Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I'm getting excited.....are you?

Three more days.

Bikram 101~ Let's do this!

Come read this post.....

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

~~I want to inspire you....~

I'm over here at Bikram 101 posting.....trying to talk you into a challenge.
Please go visit me over there.

Monday, December 21, 2009

I'm glad you're gone. Done come back, ever again

I had a visit from somebody that I'd rather not see or talk to anymore. She's grumpy. Tired all of the time. Eats like crap. Is overweight and doesn't do anything about it, just lets it rule her and make her unhappy. She's quiet. In fact, her staff members kept asking her what was wrong today and even called her a debbie downer. She's not that fun to be around. There is an unhealthy glow to this woman.
I know what you are thinking. "Geez Michelle, you are being awfully harsh!". Don't worry. She deserves these harsh words. I've worked very hard the past two and a half years to avoid the heck out of this person. Despite all of my efforts, she surfaced over the weekend. All it took was missing yoga for five days straight. The first two days, no sign of her. I was living off the interest as Bikram likes to say. Days 3 to 5, no such luck. A steady decline until I woke up today, looked in the mirror and saw her.....pre-Bikram Michelle. Like I said, I try to avoid her. What started off as "taking a day or two off before my 101 day challenge" turned into "I really don't feel like going to yoga today". How easy that mentality seeped in, like a very dangerous poisonous snake!
I'm glad the 101 day challenge starts Jan 1st. I would like to make more deposits in my Bikram bank to ensure that I stay away from pre-Bikram Michelle!
I was scared to go to class tonight after my five day break. I went to my old studio and practiced with Reggi, Christian and Ray....my family. And just like family, they embraced me and carried me though what turned out to be a tough class.
Welcome back Bikramyogachick. I sure as heck have missed you the last few days. I like you much much better than old Michelle......

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Teacher Training Graduation, Yogi Christmas Party and adventures with Mei and J

Well I've been a big fat slacker blogger. I know, I owe you guys scoop, big time. Here goes. Last Saturday was teacher training graduation. It was held in a gigantic ballroom at the Hilton. The trainees were all dressed up and seated in the first several rows. Bikram was escorted in by two Las Vegas showgirls, one of them being Stacy Shea, the owner of the Green Valley Bikram studio. It was pretty funny and totally Bikram. Craig Villani was there to "mc" the graduation. Rajasharee spoke and then ran the demonstration. Trainees selected by Bikram himself (including Mei!!!) got on stage and performed all 26 postures in the series, with Rajasharee explaining the benefits of each one as they were being demonstrated. I love that woman. She was far away up on stage and I could just tell that I totally be enamored with her if I met her in person. She has a beautiful energy. The ceremony started at 3 and I had to leave at 6 to go to the Christmas party because I volunteered to work the door. I missed seeing Mei go onstage (there were only on J when I left) but I did see her during a break and gave her a giant hug.
The yogi Christmas party was held at the Playboy club at the palms. I worked the door for the first hour and a half. Lots of my yogi friends showed up, including fellow blogger Greg (Big G from "Another Version of the Truth") and my friend Michelle A (one of the original "regulars" from my old studio). Trainees started to show up later, including Mei. I found her later at a very loud dance club upstairs from the Playboy Club. It was pretty fun. Yogis sure do clean up nicely!
I picked Mei up the next morning and she stayed with me for a few days. As you know from my previous post I got to take her first class ever. We left later that week and headed to southern California to see Julianna (Dancing J from "Lock the Knee" blog). I have now met three bloggers in real life and all three are phenomenal people. I am amazed at how awesome the Bikram community is. J took us to her studio that night and when we got back to her house we hung out and looked through Mei's teacher training yearbook. I know J was touched, because she will be going to training in the spring and I was touched because I don't know when or how I will get to training....just know I will go. The next day J and I got to take Mei's class at noon. I was excited to see J's reaction to Mei's class. She loved it of course. Practicing next to these gals was inspiring to say the least. They both have incredible postures and are strong, determined and flexible. I mean really flexible. J looks at her heels during the half moon backbend. She is also very graceful (her ballet training), super smart and friendly just like you would expect after reading her blog. The three of us meshed really well and were very comfortable together. Good times!
I left Mei with J. They took a road trip up the coast. I drove 30 miles and stayed the weekend with old high school friends. Tonight was my first class back after missing three days of yoga (sat-mon) and I paid the price let me tell you! It was humid as all get out and Dray was riding us hard. It felt good to be back. Now to gear up for the big 101 day challenge starting Jan 1st. If you haven't yet checked out our group blog, please do so (click on the 101 badge in the top right corner of my blog). We also have a facebook group page and it has gone viral! Over 400 yogis joined the group in the first few days.
Sorry for the lack of pictures (and for the terrible quality of the graduation pics).
Pics 1-3: Greg and Mei, Michelle A, two other yogis then Greg, Me and Greg. All taken at the Christmas party
Pics 4-7: Teacher Training Graduation
Pic 8: Me, Mei and J

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Guest Post: New teacher Mei!

Mei has been too busy teaching and facebooking to blog. So I talked her into a quickie guest post (begged). I now give you Mei. Enjoy!!

Actually, I lie. I knocked her out with a champagne bottle and decided to hijack her blog! *evil laugh. OK, I lied about that, so put that receiver down and read this entry. Like, right now.

Soooooo. I have been out of teacher training for... exactly 4 days. That means, 4 days of good sleep [I'm still stuck on TT time though - sleep at 12-1am, wake up at 700am going "OH FUCK NEED TO SIGN IN"-], good food, general lazing around, facebooking [hooray for internet!], laundry, general lunatic behaviour on twitter... and TEACHING. Yes, teaching!

Taught my first class at Bikram Yoga Summerlin [props to Jason for letting me hijack his class. Only because I possess the ultimate power of cute. That and I won't be in Vegas for long!]. How does it feel coming full circle, I hear you ask? Weeeell.. it felt... FUCKING AWESOME. Apologies to BikramYogaChick if I am desecrating her blog with cuss words, but heck, she's out cold after I knocked her out with a bottle of champagne. Heh heh heh.

Let me describe the feeling of teaching - it felt... surreal. After 9 weeks of hell and torture, late nights, movies, cramming in dialogue, crying [yes, I balled my eyes out Friday of Week 5], frustration [why won't the dialogue stick?!?!?], lethargy and tiredness [try staying up till 1-5am everydaym waking up at 7am to hydrate, eat and rush off to 830am class]... I am a newly minted teacher! For my very very first class [proper class as well], I had ONE first timer, TWO beginners, and TWENTY ONE students in total. In short, I think I killed everyone in there [with kindless, love and corny jokes - yes, I know you love my corny ass jokes] and I saw a few people sitting out. Shit, that was when I remembered... "Open the doors, uh, hello, get a clue, you're the teacher!!!". It felt so surreal when a student approached me and asked if I was the teacher. I had to get used to saying yes and looking her straight in the eye as she explained her medical predicaments. Had a brand new guy in there as well, and he did pretty damn well for his first class! Props to Jason for helping him out with his grip for Standing Bow [I saw he had the right grip the first set, couldn't see for the second set cause uh, I'm still too short to see from above the podium].

It was a night of firsts, as BikramYogaChick would tell you! It was my VERY FIRST CLASS, the VERY FIRST TIME BYC TOUCHED HER FOREHEAD TO HER KNEE, and my very first class with ONE first timer! YAY for us!

If BYC hasn't told you yet, I'm currently bunking at her place, just a room across from her. Thank GOD we're not in the same room cause she'll be listening to me pace up and down the room, memorising dialogue and generally cussing to myself when I'm studying dialogue. And no, I don't weigh 89lbs dripping wet, and no, I don't fancy myself going out clubbing people when they're asleep in bed.

The circle is complete. Now, off to kill people lovingly all over the world with Bikram Yoga, muahaha!

