Monday, January 5, 2009

The front row, the food and the newbies

Ah, January. Such a special time of year. It's the time of year when everybody decides they need to exercise. And they do....until at least January 25th or so. Meanwhile, those of us who have been exercising regularly, whether it be the gym or yoga, get to suffer through the crowds. Saturday Jan 3rd was absolute pandemonium for the 11:30 am. Combine this headache with the "new rules" at my studio and ladies and gentlemen we have a challenge! Don't get me wrong, I'm looking forward to this upcoming 60 day challenge, but I must confess, I feel I can do 60 with my eyes closed, as I've done two challenges in the last year and normally go to Bikram yoga 6 days a week anyway.
Which brings me to the food. My studio is combining this 60 day challenge with a raw vegan diet. When I first heard about the challenge, I was told they were teaming up with a local raw food cafe and we would have meals prepared for us at a reasonable cost. Last I heard, the deal is not ironed out yet and now they are talking about providing "classes". Well, I honestly am not interested in that, as it is not my goal to learn how to prepare raw food. I don't see myself permanently becoming a raw foodist, plus quite frankly I don't have the time. Working full time and doing 90 minutes of yoga every night does not leave much time, and standing in the kitchen chopping with what little time I have left does not sound appealing. I hope it works out and that we do get to pick up prepared foods because the detoxing aspect of the diet, plus of course the inevitable weight loss was very appealing! Not only that, it would add a very interesting twist to the challenge. I'm sure I will know more in the next week or so.
In the meantime, I'm trying to get used to the new rules. So here they are:
If you are in the front row (which I normally am)
  • You cannot sit down during the standing series
  • You cannot use a hand towel
  • You must be still between postures and set a good example
  • You cannot turn your towel during the separate leg stretching/triangle part of the standing series
  • Your mat must be 1/3 above the line and your toes on that line during the pranayama breathing
  • You must use the line to align your feet for triangle
  • You are going to get more corrections and get pushed more in the front row.
Now most of these rules I have already incorporated into my own practice. I love corrections and most days like to be pushed. I try, try, try not to ever sit down during standing. I do not even bring a hand towel in anymore. It's just me, my mat, my water and my yogi toes towel over my mat. I am still between postures (unless I'm dripping into my contacts and must wipe my eyes....haven't quite mastered ignoring that one yet!). The lines are new, so 1/3 over the line....sure, whatever, I'll put my mat where ever they say. The problem with the new rules comes when it's crowded (like in January!) and you are literally on top of each other. When it's like that, you can't all be on the line for triangle. Sorry, but you'll run into each other. You must stagger. And when you do stagger, you get scolded! Sheesh! The other problem is not being able to turn my yogi toes towel perpendicular to my mat during separate leg stretching and triangle. I know, I know.....if you are reading this and you practice at a studio with carpet, you have a confused look on your face at this one. You are thinking of course you don't turn your towel! You just straddle your mat and go! Well my carpet practicing yogi friends, you have not practiced on the floor at my studio. I don't know what it's called but it's some new fangled plastic bacteria resisting strange material that is slippery as all get out when your feet are wet. And believe me, by the time I get to triangle, my feet are wet. So I am not able to get my legs as far apart, am not able to hold my legs as steady, as my non-bent leg is sliding away from me, and cannot exit quite as gracefully (again due to that leg slipping away from me). I have been assured that I will build incredible inner thigh strength to compensate for this. Ok. I'm a bit skeptical, but we'll see.
So tonight, my yogini buddy Reggi and I decided to rebel and go to the second row. Nobody is going to tell us what to do! We are always early, so we set our mats up in some prime real estate in the second row. By the time we went in to warm up 5 mins before class, it was busy and looked very strange. By now, people are getting hip to the new "front row rules" so on our side of the room, there were about 10 mats crammed together in the second row and THREE only in the front row. I looked to the right of me and saw that I had somebody about three inches away and just sighed, picked up my mat and went to the front. Reggi said "traitor!" with a smile on her face and stayed put in the second row. Revenge was mine though when she got just as many comments and corrections by Frank as the rest of us poor front row saps all throughout class. He is so used to her being in the front row that he commented "Reggi, I didn't even know you were here, you're usually in the front!" and proceeded to pay her much attention after that.

So the challenge begins Jan 26th. I will know more about the food soon. And I do hope the newbies keep coming. I can put up with crowds if it means more people will have the life changing experience with this yoga I have had and continue to have.

And I guess I'll stay in the front row. :)


  1. Hey Michelle,

    Hope you get the food thing worked out. Sounds kind of screwy.

    I'm looking forward to reading about your next journey!


  2. Thanks Corva
    They are still having problems with the food thing. Now they are talking about offering classes to teach us how to do it ourselves. So I'm not sure what I will do. I would love to be in the documentary, so it might be worth the extra work of preparing the food. I'll have to ponder it over once they give us the "final scoop"!