Saturday, January 31, 2009

Day 6: Leaving in droves

Today was 330 yoga with Candace.  She taught a very hot, very solid class.  It was challenging and I loved it.  The class was very full, including 11 , count 'em, 11 first timers!  Wow!  Halfway through the standing series they started to leave in droves.  One left, then a group of two, then a group of three.  Of course she tried to get them to stay but they were having none of that.  Another girl tried to leave during the floor series later and Candace got her to stay in the room.  I heard her talking to Candace after class and she seemed glad that she stayed.  Candace was encouraging, saying "you were doing too darn good, I wasn't going to let you give up on yourself!".  
So far, other than writing this blog every day, it doesn't yet feel like I'm doing a challenge.  I suppose because there are many weeks I go 6 days a week, and sometimes I end up stringing together 10 or 12 days just because I'm in a groove.  I'm very interested to see what day it finally gets tough.  That is when you learn more about yourself.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Day 5: Called out on the carpet-twice

Today I was called out on the carpet by somebody very special to me.  Without getting into detail, just suffice it to say it was warranted.  It wasn't anything terrible, but it is certainly something I actively work on about myself, a tendency to let my old friend "insecurity" crawl up from the back seat and take the wheel.  I try to keep him in the trunk, but when he sneaks up on me like that I can over react and over analyze and that's never a good combination where I'm concerned.  
Interestingly enough, the yoga room sometimes mirrors life.  I was again called out on the carpet in my 430 class with Kirk today.  He was pretty firm with me, correcting my stance in separate leg head to knee stretching which then helped me to align my hips properly.  I never get upset to get corrections, I love them.  It was just funny how he was firmer than normal trying to get me to position everything the right way.  The class itself was pretty good, it flew by, he was done in 80 minutes and the room was a pretty good temperature.  I felt strong and had no issues.  
You know, being called out on the carpet is not a bad thing.  This challenge isn't just about trying to physically change my body.  It is so much more than that.  Inevitably, I find out more and more about myself mentally and emotionally when I embark on these 60 day yoga challenges.  Yes, the body will change, but more importantly, I need those mirrors, in that room for that 90 minutes, to look at my reflection and make contact with my soul.  I remember how when I first started I just could not look at myself in the eyes in that mirror like they tell you to do.  It was so uncomfortable.  Now I seek out my eyes right away, sort of like saying hi to an old friend and decide, before starting class, what bullshit I am going to work through and leave on my mat today.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Day 4: Filming...and the completion of a goal

So today was 5:30 with Oksana. Before class, Reggi and I signed waivers about being filmed (see post about young blond spiky haired dude filming himself). Anyway, we got to class and our usual spots happened to be on the wrong side of the tape, meaning he wasn't filming on our side of the class. Neither of us moved our mats. We didn't really care. During class, he and his young, blond, female, shakti wearing assistant came in and went to the "ok to film side of the room" and whispered/taped some footage. It was actually kind of cool. I had a nice strong practice tonight and maybe should've went over the filming side of the room. Oh well. Next time I will!
Speaking of having a strong practice, I stayed in standing bow pulling pose first set, right side the whole minute! Holy shit! I was so excited! First time ever!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Day 3: Giggling Yoginis

No, I'm not talking about some newbies.  I'm not talking about young teens either.  I'm talking about me and two of my friends.  **oh shame!**.  Before class, me and two of my good yogini buddies were hanging out on the bench in the hallway as usual.  One of them was telling me how she sort of nicely called the man she is seeing out on the carpet for letting her make all of the effort.  She said "who's the dude here!".  His reaction was "can you hand me my balls back".  I have the feeling this is one of those you-had-to-be-there stories, but suffice it to say her expression and tone as she said that had me in hysterics. 
So we go to the room.  It's hot.  It's dark.  Everybody is sitting on their mats with a pretty serious look on their faces, waiting for class to start.  Business as usual.  Me and my two buddies catch eyes in the mirrors and one of them raises her hand in the gesture you use to get into standing bow (arm out, elbow bent and close to your ribs, palm up) and mouths "don't drop the balls".  So of course we all three start laughing.  Trying to do it quietly.  
Fast forward to standing bow pulling pose.  The one with the hand gesture.  Naturally I caught the eyes of my friend directly to the left of me and we were silently giggling.  Not something you want to do as you are setting up for such a strenuous posture.  Thankfully we regained our composure, in large part due to not looking at each other anymore and class from there on out was uneventful.  
So day 3 was fun....but hot!  After class I had to sit for a few minutes before I could change.  Tough but doable.  I think the laughter helped!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Day 2: Rule Breaker

