Sunday, January 31, 2010

Day 31: Self Inflicted Torture

Today was 330 with Roberta. The class was small and not very hot. My limbs felt like they weighed a thousand pounds and I slogged my way through class, even yawning at some points. I didn't quite get run over by the yoga truck, but it was not a pleasant class. Of course I knew why I was suffering and it was completely self inflicted. I was out quite late at my friends birthday party. My body doesn't bounce back from late nights quickly like it used to when I was in my 20's and even early 30's.
Here we go....month two of our challenge!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Day 30: Nostalgia

Today was 5:30 with Roberta. I was so strong again. It's amazing, like night and day! Roberta commented on it after class. "Your postures are so strong right now!" I was beaming with joy. It's one thing to get a nice compliment like that during the normal course of your practice. It's a whole 'nother thing to get that compliment after you have descended into hell most of the month of January in that hot room. I really made alot of headway on the stretching postures tonight. Something is opening up in my hips, lower back and hamstrings really allowing me to get deeper and still maintain proper form.
During class my mind drifted a bit. I was listening to U2's Unforgettable Fire album this morning. I'm feeling a bit nostalgic lately. That album was big when I was in high school (yes, I'm old). What brought it on was a very unexpected facebook visitor the other day. My high school boyfriend, Eric, contacted me via facebook. He was my first love. The first guy to make my heart beat out of my chest, my first everything. His message was simple. He was wondering how I was doing. I sent back a message with a very short update (how do you update somebody after 22 years?) and said it was good to hear from him. He wrote back with an update on his life. He's in the coast guard, has been married 13 years and has 3 beautiful children. Then he said something so shocking. He wanted to apologize for the way he treated me in high school because he said I'm a good person with a good heart. I told him thank you but it's not necessary, we were all kids just learning about love and dating. He said back, I wanted to say that, it makes me feel better. I read that message and I felt so proud of him. Maybe that's a strange reaction, but Eric was a bit of a ladies man in high school. Too good looking for his own good. I knew he cared about me, but we were so young. I was so proud of him for going away from his home town, joining the coast guard, growing up, getting married, finding happiness. And to think of me, 22 years later, and want to tell me I'm a good person and that he's sorry for something that happened so long ago made me feel, well.....special.
So now, I switch my ipod back to something current, and content from yoga, jump in the shower and head off to a birthday party of an adult friend. Enough of nostalgia.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Day 29: I'm going to cross my fingers...I'll cross everything to be safe

Today was 530 at the old studio with Dominique. They haven't phased out the Bikram yet, so I'll pop over there now and then. Still love the teachers and have alot of friends there so it's nice to keep in touch. Dominique is just a little Canadian fireball and everybody loves her. She's newly married and happy as a clam and it shows. She is overflowing with happiness and it comes out in her teaching. The room was pretty darn packed and it was quite humid. I had a very strong class again. I mean aside from watching myself like a hawk in the mirror the first 30 mins to ensure I didn't flash anybody, I was very focused and strong again. I got a new Poppi Wear top that was on sale the other day and it's a bit low cut. Looks almost like a bikini top! I was standing there before class looking in the mirror thinking, wow, I hope the girls don't make an appearance! Here I am in the front row in a packed class! Aside from showing a bit more cleavage than normal (sorry fellow yogis!) it was fine. That seems to be universal for women, fidgeting with new yoga costumes!
Well, this was three days in a row of feeling strong, focused, balanced, flexible and NOT suffering. I am so happy I could jump up and down and do a happy dance right now! I'm going to cross my fingers in hopes that the abnormal tortuous suffering I had been enduring is gone, at least for a little while!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Day 28: The Universe Intervenes On My Behalf

I haven't written about any of this, but once I knew Red Rock was not going to re-open at all and that my old studio was going in a non-Bikram direction, I knew I had a choice to make. Go sign up at Summerlin, and try to get used to the 7pm class. This wasn't a pleasant choice for oh so many reasons. The studio~love love love it. The teaching staff is amazing, the owner an absolute doll and the ambiance is incredible. The times: 5pm is too soon, I can't make it and 7pm, doesn't work for me and isn't something I could see myself committing to long term. I've been roaming around in bookstores to kill time between work and the 7pm because I KNOW I won't go to yoga if I go home first, not to mention the extra gas to go home. Then getting home so late after class is terrible, and oh, did I mention, when do you eat dinner???
So I had resigned myself to going to the old studio, everyday at 5:30 and just taking whatever hot yoga they offer at that time. I packed my bag this morning, prepared to go the the 5:30 75 min Moksha flow at the old studio. I also was trying to figure out what to say here, on this blog, for my last post. Why keep updating bikramyogachick's blog about Bikram challenges when I'm not doing Bikram anymore, right? There were good things about that decision. Like maybe I've outgrown this space. Maybe it's time for me to move on from blogging. I wasn't going to do it forever anyway. I was going to blog through the challenge, then a little about teacher training here in Vegas in the spring and then stop. For good? I don't know, maybe. The other positive was that I love yoga in general, so of course I will love these other forms of yoga. I just need to be patient and learn them, just like with Bikram.
So with my decision made, I headed to work....and fretted. I felt anxiety over this decision. Why? It's not a big deal. It's just yoga for crying out loud! At the end of the day, an opportunity fell into my lap. After a discussion with my boss, changing my shift to 7 to 4 was actually favorable. I left work at 4:30 and turned in the opposite direction of the old studio and ditched the moksha class. I headed up to the bookstore and killed time before going to Summerlin for the 7pm. I walked in and smiled. Frank was teaching. Students greeted me, the room was hot and steamy. I threw my mat down in the front row next to Joel, a regular from the old studio who has been up at Summerlin since it opened. I proceeded to rock the crap out of that practice. I held standing bow 1st set second side the WHOLE time and second set, both sides I came out just a breath before Frank said "change". Standing head to knee was also very solid. Frank said "good Mish, very strong" after second set. Joy flooded through my body. Two great classes in a row! I had suffered terribly so many classes the first 26 days. Have I come out on the other side? It doesn't matter. Even if I have to suffer again, this is my passion. It's my home. So I'm still here. Still blogging, until the end of the challenge at least, still doing Bikram (the 5pm class starting next week with my new shift!!! Yippee!!!!) and still going to knock this challenge out of the park! The universe has's OK if all I want to do is Bikram right now. So the universe figured it all out for me. All I had to do was follow my feelings.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Day 27: Can I get a roof push?