The circle would not have been able to be completed without the following individuals. I would like to thank the following, in no particular order, for helping support me in this crazy journey called Teacher Training : McKinley - for organising the fundraiser, BikramYogaChick - thank you for the lodging, the company, the bubbly, being the perfect hostess!, my teachers at True Fitness Malaysia - thank you for putting up with my crazy behaviour, Jakob for being my mentor, Erik for being the awesome studio manager and teaching me the value of street smarts, all the staff at Bikram Yoga Teacher Training Fall 2009 - thank you for all the hard work and sacrifice!, visiting teachers - thank you for your wise input and wisdom, Lisa I. - for the awesome distraction you dished out during Rabbit pose and being so encouraging, my roomie - because I am actually quiet and distant during my solace in the big big tent and room, my family - thank you for supporting my dreams and not thinking I was insane, my friends - I know you miss me!, last but not least - all my readers and followers on twitter. Thank you, Thank you, for the follow and allowing me to share this awesome journey. Special thanks to Laura for sending the awfully sweet card... and thank you to everyone who sent mail and packages! You made me feel so special and loved :)

Ah, BikramYogaChick has come to consciousness. Again, thank you everyone for sharing this awesome journey with me.

Now, to pretend like the champagne cork knocked her out flat cold. *twiddles thumbs


p.s : I kid, I didn't really club her unconcious.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Mei gives me a new truth, I pop her yoga cherry...then she pops mine

Well I didn't pop her cherry. Bikram Yoga Summerlin did. But I'm getting ahead of myself here. **clears throat**. Ok, let's start from the beginning shall we?
The first time Mei and I practiced yoga together before she went to teacher training she told me "Oh, you're a flexi". Bikram teachers often talk about how there are two body types. The strong ones and the flexible ones. The strong ones need to use their incredible strength to buy some flexibility. The flexis need to work on their strength. When I first started yoga, I couldn't touch my toes. I assumed that meant I was one of the "strength" people. As I began to practice yoga and open up my body, I progressed along in the flexibility area, but you don't see me touching my forehead to my toes with Bikram himself bouncing up and down on my back, so I still had it in my head that "I am not flexible". That was my truth. When Mei said that to me I looked at her, head tilted to the side like "huh?" I wasn't ready to change that truth. This past weekend, sitting at the Christmas party check in table, chatting with teacher Sharon, I was again told I was a "flexi". I said Sharon, why do you say that? She said, you just are, your body type is a flexi, you've got a very flexible and lovely spine (J, I no longer have spine envy!!) I decided, right then and there to start telling myself "I am flexible". I have embraced this new truth and it has actually begun to change my practice after just a few short days. Mei said to me "be careful what you think, because your cells are listening". It works to the positive as well!
Tonight was Mei's first class. Tonight, I got to see Mei complete the circle. Armed with my new flexible attitude I was front row center at her first class. Her Bikram teaching cherry was offically popped during a real class, with real students. No mock class for this new teacher, we threw her right into the fire! She got up there, got the headset adjusted and smiled. She asked if there were any first timers. There was one. She asked his name and gave him the little "first timer" speech with poise and confidence. Then she launched into pranayama breathing. What followed next was very good dialog, good timing and even some jokes! While in forward fold shaking our hips out left and right, left and right she says "It's Vegas, shake your hips like a showgirl!". Then for standing bow when we said the "mama give me money" she said "don't drop the money or I'll use it for my flight home". After balancing stick she said "you're heart is probably beating out of your chest feeling like it's going to break. Don't worry, yoga won't break your heart only love will". Then at the end she said "everybody give a hand for andrew, he did great for his first time!". As we are clapping she said "Andrew, after the last posture we are going to do a bunch of pushups and jumping jacks, ok?". He looked a bit scared for a minute, then laughed. He had done great, attempting every posture and was probably wiped out at that point. I know I was! Aside from the jokes, there was another pretty momentous event (well for me anyway). I got my forehead to my knee second set left side! That is the first time ever I have kicked out, held it, got the elbows down below the calves, and hugging the calves tight. I was looking in the mirror at my elbows and I thought "they are in position, I need to go for it!" So I did. And I touched my forehead to my knee. Forehead to knee cherry popped. I didn't keep it there for very long, but that's ok.
Mei ended the class at roughly 98 minutes (not bad for first time!) and was given lots of sweaty hugs in the lobby. It was announced before class that she was from Malaysia, had just finished teacher training and that it was her first time teaching. Students who didn't know her looked at her expectantly, probably uneasy that their "routine" was being disturbed. Those same students gave her kudos after class, said she did great (she did!). I was honored to be there and see her complete the circle. I felt a the same way I feel when I watch my daughter in dance or sports. I got a bit teary eyed at the end during final breathing. **looks around** Sshhh! Don't tell her that!

How do you google me?

This is the equivalent of "elevator music while on hold". I owe a Graduation, Christmas Party and Mei's first class post. Mei is teaching tonight at 5. I'll get my act together soon, I swear! I've been a busy bee these past few days! In the meantime, here is a draft I've been working on for a little while. My hit counter tells me how people find me. Direct hit? Cool. Google search? Well, what key words did they type to find me? Here they are. Enjoy.

Of course these:
“bikram 30 day challenge blog”
“bikram 60 day challenge blog”

“Bikram yoga death”- Yup, sometimes it feels like that
“Bikram Yoga Deaths”- I haven’t seen anybody croak during class yet!
“Doing bikram while tired”- Oh so many classes while I was tired! That is the norm during a challenge
“Bikram yoga body”- It’s good when your bikram yoga body shows up for you in practice!!
“To Feel Depleted”- is not fun.
“Bikram yoga makes me happy”- me too!
“Bikram Yoga Chick”- yay! A return visitor!!!
“Bikram teacher training blog las vegas 2009”- oops sorry, didn’t mean to get your hopes up!
“Five days break from Bikram Yoga”- really? I wouldn’t like that.
“couples bikram yoga”- sounds interesting. I’m game, hey guys, any volunteers??
“bikram yoga for a great body”- that’s what I’m hoping!
“elbows hurt bikram yoga”- ya, my left elbow was hurting for a long time. better now though!
“bikram yoga emotional”- that is for sure me! I’ve written some pretty crazy emotional posts.
“yogic crying”- Crying! There’s no crying in yoga!!
“I have an ear infection can I start bikram yoga”- wow, you’re anxious!
“numb arms in yoga”- ya, it’s that damn locust posture!
“craig villiani”- this one I get a lot….this dude is popular!
“yoga fill in the blank”- Huh?
“warning of exhausted batteries”- clearly you were not looking for a yoga blog, surprised you clicked through anyway!
“bikram yoga teachers training sex”- wow! Get me to training, stat!
“50 thousand pound challenge”- whaaat?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Proper Care and Feeding of a New Bikram Instructor

First make sure you attend graduation. When she tweets that she fell out of standing head to knee during the yoga demonstration, text her that nobody noticed (she did fantastic fyi). Then make sure when she gets to the very packed club that the yogi Christmas party is at be sure to find her even though you can't move, hear or see due to the loud music and mass of bodies. Make note of the very late time when you leave her, still dancing and tell her you will come pick her up from the Hilton very early the next day. The next morning, when you get the tired new teacher and all of her stuff into the car, drive her straight up to a yoga class (I know, it's mean, but I did it **evil chuckle**). In my defense, it was first class ever for newly graduated George, who is a Las Vegas trainee and we wanted to go. After that, drag her around on a bunch of errands, including an oil change. Poke fun at her when she shows off her new talent of sleeping upright in a chair (critical for surviving teacher training I'm told). After all of this torture, finally bring her home, light some Christmas candles, cook a nice hot meal and pop a funny movie into the dvd to enjoy while eating said meal.
Congratulations to Mei and the entire fall 2009 Bikram teacher training class...welcome to the world of being a certified Bikram instructor! We look forward to learning from you and growing with you.

P.S- I owe you guys a post about the graduation and party (I have pics!). Later this week, I promise!

Friday, December 4, 2009

It doesn't get much better than this....

