Monday, March 30, 2009

Sauna Yoga - Take 2

Friday, still slightly sore from my crazy yoga experience, I excitedly recounted my adventure to the friend who recommended it.

FRIEND: "Where did you take the class?"
ME: "Bikram Yoga in Harvard Square."
FRIEND: "You went where! They do crazy %$$ *&^% there! How did you even survive? Are you )*^$@!# nuts!)
ME: "I thought they were kind of crazy but you told me to go do hot yoga so I did. You didn't tell me there were different kinds of hot yoga. These are things you need to mention!!!"

(On a side note: the fact that my friend was swearing like a truck driver is all my fault. When we started working together we had a particularly disastrous meeting and, afterwards she looked at me and said, "Robyn, I was so mad at him I was swearing in my head." Now, after working with me for 4 months, she swears like a sailor. Go me.)

She pointed me to a different studio a bit further from our apartment (in Porter Square for those who know the area). This one practices vinyasa yoga in 90-100 degree temperatures. Oh, and the poses are far more reasonable - they still do Dead Body pose but also Warrior 1 and 2 (2 is my fave) and Tree (which I'm getting a bit better at, which means I don't fall over instantly)

I'm totally hooked, so much so that I actually bought a towel to place on my rented yoga mats (it catches the sweat and sticks to the mat a bit better than a regular towel, so when you're hopping from pose to pose you have less chance of slipping)

Tomorrow is a 4:00 class. I am so excited you cannot imagine!

Friday, March 27, 2009


This post may be a bit gauche given the current economic times, but it's just such a momentous event that I can't help but share....

Getting an MBA is not cheap. In fact, I often describe my two years at HBS as "the best 2 years $120,000 can buy." Most of that money, of course, came in the form of loans - some from the US government, but most from CitiBank.

Last Friday, I paid off my CitiBank loan!

This is HUGE because (1) the amount I owed was huge and (2) the original repayment schedule was 10 years meaning I would be 40 before I paid it off.

But now I am free of that horrible predatory lender (don't get me started on the games the play) and can finally start spending that money on more important things. Like shoes.

(just kidding Dad, it's going into savings)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

It seemed like a good idea...

Since my last case wrapped up in early March, I've been "on the beach" waiting for our client to come through with more funding so we can do the follow-on work. "On the beach" is a consulting term that technically means you're not staffed on a client project but you are helping out with internal firm-building activities like writing, recruiting, training, etc. And I am doing all those things. Seriously. But you eventually get to a point where all those things do not take up 8 hours meaning that you essentially have a lot of spare time.

I have been trying to fill my "beach time" productively. Today's adventure (I'll post some of my past adventure soon, but today was just too much) was Bikram Yoga

What is Bikram Yoga? It's essentially 90 minutes of yoga in a sauna (the room is between 90-100 degrees).

Why would I do this to myself? After a couple of weeks of Wii Yoga, I was beginning to realize that yoga really was a tough workout and helped a lot with breathing, so I wanted to get a bit better at it (Tree pose in my world is better known as Timber!). Several people who I consider reasonable, sound decision makers with an average threshold for pain swear by Bikram Yoga and recommended that I try it out.

At Noon today, I did just that.
And I learned 5 things:
  1. The Swedes were right about what should be done in extreme heat. The Swedes love their saunas. The go in, sit down, swear, and occasionally throw water on hot stones. This is reasonable. Bending your body into unnatural positions for 90 minutes in a sauna is not reasonable.
  2. My internal organs can sweat. This is the only way I can describe my body's ability to produce so much sweat. 10 minutes into the class, I looked down at my feet and the had beads of sweat on them. At the end of the class I went to shower and could literally wring sweat out of my underwear. Think about that. I produced enough sweat to make my underwear as wet as if I had jumped into a pool. That is not natural.
  3. The only pose I can do is "Dead Body". Seriously, that's the name of the pose. You lie on your back with your palms up and breathe. And I even had to get corrected on this pose (my palms were flat).
  4. Oak is more flexible than I am. I knew that some of the more crazy poses (like when you stand on one leg, kick your other leg back, reach your hands over your head and grab your leg, essentially turning your body into a giant O balanced on your one leg) were not going to happen. But when you can't even flex enough to touch your toes, it's just embarrassing
  5. I should have started this experiment in the winter. It would have helped me appreciate the -20 degree days more because, I assure you, once you spend 90 minutes in a sauna nothing makes you happier than cold air

