Archive for April, 2007

Hocking Hills Photo Contest

Saturday, April 28th, 2007

The weekend of April 20-22 I participated in the Hocking Hills Photo Contest. Friends of Hocking Hills, a state park in Ohio, sponsors the event. The money the contest raises goes back into the park, specifically for photographers. Last year a photo blind and Rose Lake near the campground was completed.

This is the second year I participated in the contest and, although I didn’t come close to winning, I think my shots improved over the past year. Last year I felt far less confident and couldn’t quite get into my groove. Part of the problem was trying to shoot in the categories of Flora, Landscape, Human Interest, Abstract and Wildlife. None of these categories suit me and my eye. This year I took a different approach and shot what I found rather than trying to find each category and shoot it.

To see my entries in these categories go here:

To see my favorite pics from the weekend, go here:

One Disc Challenge

Saturday, April 28th, 2007

The league opener for A3DISC was Wednesday at Hudson Mills. It was a cool, dreary day. It had rained all day and I suspected I wouldn’t play … I’m a fair weather golfer. The rain moved on and Craig, Kevin, (my Bay City buddies) and I shot a round. Kevin was two under, Craig, two over and I was 11 over. With just one disc I shot better than I usually do with my whole bag. There’s probably some philosophical point in that fact.

Disc Golf is growing. More and more people know about it and every once in a while I run into someone who has played. There are two or three new courses sprouting up in Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti, which will be nice if the game gets so popular our existing courses get too crowded.

Anyway, league play has started and it’ll be good to take some walks in the park this summer. Interested in giving it a try? Give me a jingle and I’ll be glad to go out with you.

Measuring Progress, Part Two

Sunday, April 8th, 2007

A couple of weeks ago I dropped from a headstand into a backbend (see photos below). Now, that’s a pose I didn’t think was possible with this body in my lifetime. I was just tickled, proud, and inspired to do it over and over again. Since I learned that I can do it, I’ve done it several times on my own and in class. It’s my latest favorite pose. This week I had a similar experience in class. I did another pose (padmasana in headstand – see more photos below) I thought only accessible to the yoga greats. What, I wondered, made me think I couldn’t and what allowed me to break through?

Last week I was chatting with Joe Upton, Sales Manager at Malloy, and he said, “We are bound by the constraints of our familiarity.” And that’s the way it’s been for my yoga practice for some time. There have been years (a decade or two, perhaps) where I practiced the same poses over and over again. And, I’m not complaining. Anyone who studies intensely at one thing knows there are deeper and deeper levels in that subject. Each time I practice yoga there’s another layer of understanding and an application of the learning points to apply in other poses.

There is something, though, getting to a new plateau. For the last couple of years in yoga, I’ve had breakthroughs. Three years ago I went to the Yoga Convention in St. Paul and had a breakthrough in back bends. It was about a year and a half ago that I started to consistently get myself up into handstand. For years my success rate was more like 33%. Then I started accomplishing other poses that I didn’t think I would and that I had struggled with for years. Like a cascade, being bound by the familiarity of the pose has vanished. My body changed, my mind opened and my ability to see and appreciate my progress became clearer.

What was the key? Partly I credit my teacher. She is masterful in little by little, step by step working us from simple and accessible to difficult and then making the difficult accessible. She is supportive, encouraging, yet realistic.

Partly I credit my diligence in keeping up with my yoga practice and my ability to get over the fear. Quieting the mind is helpful in many aspects of life and going upside down in a new way can be considerably thwarted by fear. Taking my practice serious also has helped.

I’m headed to the Yoga Convention in Las Vegas next month. I’m looking forward to crashing through the constraints of the familiarity again.

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Happy Birthday, Daniel!

Wednesday, April 4th, 2007

Everyone has their own take on birthdays; celebrating quietly or loudly, with fanfare or with little/none. It’s Daniel’s birthday today and I’m posting this to wish him a wonderful day.