Monday, November 30, 2009

Impromptu Challenge Aborted

I hope everybody had an awesome Thanksgiving! Mine was excellent. In fact, the whole four day weekend was amazing. Shopping with my daughter, turkey dinner at my moms, my friend from Redondo in town for four days, Bikram yoga everyday but Sunday, a fun gathering with friends at my house Saturday night and tons of laughter! I made 20 classes in 20 days on my "impromptu" challenge and decided to stop and go 5 days a week for the rest of this year. I have committed to the 101 day challenge starting January 1st so I decided to "take it easy" (if you can call 5 days a week of Bikram "taking it easy") for the month of December.

There are lots of exciting things going on in the yoga community right now! I am doing the "social networking" for my new studio and get the wonderful pleasure of being involved on a level outside of just practicing with great frequency. This coming weekend, the Palms Hotel and Casino is hosting the first annual "Yoga Holiday Charity Event". It will be at the Playboy club from 8 to 11 Saturday Dec 5th and all you need to bring is a childrens book. It's for yoga students of all disciplines. For more info check out our studio blog.

Other big news....I wrote about the 101 day challenge starting in January. Look up in the top right hand corner of my blog. See where it says "Join us for the 101 day challenge starting Jan 1st 2010?". Click it. It goes to the main blog that The Missus created. Want to do it with us? Its simple. Just follow these steps:
1. Commit to doing 101 days of yoga starting on January 1st, 2010.
2. Add the "badge" to your blog. Visit the main site and copy the HTML code. Add a gadget to your blog and the black and red badge you see in the top right corner of my blog will now be on yours, announcing you are a participant and linking back to the main 101 day blog.
3. Leave a comment on the 101 day main blog with the link to your blog, letting us know "you are in". We will add you to our blogroll.
4. Get ready to change your life, be a part of an awesome Bikram blogging community, get lots of support, answers to questions and maybe make some new friends!

My blogging will be spotty the month of December but I'll be back in full force on Jan 1st for the big challenge. You'll be sick of me after reading 101 posts! :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Day 16: Distractions and an ANNOUNCEMENT OF EPIC* PROPORTIONS!

*Epic is Dancing J's word of the day

Tonight was 530 with Dray. I had a pretty good class. Felt strong, flexible, challenge worthy. I was a bit distracted though and had to pull my hidden talent (thousand yard stare) out of my hip pocket to make it through. There were five, count 'em FIVE very attractive men all practicing on the SAME side of the room as me. In a class of about 13, having them all around me was, ahem, um, distracting to say the least. These distractions are probably always there at yoga. The important thing is that I noticed them tonight. My heart was broken very severely last spring. I completely shut down after that. I tried dating (even online dating!) and just could not really feel any sort of anything at all. I felt like part of me had been trampled like a bug. Alas, there I was tonight, aware of the male species in a way I haven't been in many months. They could all be married, engaged, living with someone, dating....whatever. None of that matters. I'm not looking for a date. I'm just happy to feel again. It's exhilarating!

OK, enough of my silly distractions. Now for the big announcement that is going to rock the Bikram blogging community: We (Bikram Bloggers) are organizing an official "Bikram Blogosphere 101 Day Challenge".

....Marinate on that......

Seriously, think about it. January 1st, 2010 several Bikram yogis from around the world will do this challenge, blog about it, and be listed on a central blog that The Missus is currently working on. You know you want to do it. All of the cool kids in the Bikram blogging community are doing it. (Did that work? I hope so)
I will post the rules, the blog site and more info as it comes to fruition. Dancing J, The Missus and I are working to pull this together.

Come on, what do you have to lose? Nothing. And you have everything to gain.......