I was in a bit of a slump yesterday. (thank you for all of the encouraging comments!). Today I was so busy at work I couldn't see straight.....and I loved it! I went to 530 yoga at Bikram Redrock with Michelle. The class was small, compact and full of energy. I had a wonderful and flexible class and afterwards went up to Michelle to get some pointers on standing head to knee. You see, it took me two years to kick out. For six months I've been kicking out and working on elbows down. I don't feel ready for the final stage, so I talked to Michelle about what I should be doing, feeling, working on. The little mini one on one session was awesome! I floated out of the studio on cloud nine. Your comments, my busy day, the feedback from Michelle and the busy weekend ahead of me turned my mood around completely. I get to go to teacher training graduation tomorrow. Then I get to work the door at a yogi xmas party at the Palms tomorrow night. Then Sunday I get to pick Mei up and keep her for a few days before embarking on a road trip to see Dancing J. After dropping Mei off safely with J, I get to go see my best friend on the planet from high school and belatedly celebrate my 39th birthday in my hometown. It really doesn't get much better than this......thank you all for your encouraging comments!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Hamster on a wheel

Tonight was 530 with Dray. I have been weird this week with my practice. A night off. Then a double. Then another night off. I'm all over the place. I had to drag myself there tonight. Literally, drag myself kicking and screaming. Why? I am not normally like this. I have been practicing for over 2 and 1/2 years, have done 3 60 day challenges and one where I hit 99 out of 101 days. Hey, I'm bikramyogachick! The one who is pretty consistent, quite frankly might be bat shit insane about yoga. So my disinterest this week is strange. In fact, I feel blah about many areas of my life right now. I've completely thrown in the towel with dating and am making no effort whatsoever in that arena. I have turned that part of myself off, as I am just completely disgusted with past disasters and cannot get even remotely excited about the thought of going through the whole process, only to get hurt yet again. I really feel like I'm just on some strange sort of hamster wheel, running to stand still in many areas of life and not being able to get any sort of enthusiasm whatsoever. I know this will pass. So it's interesting to just acknowledge that I feel like this right now, not try to fix it and just go with it.
On a very positive note there are great things going on this weekend. I get to attend Mei's teacher training graduation Saturday, go to a yogi Christmas party Saturday night and next week take a road trip with Mei to go meet fellow blogger Dancing J in person for the first time. I feel so very blessed to have wonderful people coming into my life via this blog. Mei, Greg and soon Dancing J will all be wonderful yogi's I have been fortunate enough to meet in real life via this blog. I bet all of this fun stuff will pull me right off of my little hamster wheel.....

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Fire and Ice

If you've been reading my blog you know that I suffer horribly during back to back doubles. The last double I did was a 1pm class followed by a 3:30. Having one hour to recover helped and it wasn't as bad as the back to backs with only 3o mins in between.
Tonight I decided to do a double. Why you ask? I really don't have the foggiest idea. It just sounded like a good idea after taking Sunday and Monday off. I took Dray at 5:30 followed by wonderful Dray again at 7:30. Hey, if I've got to spend 3 hours in a hot room, why not with one of my favorite teachers?
How did it go? Great. It really went great. I went into the first class with the mindset of breathing. I wasn't going to slack off but I wasn't going to go balls to the wall either. You see, that's where I have always had trouble. I'm all or nothing. Black or white. I remember receiving a valentines day card when I was about 10. The very observant little boy awkwardly wrote: "To Michelle....you are fire and ice". Being 10 I was pretty offended because I really didn't know if he was complimenting me or making fun of me. Later, in my adult life, another man told me the same thing.....in those exact words "You are fire and ice. All or nothing." That trait has helped me in some areas but not others. For somebody like me, balance is very hard to obtain. Yet I always seek it. I crave balance. Perhaps that is why I'm so drawn to Bikram yoga. Tonight I found balance. Perfect synchronicity of breath, movement and focus. I had a solid first class. Second class was also fairly solid but I was a little tired. Instead of getting angry with myself I would gently stop, focus on having proper breathing and flow back into the posture, trying to ignore aching muscles. It wasn't any less painful than other doubles, the difference was my attitude toward it. I was more....nurturing. Looking at myself in the mirror I had on my yoga face. No grimaces or glares or frustration. Just me, flowing through that second class and feeling like a million bucks at the end......

Monday, November 30, 2009

Impromptu Challenge Aborted

I hope everybody had an awesome Thanksgiving! Mine was excellent. In fact, the whole four day weekend was amazing. Shopping with my daughter, turkey dinner at my moms, my friend from Redondo in town for four days, Bikram yoga everyday but Sunday, a fun gathering with friends at my house Saturday night and tons of laughter! I made 20 classes in 20 days on my "impromptu" challenge and decided to stop and go 5 days a week for the rest of this year. I have committed to the 101 day challenge starting January 1st so I decided to "take it easy" (if you can call 5 days a week of Bikram "taking it easy") for the month of December.

There are lots of exciting things going on in the yoga community right now! I am doing the "social networking" for my new studio and get the wonderful pleasure of being involved on a level outside of just practicing with great frequency. This coming weekend, the Palms Hotel and Casino is hosting the first annual "Yoga Holiday Charity Event". It will be at the Playboy club from 8 to 11 Saturday Dec 5th and all you need to bring is a childrens book. It's for yoga students of all disciplines. For more info check out our studio blog.

Other big news....I wrote about the 101 day challenge starting in January. Look up in the top right hand corner of my blog. See where it says "Join us for the 101 day challenge starting Jan 1st 2010?". Click it. It goes to the main blog that The Missus created. Want to do it with us? Its simple. Just follow these steps:
1. Commit to doing 101 days of yoga starting on January 1st, 2010.
2. Add the "badge" to your blog. Visit the main site and copy the HTML code. Add a gadget to your blog and the black and red badge you see in the top right corner of my blog will now be on yours, announcing you are a participant and linking back to the main 101 day blog.
3. Leave a comment on the 101 day main blog with the link to your blog, letting us know "you are in". We will add you to our blogroll.
4. Get ready to change your life, be a part of an awesome Bikram blogging community, get lots of support, answers to questions and maybe make some new friends!

My blogging will be spotty the month of December but I'll be back in full force on Jan 1st for the big challenge. You'll be sick of me after reading 101 posts! :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Day 16: Distractions and an ANNOUNCEMENT OF EPIC* PROPORTIONS!

*Epic is Dancing J's word of the day

Tonight was 530 with Dray. I had a pretty good class. Felt strong, flexible, challenge worthy. I was a bit distracted though and had to pull my hidden talent (thousand yard stare) out of my hip pocket to make it through. There were five, count 'em FIVE very attractive men all practicing on the SAME side of the room as me. In a class of about 13, having them all around me was, ahem, um, distracting to say the least. These distractions are probably always there at yoga. The important thing is that I noticed them tonight. My heart was broken very severely last spring. I completely shut down after that. I tried dating (even online dating!) and just could not really feel any sort of anything at all. I felt like part of me had been trampled like a bug. Alas, there I was tonight, aware of the male species in a way I haven't been in many months. They could all be married, engaged, living with someone, dating....whatever. None of that matters. I'm not looking for a date. I'm just happy to feel again. It's exhilarating!

OK, enough of my silly distractions. Now for the big announcement that is going to rock the Bikram blogging community: We (Bikram Bloggers) are organizing an official "Bikram Blogosphere 101 Day Challenge".

....Marinate on that......

Seriously, think about it. January 1st, 2010 several Bikram yogis from around the world will do this challenge, blog about it, and be listed on a central blog that The Missus is currently working on. You know you want to do it. All of the cool kids in the Bikram blogging community are doing it. (Did that work? I hope so)
I will post the rules, the blog site and more info as it comes to fruition. Dancing J, The Missus and I are working to pull this together.

Come on, what do you have to lose? Nothing. And you have everything to gain.......

