Saturday, December 11, 2010

Things are settling down for me a bit. I feel much more optimistic about my yoga practice tonight. I don't know why, but the teacher with whom I've had issues is not teaching at our studios, at least not in the next month or so. It's a bit of a relief to me. I was just having a very hard time feeling okay when I took classes from her. I have been trying to remind myself that it is always MY practice, no matter what, and I'm going to continue trying to convince myself of it!

One of my teachers told me that the 2 year mark is a bit of a watershed for many Bikram yogis. She said that at this point, you either choose to move deeper into the practice or you move away from it. She said she's often seen people go on to take up some other sport or activity after about 2 years of dedicated practice. She said studio owners seem to have a 5 year shelf life, too.

I was trying to explain to her what I'm struggling with, internally, about my practice. For the first year or so, it felt like everyone was like, "yea! Good for you! You're doing yoga, and you're coming to class a lot! Awesome!" Then, sometime in my second year of regular practice, it started to feel like some of the teachers and regular students were more like, "Can't you do any better than that? Why aren't you trying harder? You need to work harder! You're not doing it right!"

And, yeah, after a while, it's reasonable for teachers to push harder, expect more, etc. It's just...hard sometimes.

One thing that's helped me a lot lately is being reminded of the physical benefits of the practice. I SO took it to heart the first time I heard, "As long as you're doing your best, you're getting the full physiological benefit of the posture." One of my facebook friends has a sister who owns a Bikram Yoga studio. She had posted an article about the health benefits of yoga, and while I know most all of that stuff by now, it really helped me to read it all again. I'm not doing yoga with pretty pretty postures as my goal; I'm doing yoga because it's really freaking good for my health--physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Cold Snap/The Winter of My Discontent

It's chilly outside now, and the yoga studio's heating system hasn't been fully adjusted to cope with the change in the weather. We had a cool class tonight. The room was 96 degrees F when class began, and it warmed up as we went along. By the time we were on the floor, it was just about exactly perfect by Bikram's standards.

In a lot of ways, I missed the higher temps. I was feeling a little rusty anyway since I'd done no yoga for a couple days prior to class. I was so stiff in my back, my hamstrings, my shoulders. Trying to stretch my creaky old body in the "cold" room made me long for that sweaty, delicious and simultaneously unbearable heat.

Yet I had a so much more stamina than usual. It's very frustrating to me. I sweat so heavily when the room is 105 or higher. And our local studios are often much hotter than 105. I've bitched and moaned in previous posts about the studio floor with radiant heat. It's like being on a hot pizza stone. Lying on the hot hot hot floor, sometimes I feel as if my blood will just start to congeal like a fried egg. It's seriously stolen my peace more than once.

When the room is "too" hot (but how hot is too hot?), I sweat gallons, and I feel so depleted, so exhausted, so wiped out that I have to really force myself to continue doing postures. At the hottest of the hot studios, I almost never have a "good" class, and by "good" I mean a class where I feel strong most the way through, able to do some semblance of every posture, every set, without having to dig deep and summon up strength and will and guts and determination. When you practice every day, is it normal to need to dig deep every single day? Was I crazy to think that I could do this yoga sometimes without hurting and suffering?

When did my teachers stop saying that "Relax, it's only yoga," thing?

My cold class today was so much easier than normal. It makes me wonder about how often we seem to push through extremes in temperature and humidity. Whenever I'm having a hard time, somebody's always ready to chime in and tell me that it's all in my mind. I dunno. I think I am just finding my threshold, finding the place where it's a challenge but not a beat-down. For my body and my mind. I feel like such a whiner, but damn it, I've been slogging along and digging deep for a long while now. I was hoping, by now, to be a little more fireproof than this.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

No guru, no method, no teacher?

It's been forever since I've blogged. I've lately had some complicated feelings about my practice, my life, and my health. It's difficult to sort out, to put into words. There's been a little bit of drama at our studio that didn't involve me directly, but it...gave me pause, I guess. I've had some conflicting and complicated feelings and thoughts about yoga, the world of Bikram yoga, and the community at my studio. Kind of messy stuff.

I began practicing Bikram yoga regularly during a very stressful time in my life. My partner was incredibly ill, our finances were (and still are) a mess, and I was struggling with depression. Yoga reduced my anxiety, gave me a little island of peace. It was tough but it always made me feel better. It was one place in my life where I could feel really free and focus on myself.

After my disappointment with the teacher who leads advanced class, going to yoga class started to feel stressful, started to create anxiety for me. I often found myself in this teacher's class. (My studio has always kept the teaching schedule varied and confidential because in the past, some popular teachers had over-crowded classes and some teachers' classes were avoided and empty. There are times of day and days of the week when more students attend, so mixing up the schedule gives both teachers and students the chance to experience variety).