Monday, November 23, 2009

Day 15: A different perspective

I took this picture tonight before yoga class. These are the doors to the yoga room at my new studio. They are frosted glass, but the OM symbols are clear, so you can peek in and see the practicing class, while still affording them some privacy. The minute I saw these doors I knew I was home. I am in love with them! I feel like I'm opening the door to my bliss when I grab that big handle and quietly enter the yoga sanctuary.
Tonight was 530 with Michelle. Regular Mark from the old studio has transitioned up to Dray's as well and was there tonight. We lay our mats side by side in the front row, ready to practice together and draw energy from each other. After yesterdays wreck of a class, I just sent up a little request for help surviving as I lay my mat down tonight. The request did not go unanswered. Instructor Lacey was behind Mark and I to the right and the small class was quiet, determined and focused. Michelle led us through the 90 minute moving meditation beautifully. During pranayama breathing I looked at my own two eyes in the mirror. "Hi. Happy birthday. You are 39!" Inhale.....exhale....."39??... !! ... ?? ......" The number seemed strange, and then sort of scary, and then just strange again....and then it floated away. I spent a quiet weekend with my daughter. Watching New Moon and listening to her fawn over the kid who played Jacob (can't blame her!), window shopping, grocery shopping, cooking dinner and renting movies. It was lovely. Today I woke up, went to work, went to yoga. Business as usual. Standing head to knee rolled around and I remembered my promise to kick out both sets. Feeling strong I did. Michelle gave me a correction on my kicked out leg and it really helped. I came out about 5 seconds early each time, but was fairly solid and happy with that, even getting my elbows down further and really sucking my stomach in. Standing bow was awesome. I saw Lacey out of the corner of my eye (inspiring!) and tried to stay in with her....trying to breathe with her. Second set it worked and I really got my body down further than ever, but only by really kicking UP. It was a different feeling and I could tell I had just pushed my edge. I caught my eye in the mirror afterwards and thought "Happy Birthday!". Now that's what I call a nice present!
Laying on my mat in final savasana I thought about my birthday last year. I was in the middle of a romantic rollercoaster disaster. I went out to Blue Martini with a ton of friends. I had just gone to a 20 year high school reunion, after losing 20 pounds in three months and then a fun houseboat trip. Part of me was living the single life to the hilt, the other part of me was hurting from rollercoaster romance and yet another part was trying to come to terms with being in my late 30's and really trying to figure things out.
This year is different. I had opportunites to celebrate the same way I did last year. None of it appealed to me. I just wanted quiet. I wanted my daughter and I wanted yoga. That's what I wanted for my birthday. Saturday night when she wanted to go over to a friends, I dropped her off and went out for a quiet dinner alone, netbook in tow. I sat there, enjoying my own companionship, quietly eating and catching up on blogs. For once I didn't feel like I was missing out on the party. For once, I was at peace.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Day 14: Does this even count?

Today was 11am up at Dray's with Sharon. Sharon has been teaching for quite awhile and has this fabulous energy about her. In addition, she is a veritable fountain of knowledge with these postures. Great advice peppered in with her dialog. Today I was unable to really take advantage of this knowledge. The room felt pretty humid and I was raining by awkward. My body felt tight and restricted, as it often does during a morning class. I was totally worn out by the time the standing series was over. I hit the floor and got sharp pains under my ribs. I also felt like I was going to toss my cookies. By the time camel came around I barely had enough energy to lift an arm, much less execute a situp and then setup for camel. I ended up sitting out one camel, one rabbit and both separate leg stretchings. I would attempt to get up and do the posture, only to turn around and lay back down on my mat, forehead crinkled up in exasperation. It was one of those days where the only positive spin I could put on it was "hey, at least I stayed in the room".

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Day 13: I know why.....

I know why I was yawning the other night. I wasn't tired. It was anxiety. I figured it out today. I had a GREAT day. DMV first thing in the morning to renew my license, as my bday is Monday. I was in and out in under 2 hours, a Las Vegas record for sure. I got home, woke up my sleeping beauty daughter and took her to the awesome outdoor mall for a matinee of New Moon and some window shopping. We got home late afternoon and I dropped her off at a friends house. I happily packed my yoga bag and went to 530 with Roberta at the old studio.
The class was pretty busy. She joked around a bit because the room was only 97 due to a power flow class being held before us. She plugged in extra heaters, turned the big heater on, cranked up the humidifier and got us to 102 by eagle. I dig the crap out of her. She rocks. I started off remembering my promise to kick out both sets even if I dissolve into a sweaty pathetic puddle. I felt pretty strong and had a good class....except for one thing...I was yawning again. I kicked out both sets. Didn't hold it the whole time either set but did a darn valiant effort. Standing bow I was rockin it out solid. Triangle, I got a compliment from Roberta second set (I believe its due to the different flooring at Drays and building inner thigh strength). In spite of the good class, the yawns prevailed. Coming out of rabbit again....yawning. I paid close attention this time. I realized that I couldn't take a nice clean deep breath;. My chest was too tight. Like an elephant was on it. Oh crap. Anxiety. That is why I have been yawning. Stress, fear, anxiety. It makes sense. There are some huge things going on in my personal life. Some very awesome, some very stressful, some that could change my life completely as I know it if I chose to pursue the option further. All in the last few months. So yeah. I had a wonderful day with my daughter. But that damn elephant won't get off my freakin' chest. I need to be able to breathe...maybe tomorrow. I did feel better after yoga tonight. Crossing my fingers for tomorrow...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Day 12: Adjustments

