Sunday, May 31, 2009

Day 126: Class 118~ Unexpected Answers

Today was 1130 with Anastashia. I had a strong, smooth, wonderful practice again. It felt so good to have two in a row, I wanted to again shout for joy, leap with glee, hug the teacher. I need this yoga. It smoothes out the wrinkles in my mind, body, soul...cleanses, releases, frees. It's incredible. I also was pleased to see my chunky monkey midsection thinning out already after just six classes in a row. phew!

Yesterday I shared that I was looking for answers to a troubling situation and my morning reading talked about being still until the right action arises on it's own. My ensuing yoga practice after that was powerful and peaceful. What happened the rest of the day cements my faith that I was indeed heard Friday night. I am not a religious person, but I do believe there is something out there, something powerful, and it listened, it cared, it delivered. Answers fell out of the sky all day yesterday. A solution to my problem that I did not even know about. One that I will pursue right away. One that I am comfortable with and doesn't feel like jumping off a cliff. It did not stop there. I wrote in a previous post about how doing so much yoga helps me to shed ideas, expectations, thoughts, behaviors that do not serve me anymore. Like leaves falling from a tree. When I miss alot of yoga (5 days), even if it's for a good cause (wedding/vacation), I tend to slip back into old patterns, kind of like bending over, picking up some of those leaves, and gluing them back onto my person, covering up the authentic Michelle that looks back at me in the mirror in that hot wet room everyday. I don't want to cover her up, I am happy to have found her. I wasn't even aware that I had fallen into leaf gluing until some information fell into my lap yesterday. It was information I did not seek out or ask for, it was given to me freely. It was totally unrelated to my plea for help Friday night. It was regarding a situation that I did not even realize could be a problem for me. But it is, a problem and it's a leaf I need to shed all over again, back onto that mat and let the wind take it away, never to be glued back onto my person.
Answers. Sometimes they are not the ones we want. Later though, we realize they are the ones we needed. One good, one asked for, one given....answers......unexpected answers....
I'm just glad something is looking out for me.....for all of us.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Day 125: Class 117~ The Moment of Surrender

Currently I am facing a problematic situation. Yesterday morning (Friday) I thought I had a plan of action, one that was scary but seemed like the right thing to do. That afternoon, new information (of the very negative sort) came to light that put me back on the fence. New information that made it a "damned if I do, damned if I don't" dilemma. All day I walked around with a tight neck, strained face and the all to familiar elephant sitting on my chest. Class last night was 530 with Yuko. It was better than the previous nights and starting to feel more in sync and flowing but still not that great.
I woke up this morning after a fitful night of hardly any sleep, agonizing over my now "non solution" to my big problem. I threw up a silent plea for help to the universe and got out of bed, feeling groggy and exhausted. I opened my "Meditations from the Mat" book (thanks Duffy) and read a chapter that absolutely floored me. The author, Rolf Gates on "Day 87" says this: "Anxious to uphold our self-image, to acquire an outcome, we cannot wait until our mud settles and the water is clear. Fearful of a negative outcome, we are unable to remain still till right action arises by itself." I read the chapter over again and just sat there, floored.
I threw on my favorite yoga sundress, packed my bag and headed out to 930 am yoga with Connie. What happened in that room for that 90 minutes brought joy to my heart, a smile to my lips, every cell settling into a peaceful beautiful dance. My yoga body showed back up (was missing it!) and my practice was a 90 minute moving mediation. I let Connie's soothing voice guide me smoothly in and out of each posture, strong, flowing, surfing my breath. It was a practice just like so many of the good ones I had during my challenge. I wanted to laugh with joy, skip, sing, hug Connie, something! I thanked her after class and told her it was the best class I had all week. She smiled and said, "It was you, not me, and stop judging the classes you had the last few days. They were not "bad' they were breakthroughs. No judgements on your practice, ever".
On the way home to wake up my most likely still sleeping teenage daughter, I blasted the air against the desert heat and listened to U2's "The moment of Surrender". There is a line that says "In the moment of surrender, I folded to my knees, I did not notice the passerbys, and they did not notice me". It made me think of the many times I crashed to my knees this week during my tough practices in the standing series. Bono sounds a bit angsty when he is belting out that line, but I decided right then and there that perhaps when you crash to your knees in pain, and surrender, really, isn't it more like relief? You are not giving up, you are giving in....letting go.....

