Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Day 60: Done!

Well I finished today, went to 5:30 with Mark. I'm not going to write a long post. Today brought about some very sad things. My ten year old cat is spending the night at the vet. He is in kidney failure. They are treating him with IV and meds in the event it's an infection, but honestly the prognosis is not good. He was responding to the treatment and coming around, but if he is still in kidney failure tomorrow than a sad decision I will face. I also just heard some terrible news about a childhood friend, and my daughter is coming down with something, had a slight fever tonight. What an absolutely horrible day! Well wishes and prayers directed our way would certainly be appreciated.
Poor Mei, after traveling for hours and hours has landed in the midst of all of this sadness right before her big happy event. She is absolutely wonderful though. Everything I expected and more. A very sweet and understanding soul. She is going to be an absolutely phenomenal Bikram instructor.
Thanks for the support during my fourth challenge. Your comments are so encouraging and I appreciate them more than I can express.
Signing off....just for a little while. Be back soon with better news I hope.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Day 59: The "Southwest Tilt"

Today was 530 with Brandy. As usual, she brought it...Brandy style. We all pulled, kicked, stretched and tried very hard to find our edge as she verbally poked, prodded and adjusted us while keeping up her awesome dialog. After first set of standing bow she stopped and chuckled and said "ok, I've noticed something funny that is particular to this studio. I call it the Southwest Tilt. You all tilt your head in standing bow!" So she proceeded to show us how to correct that from the very beginning, in the setup. Second set starts and I really focus, appreciative of the demonstration, because as I've blogged before, I've been called out for both my head tilt and my hip coming up a bit on the standing leg side. Of course that means I fell out a bunch! It always changes the dynamics of your posture when you try to correct your form. The payoff is worth it though so I never mind sort of backsliding a bit in depth to correct my form. Form over depth every time, that's the correct way!

On another note, Mei is on her way here! She is currently on a layover in Korea, will then get her flight to LAX, land in the am, clear customs and fly to Vegas in the evening. I'm going to be picking her up right after yoga class. There will probably be a little bit of "cross blogging" going on as she will be staying with me until Sunday. I plan on taking her to class of course and asked her to "guest blog" here on my site after Thursdays class. For those of you who haven't read her blog, you'll enjoy her post. She's a spitfire. A piss in the pants. A crack up. Full of energy. I can't wait to hang out with her! There will be more "cross blogging" in December after teacher training gets out as Mei and I journey to sunny So. Cal to hang out with awesome blogger DancingJ. Good times!!! OhmygodIhopeIcankeepupwiththeseyounggals!!!
Back tomorrow with day 60 post. Although I'm not planning on extending my challenge officially (I'll still go everyday...until I don't) I will continue to blog because Bikram Teacher Training is in Vegas!! I will blog about checking Mei in, taking class with trainees on a Saturday or two, the regional competition (with pictures!) Oct 11th, and whatever other cool stuff comes our way with all of these cool festivities happening right here in my backyard!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Day 58: Resetting the Counter

Today was 530 with Frank. Reggi, Mark and I lined up in the front row, ready for his fantastic energy. This next sentence needs to talk about how Reggi, Mark and I rocked it out, right? Well, they did, but not me. I was a hot mess right from breathing. After the wonderful class with Dominique yesterday I was quite mad at myself for having a bad class. Instead of accepting, and letting it go, and being grateful that I was there (you know, all this stuff we learn from doing yoga right?) I was pissed. I mentally whipped, flogged and beat myself to a pulp the entire 90 minutes. Nice Michelle. Way to be nice to yourself! Geez, we are our own worst enemies sometimes aren't we?
Anyway, the title of this post: resetting the counter. **If** I had started with the rest of the studio (August 1st) then tomorrow would be day 60. Due to still recovering from surgery, I jumped in late and needed to do three doubles if I was going to use the 1st as my start date. I did two doubles. I planned on doing one tonight. I even told Reggi before class I was going to. After class, I was rolling up my mat, a hot sweaty mess, heading for the door. Reggi says "where are you going?" I looked at her and whispered back vehemently "home!". No way was I going to survive a double. I went outside, looked at the challenge board and decided this: Since I am the ONLY one doing 60 and jumped in late anyway, let's say I started on August 2nd instead of first, go through to Weds instead of Tues and that will be 60 classes in 60 days. **I see you with your clipboards, I know, I know, although it will be 60 it's not totally kosher me changing the date. I see you nodding your heads and making notes on the clipboard. It's ok, I'm good with my revised start date!!**
So, that being said, I dragged my sorry ass home after that 90 minute moving mental beating and proceeded to do my night time routine. My mom called. "what are you doing?". I sighed and said "packing my yoga bag for tomorrow, laying out my work clothes. Another exciting night in the Michelle household". She paused "you sound down". I sighed again. "I'm just tired". "No you're not" she countered. Then I just lost it. Poured my heart out to her. I'm going through some pretty heavy life stuff right now. It's hard. It's scary. And I have to do it alone. Her advice "You need to just keeping breathing". I was pacing as I was talking. I stopped when she said this. My mom doesn't do yoga. She's never given me this advice in the 38 years she's been my mom. "Just breathe Michelle. That is all you need to do today, and everyday". Tears pooled up in my eyes. I became conscious of my breath, the same way I am in yoga. I sat down, looked around my bedroom, phone pressed to my ear and thought to myself "what would I ever do without my mom. What do people do without their moms". And I felt grateful and accepting......all of those things I was missing during my practice.....

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Day 58: A Powerhouse!

Today was 330 with Dominique. First of all, if you've been reading my blog you know Dominique is awesome. She has high energy and her classes are amazing. To top it all off, we had a fairly small class that consisted of mostly regulars and teachers. Oksana, Frank, Kathryn, Liz.....Four teachers in one class! It was a strong beautiful class, you could feel it from the very first breathing exercise. It was POWERFUL. I imagined an invisible thread of energy and rocked out a solid standing series. Floor series blew my socks off. I did the best locust of my life first set. So much so that Dominique said "very nice Michelle!". I could feel the form was correct, I was solid and I was up pretty high. Wow! Talk about a great natural high! After class Dominique said "wow, you were in sync with Kathryn, it was beautiful! Back bends, standing bow, you two were together!" I was stunned! Kathryn is an instructor, professional dancer, way younger than me, so to think I was flowing in and out of postures with her is amazing. She is beautiful. To be in sync with her and be part of that beauty takes my breath away. It was the best compliment I've gotten in awhile!
After class King (the owner of my studio) asked if he could congratulate me on the 60 day challenge in the newsletter he puts out. Of course, I said. Sadly, I am the only one to complete 60 days this time. So if any of you reading go to my studio, do it with me next time, ok????
On another note, you may have read in my post yesterday that the meme I did got "tweeted" and then posted on a blog that "steals" memes every Sunday. Again, congrats Restaurant Refugee on writing such wonderful questions.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Days 56 and 57: Good yoga and a stolen meme

Well hi there everybody. I'm hanging in there with the yoga. Yesterday was 330 with Kathryn and today was 530 with Darla. Kathyrn's class was awesome! She is a professional dancer and is a stickler for form. I really enjoyed her dialog, and the way she explains things. She is very body aware. It was her last teaching class here, as her stint with the show she was in is over and back to NYC she goes in a week. Darla's class was very good today, but I must confess I was a bit tired. Stayed out far too late the night before and paid for it ten times over. Ugh.

