Saturday, February 28, 2009

Day 34: The evolution of me continues....

Today was 1130 with fabulous Frank.  Love me a Frank class.  I rocked it out in the front row.  Consistent, strong, solid, surfing my breath again.
Last night I posted the physical evolution of me for fun. I wrote in a previous post that this challenge is different than the two I did last year- more mental and emotional rather than physical.  I alluded to some difficult personal events this past Wednesday. I only described one event, the other, well, it's not for the blog. Suffice it to say, the universe seems to be shouting at me with this challenge and that event that it really is time to focus harder on the inner workings of Michelle and let the outer stuff cruise along and take care of itself.  Hence the difference between this challenge and the two last year.  Those were purely physical...can I do it?  Can I get through 60 yoga classes in a row, am I strong enough?  Also I was working through knee and lower back issues.  The inner stuff is much more difficult to tackle, but not impossible.  Insecurity /low self esteem is and has been my biggest hurdle in life.  Bikram has helped me to operate from a place of confidence and not insecurity most of the time.   When I operate from that place of insecurity I am in danger of expressing my emotions inappropriately and pushing away people I care about.  Boy oh boy, aren't we beautiful little messes, us humans?  So while this kind of stuff is much harder than losing 45 pounds (my total weight loss from that first picture) I will never give up.  I am determined to be the best Michelle I can be.  I owe it to myself.  
So let me share with you some Bikram "isms" that apply to my life outside of the hot room this week. They are things uttered by instructors during practice that translate nicely in the real world and have been helping me these past few days.
Here goes:
  • Pain~ "the only way to get to the other side of the pain is to go through it. You cannot go around it."  This applies to physical and emotional pain, now doesn't it?
  • "throat choked, eyes open, breathing normal". I love that one...who is breathing normal with their throat choked in standing separate head to knee pose?  But it's good advice, because when I am in an uncomfortable situation I do need to remember to breathe.  It really does help.
  • After camel: "If you're feeling wierd, that's normal.  If you're feeling normal, that's a little wierd."  Camel, like many situations in life, opens up your heart and chest and makes some of us feel vulnerable.  

Friday, February 27, 2009

Bonus Post: The evolution of me

This should be kind of fun I hope....I'm going to start at the beginning, way before yoga, the size 18 version of me and end with my last challenge pic.

Day 33: A TON of new people

Today was 5:30 with Patty.  Haven't had her very much.  Some of her setups were a little long, which caused me to be impatient, leading me to realize I was just way too much in my head the whole practice.  I was holding on so tightly today to my emotions, keeping them in check, not letting them control me that once I got into the room, I could not relinquish any of that control  I could not relax, meditate and throw my issues onto the mat like usual.  In spite of my tightly wound self, I had a fairly strong practice.  That's really all I can ask for at this point.  I almost held standing bow on one side for the full minute again.  I fell about 5 seconds short.  The scale is also starting to move again in the downward direction and I feel pretty lean.  It's so interesting, because I normally do yoga 5 times a week, but doing it every day really makes a huge difference.  Mentally, physically, emotionally, it is truly a very different experience....a journey really.  
Now to the title of my post.  A hiking club came in tonight.  They were expecting 20 brand new people, all members of this club.  I'd say about 15 showed up.   That's alot of new people!  Which also explains Patty's long setups....she was really trying to help them out.  She did a fantastic job.  Even demonstrating some things herself, which the teachers don't really do, they usually just stand up there and do their dialog.  But she saw that she had 15 expectant faces staring at her so she did some of the postures with us as she was reciting the dialog.  All in all the newbies did pretty well.  We only had 3 walk out.  That's not bad.  :)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Day 32: Trudging Through...

Tonight was 530 with Oksana.  Today was just hard for me.  I had a rough rough rough day.  And when I finally got to the yoga room (thank God!) I laid all my troubles down on the mat, but found no relief.  My class was suffering and struggle.  My limbs were not sexy and yogini like.  They were leaden weights.  The class was tough, just like my day.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Day 31: Slaying Dragons

Day 1:

Day 31:

