Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Day 3: Yoga is Fun!

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


  1. And you also know by now that you can always do a Bikram class, even when you are sore. Since breath and form regulate how hard you can go, you can always have a class that's just right for how you are at that moment. What gets in the way is fear (and I know that as well as anyone). I'll bet after class the soreness, or much of it, was gone.

  2. Duffy stole my comment---I was going to say almost the exact same thing! That by now, you know you can get through a Bikram class, no matter how you feel.

    Even still, glory in that pride and self-satisfaction. It is part of why we do this yoga in the first place.

  3. Hannah~Duffy~ How often do we get in our own way? Once I realized I was fearful, and snapped out of it, I was fine! :)

  4. I've had many classes where I think it's going to suck at the beginning, but those first three postures are a warm-up for a reason. Usually if those first three are rough, it starts to smooth out after that. And yes, yoga is fun!

  5. Yoga IS fun! Dominque sounds great. I love that...when you can just hear the smile in their voices. Sarah at our studio is like that. I can hear it in my head now...When she's bringing us to the end of a posture then "chaaange" You can just hear the big smile on her face. This is indead fun stuff we choose to do every day!

    I also could only get one hand up while in toe stand. But the other night I kept my eyes fixed on the floor, slowly brought my hands up to prayer, brought my eyes up to meet the mirror. Got it!...well for a second anyway, then lost the balance. But at least I tried rather than just accepting my one hand.

    Love your posts so much!

  6. tracik~ Hands in prayer, even for just a second is awesome! Dominique told me after class that she KNOWS I can do that but I have blocked it for some reason and she doesn't think I'm trying. So I'm going to make toe stand my favorite posture and see what I can do with it!

  7. Hannah that's exactly how I feel. No matter what I can always get through a class. YES, Yoga is fun!!! It's our 90 minutes of mental vacation!! For me, once I am done with the first 5 poses, it gets easier ( still challenging but nicer).

  8. Fun fun fun. YAY! :) And you know, I often have GREAT classes when my body is sore, because I can FEEL everything so much more clearly and I learn new things about postures! For example, you just learned that backbends are also amazing stretches for your front! (I often feel my backbend stretching all along the front of my body more than anywhere else.)

  9. cirita~mental vacation, I love that!
    j~I never realized how much those muscles stretched until they hurt. Amazing!