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Day 123: Class 115~ Death and Redemption

I did not blog about last nights class, perhaps that is because 530 with Adele felt like a death and then a painful descent into a hot and humid hell.  It was the toughest class of my entire Bikram life and I honestly did not think I was going to make it through.  Highlights:  It was humid.  My arms and shoulders were tired after breathing!  Awkward series: my legs were shaking and a thought flashed into my mind: "I'm not going to make it today".  Eagle: that same thought is still flashing through my mind and at the same time I am cataloguing every piece of my body that hurts, falling out and starting to have a panic attack.  I was already struggling to NOT breathe through my mouth and I just about lost it.  I blundered through standing head to knee, not even close to kicking out, and unable to lock my standing leg without agony.  Standing bow was more of the same.  By the time I got to separate leg stretching I'm looking at my trainwreck of a reflection in the mirror, the soft middle from the trip, the agonized brown eyes and the face clearly panicking and suddenly spots started to swim, tiny grey spots everywhere.  I had the fleeting thought, is this what it feels like to pass out? and crashed to my knees.  That was it for me.  I had to sit out the next two postures and then leave the room to go get emerge-C.  The floor series was me attempting each posture and then cramping.  Feet, hands, calves, was all cramping severely.  I was in danger of doing the "lobster claw fetal position" thing that Reggi experienced not too long ago during a double.
Tonight was 630 with "english accent I'm going to kick your butt and roast you out of the room" Mark.  I was scared.  I talked to him before class.  Explained I was gone for 5 days after doing a ridiculous amount of yoga and told him about the "death in the second class" of the night before.  He reassured me that the second class is always the killer after coming back from a break and that I should take it easy and I would do fine tonight.  And I did, do fine that is.  No rockstar practice, I couldn't even kick out in standing head to knee, and my hips were tight in triangle, I couldn't get down as far as normal.  But I did each and every posture, with steady breathing and focus and just did my best.  Really, in the end, that's all we can ever do with anything, right?  Our best.  I walked out of the studio feeling a bit redeemed after the death the night before.  No expectations.  Just let it happen...that's what Mark was trying to tell me.  Take it easy, stop fighting against it.   Sage advice.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

day 121 class 113: home sweet home

I walked into the studio tonight excited and scared all at once. Like a distant lover, I have forsaken Bikram for FIVE days. Yup. That's right. FIVE days. I am soft in the middle. The scale is MAD. I was in So. Cal to watch my best friend from high school/college get married on the beach. With perfect weather. It was incredible. We had so much fun this past weekend I cannot even begin to describe. It just confirms that I work to live, not live to work.
So back to yoga. I was so happy to see Reggi. We talked a ton before class. A friend from work also showed up, for his second class ever. He called me today: "I went to Bikram Thurs night and it was tough, but for some strange reason, I want to go back today". I think he will be addicted. :)
Oksana taught and kept the class on the cool side. Surprisingly, I felt flexible, my yoga body showed up. I was so shocked! I couldn't balance very well, but I did not judge, just observe. Oh how I missed Bikram yoga! I am so happy to be back home....

Monday, May 18, 2009

Day 113: Letting Go

Day 113.  I've done 110 classes in 113 days.  Why am I still counting? I don't know.  I have a little white macbook and each night, as I relax in jammies and glasses, my cat purring happily on my bed,  the ceiling fan whirring softly, my little white ipod nano set on shuffle in the background, I update the calendar app on my laptop.  A "red" entry for yoga just like this:  Day 113: 530 Oksana Class 110.  I have no plans to "catch up" (that's 3 doubles).  On the flip side, I don't have any plans to throw in the towel, or give up, either.  I'm no longer doing a challenge, but for some reason, I diligently count my classes contentedly updating that calendar imagining that someday my "days" and "classes" might be equal.  Perhaps at 200?  250?  Who knows.  What counts is the blessed consistency I have found with my practice.  It feels great!
Post challenge nothing has changed, no exciting things have happened.  My studio continues to be a great source of comedy, comfort and pleasure for me.  I have thrown myself into my work with renewed vigor and zeal.  I've been at the same job for 14 years and suddenly, the past month, I have been infused with such extreme gratitude for that job and that company and passion that had flattened out came back with a vengeance.  Aside from two upcoming "mini trips" my social life is quiet.  It's quiet by design.  I have come to a place where nothing matters except my daughter, my work, my yoga and close friends/family.  I feel free, content, unencumbered.  Like leaves falling gently from a tree, ideas, thoughts, expectations and behaviors have started to fall by the wayside for me.  I have not had any epiphany's or huge moments of clarity.  Just more of a feeling of being tired of holding onto things that no longer serve me and the more time I spend in that hot room, the more leaves that float gently down, down, down..... 