On a different note: The meme I did somehow got "tweeted" to like TONs of people, and then the meme got "stolen".
This comment was left on my blog yesterday:

Hi Bikramyogachgic -

I'm Judd Corizan from the blog Sunday Stealing. Every week we rip a meme off someone's blog. Today we chose yours. We give you (and your friends) full credit and link back to your blog. The great thing is that a lot of previous "victims" such as yourself have become regular players! We publish the blog between 3 and 6 PM EDT. We usually get between 60 and 80 people who play and comment on each other's responses. And a lot of our players are previous victims of our theft like you! We hope you play along in the weeks to come! Thank you and have a great day...

The website that does this is:

Pretty neat huh? I went to the site and there I am, my profile picture, my opening paragraph explaining the meme and then the questions. I let Restaurant Refugee know that his meme might go viral. They were great questions!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Day 55: Synchronized Yoga Ballet

Today was 530 with Marie. I have not had her class yet. She graduated this past spring with Lacey. She was awesome! She had a great energy great dialog, and a soothing voice. She kept the room hot and killed us with kindness.
Mark, Christian and I were in the front row. Front desk Patrick pointed us out before class and gave her our names (thanks alot Patrick!) so we received quite a few corrections. By the time we got to rabbit, she said "ok everybody come out except Mark, Michelle and Christian" and then she pointed out some good things about our rabbits, said they were nice and then let us come out. The whole practice I could really feel an energy between the three of us. Almost like we were connected with an invisible rope, like we were moving and breathing as one entity. It was really neat. There were a few times I thought the heat was going to get the best of me. Right after camel the thought ran through my brain "My skin is on fire for crying out loud!". Then Marie would call me out by name, encourage or correct and I would forget all about my agony. After class I thanked Marie. Christian was walking by right at that moment. She smiled, said thank you and then commented on us rocking out the front row. She said "It was amazing, you were all moving in sync!" Christian chuckled and said "it's rehearsed, we practice before class!"

A Fall Meme

This is a meme written by the Resteraunt Refugee. Hannah posted it on her blog with some very beautiful answers. Here are mine.... (the questions are in bold)

It’s not fall in Las Vegas until …Halloween. September is still pretty hot, and often times we don’t really get that first wonderful crisp “snap” of cold until Halloween. I love October in Vegas! The air is lighter, fresher, and less oppressive.

Kelly Preston’s character in the movie For Love of the Game expresses her need to escape NYC because “Summer’s almost over, and I feel like I missed it.” What do you need to do in the waning days of summer for it to feel complete?
Drive with the top down. Feel the warmth of the sun on my skin and bask in the final rays of summer. I also need to make sure I visit the ocean at least once during the summer. I cannot let those glorious months slip by without hearing the gentle and soothing sounds of that great body of water.

The person I know is wrong for me but about whom I frequently think after a break-up is my last relationship. It was short, off and on, intense, powerful, soul wrenching. I often wonder if those feelings could be sustained over the long run without killing both of the parties involved. For this I go with the “It’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all” statement.

The US Tennis Open, one of four Grand Slam events in that sport, is currently in the quarterfinal round. If you could only attend one major sporting event what would it be?
I don’t watch sports at all and have attended very few live professional sporting events, however, I’d love to go the Superbowl. I just think the energy would be fantastic.

Assuming that you write an anonymous or partially anonymous blog, by what non-physically identifying characteristics might you be identified in a bar?
Non-physically identifying characteristics…hmmm…that’s a toughie. I suppose I’d be the girl who is there with several people. I am a total people person and love getting groups together to either go out, or hang out at my house to play cards, drink, laugh and have a great time.

Most blogs cover some sort of niche – personal, political, dating, culinary, etc. What topic, if any, would you like to address on your blog but doesn’t fit into your niche?
My blog of course is all about my personal journey with Bikram yoga. I absolutely suck at cooking and hate it that I do. I would love to have time to really obtain some culinary skills and share what I learn on a blog. Not just cooking and recipes, but more of an overall approach to learning to transition to a permanent healthy lifestyle. I think there are a lot of us who really struggle with embracing the learning process and the time it takes to achieve balance in this area.

If you could manipulate the time space continuum and give as many as three pieces of advice to a younger version of yourself, what advice would you give and to what age of you?
To ten year old Michelle: yes your parents divorce will be hard but keep your head up the next few years of moving around and embrace new friends, don’t hide behind your books. To high school Michelle: no you are not fat and stop being so insecure, have confidence and faith in who you are. To 23 year old Michelle: yes your decision to keep your baby was right, but don’t focus so closely on how hard it is to be a single parent, enjoy those formative years, they slip right through your fingers . To 25, 30 and 33 year old Michelle: No you do not need to buy a man a car with your credit (twice) or a house either. Never give away your financial freedom to another again.

Who among your friends do you really wish had a blog because their stories, or perspective on something ought to be shared?
I just met a man last month who travels a lot for work. He has great taste in music, food, drinks and books. He is interesting as hell and has been to over 80 countries and lived in many different places. I’d love to read a blog about his travels. He’s got great stories!

If you were to take an e-cation (vacation from the trappings of our electronic world,) and assuming that employment obligations would allow it, how long of a break could you take? What would you miss the most, the least?
Being a person who works in the technical field, my e-cation would have to be during a vacation. I give myself one week tops. I love phone calls, emails, texts, facebook, blogs……all forms of electronic communications. I am able to keep in touch with so many people that I might otherwise let slip through my fingers. I am also blessed to have met some very wonderful people through the interwebs. Hey, the internet is not just for stalkers anymore!

On September 11th of this year, I will be attending a couple of parties and am somewhat conflicted by the fact that this ignoble anniversary shall pass with it being just another day in the eyes of many (and in some ways my own eyes as well.) Thoughts?
I find it interesting how the human heart and spirit mends itself over time. Time is the magician of the heart. Some events are too big and too painful to ever totally put behind you. For a person, the loss of a child, parent or spouse is something that will never be fully healed by the salve of time. On a bigger scale, a nation can suffer the same thing. September 11th was that loss for our nation.

How high are your walls? Who was the last person to scale them? What tools should would-be climbers have on their belt?
I didn’t have any walls. That was the problem. So as of now they are about waist high. The bricks are new and red and the mortar is still wet. I diligently lay some bricks each time I go to yoga. Don’t worry, I’m adding a door. All you have to do to come in is knock…..

The sexiest thing a man can say to you (or has said to you) is:
Don’t talk. Just look at me….that way. When you can see it in their eyes, how they feel, that is sexy as hell.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Day 54: Cyring! There's no crying in yoga!!