Today was 5:30 with Lacey up at my new home. You know what I'm going to say next. Something about how wonderful Lacey is (she is!) and how much I've missed taking her classes (I have!) blah blah blah. Well it's all true. I'm the glass is half full girl, normally optimistic and happy. Oh sure, I have my dark days, you've read some sappy posts. You're still here, thank you!
I had a nice strong focused practice, which was a very nice change after a couple of days of slogging my way through and of all things, yawning. I realized something as we were about to go into standing head to knee. First set, I usually just stand there for the whole minute, holding my foot in my hand, standing leg locked. I kick out second set. Why you ask?
It goes something like this:
Non-verbatim dialog:
Once your standing leg is locked solid and your foot does not wobble, slowly, gently kick your left leg up......
What's going on in my head:
Once your standing leg is locked solid and your foot does not wobble, and you're not going to be too totally exhausted to do second set and ohh! standing bow after that, slowly, gently kick your left leg up.....
So about 90 percent of the time, I figure I'll be too exhausted and don't do it first set. WHAT? Lazy Bikramyogachick, lazy!! I've been practicing for two and a half years. **slaps forehead**. I should be downright ashamed of myself!
So, on this here day 12 of my little impromptu 30 day challenge I have decided I will kick out both sets even if I fall over, can't catch my breath and wind up on my knees by standing bow!
Ok, now that I've confessed that on the world wide web, I'll go to my second little revelation today. This one was actually just a "Oh, I see!" lightbulb and felt good. Cobra posture between first and second set Lacey went over to the side of the room so we could see her while laying in savasana and looking right. She in very good detail showed the exact hand placement we should have, going so far as to say "If you dip your shoulders down to the mat they should line up exactly with the tips of your fingers and your hands should be close to your chest". Yes, I've heard this, I've seen others demonstrate but when we went to set up I really really looked to see if mine would line up exact....and had to move them forward a tiny bit. It was a whole different posture, in a good way! I really got even further into my lower back! Ahhhh....good good stuff!

By the way. I have the picture of myself in standing bow last Friday night while practicing at Drays studio with Dray himself teaching. **takes deep breath** Here it is. I'm in the front, in pink and purple.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Day 11: Yawning

I'm writing this post from my couch on a teeny tiny netbook that is connected with a verizon broadband card. I'm testing it out for the telecom manager at work. It's so little it fits in my purse. What does this have to do with yoga you ask? Nothing. I'm just highly amused by the fact that it took me ten minutes to get to my site and get this post going. Not because the verizon access is slow. It's not that at all. Its trying to type on this little keyboard. I botched my url several times and took several tries to type the title of the post. It takes a bit of getting used to! I seem to be doing ok now, a paragraph in. This is probably the cutest little thing I've ever seen. I want one!
Today was 5:30 with Michelle up at Dray's studio. It has been probably a year since I've had the pleasure of taking her class. I was happy to see her, but was dragging again, similar to day 9. I was dragging so badly that I yawned during several different postures beginning with half moon. I got enough sleep last night, so all of the yawning caught me off guard. A big yawn came out while I was in half moon (not an easy posture to yawn in!), a few more during the standing series and a big one coming out of rabbit.
Have any of you ever had a practice like that, where you kept yawning?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Day 10: Hidden Talents

Today was 5:30 with Dray. At my studio. Yes. I am going to make the move. I know you all could feel it, I was leading up to it, and yes, I am moving there. It just feels like home. I still have a membership at my old studio, and will still drop in, but my "every weeknight at 5:30" drill will be up at Dray's.....that is now "my studio".
Tonight was hot but not humid. So for once, I was not raining. We got a bit sweaty, sure, but it was nothing like Monday night with Roberta where I was dripping in awkward and wondering if my body was malfunctioning. There were only about 6 of us in class tonight. Dray still taught as if to a packed house. His energy never wanes. He encourages, demonstrates, and gives hot tips. He is absolutely contagious. If you take his class, you cannot help but get caught up in his enthusiasm. I put a comment on his facebook the other night, thanking him for a great class
and he wrote back this:

Thankx u Yogini Ninja! Ur 1000 yard stare is amazing!!