Monday, November 23, 2009

Day 15: A different perspective

I took this picture tonight before yoga class. These are the doors to the yoga room at my new studio. They are frosted glass, but the OM symbols are clear, so you can peek in and see the practicing class, while still affording them some privacy. The minute I saw these doors I knew I was home. I am in love with them! I feel like I'm opening the door to my bliss when I grab that big handle and quietly enter the yoga room...my sanctuary.
Tonight was 530 with Michelle. Regular Mark from the old studio has transitioned up to Dray's as well and was there tonight. We lay our mats side by side in the front row, ready to practice together and draw energy from each other. After yesterdays wreck of a class, I just sent up a little request for help surviving as I lay my mat down tonight. The request did not go unanswered. Instructor Lacey was behind Mark and I to the right and the small class was quiet, determined and focused. Michelle led us through the 90 minute moving meditation beautifully. During pranayama breathing I looked at my own two eyes in the mirror. "Hi. Happy birthday. You are 39!" Inhale.....exhale....."39??... !! ... ?? ......" The number seemed strange, and then sort of scary, and then just strange again....and then it floated away. I spent a quiet weekend with my daughter. Watching New Moon and listening to her fawn over the kid who played Jacob (can't blame her!), window shopping, grocery shopping, cooking dinner and renting movies. It was lovely. Today I woke up, went to work, went to yoga. Business as usual. Standing head to knee rolled around and I remembered my promise to kick out both sets. Feeling strong I did. Michelle gave me a correction on my kicked out leg and it really helped. I came out about 5 seconds early each time, but was fairly solid and happy with that, even getting my elbows down further and really sucking my stomach in. Standing bow was awesome. I saw Lacey out of the corner of my eye (inspiring!) and tried to stay in with her....trying to breathe with her. Second set it worked and I really got my body down further than ever, but only by really kicking UP. It was a different feeling and I could tell I had just pushed my edge. I caught my eye in the mirror afterwards and thought "Happy Birthday!". Now that's what I call a nice present!
Laying on my mat in final savasana I thought about my birthday last year. I was in the middle of a romantic rollercoaster disaster. I went out to Blue Martini with a ton of friends. I had just gone to a 20 year high school reunion, after losing 20 pounds in three months and then a fun houseboat trip. Part of me was living the single life to the hilt, the other part of me was hurting from rollercoaster romance and yet another part was trying to come to terms with being in my late 30's and really trying to figure things out.
This year is different. I had opportunites to celebrate the same way I did last year. None of it appealed to me. I just wanted quiet. I wanted my daughter and I wanted yoga. That's what I wanted for my birthday. Saturday night when she wanted to go over to a friends, I dropped her off and went out for a quiet dinner alone, netbook in tow. I sat there, enjoying my own companionship, quietly eating and catching up on blogs. For once I didn't feel like I was missing out on the party. For once, I was at peace.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Day 14: Does this even count?

Today was 11am up at Dray's with Sharon. Sharon has been teaching for quite awhile and has this fabulous energy about her. In addition, she is a veritable fountain of knowledge with these postures. Great advice peppered in with her dialog. Today I was unable to really take advantage of this knowledge. The room felt pretty humid and I was raining by awkward. My body felt tight and restricted, as it often does during a morning class. I was totally worn out by the time the standing series was over. I hit the floor and got sharp pains under my ribs. I also felt like I was going to toss my cookies. By the time camel came around I barely had enough energy to lift an arm, much less execute a situp and then setup for camel. I ended up sitting out one camel, one rabbit and both separate leg stretchings. I would attempt to get up and do the posture, only to turn around and lay back down on my mat, forehead crinkled up in exasperation. It was one of those days where the only positive spin I could put on it was "hey, at least I stayed in the room".

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Day 13: I know why.....

I know why I was yawning the other night. I wasn't tired. It was anxiety. I figured it out today. I had a GREAT day. DMV first thing in the morning to renew my license, as my bday is Monday. I was in and out in under 2 hours, a Las Vegas record for sure. I got home, woke up my sleeping beauty daughter and took her to the awesome outdoor mall for a matinee of New Moon and some window shopping. We got home late afternoon and I dropped her off at a friends house. I happily packed my yoga bag and went to 530 with Roberta at the old studio.
The class was pretty busy. She joked around a bit because the room was only 97 due to a power flow class being held before us. She plugged in extra heaters, turned the big heater on, cranked up the humidifier and got us to 102 by eagle. I dig the crap out of her. She rocks. I started off remembering my promise to kick out both sets even if I dissolve into a sweaty pathetic puddle. I felt pretty strong and had a good class....except for one thing...I was yawning again. I kicked out both sets. Didn't hold it the whole time either set but did a darn valiant effort. Standing bow I was rockin it out solid. Triangle, I got a compliment from Roberta second set (I believe its due to the different flooring at Drays and building inner thigh strength). In spite of the good class, the yawns prevailed. Coming out of rabbit again....yawning. I paid close attention this time. I realized that I couldn't take a nice clean deep breath;. My chest was too tight. Like an elephant was on it. Oh crap. Anxiety. That is why I have been yawning. Stress, fear, anxiety. It makes sense. There are some huge things going on in my personal life. Some very awesome, some very stressful, some that could change my life completely as I know it if I chose to pursue the option further. All in the last few months. So yeah. I had a wonderful day with my daughter. But that damn elephant won't get off my freakin' chest. I need to be able to breathe...maybe tomorrow. I did feel better after yoga tonight. Crossing my fingers for tomorrow...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Day 12: Adjustments

Today was 5:30 with Lacey up at my new home. You know what I'm going to say next. Something about how wonderful Lacey is (she is!) and how much I've missed taking her classes (I have!) blah blah blah. Well it's all true. I'm the glass is half full girl, normally optimistic and happy. Oh sure, I have my dark days, you've read some sappy posts. You're still here, thank you!
I had a nice strong focused practice, which was a very nice change after a couple of days of slogging my way through and of all things, yawning. I realized something as we were about to go into standing head to knee. First set, I usually just stand there for the whole minute, holding my foot in my hand, standing leg locked. I kick out second set. Why you ask?
It goes something like this:
Non-verbatim dialog:
Once your standing leg is locked solid and your foot does not wobble, slowly, gently kick your left leg up......
What's going on in my head:
Once your standing leg is locked solid and your foot does not wobble, and you're not going to be too totally exhausted to do second set and ohh! standing bow after that, slowly, gently kick your left leg up.....
So about 90 percent of the time, I figure I'll be too exhausted and don't do it first set. WHAT? Lazy Bikramyogachick, lazy!! I've been practicing for two and a half years. **slaps forehead**. I should be downright ashamed of myself!
So, on this here day 12 of my little impromptu 30 day challenge I have decided I will kick out both sets even if I fall over, can't catch my breath and wind up on my knees by standing bow!
Ok, now that I've confessed that on the world wide web, I'll go to my second little revelation today. This one was actually just a "Oh, I see!" lightbulb and felt good. Cobra posture between first and second set Lacey went over to the side of the room so we could see her while laying in savasana and looking right. She in very good detail showed the exact hand placement we should have, going so far as to say "If you dip your shoulders down to the mat they should line up exactly with the tips of your fingers and your hands should be close to your chest". Yes, I've heard this, I've seen others demonstrate but when we went to set up I really really looked to see if mine would line up exact....and had to move them forward a tiny bit. It was a whole different posture, in a good way! I really got even further into my lower back! Ahhhh....good good stuff!

By the way. I have the picture of myself in standing bow last Friday night while practicing at Drays studio with Dray himself teaching. **takes deep breath** Here it is. I'm in the front, in pink and purple.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Day 11: Yawning

I'm writing this post from my couch on a teeny tiny netbook that is connected with a verizon broadband card. I'm testing it out for the telecom manager at work. It's so little it fits in my purse. What does this have to do with yoga you ask? Nothing. I'm just highly amused by the fact that it took me ten minutes to get to my site and get this post going. Not because the verizon access is slow. It's not that at all. Its trying to type on this little keyboard. I botched my url several times and took several tries to type the title of the post. It takes a bit of getting used to! I seem to be doing ok now, a paragraph in. This is probably the cutest little thing I've ever seen. I want one!
Today was 5:30 with Michelle up at Dray's studio. It has been probably a year since I've had the pleasure of taking her class. I was happy to see her, but was dragging again, similar to day 9. I was dragging so badly that I yawned during several different postures beginning with half moon. I got enough sleep last night, so all of the yawning caught me off guard. A big yawn came out while I was in half moon (not an easy posture to yawn in!), a few more during the standing series and a big one coming out of rabbit.
Have any of you ever had a practice like that, where you kept yawning?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Day 10: Hidden Talents

Today was 5:30 with Dray. At my studio. Yes. I am going to make the move. I know you all could feel it, I was leading up to it, and yes, I am moving there. It just feels like home. I still have a membership at my old studio, and will still drop in, but my "every weeknight at 5:30" drill will be up at Dray's.....that is now "my studio".
Tonight was hot but not humid. So for once, I was not raining. We got a bit sweaty, sure, but it was nothing like Monday night with Roberta where I was dripping in awkward and wondering if my body was malfunctioning. There were only about 6 of us in class tonight. Dray still taught as if to a packed house. His energy never wanes. He encourages, demonstrates, and gives hot tips. He is absolutely contagious. If you take his class, you cannot help but get caught up in his enthusiasm. I put a comment on his facebook the other night, thanking him for a great class
and he wrote back this:

Thankx u Yogini Ninja! Ur 1000 yard stare is amazing!!

