Week four, day one
Fitness can be
I never thought attending group exercise classes would be so much fun. I tried the Body Balance class this week, which is a smooth flow of Tai–chi, yoga and pilates, combined into one. More or less standing on one leg and trying to touch the ceiling with the other! The workout requires total concentration on your posture ensuring a great stretch and strengthening of the limbs and core muscles. The class has 30 to 40 ladies on average and it’s motivating to see everybody working hard.
On the personal training front, Vicky (Fitness First, Sharjah) made me do an entirely new program today adding variety to the workout. She likes her clients to enjoy her programmes as much as she enjoys designing them. Gym-ing is a new experience for me and I’ve found that ViPR (cylindrical tubes made of fiberglass, which I assumed to be a part of the décor) is a great substitute for barbells. Learnt the correct technique to do lunges and squats, too. You know you have mastered the technique when you can’t walk the next day!
Week four, day two
I went for my first Colon Hydrotherapy treatment today. One of the questions on the consultation form made me laugh. “When was the last time you felt good after eating?” But when I tried to answer it, it took me a while to remember. If you ask me what I ate yesterday for lunch, the answer doesn’t spring up as quickly as I would like it to. Maybe because we don’t really enjoy the food with all our senses in the first place. Sadly, most of us treat it as a supplementary activity while reading the newspaper, or watching a movie. Not taking care of what we eat, how we eat, when we eat and how much we eat causes a build-up of toxins in our digestive system. Colon hydrotherapy lends a helping hand in removing the toxins and gives a much needed service to the intestines.
Kay Vosloo (colonic hydrotherapist at CHPC), pointed out that the therapy works best when combined with a healthy balanced diet, sound emotional health and physical exercise. I felt a renewed respect for the hardworking organs in my body after the treatment and feel differently about my food choices, too. One thing is for sure – I will never be able to pop a piece of food in my mouth again without thinking of its effect on my body. An immediate shift in me was my intake of water, something I have always struggled with. I could not even make the essential 8 glasses a day before, but, since the treatment, I seem to be drinking more and more water consciously. The image of my thirsty intestines working incessantly to keep me up and running is definitely making me pick up that much needed glass of water.
Week four, day three
While I was at the second acupuncture session at Dubai Herbal and Treatment Centre, I informed the doctor of the pain in my shoulder. She suggested another ancient Chinese therapy which works exceptionally well for muscular pains - cupping. I decided to give it a try. A moment later I felt if somebody pinched me hard and was refusing to release the grip. One after the other, the doctor applied glass cups on my neck and shoulders and the pain multiplied. However, after the initial shock, I sensed a rush of blood to the area beneath the skin and a strange slithering movement. As time passed, the pain reduced and my muscles started to relax. As it was my first experience with cupping, the doctor seemed to show mercy and came back 10 minutes later to remove the cups. I told her that I felt more pain on my right shoulder than the left. She nodded in affirmation and told me she knew it already as the marks indicated the same. Marks, what marks? It was then I realised I had 10 circular bruises on my shoulders, each the size of a plum.
The circular cups pull out the toxins from deep below the tissue by vacuum action. The blood rushes in at a tremendous speed into the skin under the cup and, in most cases, instant healing occurs due to the increased blood circulation. So that explained the slithering movement. The downside is the more the toxins, the more blue your skin becomes!
So, as you can imagine, my current fashion statement is turtlenecks and big scarves around my shoulders. I am told the scars will dissolve in a week.
Week four, day six
I visited Fitness First at the Oasis Center today as it offers more variety of classes. I attended Stretch ‘n’ Relax followed by a 45-minute Swiss Ball routine. The instructor (Gladys) happened to mention that she was 4 months pregnant. I could not believe my ears and asked her if it was safe to practice and teach while being pregnant. She laughed and said in her first pregnancy, she was teaching till 8 months. Not only is it safe to exercise during pregnancy, it is good for maintaining flexibility in the pelvis and regain shape after delivery. It was kind of embarrassing to see that a pregnant woman doing deep lunges effortlessly while I was struggling to balance. Well, they say you get better with time.
After a great workout, I met Lily (Nutritionist at Dubai Herbal and Treatment Center) for a shopping trip at a local grocery store. Lily taught me to read ingredients labels carefully before buying any food products. A rule of the thumb is not to indulge in any stuff that has more than one tenth of sugar in it. We found sesame snack bars, which had 28 gms of sugar per serving of 100 grams. Talk about healthy foods! Stocked some freshly-baked banana loafs which are gluten, soy and dairy-free and taste almost the same as regular banana bread, and I bought Flaxseed Oil, which provides the essential Omega-3 in our diet and helps to keep the digestive system running smoothly. Thanks Lily for your time, I loved our little outing!
Week four, day six
Change of view
Carolyn from Blue Sky life coaching always has a trick up her sleeve. This time, she helped me see how we take credit for all the things going well in our lives and blame others/ situations for the not-so-nice ones. She calls it ‘rationalization’ – rational lies! – but we can’t change the rules of the game halfway through. We are responsible for all the stuff happening in our lives (good and bad). We need to be aware of our thoughts and see whether we are at the cause (creating the results we want) or effect (victim mode and feeling helpless).
We often have very good reasons for not succeeding – I’m too old, too young, too rich, too poor, my husband, my wife, my kids, my background, my social status, etc. Fast forward your life to when you’d be 80 or 90 years old and check if these excuses/reasons were worth standing on the side for and not doing what you wanted to do.
Finally, we picked up one of my limiting beliefs and Carolyn made me move from the effect to the cause side of things. From feeling helpless to feeling empowered. It doesn’t cease to amaze me how everything is just in our minds and the moment we see there is another possibility, the situation turns!
Lily Mueller, nutritionist at Dubai Herbal and Treatment Centre, says: “Despite the initial skepticism and difficulty, Bhawna is getting more enthusiastic by the day and I love dealing with her. I know Bhawna now feels a lot more comfortable with her meal plan and diet-related lifestyle changes. Together, we've simplified it quite a bit by incorporating more Indian meal options that she was already familiar with and she is comfortable preparing for herself and her family. She’s admitted that she is slowly, but surely, getting used to bigger breakfasts and lighter, smaller dinners, and that she goes to bed sightly puckish, which is actually quite a nice feeling. And she has totally given up dairy – something she thought impossible in our first session. We went shopping at the Organic Foods and Cafe together and bought flax seed oil, spelt bread, goats yoghurt, mungbean crisps, hazelnut milk etc… all new things to her and it will be interesting to see if she will add these to her diet – not just for herself but also for her family.”