Friday, December 30, 2011

An Oldie But A Goodie

This post was written by me last year (March 2010).  It appeared on day 90 of the Bikram 101 challenge blog (which to my regret I was not able to complete and will revisit someday)
I came across it and found it fitting for this time in my life.  Yoga has always brought me peace, but even more so now.  For approx 6 months I did not practice yoga.  Coming back to it last summer I was so aware of what a gift it was.  Absence truly does make the heart grow fonder.

The Watcher

Social Media serves many purposes. I find it interesting because I feel like I'm getting a peek inside of my friends heads. Take facebook and twitter for instance. People type in thoughts and hit enter, many times before thinking it through. "Do I really want to post THIS?" Twitter is almost like a strange little collective stream of consciousness. One hundred and forty characters at a time of disjointed thoughts, ideas, opinions, and emotions. If we could truly get into each others heads and hear what goes on in there for a full day we'd probably think our friends crazy and they in turn would be appalled at what goes on in ours!

We are not our thoughts though. That stream of consciousness that flows during the day is not truly who you are. Good thoughts, bad thoughts, songs that rattle through your mind, all of the "noise" is not you.

Yoga helps us to tap into that deeper layer of consciousness. I like to think of it as the ocean. The top of the water is choppy, churning, sometimes violent, always moving. At the bottom of the ocean, where all is still, quiet and deep, lays "the watcher". This is the other part of us that observes. This is the part that takes over during the 90 minute moving meditation that is Bikram. The watcher is what pulls us through a tough class. Our minds, like children, will start to wander. "It's hot in here. My shorts are riding up. That girl has amazing postures. Man she's keeping us in postures forever today. My contacts are jacked up today. Crap I can't balance today. Look at mr. cutie in the back row....." The watcher interrupts the chatter and reminds you to breathe. You are brought back to the room, your focus returns and your mind quiets. If you are like me, the mind does not stay quiet. The 90 minutes is an exercise in constantly returning to focus. When it's all over, we lay in savasana, quiet, sated. If we are lucky, we are able to take that gift and use it the rest of the day. Able to stay calm and focused in other segments of our day, not just yoga.

The mind chatter is what makes us human. The watcher is what reminds us we are also spiritual beings, able to connect with something beautiful and powerful. Able to get out of our own head and find peace, even if just for a moment. Yoga is the gift that brings us closer to that peace.

"When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained."

Mark Twain

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Last night was bikram at 5.  The studio owner taught.  It was a nice, juicy, fast paced class.  Everybody was focused and determined.  The layout of the class was comical.  For some reason people only went to the right and to the left of the room, leaving a big gaping hole in the middle from front to back.  As Steph stood up on the podium in the center of the room and led us through the class it sort of looked like she had just parted the red sea....of yogi's that is.  The sweaty sea. 
I had a fairly strong class and by the time we got to toe stand, I was in the zone and unprepared for what happened next.  I'm getting into tree, preparing to go down for toe stand and as my fingers hit the ground in their normal "tent like" placement, I felt and heard horrible cracking noises in EVERY SINGLE finger of my right hand.  A whole bunch of thoughts flashed through my brain in mere milliseconds.  "OMG, did my fingers just break?" "They don't hurt"  "If I jerk my hands off the mat, I'll face plant" ....along with some other thoughts, too fast for me to even remember and record.  I ended up just sitting up into the posture, hunched over as usual, balancing on my fingertips, as usual.  To the outsider, nothing happened.  To me, I'm balanced on my fingers amazed they were not broken.  It was THAT loud and horrible.   As I lay in savasana when the posture was over, I moved my fingers carefully, trying to asses the damage, if any.  There was none.  They all just cracked, severely, and all at the same time.  That has never happened.  After four and a half years of practicing, new things can still happen!

Thursday, December 1, 2011


This video is hilarious.  Enjoy!

I flipped my dog!

Last night I did hot power vinyasa with an instructor named Martin.  This was my third class with him.  The great thing about Martin, besides the fact that he looks like a Greek statue, is that he sets up an atmosphere in class where you truly can believe in yourself.  He encourages us to play with the postures, take them to where we can and then stop and just feel where we are. 
The first time I ever did Baptiste I was overwhelmed by some of the postures.  They did this thing where you are in downward facing dog and then you "flip your dog"**.  I remember dropping to my knees to watch and thinking "there is no way in hell I will EVER do that!" I was tired just being in down dog and I was afraid to even try.  I had visions of falling and somehow maybe even breaking my neck during the transition.
Last night in Martin's class I decided to set my intention to play.  Have fun with it.  Listen to my body.  So when he said "ok, now flip your dog" I just did it.  The gentle tap as my foot landed and the stretch in my body as I stayed in the landing position felt amazing.  I dropped my head back and saw myself in the mirror and a huge smile splayed across my face.  All I could think was "OMG I just flipped my dog!  Holy cow, I flipped my dog!"  Something that felt impossible in Feb of 2010 during my first Baptiste class suddenly just happened, effortlessly. 
God I love yoga.
Tonight it's back to Bikram.  Lacey is going to show me how to train for the splits.  I'm so excited I can hardly stand it!

**for a you tube demo of flipping your dog, click the link