Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The "Blog" rises from the dead

Hello out there! Happy holidays to everybody.

Just wanted to write a quick entry to announce that I will be blogging everyday starting January 15th. I will be doing a 60 day Bikram Yoga challenge with a twist: I will also be participating in a 60 day Vegan Raw Food Diet, and may be selected to particpate in the filming of a documentary that will follow the students doing both the yoga and the diet.

More to come!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Breakfast at Tiffany's

My company event was costume this year. I went as Audrey Hepburns character Holly GoLightly in "Breakfast at Tiffanys". I had so much fun! Yoga: I have gained back most of what I felt I lost in flexibility, strength and stamina after the houseboat trip. I am gearing up for another challenge, but realistically it may not happen until January. That seems to be a great time of year to embark on a challenge. I'll go for 60 days again....and see how far past 60 I can go.
Pics from the event:

Friday, October 17, 2008

Lake Powell Trip and getting back into yoga

Oh man!  Lake Powell is gorgeous.  We had soooo much fun!  Of course, I've only done 5 yoga classes in the past 15 days, so I'm having major withdrawals.  Tonight I went to the 5:30 class with Nalini and felt like I was doing the yoga for the first time this week.  I went Monday and Tuesday nights and it was just hard both nights.  I had regressed majorly.  We are talking having trouble in fixed firm....stiff ankle, sore knee, old issues that I had worked through and conquered resurfacing from missing 7 days in a row of yoga due to the trip.  It is my intention to do another challenge, I'm just having trouble figuring out when I can do so.  These will all sound like excuses, but I have several events coming up that will get in the way of the challenge.  I'm still bowling Thursday nights, I have my company event Oct 25th, my daughters bday is coming up and then Halloween and roll right into November.  There is a chance I can start in November, so thats what I am shooting for.  So although it sounds like a bunch of excuses, I also realize to be successful with the challenge you have to have a somewhat clear calendar and really make the yoga the first priority.  So the blog will be revived when I finally do start.
In January, I'll do 60 days again if possible.  Kick off the year correctly!
Here are some pics from my very fun, very indulgent trip.
Me (right) and Leanna on the back of the boat

Above:  Beer pong on the top deck!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bonus Post: 20 Year Reunion

This pic was taken Friday night at Winchesters in Ventura...kind of like a "pre-reunion".  I am in the turquoise top.  This night was actually more fun than the actual reunion.  Go figure!

Yes, I lost the 20 pounds for the reunion.  The actual reunion party was strange...kind of a bust.  But everything else I did that weekend, with a smaller group, was totally worth it.
Some pics for your viewing pleasure......

I must confess, I like my arms here...

Trent, Rob and I Winchesters in Ventura

Me and Lisa ( I stayed with her, I'm on the left)

No more washcloth...

Ok, so one of my goals during my 60 day challenge was to stop using the washcloth on certain postures. Sure, I tried that a couple of times. Didn't really work out for me. I kept on using it. Fast forward to this week. I got home Monday from my 20 year reunion at 330 and went to 430 yoga. Forgot my washcloth. Wow. Very good that I did. Let me just tell you, it changed my practice so dramatically that I will never go back. It forced me to stay still, not wipe or rub, to focus and to breathe.
The postures I thought I needed it on (both legs up in wind removing and final spinal) I can get by just fine w/out it.
I recommend to anybody doing bikram to give it a will change your practice completely. Its amazing. It is really just me, the mat and the mirror, no holds barred, w/out that friggin' washcloth. It is it....

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

All it takes for a new me is 378 classes....

Today I went to 530 pm yoga with an instructor named Mark.  I have never had this Mark before, and was told he is the new studio manager.  He had some sort of accent (english?) looked 35ish and has run studios overseas.  I really liked his class.  He is one of those "stickler for form" guys.  I love that.  It took me back to a class months and months was in the small hot room, it was HOT, packed and an instructor named Sharon was practicing behind me.  I was DYING that day.  But after class, Sharon came up to me and said something to the effect of this:  "it was nice to practice behind you because you pay such great attention to encouraged me to do the same".  I was blown away.  But in that moment, I absorbed that compliment and thought, wow....I attention to form that is.  I may not be the best person in the room, I cannot go the deepest, hold the longest, I don't look gorgeous in standing bow (my dream), but I do try my hardest to work on the form, knowing that the rest will work itself out.  As I type this, I am 18 pounds away from my ultimate goal weight, I have gone from a size 16 to a 12 throughout this Bikram yoga journey and I have a very nice man in my life right now who really cares about me.  I sit here, in awe.  How did all of these wonderful things come about?  378 Bikram yoga classes since April of 2007....that's how.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A smitten kitten goes to her 20 year reunion

Hi there!
Doubt anybody is reading anymore...but here goes anyway.  Yesterday I had an amazing practice.  I felt like a strong rubbery person.  Strange description I know, but there you have it.  
So the title of the post.  For those of you who followed my challenge blog you will know I was (still am) doing Jenny Craig and wanted to lose 20 lbs by September 20th for my 20 year high school reunion.  Well, its next weekend and I did lose 18.  More importantly, I made my goal of  being a size 12.  Yes folks, I have a super hot pair of dark Banana Republic size 12 jeans and a killer black top and stellar dark gold strappy heels for the big event.  I have to admit, I look pretty smokin' hot in the ensemble.  What a great feeling!  
The other part of the title.  A smitten kitten.  Yes folks, thats right....smitten, as in with a man.  I've been seeing somebody for roughly a month now and I'm totally smitten.  I know, it hasn't been very long, but I really really like him.  The feeling is mutual too.....thats the best part!
Life is good!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Bonus Post: Jenny Craig...halfway there

Yesterday at my weigh in I was down 18.4 total. My counselor informed me I'm halfway to goal! Not only that, but I'm on target to be down 20 pounds by Sept 20th for my 20 year reunion.
Good stuff! I can't seem to find my camera right now. I'll keep looking because I want to post a halfway pic.

John Salvatore and a numb arm

Today I went to 1:30 yoga with John Salvatore.  Many of you in the Bikram community may have heard of him (especially if you are a teacher, than you probably had his class at training).  He owns a studio in New York City and is an awesome teacher.  He is in a show here in Vegas right now, so we have the benefit of having him teach once a week.  He's been teaching Sundays at 1:30 and I've been out on the lake and haven't been able to catch one of his classes until today.  Let me just say he is incredible.  His energy is amazing.  He came in the room early just to learn our names and guess what, during the class he was calling out to people left and right...he remembered so many of our names.  I was in standing bow first set, second side and he said "Michelle, that's stunning, now body down more two more inches..."  Wow, that was so cool.  I had a pretty good class up until the floor series.  I drank too much water right before savasana and got nauseous.  I know better!  I had to lay still and skip a few postures.  On top of that, my right arm, especially the hand, went completely numb again.  This has been happening to me the last couple of days.  The first time it happened was right after locust posture a couple of days ago and it stayed numb until well after class.  Same thing today.  I must be working through something right now in my shoulder or arm or something.  Interesting.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Bonus Post: Jenny Craig and One hand in Prayer

Ok, I lost track of what week I'm on in Jenny Craig (week 10? 11?). Here is an update on my progress: As of last Saturday, I've lost 15.2 pounds. My scale shows more loss this week, getting closer to that 20 pound goal (20 pounds by Sept 20 for my 20 year reunion).
My counselor also measured me and everything stayed the same except my hips...they are down almost 2 inches! WOW! My midsection was already ok from all the yoga, it's the junk in the trunk I'm working on and its going away!
One hand in prayer: well, thats toe stand! I've been able to balance during the first side of toe stand with left hand in prayer. Can't do it on the other side yet. I'm getting my spine straighter in that posture, I used to be hunched over thinking to myself, are you kidding me? How the heck do you sit up straight in this friggin' posture! It's a very challenging posture for me. Nice to see some progress.
My forehead continues to touch the floor in separate leg stretching posture. Usually second set only. It's so exciting to keep working on it!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Touched my forehead to the floor on August 29th!

I haven't been blogging anymore, now that my challenge is over.  I am going to blog on this same page though next challenge.  So I wanted to record my achievement.
After ONE year and FOUR months of going to Bikram yoga very consistently,

Oksana was teaching and she saw how close I was and started doing dialog just to get me down there and it worked!  I planted that sucker solidly on the ground.
AND I did it again the next morning at 11:30 am yoga with Roberta.

