Monday, April 18, 2011

I Heart My Bike

Inspired by Danielle's blog about her quest for an appropriate gym, I thought I'd share some of the exercise in which I've been partaking. 

I won't even bother with the details of our gym search in our new place in Jacarepagua (like how one gym doesn't even LET you do several necessary exercises, or how one gyms equipment was practically falling apart and ripping the skin from my thighs).  No, I will not bother with that.

We did find a gym that is pretty good.  We're happy enough (even though they close on Sundays, blast!).  It's decent. 

But sometimes it's hard to go... Y'know we're tired after work, I'm too fat and lazy... blah blah blah!  We were also pretty used to getting around via bicicleta in Canada so we bought ourselves some bikes to make the trip to the gym easier (irony???) and just to generally get around. 

Lately, Ro took it upon himself to be CRAZY and start biking to work.  When I say crazy, I mean really out of his mind.  It's about a 16 km ride each way.  Throw in there a day of work and you got yourself one crazy mo-fo.  So, logically, I was jealous (as I usually am when he starts doing more exercise than me).  I got myself so jealous-ed up that I decided "Fine!  You wanna ride to work?  I'M gonna ride to work!"  Right.  Totally logical and sane and not at all obsessively competitive. 

So today was my first bike ride to work.  It's definitely less distance but still about 10-11 km each way.  My class starts at 7am which meant leaving the house at 6am.  I had my bag packed... my little flat shoes and cardigan tucked inside, my music ready, a towel to absorb all the buckets of sweat sure to come out of my face and armpits and probably butt. 
Oh shush, you know your butts get sweaty.  Try sitting down after a workout and see if there's not a sweat stain on that seat.  If there isn't, you didn't work hard enough!

Ahem.  Pardon me.  So I ride.  And about 30 seconds in I ride over some glass!  Then I think the tire is leaking air.  It didn't look that flat before, did it?  I panic.  I almost actually just give up, right there, after 30 seconds.  The fastest give up ever!  I call Ro.  He tells me to put air in the tire.  I whine I've never put air in the tire before!  He says it's ridiculously easy.  I whine, maybe to you, you've done it before! 
(P.S.  It IS ridiculously easy... perhaps the one thing that Brazil has that is far easier than N. America!) 

Moving on.  I figured out how to put the air and I'm happy again.  I ride.  As I ride, I pass many men who are on there way to work.  I laugh at how 'prepared' I am for this bike ride and how these guys are biking in flip flops and bent up tires.  Seriously bent up.  Every guy I pass looks at me and about half of them ding their wimpy little bells and kiss at me.  Brrrring brrrrrring!  One guy passes wearing a drywall mask and a towel on his head and gives me a long, heart-felt brrrrrrrrring!  How did he know that paper-masked men ringing bicycle bells are what really get me excited???  I was feeling preeeeetty confident after that one!

When I finally arrive at my students' office, I am literally a hot, sweaty mess.  But the trip took longer than I thought so I had to run in without a chance to rinse off.  After sitting in a plastic chair for an hour in the same pants I rode in in... what do you think I left behind?  A big, embarrassing, sweaty butt mark! 

But I did feel pretty freaking awesome so I'm afraid my student will have to endure my sweatiness... at least once a week. 

Moral of the story. 
Biking is...
good for your soul
good for your legs
good for the environment
good for your stress

Biking is...
bad for your butt (sweat)
bad for your students' chair
bad for your student in general
bad for your ego (or do I mean good? wink wink)

Moral of the moral = Get a bike!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Big bootie, small boobies? You're good!

When I got to Brazil, it was observed (verbally) by many that I had "such big legs".  You may or may not remember a little term that Danielle invented called "Brazilian Honesty".  I have adopted this term for myself because it is oh-such-a-thing.  Anyway, on several separate occassions people have looked at my legs and actually exclaimed "Wow, you have such big legs!"

So, how would you react to that comment? 

Initially, obviously, I was a little insulted.  Not only do you NOT need to comment on my physical appearance, but you definitely do NOT need to highlight my flaws so dramatically!  I didn't say to you "Damn that is a gigantic ass!  No really, it is truly enormous... the biggest I've ever seen".  