1000 yard stare. Sweet! I guess I have a hidden talent that I was not even aware of! Speaking of hidden talents, I have decided that I have something to give and may be working with his studio in some capacity. More to come! I feel very fulfilled right now!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Day 9: Slogged Through

Well today was 530 up at Drays studio with young Mark. I felt very tired today and tried to talk myself out of yoga on the way home. Ya, that's bad when you are only on day 9! So I suited up, showed up and slogged my way through. Not a rockstar practice by any means, but I chalk it up to a win because I made it!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Day 8: The Classroom Effect

I figured out why I love Bikram yoga so much. Well, one of the many many reasons. Today I went to some technical training for work. I am an I/T supervisor and don't get to put my fingers directly in the pie anymore, so to speak. Going to hands on Microsoft Active Directory training (we are migrating to that from, gasp, Novell...I know we are behind!) for our technical staff was a given, but when I heard I was going as well, it was all I could do to contain myself, act professional and not squeal. When I was in grade school/jr high as a child I was very quiet. I was bookish, chunky, shy, wore glasses and kept to myself. Until you got me in that classroom. As soon as the teacher would ask the class a question, I would light up like a Christmas tree. My little hand would shoot up and when I supplied the correct answer and received the warm smile of that teacher, all was right in my shy little world. Sadly, I haven't changed. Today I'm sitting in a training room with brilliant technical people. They aren't interested in being teachers pet. So when the teacher posed a question "why don't you want to put users here?" Silence. I sneak a look around. I know they know the answer, but they are not going to budge. "Because it's a container". I say. "Good. Why don't you want to put them in a container?" I squirm uncomfortably and look around again. Silence. "Because policies don't apply to containers, so you want to put them in an OU." The teacher smiled at me, thankfully. So for the rest of the day I continued to answer all of his questions (correctly believe it or not! I've still got it!) and was the first to finish every hands on lab. So I suppose my propensity for being teachers pet has not left me. In fact, when I got up to Dray's studio for 530 with Roberta, I found myself laughing at myself as I lay my mat, the first one down, in the front row. All throughout class Roberta called me out. "Michelle, kick harder. Body down, touch the front mirror Michelle!" In separate leg stretching "Michelle, what are you doing, I've seen you do this posture real well, pull with your arms!" I couldn't escape and at the same time I realized that I also welcome it. That's why I keep coming back. That's why I like going to a studio where everybody knows your name, like cheers. I love to learn. I love to be a student. In the Bikram yoga room I truly feel that I am in class, preparing for the bigger classroom that is life.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Day 6 & 7: Missed opportunities and knocking a double out of the park