Today was 530 with Roberta. Before class, Reggi, Ray and I were cutting up in the lobby, joking around, being our usual boisterous selves. Reggi and I set up in the front row next to an empty mat, with Ray right behind us. Once class started, we saw that the empty mat belonged to teacher Brandy. Brandy also competes and won first place in our regionals last fall. I had the awesome pleasure of falling out of standing bow second set just in time to look over and see her fully locked out. Wow! It was gorgeous!
I must admit, I was struggling quite a bit today. My elbow still bothers me (it was really bothering me in standing bow) and I was feeling a bit fatigued halfway through the standing series. I kept going though, refused to take a knee. In part because I knew I would get called out and it just seemed easier to push through it rather then have to take a knee and jump back up. That takes more energy sometimes, right? Well, at least that is what I told my heat addled brain when I thought I was going to collapse. I kept telling myself "all you need is air Michelle, just breathe" and muddled my way through the rest of standing with not stellar postures. Once I hit the floor I started to really feel it. Suddenly my brain said "I AM NOT GOING TO MAKE IT!!" and I had the urge to pick up my mat and leave. It was a very very strong urge let me tell you! I forced myself to stay and suddenly, trapped in my own panicked thoughts I fell apart. By the time we flipped over for cobra, I was a mess. I came out early first set and felt a lump in my throat. Then tears welled up in my eyes. What? Yup, I was kind of crying. On and off through spine series, coming out of locust and full locust early, red faced, teary eyed. Boy was I feeling sorry for myself! I mentally slapped myself when we got to fixed firm. "Get a grip Michelle!" and was OK until camel. Crying after camel is so cliche' that I figured I was safe and wouldn't do it. First set of camel, I flop over for savasana and again feel the lump in my throat. "What the heck is wrong with you?" I thought. Then I just let it go. I did a mental shrug and let myself feel whatever it was I needed to feel. I stayed in final savasana longer than normal and actually started to feel much much better. As I lay there a thought drifted through my head "the only way to the other side is through". The one giant thing that is stressing me out in life right now has to be navigated, there is no other way. I can't go over it, I can't go around it, I can't lay down, close my eyes and hope it goes away...I have to go through it, experience it and then let it go. Just like in that yoga room, we have to push through that 90 minutes to get to the other side. Once we get there....bliss. I sure hope bliss is waiting for me!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Day 53: Wash, Rinse, Repeat

Today was 5:30 with young Mark. I felt fine physically, but my mental state was still in the toilet (see yesterday's post!). I felt like....well.....see post title!
On the bright side: There was a first timer behind me, and a fairly new person (3 weeks she said) a few down from her. Both were really having a hard time of it. I tried to set a good example in the front row, because I could see they were dying. I flowed through my practice, very focused. After final savasana, I walked out to the lobby and the 3 weeker was sitting on the bench, almost kind of gasping for breath. "Are you Ok?" I asked. "It's so hard for me!" she said. We spoke for several minutes and I ferreted some info out of her. She is a dealer at a casino and cannot drink water while on shift, unless on a break. Even on a break, she has to be careful because she cannot go back to work and then have to go pee! I looked her up and down. Very petite, Asian, not very soaked after class (like me, I look like I showered!). She also told me she NEVER drinks water to begin with. So I said "Ok, I drink at least two liters between 12 and 4 before coming to 5:30. Let's start with this for you. Try one liter, in three different doses before you get here, even if part of it is just in your car on the way here". She looked at me and said "what's a liter?". I pointed to her smart water. "That. Drink that in three parts in the afternoon, even if you have to drink the bulk on the way here due to your casino can't go to the bathroom issue". She thanked me. As we were finishing that conversation, the first timer stumbled up and joined us. She took one look at me and said "I saw you during class. Damn, you are STRONG!" I was taken aback. She looked so impressed. I had a short conversation with her as well, she said she was going to come back again tomorrow and would I be there. I assured her I would be at 5:30 and we wrapped up the conversation. I walked to the locker room, thinking about her comment and remembering that yesterday and today both I have forgotten one simple thing: gratitude. I might have things going on in my life right now that are stressful. It might be affecting my weight negatively (see: up 6, down 6, up 6 on the scale driving me crazy), but my body is healthy, strong and able. I have wonderful family, an awesome daughter, great friends, a terrific job. Gratitude. Thanks Universe for the reminder. I needed it.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Day 52: thousand pound limbs

Today was 530 with Frank. I'm completely miserable today for reasons that have nothing to do with yoga. So I won't post very much. Just read the title of this post. That pretty much sums up my crappy class today. There's always tomorrow!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Day 51: Back to Bikram

Today was 130 with Roberta. I stood at attention when she walked in and flipped the bright lights on, ready to go with Bikram again! Usually I have a rough time in Robertas class, but today I felt solid, strong, flexible. I am very sore. Moksha woke up some different muscles and has me intrigued. My pectorals, upper abdomen, shoulders and triceps woke up with complaints this morning. I lay in bed, with my cat meowing hi, the morning sun trying to come in the blinds, stretching like a lithe cat, feeling each muscle. It was a great feeling. So although I am "in love" with Bikram, I'm for sure going to have some Moksha on the side. What an awesome feeling to have some soreness in different places! It made me feel so ....alive!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Day 50 Part Dos: She gets her Bikram on

So yes, I did go to 330 with Frank. I was a little tired at the very end (5 yoga classes in three days will do that to you) but otherwise it was a fairly good class. I felt pretty open, pretty flexible. That part was nice. It felt nice to be back in my Bikram room. It's sort of like being in love vs. settling. I'm in love with Bikram. Moksha was very nice, and I'll probably see Moksha once a week for a casual coffee date, but I'm committed to Bikram.
Yes, I am counting today as a double. So that means I only have one more to do to "catch up" and I have ten days left to do it in. I'll stalk the online schedule and see if there is a good 530/730 teacher combo again and hammer it out this week. I could do it tomorrow.....but I dont' want to! Just one tomorrow is all I can take! :)

Day 50: The one where she tries Moksha yoga

Today I went to 9am Moksha 90 minute yoga at our sister studio. It was very interesting! There were alot of similarties to Bikram, but also alot of either added postures, or variations on the Bikram ones.
The room
The room is still heated, but it's more like 100 instead of 105 and I don't think the humidity is as high. However, for some odd reason my body said "oh, hot room, I know what to do" and I was dripping like a faucet 10 minutes in. I looked around and everybody else just had a "glow". Nobody was dripping. Damn that hair trigger sweat reflex that seems to develop with a consistent Bikram practice! The other difference was the floor was wood (bamboo) and the lights were kept very dim. The instructor does some postures with us, but also walks around. She did talk the whole time, telling us what to do, but it wasn't a memorized dialog like Bikram. Also she had a calm soothing voice and was well, more mellow somehow. I prefer the cadence of the Bikram dialog. There is something very meditative about it.
The postures
We start off in savasana. Being new and trying to keep up with everybody, I certainly can't list everything we did but I'll try to cover some of it. We did a different tree, the one where you put your foot on your calf or inner thigh. We did half moon, but without the backbend/forward fold added to it. Also at the end of half moon, you drop your inner arm down along your thigh. We did awkward but not the third part. Eagle seemed to be pretty much the same, although it felt like she was holding us in that for 45 minutes! There were at least two water breaks that I can remember. Triangle is different, you go into it from warrior so your hips are not down like the Bikram triangle. There is warrior, up dog, down dog, chartaranga, plank, those kinds of things. There was a forward fold but you grab your toes not the back of your heels and your feet are hip distance apart. There is a standing series, approx. 40 mins, followed by savasana then right to the floor series where you do start off with wind removing posture, same as Bikram. There was a spine strengthing series that was very similar. Camel, Rabbit (w/out putting the towel over your heels) and they do pigeon. Pigeon was another one where I felt like she had us in there forever, which was good because it opened my hips up nicely. The class lasted approx 80 mins and then I layed in savasana for about 5. I felt pretty good after, but not the same "I'm a washcloth that just got wrung out" feeling I get in Bikram. It's very possible that it's because I'm not familiar with the series, so I was just sort of stumbling along and not really working it like I would if I went consistently. Did I like it? Yes, I did. But not as much as Bikram. I won't replace Bikram, that's for sure, nor will I even do half and half. I picture maybe once a week for the Moksha. I need the bright lights, the scorching heat, the teachers barking dialog at me and correcting me at the same time. What I need may change someday and perhaps then I would gravitate more toward other forms of yoga. But for now, I'm a Bikram girl.
That being said, I'm going to go to 330 Bikram with Frank now. Will post after. Hopefully I won't curl up and die having done another form of challenging yoga earlier!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Bonus Post: An A-mei-zing Fundraiser

Please take a moment to check out a fundraiser hosted by a fellow Bikram yogi at

He is selling his cool hand screened tank tops to help out a fellow yogini, Mei, who will be attending Bikram yoga teacher training this fall. Mei will be hanging out with me for a few days before and after training. Can't wait!! I'll be wearing mine when she arrives!

