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!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Day 21: Craig Villani Seminar

Wow! What can I say.  If ever you get a chance to go to a Bikram seminar, do it!  Craig was amazing.  First off let me start by saying I was very stupid and forgot my camera.  I was very upset about that.  However, Toni Jo (an instructor) was taking photos and I asked her if I could have them.  She said yes.  So if she delivers, I will add them to this post.  
The format of the seminar was very much like I imagine teacher training might be.  We were in the big yoga room and all sitting on mats/towels.  I wore comfortable clothes and brought yoga clothes for the class at the end.  The room was slightly heated and the fans were on the whole time.  It was a little warm still (humidifier was off though).  Unfortunately for me, I sweat the minute I walk into the studio, my body says "oh! I know where we are, lets go!"  So I had to suffer through some sweat marks on my shorts and I appeared to be the only one with the problem.  I panicked about it at first, was embarrassed then gave up.  By giving up I mean I just figured that is one thing I cannot change about myself and I let it go.  
Craig had a headset on, was up front at the teacher podium and started off talking about the different kinds of yoga.  Which was really cool, because I struggle with certain aspects of myself right now that I'm having difficulty changing (and these things need to be changed) so when he talked about karma yoga my ears perked right up.  It made me realize that I need to start thinking about my practice as more than just the 90 minutes in the room and let it affect other areas of my life in a positive way.  After his talk, he started in on the pranayama breathing.  Very informative.  He talked about how you should be thinking in your head "so" and "ha" as you inhale and exhale and shape your throat to make the "so" sound.  Good stuff.  Then we stood up and did the breathing and he walked around and gave us more tips.  Next he did half moon in the same format.  Demonstrated, spoke about it and then we all did it.  The thing I got from his talk on half moon that I didn't already know was to keep reaching for the ceiling while pushing your left hip to the side as you bend right.  I guess I more picture that I'm supposed to reach for the wall.  But you don't, you reach for the ceiling and you stretch up and over and that keeps you from collapsing.  So cool.  Great tips on the forward and backward bending also.  Yuko, a teacher, went up and demonstrated back bend.  She is very bendy and he made a very cool correction with her.  Hopefully I can get Toni Jo's pics, because I know she snapped Yuko.  Anyway, he was having her lift up more through her chest and go more up and over and it compromised some of her depth, but you could see the change in her form.  Awkward and eagle he just talked about, we didn't have to do.  Then he segwayed right into standing head to knee.  That was done in the format where he went over it and then we all did it.  I was having a hard time just staying in part one, so finally I just stood and watched everybody else trying to get their head to their knee.  A lot of the teachers and students just had beautiful postures.  It was nice.  After hearing him talk about that one, it helped me to listen to the transitions after you kick out as I don't really ever kick out and am unsure of the next steps when I do get there.  I also realized I have got to really focus on evenly distributing my weight over my entire foot.  My foot right now wobbles.  Standing bow was the same format but with a student going up and demonstrating first.  He was correcting her as she was in it.  It was awesome because her name is Danielle and she has a gorgeous bow.  Looking at that bow, I would think, yep, shes done, that looks good.  Yet he was showing her how she can take it to her edge and get closer to that ultimate locked leg kicked in the air, and helped her with her shoulder to chin alignment.  It was awesome.  It really made me realize that even the people who look fantastic in the postures are not done.  You are never done!  Its amazing.  He went through the rest of the postures just talking about them and having a student come up and then triangle was in the half moon format again where he talked and then we all did it together.  He was amazed because he said he always has to correct everybody with their arms.  When they tilt their arms, the move their body over and collapse.  We don't do that because our instructors are diligent and constantly demonstrate the correct way to move only your arms and stretch up and stretch down.  He thought we all looked pretty good in our triangles!  Yay us!  
Lunch was a nice raw food affair catered in by a student.  She made these wraps, they were like green leafs (some kind of lettuce I'm sure) with beets and nuts and some other stuff chopped up in it.  Then there were these bite sized peach cobbler things for dessert and fresh fruit.  I took a wrap, a banana, and a bite sized dessert and thought "this won't be enough food".  But it was.  It was extremely good and very satisfying.
He finished off the standing series and then went through the whole cobra series, camel, then rabbit.  So he didn't do all of the postures, but the main ones.  After the floor series lecture/demonstration/doing cobra series (but not camel and rabbit) we got ready for the "master class" at 4pm.  King (the owner of the studio) went into the other small room that had a normal 4pm class about to start and brought them all, students and teacher over to take Craig's class with us.  So we have maybe 50 students in there total and there was alot of energy.  I am embarrassed to admit that he was taking it easy on us (as compared to teacher training I'm sure!) and his class wiped me out.  I hit the deck after triangle and had to sit on knees for a minute.  I'm also ashamed to admit I actually had to put my arms down for a quick second during second set of half moon.  I was just exhausted already by half moon.  How does that happen?  Its only two postures in!  My poor performance aside, it was an amazing class.
I'm so very glad I went.  It was well worth the money.  I really hope to be able to add pictures to this post soon!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Day 20: So uneventful I can't think of a snappy title!