Finally. I had a strong class today. I kicked out both sets of standing head to knee. Almost got my forehead to my knee again. Even though my forehead wasn't yet touching my knee I held the posture with my chest down and my forehead pretty darn close to my knee, and I was calm, breathing steady....strong! I'm not going to get my hopes up or anything, but today felt different. It felt like I may be ready very soon to push past these difficult classes I've had and come out on the other side. Now for a nice warm bath to reward myself!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Day 26: Two Behind

Well this sucks. I'm now two behind, as it's 6pm and I'm sitting at home instead of heading out to the 7pm yoga. I had every intention of going, but alas, mother nature foiled my plans. I won't go into detail. I'll just tell you I'm a highly stressed female and leave it at that. Yeah. Bummer. Gah. I'm frustrated! You know what, Feb 14th marks the start of the chinese new year. I'm thinking that's when all of this crazy tiger super strength will kick in and beat all of my stress up for me and like a super hero it will infuse me with crazy awesome yogini strength and I'll not only make up my 2 classes but I'll do a bunch of other doubles "for fun" because I'll be all strong and warrior like with my hair swirling around and my muscles bulging.....
Ok. I'm exaggerating. A girl can dream, right?
Hope you all had amazing classes today. Don't worry, I'm staying positive and I WILL CATCH UP and I WILL STOP HAVING TOUGH CLASSES. The glass is half full God damn it!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Day 25: Sad News

Today was 530 with Roberta. I went to practice with a bit of a heavy heart. I found out Bikram Red Rock is closed permanently. I lay my mat down next to Reggi and slogged my way through practice. I was having a rough go of it again but couldn't muster up enough energy to even care.
In light of the studio changes, and there only being two Bikram studios in town now, both quite a distance from my home/work this really changes things for me. Reggi has been rolling with the punches and doing moksha, power flow and bikram at the old studio. Bikram will be gone in Feb, replaced by "bikram style" classes. She shrugs when I ask how she feels about it and just says "as long as I get hot yoga and get a good workout I'm fine".
As much as I love and adore Bikram yoga, I may have to let go of my attachment to it for awhile and do what Reggi is doing. I don't know. Lots to think about.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Day 24: Don't forget your Yoga-Fighters

Have you read the group blog post today? It's a guest post by a yogi named John who practices in Kansas City. The title of the post is: Yoga is Vegan Rodeo. Click on the post title and go read it. Come back when you are done. I'll wait for you don't worry......




Hi! Welcome back. Awesome story, huh? I love this older guy, an ex bullrider having a conversation with a tiny young vegan yogini. They are discussing how yoga is not like bull riding. Well, from his point of view it's not. He says: “If yoga was like bull riding, when you fell out of a pose yoga would try to kill you. In fact, if yoga was like bull riding, we’d have yoga-fighters hanging around the studio so that they could distract yoga and keep yoga from killing you when you fell out of a pose. If yoga was like bull riding, occasionally you’d get stuck in a posture and yoga would drag you around the room and bash you on the walls until you got loose. Then yoga would try to kill you some more. There’s no killing in yoga!”

She begs to differ by saying: “Actually, there is killing in yoga, but it’s of a different kind. One of the goals of yoga is to bring about the death of the ego – and allow us to better see how connected we are to all things, rather than how different from one another we are.”

I don't know about you but the visual I got reading about if yoga was like bull riding occasionally you'd get stuck in a posture and yoga would drag you around the room and bash you on the walls until you got loose.....put me in hysterics. I guess I'm still a bit loopy from the absolute beating I got yesterday. Yoga did try to kill me! I needed some yoga-fighters to distract it! It was totally dragging my half dead corpse around that room yesterday!

So of course I was thinking about yoga-fighters as I was preparing for yoga today. We have our breath while we are in the room as our yoga-fighter. We have other yogis around us, and also some in spirit. Outside of the room, our tools are to watch what we put in our body before attempting to go ride that yoga bull. With this in mind, I ate an egg white omelet with fresh mushrooms, bell peppers and onion with one slice of wheat toast for breakfast this morning. I had two cups of coffee (my Sunday morning pleasure) and then started right in on my liter of water with emergen-C in it. I did laundry, cleaned and then drank more water. Hydrated and ready to go it was only 2pm. I was planning on going up to Summerlin to take Franks class at 5. I was hoping since it was Frank, it might go well again like it did Friday. In fact, if it did go well, I was contemplating throwing Frank in my trunk after class and having him teach me in my home with a space heater all week. Throw Frank in the trunk? Uh oh. I realized how fearful I am becoming due to the extreme classes I've been experiencing. I went online and saw that Roberta was teaching 330 at my old studio. I lifted my chin up defiantly, started throwing yoga stuff into my bag and eyes blazing, drove straight to a tough class. On purpose. Screw you yoga truck! You've done your worst to me, I really don't give a crap at this point and I will not let you make me afraid of my one true love. The thing that gives me peace. The thing that makes me feel authentic. Yoga truck, I will not let you steal my peace, because if you do, I lose! Run over me, park on top of me, do what you have to do. I'm going to keep riding that yoga bull!