I am soooo happy!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Final Post: Hot with Reegan again, Ocean Beach and a Belly Button Ring

Yup, you read that right.  Final post.  I now have 6 classes to make up to get to 90 in 90 and just don't feel like putting that kind of pressure on myself.  So I made 63 classes in 63 days and I'm good with that.  I will do another challenge in January and will blog right here on this same website again.  
So yesterday was 12 noon yoga in La Jolla again.  Cassie came with me again and we had the same teacher.  The room was even hotter and I was sick to my stomach half the class.  Its not like I did anything strenuous the day, lay out at the pool, sushi and then saw the new Batman (awesome movie by the way!) so I'm not sure why I was such a baby...but I was...a big fat baby.  I took a knee several times and only did one set of several postures.  Cassie, on her third class ever did better than me.  She's very good for a newbie by the way.  Too bad the whole thing is cost prohibitive for her, because I could picture her really getting into it otherwise. 
So after yoga we layed out by the pool again and then went down to Ocean Beach.  We had the best fish tacos ever and then I went and got a belly button ring from a small tattoo shop.  The guy had pictures of Kid Rock and Rose McGowan getting tattoos from him.  I'm going back there someday to get the butterfly tattoo on the back of my shoulder that I've been wanting for months now.  I've had my belly button pierced before but it was ten years ago.  Ouch!  Forgot how bad it hurts!  So now I just have to put sea salt and wash it with anti-bacterial soap and it should heal in a month.  I'll probably get a different piece of jewelry for it eventually because the one that came with the piercing keeps disappearing into my extremely "inny" belly button and is not going to work out for the long haul.  I might need to get something slightly dangly.
After that, we went to listen to a live band who had a cool reggae flavor and were just awesome!  We danced and had a great time.  Cassie and I were especially letting our hair down.  She's a fun girl and I just love her to death.  Rob did good picking his roommate out!  The weather was once again perfect....sunny, 85, breezy...just gorgeous.  God I wish I could move down there right this very minute!  I got home today to the 104 degree Las Vegas ugly dusty desert and just immediately felt very sorry for myself.  Oh well. back to work and bowling tomorrow.  Then lots of school clothes shopping and a haircut for Ash this weekend.  Back to real life I guess.
Thanks to all of you who read my blog during my challenge.  

Monday, August 11, 2008

Day 72: Hot in La Jolla

Ah, San Diego. I'm so in love with this area. Right now the window is open and the weather is perfect!
So today was 12 noon yoga in La Jolla with a teacher named Reegan. She was very no nonsense and taught a solid class. Cute little California looking girl. Blessedly, she opened the back doors halfway through the class. Right as Cassie was contemplating leaving. Cassie is the roommate of the friend (Rob) I am staying with and it was only her second time trying Bikram. The first time was in April, my last trip out here. Cassie did a great job, even wrapped her legs in eagle. She did every single posture...thats the benefit of being 23 and skinny! :) Cassie and I both noticed though that the room was a lot hotter this time and they do not have any fans. Yes, I get spoiled in Vegas with the fans. I haven't done yoga since last Wednesday (shame on me!) and have a ton of classes to double up on if I am going to make 90 in 90. It felt great to be there today...four days without yoga was not enjoyable for me. I missed it terribly. Funny, being in a different studio without my own mat and without my yogi toes towels I felt a little insecure, like my practice would be alot different, worse maybe. I guess it just goes to show how much of a comfort zone I've gotten into. So when I get back to Vegas, I plan on moving around the room, away from my normal "spot", cranking out some doubles, and trying to get into the small room whenever possible. Need to shake things up!
Ok, now Rob and I are off to sushi!
Love this city. *sigh*.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Day 67: Going out with a Solid Practice....

5:30 pm with Oksana, a solid practice.  I thanked her after class and she said "nice work Michelle".  So off I go, to missing TWO days (yikes) and trying to LET IT GO that I have to miss two days.  The progress I am making with my practice is amazing.  I can get through a solid standing series without really feeling like I'm dying....which is how I used to feel!  I am breathing in and out normally, always going back to my breath when the heart rate elevates, and I just keep breathing in and out through the nose and the heart rate always slows.  Its amazing how much progress I've made.  
A first timer was behind me, and she looked familiar.  Then in the locker room after practice she said "Michelle, you were incredible in there, how long have you been doing this?"  Click!  Oh, thats where I know her from....she works for the same company, different location.  Haven't seen her in years.  So I thanked her for saying that, told her how long I've been practicing and shared with her that I couldn't even pick up my foot for standing head to knee at first, nor for standing bow.  I told her I've never felt better in my life and the sense of well being you get from Bikram is unsurpassed by any other form of exercise in my book!  Hopefully she will come back.  It's always great to see people trying it for the first time.  It never ceases to take me back immediately to the place I started from and I pause, and go "OH! I've come soooo far!".  It helps keep me grounded.
I'll be back Saturday with a post, as I'll be doing a class after a two day break.
Confession: I packed my yoga bag and will bring it tomorrow night.  Because on the OFF chance that my team gets done bowling by 8, I'd be able to boogie on up to the 8:30 class.  If I miss that one, 10:30 is next and that's too late.  So no, I'm not in total acceptance of my two day break.  My team bowls slow, so chances of making that class are not good.  Bag is packed and waiting though!  End of Confession

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Day 66: I saw my mat in Camel

Ash and I went to 5:30 pm with Oksana.  This is where the magic happened....where I saw my mat in camel!!
, so some of you may be going "so what?"  Perhaps you see your mat everytime you do camel.  Not me, I'm usually hanging there staring at the bottom of the back wall, where it meets the floor.  I can see the floor leading up to my mat also.  But not the mat itself.  Today, in second set of camel, I really tried to relax my shoulders while still pushing my hips forward toward the front mirror and suddenly I was upside down staring at my bright yellow yogi toes towel laying over my hot pink mat.  HOT DAMN!  I could see approx. one fourth of my mat!  I was truly upside down!  Oh yeah, Oh yeah, do the camel dance!

Confession:  I am seriously stressing out about missing Thursday, Friday and Sunday for yoga.  I am such a wreck about it that I was considering going at 10:30 pm Thursday night after bowling.  Am I crazy?  Bowling is over by 8:30.  I'd have to sit around for almost two hours by the time I got up there and I would be exhausted for work the next day!  The fact that I am so distressed by missing three days really sets off warning bells, red flags, whistles, etc. in my head.  Whoa girl!  What is going to happen if you miss those three days?  Nothing.  I'm not going to gain back the 8 pounds I've lost, I'm not going to lose all of the progress I've made on my postures and I'm not going to get complacent and not want to come back.  There, I just shot down all of my silly fears.  That being said I am going to FORCE myself to let go completely regarding these three days and not feel guilty, not stress out and not beat myself up about it.  Yes, I tend to do that...beat myself up.  If I want to make the 90 in 90 I'll have four doubles to do.  No biggie, I have proven that I can knock those out when I need to.  End of Confession.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Day 65: Kill the Pain with the Pain

It's back.  The lower back pain.  I had to subscribe to the "kill the pain with the pain" mantra today  (one of Dray's favorites).
I took yesterday off from yoga and was out on Lake Mead boating all day.  The water was too choppy to do water sports, so we beached the boats and swam.  It was a very fun and very mellow day.  I for sure did not do anything to my back yesterday.  But lo and behold, the lower back pain came back with a vengeance last night.  Looking back, the pain happened roughly a month ago, and it was the "same time of the month" if you know what I mean.   So I suppose this is some new and exciting female thing I get to suffer through monthly and could be tied to doing so very much yoga and trying to open my back, and then once a month, getting cramps that constrict the belly/back area.  Hence the pain.  This was Connie's theory today when I spoke to her about it anyway.  She was at the studio taking the class before me, so I ran my tale of woe by her.  The pain was so severe today that I could barely walk, and I had to take 400 mg of Ibuprofen just to be able to sit in my chair without screaming at work.
Needless to say, I was looking forward to yoga today because I'm totally on board with yoga fixing back issues as was proven to me last month when I suffered this dilemma.  If I remember correctly, it only lasted a couple of days.
Tonight was 5:30 pm yoga with Dray and yes, it did help my back.  I could barely do the forward fold, and at the very end of the class, the stretching posture just before final spinal twisting killed me so I sat out the second set.  All other postures were fine.  I did take it easy on the situps, very easy.  Right now I feel much better.  I have some soreness still, but nothing like this morning.  I literally had tears in my eyes at work this morning, it was that bad.
As far as the "90 classes in 90 days" I am officially one class behind.  Its only going to get worse as I miss Thursday night due to bowling (with the changed schedule they now only offer 8:30 - bowling not done early enough...and 10:30- way too late for me, I have to work at 7:30 the next morning) and Friday night due to having a little party at my house Friday night.  Then Sunday I fly to San Diego and will be there until Wednesday.  I plan on going to yoga Mon/Tues in La Jolla, but that means I'll miss Sunday.  So that will be FOUR behind only a week and a half into it!  But I can do it.  This I now know!  I can bang out three doubles in a row when I get home and be well on my way to completing the 90 in 90.  I have myself!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Day 63: Calming Connie....

