Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Day 65: The Brick Wall

Today was 5:30 with Roberta.  And it was brutal.  It was HOT, humid and TOUGH.  I hit the brick wall physically today.  I've been doing so well on that front.  Feeling strong, making progress on postures.  Today I was just a complete and utter mess.  Here is my list of woes:  Out of nowhere my left knee hurts like crazy.  It hurts to lock my knee, and the first 50 mins you are basically locking your knees the whole time!  My upper back hurts.  Not all of the time, just when I do situps.  It felt like little knives poking my upper back during situps.  What?  That makes no sense to me!  My feet are a mess.  They don't hurt, they are just rough as all get out from our floor.  Oh, and here is another interesting one:  I have little tiny callouses on the palms of my hand, where the hand meets the wrist, from locus posture I think and my cuticles are all thick and jacked up from separate leg stretching.  You have to get your hands under your feet, so the cuticles are rubbing on that rough floor.  If you can get your weight into your toes (which we are supposed to do) then it's not so hard on your fingers, but I'm working on that one.  My weight is shifting toward my toes, but I'm not totally there yet.  Sometimes I feel like I'll pitch forward and fall out if I'm totally there with the weight on the toes.  The last woe: my hamstrings.  They hurt from my ass down.  I am making huge progress on the forward stretching postures and really getting into those damn hamstrings.  And they hurt!  
It may sound like I'm complaining about all of this, but really, I'm just "cataloging" it.  For future reference.  Tonight I was talking about my progress in the postures, the flexibility and grace that is starting to surface that I never thought I'd achieve and I looked at him after I said that and then said "It's actually fun".  And I meant it.  This 90 minute hot as hell torture class is just that....fun.  
So tomorrow I'll bring my sore ass back into that room, lay my mat down, stand calmly, looking at my own two eyes in the mirror and welcome whatever comes next, whether it be more pain or a strong class.  I really don't care, because I am.....having fun.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Day 64: The hardest part is getting here...

That is what Frank said today during the 5:30 pm class. He says that alot and it usually doesn't register with me, because I love going to yoga most days. Today I argued with myself the whole way there. Then I sat in the parking lot, car running, fiddling with my ipod, not wanting to go in. It seems I have hit some kind of mental wall now that I've made the 60 day mark. Once I got in there, my practice was just mediocre. I had balancing issues so my standing series was not stellar. I could not for the life of me get into and hold standing bow, it was a struggle, whereas the day before I nailed some solid, respectable bows and held them almost the whole time. I certainly wasn't beating myself up about my raggedy standing series though, because I was just so proud of myself for winning the fight and getting my butt into that class! It is very interesting to me that the first 60 days were all about working through some emotional classes. That seems to have passed and now I'm dealing with the mental aspect of it. A friend of mine fasts for a day at a time regularly. I tried it a few times with him and it was very difficult to make that last leg in the evening hours when you are home alone and your tummy is growling. He said "that's when you know what you are made of, because nobody would know if you ate or not". He's right, the mental discipline that we maintain even when nobody is looking is what is important. So just like those last evening hours of the fast, this next month I will just need to push through and maintain that discipline , even when nobodies looking.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Day 63: Cold and Clammy

Today was 1130 with Patty.  Reggi was there, finishing up the 930 and staying for 1130 to knock out a double.  I was happy to see her and commented on how she was "glowing".  She looked fantastic....had that Bikram yoga glow.  We practiced next to each other in the front, on the left hand side.  I enjoyed a strong, solid, graceful class again.  The only bad thing was the room was cold.  It was strange, because I was still soaking wet (there was humidity but no HEAT).  So in and out of postures I flowed, with breath, energy and strength....just couldn't go very deep due to lack of heat.  But it was good, in its own way.  Every day is different in that room and somehow, it seems I always get what I need.  I'm mentally exhausted from going every day and had to drag myself there today.  Then when I started class I realized, "oh crap, I have to pee".  I tried to ignore it, but it wouldn't go away.  So I set a goal to leave during savasana, which is roughly 50 mins in.  Of course by the time I made 50 mins I figured I could finish and did not leave.  I just focused on my breath and let Patty's soothing voice roll off my limbs like a cool light rain and I somehow made it even being uncomfortable physically.  

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Day 62: Small Yoginis and Grace

Today was 130 with Frank.  I went on the opposite side of the room again and enjoyed the energy over there.  There were two little yoginis practicing near me.  An eleven year old girl and her eight year old sister.  They are visiting from L.A and both compete.  They have been practicing for two years and are amazing.  Frank had them stay in some postures after we came out so we could see their depth.  They both had such a quiet focused practice, I was in awe because they are so young!  At the end of class before final savasana Frank had the eleven year old do her competition routine for us.  All I can say is wow!  She is incredible.  What a flexible and strong little thing she is! 
I felt pretty good today and had a nice solid practice.  I was looking in the mirror thinking, who is this person?  I was coming in and out of postures during the standing series with a nice flow.  I actually looked.....well....graceful.  If you know me, you will know that nobody would ever describe me as graceful.  Growing up I was the pudgy girl with glasses and her nose buried in a book.  I got picked last for teams always, because I was the most uncoordinated klutzy kid you could ever imagine.  In high school I came out of my shell a little bit, but only because I realized I could do individual sports like swimming and cross country and not have to be all that coordinated.  So today, watching my limbs, long, flexible, fluid, gliding in and out of postures with ease and grace was something I would have never thought I would see.  I always strive to improve myself, but my clumsy, uncoordinated ways was not something I ever thought could be improved or changed.  I just accepted it.  So imagine my delight and surprise to witness the beginning of something so wonderful.  I can already tell, days 60 through 90 are going to be enlightening to say the least.  

Day 61: A substitute

Today was the nice Friday express class with Kirk the easy guy.  530 class that would get out 5 mins early.  Yes!  Reggi was not there, so I went on the totally other side of the room (see Roberta, I can move) and practiced near another regular, Christian for my Reggi substitute.  His quiet, strength, discipline, focus was much like Reggis and kept me going.  And, like Reggi, he has a sense of humor.  In full locust posture, Reggi and I always tap hands, like "hi, I'm here".  Christian did the same.  He tapped hands and then for fun, trapped my right arm down on the ground for a few seconds.  So once we both got into the posture fully, I returned the favor by shoving my arm under his and lifting him up.  I saw him smiling in the mirror and thought to myself, "this is soooo much fun!".  I love yoga.  I love yoga people.   I am mentally tired of going everyday and it's getting harder and harder to get there, but it's worth it!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Day 60: 60 day challenge complete

Whew!  That feels good.   To be finished with the 60 day challenge.  I know I am going to continue on, but it really is great to have that accomplishment under my belt.