Y'see, the thing is, if I HAD said that, the person to whom I was speaking would MOST LIKELY reply "oh my god thank you!  oh wow you're sooooo nice!"

Y'see my friends... contrary to our beauty ideals up in the snowy north and in the US of A... in Brazil the bigger your legs and ass, the better!  If I hadn't been so defensive all along, I'd have realized, like a smack in the face, that these people were COMPLIMENTING me. 

Ohhhhhhh!  I get it now. 

So when the saleslady in the dress store exclaims with enthusiasm "Wow, you have such nice big calves!" I have to understand that she is saying, "I would kill for calves (do we still pluralize like baby cows?) like those that barely fit into pant legs!"

And when my gay friend Joaozinho (yes, you Joaozinho) says one night "Oh. My. God. You have Such. Big. Legs!" I have to know he's saying "I'll protect you and pretend to be your boyfriend tonight cus the guys gon' go cah-razy!" 

You'll notice the way girls exercise at the gym too that generally about 80% of their workout is legs and ass, with probably about 60% of that chunk (pun inTENded) being ass-only.  I cried to Ro last night about it because I don't WANNA do that much ass at the gym!!  I don't like it!  It's hard!  But if I want a killer ass, well, I'd better hop to it. 

Also, as a final vote of confidence for my Big-Legged Beauties... the bigger the ass but the SMALLER the boobies is also a vote your way.  To be bottom-heavy/top-light is the way to go here, girls.  So if you felt/feel judged in the America to the North, please come take a trip down to Brazil.  I promise within 3 days of arriving your concerns about your fat ass and thighs will float right away, straight into a bikini and an ice cold beer!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Yoga in Brazil

I've always been a pretty big yoga-doer (I wouldn't go so far as to call myself a Yogi but hey, you feel free).  Trouble is, I haven't really found any serious yoga here that really appealed to me.  To be fair, I've only tried about 4 different classes.  But doing yoga in Brazil really made me realize something... 

Part of why I love yoga is the encouragement and language used to help you deepen your movements and breath.  And, well, yoga in Portuguese doesn't have quite the same effect!  Especially when I really don't know the specific yoga language in Port and I was constantly turning my head to see what everyone else was doing.  Little hard to relax like that. 

So I was a bit turned off of even finding a class here (that and the yoga at the gym was not at a convenient time for me).  I'm not so into pilates (and they have lots and lots of pilates here) so basically I just gave up on yoga.

Recently we joined the gym close to our house and I tried the yoga class there.  It was so totally against all yoga principals that I believe I actually stopped in the middle of the class with a look of pure horror and just stared at the seemingly sweet little instructor.  Seriously, I couldn't believe it.
She was acting as a drill sergeant, screaming out "encouragement", no flow, no focus on breathing, all show.  If you're interested in the principals of yoga, this is a good article.

So, it really got me thinking back to the yoga I enjoyed in the past.  The effects of yoga had been innumerable for me.  Physically and mentally I felt connected and strong.  I used to do this this ridiculously amazing video with my favourite yogi Eoin Finn.  You can find the video available for sale on amazon here.  Seriously, eez best maan.  Anyway, something had to be done about the lack of yoga in my life.

Unfortunately I left my copy of the video at home though so in a very non yoga way, I looked for some pirated videos.  I found one called Power Yoga with Rodney Yee, another great instructor.  Then I went and bought a yoga mat.  The brand I bought is called Body Up and I got it from the gym in New York Shopping in Barra.  It is AWEESOMMMMEEEEEE.  Like, I was ridiculously happy just because of this mat.  A little pricey at R$95 but it came with a case and it's a nice colour.  It has excellent grip and has the Om symbol at the top as a guide for your feet.


So the moral of this story.  Tonight I did my yoga class in my living room with my new mat.  Do you ever do an activity that makes you so happy that you just smile involuntarily all the way through?  It was just that good.  The only other two activities that make me do that are Zumba and Body Jam.

Finally, if you are interested in a yoga studio in Rio, I found this yoga network that mentions all of the studios associated with this Registered Yoga Association.  Here you go!

Have fun and namaste :)
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