I spoke with Roberta before class to let her know what happened to me yesterday. Class started and I felt good the first three postures. Good sign! I had a solid standing series and received many encouraging corrections from Roberta, especially in standing bow. I was in it, solid, kicking and stretching and breathing and she was tweaking my alignment. Once we hit the floor my face and chest turned a reddish purple hue and I got overheated. I kept going...until my left hand went numb. Roberta, watching me like a hawk saw something was wrong and came over with her little baggie of crushed pink Himalayan sea salt. I put a pinch on my tongue, drank some water and was back in the saddle! That goes to show you. Make sure to talk to your teachers. Let them know what is going on with you. Especially if they are familiar with your practice. They will be able to spot anything out of the ordinary if they know to watch.

Throw me off yoga bull. Let the yoga truck run me over. It's all good. I've got my yoga-fighters lined up. Water, salt, breath........and blogging yogis that are there with me in spirit. They will all surely distract you and you will never steal my yoga joy!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Day 23: Too many possible titles....

Here are some titles that would be fitting for todays post:
Michelle's Inferno, Birthing the spawn of satan, I want my mommy, I used to have hands and feet, A slow descent into hell.
My get out of jail free pass was only good for one day apparently. The thing that really SUCKS about the tortuous practice is that it's happening at the worst possible time! Today I had the awesome opportunity to go to the Green Valley studio and take Lynn Whitlow's class. She was doing a seminar after, but I paid for the class only. My friend Karen came with me (a regular from the old studio) and blogger Big G was there as well, practicing right behind me. The room was filled to the gills with strong yogis and tons of teachers. Lynn was amazing. It was my intention to write a really cool post about taking her class. I even brought paper and pen and threw it in the car so I could write down her nuggets of wisdom. So sorry guys. I don't remember much of what she said. I was in trouble right out of the gate in half moon. I could hardly keep my arms up over my head. My backbend consisted of me staring at the ceiling and whimpering. During awkward I was looking at the clock, in a panic. By standing head to knee I had to take a knee. Never in my almost three years of practicing have I had to take a knee that early. I probably only did about a third of the class. The only other times I can recall suffering to this degree were once in Redondo Beach when my friend Leanna and I partied like Rockstars in Hermosa Beach and went to practice the next morning hung over. We lay in savasana the entire floor series unable to move. One other practice that stands out was the second class on a double last year. My ears were plugged and I was all jacked up. This class today was those two times combined. I was laying on the floor most of the floor series unable to feel my hands and feet. My jaw was numb as well. I knew I probably should leave the room and get some electrolytes but I didn't think I was capable of standing. It hurt just to lay in savasana. I am truly amazed at how much pain and suffering I went through in that 90 minutes. I sat in the lobby, ears plugged and unable to move drinking a zico for 20 mins after class. Sane people would say "you know what, maybe this is not a good idea. Something is terribly wrong with you right now". Not me. I have stuck my head down this rabbit hole and by God I will see how far the damn thing goes. Maybe I am in some deep level crazy detox and maybe if I push through it I will rise out of the ashes a stronger Phoenix!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Day 22: Get out of Jail Free Pass- Courtesy of YOU!

Tonight was 7pm up at Summerlin with Frank. Fabulous fantastic entertaining Frank. I picked his class on purpose because if I have to suffer dammit I'm going to suffer with somebody who makes it bearable!
Last night when I was writing that very emotional soul baring post I almost did not click publish. I wrote it, to get it out and then sat there staring at the publish button, unable to click it. I was torn. I felt like I would either be very brave or very stupid to put that out there. Then I thought back to some other emotional posts last year and with a shrug of my shoulders I just said "this is me, bikramyogachick" CLICK.
Then today something incredible happened. Throughout the day an outpouring of support came in via the comments. Women who could relate, men who could empathize and appeciated my honesty, yogis who have practiced longer than me and some that teach that know this is part of the process. I gleaned so much from those comments. I felt surrounded by all of you. I can't even really explain just how powerful it was.
I went to class tonight and humbly laid my mat down in the front row next to yoga bff Mark. I told him I had been demoting myself from that spot and he just shrugged and said "I'm going in the front". I followed suit, hoping I would at least not distract anybody if I had a rough go of it.
Class starts and I catch my big brown eyes in the mirror. Startled, my eyes softened then I smiled, a tiny smile. At myself! Frank starts the class and asks if there are any first timers. There was a married couple right behind me, the wife experienced, the hubby, first time. Frank points at me and Mark and says "Watch the yogis in the front row they are very experienced and will guide you through". I set my intention right then and there. "I've been struggling. I don't expect to be a rockstar up here today. But please let me show the newcomer proper form, breathing and stillness between postures so he has somebody to guide him through his difficult first time".
What happened in the next 90 minutes was incredible. The room was perfect temperature. Frank was his lovely entertaining self. Mark breathed and stretched beside me, a comforting presence. I had no negative thoughts hurtling through my brain. In fact, my mind checked out and played "Moment of Surrender" by U2 over and over again throughout the standing series to entertain itself. Sort of like background music. I was comfortable, effortless, and had the breath of 100 blogging Bikram yogis flowing through me. I felt like God parted the clouds, and smiling, laid his hand on my shoulder and said "my dear child, you get a get out of jail free pass today, courtesy of your amazing yogi friends". By the floor series I was giddy with joy. I wanted to run across a hot sandy beach, salty air in my face, ocean waves crashing, hair flying around my face, arms lifted upward and throw my head back to laugh with joy!
Even if I have to go back to suffering for the next 80 days, this was worth it. This 90 minutes of beautiful moving meditation without wanting to stab myself in the eye with a was worth it. So thank you. All of you. I responded to each and every comment. I was blown away and no I did not cry (LIE).