Today was 5:30 with Connie.  She's a very calming type person.  I like her class, it has a nice flow and she really gives great tips on some of the postures.  My ears perk up and I catch new tidbits all of the time.  Then a light bulb goes on and I modify something.  Her class is great for working on form.  After class, she told me I had a nice standing bow!  How cool is that!
Ashley came with me and sat out probably 2/3 of the class.  Her allergies were acting up all day, she was sneezing like a maniac and had red eyes.  She didn't feel good but tried yoga anyway.  She did stay in the room though and layed on her mat alot.  I commend her for even going.
Tomorrow Ashley and I are spending the day on Lake Mead with some of my friends.  There will be two boats and some fun water activities.  Can't wait!  That does mean I will most likely miss yoga tomorrow and I already know I'm going to miss a couple of days next week.  Already I will have anywhere from three to five doubles to do when I get back from San Diego next week.  Its early in the month so I'm going to stay positive and just do doubles everyday on the weekends when I get back from my short trip.  I'd love to hit 90 classes by the end of August.  
I'm not even going to do a bonus post about week 6 on Jenny because the scale there was not nice to me this week.  It's my fault, because after three doubles in a row last weekend I was ravenous for the three days following.  And eating lettuce just didn't sound good to me!  I am really not bummed out or upset because my clothes are all very very loose and I can tell my hips are getting smaller when I look at myself in the yoga mirror.  So I am just going to stay on track this week and hope for a big number next weekend.  I realize this whole thing is more about the journey than the destination of "losing 35 pounds".  I will by no means be done when I get to my goal weight.  In fact, that's when the real work begins for me personally.  I have never learned how to maintain a healthy weight and stop the vicious balloon up, slim down cycle.  That will take alot of learning, dedication, focus and determination.  It will be the life equivalent of "locking the knee".  It took me months to learn how to lock my knee and it still is something I have to think about and focus on.  This is no different!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Day 62: A Peaceful Class

Today was 5:30 with Adele.  Adele is a nice, peaceful teacher who keeps the room pretty cool.  No smokin' us out with her.  I had a nice class and it went by fast.  The only problem I had tonight was still the sore, sore, sore butt, lower back and now HIPS! 
At least it's just soreness and not horrible pain, so its easy to work through and just keep going to yoga until it subsides.  
Sunday I will be out on Lake Mead on a friend's boat, so most likely I will be taking that day off as I can't imagine going to yoga after a sun-soaked day.
Have a great weekend everybody!


Bonus Post: Word Cloud

Thanks Karen! Cute idea....

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Day 61: Just feels like home....

Tonight was 5:30 with Dray.  As usual, the class was absolutely packed out.  He is amazing.  Anybody reading that is an out of towner, you have to do a Dray class if you ever visit Las Vegas.  Take your class when you first get here, before the partying starts.  ;)
Standing there, waiting for pranayama breathing to start, I felt so happy.  I felt like I was home.
Ashley came with me again, but had a rough time.  She had to run out and get her inhaler.  She said it was just too humid, the air too heavy and she felt like she couldn't breathe.  She stayed in the room the entire time though.  What a trooper.  Speaking of troopers, there was an adorable little 9 year old girl in there for her third time.  She was in the back and also stayed in the room the whole time.  She was on the other side of the room, so I didn't see her practice, but during the floor series, doing situps and such, I noticed she was right there with us.  
Body notes:  sore, sore, sore.  I felt very sore.   The back of my butt, on both sides, and down the back of my legs, my calves, and my lower back.  All very sore.  During standing head to knee, I kicked out on the left side, second set.  I was actually able to hold it today for 10 or 15 seconds, but then my lower back started to hurt and I fell out.  I realized that while trying to make sure my standing leg was still locked, and that my grip was good with thumbs underneath, and that my kicking leg was kicking the heel toward the mirror and flexing and pulling the foot back with my hands, oh, and trying to figure out what a locked out kicking leg feels like.....I forgot to keep my stomach sucked in!  Hence the back pain.  The funny part of that is I've been standing on a solid locked leg for quite some time now, but would not kick out because I knew I didn't have the stomach sucked in part nailed down.  Sheesh!  Its hard!  But I'm excited about it because I'm working on something new, and I think I understand the mechanics of how the form is supposed to be.  So I will get there.  Someday.  

I love this yoga.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Day 60: Made it!

Ash came with me again.  So here we are before class. We went to 5:30 and had Mark.  Tonight was my first Mark class.  I really enjoyed it.  He had good dialog, a nice flow, and he keeps the room from smoking you out.  He just got back from teacher training this spring.  For anybody reading this blog who went to teacher training, he was the guy who hurt his knee right before training.  He had a knee brace on the first few weeks.  Then, halfway into the training, Bikram gets rid of Marks brace and he's standing on Marks knees in fixed firm.  We've got the picture on our studio bulletin board.  I talked to Mark for a few minutes after class and told him he did a great job and thanked him.  Nice guy.
Even though today was day 60, I don't feel "done" by any means.  I'm going to keep going everyday for as long as I possibly can.   I will keep blogging also, just because I love the accountability it provides me.  I turned in my pledges today for the Yogi's Unite effort to raise money for George.  My friends sponsored me during this challenge to the tune of $180 dollars and it felt great to turn it in.

Here is me in front of the "challenge board" where I circled each day that I came to class:

As you can see, I'm far from the slim yoga body I desire, but I love the body I do have for "showing up" for me during this challenge.  So I will continue to treat it nice with more yoga and my 1500 calorie a day Jenny plan and someday I'll be where I want to be.  In the meantime, I'm happy, proud and feeling accomplished today.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bonus Post: The Pictures from the Craig Villani Seminar (finally)

Ok, these are totally out of order, but uploading was a beast!  Here they are:

Lisa Johnson and Craig
Craig helping Dominick with Cobra.  Dominick was a visiting teacher from England who was incredible.  I miss him.
Craig demonstrating the forehead to the floor.....awesome!  Cheri (teacher) and not sure about the other **flexible** gals name...but you'll see her down below in other pics

flexible girl...
Yuko, our Japanese doll instructor getting coached on her backbend.  He was trying to get her to arch her chest up more and she lost a little depth in the end, but it was beautiful.

Danielle (student) getting help in standing bow.  Not that she needs it, but his adjustments on her were amazing.
Then he asked for a volunteer of a person who was not so good at standing bow, and he was helping him get his leg up.  He did pretty well!
Flexible Girl again...

Day 59: Standing room only....

Dray taught the 5:30 tonight.  He always plays to a "sold out show".  He really packs 'em in.  Hey, he's good.  What more do you want?
I picked up Ashley again, and we both had a great class with Dray.  I am feeling so strong right now that I cannot imagine stopping and losing my momentum.  So I'm going to keep going for now.  I'm going to keep the blog up and keep posting.  In case I can somehow make 90 in 90.  I have a party at my house one Friday night that will prevent me from going and a trip to San Diego.  I will be going to yoga in La Jolla while I'm there, so I'm not going to miss a ton of days...maybe just one or two.  So already that's three days I won't be able to go.  On top of that, with the time changes, I cannot go after bowling anymore, however, bowling is over soon.  So I may be able to make it.  I'll keep blogging and keeping track of my classes and we will see what happens!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Day 58: Just one....

All I had to do today was one class, just one class.  Phew!  I was very tired at work today.  I was yawning all morning and I just felt very drained.  I went to 5:30 pm with Frank.  This is the first week with our "new times".  The classes are on the half hour instead of the hour.  Bummer for me because I get off work at 4:30 and the 5pm class was perfect.  Ashley wants to go to yoga this week and is with her dad, so I had enough time to go get her and bring her with me.  She had her best class ever and is feeling very good about yoga right now.  In that respect, the time will work out.  Sucks getting done a half hour later, but lets face it, when Ashley is at her dads I don't have much going on at night so its fine.  As this challenge comes to a close I feel very conflicted in so many ways.  On one hand, it will be nice to have a day or two off here and there.  On the other hand, I've made so much progress and have gained so much strength (and a tiny bit more flexibility...i'm just not very flexible to begin with) and don't want to lose my momentum.  I was originally tossing around the idea of continuing on to hit 90 days, but I have a trip coming up and don't feel like dealing with the hell of make up classes.  So I've decided to just complete the 60, be proud of myself and try to target 6 classes a week.  I also think doing a double every now and then is actually a good idea.  It really shakes your body up and forces you to dig deep for the mental fortitude needed to stay in that room for 3 hot hours.  I like it!  Now that I've done it three days in a row and survived, some part of me is like, "yeah baby, that was cool!".  I wasn't saying that yesterday, thats for sure!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Day 57: Triple Play

I didn't think I'd do it.  Doubles three days in a row that is.  But I did.  I really surprised myself.  Today was 3:30 with Oksana (a blessedly smooooooth class....thank you Oksana) and 5:30 with Frank (understanding, funny, compassionate Frank....thank you Frank!).  I don't think I would've made it today with different teachers.  I was feeling fragile and scared going into this day.  I was starting to feel tired....mentally not physically.  Interesting, because my ultimate goal is to go to teacher training one day....and they do doubles every day.   I think there is a difference though.  A difference between focusing on nothing but the training and doing what you need to do and trying to work full time and be a single mom and pull doubles.  A big difference.  I feel proud of myself though.  Really proud.  I'm almost glad I missed those classes (almost) because it made me really have to dig deep and find out just how important this challenge was to ME.  Yes, I'm raising money for George, yes my friends and family all know I'm doing it, but in the end, I had to do this for me.  That's the only reason I made it today.  By the end of the first class, I had myself totally talked out of the second class today. I was going to leave.  This conversation took place in my head during the floor series.  When push came to shove, and I was laying in final savasana in the first class, a peaceful calm came over me and I said "you have another yoga outfit and your waters and you are already here, and your daughter is at her fathers, you have no other commitments today....stay".  And I did.  Even though I did not want to.  I usually just do what I want, so to have another part of me taking over and doing whats best for me in spite of me, well that was new.  I felt like a new inner strength was born.  Incredible.  I owe this all to Bikram yoga.  I will become a teacher one day, I will spread this yoga love to others.  It makes me so very happy.  
One more thing:  I am closer to "the wrap" in eagle than I have ever calves are right on each other but I can't quite get my toe behind the calf.  I am close though.  I am also kicking out in standing head to knee every day with a solid locked standing knee.  No, I don't stay in it very long, but I am working on all the right things....sucking my stomach in, flexing my foot towards my face, trying to get that stretch in my achilles tendon....I'm "getting" it.  Standing, I've made the most progress there.  I will sound a bit like bragging here, but my standing bow is looking, well, pretty.  Yes, it looks very pretty!  My leg is way over my head, two shoulders in one line and I'm kicking and stretching equal 50/50.  Its amazing how far I've come!