1000 yard stare. Sweet! I guess I have a hidden talent that I was not even aware of! Speaking of hidden talents, I have decided that I have something to give and may be working with his studio in some capacity. More to come! I feel very fulfilled right now!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Day 9: Slogged Through

Well today was 530 up at Drays studio with young Mark. I felt very tired today and tried to talk myself out of yoga on the way home. Ya, that's bad when you are only on day 9! So I suited up, showed up and slogged my way through. Not a rockstar practice by any means, but I chalk it up to a win because I made it!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Day 8: The Classroom Effect

I figured out why I love Bikram yoga so much. Well, one of the many many reasons. Today I went to some technical training for work. I am an I/T supervisor and don't get to put my fingers directly in the pie anymore, so to speak. Going to hands on Microsoft Active Directory training (we are migrating to that from, gasp, Novell...I know we are behind!) for our technical staff was a given, but when I heard I was going as well, it was all I could do to contain myself, act professional and not squeal. When I was in grade school/jr high as a child I was very quiet. I was bookish, chunky, shy, wore glasses and kept to myself. Until you got me in that classroom. As soon as the teacher would ask the class a question, I would light up like a Christmas tree. My little hand would shoot up and when I supplied the correct answer and received the warm smile of that teacher, all was right in my shy little world. Sadly, I haven't changed. Today I'm sitting in a training room with brilliant technical people. They aren't interested in being teachers pet. So when the teacher posed a question "why don't you want to put users here?" Silence. I sneak a look around. I know they know the answer, but they are not going to budge. "Because it's a container". I say. "Good. Why don't you want to put them in a container?" I squirm uncomfortably and look around again. Silence. "Because policies don't apply to containers, so you want to put them in an OU." The teacher smiled at me, thankfully. So for the rest of the day I continued to answer all of his questions (correctly believe it or not! I've still got it!) and was the first to finish every hands on lab. So I suppose my propensity for being teachers pet has not left me. In fact, when I got up to Dray's studio for 530 with Roberta, I found myself laughing at myself as I lay my mat, the first one down, in the front row. All throughout class Roberta called me out. "Michelle, kick harder. Body down, touch the front mirror Michelle!" In separate leg stretching "Michelle, what are you doing, I've seen you do this posture real well, pull with your arms!" I couldn't escape and at the same time I realized that I also welcome it. That's why I keep coming back. That's why I like going to a studio where everybody knows your name, like cheers. I love to learn. I love to be a student. In the Bikram yoga room I truly feel that I am in class, preparing for the bigger classroom that is life.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Day 6 & 7: Missed opportunities and knocking a double out of the park

Day 6 was Saturday. I was all excited because Mei texted me and said Rajasharee was teaching at 11am Saturday and Bikram at 5. These are abnormal times for Saturdays but re-certs were going on. I was all fired up to go take the 11am. I woke up Saturday morning totally sick. Apparently the food I ate Friday night was bad and I was suffering in the wee hours of the morning. I anxiously waited it out, hoping to make it down for the 5pm. It didn't happen. That was Raj's last class I was told too. I will cross my fingers that tt stays here in the spring and since I will actually have some vacation days again I will take advantage of it and not take it for granted, like I so obviously have by only going down once.
Day 7....today. I woke up, feeling better and did some household chores, puttering around, latte in hand, feeling alive again. I fed myself lots of water after the coffee and packed a yoga bag with two sets of everything. Double time! I went to Drays studio for the 1pm with Roberta and then drove over to my studio (wait, that feels weird, Drays studio feels like "mine" and "mine" feels more like "old") and took the 330 with a teacher named Paul.
1pm with Roberta was awesome. As I blogged Friday, the heat is fixed! Also, I've been taking class up there at night, so for the first time I could see the redrock mountains through the windows in the backbends. Breathtaking! My studio (old studio??) has window coverings, so naked windows are new for me! The naked windows were fun until camel. I was a spent sweaty mess by then (Roberta was teaching, need I say more?) and it made me dizzy and nauseous to see the blue sky and the mountains. I had to come out early both sets. After class, I dried off, changed, bought a zico and jetted over for 330 with Paul. Paul is a teacher we absorbed when another hot yoga studio closed recently. He is an older guy, gray hair, smaller of stature, but full of energy and commanding voice. He taught from the back of the room alot but that was ok. The room was cold (89) because classes are normally in the "big room" but something malfunctioned in the moksha class that was before us and they had to move to the "small room". So it didn't have time to get hot. It was ok for me, because as I have blogged before, my second class, I start to drip right away. My pores are already open, my body is already in detox mode. So I had a very good class. The combination of the easy going teacher, not very much heat and an hour break actually made for an awesome second class. Whew! Finally I do a double where I don't die the second class! The next three days I'm in a training class for work which is far enough away from both studios that I might have to take 630 class at my old studio. Which means I will end up taking moksha tomorrow night if that is the case. My shoulder is no longer frozen, Bikram has fixed it the past couple of days. If I do go to moksha tomorrow I really hope I don't re-injure it. I'm scared....hold me. Maybe I'll just wait and take 730 at Drays. Have to make good use of my one week pass. :)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Day 5: The heat is on....

Back to Dray's new studio for 530 with Dray himself again. As I was signing in, Adele was working the front desk. I yelped and gave her a big hug. She left my studio a few months ago, and I have missed her. She's an awesome instructor and was always at the front desk. Since I usually get to yoga early (if I go home first, I won't go back!) she always kept me company. I was overjoyed to see her. Dray walks in and we all start talking. Good soothing music is playing, incense is burning and the atmoshpere was......just like the old studio before it moved! Adele says, the heater is fixed, for real, and this is the first class in this studio with the correct heat. I went in to lay down my mat, still in work clothes and came out damp. Holy crap! The heater is in fact fixed. Yippee! Dray goes into the yoga room and comes out hooping and hollering. "Yes! That's what I'm talking about! Finally!" He sticks his arm out toward me...."feel!". His arm had droplets of water from just walking in there. Houston, we no longer have a problem! Roberta was there to take the class before teaching 730. The energy was rocking, the room was freakin' hot and it was the best class I've had in awhile! I literally was trying to run through my head my finances, trying to figure out how to have a membership at two studios! Then I realized, crap it's hot, focus, and just centered in on my breathing. Adele kept snapping pics of us when the door was open and I checked them out after class. It was Drays camera and there is a decent one of me in standing bow. If I can get it from him, I will share it with you guys. It is my first in class yoga pic ever! I am so excited! I really want to share it with you guys! When the standing series was almost over Dray says "Michelle, you are in the zone, you're like a machine!". Then after class, he commented again on my focus. I said "ya, that's because I was in survival mode! I was sweating just sitting on my knees waiting for class to begin! I knew I just needed to breathe!". He just laughed. I looked around, at him, at Adele, at the cozy studio that is less than 4 miles from my house and took a deep breath as the realization hit me: I'm going to Dray's studio. I don't know when or how, but that is my new Bikram home.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Day 4: Another blogger IRL , a one week pass and a frozen shoulder

Well. Today was quite interesting! I went up to Dray's new studio again and purchased a one week pass. I took the 530 and Dray himself was teaching. Another blogger, Greg met me up there. I have now met TWO bloggers in real life. They don't disappoint. I had a blast with Mei and Greg was an absolute sweetheart in real life. Greg I know you're reading so don't blush please....I'm about to talk about what an awesome yogi you are. For those of you not familiar with his blog, he is new to Bikram yoga. He started 94 days ago and has done 98 classes in that timeframe. (Sidenote: He appears to be as insane as I am when it comes to frequency) I was impressed at his "maturity" for a new yogi. He doesn't fidget. He is very disciplined. He's quiet, focused and very obviously paying attention to the dialog as he seems to be a stickler for form. If he continues at this pace, he's going to be amazing.
So back to class. Dray was amazing, as usual. It's been so long since I've had his class. It's almost hard to describe Dray. Actually, let me take that back. His style can be described quite simply actually. He is pure energy and love. If you ever come to Las Vegas, you must seek him out and take his class. His studio is new and he's still trying to work the heat situation out. Like Greg, I am a bit manic about the heat. I love it. The hotter the better. Have I had classes where it's too hot. Sure. But it's all about how I felt that day. Come back the next day to that cranked up crazy heat and I barely notice. So the room was a little bit warmer than the class I took the day he opened, but still not quite up to the norm. He'll get it there though.
I was excited to take Dray's class, excited to practice in the front row next to Greg and felt pretty good going in. Until half moon. My right shoulder had deep deep pain. It felt, well, frozen. It continued to bother me the entire class, progressively getting worse. I did the best I could, but at some points found myself unconsciously rubbing it between sets of postures. I think I did something to it during the extremely evil "downward evil dog-stupid plank-wtf is chataranga-upward dog" series in Moksha. It just highlights for me the need to back off a bit the next time I take Moksha and try to learn proper form. In the meantime, I'm going to spend the next week up at Dray's studio, soaking in energy and love.....

