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For this challenge, I'm going to focus on fully living in the present, rather than dwelling on the past ("before my knee blowout, I could do whatever thing but now I can't") or punting things toward the future ("It would be really nice if I could do...") without taking the steps right now to have any realistic hope of achieving that.

 

As always, I will be doing and logging my usual rock climbing/bouldering, playground parkour, yoga, hand balancing, weapons, hooping, etc.

 

1. (Fitness)Respect the progressions:

There are several yoga moves I'd love to do, but I'm not quite flexible enough.  There are also several parkour moves I'd love to be able to do, but I'm not strong or flexible enough.  So, rather than just giving up and doing nothing at all to get there (which has kind of been what I've done over the last many challenges), I'll instead dial things backward and work through some easier progressions until I have a solid enough foundation for the full move.   

 

The moves I'd love to focus on are:

(yoga) Firefly pose- currently need to improve flexibility to get my shoulders under my legs.  I can either balance a few seconds with my legs really bent, or I pick up and fall right back onto my rear.  So, I'm going to focus on the deep squat with my shoulders under my legs to improve the mobility.  I'll also just try to get better about holding with my legs bent.  There's no point yet in trying to pick up all of the way and getting frustrated with my repeated failures.

 

(yoga) - wheel to standing or wheel kick over - My backbend/wheel is okay, but in order to stand from it or kick my legs up and over, I need my hands and feet to be closer together.  So, I'm going to focus on pushing my torso closer over my shoulders and walking my feet in toward my hands.  

 

(parkour) Kong vault - I can't confidently even do a ground kong without having my knees flare out such that they're outside of my arms.  I'm also horribly paranoid about clipping my legs, especially since my knee still isn't quite 100%.  I'm going to work on good form ground kongs, the kong jump-ups, and just jumping over low-ish obstacles.

 

(parkour) rail balance - While it's still cold, I have parallettes I can step upon.  When it's warmer, there are plenty of playgrounds with rails.  Rather than getting fancy and trying to move around a lot or do QM, I really just need to practice standing around or walking very slowly.

 

I may come up with a few more things to add to the list.  I'm not going to grade based on practicing a certain number of times/week.  Instead, it's going to be whether I feel like I'm putting in the honest effort to follow the progressions, rather than giving up or hiding from the skills in question, and whether at the end of the challenge I'm seeing some progress.

 

2. (Fitness) Tons of Handstands:  I've always wanted to have a solid handstand, but I've been stuck at 3-5 seconds freestanding for a long time and have never really put in the effort to improve with that.  After some personal training with this, I learned that my shoulders aren't engaged properly when I do handstands.  I've instead been doing lazy, loose handstands.  Now that I've started practicing really pressing upward, engaging my shoulders, and keeping my core very tight, I feel like I have so much more control.  I want to ride this success and finally make some progress with the handstands.  Goal is to do 100 handstands/week, but to count, all of the handstands need to have solid form.

 

3. (Life) Positivity and Gratitude:  I truly believe that being positive and grateful is a habit and mindset.  Each day of the challenge, I must come up with and post something for which I'm grateful, something that made me happy, or something generally positive.  Goal: 42 daily postings.

 

4. (Life) Learn a new language -For years, my husband and I have been saying that it would be nice if I could speak German, so we could have our own adult "secret language" that the kids can't understand.  And for years, I've done nothing on that front.  I recently downloaded Duolingo.  My goal is to add 250 XP to my total each week.  I'm at 659 right now, so assuming I'm around 700 at the start of the challenge, that means I should aim for 2200 XP by the end.  

 

Extras:

There's no way to grade these, but they're just things I'd love to work on and be reminded of frequently through my challenge.

 

(Fitness) Form comes first:  I have a few yoga moves in which my form (shoulder alignment) is off.  I also am guilty of taking some shortcuts, or squeezing out a few extra reps even after my form is starting to fall apart.  I've spent the last year assuming that everything would eventually work its way out, but realistically, I'm just perfecting bad form.  This goal is more about shelving the ego and dealing with not managing as many reps or as much hold time, or having to step back in some of my progressions. 

 

(Life) Control the clutter: No one in my house (including myself) puts things back where they belong after using something.  So, we're always fighting clutter.  Rather than just setting things down out of place and assuming I can put it away later, I'd rather stop generating the clutter in the first place.  

 

(Life) Get over it:  I'm one of those people who gets upset or over-analyzes things long past the point where I should just accept that things are over and done.  So, I want to reach a point where if I'm foolishly getting worked up about something, I can take steps to calm down (whether it's doing some cardio kickboxing, weapons, yoga, meditation, taking a walk, playing piano), and then learning to just let it go.  