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Day 21: Breakdown or Breakthrough?

Tonight was 7pm up at Summerlin with Misha. By eagle posture, I could feel it was going to be a struggle for me again. I got really upset.
"Come on Michelle, you've been doing this for almost 3 years, what is wrong with you? Your body can do this, why are you suddenly making a such a big deal about the discomfort? You've got to find comfort in the discomfort"
"fuck that. This is just stupid and painful lately. I can't get into the postures as well as I could even just a month ago. I'm backsliding all of the sudden! And look at my midsection! That 12 pounds I struggled to lose last fall, with starvation and tears is back! My body is ugly and misshapen. It doesn't look like the body of someone who does Bikram as much as I do and for almost 3 years now!"
"Damn, OK, calm down. Focus. Breathe."
"I don't want to. In fact, I don't want to do this challenge at all anymore. It's pointless. I might as well shut down the stupid blog, stop doing this yoga and just be over 200 pounds again. I can't keep weight off anyway what's the friggin' use"
"............Ok, try to listen to the dialog. Try to stay in the room. Just breathe"
The internal monologue quieted down for a few postures. I kept going, praying it would stay quiet for the rest of the series. It didn't. Once we hit the floor for savasana I just hit a wall. Hot tears pricked at my eyes and my throat felt swollen as if a black ball of negative energy was welling up from my chest, blocking out any air. I laid there, trying to clear my mind of the negative self talk about weight. This is a never ending dialog with me and I'm tired of it. I flipped over to do the spine series and received some instruction on cobra. That got me out of my head for a bit, but unfortunately not the whole practice. I kept getting more upset, more sure I needed to give up on yoga on the challenge, on weight reduction, on dating on everything!
"Dating? Where did that come from? I'm not even dating, it's been a year since my last relationship. I'm taking time off to heal and learn."
Then the other voice came back and this time hit me with a whammy that left me breathless: "Oh really." It said with a sneer. "And why didn't your last relationship work out?"
"He told me from the very beginning that he can't do daily relationships and the he is unable to commit."
"Uh huh. Well then why did he immediately get another girlfriend at your same place of work and they now drive to work together every day for months now in her car, like an old married couple."
I lay there in final savasana digesting this. I didn't even realize it bothered me so much. I had buried it deep deep deep. I realized I have been angry at myself for ignoring a red flag and allowing myself to get hurt. I stood up to collect my things and looked at myself in the mirror in the darkness. I caught my eye and said "be kind, give yourself a break. you are not your weight. you are so much more than that. you will not ignore red flags next time. hey, you're ok"
I left the room and was my usual smiling self in the lobby after class. I certainly didn't solve anything, but I was honest with myself. It took 21 days of painful yoga to force it out of me. I've been too busy trying to be strong.
Sorry such a long post. I'm going to go pack the yoga bag for tomorrow! This challenge will not be about cute little improvements like finally wrapping my leg in eagle. Obviously this one is going after those inner layers of the onion.
I'm OK with that.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Day 20: Part two

Today was 5:30 with Roberta. Although I didn't suffer like I have some other classes, I still had a less than stellar class. I'm not even upset or frustrated. I have decided that this challenge is just different than others and even if the next 81 classes continue down this same path I will not judge. I will just practice.

Oprah Magazine featured an article written by a woman who embarked on a 60 day Bikram yoga challenge. This woman was 80 pounds overweight and at the end of her rope for various reasons. Part two finally came out.
Here is the link to the original article: Can you transform your whole life in 60 days?

And here is the highly anticipated part two: The 60 day makeover part II


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Day 19: An Inspiring Yogi is a Compassionate Teacher

Today was 7pm with Marc.
First let's just get this out of the way: I. did. not. die. I had a NORMAL class. Ho-freakin'-Ray!
Ok, now that we got that out of the way, let's talk about Marc shall we?
Ahem. **smoothes hair**
I was a little nervous about taking Marc's class. The times I go to Summerlin he's always there. He is either teaching or taking multiple classes. He practices in the back row, quietly. I've snuck a few glances in the mirror when we happen to be in the same class and he has such a beautiful focused practice with awesome postures. He is the perfect combination of both strength and flexibility. Here is where I'm reminded that you should never make assumptions. We know what that does (yes, I am the ass in this story). I was worried that due to sheer volume of yoga this guy does that he may be super super hard. I'm ok with hard. I mean look at me, I LOVE the teachers I call hard (Brandy, Misha, Roberta....). However, after hitting the wall several times and only being on day 19 I was a bit worried. I demoted myself from front row tonight and parked my mat about halfway back, center of the room, under a fan. Marc came in and started the class. The first thing I noticed about him was his relaxed demeanor.
With a big grin he said "Who is doing the 60 day challenge?" Several of us raised our hands. He made it a point to count us and say how great that is that we are doing it. Then he launched into breathing and I realized......
He loves teaching! I could tell right away, this guy really loves everything about this yoga. Practicing, teaching, talking about it, being in the studio, connecting with other yogis. He led the class with confidence, encouragement, compassion.
Marc: "Good (insert student name), now try this (minor tweak)"
Marc: "Very good (insert another name) , (right back into dialog)
He was doing dialog, noticing good things I swear about each student! He knew so many names and didn't skip a beat. I have a new favorite teacher. I think I now have ten that are in my "top five'. What can I say, the Summerlin studio has TALENT. The teaching staff there is absolutely phenomenal. Top notch. If you come to Las Vegas, you must try it. See the purple icon in the top right corner of my blog? That's them. Book mark them so you can detox next time you come to Vegas to retox.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Day 18: What happened to BikramYogaChick?