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Day 3: Yoga is Fun!

Today was 1:30 Bikram with Dominique. I had the day off work due to Veterans day and decided to go to this specific class because I knew it was Dominiques last class at my studio. She is going back to England, but hopes to come back in a month. She told me to look for her on the schedule in early December. So although its temporary, I will miss her terribly. I find myself getting attached to certain teachers (it killed me to lose Brandy, Dray, Lacey and Frank) and she's one I adore. She's young, sweet, full of good positive energy and so very friendly. Her classes are always upbeat. She teaches the whole 90 minutes with a smile in her voice and alternates between correcting and raising her voice excitedly to cheer us on. Everybody likes her as a matter of fact. Her classes are popular.
I walk in and regular Christian is there. "Is that your yellow towel in the front row?" he asks. "Yup." "Oh good, I'm next to you then". He was at the 90 min Moksha flow with me yesterday, so he and I sat in the lobby and talked about our sore spots. "I think its just here" I say, pointing to the back of my shoulders and to my pecs.
Class starts and I realize something. Roberta taught the class before us and it's hot. I mean hot. No biggie, I've survived hot and I was well hydrated, well rested and have been feeding myself properly. I've got this! Riiiiight.......
What ensued in the next 15 minutes was ridiculous. Pranayama breathing starts and my shoulders get fatigued halfway through the first set. At the bottom of the inhales I catch glimpses of sweat running down my exposed belly already. It was hot and humid. I make it through breathing and I'm already feeling uncomfortable. Half moon starts. I notice right away that I am sore in many places in my upper body. Oh, and did I mention it was hot? Left side, first set my arms are trembling, my face looks pained. We get to the first backbend and as I am going up and over and looking to the back wall my abs go "WAIT!!!!". Yes, my abs. The sides of my abs as they were being stretched to get into the backbend were screaming from all of the ab work in Moksha the night before. A ripple of pure joy at that pain went through me, mixing with the physical discomfort. I was happy to feel that I got worked, but suddenly also scared that I wouldn't be able to complete my Bikram class. I made it through both sets of half moon, but I was seriously wrecked. By the time we got through eagle to "party time" I chugged more sips of my water than normal. All I could think was a big fat OH NO!
We start standing head to knee and I heard Dominique breaking through my haze. I realized how much I was in my head. "Get out of your head. You're sore. Big whoop. It doesn't mean your body can't do it, it just means you're going to feel different doing it". My breath smoothed out, my focus returned, Dominique's voice sounded normal volume again and not far away and something just went click. The rest of the class was totally fine. Yes, it was still hot. Yes I was still sore, but I started to really focus....and have fun. Dominique corrected and encouraged me. She would walk by, catch my eye and stick her bottom lip out...her "I'm sad to leave you guys" look. I perked up and started to work hard, knowing it was her last class for a month. She squatted down next to me in toe stand. "Michelle, you've got this, I've been watching you, I know you can do this, I know you can straighten your spine up!". I've been stuck. For two years stuck at the same place in toe stand. I can get down there fine. Quite gracefully some days in fact. But once I get down there, my spine is curved and I'm hunched over. Try as I might I cannot sit straight up and get my hands off the ground into prayer. She squatted down and sent dialog directly my way, trying to get me into it. "Come on Michelle, it's my last class, I know you can do this!". I tried so hard! Then I toppled over. I caught her eye and giggled. I realized I was having so much fun!
Leaving the studio I glanced up to the gray partly cloudy sky and threw my yoga bag into my trunk. I took a deep breath and smiled. I've been doing this yoga for two and a half years. I'm in better shape both physically and emotionally. I love going to yoga. But today, I realized that it's also really really fun! With joy in my heart, I drove home, gratitude filling my heart.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Day 2: Spleen Damage

I didn't really hurt my spleen. It's sort of a joke between me and regular Andy. The first time he tried Bikram he said afterwards "I think I crapped my spleen out halfway through class". He's so deadpan when he says these things. Cracks me up. So on the menu for tonight was 5:30 90 min Moksha Flow with English-accent-I'm-going-to-kick-your-butt Mark. He was a tough tough Bikram instructor. Guess what. He's still pretty tough teaching Moksha! The 90 minute flow was just hard. I was so impressed with the strength, endurance and flexibility of some of these yogis, just like when I'm taking a Bikram class and see awesome postures in there. One of the postures entails standing on one leg, while holding the toe of your other leg and swinging the sucker straight out to the side (I can't do that FYI) and then extending your opposite arm and looking in the opposite direction of your extended leg. Looks like something a dancer would do. (I can't do that FYI!!). So now, my new obsession, besides being able to fully get my head down in standing heed to knee in Bikram is that posture. Wish I knew what it was called. I did almost all of the series. I say almost all, because towards the end when they started to do the very evil "down dog, plank, chataranga, updog and do it super fast" series I pooped out and ended up sitting on my knees for a minute. That series is hard for me. In part because I'm quite sure I'm not doing it correctly, thus don't look anything near graceful, and quite frankly don't like it. Perhaps when I learn how to execute it properly it will grow on me.
Well, I'm quite sure I'm going to hurt in places tomorrow that I probably didn't know I even worked tonight. I'm looking forward to it! Tomorrow is Bikram again.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Impromptu Challenge Day 1: Watch what goes in and out of your piehole

Yes, you read that title right. I'm doing an impromptu little 30 day challenge and because I feel accountable when I blog, well, I'll blog everyday again. My studio started one November 1st and said we can jump in anytime up til November 13th. This challenge will be a bit different than ones in the past due to our schedule change. I will do mostly Bikram but will for sure jump into Moksha classes as well to make sure I get my 30 classes of hot yoga in. This last minute decision was made out of guilt, after missing 5 days in a row. The missed days were due in large part to a weekend of pure fun and debauchery with my out of town guest, good friend Lisa. She was in town with a friend for another friends 40th who went to college with us. The birthday girl lives in St. George but wanted to come to Vegas to celebrate. So we obliged her. Alot. I thought I was going to pay for it in that room today, but blessedly the studio owner taught. He tends to keep the room as close to 105 as possible without going over and doesn't hold us in poses for long like some others tend to do. I missed my studio so much and was grinning and waving like an idiot at people coming and going. My body was happy too and creaked, stretched and flexed the toxins out, happy to be rid of them.
Earlier today Reggi called me to check in and see if I would be at yoga. We were talking about my weekend of going here and there with friends and the two pound penalty I now must work hard to pay all week long. We started to talk about how you can pretty much work out like a maniac but it's really all about the food, it's about what you put in your mouth. She said, in typical Reggi style "you just have to watch what you put in your pie hole". When we hung up her words stuck in my mind. I chuckled a bit and thought to myself "damn, if we could all just pay attention to what goes in and out of our pie hole, we could rule the world". Good healthy food in, encouraging loving words out. There you have it folks. The secret to life. Don't say I never gave ya anything. Just watch what goes in and out of the pie hole.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Today was 5:30 with Oksana. I hung out with regulars Reggi, Andy and Ray before class and it felt like old times. Once we got into class, I knelt down on my mat and gazed at myself in the mirror for a minute, trying to get oriented and ready. Acceptance. The word floated up and off my mat like soft sinewy smoke. I stood up for pranayama breathing and the thought "acceptance" was still there, with a question mark next to it. What? I kept breathing. Change. Things have changed drastically for me these last two years, in all categories except work. Internally I've dealt with all of it, the good and the bad by leaning on this yoga. I looked in the mirror at my own two eyes. Why am I thinking about acceptance today? More change is coming for me. I'm ok with that. Am embracing it in fact. Change is opportunity.
The practice drifted by like a beautiful dream. Oksana led the class with a perfect tempo, her sweet accent, encouraging words to newer students and a perfect temperature. I was left alone to marinate with my thoughts in the heat. I kept telling myself "ssshhh", be quiet, just practice, but the thought of acceptance and what is it really kept popping up in my head. It's such a simple concept really. You cannot love and accept others until you learn to accept yourself. I mean easy, right? Then in 2 minute savasana it hit me. Sometimes I think acceptance means liking something. So if you don't like it, run out and change it right? So how can we ever truly accept ourselves when we are such flawed creatures and there's much to not like and much to want to run out and change. We open the book of our lives and flip back to past chapters, seeing our mistakes highlighted with a nice yellow marker. I screwed up there, oh, and now I see my part in that fiasco, and yes, it wasn't all that persons fault. Here's my part in it. Here's my part in everything. Oh. I lay there, pondering. Acceptance. Maybe it's not necessarily liking or having everything "fixed". Maybe it's as simple as seeing and being present with it...with yourself. Suddenly we were at final breathing and the road of my future lay ahead of me, no longer mapped out the same as it used to be. Instead I saw today, paved with gold, alight with potential. I sucked in a deep breath of air before final breathing and breathed out acceptance.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Flexible of body and mind