Day 20: 5pm with Oksana.  Good class.  Still have back pain, so just rolled over on my side last two situps because it got pretty bad at the end.  Eek!
Short post, because nothing exciting happened!  Looking forward to the seminar tomorrow.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Day 19: A New Teacher Trainee and 306 classes

Today was crazy bowling night followed by 9pm yoga. I did much better at the yoga than the bowling. :)
The teacher was Chris who just got back from spring teacher training in Acapulco. Anybody reading this who was there, just think of the pics where everybody is in their tiger shorts. Find a tall very skinny guy with longish blond hair and that's Chris! I had a very nice class (the back is getting better, sore but not as sore) and felt like I really put forth good effort and had some solid postures. I must confess, I was spurred on by the number 306 which I'll get to in a minute. First let me just say that Chris taught a very solid class. He said it was his tenth time teaching and he had a great flow. Some postures I thought maybe were too short, others long on the setup, but when all was said and done he hit the 90 minutes beautifully. I told him after class that he had fantastic dialog (he did) and a very nice almost hypnotic voice. His voice is deep and has great inflection and at the same time, its soothing and hypnotic. Very nice. I enjoyed his class immensely and really felt like he was present and loved what he was doing.
OK, the 306. Before class I was talking to the kid at the front counter because I knew he took his very first yoga class recently. Being new to working at the studio, he is also new to Bikram completely. I asked him how many he had taken since his first and he said, I don't know let me check the computer. He looked it up and proudly said "FOUR!". He was so pleased and said he liked it so far. He said you come a lot, don't you? I said yes, but you probably can't see how many times I've come, can you? He said yes and looked up my account. He informed me that I took my first class with that studio on April 13 of 2007 and that tonight was class number 306. That's three HUNDRED and six! I just thought that was so darn cool. I must confess, it worked for me in some instances ("stay in this bow pulling pose, you can do it, you've done this 306 times now, come on!") and in some instances it worked against me ("you really should be kicking out in this standing head to knee by now for God's sakes! You've done the damn thing over 300 times! And could you wrap your God damn legs in eagle already! Come on loser!")
So I decided after the standing series was over to really just get that number out of my mind for the time being and just be in the room for that ONE session. You know, be present!
Still, I like that number. Its cool.
Seminar coming up Saturday....and hopefully some pictures (pics really spruce up a blog I must say!)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Day 18: Suck your stomach in