Day 49: Ran out of Gas

Today was 530 with Oksana. As is typical for a Friday night the class was small. Andy was the only regular there (that's right Andy, I just promoted you from "newbie" to "regular", I know you are blushing with excitement right now).
Oksana ran her usual solid class, chock full of great timing, perfect temperature and spot on corrections. Coming on the heels of my double I was working through some soreness. I had a nice, flowing, uneventful class all the way until the last two postures. That's when I suddenly ran out of gas. The last seated separate leg stretching posture was me pretty much resting my forehead on my knee, not pulling, not trying, just done! I'm sore as I sit here typing. It's all in my legs. Hamstrings and various other muscles I didn't know existed.
Oh, and I have a secret....pssstttt.....remember the scale I exiled to the closet? I dragged it out this morning. It must have hated being in the closet, because it decided to be nice to me today. It told me I was SIX pounds lighter than I was the day I banished it. I think I'll put it back in the dark closet since that seemed to work!
Well, have a great weekend everybody. I'm going more yoga.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Day 48: The one in which she rocks a back to back double and discovers she is all alone

I've been carefully studying the schedule all week. Trying to figure out a good teacher combo for a back to back class that won't leave me a quivering mess. The "Frank/Lacey" combo all set for Thursday night had my attention. I decided to go for it. So, today was all about preparing. I felt like I was getting ready for a big game or something. I was completely anal about what I ate, how much water I drank and making sure I got two doses of ionic fizz into those waters. I showed up to the studio ready to give it a go.
Franks class was awesome. Reggi and Christian were both there so of course Reggi and I parked on either side of Christian in the front row and made our usual "R and M sandwich". The three of us fed off each others energy, Frank was "on" as usual and the class was amazing. I felt very strong and very warmed up for the next class.
Right before the 730, as I was in the lobby drinking my zico and talking to young front desk Patrick I realized something kinda funny. "Patrick, I'm goin' for it" I say as I circle a day from early August that was missed on the Challenge poster board. "I've only got two more to do now to catch up with the rest of the..........." **cricket** **cricket**. "Shit, nobody's going for 60 but me, I'm all alone in this!!" Patrick laughed as I stood there, pen in the air, dumbfounded. It seemed like one or two others were going for it, but upon further observation, they never made it past 40. Just me. Oh well, I'm not doing it for any "prize" or something stupid like that, I'm doing it for me. I'd do a challenge without the studio challenge board up! (The one I did this spring was all on my own).
Shrugging, I went to the locker room, got a dry outfit on and a dry yogi toes and got ready for the next class. I'm not going to lie, I was nervous. All of my past attempts at "back to back" doubles where there is only 30 mins in between have been horrendous. Burning of the shoulders in half moon, having to put my arms down, quivering shaking legs pretty much the whole standing series, a scattered wandering mind that is resisting three hours in that hot room, pain, death, destruction.....they've been ugly. I've heard others talk about back to back doubles with reverence. "oh, you are so warmed up and can go so much deeper that second class, it's great" they say with big glazed over yoga eyes. I usually stare them down, with the uh huh, ya right look on my face. Well after Laceys amazing class, in which I did every posture, only coming out of a few on the floor series at the end early due to minor cramps, I understood what those crazy yogis were talking about. Yes, I could go deeper, in almost everything. It was incredible. No burning, no quivering, just normal "ouch I'm pushing myself, oh wait just breath it will be over in less than a minute" in some postures. Second set of standing bow Lacey said "Get your body down further than you want to!" So I did, I made sure my kick was solid and went for it. I got to a certain point where something clicked and I knew I had never had my body down that far before. It was strange and new and right.
So now I'm trying to wind down, rehydrate and bask in the glow of my first awesome double. Thank you, may I have another?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Day 47: Bring it like Brandy

Ahhhh. Brandy. She was one of my favorite favorite teachers and left. I attended the last class she taught at my studio on Christmas Day. It was awesome. She cranked the heat and humidifiers up and proceeded to spank our butts, a proper goodbye. Good times.
She's back in Vegas until early October. She's going to compete and then leave for India right after competition (how cool is that??). I will be diligently stalking the online scheduler, trying to make it to as many classes as I can before she leaves.
Tonight she brought it, Brandy style. I wasn't quite as clumsy as the past two nights but I wasn't in rockstar shape either. These extra pounds do seem to affect my practice in a very negative way and must come off! Arrgh! Well, they are not going to come off overnight, so in the meantime, I just worked as hard as I could. Brandy started off the class by saying I don't know all your names, I've been gone awhile, but if I do know your name you know what that means and I'll learn the rest of yours as we go. We start the breathing and she's already tweaking me. Half moon, go deeper Michelle, yup that's three whole inches! Awkward....higher on your toes Michelle, you can go higher I know you can (I go a bit higher) now go even higher (at this point I'm already exhausted, my legs are shaking and I'm crapping my pants about now!). The rest of the class continued in that manner. My newbie Andy, she knew his name, heard me talking to him in the lobby. So he got some of it too. Ha ha! He came out of that class looking almost as bad as when he took Roberta's class. He said "that was the hardest class yet!!" I loved it. She kills us with kindness. I KNOW I don't push myself as hard as I should. When I take her class, I really go to that edge and beyond. I always think "I can't!!" and then I do it. She doesn't let us get complacent, especially if we've been coming awhile and she doesn't let us give up on ourselves. When we were on the floor series she said "you know you are working hard enough in the postures if you cannot move when you get in savasana". She's all about going balls to the wall, right from the get go. Right from first breathing. Balls to the wall every posture, every day....bring it like Brandy.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bonus Post: The blogosphere