Tonight was 5:30 with Roberta.  She busted me and Reggi for not moving.  We sheepishly protested a bit, "we are two spots to the right".  She said "that's not good enough, you are still front row, same side".  Damn.  The class was good.  She pushed, prodded and complimented Reggi and I.  I had my best Rabbit ever tonight.  When I came out of it she said "that was very nice Michelle".  Everything just clicked for me with that posture tonight.  My forehead was solidly on my knees, my heels together and my hips way up there, pretty close to perpendicular.  For non-yoga folks, Rabbit is a forward compression posture, where you start on your knees and sort of bend forward and make a u shape with your body, it's an inversion posture because the top of your head is on the floor.  I was going to take a picture tonight, but I look the same as I did at 30 days.  I will for sure take one when I hit 90, and of course at day 101.
60 down, 41 to go.....

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Day 59: Type A?

Today was 530 with Oksana.  The class itself was completely uneventful.  This is good!  My soreness is well, still there, but not so much.  I'm really just cruising along physically.  Amazing.  Mentally, well, that's a different story.   With my social calendar picking up I'm thinking "what on earth possessed you to think you could do 101 days?  Why can't you just do 60, call it good and go back to 5 days a week?".  Because I can't.  I have to see where this goes.  I have to stick my head down this rabbit hole.  I cannot stop now.  Call me "type A" all you want, I just can't stop right now.  I'm on the verge, of.....something.   I suppose we'll find out, what that something is as I continue on for the next 42 days.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Day 58: Metal??

Faint of heart, you may not want to read this.  It's a little weird.  Today was 5:30 with Adele.  Reggi and I changed it up and went to the left of the podium, front row still.  Ok, the deal with the front row:  it's not because we think we are bad ass.  I practiced in the second row a few days and the added distance from the mirror jacked me all up and threw my balance off.  So I suppose that means I should move around more, maybe even go to the back of the room, but I love the front row now.  Yes, I'm attached to it.  :)
The room was smokin' hot when we put our mats down.  So they opened the doors.  Then by the time class started, it cooled off too much and was well, too cold (yes, like the story with the bears and the porridge, I know!).  I was fairly strong up until triangle.  Then all of the sudden the taste of my sweat changed.  Gross, I know, but I must blog about it for the benefit of other yogi's who may experience it.  I want them to know it's normal (well, I hope it is anyway).  Suddenly I tasted metal and salt in my sweat.  Very heavy.  It was so bad it knocked me out of triangle on the left side.  I got back in and was like, yuck!  By the time we got to savasana, I started to feel weak and the taste in my mouth got stronger and stronger.  I was coming out of cobra series postures early.  I was dizzy, felt weird and couldn't stop thinking about this taste in my mouth.  The only only only thing I can figure is I'm running so clean right now, that I've tapped into some other deep layer of detox.  For my non yoga readers, I'm so sorry if I just freaked you out.  But blog about it I must. 

Monday, March 23, 2009

Day 57: Finally Sore

Today was 530 with Frank.  I didn't look online beforehand to see who was teaching, so when I signed in at the front desk and saw his name on the sheet I got all excited.  "Yes! A Frank class! It's been at least a week!".  Frank really helps class go by, he is just entertaining as all get out.   Today Reggi and I parked ourselves in our "spots" and Toni Jo, another instructor was right behind us.  Frank was in rare form today, joking around as usual and payed the three of us a little bit of attention.  We loved it, as usual.  
So although the class was good, and I felt very strong, my feet were not cooperating.  They decided to cramp up on me today.  I hate that!  In the very beginning, like during my first 6 months, my feet consistently cramped.  Now it's pretty rare, but when it happens it is frustrating.  Triangle and floor bow were the two that triggered it today.  I had to sit and rub the cramps out and then try to jump right back in.  My lower back, hamstrings and back of my hips are opening up like crazy the past few days and because of that I am pretty sore.   I'm sitting here typing this and I'm glad that I'm sore.  I know, I sound like a batty yoga lady I'm sure, but being sore today tells me that I'm making progress and changes in my body and that is the whole reason I started this challenge to being with.  It took all the way into the 50's for it to start.  It just confirms that my decision to go past 60 is a very good one.  Otherwise, I'd miss out on whatever it is that is starting to happen to my body by interrupting my groove.  Also, after reading Mary Jarvis' reasoning for doing 101 classes, she piqued my interest when she said that between days 60 and 90 your body shape begins to change exponentially.  If that is in fact a true statement, I will be very pleased.  And yes, if it's true I'll be posting before and after pics for sure. 

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Day 56: You may have guessed this.....

so I'll just go ahead and say it: I'm going to continue on past 60 days. Me and this challenge, well lets just say we have some unfinished business. In many ways I feel I am just getting started on the challenge part of the challenge. I say this because today, I really didn't want to go to yoga. I mean really really did not want to go. It's raining and windy out and I literally had to drag myself out of the house for 1130 with Patty. Once I got there I was fine of course and had a fairly solid class. The room was not very hot and at one point I realized I was sore during yoga. Not any particular body part, more of a general all over soreness.
So my thoughts originally, once I knew I would go past 60 were to stop at 90. However, after reading a post on another blog I decided to do 101 days.
Here is the excerpt from that blog, it's a quote from senior teacher Mary Jarvis:
"Practicing 100 consecutive days of Bikram Yoga will change your life!!! But why 100? Why not 30 or even 60 days? Isn’t that enough? The answer, quite simply, is no. While 30 or 60 days is a great start and no small feat, in and of itself, it is still not enough. The first 30 days are basically a readjustment of the entire body’s cells, muscles, bones, and organs, setting the stage for the next 30 days. Day 1-30 deals almost solely with the body. Day 31-60, we start to get into the emotional “stuff”. As in the first 30 days, where we re-adjust the entire physical body, the next 30 days we re-adjust the entire emotional body while simultaneously regenerating and rebuilding every single cell in the body. We also begin to get into some serious realignment of the spine and the entire central nervous system. These next 30 days, you really begin to feel mentally fatigued, even in spite of the fact that you physically feel better than you ever have in your entire life!!!! This is the emotional readjustment. Day 60 -90, your body shape seems to suddenly change at an exponential rate, though you may not notice. These are the days when you start to hear all the “Wow, you look great! What are you doing?” comments. These 30 days are usually your best 30 days. Then there’s the final 11 days where you look and feel absolutely amazing, like a brand new human being. They say it takes 7 years to replace every single cell in the body. Well, you’ve cut that process down by 1/3 the time by doing 100 straight days. But, you may be wondering why the final 11 days and not 10? Because the number one rule of doing 100 yoga days is you have to show up for day 101!"