Today was 5:30 with Roberta at the old studio.
By eagle I was ready to run screaming out the door.
Somehow I survived the class.
Right about now I'm wondering....WTF? Where is strong BikramYogaChick? I've done other challenges. Why is it that on day 18 of this one, I've had more struggle days than normal days? Forget about having a Rockstar day, I just want to get through without wanting to die!
I'm thinking there is a lesson to be learned in this.
I'll let you know when I figure it out.
Meanwhile, I'm going to go up to Summerlin tomorrow night and try out Marc's class. Haven't taken his yet. I'm told it's tough.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Day 17: Out of the Closet

Today was 5pm up at Summerlin with fantastic Frank. I had spent all day cleaning the house like a mad woman. I just had so much energy I didn't know what to do with it so I was scrubbing, mopping, dusting etc. At one point my daughter said "mom, stop cleaning already!"
Once I got to yoga the hot room felt good. At first. Somewhere in the middle of the standing series I became very aware of the girl next to me having a grand 'ol struggle. She was at the point where she was just totally overheated and breathing heavily in and out through the mouth not nose. I went from feeling totally sorry for her and trying to give her energy to thinking "crap, it is pretty hot in here right now!" "Maybe more humid." "My God I feel like my skin is on fire!" "Your sex is on fire! Oh, Kings of Leon, great song.....oh boy, now that's going to be stuck in my head!"
And she's off! Michelle's brain is out the door and wandering around again! I lost my focus and by the time we hit the ground I was struggling myself. I muddled my way through the spine series and looked like a tortured boot camp survivor for the remaining postures.
Staggering out to the front desk for a zico after class I tried to return the lock I borrowed. Instructor Mark was at the front desk and looked curiously at the little key. "Oh, you want the whole lock, not just the key. Sorry, total yoga brain right now" I said a little sheepishly. I headed back to the locker room, flip flops wet and squishy thinking "dang, when did Frank get so hard? And he's still so darn nice about it!"
About 20 mins later, showered, dried and dressed I started to head out. Instructor Misha, who had just rocked out class in the front row a few yogi's down from me was at the front desk. "Where is your yoga crush tonight" she asked with a grin on her face. Busted! "Oh, you read my blog!"
I've never been completely anonymous, but not many Las Vegas yogi's really stumbled across my blog at first. Slowly, it's been happening and now.....I'm totally out of the closet! :)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Day 16: A Dramatic Exit

Today was 1:30 at the old studio with new teacher Michael. He just graduated with the Fall 2009 TT class here in Vegas. He's taught classes, but this was the first time I've attended. I absolutely love watching the new teachers. It makes me excited for the day when I finally figure out how to get to training myself. The class was pretty darn crowded but not very hot. Michael was very personable, much like Jason's class. In addition, Michael had a nice inflection to his dialog. His voice is on the deeper side and it was mellow and soothing. His daughter was in class. She's adorable. During balancing stick he said "capital T as in Tia"(that's her name) and those of us who knew he was referring to his daughter are in balancing stick going "awwww".
My cold made a dramatic exit and is now completely gone. What used to take 7 days to get rid of now gets knocked out quickly doing this yoga. It doesn't even get a chance to settle in and the yoga flushes it out. The dramatic exit came in the form of my body deciding to sweat like a maniac even though the room was not very hot. We were in eagle posture and I heard "splash, plunk, drip". I saw my elbows dripping onto my mat/towel like crazy. The room was probably 101 and in the 30's. I was dripping like it was 110, 50 percent and Roberta or Misha kicking my butt! This continued though the entire class. When I left, I could tell that the cold had left and I felt strong and healthy. Now to plan my double. Next weekend for sure, maybe during the week if I am feeling good after a 5pm and want to stick around for a 7. I'll just keep packing extra stuff all week.
I posted on the group blog today. Come check it out here.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Day 15: Practice What You Preach

I always tell people when they are sick that they should get back into the hot room as quickly as they can. So today, still feeling ill, I dragged myself to 530 at the old studio. Dominique was teaching and the class was pretty crowded. I didn't feel too hot, but I did every posture, took it easy and made it through just fine. I do feel better. I probably just knocked a few days off the cold. Take that sucker!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Day 14: A rare occurance

I've only been sick once since I started Bikram yoga two and a half years ago. It didn't last very long. What I thought was a "yoga hangover" last night was the beginnings of getting sick. I woke up today with a sore throat and a fever. I've been nursing it with hot tea and rest and will get back in that hot room tomorrow to chase this illness away. A double awaits me. **sigh**. You know I'm not crazy about doubles.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Day 13: Yoga Hangover

Today was 530 up at the old studio. I've told you that they no longer do Bikram on Tues/Thurs and that's why I have been supplementing my practice up at Summerlin. Well, as of Feb 1st Bikram will be gone completely from that studio. I'm not surprised, they changed their name on Jan 1st so the writing was on the wall. My home studio, Red Rock, is still closed for exterior repairs, no ETA on the re-open. Which means from Feb 1st to ?? I will be full time up at Summerlin. Which means I will have to either a) figure out how to make that 5pm class work even though it's across town and I get off work at 4:30 or b)get used to going at 7pm every weeknight. I'm not thrilled about option b. I think I will try to swing the 5. All sorts of things are running through my mind trying to figure out making this work (can you picture me changing in my car? LOL). It just reminds me of how lucky I have been in the past to have the perfect setup. A studio that was close to home and work with class times that worked for me. I had the red carpet rolled out for me! I might as well have been picked up in a limo with my yoga crush waiting in the back and us scheduled for a couples massage after class!
One way or another, I will make this work! (I like the limo/yoga crush idea though)