Tonight was 530 with Roberta at Dray's new studio. Today was his first official day being open. The studio is gorgeous. I can already feel his awesome energy and presence embodied in every detail. The first 8 months I practiced yoga my studio was smaller. It had old smelly carpet, small locker rooms and oodles of positive love and energy. I felt so at home in that small cozy studio. There was something hardcore about it too. The small hot room, the bikram carpet smell, and then packing into the locker room afterwards, everybody navigating carefully around each other so as not to collide, naked sweaty bodies. Then our studio moved. Down the street. The new place is huge...two yoga rooms, a large locker room...state of the art. The yoga rooms have this different kind of flooring, kind of plasticy and they don't smell. They are a bit slippery when your feet are wet, so we just turn our towels. I love my studio, I really do, but tonight, practicing in Drays new digs, it felt just like that small old place where I started and I felt a yearning, a pull, a desire to go make a new home. I must confess, the pull is strong, especially in light of the changes at my studio. It's official so I can blog about it now. Starting yesterday, my studio offers both Bikram and Moksha classes. There are two rooms, so you would think this would be something easy to do without disturbing everybody. Well, on a very selfish note, my nightly 530 class will no longer always be Bikram. On Tues and Thurs the "big room" will be Moksha. Mon, Wed, Fri, the "big room" is Bikram. I'm not opposed to Moksha. Or any other form of yoga. I'm just having a hard time adjusting to the change, as my love affair with Bikram still burns hot and bright. I'm sure someday I'll need something else. I know it's good to "mix it up" and work other muscles. I know all of this in my mind. But in my heart, I feel unsatisfied, confused, uncomfortable. If I want Bikram Tues and Thurs then I just have to go at 630 in the small room instead. That's not a big deal. The other problem is some of my favorite teachers have left to go teach at other places.
I can't just plop down a large sum and go get an annual membership elsewhere. I'm paid up for another year where I am. So now that I've had my little "vent", it just comes back to accepting the change. To being flexible, of both body and mind. I will for sure benefit from some moksha classes, and maybe even learn to love them. If I don't, then I just have to adjust my schedule a couple of days a week. No big deal.....right?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Not as much yoga and a Mei update...

Well, when I finished my 63 days in a row I thought I would continue on doing my normal 5 or 6 times a week. That hasn't happened. I've had my daughter 3 weeks this month and have been "taxi cab" mom. So my yoga practice has waned down to 4 times a week. Not my normal 5 or 6. This has actually been good for me in many many ways. **gasp! the crazy challenge chick is cutting back a bit!!** Yes, I have lightened up considerably. Here's the rub: My daughter is growing up fast, will be an adult in just 3 short years! I don't want to miss one single second of that! So I have appreciated the time with her, and the four days a week I could get in the hot room, I appreciated the heck out of those too. Add to that some "challenges" (see: appendix out, cat dying, water heater taking a crap and two friends dying) and you'll understand why I am so content to just enjoy and breathe right now.
So tonight, after a two day reprieve (my daughters 15th bday!!) I went to 530 with Goril. She is my age and is from a different country, but I can't place her accent. The room was not very hot (it just got pretty cold here, and the studio owner said it's been hard to heat the room the past two days) but it was humid enough to get our juices flowing. Regular Mark was next to me and I fed off his energy in the front row. I felt so strong and did not even get winded at all. It was one of those classes where you feel a bit like superwoman. Perhaps the days of rest are good after all!

Mei Update:
Internet access down at teacher training = sucks. So, the few people that are blogging, are doing so sporadically. Mei has been updating her page every weekend, but what about during the week? How is she doing? I'm going down to teacher training to find out in person this Saturday morning and taking the 8am class with the trainees again. In the meantime, thanks to this little site called twitter** we can get a "glimpse" into her training experience. Here are some of her more amusing "tweets".

Enjoy! (listed from most recent tweet to oldest)

Men are a combination of 3 animals, dog, pig and goat. Women need english bulldog determination n tiger strength to put up with them.

Party rule- everyone must eat at least 5 slices of pizza or it,s a make up class on saturday morning. Ok, time for bed at 1am. #bktt

Party getting wild. Yes, i'm still at yoga camp! #bktt no alcohol or drugs involved

Bikram said for the first time he misses trainees! So he's buying all of us pizza tonight :) #bktt

So bleeding cold my nipples are about to fall off. No kidding! Lecture tonight, movies galore!

Hate shaving my legs! Managed to cut myself many times doing this ritual. Will stick to waxing and epilation ...

No i didn't make it to hooters cause @nthooi stood me up. It's a sign, i'm not meant to go check out a titty bar in vegas.

F*@k dehydration. Stupid period causing dehydration. Roar! I hate you ovum! Add gas and constipation and lethargy and you've got a mei day

Chinese food isn't the same here :( i miss home cooked food. Been eating cold sandwiches the whole week. #bktt

Dehydrated like a donkey n couldn't feel face again. Props to Tu for the coke with salt and kicking my sorry ass back to class. #bktt

Must. Keep. Breathing. Even. Though. Model. Is. Sitting. Next. To. Me. Gasp! #bktt

Hottest temp recorded was 144f. That's 62c nz friends. F*@k me like a roasted donkey. Boss comes back, so it,s late night movies, groan.

Snore. My bed is so comfy. Must get up and out. Zzz. Oh it,s friday! Meeting up @nthooi for lunch tomorrow and hitting up hooters after.

Practicing behind a guy who looks like a calvin klein model tested my concentration,especially since he was wearing tiger print shorts 2day.

He touched my butt and i his nipple ring and sweaty stomach. This is #bktt where you feel people up in a hot room. And yes, it,s legal ;)

That time of the month beckons. Cue dehydration maximus n sleeping during anatomy. Gotta love being a woman. #bktt

Awkward all 3 parts done! Ok need to speak slower, but er, malaysians speak fast. Very fast. #bktt

**Twitter is so very strange! It's like a stream of consciousness! For those of you new to twitter, the #bktt is just a tag, it means she is talking about bktt which is a shortened way of saying bikram teacher training. It's so people can search "tweets" from anybody on a specific topic. If you see the @ sign, that means what comes after it is another twitter "user" that she is either replying to or referring to. Oh, and the "f" word has been edited here on my site so I don't get flagged for adult content. ;)

Monday, October 26, 2009

2009 NV Regional Yoga Championships & FItness in the Square

Well, as promised here are the pictures (in no particular order, because blogger is not very friendly when you want to upload pics).
1) Banner for Fitness in the square which took place the day before the event
2) Bikram showed up when there were two women competitors left to go -Summer and Brandy
3-6) These are all Brandy. She got 1st place. Look at that spine! Beautiful postures.
7) Don - also below with Yuko doing couples yoga
8) Instructor/studio owner Dray
9) Front desk Patrick manning the sound system
10) woman competitor 11) john knocke 12) male competitor
13) Shelley, instructor Adele, me
14) Shelley and Bikram (cute)
15) Summer (I can do that. Ok, not really)
16 and 17) Don and instructor Yuko demonstrating acro couples yoga

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I get by with a little help from my friends...

Good evening! First, before I post I just want to say that I know I owe you guys some pics of the yoga regional champs. For those of you that know me IRL (in real life, my daughter would be proud of me for knowing this abbreviation, but I digress) send me a message on facebook and I will have you make friends with my friend that posted TONS of fabulous pics that she took with her big girl camera.