Day 6 was Saturday. I was all excited because Mei texted me and said Rajasharee was teaching at 11am Saturday and Bikram at 5. These are abnormal times for Saturdays but re-certs were going on. I was all fired up to go take the 11am. I woke up Saturday morning totally sick. Apparently the food I ate Friday night was bad and I was suffering in the wee hours of the morning. I anxiously waited it out, hoping to make it down for the 5pm. It didn't happen. That was Raj's last class I was told too. I will cross my fingers that tt stays here in the spring and since I will actually have some vacation days again I will take advantage of it and not take it for granted, like I so obviously have by only going down once.
Day I woke up, feeling better and did some household chores, puttering around, latte in hand, feeling alive again. I fed myself lots of water after the coffee and packed a yoga bag with two sets of everything. Double time! I went to Drays studio for the 1pm with Roberta and then drove over to my studio (wait, that feels weird, Drays studio feels like "mine" and "mine" feels more like "old") and took the 330 with a teacher named Paul.
1pm with Roberta was awesome. As I blogged Friday, the heat is fixed! Also, I've been taking class up there at night, so for the first time I could see the redrock mountains through the windows in the backbends. Breathtaking! My studio (old studio??) has window coverings, so naked windows are new for me! The naked windows were fun until camel. I was a spent sweaty mess by then (Roberta was teaching, need I say more?) and it made me dizzy and nauseous to see the blue sky and the mountains. I had to come out early both sets. After class, I dried off, changed, bought a zico and jetted over for 330 with Paul. Paul is a teacher we absorbed when another hot yoga studio closed recently. He is an older guy, gray hair, smaller of stature, but full of energy and commanding voice. He taught from the back of the room alot but that was ok. The room was cold (89) because classes are normally in the "big room" but something malfunctioned in the moksha class that was before us and they had to move to the "small room". So it didn't have time to get hot. It was ok for me, because as I have blogged before, my second class, I start to drip right away. My pores are already open, my body is already in detox mode. So I had a very good class. The combination of the easy going teacher, not very much heat and an hour break actually made for an awesome second class. Whew! Finally I do a double where I don't die the second class! The next three days I'm in a training class for work which is far enough away from both studios that I might have to take 630 class at my old studio. Which means I will end up taking moksha tomorrow night if that is the case. My shoulder is no longer frozen, Bikram has fixed it the past couple of days. If I do go to moksha tomorrow I really hope I don't re-injure it. I'm scared....hold me. Maybe I'll just wait and take 730 at Drays. Have to make good use of my one week pass. :)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Day 5: The heat is on....

Back to Dray's new studio for 530 with Dray himself again. As I was signing in, Adele was working the front desk. I yelped and gave her a big hug. She left my studio a few months ago, and I have missed her. She's an awesome instructor and was always at the front desk. Since I usually get to yoga early (if I go home first, I won't go back!) she always kept me company. I was overjoyed to see her. Dray walks in and we all start talking. Good soothing music is playing, incense is burning and the atmoshpere was......just like the old studio before it moved! Adele says, the heater is fixed, for real, and this is the first class in this studio with the correct heat. I went in to lay down my mat, still in work clothes and came out damp. Holy crap! The heater is in fact fixed. Yippee! Dray goes into the yoga room and comes out hooping and hollering. "Yes! That's what I'm talking about! Finally!" He sticks his arm out toward me...."feel!". His arm had droplets of water from just walking in there. Houston, we no longer have a problem! Roberta was there to take the class before teaching 730. The energy was rocking, the room was freakin' hot and it was the best class I've had in awhile! I literally was trying to run through my head my finances, trying to figure out how to have a membership at two studios! Then I realized, crap it's hot, focus, and just centered in on my breathing. Adele kept snapping pics of us when the door was open and I checked them out after class. It was Drays camera and there is a decent one of me in standing bow. If I can get it from him, I will share it with you guys. It is my first in class yoga pic ever! I am so excited! I really want to share it with you guys! When the standing series was almost over Dray says "Michelle, you are in the zone, you're like a machine!". Then after class, he commented again on my focus. I said "ya, that's because I was in survival mode! I was sweating just sitting on my knees waiting for class to begin! I knew I just needed to breathe!". He just laughed. I looked around, at him, at Adele, at the cozy studio that is less than 4 miles from my house and took a deep breath as the realization hit me: I'm going to Dray's studio. I don't know when or how, but that is my new Bikram home.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Day 4: Another blogger IRL , a one week pass and a frozen shoulder