I don't look any different. But I feel different. I suppose that is what counts. I didn't want to blog tonight. Today was too difficult for me, on too many levels. And I didn't feel like I could talk about it honestly on my blog, so I avoided it for an hour and then decided to bite the bullet and write. So I'll be honest, and vulnerable, like I do, because that's who I am. Here goes: today was very hard for me. On many levels personally. Events unfolded for me that were difficult.
Today was about me, slaying my dragons. Yesterday I got a call from my director....asking me "what are you doing tomorrow?". I said "wow, that feels like such a loaded question". He said "well, I just want to send you to a class tomorrow, called Basic Presentation Skills. They have a cancellation and you have a presentation ready already so I'm volunteering you". I of course agreed. The person running the class called me shortly thereafter. He said " we will be asking you to do a 5 minute presentation and we will be filming you and playing it back". First of all, I'm not the best public speaker. Second of all, I have this hugely distorted self image and am not comfortable being video taped. So after hyper ventilating for a few minutes, and almost falling out of my chair I agreed. Giving a presentation is hard. But I've survived doing that before, so I was OK with that. What I wasn't OK with, was watching the playback. I knew it would be hard for me. So after sitting there all morning stressing over doing it, then stressing over the playback, I was wiped out. But I went in there with this thought: "I need to grow. I need this. I will breathe, and take it easy and this will be good for me". And it was. Very good for me. After the terrifying reality of seeing yourself on film, and getting over the shock, I was very objective. I told the class: Well, I'm saying Um too much and shifting my weight a bit, and looking at my slides too much, but hey, I'm actually more comfortable looking than I thought and I used some humor and my hand gestures punctuate the slides, I have stuff to work on, but I'm not bad". It was a very good learning tool after all. Seeing yourself on video. Because I have a tendancy to kind of block out what I just did. So it was good.
I went in to the 530 class today. It was young Mark, so I knew I'd be able to just flow through it. He was great, delivering a nice solid flowing class, just like I needed.
So once again, my body was very strong. It seems to me like my body is telling me "I'm good, don't worry about me at all, this challenge is not about the physical part". I am amazed at how strong I have become and do really feel like events in my life are now pointing me in the direction of working on the inner layers. Peeling back insecurity and fear and finding out who Michelle is at the core.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Day 30: Made it Halfway!

Oh yeah, made it halfway!  Tonight was 5:30 with Stephanie.  They fixed the heater.  More like the HUMIDIFIER! It was crazy crazy hot in there.  We were sweating (dripping) before class even began.  
I promised a 30 day pic, and did not deliver.  Sorry.  Before class was pandemonium.  I invited a bunch of new people and two showed up (great turnout in my opinion!).  The parking lot was FULL from the 330 and 430 classes being packed out (Mon-Wed has just been like that lately) and the water coolers were not disposing water, they were drained, so I had to buy water.   Anyway, between running around getting my two new friends set up and introducing them to the teacher and the "veterans" (see: Reggi, Kim, Amanda and Shelley~ you rock girls!!!) I was busy and hence, forgot about the pic.   
The class:  strong again.  Sorry.  Nothing exciting to write.  I feel FANTASTIC!  I feel strong, flexible, sexy, yogini-like.  Its all good.  Let me bask in the niceness of this right now.....ahhhhh!
My friends:  they had to sit down alot.  It was hot hot hot.  This was interesting:  the girl who has run marathons was sitting down more than my girlfriend who works out ZERO.  But they both stayed in the room, and it was frickin' hot today.   Steph had mercy on us and gave us major love with fans and doors, but even the regulars were breathing harshly and sweating profusely and looking around like "are you trying to kill me".  So kudos for my two friends staying in there the whole 90 minutes!  yay!   Both said they would probably not be back.  Which doesn't surprise me, I seem to get that reaction a whole lot more than the "I love this! sign me up!"  Which again, makes me think "what the hell made me, this horrible 200 pound mess ...stay???"  Whatever it was/is......I am grateful for it!  
By the way:  there have been quite a few of you leaving comments and following my blog and I want to say....thank you.   I appreciate so much the encouragement and those of you that have blogs too, I have read them and want to say:  keep up your beautiful's worth it.  I promise.  

Monday, February 23, 2009

Day 29: Insert Rocky Theme Song Here...

530 with Frank.  A very strong very solid class again.  I know!  It's boring! I keep writing the same thing!  I am glad I'm going a 60 day and not just 30 because this is just going too well on the physical plane.  My body is holding up better than I imagined.  
Today was just an overall good day.  Working, mothering, yoga-ing~ it was nice and productive and I think I will sleep well tonight. 
Nothing exciting to report so I'll be back tomorrow...on day 30....with another picture.  I have the feeling it will look pretty much the same as day 1, but that's ok.  

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Day 28: There's something about Anastashia

1130 with Anastashia.  Another very strong class.  Perfect temperature and I just surfed on through the class on my breath, strong as an ox.  Thinking back over the past couple of weeks, it seems like I consistently have great practices when she teaches.
Today I made progress on two postures.  First was eagle.  I am able to hook my pinky toe around my calf on  both sides now.  Its a struggle but I'm excited because getting the "wrap" on the legs seems more realistic now that my foot is actually starting to go in the correct direction.  And I've been keeping my hands in prayer second set.
Standing head to knee I kicked out both first and second set (couldn't stay kicked out the whole first set, so just folded my leg back down w/out falling out and kept the locked knee the whole minute on the standing leg).  Also, on second set, I was really kicking my heel toward the mirror, getting the stretch in the Achilles tendon, pulling my toes toward me, with a very solid grip.  My stomach was sucked in and my weight was a little forward on the standing leg, I felt very solid.  So I went ahead and bent my elbows down and they went down farther than ever before without me losing any of the solidness of my posture.  It was incredible.  I didn't feel like myself for a moment when I came out of it.  Sometimes it's hard for me to grasp how far I've come because I can remember so clearly where I started.  There was a lady behind me today that was exactly like me when I started.  Having a hard time getting her foot in her hand, etc.  My heart went out to her.  So today, there was "me" of almost two years ago, right behind "me" of today.  It was an alarming and beautiful contrast.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Day 27: A Double: Just plain hard work