Yup.  That's me.  The front-row-rule-breaker.  In my defense, I did not do it intentionally.  Tonight I went to the 5:30 class with Candace.  I haven't had her class in quite awhile.  She dances in the Bette Midler show on the strip and they are on a break, so she'll be around a bit again.  She is a tall, young, very pretty girl and as far as teaching goes, she is very good.  She makes corrections, encourages, helps the newbies out and stays very engaged.  Oh, and I am not so familiar with her rhythm that I am coming out of postures just as she is saying "change".  So tonight, the room was hot, some postures felt long and by Triangle I was a hot mess.  Second side of triangle, first set, I hit the deck.   Was on my knees, trying to regain my composure.  Front row is not supposed to take a knee during standing series.  Well, knowing this, I popped back up and joined right in for second set and did a sloppy but sort of passable triangle.  
Once I made it through that snafu the rest of the class was great.  Feel pretty good tonight!
Day 3, bring it!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Day 1: Lets get it started

The parking lot was packed. The energy level was high. The documentary dude was filming.....himself! His assistant was interviewing him, he had just finished a yoga class. He is a very young guy with blond spiky hair. His assistant is young and blond as well, and they have one video camera. Not quite the production I envisioned in my head when King spoke of it originally. I don't think I'll be missing out on my 15 minutes of fame. :)
Today was 5:30 with Oksana, and other than the packed parking lot (due to a very full 4:30 class I was told, the students were mat to mat) and a quite full 5:30 class, quite honestly it was business as usual for me. So while I don't have much to blog about tonight, I do have a picture. Really, what is a challenge blog without a before and after pic? Especially with losing 15 pounds as one of my goals. So while the picture is horrid and god awful (its me right before class in my yoga clothes) it will serve its purpose as the dreaded "before" shot. Oh, and I'm holding up one finger for "day one". I'm not flipping the camera off, I promise!
**For comparison purposes, I added the picture from day 60 of my last challenge. WOW! I look different from that pic even!

Day 1: Current Challenge

Day 60: Last Challenge

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Ready, Set, GO!!

Tomorrow is the day.  Day one of the 60 day challenge.  I'm all fired up about it to be honest.  I started back on Jenny Craig again yesterday, I did 6 yoga classes last week to prepare for the challenge and I got alot of rest this weekend.  I feel fully recovered from the flu, however, to my surprise it does still linger a bit in the sinuses.  Stubborn!  
Connie did give me the master cleanse booklet finally and I've decided that when I do the cleanse, it will be for 3 days.  I'm going to read the little book and then decide when to start.   For now, I'm content to be back in my Jenny Craig/Yoga Challenge routine.  I lost 20 lbs doing that last summer so I know it works.  So I feel back in control....empowered.

I already know I can do 60 yoga classes in 60 days, I did it twice last year.  That doesn't mean it will be easy, I already know it is far from easy.  However, what's a challenge without some little goals thrown in for good measure?  So I'll list them here and at the end see if I obtained any of them!

1.  Weight loss:  15lbs
2.  Eagle Posture:  I am still working on getting those wrapped legs.  I am so close!  My pinky toe kinda sticks on the calf, but I can't seem to fully hook my foot behind there.  I will keep working!
3.  Standing head to knee:  This has become one of my favorite postures.   I have been practicing for 1 year and 9 months and am finally getting the gist of the kicking out.  I have been kicking out since last summer, but was never really able to stay in it.  Also, I wasn't getting the locked knee on the kicking out leg, nor was I kicking my heel toward the mirror.  Finally, those things are happening and now I'm working on getting my elbows down below my calves.  Eventually I'll get to the head to knee part, but for now I am so excited to be able to stay in it for more than 5 seconds and be working the elbows part!  So goal would be to finally touch forehead to knee on one side even if it is short lived.  
4.  Standing bow:  I'd like to be able to nail a nice full minute on one side without falling out.  I've done the 30 seconds on the second set, but never a full minute.
5.  Last challenge I touched my forehead to the floor in separate leg stretching.  I missed a week in October and never was able to get back to that point.  I'd like to touch my forehead to the floor.  I'll set this goal, but I'm a little doubtful on it.  I have been "front row warrior", staying in the front row and living with my studios new rules.  One of which is not turning our towel in separate leg stretching.  With our plastic bacteria resistant floor and sweaty feet, that posture feels precarious and I don't spread my legs very far for fear of ending up in side splits.  Excuses aside, it's possible to achieve it again, even on the slippery floor.  Other people do it.  I'll give it my best shot!