I'm feeling schmoopy. Thanks alot LiLu!
I'd like to take a moment to pause and talk about....the blogosphere. When I started blogging in spring of 2008 it was going to be for one 60 day challenge in the summer. After the challenge was over, I had a couple of "regulars". Really nice people who found me on the interwebs and left encouraging comments. I felt connected to them, even though I had never met them. I kept checking back in after the challenge, doing a post here and there. So when I did another challenge in early 2009, of course I felt the need to blog about it! This is where the magic started to happen. This is where I found other wonderful blogs. I found Lilu, who is a twenty something blogger in DC and is, I think, the only one on my blogroll that isn't a Bikram blog. I fell in love with her honesty, her humor, her TMI Thursdays and a bunch of cool blogs on her blogroll. Her comments section each time she posts goes over 100. Yes, she is wonderful. Read her. If you don't you're missing out. Love your face LiLu! Smooches! **throws yoga outfit at LiLu** **ahem** **smoothes out hair and composes herself**.
I found Hannah who inspires me to love, to write, to breathe, to live, to fly. This is a 20 something Bikram yogi in Boston who writes what I feel and brings me near to tears on a regular basis. If she ever shut down her blog I honestly think I would feel the loss, as if I had lost a very close friend. She is amazing. Read her. But make sure you have a box of tissues handy as she forces you to delve deep into your inner self, all by her vivid imagery and beautiful soul wrenching words. I believe she will write a book someday, become a famous author and we can all say we "knew her when".
I met Dancing J who lives 30 minutes from where I spent my high school years. Who shares my insane infatuation with Bikram Yoga. I actually might meet her in person! She may come out to visit teacher training and stay with me. Possible road trip for her! **crossing fingers, crossing everything to be safe!**. She is the one person I could meet in person and "talk shop" with for hours and hours, neither one of us getting sick of it. I just know we would be breaking out into a standing bow while standing outside of Tart, my favorite frozen yogurt/fresh fruit shop. Yes, her excitement and dedication is contagious and her blog rocks. **please come to Vegas, pretty please!!**
I met Mei (recently!) who will be the first blogger I meet in real life. She is coming all the way from Malaysia to teacher training and will stay with me a few days before and after training. I'm so excited I can hardly stand it. Read her blog, she's funny as hell! She makes me want to jump up and down with happiness like a 6 year old. I have a feeling I will feel 20 years younger when she gets here **clapping hands with glee, jumping up and down with excitement**
I met Duffy who is so pragmatic, so insightful, so steadfast, so solid. He brings a much needed male viewpoint to some of our more emotional posts and is a faithful reader to our silly bikram girl blogs. He inspires, encourages and keeps us grounded. **raises glass, toasts Duffy**
I met the Missus **bows with respect**. This is one of the first blogs I added to my blogroll. She just moved to Toronto and blogs about all sorts of things, and yes she does Bikram. She's got fashion, she's got style.... **vogue**
I met Jen who is currently doing her own Bikram challenge (go Jen!!) and has written me some very very nice comments. One in particular I will never forget, she wrote that my post really showed some personal growth and she was happy for me. That was when I had my "ah ha!" moment with comments. When I realized, wow, there is a community out there and we all care about each other!
I met Ellen in Hawaii, who also loves Bikram and seems to struggle with some of the same things I do. She actually was one of my first commenters and I immediately related to her after checking out her blog.
I met another Jen that holds a very special place in my heart. Her teacher training blog is the first blog I ever followed. Her blog is the reason I started my blog. I didn't know what a blog was until I stumbled upon Jen's blog. I don't even remember exactly how or why I found it, but once I did, I was hooked. I read her daily entries as if I was a starving person. Blog! Bikram teacher training! Pictures! Details! I was in love. Thank you Jen. Someday I will come take your class! **already threw yoga outfit at LiLu, so throws bra!**
And I saved this one for last. They always say "and last, but not least....". Oh yeah. This one is the one. This person is the first person to comment on my blog, she found it right away. She has followed my challenges, my heartbreaks, my yo yo weight, everything. She was my first blog friend. CJ. I have repeatedly, via email, spilled my guts to this woman. She is a bikram yogi, she likes to make lists, she is intelligent, forgiving, understanding, insightful, chock full of great advice. Corva. Thank you thank you thank you for making my blog real. You helped to breathe life into something I wasn't even sure I knew I was going to do with!
So LiLu, this is your fault you know...all of this schmoopy stuff. You started it! All kidding aside, I'd like to thank each and every person that reads this silly stuff I post. Thank you for rooting me on, for believing in me, for encouraging me, for caring about me. I appreciate all of you and hope to meet soon, in "real" life. In the meantime, keep blogging..........

Day 46: YogaVangelist

Today was 530 with young Mark. I was still out of sorts and clumsy so I just did a mental shrug and trudged my way through another subpar class. Like Hannah said in the comments yesterday, it helps us to appreciate the rock solid classes. Amen sister! I'll appreciate the HECK out of my next good class.
I jokingly refer to myself as the "yogavangelist" for our studio. I am constantly bringing new people. Do they all fall in love with it? No, not very many fall for Bikram yoga head over tea kettle. When they do, it makes it worth all the ones that stood in the lobby, red faced, dripping, telling me I'm bat shit crazy. Totally worth it.
So, I've been trying to get a coworker to come. I really think it will help him so much. We went to lunch the other day and he said he would only try it if I privately explained it /showed it to him first. He is a bit nervous. So, after yoga tonight, I went to his house and we dragged his kitchen sink mat out to the backyard and I prepared to show him Bikram yoga. At first, as I was getting ready to explain/demonstrate the first breathing exercise I actually felt a bit nervous. He was looking at me so intently, ready to learn, curious. I was facing him and not a mirror, heat glaringly absent wondering if I would be able to properly demonstrate! I quickly shook that feeling off, realizing he's never seen it, he's not expecting me to do rockstar postures and wouldn't know the difference anyway! I went through the entire series, demonstrating modifications as I went. You know, like standing head to knee. Showing him how we will kick out and the teacher is telling you to (with dialog) but how it's perfectly fine to stay in the first part. As I was going through all of this, I was so happy, so peaceful, so joyful. My love for this yoga shone through my explanations and I KNEW that I absolutely have to be a bikram instructor someday. I know I keep saying I will go to training someday. That I want to. That it's a life goal. Actually what I realized tonight, sharing my joy because I really genuinely think it could help this man, is that being a bikram instructor is more than a's my calling.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Day 45: Clumsy

Yup. That was me all day. Clumsy. It was a dropping keys, banging shin on desk, Michelle being a klutz day. I even got my own hand caught on the necklace I was wearing when I was talking to one of my staff (yes, I talk with my hands, no I'm not italian) and awkwardly flung it over my shoulder. She started laughing. Can't say as I blame her! It followed me to yoga. I went to 5:30 with Roberta. The only regular that was there was Ray, and overall it was a sparse class. I was all by myself in the front row on my side of the room. Roberta made a comment about that as she was walking in. I smiled like "I know, where is everybody?". It felt weird to be up there by myself, but the way the room was arranged, if I moved back at the last minute I'd have yogis moving mats and probably giving me the stink eye. So I stayed put and proceeded to rock out the klutzy-est class of my challenge thus far. First backbend I was like "oh, check this out, nice deep backbend, I'm not scared anymore!" Second backbend I realized I jumped the gun there. The toes on my left foot were asleep and my legs felt strange again, sending that rush of dizziness up through me. I came out early in a daze and Roberta told me to get back in because I was just standing there with my arms still up over my head. Second part of awkward I could not stay up on my toes to save my life, third part of awkward I lost my balance, knees coming apart, arms coming down to the floor to catch myself. Eagle? Ya, I fell out of that sucker both sides, both sets. The balancing series? I'm not even going to go into it. Just call me "fall out girl".
I got to a point where I just accepted the condition I was in and focused on breathing and just getting back in when I fell out....repeatedly. I tried not to get frustrated or angry with myself, as that just makes it worse. So I trudged my way through, looking at my own two eyes in the mirror during final breathing and thinking "there, you made it, however dorky it must have looked and at least you were here!" So I proudly circled my day on the challenge board on the way out. Good class, bad class, doesn't matter....I made it to class.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Day 44: Cuteness