Bonus Post: Week 5 with Jenny...halfway there

Happy Sunday! Well, it is for me, thats for sure. When I started Jenny Craig, I set a goal of a 35 pound loss. However, I also set a "mini-goal" of 20 pounds by September 20th for my 20 year high school reunion. Well, this morning my weigh in after 5 weeks on the plan: 10.6 pounds GONE!
Halfway to my mini goal....and it feels good.
I'm off to trader joes for waters etc, then will be getting ready for my third day in a row of a double. Yikes. I'm just going to crank it out, back to back again..3:30/5:30. Hope I survive. :)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Day 56: Frank, Frank and Ash's first double....

I'm so tired I can hardly blog.  It hurts to type.  Ok, not really, but I am so wiped out, its crazy.
Today was a double for the second day in a row.  I did the 3:30 and the 5:30, both with Frank.  When I saw him on the schedule for those times, I did indeed plan it out that way on purpose.  I've only done two other back to back doubles and they were both "frank, frank", so I figure don't fix it if it ain't broken!  Ashley was over at her dads today, but he wasn't feeling all that well, so she called me bored out of her mind and asked if I would go pick her up and bring her to yoga with me.  I said "you know I'm doing a double right?".  To my surprise she said yes and I'll do it with you.  So Ashley had her first double today.  During her first class she did something to her neck in rabbit.  Frank was really nice and did some backbends with her after class, he said it would help.  She was a trooper and stayed in the room for both classes, but she did have to sit out quite a few postures for the second class.  She said she was just tired out.  
Me, well, I held up just ok.  The first class was solid, but the second class was very challenging both mentally and physically.  During half moon in the second class my inner dialog was something like this "oh my god, i'm not going to be able to do the second set, and i'm not even in the posture all of the way because i can barely hold my arms over my head...holy shit, i think my arms are going to fall off...and how the hell am i going to be able to keep them up and do the back bend...oh shit, ouch, oh shit." and blah blah blah.  After making it through half moon, things calmed down a bit and I just got into a flow.  I was tired but I just focused on breathing.  By the time I hit the deck for the floor series, I was seriously hanging on by a thread.  I'm not sure if it was my body giving up on me, or my mind.  I think maybe it was more mental than physical.  I think my body is capable of far more than I think it is, and perhaps I get in my own way.  I'm scared to death about tomorrows double.  I have all sorts of negative self talk going on tonight.  "I'm exhausted, I don't think I can do it tomorrow.  I'm not going to make it through that second class".   So I will get a good nights sleep tonight, go weigh in at Jenny Craig tomorrow, do my shopping for the week and get nice and hydrated and then do the 3:30/5:30 back to back combo tomorrow.  I will do my best to clear my mind when I go in there and try to just breathe, have no expectations and let my body do what it will.
Almost there....

Friday, July 25, 2008

Day 55: The ecstasy and the Agony....

10 am with Dray...the ecstasy.  Had a solid, strong class.
6pm with Nalini....agony.  Not Nalinis fault, in fact she is a gentle peaceful teacher and is one of my favorites.  I have a special connection with her because we are exactly the same age with daughters that are the same age, and both single moms.  I just had a difficult class.  I did the best backbend of my life during half moon series and then by triangle I was hitting the ground...taking a knee.  Several postures I only did one set of.  My ears were jacked up bad.  After class, I couldn't hear very well.  
Bottom line:  Double completed for today and one class made up.  Two left to go.
I have no idea what time I'm going to go tomorrow and have no idea if I am splitting them apart or not.  I'm going to "play it by ear".  He he.  
Oh, I almost friend Jenn finally came (at 6).  I have been bugging her to come for months.  She hated it.  I mean really hated it.  Bummer.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Day 54: Happiness and Bowling

Today was crazy bowling night.  Bowling league from 6 to 8 (actually 8:30 tonight) and then race up for 9pm yoga class.  Yuko, our little flexible Japanese doll taught tonight.  I must confess I was not feeling the yoga love when I got there, I was dreading the late night class.  My stomach had been acting up all day (sorry, but it was very gassy) and I was in agony most of the class.  Try to do a 90 minute yoga class with your butt clenched and your stomach gurgling and burbling.  Insanity.  Other than that problem,  I felt strong and had no issues.  Ashley was with me tonight and bailed 30 minutes in.  She doesn't normally leave so I was surprised.  She said she wasn't feeling well.  
I'm a little fearful of the upcoming weekend.  I have to pull doubles three days in a row.  My nerves are jangling and my mind is dreading.  I suppose my fear stems from my body just not being able to do that three days in a row.  I shouldn't worry though, because as long as I take it easy and listen to my body and stay hydrated, I should be just fine.  I am so strong right now, stronger than I have been in over ten years.  How cool is that?  
Why happiness in the blog title?  Well, because I am.  Happy that is.  Tonight at bowling I was wearing my "Choose Happiness" T-shirt from tees for change and one of my bowling partners looked at me and said "you do have to you know".  I said "what?" because I wasn't realizing he was referring to my shirt.  He said "choose happiness, you do have to".  I smiled and said "I know, and I am".  Looking back on some blogs where I am not feeling so happy, I see that the more I embrace this yoga and the more I commit and not miss any days, the easier it is to choose happiness.
Life is good.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Day 53: Crunch Time....and feeling very grateful

Today was 5pm class with Roberta.  I am really feeling the pressure now of having to do three doubles this weekend.  Yikes.  I'm taking Friday off and will do 10am and 6pm and then Saturday and Sunday I have not figured out what the heck I'm going to do about those yet.  Sunday will have to be a back to back double in the afternoon because of my Jenny Craig appt in the morning.  Saturday I may split them up, however, the times change that day and there are less classes available for me to chose from.  Bummer.  
One of my coworkers that was introduced to Bikram through somebody I brought not too long ago was in my class today.  It was awesome to see him there.  He was trying so hard and doing most things completely wrong.  Picture this:  Half moon pose:  His arms were totally bent he was kind of leaning forward, his feet apart, swaying a little and looking up at the ceiling.  It was all I could do not to giggle.  It was so cute.  I'll have to razz him a little tomorrow.  
On the "body" side I am feeling strong and have no major soreness.  My wonderful body is holding up quite nicely.  I am so grateful to be strong and healthy.  Speaking of grateful....I am also grateful for my daughter, my house, my great job, my family and all of my very wonderful friends.  I have such nice friends!  Yes Michelle and Shelley the two of you are at the top of that list!  

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Day 52: Hanging in there

The last 60 day challenge I did was alot easier on me mentally than this one.  This one is starting to wear me down a little.  I think its due to the number of doubles I have to complete between now and next Tuesday.  THREE!  
Today was 5pm with Dray and I had a decent class.  My spine strengthening series was pretty solid and I was able to do all of the postures to the best of my ability without feeling tired, sore or overheated.  It was very humid in there today, but not too hot, so even though i was soaking wet from the humidity, the heat was not bad at all.
I have nothing exciting to report for day 52.  Its been a tough couple of weeks for me with the dog and I'm feeling a little blah right now.  I'll bounce back, I always do.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Bonus Post: Week 4 with Jenny

I was so disappointed this weekend.  I went in with a 7.6 pound loss, hoping for a couple more pounds and actually gained three pounds.  My scale was showing an additional one pound loss all week and my clothes are getting baggy.  I just didn't understand it at all.  Oh well, I 'm not going to dwell, but just keep doing the program and see what happens next week.  I did eight yoga classes in seven days so it's possible my body was holding onto some water that morning for some odd reason.  My counselor measured me (they do that every four weeks) and I lost one inch from around my bust, one inch on the hips (yay!) and an inch on the other spots combined for a total of 3 inches gone after 4 weeks.  That was great news!  Sort of made up for the scale disaster.  Here's hopin' I'll have some great news next week. 

