Thursday, May 29, 2008

Mediocrity and two days off

Today is Thursday. I went to yoga Tuesday night at 5pm. It was my fifth day in a row (yippee!!) and I just had a very mediocre class. I was just not feelin' it. The class started something like this: My normal row was full, so I went to the back. The mirror seemed so far away and it felt "off". During breathing I felt so "blah" and didn't want to be there. During half moon I was arguing with myself "I hate this friggin' posture. I didn't use to hate it. Now I hate it, all these damn teachers keeping me in this damn thing for a half hour, my friggin' arms are going to fall off". Ok, maybe I had some issues that day (obviously) because as I sit here and type this two days later its so silly. Anyway, something deep inside me, a smaller but more powerful voice just said "get out of my way". After that, my thoughts calmed down, not shut up completely as I would've liked, but they calmed down and I proceeded to have a very lukewarm class. That's OK, we can't be rock stars every time we practice. In fact, one of the things that keeps me going back is not knowing what I'm going to get when I walk in there. Same exact postures every time seems like it would be boring. I find its just the opposite. The unknown of how your body will react that day makes it very fun.
Wednesday I took the day off and it looks like I am not going to go tonight either due to donating blood today. I actually have gone to yoga the same day as donating blood before, because I was doing a 60 day yoga challenge and had to go, but I did feel dizzy and had to sit down a lot. So I'll just pick it back up tomorrow. I plan on going tomorrow and Saturday and then Sunday the challenge starts. I'm excited because I've gotten a few pledges for the fundraiser for George. I'm on it!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Yoga carnage courtesy of drill sergeant Dray...

It was awesome! People were dropping like flies before we even got to eagle. Three people left the room and never came back. Me, I hung in there like a trooper. It was a tough class. Not sure if he was keeping us in the postures longer or if we were just sucked in by his amazing energy and really pushing ourselves, but either way, my arms felt like hot lead weights in half moon and my legs were shaking like leaves in the second part of awkward. I was drip drip dripping sweat off my elbows like mad by eagle. These are the first three postures people! There are 26 total! I was wondering "hmmm, will I make it today?". I did. I dug deep and just really concentrated on breathing. I had to close my mouth several times (you are supposed to breath in through the nose and out through the nose) due to uncontrollable panting. But at least I was catching myself and correcting it. My daughter, she's a rockstar. She hadn't been to yoga in two weeks and was DYING by awkward. She took a knee a few times, and had to eventually lay down for a few postures. But she stayed in the room! Rockstar I say.
Yesterday I wrote about the fundraiser for fellow yogi George. He's getting a kidney transplant. Well, he was in class today and is a good friend of Dray. The class was also pretty full due to today being a holiday and the last class is at 1pm instead of 11pm. I think Dray was just really rockin' that class out for George and pushing us to our limits. George is amazing. He has to have dialysis all of the time and comes to yoga anyway! How many people would use that as an excuse NOT to go? All of us I think. Or 99.9 % anyway. Knowing George was in there with his dialysis patch on his chest, workin' it to the max made me work extra hard to hang in there when the yoga carnage started. Oh, and as a bonus, we had alot of yoga drama. Yoga drama is when people start to grunt, groan and make horrible noises in things like backward bending. Funny part is that the yoga drama started in half moon. People were lowering their arms and making noises already. Can't say as I blame them. My arms were wilting at the very least. I was hard pressed to keep them locked toward the end when the burning was at full intensity.
I picked up the pledge form today. June 1st can't come fast enough for me. I've gone 4 days in a row now and I'm totally fired up!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

What came or the room?