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Day 55: Head to Knee with Stretching pose

Today was 130 with King.  He is the owner of the studio and teaches an easy, not too hot class.  I parked myself to the left of his podium in the front row.  In the back row, lined up behind me was two instructors, Frank and Yuko and a regular named Amelia.  They are all very good and really kept me going.  
I have blogged a little about some yoga injuries....first my foot, then my hand/forearm.  They have all worked themselves out and are gone already.  Yoga heals yoga injuries.  Nice!
I've noticed lately that I've been making real progress in the forward stretching postures.   I never really understood what the teachers meant when they said to get into the back of your hips until a few days ago.  Once I felt that stretch for the first time it was like "oh, wow!".  Today I was on second set of head to knee with stretching pose (2nd to last posture) , right side and all of the sudden, it was like King was talking to me.  He said something about suck your stomach in (I did) and then said something about the lower back, and then locking the quad muscle and get your heel off the ground.  I was following all of his instructions and my leg actually locked, my forehead was still on my knee and my heel came a little bit off the ground.  That was the first time ever!  It wasn't easy and I noticed I stopped breathing (not good) but I finally felt how the posture is supposed to go.  It was awesome!  Perhaps Michelle is finally becoming a wee bit flexible?  

Friday, March 20, 2009

Day 54: The daughter practices and mom wraps....but not at yoga

My 14 year old daughter has been hanging out at the studio all week while I practice.  She brings her ipod and homework and chats up young Patrick at the front desk.  All week long Patrick kept telling her "bring your yoga clothes and I'll give you a free class card".   She used to practice with me last year and lost interest when school started (she made the school dance team and has been busy).  So when her membership expired, I did not renew it (expensive!).  Anyway, she finally caved in and came to me last night, asking for help packing her "yoga bag" and making sure I'd take a water to work and freeze it for her.  She even called me at work today after school to get my opinion on what kind of snack to eat so as not to be too full.  She was totally serious, like "if I'm going to do this, I'm going to do it right!".  She did enough yoga last year to know that if you don't prepare it's painful in that hot room.  She's so damn cute! 
So today was 530 with Kirk, the self proclaimed easy guy.  Reggi and I were in the front row, Ashley a couple of rows behind us.  I had a fairly strong practice up until camel.  Something strange happened to me, I came out of camel totally overheated and disoriented and after savasana started doing the wrong posture.  Reggi saw me and her hand shot out, she snapped softly twice and smiled at me in the mirror.  It jolted me out of my stupor and saved me from an embarrassing moment~ you know, when the instructor has to say something to you and the entire class, who is setting up for the correct posture looks at you and chuckles.  Boy was I glad Reggi was there!  Phew!  After that I was ok again.  
Ashley had a great practice, did every posture and said she felt very good after class.  She said she wanted to come with me again, so we agreed she could practice Monday night. 
After yoga, my daughter mentions to me in the locker room "mom, it was so weird, Reggi was hanging upside down in camel and she winked at me".  Then, as we are in the car, driving to go get some food she's sitting there texting.  Out of the blue she says "mom, it was kind of creepy when Reggi winked at me in camel".  I started cracking up because it reminded me of another time when I brought a friend for the first time.  My friend knew Reggi and was behind her.   After class my friend says to Reggi  "you were tripping me out with your eyeballs!"  Reggi was like what?  My friend says "your eyeballs, looking at me while you're hanging totally upside down in a backbend! It was a trip!".  
So Ash and I get to the WrapHouse (her request) for food and as we are sitting there waiting, she is texting with her legs in an eagle wrap while in her chair.  I look at her and say "I so wish I could do that, I've been trying for almost two years!"  Then I said, "at least my little toe has been hooking around lately, I'm close!"  She says "mom, just try it, you can do it".  So I scoot to the end of my chair, cross my left leg over my right leg and start to say "see...." and then suddenly shooomp! My left foot hooked around my calf completely!  She said "mom, you are doing it!  Now just pull your right leg toward you more!"  So I did and the foot just clicked into place.  I was sitting there with the leg wrap for eagle.  I was so excited I could barely contain myself!  I said "Oh my God! I'm doing it!  This has taken me two years! and I'm doing it!"  Ashley is looking at me like I'm nuts and the guy behind the counter is sneaking bewildered looks at me.  I couldn't help it.  This is huge!  Then I grinned, the biggest cheesy grin I could muster and said "Look at me, I'm wrapping!  At the Wrap House!".  Ashley looked like she wanted to crawl under the table.  Again, you just can't make this shit up!  Too funny.
So tomorrow I'll probably fall on my ass in eagle trying to wrap my damn legs.  But at least I know I can do it sitting down!  Woooo Hooooo!!!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Day 53: The auto pilot thief

