Sunday, 16 January 2022

a crunching sensation and a wandering mind


January has been going on for a long time. I was dismayed to see that we are only half way through. Maybe it is because I had something to look forward to and now I don't. I had planned to go to Malawi for a week of work but it is not happening. I am disappointed to say the least. 

To distract myself I decided to search for my inner happy self and do some yoga. In another life a long time ago I went to weekly yoga classes and I loved it. My last yoga teacher was an older man, in his early seventies. He always wore interesting t-shirts, black and usually with a wolf or a tiger on and he always cracked the same jokes. It was a comforting 90 minute routine but I always hoped he would start checking and helping with the downward facing dog pose near me because it took a while to go around the class and we stayed in pose until everyone's dog had been checked and corrected. I don't remember why I stopped going but we all know that once a routine is broken, it is difficult to get back into it. My yoga teacher has long retired and classes in a actual real studio are not easy to find. Instead, I stumbled over yoga with Adriene on YouTube and decided to have a go. I fooled myself into believing that I could just continue where I left it, a little like an old beloved friendship that is rekindled with ease. Alas, not. My body is older, less flexible and rounder. A bit tummy makes forward bends difficult and my legs and arms were trembling by the time I was done. So for my next sessions, I scrolled down to the beginner section and chose two short videos to work with.  One was to ease up neck and shoulders. Much better. Except that now I am very aware of the crunching sensation coming from my neck when I turn me head with a focused mind. My ageing body is full of surprises and so far none of them good. 

Today I saw the sun and I was happy. I took the photo of the path while running. I am pleased it is not blurred. I am of course running very slowly and modern smartphone cameras are quite astonishing. In summer, this path is a green tunnel. The first clump of snowdrops under our pear tree also made me happy. 

I was thinking today that I might read a real book printed on paper. The last time I held a book and read it was during our summer camping holiday. I enjoy listening to books, I find it easier to focus on the story. Written words always seem to tumble away when I read for a while, particularly when I am tired, which I am often. I used to read a lot but I always skipped lines and was a super fast reader, more of a scanner really. It was a bit annoying losing context with this kind of sloppy reading. I find it almost impossible to slow down. This made me turn to audio in the first place because skipping lines requires me to consciously press a button and listening at a faster speed is weird. My mind wonders less when I listen to something. When I read scientific papers for work it takes me forever and 30 minutes because I have to re-read and take notes. When I read student essays, I always annotate them because it makes me stop and re-focus. It is so annoying and time consuming. Any thoughts? How can I learn or re-learnt to maintain focus on written text?

Anyway, I must go now, bedtime. Thanks for visiting. Have a wonderful week 🙂.

12 comments:

  1. Hi Christina - good luck with the yoga. I quite like Adrienne and her doggy Benjie and did the easy morning yoga during Christmas. I have a wonderful yoga teacher Claudia who’s originally from Brazil. She recorded some YouTube sessions during lockdown which you might like to try - they are very gentle. https://youtu.be/7GLVYXe2qTQ

    No snowdrops here yet - a few shoots poking through though. I’m not sure what to suggest to help you focus when reading. Perhaps choose a book that really absorbs you. Or maybe reread something you know you love to get into the the habit again. So you can savour it. I’ve found I’ve really enjoyed rereading recently. I have the opposite problem, losing focus very easily when listening to audiobooks.

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  2. I have begin to 'read' an audio book, and I tend to agree that it slows some of us down. I think I get to scanning too when I read normally.

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  3. An interesting conundrum. Speed reading is a thing but it’s good to slow down especially when the prose is worth slowing down with. Someone like Maggie O’Farrel writes beautifully, maybe she will force you to slow down. Had a new Apple Watch from my family for Christmas and it’s reminding me to keep fit. Trying Pilates at the moment which I’m enjoying. Thank god for u tube. Like you there are lots of crunching noises lol! Enjoy a slow January getting outside as much as you can. B x

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  4. I have a couple of books out of the library at the moment about focus. Haven't had time to read them yet :) I think I may be the opposite way round to you though. If I listen to things my mind drifts and I suddenly realise I haven't been listening for the past five minutes. Well done on the yoga. I like to do a Joe Wicks workout every morning but I think a bit of yoga would be a good thing too. A shame about Malawi. January does indeed seem to be going a bit slowly, although I do generally like this month a lot. Just struggling to stay motivated a bit at the moment I think.

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  5. Being able to speed read is a useful skill when reading specific things but not all the time you have probably already tried this but whilst reading if you become aware of yourself going fast it, reminding yourself to slow down and if you do that enough it might help you to slow down eventually. No idea if it will work.

    Ah yoga and crunching neck bones is extremely disconcerting isn't it! I love Yoga with Adrienne along with Yoga in Melbourne which is also on You Tube. Anything with Yin yoga in the title will always be gentle.

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  6. You too have a wonderful week. I was only just looking at Yoga classes but want to find one for over 60 as have not done since 40's lol It is lovely to read a book I now have the time but recently listening via audible. Alice Cooper who I love lol

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  7. I don't like audio books. I can't pay attention too long, when listening to books. :)

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  8. I have the same problem with losing focus and it can be with a podcast, audiobook or actual book I read, which he past couple of years has mostly been on a Kindle. I have found that if I am not trying to do something else like working in the kitchen when listening that my attention is more focused. Housecleaning is a mindless activity that lends itself well to listening.

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  9. I used to read a lot when I was younger but as work and family and home all came into my mind I just couldn't squeeze in another story line to my own! My eyesight is not as good as when I enjoyed reading so it seems more of a slog. When marking English papers I used to read them out loud to ensure my mind was not tricking me but of course this is slower. I can listen to an audio book/podcast/radio program if I am knitting.

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  10. Such a shame abut the Malawi trip but well done on reconnecting with the yoga mat. Before the pandemic I went to two yoga classes a week and even did three retreats. Now, for a variety of reasons, I can manage very little in the bending and stretching department. Can also echo the problem with lack of focus. Apparently, it's 'pandemic brain'. Meditation is supposed to help. If only I could focus...

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  11. I think it will just take time to get used to reading a paper book again. Sorry that your trip was canceled. I guess that's better than getting stranded, though. I love yoga, too. I think the basic classes are ideal. I do love the effect of inversions, though.

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  12. Hi Christina, thanks for your comment on my post about frozen ice on the river below our apartment. To answer your question, the ice has looked frozen over a few years ago after a snow storm and very cold temps afterwards. But, i have never seen any humans standing on the ice, only ducks, gulls and geese.

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Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment, I love to hear from you, I really do. I sometimes reply by email but I am not all that reliable... Christina xx