Today I knocked out my double and am all caught up. I have now done 27 classes in 27 days. Yippee!
The first class was 9:30 with Anastashia. We were in the small room because some guy was working on the heater in the big room. It was packed packed packed and hot hot hot. I had a great strong solid class.
After resting for 30 mins, I went to the big room for 1130 with Frank. I was trying to just keep an open mind and not have any expectations for the second class. Well, I was a train wreck. I could not keep my arms up for half moon....they kept collapsing. After half moon I was fine up until Triangle. I ended up sitting out second set of triangle completely, I just didn't have the strength to hold myself in that posture. Also, I was very dizzy for most of the standing series....I mean seeing black spots dizzy. Once we got through the standing series and hit the floor I was fine. Rocked out a solid floor series, including another awesome locust posture. My body feels....sore right now. I'm just very aware of my lower back , hamstrings and shoulders.
Doing that double was tough and I will really try not to miss any days the rest of the challenge because I would not look forward to that torture again. I'm glad I did it though! It feels good not to have that missed class hanging over my head any more.
Update on the weight loss: I actually put a pound on this week and so instead of 8 pounds down I am 7. However, my pants are all getting loose, and last night I put on a pair of size 10 jeans and they fit very well. I can feel my midsection getting very lean. I think that by the time I hit my goal weight I will end up being an 8 which is better than I was expecting. So I was not fazed at all by the number on the scale today because I can see in the mirror and feel with my clothes the changes that are already happening 27 days in.
Now to jump in the shower! My daughter and her friend want to go to the cool outdoor mall tonight and will no doubt want to walk around by themselves for a little bit.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Day 26: Yoga Epiphany

Tonight was 530 with Anastashia. What a great class. She had the room temp perfect and her dialog/timing were right on. She was also very encouraging and called out a "perfect michelle" as I nailed a solid standing bow. My body: strong, flexible, amazing. I have never felt this strong in my entire life. I've done athletic things before. I was a swimmer for many years and also ran cross country. But this all over strength I feel is nothing like I have ever felt before. Not even in my two previous 60 day challenges. Wow. I'm just humbled at how amazing it is to be lucky enough to feel this way. Interestingly enough, my friend Kim said in the locker room afterwards "that was awful, I thought she was trying to kill us". I looked at her and said, "Oh, I didn't think so, I felt good today". So it really is not the teacher so much as the day we are having, and everybody is different every day in that room.
Interestingly enough, as I was riding my breath, in and out of very strong postures, my mind was not focused at all. It was all over the place. I know I've alluded to having some things weigh heavy on my heart in previous posts, and well, that hasn't changed. There is alot going on in my silly noggin' right now. So my mind was on absolute overdrive. I thought I was going to blow a gasket. It was just silly. But something else was working in the background, like an adult watching a small child go crazy on the playground, another piece of me was quietly guiding me through my practice and patiently allowing my mind to process whatever it felt like processing. Then something happened. I had a sort of "yoga epiphany". This happens once in a great moon. I was in locust posture, once again, as I wrote about yesterday enjoying my incredible progress of getting my pelvis off the floor along with my legs and coming down slowly, very strong. During second set my mind said "wow, this is cool, but how do I start to get my chest off the ground, get to that next step". And I suddenly realized this: "hey, I just got here, breathe, focus and keep making sure you can sustain doing this and stop worrying about the next step. Don't focus on what is next or what you hope for so much that you don't notice and accept what is." And then my mind was quiet, because it knew I wasn't talking about yoga anymore.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Day 25: Progress on a toughie....