I don't always get what I want......but somehow, I seem to get what I need.  Tonight was 5:30 with Roberta.  Brazilian-bombshell-sweet-as-pie-til-she-traps-you-in-the-yoga-room Roberta.  Sometimes she singles out Reggi, but Reggi was not there.  So, I went in Reggi's spot and enjoyed Roberta's undivided attention during the first three postures.  Second set of half moon, left side, "go deeper Michelle, you can do it!" Second set of forward fold...."lock your knees Michelle!".  Third part of awkward, "squeeze your knees together Michelle!"  Ah, sweet pain!  I pushed myself so damn hard tonight.  Finally! 
Another thing I love about her is she constantly calls me out for coming in or out of things without waiting for her.  I blogged during the first 30 days about how she singled me out for turning my foot in triangle before she said the dialog.  Well, tonight I started to come out of half tortoise, realized she didn't say change and pushed myself back into it really quickly, hoping she didn't notice.  No such luck, ol' eagle eye starts talking in savasana "don't try to predict what I'm saying, listen to me and wait for me".  I knew she was talking about me, so I turned my head to the side, saw her staring right at me with a big smile and I nodded and gave her a big smile back, like "I know! I'm sorry!".  Anyway, the reason I say I love this about her is because it translates so very perfectly into my life outside the yoga room.  Sometimes I'm impatient or in a hurry or my mind is going a million miles an hour and I'm not fully listening or observing.  I catch myself doing this and try to just work on becoming present as soon as I am aware I'm in that state.  So learning to listen to the dialog, be totally present and not be on auto pilot in that room is so good for me.  I've done this yoga so many times that it's easy for me to fall victim to the auto pilot thief.  I call it a thief, because anytime we are not present in the current moment, we lose some of the value of that moment in and out of the yoga room.
So tonight was a great practice for the first time this week.  Roberta was just what the doctor ordered for me today.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Day 52: Yoga Prom?

Today was 530 with Goril.  I have not had her before, she's a visiting teacher from out of the country with a very cool accent.  Reggi was back after a two day absence and we practiced in the front row on either side of a dead mat.  There was a sopping wet towel/mat in my normal spot next to Reggi, so I went on the other side of it.  When class started Reggi and I were staring at the empty mat wondering what happened to the poor student who abandoned it.  We didn't move it when we came in, as it could've been somebody doing a double.  At least we had alot of space! :)
Reggi and I both agreed Goril had a nice "chill" style and the class was enjoyable.  I found myself not pushing very hard at all, but having a respectable practice.  I felt much much better today and feel myself picking up steam physically, going in the right direction again.  The left foot soreness I mentioned a few days ago is gone, but has been replaced by some pain in my right hand/forearm of all places.  I feel it when I'm doing standing bow and floor bow.  Floor bow is excruciating right now because it hurts to do that grip with this new pain.  
My yoga studio is doing a "yoga prom" at a nice restaurant in the palms casino to celebrate the end of the 60 day challenge.  It's cocktail attire and the person doing the documentary will be filming.  Its in a couple of weeks and I actually might go.  Of course I have to go stag, but another girl, a "regular" is interested in going too and we figure we'll also know alot of the people there.  I tried to talk Reggi into it but she rolled her eyeballs at me.  They will be handing out certificates to those of us who completed the challenge and serving a dynamite three course meal.  Oh what the heck, you only live once, right!  If I do go, I'll post some pics on my blog.  Us yogi's/yogini's usually clean up pretty nicely.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Day 51: Cyclical Creature

Today was 530 with Adele.  What I love about Adele is her very soothing demeanor.  It doesn't seem like she is reciting dialog at us.  It feels more like she is having a conversation with us, individually and collectively, coaxing us through our practice.  She corrects, encourages and even knows right when to say, "Now I know this may be uncomfortable.....".   When she does that, you immediately make the connection that she too practices and is sympathetic to exactly what we feel at that moment.  Great teaching style!
What happened to me/with me yesterday?  Oy vey.  What an absolutely awful day, from start to finish.  I was bummed out all day long and I felt like crap physically.  During practice yesterday I did NOT want to be there.  I was cranky as all get out and my body felt stiff, sore, tired and bloated.   I looked in the mirror and all I saw was this miserable 200 pound woman...and I'm not 200 pounds anymore!  See why I didn't want to blog last night?  Out of sorts!  It was only today, when I woke up bloated and miserable again that I realized my horrible malady was nothing more than the blessing of being a woman on its way.  I rolled out of bed thinking, my God Michelle, you are in fact an extremely cyclical creature.  So I kept to myself alot today at work and when I got to yoga I was very accepting of being there, even though I wasn't feeling up to par and I made it through Adele's class without sitting things out and without being the ridiculous train wreck of the day before.  I was mediocre at best and I was Ok with that.  The alternative was to not go....and that just will not do at this point!   I am getting very close to 60 days and that is exciting.  I feel so much better tonight than I did last night.  I think I am....back in the saddle.  

Monday, March 16, 2009

Day 50: Barely.....able to blog....

Today was 530 with young Mark.  I had the worst practice of the entire 50 days.  I was an absolute train wreck.   I don't really feel like blogging even, so I'll call it a day.  Be back tomorrow.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Day 49: The secret to balance

Today was 1130 am with young Mark.  I'm always lulled into meditation by his dialog.  No regulars showed up today (Reggi was on her way out after a hot and crowded 930 class) but my friend Madeline who practices occasionally decided to come as we were talking on the phone earlier.  She parked herself in the way back corner, while I took Reggi's usual spot front row directly to the right of the door.  I had every intention of going to the 930 this morning but I have not been sleeping that well this past week and decided to just spend some extra time resting.  Haunted by strange dreams, I toss and turn and wake up every few hours.  I'm not normally so aware of dreams and usually don't remember any when I wake up.  Hopefully it will pass soon.
My practice was very deliberate today.  I say that because I was really working on small things with form and focusing on coming in and out of things correctly.  Lately, I've been struggling with standing head to knee.  Once I started kicking out second set early on in the challenge, I got the idea I should try to kick out first set as well.   What has since ensued has been alot of falling out and me looking like a hot mess in the posture.  So today I went back to basics and stayed in first part of the posture first set, standing leg locked, foot in my hand looking at my locked knee in the mirror and focusing on my breath.  As I was doing so, I was observing the standing leg and watching all that was going on with a bit of incredulity.  The muscles in my foot were constantly making small corrections, my quad muscle would "wink" at me and I'd tighten it back up immediately.  I'd then become aware of my abs, would focus on sucking them in and my eyes would wander back to my foot, still making tiny corrections constantly to keep me balanced and stable.  While all of this is happening, it appears that I was calm, still, steady to the outside observer.  Hmmm.  Very interesting.  So that is how you balance.  Tons and tons of small corrections, never over correct or off to the side you go, game over!  Don't we do this all day long in life?  We are seeking balance and all day long we make hundreds of small decisions, respond to thousands of outside stimuli and make small corrections sometimes sending us in the wrong direction, sometimes taking us back toward equilibrium.  We all have things we want to work on or change, but it won't happen overnight.  We can't over correct, we must continue to make small corrections to keep ourselves on course constantly. 
On a lighter note, I rocked out second set of standing head to knee, kicking out solid, bringing my toes in and bending my elbows down.  It's been maybe at least a week since I've achieved that so it felt good to be back on track with that very challenging posture.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Day 48: Business as usual