So I was a little worried before yoga about my back again.  It wasn't unwarranted, as everytime I got up out of my chair at work I would let out a little moan as my back creaked and stretched.  Oy vey.  The advice I got from teachers at my studio was to just really work on sucking my stomach in to support my lower back.  This advice I received because I made it clear that it wasn't sharp pains, just soreness.  Well, I must admit, sucking my stomach in did make a difference today.  I really focused on that during the standing head to knee (because you are leaning over with your foot in your hand, it does put pressure on your back) and also during the situps in the floor series.  So sore back and all,  I made it through practice today with a little less pain.  Dray was teaching again today (5pm again) and it was a nice class.  A little on the cold side, but nice nonetheless.  Funny, it was probably 100 in there, but thats too "cold" for me.  How ironic does that sound?  
Well, tomorrow is crazy bowling and 9m yoga day, followed by work on Friday (so 5pm yoga that day) and then the Craig Villani seminar all day Saturday from 9 to 5.  Then Sunday brings the new twist of Jenny into the picture.  I'm nervous, excited and a little full of dread all at the same time.  I understand the long road ahead of me to lose this weight (35 pounds is ultimate goal, 20 for my reunion in September) and that I have to commit for life if I want to stop bouncing around once and for all.  I know that, and have always known that, yet I have failed to get to a healthy weight even once in the last ten years.  Honestly, its gone by fast, so to actually type out TEN years seems crazy.  But there you have it.  I've been doing this yoga for approx 14 months now and have seen a lot of changes in myself mentally, physically and spiritually and I will only continue to grow as I continue to practice.  So I feel like this really is a good time to tackle this monkey that has been on my back for so long.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Day 17: More pain, compact like a Honda Civic, and a 20 year reunion

OK, so I'm a little worried.  Again, I had a session where I was in pain during yoga (lower back still).  Its a little unnerving.  It is bearable though and I've heard the expression "kill the pain with pain" so I worked as hard as I could through it.  Today was 5pm yoga with Roberta.  Roberta is this cute little instructor from Brazil with an adorable accent.  She was teaching here before during my last challenge and left around day 50 of my challenge to go home to Brazil.  Well, she just got back a week ago and will be here again for 4 months!  So today was my first class with her since her return and I was excited about it.  She went to training last fall and I was in one of her first classes when she was fresh out of training.  So I've seen her grow in her teaching, get her rhythm, her confidence and just plain hit her stride.  During the third part of fixed firm she likes to tell us to get nice and compact "like a Honda Civic".  It just sounds so cute coming from her accent and all.  
Today I also made the decision to go to my 20 year high school reunion this September.  I purchased the ticket.  Its a done deal.  I'm going to meet up with three girls that I used to hang around with so I don't have to show up totally alone.  It will be fun.  Of course now I am freaking out about my weight.  Isn't that what everybody does when its reunion time?  Freak out about their weight?  I do not want to go to my reunion in my current state.  I also know that even if I continue on to 90 days with my challenge, that is still not enough.  I have to be on a food plan.  If you've been reading my posts, you may be thinking "so hows that food journal coming along Michelle?".  If you've been reading my posts and you know me, then that statement is laced with sarcasm, because you'll be well aware of the fact that I have not been able to commit to any serious weight loss efforts for the last TEN years.  God I hate to even type that.  I feel weak and stupid to admit that.  I'm even to the point where I'm tempted to call Jenny.  Yes, I'm referring to Jenny Craig.  I'm so frustrated and so portion control challenged that it does sound appealing to just open something up that's already figured out for me, eat that and move on to the next task of the day.  I'm sitting here wondering "can I lose 20lbs by Sept. 20th?"  If I start this weekend, that's roughly 12 weeks.  If I were to lose 2 lbs a week, that would be 24.  Take 4 pounds away for the weeks I only lose 1 pound or so and its possible.  Maybe not probable, but possible.  Even losing 15 would make me feel a whole hell of a lot better.  I'm not quite sure why I am even hesitating at this point.  There's no shame in calling Jenny is there?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Day 16: We're not serving cheescake here, we're serving paincakes...

