Monday, January 11, 2010

Guest Blogger, Alex Whitehead: Time management (only a little compulsive)

I’m always curious about other people’s daily rituals and routines. Especially how people balance busy professional/personal lives with their Ashtanga yoga practice. Here is how Alex does it (he’s an IT guy at law firm).

Guest Blogger, Alex Whitehead 
Time management (only a little compulsive) 

The advantage of compulsive time management is that I get a lot done in my day. The downside is that I sometimes feel like a robot. I know that coming to practice every morning is a luxury and not a penance. Sometimes I forget though.

Daily schedule (Monday-Friday):
4:30am -- rise, bathe, caffeinate, cleanse
5:54am -- leave house
6:12am -- arrive studio
8:20am -- end practice, bathe, change, toil on death star
5:15pm -- leave work
5:50pm -- home, shoes off, slouchy clothes applied, feed self
6:30pm -- guitar practice
8:00pm -- pack clothes, yoga bits in bag, pack lunch etc
8:30pm -- bed

*Tuesdays: all of the above plus my guitar lesson at 5:30
*Fridays: often have booze programmed in the evening especially since no work/yoga in morning.

• The only day I sleep in past 7 am.
• Saturday is good for making up missed guitar practice time during the week, doing laundry etc. The more housekeeping done on Saturday allows for a more relaxed Sunday. Time after yoga for coffee, for example.
• Saturday evening is the ideal time for getting groceries (have awesome red granny style grocery cart I pull behind me. People in cars look on jealously.)

• Up at 7 am to allow for pre-yoga caffeination, bathe, etc.
• Practice and then coffee with some delightful humans.
• Home, 2 hrs guitar.
• Prepare food for the week: salad and fruit salads. 

• Salad includes mixed greens, spinach, green beans, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, cabbage, feta, pepper, carrots, onions, radish, grilled chicken, turkey bacon, home made croutons.
• Fruit salad - cantaloupe, pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, mango, grapes. This varies depending on season and quality of fruit available. No strawberries this week. Mango’s will break your heart -- they are so beautiful when good and so so so sad when bad or mediocre. Any fruit salad leftover gets frozen and turned into smoothies later.

*** NOTE: There is a cost to this approach. The cost is a slight monastic lifestyle. I am mostly fine with that but many may find it austere.*** 

Alex's office:

Total underdesk inventory: Boots - worn and slightly soiled; Shorts - (not visible); Bumble bee yellow sleevless shirt; Yogitoes - green, threadbare and frankly, nasty; Teatowel - principally used to facilitate the least graceful marichyasana D ever. 


  1. Alex = my teacher
    He who does what he admonishes others to do
    has power over men.
    Indeed it is difficult to control oneself.
    - Buddha

    this post is from Adam (ashtanga alien predator Adam)

  2. Does compulsiveness drive one to Ashtanga? Or does Ashtanga propagate compulsiveness?

  3. GOOD QUESTION. I've been wondering that myself. It seems that Type A personalities are drawn to ashtanga.

  4. This is awesome. I laugh, I cried, I kicked myself for not practicing my guitar more often. The yogi toes almost looks like a little hammock under the desk (it made me feel sleepy). Also, I feel like I'm missing out by not bathing at 4 in the am prior to yoga. Apparently, this is the thing to do. No wonder you all smell so sweet.

    Thanks Alex.


  5. OMIGAWD, Alex, you've exposed yourself!!

    Craig - I have to concur, though, that a shower before practice is the bomb! And sweet...

    Now, I must say, I am not a type A person at all - extraordinarily undisciplined nor predictable in terms of schedule, etc. Every day is a struggle. So, I admire this, though find it wholly impossible. Are you sure you're an earthling, Alex??

    blessings to all types,

  6. Wondering what you think of this food solution?

    pizza muffins
    I order 3 pizzas (with extra sauce, onion, roasted red pepper, spinach[ruffage]) every saturday at home
    put them in the blender and put the mix in muffin molds, refrigerate
    the cheese holds it all together
    one muffin for bfast, one for lunch and two for dinner (4 daily)
    recipe makes 20 muffins and I am set for a week at work


  7. My reaction to learning about Alex's life is to feel great respect--even awe--for him. Our lives have become so indolent, self-indulgent, and consumer-crazy that it is a blessed relief to come across someone who is self-disciplined, organized, knows what makes him feel fulfilled, and doesn't care about what others think of his ascetic lifestyle choices. It takes audacity and courage to follow your own dreams and live a life marked by rigor and simplicity. Bravo!

  8. Thanks, Alex! I also loved reading this. The wet things drying in the office part is very familiar. (My poor students who come to office hours! I manage to hang stuff out of sight but there's not much I can do about the locker-room smell.) I am most impressed by the daily guitar practice. I have one or two other hobbies besides yoga but I don't manage to find time for them as often as I'd like. I'm going to experiment with getting up a bit earlier so I can try showering before yoga too.

  9. This is fantastic - and very inspiring.

    I agree with Craig that the Yogitoes looks like a hammock under the desk.

    Adam, I'm not sure I'll ever be persuaded to try your pizza muffins...
    ; )

    Alex, you are an inspiration. Perhaps on your next guest post you can add a few mp3s of your guitar playing?

  10. Brillant! Now I feel bad (well, maybe just a teensy bit) for going home and sleeping :). Luke