930 am with Frank.  Lots of regulars milling around.  Reggi back in the saddle.  A yogi, Kyle that we haven't seen in awhile was there (he said "Dang, are you two doing the challenge, you both are getting skinny!"  to which he received two beaming faces smiling and saying "Thanks!").  
The temperature was perfect, Frank was great as usual and it was pretty busy.  A standard Saturday and a solid practice.  What a terrific way to start my weekend!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Day 47: Solitude

Today was very interesting for me.  I'm a very social person and enjoy being around people.  But today, I sought out the pleasure of my own company.  I wanted and needed to be alone and it felt very reassuring to me.  I had to work of course, but on my lunch break I had an appointment to run off to.   It did not take long at all, so I had time left when I got back to work, Tart frozen yogurt topped with fresh fruit in tow.  It was a gorgeous day outside, sunny, clear, nice spring-like Vegas weather.  So as I'm walking from my car back to work I looked at the building and just thought to myself "I could go in and sit with my normal lunch crowd and talk, laugh, play cards, but I don't want to.  I just want to be by myself".  So I went to sit on some steps outside and just listened to my ipod and ate my frozen yogurt treat for lunch.  The sun was warm on my face and I felt so content.  
When I got to yoga at 5:30, Patti was teaching.   The parking lot was sparse and the lobby the same way when I walked in.  I already knew Reggi wouldn't be there.  So I sat, for my customary pre-yoga 20 minutes on the bench outside class by myself.....not only was Reggi not there, but all other regulars were missing as well.  Friday date-happy-hour-going-out night beckoning I suppose.  I was happy though, because I got to continue with my hanging out with myself solitude groove.  It was in sharp contrast to the loud hilarity of the regulars the night before and just as good in a completely different way.  I realized I like both.  I like being social, and I like being alone...they are both me.   For me, it's about balance.  I need both, but not one more than the other.  
Class today was awesome.  There were only about 12 of us, scattered all throughout the room.  I was in the front row, almost by myself.  The only other person in the front row on my side of the room was all the way at the end.  Nobody behind me until the very back of the room...two newbies.  Sitting on the bench before class, I realized I was very mentally exhausted today.  It's been a tough week and I was relieved it was Friday.  I came into the practice to relax and not to workout.  I mean, it's still a workout, but I was not pushing.   I was breathing and flowing and clearing my mind and just coasting in and out of the postures.  When I was finished I felt more like I just had a 90 minute massage rather than an intense kick ass Bikram class.   It was what I needed, I knew it, I listened to myself and took care of me.  I knew I needed to be alone at lunch and I knew I needed to "check out" at yoga.  I don't think I've ever been this in tune with myself physically, emotionally, spiritually.  I know you get sick of hearing it loyal audience, but I'll say it again:  this yoga is amazing.  It continues to change my life for the better.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Day 46: Hot, crowded, Frank and Friends

That was the 5:30.  Lots of us "regulars" having a great time on the benches before class.  Energy was high.  The room was very hot, but Frank was nice with fans and door opening.  There were quite a bit of students there today...it was pretty crowded.  All in all it was a great class full of love and energy.  
I now have my first yoga casualty:  My left foot is sore in the arch.  I think from falling out of things sideways.  It doesn't prevent me from doing anything during class, I feel it more when I am not in class.  It certainly isn't a show stopper and is not overly painful.  Just really more of an annoyance than anything else.
Short post because I am anxious to go spend time with my daughter.  
Be back tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Day 45: You can't make this shit up!

I almost tossed my cookies again.  But not from class, from laughing hysterically!  Today was 5:30 with Darla.  She's kinda tough!  Ouch!  To the right of me I had "bull in a china shop man".  I was really trying to ignore him and focus, but holy cow, I HAVE to tell you what he was doing because really, it was just too much for me.  First I'll go with a disclaimer: Begin disclaimer- I am in no way making fun of him, he was trying very very hard and GOD bless him for even being there.  Hey, we are all just here having a beautiful struggle.  That being said, there was just too much comedy to not write about it.  End Disclaimer.
Ok, so I'm lined up in the front row....Shelley, Reggi, Me. Darla's teaching.  Ok, we are about to get our asses kicked.  I'm just hoping I don't throw up again like yesterday, I'm a bit nervous.  To the point that I went "oh dear God, here she comes" when she walked in the door to start class.  Standing series:  Bull in the china shop was taking a knee by second set of half moon.  Now, he's in the front row.  I'm thinking he must be new and must not know about the front row.  Which is totally cool, I  mean who is comfortable with whats going on when they  start Bikram.  Fast forward to balancing stick.  He picks his knee up, LUNGES forward and then goes right into a "broken umbrella" all the while body is up because he's trying to see himself in the mirror.  I about lost it at that point.  I'm trying to get into balancing stick and trying not to laugh.  God I sound like a terrible person, but it was funny!  Sorry!  Then, after second set of balancing stick he walks up to the mirror, goes an inch away from it and stands there for a minute  I was really trying not to watch him and focus on myself, but OMG, I was like, "what is he doing?"  He was making alot of noise and just going for it in every posture, the wrong way and coming out with a big grunt.  At one point I looked over at Reggi and we both tried to keep our composure because she saw it too.  Then, the first situp we do, Darla decides to coach us.  She's demonstrating and talking about it and telling us the right way and says "you don't do shit during your situps if you don't keep the form".  OMG, again, I wanted to bust up.  I make it through the rest of the class, feeling pretty strong and we get to final savasana.  Bull in the china shop has been a wreck the whole floor series, but I tried to ignore him.  He gets up right away as soon as Darla closes out the class and leaves and makes all sorts of noise getting his water bottles and rolling up his mat, I mean I thought he was going to fall on me or something!  I'm trying to lay there and he walks by my head, all heavy, dripping all sorts of sweat on me.   I look over at Reggi as he walks by her and she wrinkles her nose as he drips sweat on her.  I started laughing.  I mean belly laughing.  I couldn't keep it in.  I was trying to be quiet and realized I would have to leave the room.  So I roll up my mat and go outside.  Reggi is right behind me and we are in the hallway laughing hysterically.  We just could not stop.  We go to the locker room and change and talk to Shelley.  She was really too far over to experience the full antics of the bull, but she did see a bit of it.  Reggi and I go to the front desk to get a zico after.  Mark, english accent-manager-i'm-going-to-kick-your-ass-in-class-Mark was standing there and for some reason starts telling us a story of a girl who lost her electrolytes in class the other day.  Are you familiar with that?  I've only seen it once.  Somebody who is that dehydrated gets like lobster claw hands and feet and curls up in a ball.  It's not pretty.  Anyway, that reminded him of another story.  Ball, the world champion last year, was training very very hard.  He had taken two classes, practiced his routine and then was teaching.   Mark was in that class.  Ball had pushed himself so freakin' hard that he lobster clawed up and collapsed right in the middle of teaching class.  So Mark goes up, throws his rigid little body over his shoulder and says to everybody "no worries, he'll be fine" and takes him out of the room.  Holy shit!  Reggi and I were walking out of the studio, going down the stairs with our zicos laughing our freakin' asses off.  Reggi's re-enacting the thing, imitating Mark with his English accent, throwing rigid little Ball over his shoulder like "no worries mate, he'll be back in 10!"  OMG, I was laughing so hard that I started to cough when I got in my car.  Really, you just can't make this shit up.   