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Level 30? who the hell knows anymore? Direwolf Assassin/Ranger - current challenge

 ACL rehab thread      2016 parkour

My tutorials:

handbalancing: crow, flying crow, side crow, crow->headstand->crow  Bo staff: strikes 1 2 3, spins 1 2

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1. (Fitness)Respect the progressions:

There are several yoga moves I'd love to do, but I'm not quite flexible enough.  There are also several parkour moves I'd love to be able to do, but I'm not strong or flexible enough.  So, rather than just giving up and doing nothing at all to get there (which has kind of been what I've done over the last many challenges), I'll instead dial things backward and work through some easier progressions until I have a solid enough foundation for the full move.   

 

Yes! THIS is great. Progressions and skill-building steps are so huge and so overlooked when we start chasing all of the fun, shiny new things. Building those solid foundations will serve you so, so well in the end. Plus, I always find when working on drills/progressions, they wind up having positive impacts on other poses or skills that I did not anticipate. I look forward to your progress here! I think you'll be really pleased with how much more positive of an experience it can be to work on the PARTS rather than floundering at trying out the final form of the skill.

 

Also handstands? Love. Positivity? Love. Language skills? Super love. 

 

:)

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love this challenge! you are soon going to be the flexiest flyingest weaponiest assassin around, I can tell already.

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mermaid ninja assassin. on a motorcycle. with swords. and knitting needles. and kittens.

 

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(parkour) Kong vault - I can't confidently even do a ground kong without having my knees flare out such that they're outside of my arms.  I'm also horribly paranoid about clipping my legs, especially since my knee still isn't quite 100%.  I'm going to work on good form ground kongs, the kong jump-ups, and just jumping over low-ish obstacles.

Oh I love doing Kong Vaults! I found that practicing with a picnic table helps. Start by just putting your hands on the edges and jumping onto it, then once you've gotten comfortable doing that you try the full vault. Also the firefly pose looks crazy cool, wish I was that flexible, Good luck!

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Ooooooh, these goals are so cool. In for this!

 

I love Firefly pose so freaking much.  :redface:

Firefly pose actually makes me really upset.  I'm more than strong enough to do it, but I just can't get my legs situated high enough on my arms.  I'm eager to actually work on the mobility for it without running away from the pose, just to see if I can get closer to holding the full pose.  

 

Yes! THIS is great. Progressions and skill-building steps are so huge and so overlooked when we start chasing all of the fun, shiny new things. Building those solid foundations will serve you so, so well in the end. Plus, I always find when working on drills/progressions, they wind up having positive impacts on other poses or skills that I did not anticipate. I look forward to your progress here! I think you'll be really pleased with how much more positive of an experience it can be to work on the PARTS rather than floundering at trying out the final form of the skill.

Yeah.  I noticed last challenge with the yoga poses that rather than really focusing on the progressions for things I can't do, I just kind of ditched those poses and cherry picked for things I would be capable of doing.  I think I'm just generally too impatient, so I tend to shortcut or abandon things that aren't yielding rapid progress.

 

love this challenge! you are soon going to be the flexiest flyingest weaponiest assassin around, I can tell already.

I certainly hope so!  ;)

 

Oh I love doing Kong Vaults! I found that practicing with a picnic table helps. Start by just putting your hands on the edges and jumping onto it, then once you've gotten comfortable doing that you try the full vault. Also the firefly pose looks crazy cool, wish I was that flexible, Good luck!

I've done the Kongs onto picnic tables (which is what I meant with the kong jump ups), but I still have that problem where my knees flare out and end up outside of my arms, rather than between them.  It's going to take awhile to fix this (in part because I have proportionally longer legs and shorter arms/torso, but I'm pretty sure I will need to fix it to ever do the full vault.  Kong vaults are awesome, so I really hope that focusing on the foundations for them will help me get there someday.  :)

  • Like 1

Level 30? who the hell knows anymore? Direwolf Assassin/Ranger - current challenge

 ACL rehab thread      2016 parkour

My tutorials:

handbalancing: crow, flying crow, side crow, crow->headstand->crow  Bo staff: strikes 1 2 3, spins 1 2

Link to post

Firefly pose actually makes me really upset.  I'm more than strong enough to do it, but I just can't get my legs situated high enough on my arms.  I'm eager to actually work on the mobility for it without running away from the pose, just to see if I can get closer to holding the full pose.  

 

Aw.  It's going to feel fantastic when you get it, though!

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I love this challenge, the theme and your reflections! It's going to be great!

 

As for firefly pose, you mentioned squats, but how is your pancake? To be able to stretch out fully you'll need a pretty decent active pancake.