No, not me....a tiny little yogini.
Today was 1:30 with Yuko. I had a good practice. I kept thinking of some phrases that teachers say "this is surgery without the knife" "be precise". I've really been focusing on form, listening to what the teachers are saying and making tiny adjustments based on dialog/advice. I say tiny adjustments because that's exactly what I'm doing. Separate leg stretching I literally shift my weight ever so slightly forward onto the toes, then try to get the hands more back so they are gripping the heels, then I suck my stomach in, make sure my quads are still locked and picture my butt shining up to the ceiling like a flashlight, trying to relax my neck, trying to get that forehead to the floor. Once I make it through that series of tiny tiny adjustments, I start all over again....a little more weight forward, is the grip solid?, are the quads still locked, stomach- suck it in more...etc etc. All the while trying also to listen to the teacher and make sure I am following those instructions. I'm exerting myself, but because I am breathing so smoothly, it feels almost like exertion w/out effort. Another thing I worked on today was something I heard from Sumach yesterday regarding triangle. He said once you are in that posture, picture squeezing your heels toward each other to engage your inner thighs and he said something about your core, I didn't catch the whole thing. But I did that, I squeezed my heels toward each other and felt the thighs engage. Suddenly my "base" because that much more solid, my upper body was not leaning any weight on the bent leg, and I was able to really stretch up and do that small spine twist back with the body and felt really strong.
The tiny yogini: oh my goodness. One of the regulars brought his eight year old daughter in. She's been doing gymnastics for four years and is flexible and strong. She was so cute! Big blue eyes, little pink bathing suit bottoms on, bouncing up and down in the lobby excited to be at yoga with dad. It was her second time. Usually small children sit out in the lobby for standing series and come in for floor only. She wanted to try the whole thing her first time and did every posture. So today was her second time and she did the whole class again. What a cutie! She couldn't hold the postures for very long, but when she was in them you could see how flexible she was, like a little rubber doll. She was quiet and focused and did a fantastic job. Like I said.....cuteness!!!!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Day 43: Vibrating at a higher frequency

To start off with, yesterday was not Sumach at 4:30, it was Oksana. I had a pretty good class and got some great pointers from her beforehand on standing head to knee. Dancing J gave me a tip about releasing the grip a bit when you are kicked out so that you can bring your elbows down. I asked Oksana to explain this further and she demonstrated for me. Awesome! Oksana is amazing, has competed and is currently training this years competing students from my studio. I will continue to pick her brains (and yours Dancing J, watch out!!).
Today was 11:30 with Sumach. Before class I got to see Dray as he had just taken Sumachs 9:30 class. I was so happy to see him, and miss taking his classes so much! I chatted Sumach up a bit before class, excitedly telling him that I will be having a visitor a few days before teacher training (Mei!! Can't wait!!). He asked if I was going to go to training too. I said, no, not this time, but I want to some day. I looked at him and something about his demeanor caused me to correct myself. I WILL go someday, actually! I said. The energy in the lobby was like a living breathing thing. I swear, Dray and Sumach must be vibrating at a higher frequency! They both have an amazing presence. I took that into class with me and felt great.
The class itself was amazing. I wish I could remember every little thing Sumach said, because he sprinkles some great tips into the dialog and I could feel myself making a ton of corrections. I was in the front row, right next to the podium. In the first forward fold he was talking directly to somebody, he starts off by saying "luv" and then coaxes and coaches that person. I could tell by his voice projection that he was looking in my general direction, so I immediately thought "who, me luv, or someone else luv? Oh crap doesn't matter, here we go!" and I started making all of the fine tuning and adjustments, getting deeper into the posture. When it was over I thought to myself, well, whoever "luv" happened to be that time, we all fixed our postures up good! He was a way of talking directly to you, yet addressing us. He does this the whole class. Addressing the collective "me" the whole time so that I find myself pushing and pushing as if I'm in the room all by myself. It was amazing! It was only the second time I've taken his class and you can bet I'm going to seek him out more before he leaves us (he and Dray are opening their own studio soon). Here's a cute one he said : "You want fans?" Moans of Yes coming from various yogis. "I'm your number one fan" he says, staying put and not turning them on. A couple of giggles, then he turns them on. Sitting here writing this I'm actually a bit sore. Lower back/hamstrings. I really pushed myself, but feel great! Less than 20 days to hit 60 and 3 doubles to do. Stay tuned.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Day 42: Just checkin' In!

Today I will be going to 4:30 with Sumach. Should be interesting, it will be in the small room, which is usually hotter. On top of that, I've only taken his class once before and it was HUMID. JUICY. HOT.
I'm "pre-blogging" because I'm going out right after yoga and won't have time to write. So I'll let you know how I survived his class when I write about day 43 class tomorrow.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Day 41: Cataloguing the "ills"

**Disclaimer, just because my stupid self does this doesn't mean I recommend it. You're not supposed to do it!**
Today I gave blood in the morning. My work had a blood drive. Don't worry, I've done this four times before. The first time was a bit sketchy, but I'm used to it now. So, I drank one liter of water more than normal, added orange juice into the mix and still went to 530 yoga like normal. Because I'm crazy like that. Call a spade a spade, right? Frank was teaching and I let him know I had given blood that day just in case I needed to take a knee or something. I took it easy and did every posture. Breathing, flowing, feeling pretty good. I didn't feel as strong as yesterday or the day before, but that is to be expected considering the circumstances. Frank said "geez Michelle, what are you superwoman or something?" in the middle of class because it was business as usual for me.

And now on to the title of my post: cataloguing the ills. I have less than 20 days to hit 60 and have 3 more doubles to complete before then. I feel strong and healthy, but do have a few minor aches and pains.....

Oh the aches and pains that come and go during a challenge. Let's see what we have during challenge number four, now shall we?

The elbow

Yup. My left elbow still hurts (Duffy~ you are right, you don't realize how many postures affect the elbow until it hurts). In my case it hurts to fully extend my arm. So yeah, kicking back for standing bow with that left arm straight back = ouch. Even reaching back in camel. Ow. Locust with arms under you? Yup, hurts. Full locust, spreading arms out like airplane wings? Yowsa! Even rabbit, extending the arms back....mommy!

That being said, it is getting better. It hurts less everyday. Phew!

The right knee

This is the knee that used to snap, crackle and pop walking up the stairs pre-yoga. It seemed to get "fixed" during the first 60 days challenge I ever did, however, sometimes it gets sore again during other challenges. It always goes away though and I feel like it's getting stronger and stronger each time. It has bothered me off and on a bit this past week, but nothing show stopping and nothing to keep me from locking it the full minute first set of standing head to knee. More like a mild ache.

The shoulders

Ahhhhhh. First challenge ever, they burned and hurt like a motha'! Then the next two, from what I can remember they were ok. This challenge there is some soreness. But it's not bad. Just more like a "hey, let's work it and get these suckers more toned" kinda soreness.

The lower back

Now this doesn't hurt, but sometimes, right after yoga, when I'm getting out of my car at home I sort of feel like a little old lady, creaking and stretching her way out of the car and I instinctively grab for my lower back. It just feels a bit tender and a bit sore. Once I get to class the next day, I quickly work through the soreness after the first half moon/backbend/forward fold set. I actually see this as a very good soreness because I have been really pulling using my biceps like you are supposed to in the forward fold and sucking my stomach, getting that weight forward, making some progress. Same with separate leg stretching and the last stretching at the end (on that one I've finally started to hinge forward at the hips and get out of the hamstrings, into the lower back and really pull those toes).