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Day 44: Detoxing at its finest

Today was 5:30 with Connie.  She's a great instructor.  Inserts funny little sayings into her dialog and really encourages us to be present and work on the little things.  I went in the room feeling fine.  Then something happened.  During the balancing postures I was falling out alot.  I did not get frustrated at myself just kept breathing and getting back in (only to fall right back out, but hey, I was getting an "A" for effort).  So after a mediocre standing series, I hit the floor wondering what was going to happen there.  I flipped over for cobra and immediately my stomach started to roll.  I was like "WTF?"  I tried my best to get through spine series but came out of bow early both sets because I was soooo nauseous.  By the time I got to half tortoise I was almost writhing in pain.  I layed in savasana for both camels, trying hard to just let it go and not judge myself.  I decided to try rabbit.  Did the situp and went "oh shit".  My mouth was watering....you know that "I'm going to toss my cookies" watering.  I had to leave.  I was devastated.  I have only ever left the room once.  It was when I first started and it was during two minute savasana to go pee.  I have done over 500 classes and I just don't leave.  It's even rare for me to sit out postures, I try so hard to complete the class and give it my all every time.  But today, well, I left.  And threw up.  I was standing at the front desk, shivering, with a towel wrapped around me asking for a zico afterwards.  Class was wrapping up and I wasn't planning on going back in.  Patrick, this very nice young man who works the front desk handed me the zico and said "well, did you change anything today? eat something different? what is different about today?"  I just looked at him and said no, it's none of that.  Toni Jo, an instructor, was standing there and said "well girl, get in there and do final breathing.  You'll feel better.  You have to do final breathing, otherwise it's like taking a poop and not wiping your butt".  Gotta love Toni Jo!  So I did, I went back in, right in time for a quick savasana and then final breathing.  I could see Reggi looking at me with major concern when I came back in.  Her and I have been practicing together for soooo long and she knows I'm crazy strong and push myself and don't leave that damn room for any reason whatsoever.  We spoke for a bit after class and I said "wow, that was unbelievable, I can't believe that happened! But I feel fine.  Great in fact!" 
So there you have it.  Detoxing at its finest. 

Monday, March 9, 2009

Day 43: Finding Comfort in Discomfort

Today was 530 with Mark (english accent-manager-kick-our-butts-Mark).  Before going to class, I received a facebook message from brotha' George  who I wrote about in the last challenge asking when I practice.  He wanted to come share a practice with me.  I mentioned my blog to him last time I saw him and he has been following it, and putting some encouraging comments out there for me.  Well, he showed up tonight and practiced between me and Reggi in the front row.  It was amazing.   First of all, let me just say Mark was trying to kill us, or cook us, or something.  Sitting in the room before class I was already sweating, and by the time pranayama breathing was complete, my shoulders were burning and I was dripping.  I talked with Reggi after class and she said "I knew we were in trouble at that point".  Normally the heat doesn't bother me, but tonight it did.  I was HOT.   I was breathing HEAVY.  Struggling to keep the "in through the nose, out through the nose" breathing steady.  Oy vey.   Reggi and I both fed off Georges quiet, disciplined energy (we discussed this after class).  We were suffering.  But everytime I brought my attention to George, and felt his focus, I was inspired.  He just had a kidney transplant a month ago, and he was just doing his yoga.  Several people walked out and there was lots of yoga carnage...many people taking a knee by the time we hit triangle.  Yesterday George wrote on his facebook that he was finding "comfort in discomfort".  So today, as I'm suffering, I really tried to find that....comfort in discomfort.  And it was so fitting for today, because some events in my life in the past two weeks have caused me emotional discomfort, so trying to find comfort in the discomfort really takes alot of self love and self respect.  I think I am just going to keep "doing my yoga" and everything else will fall into place.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Day 42: Power Beyond Measure

Today I went to 1130 yoga with young Mark.  Reggi was on her way out, did the 930.  We chatted for a bit in passing and then I rattled around the lobby, high on caffeine from a giant starbucks latte, very little sleep, no food and a quick liter of water an hour before.  I warned Mark that I might not be my usual self due to a busy weekend with very little sleep and to ignore me (i.e : don't call me out if I take a knee!).
I started off putting my mat in my "usual spot" on the right side of the door, but second row instead of front row.  There were too many people though and things weren't lining up so I dragged my mat to the first row and went back into the lobby.  Five minutes before class I came back in and saw somebody had put themselves directly behind me.  So I started the "mat jockeying" trying to make sure we all had mirror space and couldn't get it quite right.  I saw that the front row on the left side of the podium was wide open with not as many people behind and that I could move over there and not be in anybodys way.  So I moved.  As I was setting up my mat I was thinking, geez Michelle, you really should be in the second row.  You are exhausted, have no food in you, aren't hydrated enough and have dark circles around your eyes!  Something told me to just stay put.  So I did.  
Mark comes in, class starts.  I stand up and start the first breathing exercise.  I felt fine.  Better than fine.  Strong actually.  I was shocked.  Half moon pose.  My least favorite of all postures.  My arms were locked out solid, my shoulders opened up and I got my arms back farther and I felt my body lifting up and over, knees locked, tummy and backside tight, hip pushing beyond my flexibility...I was really working the posture.  Self doubt crept in.  Michelle, you're too tired, don't do this you'll be hitting the deck on your knees soon!  Then suddenly something very strange happened.  I almost hate writing about it in my blog, because it may sound very strange, but it happened so I'll share it.  My body took over.  My mind shut off.  I became the dialog.  I was pushing myself on every single posture as he said it.  It was his words and mind and my body.  I was simply executing the commands.  I felt this crazy energy surging through my body.  It was power beyond measure.  Now I'm not saying I stayed in everything perfectly, or made some crazy progress on my postures.  It was more of just breathing and being one with the asanas and letting the power/energy flow through every limb of my strong, flexible body.  I have never experienced anything like it in my **almost** two years of doing Bikram yoga.  