Ah....530 pm with Kirk the "self proclaimed easy guy".  Gets us out 5 mins early most of the time.  Plus he puts a little humor in there with the dialog and really engages everybody.  I had a very strong practice minus one little glitch.  The past two nights I've gotten foot cramps right around triangle time.  Bad enough to sit down and rub it out for a minute, then I pop right back up and join in again.  It's frustrating and just tells me my potassium must be off.  Time for the daily banana again.  I haven't needed that in awhile, but it did happen during the last challenge.
I'm happy to write that I felt pretty balanced mentally today and was really focused during the whole series.  Posture of the night:  locus!  The one where you are laying on your stomach, arms are trapped under your body, first right leg is held up, then left, then both legs come off the floor.  I remember in the days of yore when it was hard to get my right arm under my body and my wrist would scream out in pain.  Now they fold under nicely with no pain and I've really been working on getting my palms flat on the floor, elbows close together, fingers spread out to get that solid base.  Well, lately that has been paying off in the form of getting the leverage to get my weight into my shoulders and get into my upper back.  In fact, tonight my legs came up off the floor, followed by my pelvis starting to raise up!  Holy shit!  When I first started my feet would hardly come up, much less any of my legs.  I remember laying there panting in agony (arms/wrist) and trying to get those legs up, to no avail at all!  These little things make my heart soar with happiness.  Who would've thought?  

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

day 24: empty

Tonight was 530 with Mark....not English accent Mark, but young Mark.  The one with the nice dialog.   Class goes by fast with him.
I keep waiting for the physical impact of this challenge to kick in.  A sore this, or that...something that prevents me from continuing forward in a nice easy fashion.  But that is not happening.  My body is happily humming along.  Its my heart that is having a sore this or that....something that is preventing me from practicing in a happy manner.  Wow! Don't want to be a depressing blogger, so I'll just stop for the night and sum up how I feel right now, which is a bit empty actually.  Perhaps tomorrow will bring back the happy?  :)  

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Day 23: Oh Angry Me!

In a blather.  Angry.  Pissed.  I didn't start off that way....
Tonight was 530 with manager of the studio english accent and very strict Mark.  No, he's not the one I was angry at.  In fact, he taught a nice class and even called me out by name with a couple of adjustments to push me a bit.  No, he wasn't the problem at all.
The floor series was great.  I was fine.  Until 2 minute savasana between standing and floor series.  That's when it started.  Heavy heavy breathing from the guy to the left of me.  Don't get me wrong, I didn't fly off the handle as soon as I heard it.  I pretty much try to ignore what's going on around me, because I know everybody has their own struggles and has off days.  At first I figured he was just winded from the standing series and was trying to calm down.  Boy was I wrong.  He did this very deep very loud heavy breathing the whole two minutes.  As we all laid there his breathing just got louder and louder and louder.  By the end of the two minutes I wanted to literally scream "shut up!" at him and then bolt from the room in frustration.  It took all of my inner resolve to lay there and be quiet.  It was insanely loud.  Like a cross between somebody who just sprinted a mile with a bunch of muggers chasing them and somebody in a deep sleep about to snore loudly.  He continued this heavy loud breathing through the entire floor series.  After camel is when I really was pissed.  I was laying there just mad.  I did glance over at him a couple of times like "WTF dude?" but he was off in his own world, oblivious to the fact that he was breathing louder than 40 people combined.
Anyway, I write all of the because on the drive home I realized this wasn't about him at all, but about me.  I am not an angry person, hardly ever feel the emotion of anger.  Disappointment yes, sadness, yes, hurt feelings, yes....but anger, not so much.  The last time I did a 60 day challenge I ran the gamut of all emotions.  It really brings crap up and out.  The important thing is it brings it OUT.
Sitting here at home, showered up, relaxed and typing this I'm not angry at all anymore, in fact the feeling I have right now is more like....amusement.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Day 22: A beautiful struggle

Today I had a paid company got to enjoy a 3 day weekend.  The plan was to do a double today.  Sitting at my computer this morning, I decided on 1130 am with Stephanie and to go back later for 330 with Frank.  To make things even better, Shelley texted me that she was needing a Frank class so was going to meet me at 330.  Well, suffice it to say, after the 1130 I had to text Shelley and let her know my double was a no go.  
1130 with Stephanie was great.  The only reason I didn't pull my double is I did something to my foot in standing bow.  I fell sideways and felt something pop on my right foot.  Walking into the locker room after class it was sensitive....ouch.  So I decided a double would not be smart.  As I sit here and type this, hours later, the pain has completely gone from my foot and all is well.  phew!  I suppose it is better to be safe than sorry.  I'll have to double it up another day.  I think I'll just throw an extra yoga outfit into my bag and instead of planning my double will just stay for an extra class when I feel strong.  
Dray was in the class with me today, and was practicing behind me, to the left a bit.  He is my favorite teacher on the planet who unfortunately doesn't teach at my studio anymore.  So when I run into him and he is just practicing, that is still cool too.  He gave me a big hug before class and was happy to see me.  I love his energy!  During half moon, he had a big smile on his face and Stephanie even said, breathe and smile, just like Dray.  When we got to the floor series, he messed with me a bit in full locust (for non yoga folks, picture laying on your tummy and doing a superman type pose, arms out, chest up, legs squeezed together and up).  First set he was messing with my feet.  I was cracking up.  Second set he put his arms under my feet and lifted me up.  So I had to hold my feet up higher than normal and by the end I was shaking...but I didn't want to crash land or put my feet lower because I knew I'd mess up his posture.  It was totally fun!  That is what is cool about being a regular.  You'll get an instructor who will just push you, because they know what you can do...perhaps more than we even know.  They become familiar with our practice in a way that we don't even see, because they are standing up there watching...observing....seeing strong classes and seeing not so strong classes.  They see our beautiful struggle.  That's what this yoga is....a beautiful struggle....