What does all this mean? I'm going back tomorrow for the 3:00 class. And I'm bringing extra underwear.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Making sense out of nonsense

It's official. The economy sucks. We've known this for awhile courtesy of the non-stop reporting on unemployment, GDP declines, plummeting consumer confidence, the housing crisis, etc.

But why have things gotten so bad and how did we even get into this situation?

If you're like me and watch 10+ hours of CNN a week (seriously, the chance to see David Gergen always gets me to tune in to the full 2 hours of AC 360 even though I know that hour 2 is just a replay of hour 1. and I'm not the only one) you have maybe cobbled together a vague understanding that, if we're honest, is just a regurgitation of non-stupid things said by Ali Velshi (he says so many stupid superficial things that it's relatively easy to remember the semi-intelligent comments).

OR you could watch these fun and amusing videos:

The Crisis of Credit Visualized

(Thanks to Matt for finding and sending this)

The Crisis of Credit Visualized from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo.

Bird and Fortune - Subprime crisis

WARNING - this is a British comedy duo so they don't have American's sensitivity for political correctness. There aren't any swear words but the characterization of people who took out mortgages that they couldn't afford may offend some.

Monday, March 9, 2009

I. Have. Had It!

I will admit that one when chooses to live in New England, one gives up the right to complain about cold weather and snow. Complaining about cold New England winters is like complaining about hot Arizona summers - you knew what you were getting into, so shut it.

I will also admit that when one has lived in New England for any period of time, one becomes accustomed to the fact that seasons do not occur in an orderly fashion. In fact, one can experience multiple seasons (for example Winter, Spring and Summer) in a 24 hour period. And it is not unusual for it to be 90 degrees on May 30 and 35 degrees on June 1 (yes, those are consecutive days). When you're new to New England, you have a right to complain about this because it's not a widely publicized aspect of the region. But once you've lived here for, oh, say going on 6 years, you have lost the right to complain about absurd temperature swings in 24 hours because you know that such nonsense happens every single year.

But today the weather has gone too far!

Last Monday (March 2), Bostonians awoke to 8-12" of snow. We were not surprised because (1) it's March and everyone knows it can still snow in June and (2) the weather people told us it was coming. Another 4-6" fell during the course of the day. Again, we were not surprised because, well, weather just sucks that way.

It stayed around freezing most of the week until Friday. That's when the weather jumped up to 55 and it rained. We all became a little hopeful that we had seen the last snow of the season and that maybe, just maybe, the 12' high piles of snow (I am NOT kidding) would begin to melt. But, we knew not to hold out breath.

Saturday it was 61. The population of Boston seemed to triple as everyone emerged from hibernation.

Sunday it was 60. We opened the windows in the apt and turned off the heater. It was glorious and we were going to enjoy every fleeting moment of it.

On Monday, we woke up to this:

(note: this is taken from my office window and does not at all give a sense for the heavy swirling snow that is greatly diminishing visibility)

No. Absolutely not. This is unacceptable. We have not seen the ground since January. Every time you see even a granule of dirt (because, let's be honest, the grass has all be suffocated under unending piles of snow), wham! another 12" of snow falls (and that's if we're lucky).

And then, the weathercasters have the absolute gall to get on TV and happily proclaim, "We've finally exceeded the total snow fall from last year!" Bite me. I was here last year and there is no way we got even half as much snow last year as we got this year. I seriously question your measuring methodology AND I do not appreciate being taken for an idiot.

So there. Yes, I know that I should not complain. But HONESTLY. This is ridiculous!