Well. Today was quite interesting! I went up to Dray's new studio again and purchased a one week pass. I took the 530 and Dray himself was teaching. Another blogger, Greg met me up there. I have now met TWO bloggers in real life. They don't disappoint. I had a blast with Mei and Greg was an absolute sweetheart in real life. Greg I know you're reading so don't blush please....I'm about to talk about what an awesome yogi you are. For those of you not familiar with his blog, he is new to Bikram yoga. He started 94 days ago and has done 98 classes in that timeframe. (Sidenote: He appears to be as insane as I am when it comes to frequency) I was impressed at his "maturity" for a new yogi. He doesn't fidget. He is very disciplined. He's quiet, focused and very obviously paying attention to the dialog as he seems to be a stickler for form. If he continues at this pace, he's going to be amazing.
So back to class. Dray was amazing, as usual. It's been so long since I've had his class. It's almost hard to describe Dray. Actually, let me take that back. His style can be described quite simply actually. He is pure energy and love. If you ever come to Las Vegas, you must seek him out and take his class. His studio is new and he's still trying to work the heat situation out. Like Greg, I am a bit manic about the heat. I love it. The hotter the better. Have I had classes where it's too hot. Sure. But it's all about how I felt that day. Come back the next day to that cranked up crazy heat and I barely notice. So the room was a little bit warmer than the class I took the day he opened, but still not quite up to the norm. He'll get it there though.
I was excited to take Dray's class, excited to practice in the front row next to Greg and felt pretty good going in. Until half moon. My right shoulder had deep deep pain. It felt, well, frozen. It continued to bother me the entire class, progressively getting worse. I did the best I could, but at some points found myself unconsciously rubbing it between sets of postures. I think I did something to it during the extremely evil "downward evil dog-stupid plank-wtf is chataranga-upward dog" series in Moksha. It just highlights for me the need to back off a bit the next time I take Moksha and try to learn proper form. In the meantime, I'm going to spend the next week up at Dray's studio, soaking in energy and love.....

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.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Day 2: Spleen Damage

I didn't really hurt my spleen. It's sort of a joke between me and regular Andy. The first time he tried Bikram he said afterwards "I think I crapped my spleen out halfway through class". He's so deadpan when he says these things. Cracks me up. So on the menu for tonight was 5:30 90 min Moksha Flow with English-accent-I'm-going-to-kick-your-butt Mark. He was a tough tough Bikram instructor. Guess what. He's still pretty tough teaching Moksha! The 90 minute flow was just hard. I was so impressed with the strength, endurance and flexibility of some of these yogis, just like when I'm taking a Bikram class and see awesome postures in there. One of the postures entails standing on one leg, while holding the toe of your other leg and swinging the sucker straight out to the side (I can't do that FYI) and then extending your opposite arm and looking in the opposite direction of your extended leg. Looks like something a dancer would do. (I can't do that FYI!!). So now, my new obsession, besides being able to fully get my head down in standing heed to knee in Bikram is that posture. Wish I knew what it was called. I did almost all of the series. I say almost all, because towards the end when they started to do the very evil "down dog, plank, chataranga, updog and do it super fast" series I pooped out and ended up sitting on my knees for a minute. That series is hard for me. In part because I'm quite sure I'm not doing it correctly, thus don't look anything near graceful, and quite frankly don't like it. Perhaps when I learn how to execute it properly it will grow on me.
Well, I'm quite sure I'm going to hurt in places tomorrow that I probably didn't know I even worked tonight. I'm looking forward to it! Tomorrow is Bikram again.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Impromptu Challenge Day 1: Watch what goes in and out of your piehole