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Day 21: And I asked for it!

Today I went to the 130 class with Frank.  On purpose.  I wanted to take his class because it's been awhile and of course, he is one of my favorite teachers (he's everybodys favorite).  First set of half moon, he took FOREVER just doing the setup.  I'm standing there with my arms above my head and I'm thinking "holy shit, when is he going to tell us to bend to the right!"  Then he kept us in both sides for what felt like forever (in reality, it was probably just truly the one minute each side like it should be but some teachers get us out a bit early). By the time we got to the first backbend I could not lock out my elbows and hold my arms totally straight.  I was dying and thinking, geez, I asked for this, I sought out his class today!!!
Once I made it through his very painful half moon postures I was ok.  I nailed an awesome standing bow for almost a minute and made great strides in standing head to knee.  I was really kicking out my heel toward the mirror on the right side and got my elbows down far enough to start bringing my head down toward the knee, all the while standing there on a solid locked leg and not falling out to the side like normal.  It felt good!  
I was contemplating doing a double today but I was wiped out after Franks class.  Tomorrow I have to do one to make up last Wednesday but I really think I will split them an am class and go back later in the afternoon.  I'm starting to feel some soreness in my arms, shoulders, lower back, hamstrings and legs.  Ugh.  I must confess, I'm not looking forward to my double, but need to get it out of the way so I can push forward.  All told, I feel pretty good still.  The soreness is not bad at all.  Body's holding up pretty darn good 1/3 of the way through!


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Day 20: I'm not driving the bus

Hmmm...where to start.  First off, happy Valentines Day everybody!  
Today was 11:30 am with Roberta.  I didn't get enough sleep last night, and had a bit too much wine.  Not great conditions to start off with.  However, I did eat a small breakfast at 9 and drank a liter of water between 9 and 11 to prepare.  Soften the blow of a painful class I was hoping.  Roberta worked us pretty hard and even called me out on the carpet.  Like a small child, my mind was wandering a little bit when we started triangle and I turned my foot before I was supposed to.  Roberta said "michelle, don't turn your foot until I tell you.  You're not driving the bus I am" which elicited some chuckles from my classmates and a sheepish smile from me as I swung my foot back around, only to have her then tell us to turn it.  After that I really made an effort to just breathe and stay present.  I felt pretty good until the end of class.  The last three postures were just suffering as I was wiped out and it was hot hot hot.  After class I was aware of some soreness in my shoulders.  Must have worked extra hard for Roberta!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Day 19: Gratitude

Last night, somebody very special to me listened to my silly little problems.  They are not huge in the grand scheme of things.  Just weighing on me heavily, as I wrote in yesterday's post.  During that conversation, I was reminded how much I have to be grateful for.  Most times I remember to stop and feel gratitude on my own, other times, when I focus to closely on negative things, I need to be reminded.  
Today was 530 with Anastashia.  The room was not as hot as normal and the class was light....Friday tends to be that way.  Shelley was there with me, practicing in the front row with me.  Her silent energy was a viable presence throughout the practice and felt great to be around.  During final savasana, as I took note of how good and strong my body feels right now (yes, my hamstrings are a little sore, but its not bad at all) waves of gratitude for that and all other good things in my life washed over me.  It was powerful.  A memory of my first month at yoga washed over me.  196 pounds, wearing long sweatpants, a sports bra and a long tank top over it.  Huffing and puffing and not able to even get my foot into my hands for standing head to knee and also standing bow.  I didn't give up.  Something deep inside me decided that this yoga was the answer for me.  Spin class wasn't the answer.  Turbo kick boxing didn't do it.  Even hundreds of dollars on two different trainers on two different occasions didn't do it.  Miles on the treadmill, or trying to go for a run with my ipod.  Nothing could save me.  Nothing could bring out the very necessary consistency that has to happen before seeing progress.   Years of being overweight.  Years of anxiety, frustration, low self esteem and just plain not feeling well.  I am so grateful for whatever it is that lives in me that took over and said "yes, bikram, yes, keep going, you can do this michelle, this is for you".  Thank you thank you thank you.....
Without this yoga I would not have some of the very special things in my life that are here today.  
Thank you.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Day 18: Running one behind