5pm with Dray.  Good stuff as usual.  I had a solid, very decent practice and felt great at the end.  The only issue I had was soreness in my lower back during the floor series after the spine strengthening postures.  The kind of soreness I was feeling doesn't usually hit me until later, or even the next day.  It was a little unsettling, but I kept going and just kept breathing.  It really bothered me the most in the sit ups.  You know, its funny because I truly believe this yoga is the secret to good health and even fixing injuries of all sorts.  So when I feel pain I start to doubt a little.  But only a little.  I keep going back, and my belief just gets stronger.  During the last 60 challenge in January my right knee started to hurt very badly around day 30.  Instead of freaking out, I just kept going.  By day 45 it let up and by day 60 it was gone!  I've always had pain in that knee since running cross country in high school, it comes and goes.  So I believe that what happened during my challenge is that I was working through layers of that pain and healing an old injury.  My knee is right as rain now!
The title of this post is me quoting something Dray said during practice today and I'm pretty sure he was quoting Bikram, or at least somebody at training.  He said it during fixed firm.  Good timing as that one gets a lot of people to go "oh hell no!" when they are new.  Something about the position of the ankles feet and knees sends some of these grown men screaming for the door (figuratively of course). 
Sometime during the floor series I had one of those random thoughts that are sort of like a mini epiphany float up and grab me.  It said "its not about you and Bill anymore, now its just about you.  You and your issues".  It was this strange little random thought out of nowhere that felt like, well, it felt like closure.  The breakup pain has really started to be less and less frequent and less intense and I've really been thinking about the fact that I have space.  Space to focus on me and my daughter and for once in my life not worry about men.  Its not like I've had a ton of relationships, but I feel like I've spent the last 17 years either in a relationship, recovering from one or trying to start one.  For once I'm not just "in between" relationships.  I'm just this spaciousness that has come into my life and its starting to feel comfortable.  
I'll have another order of paincakes please Dray!  Serve 'em up, I like 'em!

Bonus Post: Yoga Seminar with Craig Villani

Craig Villani is the director of education and teacher training for Bikram. He is coming to our studio Saturday June 21st and will be doing a seminar. The cost is $150 and the proceeds will be donated to the Yogis Unite for George fundraiser. I signed up and will be taking my camera. Hopefully I will be allowed to take some pictures during the posture clinic. Look for my post on this next Saturday!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Day 15- Not putting forth much effort

What can I say? Today was 3pm class with Kirk, the self proclaimed easy guy.  I was tired, sore and dehydrated and really had a yuck class.  I was just going through the motions and not trying at all today.  So tomorrow I will try and kick it into gear and hydrate myself really well at work before I go.
My lower back is very tight and a little sore.  I am halfway to halfway today!
Its actually going by fast!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Day 14: Yogis Unite

Today was the big Yogis Unite for George event at my yoga studio.  The picture to the right is, you guessed it, me with George himself.  Its not a flattering pic of me, but I wanted you to see George so I'll put vanity aside and post it anyway.  I've mentioned Georges story before, but I'll give you the short version:  George and Dray went in for their physical for teacher training and George was told his kidneys were failing and only working at 7%.  He is on dialysis and our studio is raising money to help him with his transplant surgery which is in July.  His sister is donating one of her kidneys.  Dray and Sharon, another teacher at our studio formed this non profit Yogis unite group and organized the whole fundraising effort.  It was amazing.
Ashley and I arrived there at 10am and worked at this table selling raffle and food tickets until 2:    
The whole parking lot was roped off and there were yoga demonstrations, a karate demonstration, some singing and Dray and the Heavyheads were DJ'ing.  The food tickets I sold were good for popcorn, water, cotton candy and zico.  The aroma cafe was selling hot dogs for 2 bucks.  There were booths for face painting and a dunking booth which Ashley loved.  She even got in it to be dunked because it was so hot.
I went to 4pm yoga class with Kirk and he was amazing.  He got us out of there in 80 minutes which I appreciated after being outside all day.
Pics:  Karate demonstration, Linda (a yoga student) singing, the dunking booth, advanced yoga demonstrations, Ashley getting her face painted

Friday, June 13, 2008

Day 13: Friday the 13th....