Day 51: Bouncing Back

I felt 92 all day at work....cringing and creaking every time I stood up from my desk.  However, once I got to yoga, my body started to bounce back.  Today was 6pm with Connie.  Ashley came with me and a lady from work, Lynn joined me for her first time.  Lynn is in her 50's but exercises every day and has maintained a very nice figure for years.  She did fabulous!  She only sat out twice...just one set on two different postures.  She really rocked it out for her first time.  I think she liked it too.  She might come back on Wednesday with me.
Ashley had a tough practice and I was feeling fine today.  Yesterday was my tough practice, so I really sympathize with Ash.  She's going to take the day off tomorrow, which means I'll be able to run over to 5pm with Dray.  Dray has been splitting his time between our studio and the Green Valley studio, so I just don't get to his class as often as I used to.  Glad I will catch him tomorrow.  I'm feeling much better after that class tonight.  Hopefully I won't feel 92 again all day tomorrow.  Hopefully I have worked through the soreness and will come out on the other side.  The body is an amazing machine, now isn't it?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Day 50: Dragging

Dragging myself to yoga....dragging physically.  Certainly a change from how great I felt mid week.  My fault though,  I stayed up too late both Friday and Saturday night this weekend and had a great time with friends.  I picked Ash up at 4 today and we went to the 5pm class together.  A girl that just got back from teacher training this spring was teaching, I've never had her before.  The class was not all that full, and there was static coming out of one of the speakers the whole time.  And for such a small class, almost half were brand new, in their first week.  Ashley said she wasn't "feeling the yoga" when we got there and she was dragging just like me.  In addition to being tired, my body was so damn sore today.  My lower back, my hamstrings, and my right knee.  All those parts felt stiff and sore today.  I was literally almost unable to do that first forward fold.  I felt and probably looked 100 years old going into the first set.  The whole class was difficult for me with my knee soreness, I could barely lock that knee.  I'm not sure why all of the sudden today it is sore.  I hope I can work through it OK for the next 10 days because I still have three doubles to pull out of my behind if I want to be on that 60 challenge plaque! 

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Day 49: More Paincakes....

12 noon class with Dray....and I got to hear his quote again "we aren't selling cheesecake here, we are selling paincakes".  He cracks me up.  I had a pretty good class.  I was in the small hot room and unfortunately, the cooler end of the room was packed out.  So I wound up on the left side by the humidifier, but I parked myself in the front row by the door.  Lucky for me, it was opened a few times by wonderful Dray.  Michelle, another instructor was behind me and has a very nice practice.  Nalini, an instructor as well was in there too.  The class had a great energy and I really enjoyed having Dray again.  Its been a couple of weeks I think so I'm glad it worked out this way.
Well, tomorrow I will hopefully get to two classes and then I will only have two doubles left after that.
I can't believe there are only 11 days left!  Wow.  I am pretty sure I'm going for 90 days, but my studio just threw a monkey wrench into my plans in the form of changed class times.  Not sure if it will work out with bowling night now.  I can still do it if I get there every other day and make up bowling nights by pulling a double every weekend until bowling is over.  I think it will be well worth it, especially to keep myself on track with my weight loss goals.  Tomorrow I weigh in for the end of week 4.  I'm hoping to see a good number, maybe something close to a ten pound total loss.  That would be great!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Day 48: Change of Plans

Well, I went to the 5pm class with Frank tonight.  I had a pretty good class except for standing bow pulling posture tonight.  I could not seem to get in it and actually stay in.  I was falling out falling out.  Arrgh.  Oh well, I've never been strong on balance, so when I do stay in, its a nice treat.
I was going to come home, empty the dishwasher, shower, put around the house and watch more episodes of Lost (I am in the middle of season 3 right now.  Great show!).  However, I just got a text from a friend, "texas hold 'em at my house 8pm!"  Eeek! Its 7:11, I am eating my Jenny Craig and then need to hurry and hop in the shower quickly.  Not going to miss cards with good friends!  Lucky for me he lives a couple of miles from here....
that being said, I gotta go!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Day 47: Uneventful, thank God

The coast is clear.  That's how I felt sitting on my mat right before class, surveying the yogi's and yogini's waiting for class with me.  No invasion of my sanctuary with ex boyfriends and their new girlfriends.  Yay.
Today was 6pm with Frank in the small room.  I went and picked up Ashley from her dads and she parked herself right in front of the door.  She likes that spot in the small room, who doesn't?  If and when the teacher opens the door you get that nice blast of cool air.  I personally don't like to be right in front of the door because I am soaked by the time it is opened and I get chilled.  Ashley said she had a tough time today.  She seemed a little disappointed so I just reminded her that's why this yoga is interesting.  Your body is different every single day and you never know when you are going to get that rockstar class or just struggle your way through it.
I did fine.  I was not as strong as I was yesterday during my first class of the double.  Nothing exciting happened, and for today I will say that's good.  What a week.  Well, I'm just very thankful I didn't miss any days and even got a double in.  I need to make up three more classes.  Sunday looks like a good day for a "split" double....maybe roll on into the noon class with Dray (haven't had a Dray class in forever it seems) and then come back around 5 or 6 for round two.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Day 46: A double, two friends, a daughter and an ex

Holy crap.  Where do I start with this one?  At the beginning I suppose.  Here goes:  I did a double today.  Yippee!  I took the 5pm and 7pm with Frank.  My daughter asked her dad to drop her off for the 7pm and he agreed, so she showed up at 6:30.  Yay!  She had a great class and said she is jazzed to come so many days this week.  She feels great.  The second thing that happened was my ex boyfriend and I finally ran into each other after 7 months of successfully avoiding each other at yoga.  He had a female friend with him to take the 7pm class together and sort of acted like he didn't see me (maybe he didn't, who knows) so I went over and said hi.  I was glad in a way that it finally happened, it was inevitable and of course its going to happen when I'm on the second class of an intense double and feel like a train wreck!  Oh well, what do ya do.
The next thing was two friends of mine were coming to 7pm yoga to try it for the first time.  Well, they lasted about 30 minutes, rolled up their mats and hightailed it out of there.  I haven't talked to them yet.  One of them works with me so I'll go bug her tomorrow and give her a hard time.
How did I do on my double?  Well, my first class I felt incredibly strong.  I had the best class I've had in a long time.  Second class, not so much.  I was (understandably) a little shaky from unexpectedly running into the ex (I say unexpectedly because he works at night) and I was also a little shaky in the legs second time around.  I did all the postures though and even rocked out a very solid, very respectable standing bow.  Frank gave me a "beautiful Michelle".  He's so nice.  Love a Frank class.  
So what's in store for tomorrow?  Well, just a nice little 6pm class in the small hot room.  Just one class tomorrow.  I'll pull another double over the weekend.  Ashley wants to go again and needs me to pick her up, so we'll roll on into the 6pm.  Ashley asked the front desk who is teaching and they told her Frank.  So she is very excited.  Frank pays special attention to her and she loves it.  Hey, whatever gets her to yoga!
So to end this post, I've got to just say "Is it just me, or is the past hitting me over the head with a baseball bat this week?"  I ran into the sister of another ex boyfriend from seven years ago Monday night.  Then bam, two nights later my most recent ex shows up with his new gal.  Yep, baseball bat.  Good thing I have a secret weapon.  I have learned how to just...........breathe.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Day 45: A beautiful dream

Today was 5pm class with Roberta.  The class went by so a dream.  I was almost surprised to find myself in final savasana.  I felt very strong today and had minor breakthroughs in a couple of postures.  In standing bow pulling posture I kicked up further than I had ever kicked up before and got a cramp in my calf.  I was like "yes! a cramp, means working past my comfort zone!"  Who gets excited over a cramp?  A yogini I guess.  In locust posture I really worked on locking out my knees and kind of really stretching my legs back.  Hard to explain, but I was making adjustments as the dialog was happening and things were starting to make sense.  
15 more days to make 60.  Which means 4 of those days have to be doubles for me to make it.  Yikes.

I can do it!  (Thanks Shelley, Michelle and Karen for encouraging me, if you aren't giving up on me, how the heck can I give up on myself!!)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Day 44: A blast from the past

Today was 6pm with Frank.  Ashley came with me again....her third day in a row! Yippee!
She felt great and wants to go more this week.  She'll be going to her dads tomorrow, but I told her if she can get him to drop her off at the studio, I'll bring her back to him after class.  I'll cross my fingers that she gets there a couple more times this week.  I have her all next week, so she'll get to go plenty then.
The class today was smokin' hot.  I was in the front row (it was the small room) and it was pretty crowded.  I had a decent class, but did struggle internally with the heat.  Plus my mind was a little distracted.  Ten minutes before class, sitting in the hall talking to a woman who I always say hi to we finally realized we knew each other from somewhere else.  She had her 18 year old daughter with her and Ashley was with me.  She looked at Ashley and said "you look familiar".  Then I looked at her and her daughter and I said "I think I know you from somewhere other than yoga".  We couldn't figure it out, but it was on the tip of my tongue.  I walked over to the front desk and looked at the sign in sheet.  I walked back over and said "Kim, I know where i know you from.  I dated your brother 7 years ago".  Then there was all of the "Oh!" and "look how much your daughter has grown up!"  Her daughter is 18, but was 11 last time i saw her.  Ashley was only 5.  Talk about a blast from the past!  