 

It's funny how different schools have different philosophies regarding handstands. I believe the gymnastics handstand is fairly rigid as you need the super active shoulders for more advanced skills, like being able to pop off hard in a handspring. In circus the handstand is a bit more relaxed and is more of a resting position than a transition. It has the advantage of using up less energy and it also allows for slower reaction times when balancing, which can be both good or bad. There's really no right or wrong here, so it's great that you're experimenting and finding what works for you! :)

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chmfe.gif?w=650

 

It's FREEZING today, and school was canceled for the kiddos, so it looks like I'm going to get an early jump on the yoga, parkour, and handstand skills!  I just hope it's warm enough over the weekend for me to go climbing without having my fingers freeze.  

 

@MadHatter: One of the things I'm going to work on is squeezing my arms under my legs in a pancake.  My forward fold is pretty decent if my feet are together.  It's not great if I'm in a not-so-flexible straddle split.  For the firefly, I would need my feet maybe 2-3 feet apart, so I'll try folding from there.  

 

I'm not sure whether yoga handstands ought to be more like gymnastics ones than circus ones.  I just know that for me, doing endless repetitions of the loose, relaxed style handstand hasn't really helped me progress with them.  So, I'm giving the gymnastics approach a try.  

  • Like 2

Level 30? who the hell knows anymore? Direwolf Assassin/Ranger - current challenge

 ACL rehab thread      2016 parkour

My tutorials:

handbalancing: crow, flying crow, side crow, crow->headstand->crow  Bo staff: strikes 1 2 3, spins 1 2

Link to post

Wooo that wheel to standing sounds brilliant! I love doing the wheel pose! My hands and feet are nowhere near close enough to attempt that (I think anyway) but that gives me motivation to try and get them closer together! Yay! Keep us posted on how you are progressing on it! <3 The other poses you want to practice look really nice too, especially the firefly wow that is so pretty!

 

Oh Mad Hatter, what's this pancake? Apart from tasty nomnom? It sounds fun. I WANT TO BE A PANCAKE TEACH ME TEACH ME :D  

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@MadHatter: One of the things I'm going to work on is squeezing my arms under my legs in a pancake.  My forward fold is pretty decent if my feet are together.  It's not great if I'm in a not-so-flexible straddle split.  For the firefly, I would need my feet maybe 2-3 feet apart, so I'll try folding from there.  

 

I'm not sure whether yoga handstands ought to be more like gymnastics ones than circus ones.  I just know that for me, doing endless repetitions of the loose, relaxed style handstand hasn't really helped me progress with them.  So, I'm giving the gymnastics approach a try.  

 

I think handstands are one of those things where once you've actually learned how to hold the handstand you can start to relax it. In the beginning I'd say too much is definitely better than too little. 

 

I noticed a few different versions of the Firefly, have you tried to one where the back is basically parallel against the floor? That one looks kind of cool too! :) Must suck hard for the hip flexors though!

 

Oh Mad Hatter, what's this pancake? Apart from tasty nomnom? It sounds fun. I WANT TO BE A PANCAKE TEACH ME TEACH ME :D

 

This is a pancake :)

 

Pancake-400.jpg

 

giphy.gif

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Now that I've played with my moves a bit, I have some progressions to follow with a convenient checklist to keep track:

Kong Vault:

( ) ground Kong with feet in-line with hands and legs between arms.

( ) jump up Kong with feet in-line with hands and legs between arms.

( ) ground jump throughs using yoga blocks (for hand elevation)

( ) jump over solid object for vaulting without using hands at all (because I still tend to think of the move as using my arms too much and my legs too little)

 

After I feel pretty confident with all of these, I'll go ahead and try an actual Kong.

 

Starting point: I can do the ground Kongs and jump ups, but I either will end up with my feet landing 6+ inches behind my hands, or I'll land in-line, but with my legs flared outside of the arms.  I think I'm trying to stay too low into a squat for the entire move.  

 

Rail Balance:

( ) shift weight back and forth with rails laterally spaced by a couple inches (for extra stability - Like if the left foot is in front, then the front parallette will be shifted 2" to the left relative to the back leg one)

( ) completely step forward and back with rails laterally spaced by a couple inches.

( ) shift weight back and forth with rails spaced by 1"

( ) step forward and back with rails spaced by 1"

( ) Just stand on in-line rails for 30 seconds.

( ) weight shift on in-line rails

( ) fully step forward and back with in-line rails

( ) squat and stand back up on in-line rails without losing balance.

( ) balance on rail with feet perpendicular to the rail.

( ) hop and land on rail while maintaining balance.

 

I'm more or less tackle these in order.

Starting point: I can balance and weight shift if the rails are more like 3" laterally spaced.  This whole exercise was giving me some ACL rehab flashbacks.

 

Firefly:

(ongoing) standing forward bend with arms worked behind legs

(ongoing) sitting or pancake with arms worked under legs

( ) legs-bent firefly using yoga blocks under hands.