After hearing that news I trudged into the locker room to change. Reggi was there and I was very happy to see her. We got caught up before class on the benches in the hall and walked into a very busy room for 5:30 Bikram. I felt sluggish and could not balance. After the arse kicking last night, it felt like I had a bit of a yoga hangover. I tried my best, but was only running at about 75 percent. The person teaching is already teaching the other forms of yoga at this studio so is not verbatim on dialog. I found this difficult in some postures. Kind of like, "wait does she want us to kick out yet? She didn't say kick. Others have started to kick. Ok, I'll kick out. Oh, now she just said elbows down, I guess she wanted us to kick" and so forth the entire class. This just made me really appreciate the very precise commands of the Bikram dialog. It allows you to let it be "the teachers mind, your body". You can become one with the dialog and move in that 90 minute meditation. Tonight reminded me of why I love Bikram yoga.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Day 12: A recipe for disaster

First go to 7pm class with Misha. Go in knowing it will be a pretty tough class, but a great one. Then eat a banana at 5pm and have it sit in your tummy like lead the whole 90 min practice. Make sure to set up in the front row of a packed class that is primarily male. Then notice, with giddy excitement that "Oh my God! My yoga crush is here!" Notice how extremely hot it is. Then proceed to launch into first breathing with your mind prattling on like a silly teenager "holy cow I haven't seen my yoga crush for months! I can't believe he's here. Gosh he's tall and handsome! Love his dark hair!" Then realize Misha just called you by name. Jerk yourself sharply back into reality by giving yourself a good scolding while in half moon "Michelle, for crying out loud, you don't even know this guy! Focus on your class, pretend you are the only one here. Stop acting like a jackass!"
Then proceed to go balls to the wall and kill yourself for EVERY SINGLE POSTURE. This will ensure that by the time you get to camel you are throwing up a little bit in your mouth because you have pushed yourself so ridiculously hard under the guise of not acting like a jackass (re: trying to be strong and show off a bit in the front row because yoga crush, who doesn't even know you are alive and is not paying any attention to you is in the class).
Sit on the bench in the lobby for 10 full minutes after class recovering because you truly just can't go get dressed. A recipe for disaster. God I'm stupid sometimes.
On the bright side, once I was in my car and recovering more I actually thought "gee, that was kind of fun to kick my own ass like that!"
Sometimes I think I play it too "safe" in that room and maybe today was just the push I needed to show myself how much harder I could be working! After all, I feel great right now! It certainly didn't hurt me one bit!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Day 11: The Navigator

5pm up at Summerlin with Erica. I've never had her class before. Not sure how long she's been teaching or where she hails from, but she is very good. She has fantastic dialog.
I found myself a bit on autopilot today. My brain, like a small child left to it's own devices was wandering all over the place. For some reason I didn't try to keep it in check. I was actually sort of, well, entertaining myself for lack of a better word. Random thoughts floated by and pieced themselves together into strings of ideas throughout the class. Halfway through I started thinking "gee, she's kind of killing me right now, but I don't mind". Then random thoughts about other classes where I've jokingly said to instructors after class "that was a hard one, you killed us a bit!" Lately they seem to always say "I didn't do it, you kill yourself in there. You're doing all the work." These thoughts are floating through my head as I'm face down on the towel in locust. I chuckled a bit into the towel, then started thinking about how Bikram teachers are really just navigators. We are driving the car, but we have no idea how to get where we are going. The bikram teacher is in the passenger seat, map unfolded, barking out very precise directions. If we don't obey the directions exactly as given, we will stray off course. The teacher, like a GPS unit, will then give us a correction to get us back on course.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Day 10: I was THAT girl

Today was 3:30 with Roberta at my old studio. I was to the left of the podium about 1/3 of the way over. Nobody was between me and the podium when class started, giving 'ol eagle eye up there the perfect view of me. I knew I was in trouble! Pretty much, in a nutshell, I got my ass handed to me. It was hot and brutal. Guess what. I did not sit anything out! As overheated, sore and exhausted as I felt, I pushed on, yoga face intact. The only time I lost my cool a little bit was when I ended up being THAT know, the one that can't follow the teachers commands, and so keeps the entire class in a posture too long? Yah, I was her. Here is a recap:

Second part of awkward, second set *note: we had already been in posture at least 15 seconds
**Brazilian accent** Roberta: Michelle, sit down more!
Michelle: sits down more
Roberta: Michelle, get your heels up! Get higher on your toes!
Michelle: tries, but is a bit wobbly
Roberta: Michelle, higher on your toes! Sit down more! Higher on your toes......
Michelle: **shaking, wobbling, trying to do it, body not cooperating**
Roberta: Michelle, you can do this, higher on your toes, come on! Get up there. Michelle the whole class is waiting for you!
Michelle: falls out of posture completely, embarrassed laugh, notices half the class glaring daggers in her direction

Damn. If you are reading this, and you were in the 3:30 class, please accept my heartfelt apologies. Actually, the class was pretty tough and you probably forgot you were mad at me by standing bow!