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Day 43: Mother and Daughter part dos

Ash and I attended the 5pm with Frank tonight. Ashley said she felt weird again, but she did seem to do better today. Its been 3 weeks for her, so she's adjusting to the heat and humidity again. I had a solid practice, nothing special but solid nonetheless. A cool thing happened after class. There were two new girls (on their fourth class) right behind me and one of them asked how long I'd been practicing when we were in the locker room. I told her a little over a year and she said "I was watching you guys in the row in front of!" I told her I was a train wreck when I first started, couldn't even get my foot into my hand for standing head to knee. Hopefully I gave her some hope! Believe me, I was a mess, starting out with no natural talent (i.e: gymnastics or dancing...they seem to have a leg up on the poor saps like me). :)

Tomorrow Ash and I will hit the 6pm together. Oh boy the small hot room! Yikes!

Bonus Post: Jenny works in spite of me

Ok, so today was the big weigh in for the end of week 3 on Jenny Craig. Wow, those three weeks flew by! In spite of my best attempts to sabotage myself, I saw GREAT results on the scale today! I lost 3.2 pounds last week for a grand total of:

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Day 42: Mother/ Daughter Day

Today was "hanging out with Ashley day".  We went to the 3pm class with Frank and then home to shower and get ready to go hang out at Town Square, a very hip outdoor mall that just opened.  The Frank class was pretty good.  Only six students (including me and Ash) were there.  Ashley had not been to yoga in awhile and struggled towards the end.  She had to lay down because she said it felt like her "heart was shaking" after doing a sit up.  Her vision blurred and she couldn't breathe through her nose then her body decided to cramp up.   Mind you I can't get this kid to hydrate properly before class, try as I may.  Short of opening her mouth and pouring the water down her throat myself, all I do is nag nag nag at her to get some water in her and she just forgets.  That was probably part of her problem, and as I type this she is sitting here watching me saying "your so mean mom!".  He he.  I did that on purpose.  Maybe blogging about it will shame her into hydrating properly tomorrow when we go back!  Ha ha!
Real quick I'll catch you up on last nights class:  I went to Frank's 5pm happy hour and had a pretty good class.  I was a little low on balance but felt more flexible than ever.  In fact, I made some progress in getting my forhead alot closer to the floor in separate leg stretching posture.  Today I was so close that Frank got all excited and said "touch it Michelle, touch your forehead, touch it!" I got even closer and he said "did you feel that! you went down two more inches!".  For the first time ever I realized that I will get my forehead on the floor (which really seemed impossible a month ago, I was so far away).  The key is I've been able to finally get my legs further apart and still have them locked out.  When I very first started this yoga those poor legs used to shake like the dickens and were too tight to get them very far apart.  I think I will get that forehead to the floor very soon!  Like during this challenge soon!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Day 41: Disappear

So when I disappear for two days, I'm either too busy to blog, or too busy sabotaging myself. I tend to do that...sabotage myself and that's exactly what happened. So I can either get upset and throw in the towel (because now I will not make 60 classes in 60 days, I have too many to make up- 5!) or I can pick myself up off the muddy floor and try, try again.
I'm not surprised this happened, I am on the third week of Jenny Craig, and normally some internal trigger goes off after two weeks.....some sort of crazy alarm bells....and I crash and burn with my eating (and workout) plan. It doesn't take an expert to figure out that I've been holding onto this extra "padding" for over 10 years for a reason. So there is some part of me that panics whenever I take steps to release the padding.
So tonight I will be going to 5pm class and then picking up my daughter. I will not look back, I will not be angry at myself. Instead, I will forgive that *scared* part of me, be gentle with it, try to understand it and continue forward to my goals. In the past, I would be angry at myself, mentally flog myself for days and then throw in the towel and continue to make things worse.
Tomorrow I will let you know how the 5pm goes tonight and fill you in on tomorrows class. I'm not going to worry about "doubles" and catching up right now. I'm just going to worry about continuing to make it there every day.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Day 38: Yoga with a Friend

Today I went to 6pm class with my friend Kim.  She did a 30 day challenge back in Feb, then stopped going to yoga to train for a marathon.  Well, the marathon is over and today was her first day back to yoga.  She did awesome!  She is so strong.  Frank was teaching (yay! always love a Frank class) and he kept the room (the small evil hot room) from smokin' us out like what happened to me Sunday with Ball.  I had a strong floor series and felt so....good!  I was even looking at myself in the mirror and instead of being critical, I felt good about what I saw today.   I saw beautiful toned shoulders, big brown eyes and a strong body with a ever thinning middle.  Usually I just focus on the junk in the trunk and the big thighs.  What a first!  And you know what, after class a girl that I see often was leaving the locker room, and as she was leaving she looked at me and said "you look great by the way!".  Wow!  I don't look any different than when she saw me yesterday or the day before.  See what feeling good about yourself can do....its contagious!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Day 37: Round 2 with Ball and Free Therapy

Ball taught the 5pm class tonight. I must confess, when I walked in and saw he was teaching, I about crapped my pants. Yesterday he turned me into a quivering shaking puddle of yoga carnage. The only thing that saved me was the fact that he was teaching at 5, so it was in the big (read: not as hot) room. The class actually went fine and I made it through all of the postures. The other yoga champion, Alisa, was practicing in the front row. I didn't keep my eyes on myself the whole time, I let my attention wander over to see some of her postures. Absolutely beautiful! She really is amazing. I happened to look over after falling out of my own standing bow to see her fully locked out. All I can say is wow.
Sometimes when I am in yoga, I get the benefit of a physical practice combined with some free therapy. The therapy comes about when I have little mini revelations during class, or sometimes afterwards on the drive home.
So today I found two little therapeutic gems during my practice. The first thing I realized was this: I was having another "mediocre" practice and I realized, that like a drug addict needs their fix, I constantly hope for the high of that "rock star" practice. You know, the one where you rock it out, do some amazing (for you) postures and feel very strong. You leave that room feeling on top of the world. Well, like life, your practice is different everyday and you are not guaranteed a rock star practice, and you don't know when they are going to happen. The thing I realized was our breakthroughs don't happen during those sessions. The breakthroughs are happening little by little as we make it through our mediocre sessions and even our dripping puddle of carnage sessions. Those sessions are what make the rock star sessions possible. I appreciate all of them...good, bad, mediocre, its an amazing thing this yoga.
Little gem number two: sometimes our teachers tell us to smile at odd times, like in cobra. I always think, are you kidding, I'm just going to look like the joker, or at the very least constipated if I smile while in this posture! I get why they tell us that...trick your body into thinking everything is good, release those endorphins. I get it. Well, what I realized today is that I have been through three very difficult things in such a short time. Over the course of six months I've suffered through the most painful breakup of my life, had problems with my daughter (unrelated to the breakup) a couple of months later, and most recently the very sad 4th of July passing of my beloved dog. So I've been sad pretty much this whole year! I started thinking today in class that it needs to be time for me to be happy, to find some peace. Misery attracts misery, so perhaps, in time I can learn to just smile, to "act as if I'm happy" and won't be acting anymore.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Day 36: Still two behind

Today was the opposite of yesterday.  Yesterday I was strong physically but emotionally a mess.  Today I am numb emotionally and was a physical wreck.  I went with my friend Shelley to 12noon class.  Ball, a yoga champion who is visiting Las Vegas taught the class.  It was super super hot.  I was strong up until balancing stick and then I fell apart.  I sat out one triangle staggered back up for the remaining standing series poses but was panting out of control and sweating way more than I ever have.  I almost drowned myself in the posture right after triangle.  By the floor series I was done.  My ears were ringing, I was dizzy and weak.  I was up late last night, had trouble sleeping again.  
The plan was for Shelley and I to stay and do the 2pm class.  It was an advanced class open to all students.  Advanced is normally by invitation only.  I was not able to stay, I was too weak after the hot, humid, 12 noon class.  So my plans for a double were squashed and I am still two classes behind.  I really wanted this to work out today because I wanted to see what advanced looks like.  I knew I would not be able to do most of the postures, but I sure wanted to see everybody else doing them!  
So on non-yoga notes:  week 2 of Jenny Craig was over today and I am down a total of 4.4 pounds.  The house is quiet, empty and very strange without my dog to greet me.  I keep looking for her in my room, and I still expect her to be there when I walk in.  Today I am tired and sad and gloomy.  At least I'm not crying, but I kind of wish I was doing that instead.  I am currently doing laundry, watching TV and waiting patiently for the hours to pass so I can go to work tomorrow.....and I feel lonelier than I have ever felt in my entire life today.  Madison really was good company.  I miss her terribly.  Can't wait until my daughter comes home on Friday.  