and my daughter is 13!  I guess I 'll just embrace the number 13 today.  I took a vacation day from work and Ash and I ran errands.  You know, got her braces fixed (a wire came out), oil change and wash for the car and a trip to the library.  After all of that we headed on over to 5pm yoga with fabulous Frank.  We both had a great class, but especially Ashley.  For the first time ever, she did every single posture, both sets.  She did not sit out for anything as is her habit.  She said she felt great and I was so happy for her!  She started practicing in Jan of this year and doesn't go all that often, so it was a huge breakthrough for her.  Of course I'm hoping that will mean she wants to come with me more often, but I don't push it on her.  I want her to fall in love with it all on her own, or not.  Its her choice.  I'll be honest, a secret little dream of mine is that we go to teacher training together when she turns 18.  Wouldn't that be awesome?
I promise a nice juicy post with lots of pictures tomorrow.  Ashley and I will be at our yoga studio all day for the big Yogis Unite event.  They will have yoga demonstrations and all sorts of food booths, a jumpy thing for the kids, the news will be there and other goodies!  Its going to be in the parking lot and Ashley and I volunteered to help out.  We will be selling tickets that can be used at the booths from noon to two.  After everything is over I'll be taking a yoga class in the late afternoon.  I expect to come home exhausted, maybe a little tan and alot happy.  

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Day 12: Tony Jo the Tiger

Already my midsection is starting to feel a little, well, thinner.  Yay!
Tonight was bowling night again.  So the work all day, mad dash up to the house to pick up my daughter, mad dash to bowling at 6pm then mad dash to yoga at 9 routine was repeated.  Tonight was not bad though, partially because I took a vacation day tomorrow and I know I can sleep in.  Tony Jo taught the class tonight and was wearing the famous "Bengal tiger" yoga shorts.  At teacher training alot of students wear those because Bikram always talks about how we need to use our "English bulldog determination" and our "Bengal tiger strength".  I had a pretty decent class with Tony Jo and her tiger shorts.  I felt bad for my daughter though, she had a tummy ache from eating chicken wings at the bowling alley and she did yoga with me at 9 in complete misery.  She was a trooper and stayed in the room even though she said she vomited a little in her mouth.  eeewww!  

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Day 11: "My Brandy's back and you're gonna be in trouble!"

Hey la, hey la, my Brandy's back!  Brandy is a super rockin', young, very awesome teacher.  She is not only a GREAT teacher who pushes us (and is nice about it!) but is GREAT at the yoga herself and also teaches the advanced class.  Brandy is very encouraging and I always want to work hard and with integrity even more than normal when I am in her class.  Its funny because I was working hard tonight and had a couple of pretty decent standing bow poses and I almost wanted to yell out "Brandy! Look at me! Look at me! I'm in standing bow for 30 seconds!"  You know, I've always had teachers pet issues and I suppose there is no reason that would change as an adult!  I was always teachers pet in school when I was young (we are talking elementary school) and even when I stopped striving to be the pet (high school) I was still a very good student and very well behaved to boot.
I'm excited that Brandy is back.  That also means the trainees are back and I cannot wait to take their classes.  Brandy was down in Acapulco helping out with the 9 week training course.  We (meaning Las Vegas) had 5 (I think its 5) trainees down there.  That's a pretty impressive number considering the expense of the training itself, not to mention putting your life on hold for that long and still finding a way to pay the bills that do not stop coming while you are there.  Its overwhelming to me to think of the logistics of it all.  That's why I try not to worry about it.  To have faith that the universe works things out and brings us opportunities.  What I am getting at is this:  (ssshhhh...this is a secret don't tell anyone!!)  
I am going to teacher training someday.
I will be a Bikram yoga teacher.  

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Day 10: 1/3 of Halfway.....