Enough about me, go over here and read an awesome guest post on the Bikram 101 blog. Some of you may have noticed DancingJ, The Missus and I have been taking turns posting. We are on a rotation and have left Sundays open for guest posting. Email the Bikram 101 address found at the top right corner of the blog if you are interested in posting on a Sunday. We'd love to hear from you!
Now go read today's guest poster. She is a teacher in Seattle. When she went to training she kept up an awesome daily blog. It was my first blog ever. I stumbled across it while googling all things bikram and didn't even know what a blog was until I started to follow her teacher training experience. She's an inspiration, an incredible writer and I'm quite sure is now an amazing teacher. Go read!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Day 9: Body Awareness

Today was one of those practices where, in final savasana you suddenly "come to" and think "it's over? how did that happen?" Then you try to remember details and hope you were doing the right postures with everybody else, because you were just really in a deep meditation. I went to 5:30 with Dominique at the old studio. I felt strong and focused and checked my brain at the door. I felt like a washcloth that had just been wrung out at the end of class. My whole body felt tingly with a nice energy running through it. I could've easily done a second class.
After 9 days of continuous practice I'm feeling that nice "body awareness". You know, where things like walking and getting in and out of your car are suddenly are somehow more graceful during these simple activities. I can feel a little bit of soreness in my shoulders, back, glutes and hamstrings. It's not a painful soreness though. It's more like the muscles, in their little muscle voices are saying "hey, thanks so much for letting us play! this is great! look at me, I'm doing jump n jacks and getting ready for tomorrow!"
Every time I do a challenge, and start to feel the benefits, I think to myself, why not just do this every day for the rest of your life? (Yes McKinley, I know you will!)
Food for thought I suppose. For now, I'm just going to focus on the 101 and enjoy the wonderful benefits!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Day 8: Happy Hour

Current Facebook status:
Hot, sweaty 7pm class up at Summerlin with Frank. Now THAT's what I call Happy Hour!

'nuff said!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Day 7: The Professional

Today was 5pm up at Summerlin with Misha. I'm loving my temporary home. It's my home away from home. Misha was on staff at the fall 2009 teacher training that took place here in Las Vegas. I introduced myself to her yesterday as I was leaving. Not so sure that was the best idea, as that meant she now knows my name. I soon figured out she knows everybodys name and you CANNOT HIDE. This girl is incredible. She walked in tonight with a smile on her face yet somehow I knew.... She. Meant. Business. I immediately stood a bit taller and tried to stop fidgeting. She started the class with poise, confidence, killer dialog, corrections to student after student, never skipping a beat. She was fantastic. At some point I'm absolutely sure she corrected or adjusted verbally each and every student by name. The teachers pet that lurks inside of me wanted to dazzle her with a strong practice. Once I realized my mind was even thinking that I reigned myself back in....whoa Michelle! Pace yourself! I had some difficulty in triangle (I'm trying to get used to carpet again after going to "old" studio with plastic floors and turning my towel) but overall had a pretty good class. She even coached me through floor bow, telling me to kick more with my left leg (I was uneven) and then bring my thighs in and look back for my toes! (I've yet to see them, but man my legs are really up there in that posture!!)
I told her after class she reminded me of Brandy. I hold a special place in my heart for Brandy (she is now teaching in India, she also won the Regional Yoga Championships last fall) and when somebody reminds me of her (Lacey did!) I find myself seeking that person out. Brandy always pushed me, but in a good way....she believed in me more than I've ever been able to believe in myself in this yoga. I will be seeking out more Misha classes for sure!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Day 6: Missing My Routine

I'm a bit of a creature of habit. Routine is somewhat comforting to me. I'm not rigid by any means, but I find myself floundering a bit, if for example I have a bunch of days off work with nothing to do. I end up wanting to go back to work because I crave the simplicity and comfort of my busy routine. Which leads to my studio situation. Both my "old studio" and my "new studio" had 530 pm classes. I get off work at 430. Plenty of time to get there, change, put my hair up, wipe off the makeup (gals, have you ever forgotten to do that only to see raccoon eyes by standing series?), put my mat in a good spot, tinkle a couple of times (let's face it I've been drinking water all afternoon at my desk to prepare!) and the best part...socialize. I love people. I love to sit in the lobby on the benches talking to "the regulars" and whoever else happens to be in our line of fire! We have a blast. My "temporary studio" starts class at 5 and is farther away than the other two studios. Which leaves me about 8 mins in which to change, shove the hair up, swipe hurriedly at makeup, jump up and down while waiting for the one bathroom stall and run in to jam my mat down wherever it will fit. No socializing and my heart pounding like a jackhammer because I don't want to be late, yet I don't want to speed (remember the nice Jan 1st speeding ticket present?). Yeah. It's a bit tough. My other option is to take the 7pm like I did the other night. I didn't go home first though, which meant I was eating and blogging and getting stuff together for the next day between 9 and 10. I wasn't thrilled with that. Sigh.
I did the scurry on up to the 5pm tonight. I'm not sure what I'll do tomorrow.
I want my routine back!
On the bright side, 5pm was with new instructor Jason. He was great. He has a nice cheerful inflection in his voice. He's so approachable, so down to earth and it comes through in his class. I really liked his class, even when he was taking seven hours to set us up in triangle. My extended leg started to shake like a leaf but I didn't get mad or frustrated. How can you with this guy? He's great! Instead I patiently waited, shaking legs and all and tried my best to be strong. Not the best triangle ever, but hey, I'm still getting used to the carpet here! It seems like when you "studio hop" the flooring is different everywhere and your legs have to adjust all over again. I suppose at the end of this I'll have some killer inner thigh strength.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Day 5: Temporary New Digs