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Day 101: A return home

Today was 530 with Oksana.  She taught a nice smooth class, perfect temp.  It was awesome.  There was no drama, no carnage, nobody leaving the room....just yoga.  I arrived there and hung out with Karen before class.  We were sitting on the benches before class, comisserating with some other yogis about the brutal Roberta class Monday.  I was content, happy, home.  Sure, I had to put up with some ribbing when I walked in today.  Young Patrick, threw his arms up, smiled his big smile and said "where were you! what happened!"  Darla was there too and she also asked me what happened.  I just scanned in , signed in and set my yoga bag down, ready to fess up.  I smiled, a huge wide smile and said "I just had a meltdown, what can I say? I hit a wall and I just had enough".  Darla (she's a teacher) said "cool, that's a meltdown teacher training style.  That's a good thing".  I grinned, picked up my bag, said "I'm here today, because I want to be, because this is what I do" and strode into the locker room, happy as a clam.
So there you have it.  It's not about numbers.  It's not about the challenge.  It's not about what I can or cannot do.  Its my new life.  It's my journey.  I sought out my own two eyes in the mirror tonight and said "Hi!" and I was home.....

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Day 100: She failed??

Today was day 100.
I did not do my double, in fact, I did not go to yoga at all. I wrote a post explaining why (some of you have read it already) and I received a "talking to" from my voice of reason. The voice of reason tells me to never apologize for who I am. She reminds me that I am worth having all of my dreams come true. She is the voice that reminds me that I am the prize, and that I am worth it, more than worth it. She reminds me who I am when I forget, when I allow sadness to settle deep into my bones.
She pulls me back into the light, the one that burns brightly from my core.
I am going to yoga tonight, because I want to. I look forward to tossing my mat down on that floor and returning to me.
Thanks for the comments on the other post. The support I receive from this Bikram Blogging community is awesome!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Day 99: We knew it was going to be ugly....

Today was 530 with Roberta.  Reggi and I were cutting up in the locker room about her double last Saturday.  She was electrolyte challenged the second class and cramped up like crazy, did the lobster claw thing.  So she's demonstrating for me how she was all hunched over and cramped up, limping out of the room saying "I'll be right back" to Anastashia.  Only hardcore Bikram yoga people can get a kick out of stuff like that.  We are a strange little bunch I tell ya.  Anyway, I'm gearing up for my double tomorrow night to finish off the 100 with a bang and I see that Roberta was teaching tonight.  I thought to myself, thank God she's teaching tonight and not tomorrow night.  I can't afford to get my ass kicked during the 530 class tomorrow.  Reggi and I go in the room to lay our mats down and get hit with a wet blast of humidity.  We walk back out and give each other the hairy eyeball and immediately get all serious.  Reggi just says, in her very matter of fact voice "It's gonna be ugly".  I nod in agreement, looking forward to it a little bit.  I say that because when a class is that bad, it always get my mind of whatever is plaguing me.  So I welcomed it.  Little did I know.
We get in there.  It's pretty crowded and there are 7 first timers.  During the first breathing exercise I'm already dripping like rain.  Not just a sheen of sweat, getting warmed up, I'm raining by the end of second set.  Half moon posture, second set, all of the sudden I start to struggle to breathe.  My lungs felt like they were trying to suck air out of wet sponges.  I almost panicked.  My eyes frantically move around the room, checking out the other yogis.  It's only the first posture, they are hanging in there.  Not so by eagle.  I hear gasps, mouths open, I see people falling out, looking down at the floor, trying to recover already!  I was a little relieved that it wasn't just me, because I was really having a hard time!  She straight kicked our asses.  By the time we got to standing bow, hardly anybody could get into it, much less hold it.  People were hitting their knees left and right and many just standing there, dripping, like wet noodles, unable to even pick their legs up.  I kept trying to get into my posture, but I was weak.   By balancing stick I was seeing black spots and swaying on my feet, I had to take a knee for a minute.  Brutal!  After class we all stagger out, looking like complete and utter yoga carnage.  A regular, Mark (not teacher Mark), is standing at the front counter getting a towel and I walk up to him, hip bump him and say "hey, how about that class!".  He looks at me and says "who is she!"  I was like "I know! That was rough!".  Young Patrick was at the front desk so I raise my hand in our universal "zico me" sign and he tosses one my direction.  Frank was behind the desk too, so I wander over to him and say "that was really bad, you need to be gentle with us tomorrow night when you teach 530 because I have to do a double".  He just gave me a big grin (oh boy, I may have just set myself up there and not in a good way!) and I wandered off to the locker room, contemplating my Frank/Oksana double slated for tomorrow night.  Funny it worked out that way, because the last double I did was the exact same setup, Frank/Oksana.  Hopefully I will fare better this time around.  I've got electrolyte enhanced water from TJ's (one and a half liters) all set to bring to work tomorrow to drink, and a packet of emergen-C type stuff at my desk that I will drink around 4 to prepare.  I'll do a zico in between classes, and eat a banana in the afternoon for a snack.  It's overboard compared to what I do for one class, so maybe it will help me this time around, as I did not do any of that last double.  Just prepared like I would for one class last time.
Wish me luck!  