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Day 41: Switching Sides and Always Try the Right Way

Today was 9:30am with Frank.  Last week, Roberta (cute little instructor from brazil) told Reggi that her and I stay in one spot too much and should move around the room.   So today we stayed in the front row (we are gluttons for punishment up there with all the new rules) but went to the left side of the room.  We talked about it after class and agreed it was a good thing.  I had an entirely different perspective and enjoyed practicing next to some of the people (who like Reggi and I stay on their side) that I don't normally get to be near.  Different energy.  It was cool.  Today I realized also that I am making good progress on flexibility.  The final stretching posture, seated on the floor with your legs in front of you, pulling on your toes and trying to get your forehead to your toes (or bite your toes as Frank loves to say, saves money on pedicures he says) is something I have been working on for months.  My heels come off the floor naturally so I thought I was "getting it" and I was pulling like a madwoman and making no progress.  Here is what I was missing:  I was curling my toes to help myself with the grip, I was not locking my knees and I was not squeezing my legs together hard, from heels to upper thighs.  Once I figured that out (last fall) I've been in a holding pattern with that posture, focusing on squeezing the legs, locking the knees, flexing the feet and more recently working on the chest up part and really trying to get into the lower back.  Well, my perseverance finally paid off.  I got into my lower back today.  I was able to start bringing my elbows down, all the while not losing any integrity on all those other things I listed and my stomach was on my upper thighs.  Woooo hoooo!  I'm so glad I kept trying the right way, even though to the outside eye it may have looked like I wasn't trying all that hard because my body wouldn't go towards those toes really.  
Oh, and I still feel great!  We'll see what happens tomorrow, because I know I got into that back today and could possibly be sore.

Day 40: Fabulous 50th Friday with Frank

Yes, I am writing this post the morning after.  Sorry!  Last night was my fellow yogini's 50th bday.  In preparation for this day, she counted backwards and did 50 days of yoga in a row.  So today was 50 days of yoga on her 50th bday celebration.  Shelley is so full of love and light and was embracing her special day.  It was awesome!  She requested Frank to teach the 530 for us and he willingly obliged.  Michelle A, our friend who transferred out to the Green Valley studio when that opened came up for this class and was on day 65 herself (amazing!).  Reggi and Kim were there and Shelley's children.  There was a high level of excitement in the air, you could feel it during the first breathing exercise.  It was powerful.  We all had strong practices and were all wired for sound in the lobby afterwards, enjoying some cupcakes that Shelley's eldest daughter brought.  After yoga, Michelle, Reggi, Kim and I took Shelley to Blue Martini to celebrate further.  It was pretty crowded but we lucked out and got a table near the band that was playing.  It was a very nice night, full of great friends, love and laughter.  What more could I ask for?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Day 39: Laughter, strength and alignment

Today I was laughing.  Alot.  I was laughing at my own tragedy and it felt GOOD.  I had to drop my car off today.  Two things needed to be fixed.  This guy with a funny unidentifiable accent calls me and says they can do one thing today but the other has to be done tomorrow, they are waiting on a part.  I ask if I can pick it up end of day today and bring it back he says yes.  I call back later to see if they are done the first thing and find out when they close so I can go get it.  The girl who answered puts the funny accent guy back on and he starts yelling at me:  "I already talk to you! I tole' you it stays 2 days! You don' listen!"  I was flabbergasted.  I reminded him he told me I could pick it up and bring it back.  So he says (get this!) "Ok, I put it back together enough for you to come get it!"  Oh my God! I was laughing sooooo hard as I was retelling this story!  I was like "what is he going to leave some parts out?"  I could picture him sifting through various greasy car parts saying "she don' need this part tonight, I leave this here". 
Fast forward to yoga at 530 with Frank (yes, my car made it to yoga).  More laughter.  Reggi was busting my chops before class about my no water class the other day.  She was like "did you see me, pretending to guzzle my water, and going ahhhhh".  I said "I wasn't looking at you.  I could see your antics out of the corner of my eye and by the time I got to fixed firm I was not in the mood to watch that!"  Anyway, we were laughing pretty hard about that too.  Then we get into yoga and Frank was his normal funny self and Reggi is giggling during yoga (not like her).  What great medicine laughter is!  I was so strong tonight!  Stronger than I've been all week.  My triangle was finally back to normal.  I say that because I normally stand on the painted line on the floor and in doing that I found that doing triangle with proper alignment makes my legs shake.  All that means is I was not in proper alignment before.  Tonight, our mats were closer together in the front row and we had to stagger, meaning I didn't get to go on the line and had to eyeball the heel alignment.  Well, I didn't do a good job, because I must've fallen back into my old "non-alignment".  My triangle was solid!  Ah, I miss that!  But I know that being in proper alignment is the right thing, even if my new triangle kind of sucks right now.  It will get better!  