I am homeless right now. My "new" studio, which I love, adore, worship want to have babies with is temporarily closed for external repairs. Not any choice of the studio, it's the landlord. This happened mid December. So I went back to my old studio which teaches Bikram and Moksha and just went to Bikram classes there. As of Jan 1st, that studio changed it's name and once again changed it's schedule. They no longer offer 90 min Bikram classes on Tues and Thurs. Instead, they are doing a 75 min "bikram inspired" class. I inquired at the front desk and was told it's basically a flow class with bikram postures and a couple extras and no savasanas during floor series. Since I am committed to 101 days of BIKRAM yoga you can imagine my reaction. Frustration. Absolute frustration. I decided to purchase a one week pass at Bikram yoga Summerlin and go there starting tonight. The studio is lovely and has a wonderful vibe. It's just a bit of a hike across town in traffic and the class starts at 5 not 5:30. So instead of risking being late, I attended the 7pm class tonight. Frank was teaching (oh how I've missed him!) and one of my co workers was there attending her fourth class. I brought her to a class about a year and a half ago and she liked it, but it wasn't convenient for her at the time (location etc). Now with the Summerlin studio open and close to her home, she's giving it a whirl. She did 4 classes on her one week pass and really likes it. She purchased ten more classes tonight. Yay! I love it when one of 'em sticks. You know, for about every 10 people I bring 9 hate me and 1 sticks to it. I hope she sticks.
I had a fairly strong class tonight and rocked out standing bow second set both sides. I was surprised at the depth, form, the stillness and the strength of my kicking leg. I came out of it a bit in awe, like "was that really me in the mirror?" I think I will credit that wonderful little glimpse of loveliness to the spirit of Ren with us as we dedicated our practices to his memory today.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Day 4: In memory of Ren

Today was 530 with Roberta. It was packed (hello New Years Resolution people!), humid, hot, brutal. Good news is I had a solid practice again and didn't need to call 911. Every other class is my pattern so far....bad, ok, horrible, ok. It's OK, I'll take it! I am not sure why this challenge is starting out so rough for me, I've done others in the past and have never experienced this. Proof that it doesn't matter how many you do or how long you have practiced. The "challenge" is "challenging" for all of us!

Last week Ren Soriano passed away. He was one of Bikram's senior instructors and very well known and well loved in the Bikram community. I was privileged to take his class while he was passing through Las Vegas once. You can read about it here.
Tomorrow his services are being held in Hollywood. I'm going to dedicate my practice to him tomorrow night. If you knew him, please join me in doing so.


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Day 3: It's Baaaaaack!

That's right folks. The yoga truck was back again today! This challenge is starting off quite rocky. Good thing I wrote that post on the Bikram 101 site yesterday about not being attached to results! I guess I'll take my own advice today and let it go.
I'll give you the shakedown: 3:30 with Yuko. The room was hot and we were in the postures forever. I'm not exaggerating at all. Party time after eagle I looked at the clock and 28 mins had passed! I was wiped out already. Lots of us were. Looking around the room I saw lots of people had trouble with the standing one legged series, including a teacher! It. Was. Brutal. What ensued after that was just ridiculous. The yoga truck came barreling out of the studio laundry room where it was lying in wait. It ran me over, backed up, flipped me off and threw a lit cigarette out the window. It was so bad that I am pretty sure I was in savasana for at least a third of the floor series. I was completely done.
It's ok. I'm letting it go and moving on to tomorrow!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Day 2: Solid

Today was 1:30 with Yuko. After getting run over by the yoga truck yesterday I was a bit nervous. Which is why I picked an afternoon class. I'm so tight in the mornings, I figured I would go later in the day and give myself a bit of a leg up on the practice, so to speak. While parking my car, I scanned the parking lot. No sign of the yoga truck. That didn't mean it was lurking in studio laundry room, revving it's engine, waiting to run me over again. The class was fairly busy, quite humid and several postures seemed to be held a bit longer than normal. Triangle second set standing out in my mind mostly. I remember thinking "holy crap! she's helping somebody still! Dude just do what she says, we are dying! I'm coming out, forget this! Wait, no I'm not, I won't give up on myself!" Finally it was over and I came out of it, struggling a bit for breath and not very graceful on the exit. The important thing is I stayed in. I stayed in that and every other posture. I had a solid class. Not rockstar, not train wreck. Just solid. I'll take it!

Psst! I'm also posting over here: Bikram 101: Day Two: Letting go of results

Friday, January 1, 2010

Day 1: Sucker Punched

2010. New beginnings. A fresh start. The year I turn 40. The year of the tiger, which is going to be a very favorable year for dogs (me). I woke up this morning giddy with anticipation. I'm going to accomplish things this year. This is the year the impossible becomes possible.
I went to 1130 class with Roberta. What ensued in the next 90 minutes was a disaster. My limbs were stiff and inflexible. My body was creaking, groaning moaning. Every posture hurt, even the breathing exercises. I felt like the rough year that was 2009 was breathing down my neck, robbing me of my fresh start. It raised a leg and kicked me in the ass. I staggered through a few more postures and it sucker punched me in the ear. I felt like I was wading through water. My breathing was raggedy and I was seeing spots. It felt like my first Bikram class ever. When class was over I sat on a bench in the lobby for 15 mins unable to move or speak.
Then after class I went to go get my daughter and got a speeding ticket. Crap. Not a good start to 2010. My daughter said "don't let this upset you. don't let today dictate your whole year. It's going to be a great year mom!"
She's right. It is going to be a great year. 2009 you may have shoved me down onto my mat today, and tried to follow me to 2010 but I'm standing back up, flipping you off. Good riddance, I'm done with you! The year of the tiger doesn't start til Feb 14th anyway. That's good right?