This just might turn out to be the challenge of the standing head to knee posture (I'm kicking out and holding it alot, and getting my elbows down more and more) and the challenge where Michelle gets more flexible. Awesome!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Day 40: Practice Gratitude

I dreamed of my surgery last night. Of being in the ER on the gurney all night, waiting for surgery and I dreamed of how I felt right before I went into surgery: scared and alone. I awoke with a start, sat up in bed at 4 am and one thought hung hazy in the night air: practice gratitude. So this morning I picked out my favorite work outfit, paid special attention to my hair and makeup, shoving the scale back into the closet (after giving it the hairy eyeball) and dropped my beautiful teenage daughter off at high school. I arrived at work 30 minutes early, breathing in the morning air and running through my long list of things to be grateful for as I walked into my building. The day was going great until 330 pm. Tummy ache. Oh vey. I left at 430 as is normal and on the only TEN minute drive to the yoga studio I had to stop at a gas station! Oh NO. I continued onto the studio anyway and sat on a bench in the lobby fully clothed, taking deep breaths. Well, the worst that can happen is I have to leave the room during class and come back when I'm better, right? Right. So I changed and waited with Reggi and Andy for class to start. Dominique was teaching today. I told her about my, ahem, issue...and she was very understanding. I said if I leave that is why and I promise to try and come back. She said in her adorable Canadian accent "no worries, just go in there with no expectations and do what you can".
Class starts and I feel the heat curling around my body like a warm familiar blanket. It actually made my stomach feel better. As the sweat started to drip off us during the first three postures, my attention went to my breath and I forgot about my stomach ache. I had a great standing series and by the time we hit the deck for the floor series I realized it was gone. Yay! I had a strong class again, just like last nights. I felt strong, flexible and able again. And that is just one of the many many things I am grateful for.....

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Day 39: Running to Stand Still

A couple of months ago I blogged about my personal challenges with my weight. I was all set to get back on track, and felt like this time it was not another false start. What has ensued since then has been a bloody, sweaty world class wrestling match. Me vs. myself. In the ring, circling each other. The part of me that wants so badly and the other part hell bent on self sabotage for God knows what reason. Five pounds down. Seven pounds up. Three pounds down. Four pounds up. On and on this has gone until suddenly, as of last week, I lay there, bruised, bloody, broken, defeated and back to where I started last June. Last June I decided to lose 20 pounds for my 20 year reunion. That, coupled with falling head over kilter in love was a huge motivation. Big enough motivation to knock out self sabotage for the count. I succeeded in my goal for the reunion. One year later, 19 of it is back. I woke up today, got onto the scale and just cried. Tired of the epic battle, I sucked it up and went to work with my cheerful face glued in place, all the while feeling an absolute load of sadness, heavier than my 19 extra pounds around my neck (well, actually it's on the hips and backside) like an albatross.
I walked into 530 yoga, pleased to see Frank was teaching. Changing for yoga I tried to avoid looking in the mirrors. Ducking my head as I washed my hands, trying not to look at my shame. In the lobby I regaled Reggi with tales of Andy's shirt on backwards after his tough Roberta class Sunday. Happy face glued back in place.
Finally it was time to go into the room. The class was pretty busy and I had Reggi and Mark near me, with regulars Ray and Amanda behind us. Andy was on the other side of the room, in his back corner, ready to go. I kneeled on my mat wearily, feeling like the extra weight was literally not going to allow me to do yoga. I looked at my own two (sad) eyes in the mirror and something said "I've got this". I stood up and my physical body lay my sadness down on the mat, a sacrifice. First breathing I could feel the energy of Frank and all of the yogis coursing through the room like a living breathing thing. I connected with it, detached from my mind and just did my yoga. I was not afraid in the backbends. "Hi middle of the back wall!" (first set). "Hi bottom of the back wall, and Mr. Floor!" (second set). The stiffness of the day before was gone. I was flexible, strong, able. I watched in wonder as I kicked out both sets of standing head to knee, coming out in reverse, gracefully like you are supposed to on the "change". I watched myself stay in standing bow, solid, surfing my breath. When I did fall out, I got right back in, solid again. I heard Frank say "Nice Mich" and stood silently between postures, conserving energy, listening, waiting, flowing into the next posture. My mind eventually came back to my dilemma, during 2 min savasana. I thought about how ashamed I felt to be right back where I started, what must others think, watching me expand and shrink and expand? How strange must that look? Does that even matter? Really the person it bothers is me. My moods are attached to that weight like some crazy balloon that fills up and goes so high and can be poked with a pin and deflate moments later. Seems like such a simple fix if only you had self discipline. You must not have any of that. Silence, then another thought....really, if you didn't have self discipline, would you be in this room, doing your fourth challenge in two and a half years? More silence. Floor series starts and I detach again, dive into my breath. The room temperature was perfect and I felt like I could do another class if I didn't have to go pick up my daughter. I lay in final savasana, energy still pulsing through my body, drenched in clear non salty sweat, a shower from the inside out. I wondered if maybe part of my struggle, part of the epic battle is being attached to results. I go to yoga everyday unattached to the outcome. It might be a terrible class. I might collapse in agony, cramp up, not be able to complete every posture. But it doesn't matter. I keep going because......because there is beauty in the doing. Perhaps if I could learn, for the first time in my life to not be attached to results, perhaps then I could figure this stuff out. Maybe, just maybe I can someday help others. Which is why I put these very difficult feelings out there. Maybe somebody can relate and be encouraged that I for one won't give up until I stop breathing. Meanwhile I'm really damn happy that big girls can do beautiful yoga too.....

Monday, September 7, 2009

Day 38: Very Stiff

Today was 130 with Dominique. For some reason I was super stiff the whole class. I couldn't even kick out in standing head to knee, because I couldn't get the grip, my thumbs were coming apart. I felt like an 82 year old lady bending over to put my foot in my hand. It was a terrible class. I felt like I was struggling and pushing and just having a really hard time bending and stretching my body.
Hopefully tomorrow is better!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Day 37: Ro-Brutalized No more

Today was 330 with roberta. As I was getting ready for class at 3 I see my newly addicted newby, Andy, coming out of her 130 class. It's about his 5th or 6th class ever and he comes out red faced, dripping. I say, "Hi, How was class?". He comes up to me and says "why didn't you warn me? Did you know I was going to her class??" I said no and he staggers into the locker room, a total hot mess. He comes out ten minutes later, walking toward the studio door, looking for his shoes. I am sitting on the bench, dressed in yoga clothes, waiting for my own beating. He is still sweating and kind of sways as he puts his shoes on. I notice that he has a front pocket on his back shoulder. "Andy! You have your shirt on backwards!" I yell across the studio. I am laughing so hard I can hardly stay on the bench. I am laughing this hard because I know he just got Ro-Brutalized. He chuckles and turns his shirt around. Then he comes to sit next to me, still sweating, trying to recover. He jokingly says he almost pissed in camel as he, I and Roberta are talking. I am laughing, but she is telling him how good he is doing for a newbie, and really , he is!
I go in at 330, ready for my beating. I decide to just breathe and it works! I have a solid class and actually enjoy the extreme heat. People are dropping like flies, but not me. I decide by sheer will that I will have a great class....and aside from my elbow that still hurts when I extend it....I do.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Day 36: Cool Connie