Argh....double this weekend to make up for yesterday!  I took the 530 with Oksana tonight and felt great!  I have been a little out of sorts emotionally this week because of some things bothering me on the personal front, but feel great physically.  Perhaps if I wasn't doing yoga, this other stuff would be impacting me even more, so for yoga I am grateful!
Tonight I was graced with my "triangle" of good, Reggi and Shelley lined up in the front row with Kim behind us, forming the point.  I love it when all four of us are feels different...the energy, the love, the friendship, it enhances my practice tenfold.
I don't have anything exciting to blog about yoga-wise today because nothing out of the ordinary happened, so I guess maybe that's a good thing!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Day 17: Yoga Anonymous Meetings

Yes, I'm blogging and I did not even go to yoga today.  I already knew I had a commitment to go to a work dinner event and that I would have to double up.  I just wanted to pop on into my blog and write this:
Ok, some of my "facebook" friends joke around with me because my "headline updates" always have something about going to yoga, or feel good after yoga type updates and they always bust my chops and say I need to go to Yoga Anonymous meetings.  
Perhaps they have something there?

Can't wait until tomorrow...I'll be back in the saddle!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Day 16: Going Strong...

Well, day 16 finds me still feeling strong, with no soreness. Tonight was 530 pm with Connie. It was pretty darn crowded. Reggi and I rocked out a solid practice together in the front row. The only issue I had was again, a difficult spine strengthening series. For some reason I felt heavy and tired during those four postures again. I noticed in the mirror that my midsection is already starting to get leaner. Yay! Love this yoga!
Tomorrow night I have to go to a business dinner and will miss yoga, which means I'll have to swing a double one day this weekend. That shouldn't be a problem, as I have three days off this weekend due to the upcoming holiday. I am not happy about breaking my stride and missing, but I have to go to the dinner. So I'll be back on day 18!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Day 15: Crash landing and "second set!!!"

Today was interesting.  It was raining like crazy when my alarm clock went off....oh to stay in bed all day!  By the time I got to work, it had slowed down and later in the morning, stopped.  It proceeded to clear up a little, but was cold enough for a coat.  Love this weather!  I was feeling a little melancholy today because some pretty heavy things have been on my mind of late.  I have this very uneasy feeling that I can't seem to shake.  I know it will go away but I carried that feeling with me at work all day and brought it to yoga....laid it on my mat.  
Yoga class was 530 with Adele.  Reggi was there (yay!!!) and we both went to our usual spots, front row, to the right of the door, side by side.  I love practicing next to Reggi, she is very focused and her and I drift along on each others energy many times.  Sometimes we are even in sync with how we feel, rockin' out killer postures, or suffering together.  Today we were suffering together a little.  I really felt it during the spine strengthening series.  The past few days I have felt very strong and flexible during those four postures.  Today I just felt like I had little lead weights tied to my hands and feet in cobra and full locust.  The crash landing happened second set of full locust, I came out early and not gracefully at all, I just sort of collapsed.  By the time I got to floor bow, I truly felt like I was in some medieval torture device.    I was a hot mess.  Reggi's suffering didn't become apparent to me until a bit later.  After the first set of half tortoise, we were coming out of savasana and Adele said "and now..." and trailed off like she was having to think about it and Reggi shouted out "second set!!!".  I was so surprised that it startled me.  Reggi doesn't make a peep during yoga EVER.  She follows perfect Bikram yoga room etiquette every day!  I figured she was about to bolt out the door or something!  In the locker room afterward she was laughing about it and making a little motion with her hand like "hurry up" because she was suffering and the comment just came out of her mouth of its own accord.  Pretty funny!  Ok, I'm quite sure this was one of those "you had to be there stories" but I just started laughing as I was typing it.  Good times.  Helps me with my blues!  Thanks Reggi!!!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Day 14: Irritable

Yup.  That was me today.  Cranky cranky.  I didn't start out that way, and I certainly won't blame it on the uncharacteristically cloudy Vegas skies.  I love the clouds, it's a nice change from the eternal sunshine of the desert.  Really, it's most likely just female stuff and I hate that, because I'm pretty mellow and unphazed by all of that normally.  My daughter and I were running errands and she pointed out that I was a bit irritable so I apologized and told her I was really hungry (I was!  I've been starving the last two days between meals!).  She said she was hungry too and after that I mellowed out.  
I ended up dragging my cranky butt to the 3:30 class with young Mark Frye today.  I love the way he teaches, because for some reason, the class goes by fast for me.  I don't know if it's his timing, the inflection of his voice, I have no idea, but for some reason I stay out of my mind a bit better and am able to meditate and focus more.  Today there were SEVEN brand new people in his class.  There was one lady in the back that under normal circumstances would've given me a chuckle.  Instead, she was annoying the crap out of me.  She obviously didn't know about the no talking rule and kept shouting out questions at Mark during half moon.  He didn't answer and didn't skip a beat with his dialog.  She continued to comment and talk all the way through eagle.  By then I had taken note of my annoyance and given myself a little "calling out on the carpet".  I scolded myself for being annoyed, decided this was my personal challenge for the day, can I meditate and focus and balance and be strong even with chatty cathy two rows behind me?  Once I did that, I was able to focus and had an incredibly strong practice.  I'm sure she eventually stopped talking, but when I couldn't tell you, because I was so focused that I tuned her out.  
So I'm back home, showered, relaxed and with a brand new attitude female woes and all.  This yoga works on so many levels! 