Challenge here I come!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Advice from a doctor and almost back in the saddle

I went to yoga at 11:30 this morning.  I arrived 30 minutes early as usual and chatted with three instructors, one being the owner who is also a doctor.  I mentioned the master cleanse and got all sorts of interesting reactions from them.  Hmmm.  One (the doctor) is totally against it.  Another, who was teaching my class today has done it before but doesn't really think it's necessary and especially is not any good for weight loss (not why I was doing it, but felt it worth mentioning for blog purposes) and the third, recently did it but only for 3 days.  She felt 10 days was too long as she is fairly detoxed anyway from doing yoga everyday and started to notice a decline in her strength by day 3.  She said her body didn't really "move" anything, that she must not have any toxins or buildup to begin with.  All very interesting opinions, experience, advice, input and for sure makes me stop and think.  Oh, and Connie was not there so of course I don't have the book yet.  Connie insists you must read the book first before proceeding so you can do it right.
So I'll get the book, read it, and if I decide to do the cleanse will probably just do 3 days to see how it goes.  I certainly don't want to put my body into starvation mode, which is what the doctor says is the only thing that really happens and that is not good.  He was very against it.
What I do know is I'm calling Jenny Craig tomorrow to get back in with my old counselor next weekend.  I lost 20 pounds on it, it's easy, it's familiar and it will work.  Then to keep it off.  That is a whole 'nother blog!  

Today's class was pretty good.  It was my second day in a row after missing many many days due to extreme partying followed by extreme flu sickness.  I felt a little dizzy still and although I did every posture, my strength is certainly not up to par.  On a good note, I was very flexible for some reason.  Strange how that works!  I noticed too that with all the sweating we always do, yesterday and today were different than normal.  It was salty as opposed to just water (with a regular practice, the sweat is clear and feels like a "shower" from the inside out) and I felt, well, clammy is the only way to describe it.  So of course my body is just working hard to expel the toxins from the self inflicted damage and flu both.  I am so anxious to get back to feeling well and healthy.  I try not to take things for granted and this was a nice reminder not to take my good health and sense of well being for granted.  Once you learn what it feels like to truly feel well and healthy, there is no going back.  I could not bear to go back to being sedentary, stiff, sore, tired, sad.....everything that comes with not taking care of yourself! Today was nice....I am almost back in the saddle.  

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The "New" Plan

Roll with the punches.  Be flexible.  Go with the flow.  Things change.......
So my studio finally printed up their flyer about this 60 day yoga and raw food challenge.  The short version is I can either learn how to prepare it all myself or pay 280 a week for the first 30 days to have the Go Raw cafe prepare the food for me.  Not sure what they expect you to do the second half...make it yourself I suppose.  Either way, the price doesn't work for me and preparing it myself doesn't interest me.  It's hard enough to work all day and do a 90 minute yoga class, never mind throwing in time to chop, puree and whatever else you have to do!
I am really bummed I won't get to participate in the documentary, but I will be sure to include in my blog anything interesting I observe as they are filming in my studio!
So here is my new plan.  
Connie, a teacher at my studio asked me if I would like to do the master cleanse with her a couple of weeks ago.  She said she would bring a book in for me so I knew what to do.  I said "sure, why not".  I saw her today and she said she would bring the book in tomorrow.  So, starting this Monday, I will do the cleanse.  Then, the following Monday the challenge starts.  After the cleanse I will go back on my Jenny Craig plan and finally make it down to the goal weight I set for myself.  I have about 20 more pounds to lose.  Perhaps I can make some good progress on that during the challenge.  Let's say maybe 15?  That is what I will shoot for and if I do better, great!  
I am pretty sure the master cleanse is just drinking some strange concoction a few times a day and not eating any food.  Oh, and from what I remember the drink is made up of crazy stuff like lemonade and maple syrup!  Are you kidding me?  I'll definitely blog about that this week prior to the challenge!  It should be very interesting!  After the last two weeks I need a cleanse.  I had a friend in town last weekend and stayed up too late two nights in a row.  On top of that we were eating and drinking and I missed some yoga classes.  After the weekend was over, I came down with a horrible flu.  First the stomach part, then it progressed into the coughing, sneezing, achy body, really tired part.  I missed two days of work and lots of yoga.  In fact, looking at my calendar where I track my classes,  I have gone to yoga only 3 times in the last 9 days.  I have not missed that many classes since October when I went on my houseboat trip!  Needless to say I do not feel like myself right now.  I am grumpy, soft in the middle, a few pounds in the wrong direction, and just out of sorts in general.  I am already feeling a little bit better after going to yoga this morning and I know by Wednesday I'll feel like a million bucks.  It's amazing how rapidly my mental state starts to deteriorate when I break my routine.  How ever did I used to get along before I wonder?  I suppose I just walked around grumpy, soft in the middle, out of sorts everyday and had no idea things could feel different!  
Master cleanse here I come!