Today was 130 with Connie. The class was very sparse, due to the holiday weekend I'm sure. Looked like it was busy in the morning classes, but afternoon died off. She decided to give us a labor day treat and go easy on the heat and humidity. Oddly enough, I was still sweating as badly as I did during my double yesterday, almost like my body is in some super charged detox mode. I had a pretty good class but felt a little stiff and sore during some of the postures. I'm getting a little better about handling my fear in the back bends and did not get dizzy today, actually went pretty deep, looking halfway down the back wall finally. I used to see the floor!
My elbow has really been bothering me. It hurts in locust, full locust, during sit ups, during camel, it's just a mess. I am hoping that the yoga will fix it and I'm sure the reason it hurts in the first place is the yoga! I probably did not pay full attention to form in some posture and hyper extended it or pulled something. It's bearable, so I'm just living with it for now, taking note and cataloguing it for future reference.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Day 35: The best laid plans are having no plans

I took a vacation day from work today. Just to have a four day weekend. Other than having some plans tonight, I had nothing else going on. What a great day! I did not set my alarm. Let my body just sleep. Got up, went to starbucks and sat there reading "The Time Travelers Wife", eating a yogurt/granola/fruit cup (there were out of my fav, the protein plate) and sipping a pumpkin spiced latte. I wandered home, read more, drank smart water and packed my yoga bag, deciding on the 1pm class. A different teacher was on the schedule, but when I got there, Dominique was teaching. I was so excited! I'm at the front desk chatting everybody up and in walks my friend John. Coming or going? Coming, I say. He smiles, I smile back and give his arm a squeeze as he walks to the locker room. I am so excited to see him. We bonded over broken hearts earlier this year and he is just a doll.
1pm with Dominique was awesome. Kicking out in standing head to knee I was solid and got my elbows down farther than normal. I rocked out standing bow and had an awesome full locust on the floor series. Energy, peace and clarity flowed through my body the whole practice. I was PRESENT. During final savasana, as people started to leave, I crawled over to John and tapped him on the shoulder "Do you want to do a double with me? Next class is in an hour". At first he said no, but slowly he got this look on his face and suddenly he wanted to do it. In the lobby he said he had alot to do, but that he would stay. So for the next hour we hung our mats/yogi toes on the ballet bar, hoping they would dry (they didn't they were disgusting) and I walked around the lobby with a towel around my wet yoga clothes, trying to rehydrate (thank you zicos) and trying to stop dripping. We also talked Dominique into staying and taking the class with us. Patty was teaching. With 30 mins to go I walked into the locker room and dug around my yoga bag to see if I had anymore clothes. I was not prepared to do a double, but isn't that the way it always goes? I've been walking around with two of everything for a week and didn't do one. The day I don't bring those extra yogi toes and towels, I feel great and stay. I found in the bottom of my bag some black fold over abandoned shorts (too small) and a new burgundy top I haven't worn (too big). I put the outfit on and narrowed my eyes at myself in the mirror. "Michelle, you are a wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen". The shorts were way to small (riding up the thighs and showing a muffing top for God's sakes). The top wasn't bad but just a bit loose in the straps. I took a deep breath, decided to live with it and went out to the benches. John was there, waiting and talking to another regular. Her and I started talking because a few weeks ago I figured out that we read one of the same blogs (her comments and the link to her blog). So that was cool (We both love Hannahs blog!!). She was coming back after a couple of weeks off, mentioned a vacation. She knew John and I were doing doubles. When we got into the room, we were all in the same, John and Dominique in the front, her right behind us. I tell you what, that helped me immensley. The class was weird for me. Sometimes I felt strong and flowed right through, other times I started to struggle. My backbends were finally not scary and I did decent ones. My balancing postures were good because I was warmed up and flexible, but I couldn't hold them as long and as strong as the first class. Whenever I started to think "Oh boy Michelle, what are you doing?" I would glance over and see John, plugging through and Dominique rocking it out and flash of pink top of Dorothy behind us, her quiet steady, disciplined practice the caboose to our train. I fed off their energy and kept at it, feeling pretty good. I had to sit camel out and came out of a couple of different things early, but otherwise felt ok. It seemed to me like Patty had us in things looonng, but I'm sure it was because I was on my second class that I felt like that!
So there you have it. One double down, three to go. I feel fantastic right now!

Day 34: From almost pass out to strong as an ox

Today was 4:30 with King. It was in the small room which hadn't been used since before lunch. So the heater was not on. When he came in, it wasn't even 100 yet. He turned the heater on and began class. It took me awhile to work up a sweat. My first backbend was ok, so I figured I'd go for it the second back bend. I got so dizzy I literally started to fall over, had to catch myself and stood up, looking at the front mirror, watching gray spots swirl around. Oh shit I thought. This is going to be a suck ass class. Ok, oh well, what do you do. And on I have one of my best classes! Not only did I kick out both sets, both sides of standing head to knee, but I held it on the left side, first set, the full minute, coming out gracefully when he said "change". I about pissed my yoga shorts I was so shocked! That was the first time I have ever done that. I continued to have strong postures the rest of class and felt terrific. The room of course never heated up to the level of getting "ro-brutalized" or "connie-balized" but it was sufficiently warm for us to bend, stretch and pull. It was very pleasant!
Yes I am writing this at 2:30 am. Insomnia, dates, busy life equals Michelle at her computer at odd times. At least I don't have to work tomorrow! I have a NICE four day weekend ahead of me. Good stuff!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Day 33: Another coined phrase

530 with Connie.
Hot, humid, hard.
Reggi coined yet another phrase. Connie ate us for breakfast. We were connie-balized.
My backbend was a little less scary today and my left toes a little less numb. They do seem to be linked! I forgot to ask Connie about it. My left elbow also hurts a bit, almost feels like I've hyper extended it and my hamstrings are sore, I'm really digging into those!
All in all, minor aches and pains as I power my way through.
Short post because I have DVR'd episodes of Heroes and Lost from last season to catch up on!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Day 32: A correlation?

Today was 5:30 with Roberta.  Me and young Patrick at the front desk coined a new term.  When I went up after class, dripping wet, to get my zico I told Patrick "I just got brutalized by Roberta".  He chuckled and said "you got Ro-Brutalized".   I said, "yes, Ro-Brutalized!  That's awesome!" and so a new phrase was born.
Reggi, Karen and I sat on the benches before class, waiting for the very last minute before going in.   We were all dreading it a bit, knowing how tough her classes are.  I went in and kneeled down, giving myself a little pep talk.  "Ok, you know you are going to freak out during the backbend.  Breathe.  You know she keeps it very very hot and humid.  Breathe.  You know she is going to correct you and call you out.  Breathe.  You know your left toes are going to go numb in the first three postures like normal......"
Wait!!!!   Left toes going numb in the first three postures!  I stopped for a minute.  When did that start happening?  I have just been living with it, wiggling my toes in half moon sometimes, trying to wake them up.  When did it start though?  The same time my backbend went south.  
So I paid attention today.  That first backbend I immediately got dizzy, my feet felt weird, my left toes were numb and a strange feeling went up and down my legs.  Terror flooded me.  Second set I focused on my breath like there was no tomorrow and felt a bit more normal.  What do these things have in common?  Dizziness, spots, numbness.  Could something be going on with my central nervous system?   Am I working into some crazy deep nerve things??  I don't know enough about this yoga or the human body to have any answers to these questions, but it sure was nice realize these things may all be related.   And like my old running knee injuries I had to work through in other challenges, this is perhaps what I need to work through in the current challenge.  There's always something isn't there?  That's why I keep going back.