Or 1/6 of the way through.  Anyway you slice it, ten classes down, fifty to go.  I went to the 5pm class tonight with Frank.  Yes, fantastic Frank.  I was in the big room again (odd times are in there) and it was not all that hot.  Frank had a nice energy as usual and I had a solid class.  I was not exerting myself at all, I was kind of melting into my breath.  Funny how sometimes I exert so much and almost start panting and get nowhere in my yoga that day.  Today, just relaxing into my breath I actually nailed a quite satisfying standing bow pulling pose.  I even got a "beautiful Michelle" from Frank.  Too bad I didn't hold that wonderful posture for the full minute, but hey, I'll take the 15 or 20 seconds I was in it over the classes where I constantly just fall out, fall out and exhaust myself.  The only other thing to report is that indeed, the scale is constantly giving me that higher more evil weight.  The day 1 weigh in was not correct.  So I have farther to go than I thought.  On that note, I started a food journal today.  I want to lose weight, I work my ass off in yoga but then I don't pull the food plan together and execute a solid weight loss plan.  The food trips me up and has been tripping me up for almost ten years now.  I realize that I need to NOT go on another diet, rather I need to change my relationship with food.  I think I am afraid of failing again and therefore I walk around not trying.  Which is no excuse.  There, I've posted my fear on the Internet.  Hopefully it loses some of its power!  I'm walking around in tight size 14 slacks because I refuse to give in and start the upward size trend again.  Its just too heartbreaking, I won't do it.  As soon as I put on those loose 16's to get some relief that will be the end of it.  I'll never see the 14's again.  No way will I say sayanora to something that I haven't been able to wear since 1998.  I just barely got back into them this year during my last 60 day challenge!  

Monday, June 9, 2008

Day 9: Love your camel!

Saturday and Sunday classes were both spent laboring away in the hot, humid "small room". I was looking forward to today because I knew that I'd go to 5pm yoga with my favorite (Dray) and it would be in the less humid more tolerable "big room". I will never seek out the big room permanently (odd hour classes are in that room) as I don't want to get complacent, but sometimes, that small room just kicks my ass and I need a break from it.

I found the picture on the right on the Bikram teacher training blog that I followed this spring. Its actually a t-shirt they were selling at training. I think its cute! Camel is a posture that I both love and hate. Love because it was the first posture I could get into, hate because of the way it makes me feel sometimes (nauseous!). Anyway, I digress. I posted the pic because I had a breakthrough in camel today. The dialog in camel talks about holding tightly to your heels so you don't fling forward. I've never really understood that concept, as I was still putting some weight on my heels via my arms. I always push my hips forward, but never enough to shift the weight. Today, I pushed my hips forward to the point I normally do, then out of nowhere, I found myself really listening to the teacher and pushing my hips forward even more and more and more until suddenly I was gripping my heels for dear life or I would fling forward! Wow! What a feeling! It was literally exhilarating!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Day 8: The Easy Guy

Had class with Kirk today at noon. He is the self proclaimed easy guy. In my opinion, none of the instructors are easy because the class is not easy, but Kirk is awesome. Very nice, very funny, and finishes quickly (83 minutes today). I like that!
My lower back and hamstrings feel very tight for some reason. That first forward fold is just pure agony. Weird. Hopefully it passes. I'm only on day 8 after all!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Day 7: Michelle A's Last Day

This is Michelle A and I. We just got done a hot, juicy, sweaty 10am class with Oksana and now we are downstairs from the studio eating lunch at the Aroma Cafe. We are out in a patio type area and there is a nice fountain behind us (not sure if you can quite see that). Michelle is leaving my studio and will be going to the new one out in Green Valley. Its alot closer to her home and her work and will be more convenient for her. I will miss her a ton. Her and another gal named Shelley did the last challenge with me and the three of us really bonded. I love my yoga friends.

I was going to do two classes today to make up for the missed half class and then I remembered that I am taking a few days vacation this month and will be staying home (a "staycation"), so I will do two classes on one of those extra days. I had a hard time this morning at the 10am class, couldn't catch my breath in the standing series. That happens to me often in that smaller room, its always more humid and hot as an oven so I feel my strength getting sapped quicker. That's OK with me though, I hate getting complacent so I welcome the different experiences I get in the two different rooms and with all of the awesome teachers. I will miss Michelle. Did I already say that? :)

Pic: Me and Michelle with our food. She had a yummy chicken Caesar salad wrap and I had the veggie toast. Both come with an awesome little side salad.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Day 6: Fantastic Frank