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Day 38: Bringing Friends to Yoga

Today was 530 with Darla.  For some reason I was feeling out of sorts today.  Not quite sure why but when I got to the studio and saw that I forgot to pack my yogi toes towel,  I got totally frustrated with myself.  Add that to Reggi busting my chops in the parking lot because I zoomed in there, parked and threw my door open, well, I was just stone cold busted for being out of sorts.  Sunday I went to a BBQ at a friends house and talked a bunch of people into coming to try yoga. There was supposed to be 6 or 7 showing up, but only 4 actually came.  I was excited, because 4 is alot!  One of the people who showed up is my friend Ray. His wife Jo, who already does Bikram has been trying to talk him into coming for awhile now.  So Jo was happy that I got him to come.  So it was Ray, another guy named Shon and two girlfriends of Jo's.  The girls, they rocked it out.  I think they are dancers already or something.  They did great.  Shon and Ray...they were funny.  Shon is all very athletic, toned, buff etc and was sooooo determined to get through that class.  Ray, just wanted to make it through.  Every time I looked at Ray in the mirror, he looked totally pissed.  I was thinking, oh crap.  After class Shon said he wasn't as strong as he thought and would try it again.  Ray actually said he would consider coming back when Dray's studio opens, because it's near his house.  Well, that studio is opening soon, so I may have to call his bluff.  :)
Reggi knew I was out of sorts and asked if I felt better after class.  And I did.  A little.  Some things are just bothering me today and there's nothing I can really do about it.  Except feel it, go to bed and start over tomorrow.  So I made it, through yet another yoga class, without any physical issues.  I am just amazed at how very different this challenge is compared to my last challenge.  Wow.  The only thing I experienced tonight was a little bit of mental exhaustion.  I was looking in the mirror during half moon thinking, wow, I'm not loving this tonight.  I'm a little sick of yoga today.  I could use a break.  So there you have it, the challenge appears to be mental this time.  

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Day 37: A class without water

A fellow blogger (thanks Wendy!) inspired me to try a class without water after reading her post.  I have kicked the idea around before, but never tried it.  Funny thing is I put on my facebook today "Michelle is going to do a class without water today" and got some very concerned comments from non yoga friends (isn't that bad for you!).  So let me do my little disclaimer here before I write about how it went:
Begin disclaimer:  Nobody goes and runs a marathon without training for it.  This "no water class" is the same thing.  You need to be a seasoned yogini who knows her body and knows how strong she is during class.  I would not recommend that any new people try it, or people who struggle with the heat.  End disclaimer.
Ok, how did it go you say?  Well, today was 530 with Connie.  I went into the room without the water bottle at all.  Just me, my mat and my yogi toes, ready to rock and roll!  Kneeling down Japanese style, 5 mins before class, watching everybody come in, I had a moment of worry.  What if I can't do it?  What if I have to leave the room? I never leave the room!  Then I took a deep breath, reminded myself that I had drank THREE liters of water throughout the day (overkill, but I wanted to be hydrated!) and that I could do this....I pushed the worry out of my mind then knew I'd make it fine.  Might have some suffering, but knew I'd do it.  How did it feel?  Well,  after eagle, we have the only official water break.  The sounds of all those caps and bottles caused me to smile a bit in the mirror.  I was standing there quietly thinking, "this isn't so bad".  Fast forward to fixed firm.  After a tough but strong standing series (I felt great today!) my throat was burning a little and I wanted water bad.  So then the sounds of those caps and bottles going as most yogi's took advantage of the "unofficial" water break almost drove me to the brink.  Ugh.  I really just kept trying to bring my focus off my throat and back to my breath and made it through the rest of the class just fine.  During the spine series I realized I was noticing the heat much more than I do when I have the nice little cold water distraction as a crutch.  It's not that it bothered me or caused me suffering, I was just more aware of it.
So I made it.  Will I do it again?  Probably not!  But I will try to be more disciplined with my water from now on.  I used to drink after eagle, during fixed firm and after class ONLY.  Lately, like a small child, I've let my focus and discipline wander and I've taken the liberty of drinking in between alot of the floor series postures and I don't need to.  I'm just distracting myself and losing precious focus when I do that. 

Monday, March 2, 2009

Day 36: Doing Yoga while tired

Today I went to the 5:30 class.  Mark (english accent manager Mark) was supposed to teach.  Sitting on the bench chatting up my yoga buddies, I suddenly got extremely relaxed, stretched my legs out, yawned and felt like laying down for a nap.  The studio is like my home away from home and as soon as I got there and let the peace and tranquility of my familiar place seep into my core I realized I was exhausted.  I stayed up too late last night and did not get enough sleep.  Sometimes I still do ok on little sleep, but not today.  It ran over me like a mac truck.  Roberta ended up teaching because Mark was not feeling well.  As soon as she walked in with her headset I went, "uh-oh, I'm in trouble".  Roberta's tough!  I tried my best, I really did but I was just not there with my A game.  I was falling out of second part of awkward, eagle, standing head to knee, standing bow...just falling out falling out falling out.  It was retarded how much I was falling out!  I started to get really agitated with myself and then I just gave up and thought, oh well, sometimes doing my best might simply just be showing up!  So I made it through the rest of the class by the skin of my teeth, but let the agitation slip away and actually enjoyed the struggle and felt good about making it to final breathing in one piece.  A small victory.  I'll take it....and I'll go to bed early tonight!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Day 35: Male energy and the value of my stock

Today was 1130 with Frank.  I was dropped off by my stepdad while my car was being looked at.  When I walked into the studio, I found myself gravitating toward the male energy.  Talking to George, Dray, Kirk and being happy Frank was teaching.  The past few days I have been walking around with a lump in my chest and being in a place of emotions.  The lump was even bigger today.  So I gravitated toward the men, because I wanted to be near their "black and white" "cut and dry" attitude and pull myself out of this place of feeling.  During class the lump in my chest literally caused me physical problems.  I actually was out of breath, could not get enough oxygen in and suffered during many of the postures.  So while I felt pretty strong at first, by the end of class I had barely enough strength to finish the last three postures.  And during camel the lump in my chest was so restrictive I had to come out of camel first set and just sat on my knees.  Frank was nice and put his hand on my head for a minute...giving me a bit of compassion.  That gave me the boost I needed to do the full time on the second set, lump and all.
After class, sitting on the curb, waiting for my stepfather to come get me I felt so much better.  The lump was gone and I felt peaceful.  I sat looking west at the redrock mountains, feeling the breeze on my face and just breathing in the nice day.  I wondered how it was that the pain I have been feeling for days, that accumulated into the painful lump could suddenly be gone.  Then it hit me.  Somebody once asked me, "what is the value of your stock?"  I looked at him, like "what?"  He just said, you need to take inventory and know the value of your stock.  So I sat there, looking at the mountains thinking about that and I realized that I know the value of my stock and I know its rising.  Because I have an unshakable faith in myself that I can work on all of the things I need to, internal and external both, and be the best Michelle I can be.  That's mine, I own that and nobody can take that away.