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Day 35: Pouring out

I don't know where to begin with this post. As I type, I'm crying. I haven't really stopped crying since yesterday. My dog passed away last night. It all happened so quickly. She had been declining for a few months now, but what happened yesterday was so sudden, brutal, abrupt, traumatic. When I got home from yoga yesterday afternoon she was clearly not able to use her back legs hardly at all, they were getting stuck. I went to a BBQ for 4th of July for a couple of hours. I came home early because I had a feeling and when I got home she was unable to use her hind legs at all. I called around and found an emergency vet and after trying to explain while sobbing hysterically to this poor gal who answered she gave me directions. My daughter stayed behind at the BBQ and was going to get a ride home from one of my coworkers, David. I called David and told him I was bringing Madison to the vet and he said he would bring Ashley and meet me there. I brought Madison to the car and layed her in the back seat as carefully as I could. She let out an agonized howl that sounded like a human cry. I started to drive and kept reaching back to touch her but she wasn't moving. I didn't even get hardly a block away. She died on me right there in the car. I was absolutely hysterical, screaming "No! Madison, please! No!" but when I picked up her head she was gone. I called David and told him just to come to the house. I don't know why I'm writing this story on my yoga blog. I just need to I guess. I'm having a hard time processing what I went through...I feel so terrible, so bad for her, so sad....I can't get that howl out of my head or the way she felt in my arms when I was cradling her head, hoping against hope that she was just passed out. I have never seen anything die before and it affected me so profoundly. I'm just very thankful my daughter was not there for that part. She was so upset and could not sleep all night last night. She left to go to her dads today until next Friday and I'm glad because the house is so silent and so empty with Madison gone. I didn't want Ashley sitting around all week by herself when I'm at work.
Today I went to 1pm yoga. Connie was teaching and it was so fitting that it would be her. Connie is very spiritual, into energy and balance. She's older than the other teachers and is very gentle, very nice soothing peaceful energy. I shouldn't have been there, because I could not stop crying the whole class, but I knew I needed to do something other than sitting at home by myself. Lucky for me its so humid, hopefully nobody could see my tears. I was just pouring out onto my mat, sweat, tears sadness. It was washing down my face, running down my arms, like a sad rainy melody. I was very strong physically today, incredibly strong. My back injury from yesterday, gone when I woke up today. I pulled something yesterday, I was in so much pain I could hardly sit. But it was gone when I woke up. Perhaps Madison took my pain with her. I don't know, it's so strange. This morning when I was making coffee I thought I heard the tap tap tap of her nails on the tile and I just froze, the hairs on the back of my neck electrified, the force of my own mind wishing she was there I suppose. This year has been all about loss for me, the end of a relationship that needed to end, watching an animal I had grown to love deeply pass away, changes with my teenage daughter (teenagers break our hearts frequently it seems). So I just poured out all of that loss on my mat today....and I realized that today isn't enough. I can't pour it out and be done. There is too much healing left to do. I feel raw, exposed, turned inside out. I must confess, I also feel alone. I just keep telling myself, this too shall pass. All of it. My life is not going to stay this way forever, seasons change, people come and go, daughters grow up, blossom and find their way and everything comes full circle.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Day 34: Not good company

I'm sorry, I'm not very good blogging company tonight. This will be short. My dog is very sick and I have to take her to the vet tomorrow. Her hind legs stopped working today and its absolutely heartbreaking. It was after yoga. I went to 1pm with Frank, and when I got home.....well, I can't go into anymore detail right now its too upsetting. Of course the vet was closed today. Of course this had to happen today.
I also hurt my back today pretty badly the second to last situp, but I'll save those details for later. My dogs pain is much more important right now.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Day 33: My old friends....

Yoga fixes everything....if you let it.  Actually my personal opinion is that each person has to find something they truly believe in and when you find that it will change your life.  So its maybe not entirely the yoga, but how much you believe in it.  I really don't know how it happened, but yoga became the one thing in my life that I have been able to fully believe in with no doubts, no reservations, no looking back.  We all have our own demons, and to battle them we need something powerful.  Bikram yoga is powerful.
That being said, a steady, faithful yoga practice is like any other relationship- it has its ups and downs and requires diligence and work.  Although I believe passionately in this yoga, I'm not always feeling like some powerful, excited yogini.  I have my days.  Today was one of them.  For some reason my old friend angst decided to visit me a couple of days ago (see post where I'm spacing out with a angst ridden Coldplay song rattling around in my head).  Today, my friend negativity decided to peek around the corner and see how I was doing.  The heat was bothering me a little today and it was one of those days where the yoga felt a bit like suffering.  I wasn't feeling like a ball of energy.  Instead of accepting and acknowledging it and just trying to go with it, I succumbed to some negative thinking.  Once I hit the ground for the floor series, that's when my friend negativity started in on me.  "This is painful, do you really think you are going to keep this up for any length of time? And teacher training, who are you kidding Michelle, you wouldn't make 9 rigorous weeks of anything  You only last two weeks with anything and give up.  You suck....blah blah blah".  The interesting thing about all of this is the presence within me was quietly listening and not judging.  The presence was almost chuckling.  "Two weeks, how cute, she's been doing this yoga full force for over a year, you should celebrate that!" 
So after my 5pm class with Frank I left feeling good and positive.  Those old friends angst and negativity can come visit me, but I'm not going to invite them to stay.  They aren't all that fun to hang out with!
Tomorrow is a holiday so I'll have to go to class by 1pm since they have a short schedule.  I also am kicking around a cool idea for my Sunday yoga class(es) and I don't want to tell you yet in case it doesn't work out, but hopefully I will have a fun blog for Sunday that involves Shelley and two yoga champions!  :)
Happy Independence Day everybody and thanks for reading and leaving comments.  I always get a big smile on my face when there is one for me to read. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Day 32: Yoga Community and Brandy Believes

I found another blog (listed below, 60 in 60) and the woman doing the challenge started the same day as me!  What is even more cool, if you go back to my "love your camel" post you will remember I mentioned a t-shirt that was being sold at teacher training and I included a photo of the logo.  Well, the person writing the blog I found goes to the studio that came up with the shirt design and sells them.  Not only that, she has been reading Jenn's teacher training blog (the other blog listed below) just like me.  She also is going to teacher training someday like me.  She is going sooner (next spring- good luck K!).  The bikram yoga community is awesome.  Anywhere you go to practice the people are amazing, the teachers are amazing, I just love it.
So back to my challenge.  Today was 5pm with Brandy.  For those of you new to my blog, Brandy is one of our best teachers.  She has an amazing practice herself and really lays it on us when she is teaching.  She is young, beautiful, nice and a HARDASS.  The thing is, she brings tough love to the room with kindness.  She teaches how I would picture Rajasharee teaching, you get your ass kicked but at the end of the class you still love the teacher.  Brandy also teaches the advanced class, is involved with preparing people for the yoga regional championships and just got back from helping out at the last teacher training.  
So tonight I got a good dose of Brandy, and boy did I need it.  I worked as hard as I could and really pushed it to the edge.  I kicked out in standing head to knee and she coached me to start bending my elbows down.  I was thinking "really? I'm just starting to kick out, and not every time".  Then I realized after class what was so wonderful about that.  Brandy believes I will bend my elbows down and touch my head to my knee.  I don't believe that.  I can't see it.  I don't have that kind of faith in myself.  That's what Brandy brings into that room, belief in each and every one of us, even when we don't believe in ourselves.  In standing bow pulling pose she coached me to get my body down, touch the mirror, body down Michelle, body down.  Here I am thinking "wait, I am just trying to see if I can beat my norm of staying in this thing for 15 to 20 seconds, I didn't think I should be trying to find my edge yet."  Again, I get all stuck in my mind and in my habits.  So I did what she said and went to my edge.....and fell forward!  I have never fallen forward out of standing bow.  Always to the side or to the back.  She said "good, that's what you want".  There were only 10 of us tonight, no newbies, so we were all getting this kind of coaching from her all while she is doing perfect dialog.  It was amazing.  
Laying in the 2 minute savasana, wiped out from the standing series, I was thinking to myself "hmmm, my post can be labeled something like 'feeling like a wet rag' or 'beat up' or 'wiped out'" but that is not how I felt after class.  I felt....rejuvenated.  

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Day 31: Payin' it forward

Tonight was 5pm with Dray.  I walked into the locker room only to be greeted by none other than Shelley.  I was a little confused because she said "I've been waiting for you!" as she was getting her yoga clothes on, but at the same time she was already soaked to the bone.  That was cleared up quickly by her informing me she was doing a double and was between classes.  I said "cool! I'll go set up by you!" and scurried off to put my mat down by hers.  She was there for me on Saturday for my double (second class), so I was thrilled to be there for hers today!
The class was humid but not hot again (maybe its just me?) and I had a decent practice.  I was sending  good energy vibes in Shelley's direction and tried to catch her eye a couple of times to smile at her.  She was pretty much in her zone though and rocked out her double.  She's amazing!  If you'd like to read her story, visit our studio website here:  Student of the week- Shelley.
Speaking of being in a zone, I had one of those practices where I just kind of spaced out. I had a song stuck in my head, its off Coldplay's new album and its called Lost!.  It was playing over and over in my head and before I knew it, Drays voice sounded kind of far off and the class just flew by.  I have no idea how I did in any of the postures.  It was really strange.  At least I did the postures I was supposed to do.  A few months back I had the same thing happen to me and for some strange reason, I flipped over to set up for cobra and Dray (of course it had to be Dray!) got quiet so I looked up to see why he wasn't doing the dialog for cobra and the entire class was sitting on their knees, ready for half tortoise staring at me.  I quickly got up and Dray started laughing and so did I.  I couldn't help it, it was just too damn funny.  Guess I liked the spine strengthening series so much I wanted to do it again!  I'm sure he still remembers that story.  Its one for the books.  
Michelle A, if you are reading this, Shelley and I miss you and we will all have to meet up at your new studio and take a class with you!  I would love to see how the green valley studio turned out.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Day 30: Halfway there (+2)

