PB — Personal Best

A few weeks ago, my yoga class was doing a supported headstand, where you stand on your head and elbows with your feet in the air. A gray-haired lady near me had trouble raising her feet up, which gives everyone trouble. I felt she was close. After class I suggested that she move her elbows closer together, clasping her elbows with her hands to start. I showed her the arm position and the headstand. After the next class, she came to me and said she had just done the headstand. I congratulated her. She had just achieved a personal best (PB)!

When we learn something new, which is all the time, we need to celebrate PBs and the hard work it takes. Some poses are hard, especially poses with balance or flexibility, and I feel I can never do the new pose. But seeing other students do the pose encourages me to keep working at it, and sometimes I eventually get it.

Reaching a PB, such as achieving a new pose or holding it longer or more steady, feels good . Helping another student achieve a PB also feels good. PBs help keep us going. Here’s to enjoying PBs by taking a moment to bask in the warmth they bring.

The family that preys together, part 1

On our first day at Serengeti camp, we came upon a mother cheetah and cubs on the afternoon game drive.  They were sleeping, as cats usually do.  Our guide said there were four cheetah cubs.  We couldn’t make out four cubs, but by now, we knew better than to doubt the guide on counting animals.

sleeping cheetahs
sleeping cheetahs

We kept our distance and watched.  Occasionally a head would pop up for a moment and plop back down.  After 40 minutes, several heads popped up at the same time. Now we can see three cubs.  It’s getting dark.

several heads popping up at the same time
several heads popping up at the same time

Five minutes later the entire family is awake.  A proud mother and her four cubs, posing for us.

proud mother and four babies
proud mother and four babies

They get up and stretch.  My yoga instructor would be proud of these cats.  The cheetah cub does a cat pose.  The mother cheetah does a variation of the downward facing dog pose, a cat with its head up.

cheetah cub does a cat pose
cheetah cub does a cat pose
cheetah mother stretching
cheetah mother stretching
okay, we're up now
okay, we’re up now

And then the rain started.  They went for cover.

running for cover
running for cover

They played for a bit and then ran off, through the rain, into the night.

cubs climbing
cubs climbing
cheetahs nuzzling
cheetahs nuzzling

We had a great visit with the cheetah family.  It was dark, and we had a long drive back to camp in the rain, on dirt roads.

Lyin’ in the grass

On our first morning at the Serengeti Camp, we found a dozen lions in the grass under a large tree. We only saw female lions and cubs.  Outside Serengeti National Park, we were able to drive off-road.  Lions in the grass on a warm summer day.

lions in the grass
lions in the grass
the flies
the flies
lion cub
lion cub

Our guide let us spend a long time with the lions, so we had time to observe behaviors such as grooming, yawning, and sprawling.

Lions groom by licking.  According to the Honolulu Zoo, the lion “tongue’s upper surface has small bumps on it which enables the lion to hold on to meat while eating and to remove parasites when grooming”.

lion licking mouth
lion licking mouth
lion grooming
lion grooming
lion grooming closeup
lion grooming closeup

In the above closeup, the lion’s tongue extends back past the tuft of hair under her mouth.

It was noon, and the lions sleep 20 hours a day.

lion yawning
lion yawning
lion yawning closeup
lion yawning closeup

We can see the lion’s teeth.  The female lions do the hunting.  When the teeth clamp onto the neck, the lion can suffocate the prey. We let sleeping cats lie.

lion in the grass
lion in the grass

For the yoga enthusiasts, this lion got up and did a cat pose, where you exhale and arch your back.

cat pose
cat pose

Finally, a lion walked up to one of our trucks for shade from the noonday sun.

seeking shade
seeking shade

Cats are cute to watch, when they’re not killing something or eating it before your eyes.