I said in yesterdays post that when practice gets easier, my life outside the room should follow.  Well, after yesterdays complete hell of a practice I had a nice productive evening and a very good day the next day (today).  I went to 3pm yoga and was very happy to see Frank was teaching.  He is one of my favorite teachers.  His teaching style is great.  Compassion, humor, energy, he brings it every time.  I know I'm not alone in having him as one of my favorites.  Everybody loves Frank.  I had a very strong practice today.  One of those times where you come out of a posture and instead of feeling exhausted and weary, I felt energized.  I literally could feel energy running up and down my spine after floor bow.  Amazing.  Truly amazing.  So life felt good last night and this morning and so did my practice today.   I don't know which one decided to be good first, and it doesn't matter.  Its the whole "chicken or the egg?" dilemma.  :)
My daughter is back home from her dads and is coming with me to 11am yoga tomorrow.  She hasn't been for awhile and is excited.  Its wonderful to see a 13 year old go in there and brave that heat without complaining.  Not only that, but she really brings it with some of her postures.  She has a beautiful standing bow and her standing head to knee is very strong.  She kicks out every time the little shit!  The teacher who does the advanced class at our studio mentioned to my daughter the possibility of competing in the junior division of the yoga championships this fall.  I'm certainly not going to push it on her, but if she ends up going I'll be so darn proud.  As of now, she's interested.  We shall see.  You know how kids can be. 
My studio sends out email newsletters frequently.  The latest news letter talked about the fundraising event we are having for a fellow student who needs a kidney transplant.  Yogis Unite, a non profit organization started by two of the teachers is having an event at our studio on June 14th and we will be raising money.  I just found out, via the newsletter, that anybody doing to 30/60 day challenge can pick up a pledge form and have friends and family sponsor us in our challenge and it will go to the event!  I'm so excited.  What a great way to help out.  I already told the person organizing it that I would help out the day of, but to actually have a valid way to help raise funds is really great.  I'm going to pick up a pledge form tomorrow. 
Here is the link to the event details:

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Run screaming from the room...

That's what I wanted to do today in class.  But I didn't.  Run screaming from the room, throw up, die, all of these were options today.  I honestly don't know how I was able to stay in the class the whole 90 minutes.  I was an absolute wreck.  I went to yoga three out of the last seven days.  For me, that is just ridiculously lazy.  I normally go at least 5 days a week.  Oh did I pay for that laziness today!  The room was about 110 and 40 percent humidity.  It felt like the heat and humidity were sucking the strength right out of me.  I was dizzy after triangle and kind of swaying as I was standing on my feet between sets.  I was nauseous during the whole floor series and I had to sit out one set of rabbit because I was just done at that point.  It occurred to me, as I was going through the hell and torment, that the struggle of that class is really indicative of my life right now.  I have been struggling with some personal things lately.  Issues with my teenage daughter, feeling depressed post breakup and some other things that I don't feel like advertising on the Internet.  Suffice it to say that the last two months have been very difficult for me.  So as I was laying in final savasana I thought to myself: good, I'm glad I had a tough class.  Life is a little tough right now.  I need to go to yoga everyday and fight and struggle in that room and it will get better.  And when it gets better in the room, it will get better outside the room too.  This I know, because I've experienced it before during my 60 day challenge.
This yoga really works.  If you've never tried it, you're missing out on something that has the potential to be life changing if you let it.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Lock the friggin' knee!