One more thing. I see, from my counter stats, that I am getting hits everyday from people googling "bikram teacher training fall 2009 las vegas" or some variation of those words. I am not at teacher training, just live in the city where it's being held. I do lots of Bikram yoga challenges and will be taking classes down at training, but alas, this is not the droids you were looking for. You're welcome to stay though!!! and....for your benefit I added a gadget to the right side with links to the blogs I have found pertaining to your search. Note to my other Bikram blogger friends: if you find more, please share the links with me so I can help these googlers out!

Ahem. Ok. Now back to my post (as if you care, you've already clicked away because I gave you all the info you were looking for. That's ok, I still love you!)

Tonight was 530 with Yuko. Reggi, Shahid and I chatted in the lobby beforehand, noticing there were not many yogis signing in. It was a slow night. Class starts and there are no newbies. We all have plenty of room, there's only about 15 of us. Yuko kept the temp at the perfect mix and did a great job of interspersing tips with the dialog. She practices twice a day usually, is our little flexible japanese doll, and KNOWS these postures like she knows her own heart. Many things she said helped me, but most importantly...she actually came over and helped me a few times. The first assist was during:


Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose

I don't look like that little guy in the pic. Instead my forehead is roughly a foot from the floor and my spine is really curved. I try to get it straight, but no dice. Yuko came over to me, tapped my right knee and said "microbend your knee". What? I did it, but wasn't sure why. Then she said "now stick your butt up in the air and relock your knee!". Holy shit. I was suddenly pointing downward with a much straighter spine and was closer to the floor!
The next assist came during
Wind Removing pose
I was never able to grab my elbows and get all compact like the picture. But I've lost 12 pounds in the last 5 weeks, so with less "stuff" in the way, I'm getting closer to grabbing those elbows. Yuko came over and pressed gently down. My spine flattened out, my knees came closer to my chest. I breathed gently and pulled with my biceps and received the most wonderful stretch. I just hope I didn't cut her. My legs were stubbly. Yes, I just admitted that on the internet. Crap. At least it wasn't Frank giving me the assist. **cheeks turn beat red**
Last assist was another stretching posture in which my curved back gives me grief:

Stetching Pose

Again, I look nothing like this cool little flexible guy. God love him. Yuko came over and gently pressed on my lower spine. "Inhale!". "Now exhale and stretch forward, suck your stomach in, contract your thighs, keep your heels off the ground!". Holy mother of God. I wasn't at the look-at-me-I-can-bite-my-toes-and-give-myself-a-cheap-pedicure-while-bikram-himself-stands-on-my-back stage, but I looked more like that flexi little stick figure than I ever had in my life! And it didn't hurt, it was a nice gentle push toward where I should be. Aaaahhhh. It was good! I DO get by ....with a little help from my friends.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

We are so much stronger than we give ourselves credit for

Today was 5:30 with Roberta. I texted Reggi and Andy in the afternoon. "Prepare to suffer". Tongue in cheek, joking around. We all know Roberta is tough, so we love to tease each other. Thirty minutes before class, Reggi and I are suited up , ready to go, chatting in the lobby. The doors open and the 3:30 class staggers out. The tile floor in the lobby quickly becomes a mess of puddles as yogis walk to the locker rooms, dripping wet. It is quiet. Reggi and I look at each other and we don't even need to say what we are both thinking...our standard "oh crap, it's going to be ugly". Reggi goes into the laundry room and grabs a mop to clean the floors. Front desk Patrick pipes up, "Reggi, what are you doing?". "helping." she says, grimly drying off the floors.
Ray, Reggi, Andy and I set up in our "usual" spots and break a sweat just putting our mats down. Class starts and it's a pretty good size crowd. We are all sweating during first breathing. Awkward series was brutal, we were held in second part forever second set. My legs were shaking like crazy, but I hung in there, trying to focus on breathing. By eagle I noticed my chest and face was beat red, sweat pouring off me like rain. By the time we got to balancing stick, there were downed yogi's taking a knee scattered throughout the class. I kept plugging away, red faced, trying to ignore the sounds of yoga carnage around me. Loud breathing, sighs, grunts, it was crazy! It was hot, humid, tough. By the time we got to triangle I was at the point where I needed to take a knee. I was unsteady on my feet, dizzy, losing focus, exhausted. I bent my knees, heading toward my mat when all of the sudden a voice said "don't bother Michelle. She'll just call you out. She'll say Michelle get back up , you can do this, don't give up" and you'll have to get up. So don't bother taking a knee. Instantly I sucked in some air, straightened back up and finished out the standing series to the best of my ability. The floor series didn't get any easier. Camel about ruined me for the rest of the class. She kept us in second set forever and I held it the whole time, seeing yogi's coming out early from the corner of my eye and hearing sounds of agony as they moaned and breathed loudly. But I held it, and when I came out, I clasped my hand over my mouth, sure I was going to throw up on my mat. I didn't throw up. I clumsily fashioned my body into a slow moving descent to savasana and just sucked it up. When the class was over, I lay there in amazement. Amazed that I didn't give up. Amazed that I pushed myself harder than normal. In that moment I loved Roberta for ignoring the whining and complaints that always ensue in the lobby afterwards. It falls on deaf ears. She stays true to her style of teaching. She doesn't waver, doesn't blink, doesn't change. And for that I am grateful. It's easy to become complacent. It's easy to take a knee when you are tired, not just in that room, but in life. So when somebody reminds you that you can in fact do it, whatever "it" may happen to be, that is a gift. We are so much stronger than we give ourselves credit for. I walked up to Roberta after class and said "hey, thank you. Thanks for keeping it real".
She rocks.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Class down at Teacher Training

Saturday morning I trekked on down to the Hilton and took class with 300 teacher trainees. It was an awesome experience. The biggest class I've ever taken was a little over 60 people. I couldn't help but look around several times during that 90 minutes watching all of these yogi's moving in snyc. The back three rows are for visitors, so I parked it back there, near instructor Yuko who was also visiting. The class was taught by a lady named Lauren. She was the nurse there for the first two weeks and is going home now. So Bikram told her to teach the Saturday class before she left. She was an amazing instructor. The very cool thing about it was to hear her interspersing advice to the trainees, as future instructors as she was doing the dialog. She told the trainees not to rob their students of the 20 second savasana, or they can't recover between postures, but on the flip side, don't let it go too long or their circulatory system slows down too much. She also pointed out not to let students slack off in final spinal, and told them the setup for that posture is important, in fact so important that it's longer than the actual posture itself. I felt like I was given just a little peek into training. The class was pretty mellow which was probably a relief for the trainees after what happened Thursday evening. Apparently on Thursdays evening class the room was extremely hot (the floors were even heated for that class) and there were many downed trainees that night. Including poor Mei! The most interesting thing about taking class with the trainees was being in the very back. You are very far away from the mirror. I've never done the whole practice without a mirror like that. It was challenging to say the least! I did very well except in triangle. The carpet is different from my studio floor. I got into triangle and my legs started to shake after about 10 seconds. I ended up coming out a bit early and not by choice. It was this sudden jerky and very dorky hot mess of limbs falling out of the posture. Kinda funny looking back at it now. Lauren had this great very dry sense of humor. Here are some highlights:
"I have no guidelines for water breaks"- at the beginning of class
"Don't drink while somebody else is in the posture. Oh wait, I have no guidelines for water"
"You look like a dead body on CSI. I could draw a chalk outline around you. Get your arms and legs closer to your body"- directed at a student during savasana.
"Wow, it took you the whole first set of rabbit just to fix your hair. You've got to work on that girl"- self explanatory!
"There is a whole conversation going on up here. How cute they are sharing water! He just showed her how to open it. I don't want you guys to feel left out"
"Oh wait, let me update you on the water conversation: he knocked over the water, she said it's ok I don't need any anyway. Oh good, everybody's ok, what a relief"

So class was great. I wish I could get down there for a class with Bikram himself but I wouldn't make it in time since it starts at 5. I'll go down another Saturday or two though. It was great to see and talk to the trainees from Las Vegas, and of course wonderful to hang out with Mei a bit. I drove her and her roommate up to trader joes after class, so I got to spend some time with them and get all caught up on their week. Pictures: I took a picture of the yoga room from outside and inside, you can of course see Bikram's "throne" in one of the pics and I also snapped a pic of Mei and Mel's hotel room with their food, vitamins, etc scattered on their hotel room desk.