Yes, you read that title right. I'm doing an impromptu little 30 day challenge and because I feel accountable when I blog, well, I'll blog everyday again. My studio started one November 1st and said we can jump in anytime up til November 13th. This challenge will be a bit different than ones in the past due to our schedule change. I will do mostly Bikram but will for sure jump into Moksha classes as well to make sure I get my 30 classes of hot yoga in. This last minute decision was made out of guilt, after missing 5 days in a row. The missed days were due in large part to a weekend of pure fun and debauchery with my out of town guest, good friend Lisa. She was in town with a friend for another friends 40th who went to college with us. The birthday girl lives in St. George but wanted to come to Vegas to celebrate. So we obliged her. Alot. I thought I was going to pay for it in that room today, but blessedly the studio owner taught. He tends to keep the room as close to 105 as possible without going over and doesn't hold us in poses for long like some others tend to do. I missed my studio so much and was grinning and waving like an idiot at people coming and going. My body was happy too and creaked, stretched and flexed the toxins out, happy to be rid of them.
Earlier today Reggi called me to check in and see if I would be at yoga. We were talking about my weekend of going here and there with friends and the two pound penalty I now must work hard to pay all week long. We started to talk about how you can pretty much work out like a maniac but it's really all about the food, it's about what you put in your mouth. She said, in typical Reggi style "you just have to watch what you put in your pie hole". When we hung up her words stuck in my mind. I chuckled a bit and thought to myself "damn, if we could all just pay attention to what goes in and out of our pie hole, we could rule the world". Good healthy food in, encouraging loving words out. There you have it folks. The secret to life. Don't say I never gave ya anything. Just watch what goes in and out of the pie hole.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Today was 5:30 with Oksana. I hung out with regulars Reggi, Andy and Ray before class and it felt like old times. Once we got into class, I knelt down on my mat and gazed at myself in the mirror for a minute, trying to get oriented and ready. Acceptance. The word floated up and off my mat like soft sinewy smoke. I stood up for pranayama breathing and the thought "acceptance" was still there, with a question mark next to it. What? I kept breathing. Change. Things have changed drastically for me these last two years, in all categories except work. Internally I've dealt with all of it, the good and the bad by leaning on this yoga. I looked in the mirror at my own two eyes. Why am I thinking about acceptance today? More change is coming for me. I'm ok with that. Am embracing it in fact. Change is opportunity.
The practice drifted by like a beautiful dream. Oksana led the class with a perfect tempo, her sweet accent, encouraging words to newer students and a perfect temperature. I was left alone to marinate with my thoughts in the heat. I kept telling myself "ssshhh", be quiet, just practice, but the thought of acceptance and what is it really kept popping up in my head. It's such a simple concept really. You cannot love and accept others until you learn to accept yourself. I mean easy, right? Then in 2 minute savasana it hit me. Sometimes I think acceptance means liking something. So if you don't like it, run out and change it right? So how can we ever truly accept ourselves when we are such flawed creatures and there's much to not like and much to want to run out and change. We open the book of our lives and flip back to past chapters, seeing our mistakes highlighted with a nice yellow marker. I screwed up there, oh, and now I see my part in that fiasco, and yes, it wasn't all that persons fault. Here's my part in it. Here's my part in everything. Oh. I lay there, pondering. Acceptance. Maybe it's not necessarily liking or having everything "fixed". Maybe it's as simple as seeing and being present with it...with yourself. Suddenly we were at final breathing and the road of my future lay ahead of me, no longer mapped out the same as it used to be. Instead I saw today, paved with gold, alight with potential. I sucked in a deep breath of air before final breathing and breathed out acceptance.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Flexible of body and mind

Tonight was 530 with Roberta at Dray's new studio. Today was his first official day being open. The studio is gorgeous. I can already feel his awesome energy and presence embodied in every detail. The first 8 months I practiced yoga my studio was smaller. It had old smelly carpet, small locker rooms and oodles of positive love and energy. I felt so at home in that small cozy studio. There was something hardcore about it too. The small hot room, the bikram carpet smell, and then packing into the locker room afterwards, everybody navigating carefully around each other so as not to collide, naked sweaty bodies. Then our studio moved. Down the street. The new place is huge...two yoga rooms, a large locker room...state of the art. The yoga rooms have this different kind of flooring, kind of plasticy and they don't smell. They are a bit slippery when your feet are wet, so we just turn our towels. I love my studio, I really do, but tonight, practicing in Drays new digs, it felt just like that small old place where I started and I felt a yearning, a pull, a desire to go make a new home. I must confess, the pull is strong, especially in light of the changes at my studio. It's official so I can blog about it now. Starting yesterday, my studio offers both Bikram and Moksha classes. There are two rooms, so you would think this would be something easy to do without disturbing everybody. Well, on a very selfish note, my nightly 530 class will no longer always be Bikram. On Tues and Thurs the "big room" will be Moksha. Mon, Wed, Fri, the "big room" is Bikram. I'm not opposed to Moksha. Or any other form of yoga. I'm just having a hard time adjusting to the change, as my love affair with Bikram still burns hot and bright. I'm sure someday I'll need something else. I know it's good to "mix it up" and work other muscles. I know all of this in my mind. But in my heart, I feel unsatisfied, confused, uncomfortable. If I want Bikram Tues and Thurs then I just have to go at 630 in the small room instead. That's not a big deal. The other problem is some of my favorite teachers have left to go teach at other places.
I can't just plop down a large sum and go get an annual membership elsewhere. I'm paid up for another year where I am. So now that I've had my little "vent", it just comes back to accepting the change. To being flexible, of both body and mind. I will for sure benefit from some moksha classes, and maybe even learn to love them. If I don't, then I just have to adjust my schedule a couple of days a week. No big deal.....right?