Monday, January 5, 2009

The front row, the food and the newbies

Ah, January. Such a special time of year. It's the time of year when everybody decides they need to exercise. And they do....until at least January 25th or so. Meanwhile, those of us who have been exercising regularly, whether it be the gym or yoga, get to suffer through the crowds. Saturday Jan 3rd was absolute pandemonium for the 11:30 am. Combine this headache with the "new rules" at my studio and ladies and gentlemen we have a challenge! Don't get me wrong, I'm looking forward to this upcoming 60 day challenge, but I must confess, I feel I can do 60 with my eyes closed, as I've done two challenges in the last year and normally go to Bikram yoga 6 days a week anyway.
Which brings me to the food. My studio is combining this 60 day challenge with a raw vegan diet. When I first heard about the challenge, I was told they were teaming up with a local raw food cafe and we would have meals prepared for us at a reasonable cost. Last I heard, the deal is not ironed out yet and now they are talking about providing "classes". Well, I honestly am not interested in that, as it is not my goal to learn how to prepare raw food. I don't see myself permanently becoming a raw foodist, plus quite frankly I don't have the time. Working full time and doing 90 minutes of yoga every night does not leave much time, and standing in the kitchen chopping with what little time I have left does not sound appealing. I hope it works out and that we do get to pick up prepared foods because the detoxing aspect of the diet, plus of course the inevitable weight loss was very appealing! Not only that, it would add a very interesting twist to the challenge. I'm sure I will know more in the next week or so.
In the meantime, I'm trying to get used to the new rules. So here they are:
If you are in the front row (which I normally am)
  • You cannot sit down during the standing series
  • You cannot use a hand towel
  • You must be still between postures and set a good example
  • You cannot turn your towel during the separate leg stretching/triangle part of the standing series
  • Your mat must be 1/3 above the line and your toes on that line during the pranayama breathing
  • You must use the line to align your feet for triangle
  • You are going to get more corrections and get pushed more in the front row.
Now most of these rules I have already incorporated into my own practice. I love corrections and most days like to be pushed. I try, try, try not to ever sit down during standing. I do not even bring a hand towel in anymore. It's just me, my mat, my water and my yogi toes towel over my mat. I am still between postures (unless I'm dripping into my contacts and must wipe my eyes....haven't quite mastered ignoring that one yet!). The lines are new, so 1/3 over the line....sure, whatever, I'll put my mat where ever they say. The problem with the new rules comes when it's crowded (like in January!) and you are literally on top of each other. When it's like that, you can't all be on the line for triangle. Sorry, but you'll run into each other. You must stagger. And when you do stagger, you get scolded! Sheesh! The other problem is not being able to turn my yogi toes towel perpendicular to my mat during separate leg stretching and triangle. I know, I know.....if you are reading this and you practice at a studio with carpet, you have a confused look on your face at this one. You are thinking of course you don't turn your towel! You just straddle your mat and go! Well my carpet practicing yogi friends, you have not practiced on the floor at my studio. I don't know what it's called but it's some new fangled plastic bacteria resisting strange material that is slippery as all get out when your feet are wet. And believe me, by the time I get to triangle, my feet are wet. So I am not able to get my legs as far apart, am not able to hold my legs as steady, as my non-bent leg is sliding away from me, and cannot exit quite as gracefully (again due to that leg slipping away from me). I have been assured that I will build incredible inner thigh strength to compensate for this. Ok. I'm a bit skeptical, but we'll see.
So tonight, my yogini buddy Reggi and I decided to rebel and go to the second row. Nobody is going to tell us what to do! We are always early, so we set our mats up in some prime real estate in the second row. By the time we went in to warm up 5 mins before class, it was busy and looked very strange. By now, people are getting hip to the new "front row rules" so on our side of the room, there were about 10 mats crammed together in the second row and THREE only in the front row. I looked to the right of me and saw that I had somebody about three inches away and just sighed, picked up my mat and went to the front. Reggi said "traitor!" with a smile on her face and stayed put in the second row. Revenge was mine though when she got just as many comments and corrections by Frank as the rest of us poor front row saps all throughout class. He is so used to her being in the front row that he commented "Reggi, I didn't even know you were here, you're usually in the front!" and proceeded to pay her much attention after that.

So the challenge begins Jan 26th. I will know more about the food soon. And I do hope the newbies keep coming. I can put up with crowds if it means more people will have the life changing experience with this yoga I have had and continue to have.

And I guess I'll stay in the front row. :)