Had a great class tonight...and am really getting psyched about this challenge! Anybody that has gone to teacher training will understand the title of this post. I've heard that Bikram literally yells and curses and tells everybody to just lock their friggin' knee. I hope to go to that training someday. Yes, I'll be subjected to the yelling and cursing, but its a small price to pay to follow my dream.
I'm lockin' my knee. But its hard and I am balanced challenged, so in standing head to knee, I don't kick out. I am still, after one year, "building a strong base". Thats ok though! When I started, I couldn't reach my foot! I bent over but could not get my foot into my hands to even begin the posture! So to be focused, eyes in the mirror, knee locked, foot in hand for 30 seconds most days, and some days I nail the first set and get 60 seconds, is a huge improvement for me. Currently, I'm working on sucking in my stomach to support my spine. So on that day that I am able to kick out and hold it, I will have a very solid foundation. I have kicked out before and I can't stay that way for very long.
So to review, I'd like to get closer to the wrap on eagle, and start kicking out more often in standing head to knee. Off the top of my head two other challenges for me are standing bow pulling pose and toe stand. Standing bow: I don't seem to have the strength to stay in it very long. I do get my foot over my head, shoulders in one line, but I fall out repeatedly. Toe stand: I can get down there, but I cannot seem to sit up straight and find my balance to start working toward getting either hand up into namaste. I'm kind of hunched over, and I cannot reverse out of the posture the same way on the left side, only the right, and even then i'm not coming back up neatly with a fully locked right leg. My two best postures: triangle and camel. My triangle is getting stronger and stronger. I remember the days when I could not hold the whole set on the left side. Those days are gone and I just love that posture. I'm getting my hips down, my leg is an "upside down letter L" and I'm really reaching up in opposite directions with both arms, with a nice triangle where its supposed to be. Camel: love that posture. I am back pretty good, pushing my hips forward and really arching my spine up and over, like a water fountain, and not putting pressure on my heels with my hands. In my mind, I picture myself doing full camel someday. I should have someday take a picture of me in that posture so I can laugh at the folly of my silly mind. I'm sure I don't look as good in that posture as I am imagining....but hey! Its fun!
Days left til challenge starts: Eleven. I plan on going to yoga at least 10 out of those 11 days to gear up.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Want "the wrap" badly

OK, before I get started with this challenge, I'm going to document a few things I cannot do (or wish I could do) as well as some stats (omg, how scary, I'm going to have to track my weight!) so that I can see progress. The last time I did the 60 day challenge I slimmed down a little (approx 4 lbs) and started toning up, as well as making some breakthroughs on postures. This picture shows somebody doing "eagle pose". This is the third posture in the series (not counting the first breathing exercise) and for me has been the bane of my existence lately. I can get my hands into prayer. Are they below my nose? Well, kinda if I look up and stick that nose in the air! I know, that's cheating. I need to work on pulling my arms down. The thing that really gets me in this posture is that I cannot wrap my legs. I point my toe in that direction, but my foot seems to be nowhere near wrapping around my calf. How the hell do these people do this? I'm just baffled. I also have balancing issues in general, so quite often I will fall out a little and have to get back in. So I'd like to be closer to obtaining "the wrapped legs" if at all possible by the end of the challenge. I've been practicing for a year, so that's probably wishful thinking, but it doesn't hurt to try. Even an inch further is progress! Are my legs just too fat? Or is it tightness somewhere, like the hips? That part I have not figured out.
I'll log my stats on day 1 of the challenge. Meanwhile, I think I'll post short little blogs about the postures I'd like to improve on. All of them need improvement, but there are some specific things, like "the wrap" that I'm excited to work on.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


This is a picture of Bikram Choudhury and his wife Rajasharee. Bikram put together a series of 26 yoga postures and two breathing exercises to create his beginning yoga series. The kicker: this 90 minute physically challenging class takes place in a room that is heated to approx. 105 degrees with over 40% humidity. So for those of you who think yoga means sitting in a bliss full state and contemplating your navel, well, think again. Actually, don't think. Just walk in and take a Bikram class. Drink plenty of water first!
The posture they are demonstrating is called "Trikonasana" or "Triangle" pose. I chose this picture for my first blog because Triangle was the first posture that I was able to do in a "halfway decent manner" when I started practicing Bikram one year ago. Do I look like them now? No. But everyday I improve just a little bit on at least one posture. If you've been in that hot room, you'll know that's sayin' something!
I completed a 60 day challenge in Jan/Feb of this year and now my studio is running another one. OK, I'll do it again! I felt great! To be honest, I've gotten a little lazy with my practice....I'm down to 4 or 5 days a week, and still eating the same as when I was on the challenge and have put on 5 pounds. For a woman who still needs to lose 30lbs, that's not a good thing. So challenge here I come! I'm going to actually consider going for 90 days this time, but first I'll commit to another 60 and see what happens. Life can throw curve balls at us, so I'll just have to see.
This blog will keep track of any progress I make in the postures (non- yoga people are going "yawn"), my thoughts, feelings, and well, just anything that happens! Maybe some non-yoga life things too!
The challenge starts early June.
So I'll see you then!