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Day 13: Repeat minus one

Well, today was exactly like yesterday with the exception of the strange body in the mirror experience.  Anastashia taught, no yogini buddies and a pretty solid feeling practice.  I am feeling pretty good still!  In two days, I will be a quarter of the way through.  One thing of note:  my back is starting to feel different in a good way.  I don't mean feel as in it hurts or doesn't hurt.  I mean if I reach back and touch my lower back, it feels different to touch.  I can feel the curve of my spine and the lower back in general feels harder.  Its a great feeling.  I remember this from last challenge, but didn't really make note of it, so I had forgotten how nice it feels to get that muscle tone happening.  
On another note, I went to Jenny Craig this morning and lost another pound for a total of 5 pounds in two weeks.  Yippee!
Now I'm off to the movies!  Going to see "he's just not that into you".  Can't wait, it looks awesome!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Day 12: Is this me?

None of my yogini buddies were in class today.  It was just me, my mat and a nice flowing 530 class with Anastashia.  She has a pretty nice dialog rhythm and a cool accent that I can't quite place, and got us out of there in about 86 minutes.  I had a bunch of stuff to do after yoga, including rushing off to pick up my daughter for the weekend and appreciated the few extra minutes to lay in peace and not feel like I had to pick up my mat and bolt out the door as soon as she said "namaste".  As I stood on my mat waiting for pranayama breathing to start, I started in the mirror and got the same sensation I had a couple of days ago "is that my body?  why does it look so different?".  I SWEAR this has never happened to me with such frequency before, and trust me, my body has gone through a ton of changes in the last year and a half.  I started this yoga journey a size 16 and tipping the scales at a whopping 197.  I wish I could say that was my heaviest...5 years ago I was 216 and a "Layne Bryant" (re: cannot shop in a normal store) 18.   So now at a size 12 and down to 173, on my way to my goal of 155, I can't help but wonder why now all of the sudden do I seem so different in the mirror?  It was almost like doing yoga in somebody else's body, especially in wind removing pose, I was more compact than ever before in the last part where you have both legs up.  Well, I love to analyze, but the purpose of my blog is to observe, note and record so I can look back and see what I experienced.  So I'll just leave that alone for now and see if it resurfaces throughout this challenge.
Once I got past the odd feelings, I felt pretty strong and had a decent practice.  I did have some balancing issues.  Standing head to knee, forget it.  As soon as I kicked out I realized the weight was not properly distributed in my standing foot and keeled over kind of sideways somehow.  On top of that, keeping my standing knee locked for a minute hasn't been a problem lately, but today it burned and I couldn't quite make it.  I nailed a couple of fairly decent standing bows, getting my body down more today, but couldn't hang on past 20 seconds.  Other than those minor challenges, I felt pretty good.  I was at the front counter getting a zico after class and Anastashia asked how I felt.  I told her great and thanked her for a nice class.  She smiled and said "you have a strong practice, it's nice".  Of course that was wonderful to hear and I was grinning ear to ear as I walked away from the counter.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Day 11: Euphoria

Today was 5:30 p.m with Oksana. The class was not very hot (in fact not hot enough, but after yesterdays sweatbox from hell, I am NOT complaining!), the dialog was smooth and I was surrounded by my yoga buddies: Reggi, Kim and Shelley. We had a little triangle going and literally shared energy with each other. It went by super fast and really was a 90 minute moving meditation for me, like it should be. Although I can never completely turn off the chatter of my mind, it was less persistent today.
I feel mentally and emotionally terrific right now. Balanced, calm, peaceful. It's like a sense of .....euphoria and I didn't have to go stand on the street corner and buy any illegal substances to make it happen! Physically I am starting to feel a tiny bit achy in the hamstrings, but nothing that hinders me at all. Day 11 finds me doing quite well!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Day 10: The shorter the name of the posture, the harder it is

The teachers always say the postures with the insanely long names are the easiest, and the killers are the short one worders like "trikonasana" and "utstrasana" (triangle and camel).  I find that to be very true and in keeping with that saying I'll describe my class today.
5:30 with Mark, the director of our studio.
Stickler for form.
'nuf said.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Day 9: Friends