Ok, so I just did 28 classes in 30 days.  Cool.  Tonight was 5pm with Dray.  It was humid as all get out (again) and was quite a challenge. Because it was Dray it was crowded, which was cool because I love the energy that a nice crowded Dray class brings.  And guess what!  The guy who went to training with a busted knee was practicing right behind me!  That was cool.  I've got to get to one of his classes.  (Crap, was his name Mark?  I'll have to figure that out!)
I felt pretty good today.  The back was stiff but not painful.  I feel like I have a second wind to go full steam ahead and not only do the next 30 days but make up the two I still need to make up!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Bonus Post: Jenny Week One

Yes, this is a yoga challenge blog.  But I just want to share how I did my first week on Jenny Craig.  First of all, working full time and doing yoga everyday does not leave much time for cooking, so having everything ready and prepared aside from salads and veggies was amazingly convenient.  Secondly, I would have thought that following this structured meal plan every day would make me feel like I had no control over things.  Quite the contrary.  I am feeling very empowered by the food plan.  I finally feel like something that has been haunting and plaguing me for over ten years is now something I can handle and change in a positive way.  A few times I was starving and would look at my little dinner and think, "no way, I'm too hungry, this is not enough".  But it always was. 
I lost 3 and 1/2 pounds.

Day 29: A very humid but non hot room

Not sure how this happened but the room was totally humid, I mean I was drip drip dripping like a faucet, but it wasn't hot at all.  It was the strangest thing.  They must be having equipment issues right now.
Its funny because I had visions of doing a double both Saturday and Sunday. Of course that was before Saturday. Once I actually did the double yesterday, I was like "there is no way I'm doing another one tomorrow". So I'll be doing one next weekend but splitting up the two classes I'm sure. A late morning and late afternoon class works very well.
Today I went to 4pm with Chris. He was funny today with his dialog. Just brain farting left and right. Saying "look back, fall back, way back" during a posture that doesn't call for it in the dialog and then messing up triangle so badly he started literally saying "blah blah blah, change!". It was hilarious. He was so very gracious about it and joked that he was a blond and it was all good because there was only about six or seven of us in there with no beginners, so we all know what to do anyway and were amused by his dialog mess ups. I am sure its difficult to do in the first place so it was cute that he had an off class. He just got back from training and has already taught about 28 classes. I've had him twice before and he is really doing great. You can tell today he was just jacked up, he said it was from taking a John Salvatore class today at 1. He also mentioned that John will be teaching Sundays at 1 for awhile, so I will be sure to try and catch his class. I hear he is amazing, a senior teacher known throughout the Bikram community and we are lucky to have him here right now. I think I overheard that he is here because he's in Jersey boys down on the strip, but don't quote me on that.
My lower back pain came back today. Bummer. I'll have to see how I do this week. Cannot miss any classes! Already have two more to make up still!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Day 28: My First Back to Back Double

Ah, where to begin.  Well first of all let me just tell you right up front that I made it through both classes.  I planned pretty well and that helped.   Its pretty intense to do three hours of hot yoga and I can't imagine being at a point where I could have a great class someday and just say "I think I'll stick around for the next one!"
I went to the 3pm and the 5pm and Frank was teaching both classes (good choice Michelle!).  I packed well....two yogi toes, two yoga outfits, an outfit for after a hand towel, washcloth and bath towel, two smart waters (one frozen) and my 32 oz purple water bottle with half vitamin water, half water and another container with the same mix.  I actually packed too much water, but I was for sure just being extra careful, as I really seem to sweat more than all the other women and maybe even more than some of the men. 
My first class went fine.  I felt pretty strong and overall had a good practice.  I went out to the lobby, purchased some salt pills and took two.  I did that because for some reason my mind went into a little bit of panic mode in between classes.  I was thinking, oh no, what if I cramp up, or just can't make it?  I also drank some vitamin water, changed and sat for awhile trying to Psyche myself up.  Two girls I know, Shelley and Leslie showed up for the 5pm class and layed their mats one on either side of me.  I was so happy about that because I told both of them I was doing my first double and I could feel them giving me energy.  
The start of the second class I freaked out a little.  My shoulders were killing me in pranayama breathing and in half moon my feet felt weird....a little numb or something.  Awkward and eagle just about killed me and as I was drinking water during party time I thought to myself "what the f@#k did you get yourself into?"  My muscles were screaming at me.  I somehow made it through the rest of the class only sitting out one camel.  A couple of times I caught Shelleys eye in the mirror, with what I'm sure was a look of complete and total agony and she smiled at me.  Thank God for Shelley!  Frank was on a roll and finished both classes in 85 minutes.  I must say, laying in final savasana after the second class I thought to myself, "bless you Frank, I don't know what I would have done if somebody had gone over".  I would've made it I'm sure, but the whole thing was harder than I thought it would be.  I really had to focus and breath during that second class.  It wasn't my mind that was freaking out, rather my body was a little shocked and reacted with tired, sore muscles. 
Would I do a double again?  Well, I have two classes to make up still, so I have no choice.  Will I do them back to back?  Maybe.  But the one time I did a double before I split them up , 11 am and then came back for 5pm and I had no issues.  It felt like doing class on two different days.  I received some advice that I would be able to go deeper into the postures that second class and for the record I want to say I actually went deeper in the first class.  Interesting.  I suppose I was too tired to push the edge and didn't do as well second class.  Oh well, I made it and that's the important thing!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Day 27: Must play catch up

I was at a point where I was going to give up on the challenge.  Due to unforeseen circumstances, I am behind a total of THREE classes now.  I did go tonight, at 5pm (a fantastic Frank class) and will see what I can do to catch up a little this weekend.  I have no idea if I will in fact make 60 classes in 60 days, but I am going to try.
Tonight, after having two days off, I was a rockstar.  I held standing bow pulling pose longer than I ever have.  I had an incredible balancing stick (got a "nice Michelle!" from Frank) and rocked out a few other postures.  Its very interesting how taking a day or two off after so many days in a row makes such a huge difference.  
So the plan for tomorrow is to go at either 1 and 3 or at 3 and 5.  This will be my very first back to back double. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Day 24: A class behind

Well, one and a half classes behind technically speaking (got pulled out halfway through class on day 2).  I missed yesterday.  I was ill.
I'm better today and went to 5pm with Frank.  I had just a so so class, wasn't feeling that great still.
In order to make the 30 by Monday I will have to do my makeups this weekend.  Oh boy!
Wish me luck please.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Day 22: Jenny, No more pain and a whole new world

So today I went to see Jenny.  Starting weight: 191.  My goal is to lose 20lbs by September 20th.  Then to continue on and get down to 155.  I was very reluctant to try Jenny because of the whole pre packaged food thing.  However, with work and yoga combined I am putting in 12 hour days and this will actually help me out immensely.  Much to my relief, the lady who signed me up today also explained how they do wean you off the Jenny food eventually and teach you to be on maintenance on the correct amount of calories eating all food you prepare yourself.  I actually did not know that.  You can still buy food there if you want of course, and even just buy maybe like breakfast and or lunch for 5 days to keep yourself in line.  Whatever works.  Due to my Bikram practice she started me on 1500 calories per day as opposed to 1200.  So we will see how that works.  After my appointment I went to the store to get my salad and fruit and veggies and I am all set.  Ready to start tomorrow.  I am actually excited and well, relieved.  Relieved that I am doing something about this monkey that has been on my back (well, more like my butt and hips judging from this "before" picture) for 10 years.  I've always been up and down with my weight my whole life, but the last 10 years has just been up.
Now back to yoga.  First off let me just say that I have committed to myself to continue on to 100 days instead of the 60.  I will also keep this blog up the whole time and here is why: A couple of days I wanted to skip and do a double another day.  Then I thought about not blogging that day and having to explain my stupid excuse to the www.  I didn't like that at all and dragged myself there and of course was happy I did.  So I guess this just keeps me accountable.  Being a single person, perhaps I need that a little.  Hey, if it works than I'll use it!  
Today I went to 4pm yoga with Chris.  I had a pretty good class aside from coming out of a posture a few times (bad Michelle!).  My back soreness is GONE!  Wooo hooo!  It left and now that its gone a whole new world has opened up back there.  Suddenly my forward fold is different.  My face is actually about to go below my knees and I can press my face to my legs elbows bent and just about lock my knees.  In addition, the last stretching posture where you walk your hips back left and right and left and right is a completely different posture for me now.  I've always been able to lock my knees and get my heels off the ground but it stopped there.  Now I am able to start getting my stomach on my thighs a little.  I pull and pull and try to keep pressing my stomach down and then the elbows start to bend down towards the ground on either side of my calves.  I have never achieved anything near that.  Obviously my lower back opened up.  I guess I had what can be called a breakthrough.  Awesome!