Went to 5pm yoga today and it was Frank teaching. Yippee!! He is one of my favorites. You'll hear me say that about alot of different teachers actually, because I love the teachers at our studio. Because of the number of classes we have (6am to 11pm there is a class every hour on the hour- we have two yoga rooms), we have a ton of teachers and they are truly all wonderful in their own way.
I had an ok class, my foot decided to cramp up in triangle. I fell out of 1st set left side because of it, sat down, rubbed the cramp out and jumped up for second set. I realized something today. Third part of awkward I was going down too far, kind of letting my butt "settle" almost down to my heels. Today I tried to really squeeze those knees, keep them forward, and be raised up slightly, just enough so that i'm really using my thighs. Ouch! I think I discovered something good...I'll verify with a teacher before I proceed any further, but I really do think I was sinking into it too much. Any yogis reading this, feel free to comment.
I've written a little about things I would like to accomplish during this challenge: getting closer to the wrap in eagle, kicking my leg out now and then in standing head to knee and losing a few pounds. I'd like to add two more to that: not using my trusty washcloth and having one water free class. The washcloth is evil. Here is what I have used it for: I drape it over my chins for the last part of wind removing pose when you have both legs up, because i was having trouble getting my arms to stay wrapped around with all of that slippery sweat. I also use it in spine twisting posture at the end, I drape it over the knee on the bent leg. Yesterday and today I decided to stop using it for both of those things. Well, needless to say, I am having a hell of a time in wind removing with those slippery legs now! I'm ok with the one leg at a time part, I've developed one hell of a grip. I suppose the strength in the arms to keep myself in the third part will come as well. The spine twisting wasn't an issue, I guess I didn't really need the washcloth for that after all.
Tomorrow is a double. I am going at 10am and again at 5pm. This is the make up for my half-of-a-class fiasco on day 2. I'm actually looking forward to it, as I've only ever done two yoga classes in one day just one other time. It will be fun!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Day 5- This is why its hard

I joined a summer bowling league, which started tonight.  So my day consisted of work from 7:30 to 4:30, run home and let the dog out, bowl from 6 to 8:15, then run on up to 9pm yoga.  I was doing all of this on salad and some cookies.  Needless to say, by the time I got to yoga I was a little worried about how I would do.  Adil was teaching and I haven't had the opportunity to take very many of his classes.  He is an absolute stickler for form, and has a cool accent to boot.  The accent almost makes it ok that he is constantly having to correct us and remind us to keep our strength and integrity for each and every posture.  He really makes you try hard.  I was quite balanced challenged tonight, but other than that, I did ok.  I even got a "nice miss green" coming out of standing separate leg head to knee pose.  As I type this its 11:20pm.  I am eating a small bowl of yogurt and granola and will read for a bit, then turn in.  Tomorrow is work at 7:30 again, so I think I will be a little tired, but its worth it!
Until tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Day 4- A broken scale, an annoying comment and two french people