( ) firefly with legs mostly straight using yoga blocks under hands

( ) getting legs off of the ground with no yoga blocks

( ) legs bent firefly with no yoga blocks

( ) full pose.

 

Starting point: I can get my feet off of the ground while using the yoga blocks, but they're just hanging there. 

 

Backbend stuff:

(ongoing) push upper body toward arms while in a backbend.

(ongoing) walk hands and feet closer together in a backbend.

Yeah.. This one doesn't quite have a set of progressions yet.  I can do a one leg wheel and lift the leg pretty high, but I am so rooted with the other leg that I can't possibly jump enough to flip over.  I can actually go from wheel to standing if my arms are elevated by 6" or so, and I honestly could work from there.  I think it's more important to improve my backbend before going there, and I know that I have to be really patient for flexibility related gains.  

  • Like 2

Level 30? who the hell knows anymore? Direwolf Assassin/Ranger - current challenge

 ACL rehab thread      2016 parkour

My tutorials:

handbalancing: crow, flying crow, side crow, crow->headstand->crow  Bo staff: strikes 1 2 3, spins 1 2

Link to post

Pancake is great, but for Firefly, I actually found Tortoise to be the best prelim stretch because of the arm placement..... ymmv though!

 

kurmasana.jpg

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challenge archive: 19181716 | 15 | 14 | 13 | 12 | 11 | 10 | 9 | 8 | 7 | 6 | 5 | 4 | 3 | 2 | 1

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"Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world." - Voltaire

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@Starsapart:   ^^^ That's actually exactly what I meant with the pancake with my arms worked under the legs.  I  just didn't know that it had a name.   ;)

 

@Hatter:  I'm sure I could find a point where I could elevate my feet enough for the kick over.  For this challenge, though, I'd rather focus on just improving the backbend in the first place, so all of those other moves become easier.

  • Like 1

Level 30? who the hell knows anymore? Direwolf Assassin/Ranger - current challenge

 ACL rehab thread      2016 parkour

My tutorials:

handbalancing: crow, flying crow, side crow, crow->headstand->crow  Bo staff: strikes 1 2 3, spins 1 2

Link to post

@Starsapart:   ^^^ That's actually exactly what I meant with the pancake with my arms worked under the legs.  I  just didn't know that it had a name.   ;)

 

@Hatter:  I'm sure I could find a point where I could elevate my feet enough for the kick over.  For this challenge, though, I'd rather focus on just improving the backbend in the first place, so all of those other moves become easier.

 

Nice!  I like this one a lot - enjoy!

🎪current challenge🎪

challenge archive: 19181716 | 15 | 14 | 13 | 12 | 11 | 10 | 9 | 8 | 7 | 6 | 5 | 4 | 3 | 2 | 1

instagram | goodreads

"Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world." - Voltaire

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A hundred handstands a week? That's crazy! In the best kind of way. Your flexibility is amazing as well. Reading about the Firefly and Tortoise really makes it sink in that these 'super-advanced' moves like the pancake, pike, and bridge that I want eventually really are nowhere near close to the end. 

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Now I want pancakes.

 

But I always want pancakes.

 

Yum.  Now I want pancakes, too.

 

A hundred handstands a week? That's crazy! In the best kind of way. Your flexibility is amazing as well. Reading about the Firefly and Tortoise really makes it sink in that these 'super-advanced' moves like the pancake, pike, and bridge that I want eventually really are nowhere near close to the end. 

 

My flexibility is very much not amazing, which is why I need to be patient and work through the progressions. ;)   Hatter, Starsapart, and Twilight are the ones with the crazy flexibility.   If you really want to get the bridge, MadHatter ran a mini-challenge sometime last year that had tons of bridge progressions.  

 

I guess I'll find out in a week just how crazy the 100 handstands are.  I've never really counted before.  ;)

 

Love your goals! I'm so excited to see your progress this challenge! I want to eventually be able to do a lot of the things you're talking about doing here so I'm stoked to get some new ideas for how to train up to this stuff! Good luck with this challenge!

 

Thanks!

 

Love this challenge! So glad i'm here for it. And such a good example you're setting! 

Will you put up some progress videos? 

 

I hope so!  Heck, just to pass the time today, I may post a video of the candlestick (partner acro yoga handstand thingy).  We're supposed to be hit by another snowpocalypse, so it's not like I'll be able to go climbing or anything.

  • Like 2

Level 30? who the hell knows anymore? Direwolf Assassin/Ranger - current challenge

 ACL rehab thread      2016 parkour

My tutorials:

handbalancing: crow, flying crow, side crow, crow->headstand->crow  Bo staff: strikes 1 2 3, spins 1 2

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