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Day 98: Big Numbers.....

Wow.  Think about it, I've done NINETY SEVEN Bikram yoga classes in 98 days.  That's crazy!  It boggles my mind.  Well, no double this weekend which means I have to power one out Tuesday night.  I will work all day then take the 530 and 730 pm classes to finish off the big 100 in style.  Michelle style.  I've been known to be a bit of a procrastinator at times.  So there ya go, I've got to pull a double out of my ass in the eleventh hour.  Should be fun.  **sarcasm, I HATE back to back doubles**.  Well it is labeled a challenge after all, so fitting it will end with a big challenge for me, as I was a complete and utter mess last time I did a back to back double.  Layed down most of the floor series, my voice was all jacked up and my ears plugged for an hour afterwards.  My mom was so freaked out when she heard me on the phone that day she made me call her back later so she could hear my voice back to normal.  Good times.  Ok, enough dwelling, I'll survive.
Today was 1130 with Adele.  She teaches a nice smooth class but I had a bit of trouble today.  I had a bit of insomnia last night so I was sort of jacked up arriving at the studio.  I went to bed early (too early I suppose), woke up at 1am , could not go back to sleep and found myself watching an episode of Ugly Betty I had dvr'd at 3am.  Finally feel asleep around 430 and woke back up at 730, asleep again til 925.  Choppy odd sleep.  I was very sensitive to the heat today.  I made it through every posture, coming out early second set of floor bow, but I was struggling.  My breath was harder to control around the time of triangle and even during the spine series on the floor.  I pushed my way through tho and felt great at the end.  I really am glad the "challenge" is almost over, but I'm actually planning on going everyday up until my friends wedding.  Which will put me at 116 total.  Then when I come back, I'll probably focus on going 6 to 7 days a week.  Just keep going because I'm at the point where I want to keep my forward momentum going.  Hey Reggi, will you do the double with me Tuesday night please?  I'll be your best friend!  **me on my knees, begging**.  Karen, you should do it with me too if you are reading.  Come on, it will be fun!  Shelley, can you make it to either class that night?  Yoga party!  :)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Day 97: Still one behind

Today was 930 with Dionne.  A visiting teacher from Canada.  She was great.  Loved her.  Reggi was to my right and George to my left.  Energy and good feelings flowed between the three of us and we tapped each others arms for full locust.   Had a great practice, my yoga body came back somewhat and I kept telling myself I was warming up for my second class later.   There was no second class later.   I have my daughter this weekend and drove her all over to get her hair cut, eat lunch, shop etc.   I have two more shots at the double.  Either a back to back tomorrow morning if I can get up early enough, or on day 100, which will be Tuesday, I will be forced to do a back to back after work.  It would be tough, but I'm pretty stubborn.  I'll do it even if I'm laying flat on my back half the second class.  No need to come this far and miss by one.  Of course I'm kicking myself for missing last Monday now, but I can't really be too mad because my accomplishment is still pretty amazing.  I guess I needed that day off.  On the bright side it puts me on edge a little, makes it all a little she going to do it folks, can she power out another back to back double which she hates so much??  Stay tuned....

Friday, May 1, 2009

Day 96: Something leaves, something comes back

Today was 730 with Connie.  Last class of the day, pretty sparse attendance.  But a few regulars, no newbies and a nice energy.  I saw Reggi, she was leaving the 530 and I was jealous she was done already.  I took a day off work and hung out with my mom, so I couldn't make it any earlier and literally dragged myself kicking and screaming to yoga tonight.
My yoga body left.  My mental block came back.  I did NOT want to go.  I FORCED myself to go.  Once on the mat my body was stiff, misaligned, foreign.  I was not comfortable in it tonight.  Connie came over to me during set up for standing bow and she just dropped her hand down in alignment with my hip on the kicking leg so that I was forced to kick it straight back or I would touch her hand.  And guess what.  I have not been kicking straight back!  So when I did tonight it felt totally different I could not get near as far in and my calf muscle started to cramp right away, like it used to in the beginning.  whoa!  I was like "oh crap, this sucks, now if I really pay attention to this and try to fix it it's like I'm starting over and I was just making progress!!"  I'm surprised my mind didn't add a whiny little "waaaaa!" at the end of that silly little litany of self pity.  Put the ego aside and do it the right way!  So I have something new to work on.  That's the beauty of the yoga, we always will be fine tuning, adjusting, fixing, working, stretching, growing, learning.  Now off to bed so I can get up and do it all over again less than 12 hours later.  Ugh.  I'm exhausted today.  Mentally, physically, emotionally, I'm just drained.  It's been a rough week.