Ah, my yogini buddies, how I have missed them!  Today was a very special treat for me.  Not only did I reconnect with my best yogini buddy Reggi (who was out of town for a couple of days) but I also got to see Roberta again.  Roberta is an instructor, who hails from Brazil (we love to call her our Brazilian bombshell, well, because she is!) and was spending the holidays back in her country.  She came back today and was in the 530 class with Reggi and I in the front row, jet lag and all.  AND she has this killer deep tan, because it's summer in Brazil!  How cool is that?  It was great to see her and I can't wait to take her classes again.  Before she went back home, she was getting quite the reputation for kicking our asses.  She is young, beautiful and has that cool accent, so while she was straight torturing us we could not even get mad at her.  Personally, I LOVE the teachers that kick our ass because if they don't do it I sure won't.  I need that extra push!  
Barbara was there tonight, and Shelley walked in after our class for the 7:30 so we got to chat her up on the way out.  I was "high on friends" when I heart was just full of love to bursting!  Yes, I realize that sounds really freakin' lame, but that is truly how I felt.  I am so blessed to have met these wonderful people through this yoga.
I'm feeling that wonderful sense of mental well being starting to kick in the past couple of days.  I forgot how much going to yoga EVERY day without breaks starts to straighten my shit out.  

Monday, February 2, 2009

Day 8: Discombobulated

I don't know if that is truly a real word...discombobulated, but that is exactly how I felt today!  I guess I just made a word up, quick call Websters and get that sucker added to the dictionary pronto!
I had to work late tonight, so didn't get to yoga until 6:30.  I was feeling out of sorts after a long day at work.  630 was in the small room and Connie, who I had yesterday, taught.  The small room is never used on the weekends for normal classes, and being that I go to the 530 in the big room during the week, well I hardly ever get to practice in the small room.  I went in a few minutes early to lay down in savasana before class.  When Connie came in and turned on the lights, I stood up and looked around in complete confusion for a moment.  The first thing I noticed is my mat had moved quite a bit from where I set it down before changing, and didn't notice that when I came in for savasana.  The second thing is I looked in the mirror and my body didn't look like mine at all.  It's not that it looked bigger or smaller or better or worse, it just looked, well, different than it did yesterday.  Lastly, being in the center of the room, second row, starting at different colored walls and window coverings was also throwing me off.  Now, I have practiced in this room many times in the past, and even have practiced at different studios.  So these feelings were certainly not the norm, as usually I don't care where I am, I'm just happy to be doing yoga.  Feeling disoriented, I started in on the breathing and just tried to focus on Connie's voice.  By the end of practice I felt fine, good in fact.  I did notice I had trouble with balance during the floor series, but instead of getting irritated with myself, I just focused on my breath and kept trying to get back into the postures, not passing any judgement on myself for not being able to do today what I easily did yesterday.
Physically I feel very good, except for a faint soreness in my hamstrings and legs.  I noticed it a little bit yesterday, and it's still there.  It's nothing that is hindering my practice, and it's not affecting me outside of the yoga room yet either.  But like distant thunder clouds threatening to bring in a big storm, that faint soreness makes me wary, because I remember the hamstring/lower back pain I had to suffer through off and on last time I did a 60 day challenge.  

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Day 7: This is the week of the bow....

Well, one week down, 7 more to go.  I am feeling strong, healthy, no issues as of yet.  I did feel some very faint soreness back in my hamstrings toward the end of class today, but nothing serious.  Just a few weeks ago I was flat on my back sick and miserable.  I remember that feeling vividly as I sit here and type this and all I can say is I am sooooo grateful to feel well and healthy right now.  
Before I write about my post title, let me just mention that yesterday was my one week weigh in for Jenny Craig.  4.6 pounds gone.  Yippee!!!!  
This past week I've made leaps and bounds of progress on standing bow.  Not really in the sense of getting into it any deeper, but more on a level of endurance.  I am finally figuring out how to get that fifty-fifty kicking and stretching feeling where suddenly the struggle eases up and you can....balance....without so much effort.  When that happens, suddenly you can just stay there and surf your breath and not "fight" to stay in it, it just happens.  More often than not this week I've been able to stay in for the entire second set, sometimes on both sides (second set is 30 seconds).   Its a beautiful feeling, like dancing, or flying.  I love that posture.  When we finally get to it in the standing series, alot of times I will think to myself "yes! standing bow! this is why I'm here!"
When I first started this yoga, I could not even reach back and pick my foot up, much less kick it behind me, and certainly that sucker wasn't going to come up over the back of my head.  It does now.  My leg is way up there, coming up over the back of my head, I can see most of my calf in the mirror and there is a nice curve in my spine.  It's really just amazing when I stop for a moment and realize just how far I have come from that first class in April of 2007!