The scale.  Oh lord, the scale.  Ok, so out of habit (a bad habit) I hopped on the scale today.  It said I was SIX pounds heavier than the day 1 weigh in.  What?  Half asleep, I drag the scale out of the closet it resides in, center it in the middle of the bathroom floor and step on it again.  Still the same.  Frustrated, I move the scale again, to a different spot on the floor.  The same.  So now I have no idea what is going on.  Was it wrong the other day, and this larger much more disturbing number is correct?  Sighing in disgust, I dragged the offending scale back into the closet, shut the door and decided not to dwell on it further.
I went to the 5pm yoga class tonight, with Dray.  Love having a Dray class.  I went in the room, lay my mat down in the middle row like usual and went into the locker room.   As I finished up changing and was ready to leave, two girls came in talking in an "attitude" voice.  Being the parent of a teenager, my ears perked right up when I heard that tone.  I am not familiar with them, they must be newer students.  Anyway, they were complaining to each other about people putting their mats in the middle row.  The comment went  something like this:  "There are two rows, front and back, why do they have to put their mats in the middle, I mean like if they want to lead the class then put the mat in the front and step up".  Something like that.  I know I don't have it verbatim, but close enough.  Completely irritated (because I always go in the middle row!) I went into the yoga room to lay in savasana for the remaining 5 minutes before class.  My mind was whirring:  "who do they think they are?  this room is huge and was built to have four rows.  It can fit 70 yoga students for Gods sake!  But we only usually have 15 to 30 so we just always occupy 3 rows.  Anybody who's been going here for any amount of time knows there are 3 rows!!" and yada yada yada.  I was in a blather!  Boy oh boy was I annoyed! 
Luckily for me, we had two very enthusiastic very funny new students.  One male, one female, both from France.  Their friend, a fellow yoga student literally dropped them off at the studio for class without really letting them know they were in for.  They did all of the postures and the guy was hilarious.  The faces he would make, and the occasional groaning were cracking up Dray.  When Dray is amused by somebody, well, its just infectious.  By the end of the class, I had a great big smile on my face and the middle row comment was a non-issue.  In fact, I probably would've smiled and laughed with the gal who said it if I saw her, comment forgotten!  I loved the French guys enthusiasm.  It was great and reminded me why I love this yoga so very much.  Its such an experience, such a journey and it brought me back to my first class a little over a year ago.  How far I've come!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Day 3- Back on Track

I needed today's practice to go well.  I needed the room to be hot but not smokin'-i'm-gonna-die hot.  I needed the dialog to flow and the timing to be right.  I didn't feel like wondering if my arms were going to fall off during a marathon half moon.  I just needed a practice that was a non-issue.  And Oksana delivered that to me.  Gave it to me like a nice little gift, wrapped in a bow and all.  Thank you Oksana!  You are a God send.
Short post today, because today was uneventful.  Sometimes we need those days. 

Monday, June 2, 2008

Day 2- Half a class

Ok, so I don't know how to use my camera.  A fancy digital camera with tons of buttons and I couldn't figure out how to turn off the flash.  Add to list of things to do:  read camera manual.  That aside, it says 186.  I would like to see it say 179 by the end of the challenge.  I am 5'9" and eventually need to get down to 155, but considering I was a whopping 216 5 years ago, well, I'm going in the right direction at least (thank you Bikram yoga).
I have more goals for this challenge but I'll write about them another time.  Today, was not such a great day for me.  I got pulled out of class exactly halfway through, right as we got into our 2 min. savasana after the standing series.  Family emergency.  I won't go into details here, because, well, I can't.  But everybody is ok.  Nobody is hurt or sick.  I've been going to yoga for a year now and have never been called out of class like that, so I knew it was something bad.  Anyway, I owe a half a class to the challenge, so I'll just do a double either Sat or Sun and just keep on keepin' on tomorrow like nothing happened.  Yoga is the best thing for hard times.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Day 1- Conversations with my 37-Year-Old-Self

This is a picture of my new yoga clothes.  I got two others just like it but in other colors....grey/purple and black/aqua.  So today, on day one of my big 60 day challenge, I decided to wear the black/aqua one for the first time.  For some reason the top felt a little loose and I had panic stricken visions of my top rising up too high and my chest popping out of it.  So here I am, on day one, at the beginning of class with one of my favorite teachers (Dray) looking like I'm ready to rock and roll on the outside...standing with my toes and heels together, looking in the mirror...calm.  Sure, calm on the outside.  For some reason, once I decided my top was not going to work I spent the first three postures outwardly doing the yoga, but inwardly having a panic stricken argument with myself about the intelligence of wearing a new yoga outfit I didn't even try on in the store!  Well, I finally realized that my vision of boobs flying out of new top was not going to manifest and calmed down and focused.  Had a great class until camel.  For some reason, I almost tossed my cookies today after camel and had to sit out the second set.  Arrghh!  My daughter came with me today and did pretty well herself.  Dray was awesome as usual and I felt excited to be on day one of the challenge.  I have raised almost 200 dollars for George and will try to get more pledges before its over.
Pic:  Ashley and I back at home after yoga, gettin' ready to cook some yummy hamburgers!