful.
 The Chrysler Building
 My mom and I took a long walk through Central Park. It was such a contrast after spending two days amid the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple. Since it was fall, we were enveloped in gold, orange and red colors. Very impressive.

This is the Alice in Wonderland statue. It was my goal to see it. The story is near and dear to me and has been one of my favorites since I was a little girl. I first saw the statue in the movie, Remember Me (2010). Luckily, we entered the park not too far from the statue.

I don't know what this area is called, but I swear, I've seen it in movies. Speaking of which. Not pictured, my mom and I walked down that iconic walkway that is in every movie ever made. The one lined with park benches and trees canopy over them. Stunning.
 Standing in front of the mothership. Just before this photo was snapped, I peed on the Trump Tower building which is next door. Well, technically, I peed in the bathroom, but in spirit, I peed on the building. I couldn't do it outside the front door, because there was a security man with a giant gun. Lame. I really wanted to eat at Serendipity, however, the wait was over an hour and half long and we didn't have that kind of time. We ended up going to Bloomingdales and eating at a crazy delicious burger restaurant called, Flip.

All in all, the weekend was one of the funnest times I've had. We can't wait to go back and see more because it just can't be done in three days.

Susan "Curiouser And Curiouser" B.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

New York City Birthday

While everyone in North America was celebrating Thanksgiving Day, my mom and I were celebrating my day of birth. We had a lovely breakfast at a local restaurant and then walked up the New York block to watch the famous Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. I had a panic attack that you can read about here. Once we escaped the crowd back to the top to the street that we started on, we found a place to stand among some very nice people who took pity on me, the crying, on the verge of hyper ventilating birthday girl. Seriously, there were some very sympathetic individuals in attendance of the parade that day. A wonderful British woman who had a camera set up, talked to me and even called me "brave" for going to the parade. She offered to let me stand next to her and let me find all my escape routes. Another older gentleman let my mom stand next me even though his wife kept complaining that she couldn't see.

The parade was not my favorite. To be honest, I think parades are kind of boring. No offense to New York City or Macy's. I was really hoping there would be a Bart Simpson balloon, sadly there wasn't. 

 I kept an eye on that police officer in the lower right hand corner. Just in case my panic attack revisited, I wanted a man of the law to help me.
 Our view wasn't too bad.
 This is the photo I snapped after my panic attack, however, I want to point out the decorative button that I sported that day. It reads, "Happy Birthday To Me". I bought it myself from Party City for $4 and it was the best money I spent. All day everyone I came in contact with said 'happy birthday' to me. I loved it! I even got sang to by the employees where my mom and I bought my cupcake. I liked it so much, I wore it the next day too!
 All the balloons that make an appearance are blown up the day before and some of the roads have to be closed off to store them.
 The kids we were standing next to went nuts for this balloon.
 The star of the parade, the Macy's Star.

 No Bart Simpson, but there was an Angry Bird.
 I do love Charlie Brown.
My mom and I left before the parade officially ended. Her phone died, I needed to re-apply make-up and catch my breath so we headed back to our hotel so that we could get ready for a day of sight-seeing  but not before stopping at Starbucks so that I could get my FREE birthday drink.
 Our first stop was St. Patrick's Cathedral. It was stunning! We went inside and it was just as beautiful as the outside. There was a mass going on so we didn't venture too far.
 Across from the cathedral is the bronze Atlas statue which depicts the Ancient Greek Titan, Atlas, holding the heavens.
 Saks Fifth Avenue window displays had a fairytale theme. Mostly of Snow White but a few other princesses were represented as well. Truly creative.
 The Waldorf Astoria
 Grand Central Terminal
 Flag inside Grand Central Terminal
 New York City is so magical at Christmas time. Everywhere you look, there is holiday decorations.

How beautiful (and giant) are these succulents! They were all over the city.

Not pictured: My mom and I enjoying a traditional Thanksgiving dinner at the New York City deli across from our hotel. Really delicious! Also, we stopped by Juniors (restaurant) and although they are said to have the BEST cheesecake, we picked up a birthday cupcake to eat at the end of the day.

 My favorite part of the day was going to Radio City Music Hall, taking a tour and then watching the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular.

 This is the 35-foot Christmas tree made of Swarovski Crystals centered in the lobby. It is breathtaking!
 During the tour we went to a viewing area where we watch a few minutes of the show already in production. Santa walked right past us!
 These are past costumes used in the show.

 Willam Zorach's sculpture "Spirit of the Dance".
 A different view of the Swarovski Tree.
During the tour, we met one of the Rockettes and our group had a little Q&A session, then we all had the opportunity to take a picture with her. Her name is Shelby, she is from South Carolina, she is 22-years old. 2017 was her second season as a Rockette. Each dancer MUST audition each year regardless of if they have done the show before. There are two full casts. There are six shows a day and each cast does three. She likened it to a marathon and said that backstage transitions and costume changes are choreographed to keep everything running smoothly.

I also learned that you have to be AT LEAST five foot. six inches to be eligible to audition. So close! I pled with the girl, "Um, I think once you see my kicks, you'll change your mind."

The show really was spectacular. I watched it multiple times on Netflix after our trip. Did you know it is more than just a kick-line? There is a whole story and everything. Live animals make an appearance not to mention multiple Santas.
 After the show we walked around and watched the light show on the Saks Fifth Avenue facade.
 The light show included Christmas music. Hopefully, the video I attached will work.

 We walked through Rockefeller Center where there was beautiful holiday angels and people ice skating.

 The famous tree in Rockefeller Center didn't get lit until a week after our trip so we saw a pre-lit tree.
It was a great birthday! My mom and I split the cupcake after we got back to our hotel and I haven't stopped talking about the whole day with her since.

Susan "I looked everywhere for Jimmy Fallon" B.