There was never any resolution to our 'conflict,' and I felt very much as if the teacher was scrutinizing my postures all the time, trying to find fault, justify her stance that I wasn't ready for advanced class.

I try to focus on my own stuff, and keep reminding myself that my practice is mine, and I don't need to prove anything to anyone.

Yet, almost immediately after the incident, I felt a sharp increase in the amount of stress I held in my body. I had stiffness, aches and pains I hadn't experienced in a very long time. I came down with a very nasty sinus infection that still hasn't cleared up completely. I have a weird rash on my face (always good for a girl's self-esteem, ha). I got digestive problems, and I vomited during classes several times in the last month or two, even when I didn't drink water during class.

And about half way through October, there were some incidents among other staff members. A couple of decisions were made that hurt some people I care for. It upset me. I've been feeling a lot of disillusionment. I have less faith in several teachers and staff members. I've started to feel like I might be in the wrong place. I have been questioning whether or not to leave this studio, or to leave the Bikram yoga practice. I think I still have deep faith and connection to the yoga, to the series. I believe in the power of this yoga. But I don't know if I want to go to teacher training anymore.

I guess that one of the issues I'm trying to digest right now is that I do not perceive the most influential people in my studio to be supportive. The whole "tough love" thing works a lot better if the criticism, attacks, or challenges come from a teacher or guru or mentor who is also able to demonstrate some measure of care or respect for a student. I want, and think that I need, less tough, more love.

And while my practice and what I do with it are certainly MY responsibility, I wonder if there is anywhere in Bikram world where I might feel encouraged again, feel welcomed. I feel as if going to teacher training now would be like being beaten with a stick. Maybe it's not for me.

So, I am slogging along.

I got to take a class from a senior teacher recently, and she said, to the class as a whole,"You're trying too hard, and you're making it hard. Do this, as an experiment: Come to class and just go through the motions, let go of trying. Then see what happens in your postures."

So, I am going to go through the motions for a while, see what happens.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Just rambling

I got sick at class today. Boo.

I am starting all over, from scratch--again!--with standing bow. I love love this posture, but I have been on a mission to systematically remove my quirky alignment issues, one by one. Found a big one today, and correcting it means relearning the balance for the posture, distributing my weight differently. Exciting to see clearly what needs work and how to go about changing it, working on it. It's a mini-bummer to see that I've not been doing the posture as well as I'd like, but it sure is nice to know how to improve.

I'm not quite sure about my future in the advanced class (a continuing issue I might write more about in the future). Yesterday, after the last class, I was alone at the studio to do the cleaning and did some simple asana that are not part of beginning series. In my non-Bikram teacher training, I learned a lot of the postures that are part of advanced series. I'm slightly foggy on the sequences in AS, and I would not want to try to do any of it on my own anyway. But I did a few of the postures that I felt I knew well, and it felt good.

One of my dearest yoga buddies (another student who wants to do competition but was not welcome at advanced) and I were chatting recently, and we've decided to work together on some things. A kind teacher has offered to meet with us a couple of times to not only give us some individualized instruction, but to also take some pictures of us in various postures. It's so sweet.

I am feeling a little better and maybe a little bitter about the not very encouraging teacher.

But I am so so grateful for the community and the goodness amongst yogis. I really love the studio owners, and some of the teachers are just downright incredible human beings, so helpful, so caring. I'm so glad to practice yoga with so many good folks, so many cool people who take classes at our studios. I feel close to a bunch of you yoga bloggers and blog readers too now. In a way, we're all doing yoga together. It's pretty freaking lovely, really.

You Might Not See It...

There are so many ways to teach Bikram's Beginning Series! It's pretty mind-boggling, considering that Bikram yoga classes are all taught from the same dialogue, how individual teachers bring their own energy, mood, perspective, wisdom, experience, etc, combine it with Bikram's instructions, and create their own unique classes.

Since I want to teach Bikram's Beginning Series someday, I'm paying more attention to how teachers teach. Tonight, after a really lovely class taught by a very gentle, upbeat, and kind-hearted teacher, I was a little surprised by what he had to say about why he taught the way he did.

A few students were sitting in the lobby after class, talking about our practices, and a student said, "I always feel like the second I feel as if I've gotten better at posture, I get a whole bunch of corrections. When I was just struggling with the posture, nobody gave me corrections." He was feeling a little discouraged.

Gosh, I think I once blogged about feeling the same way! Once I felt as if I was seeing changes in my postures (during my first challenge), it was like the teachers jumped all over me, expected much more of me, whereas before the challenge, I'd been slogging along there for months with no comments on many of my not-so-great asana.

We were all musing over various corrections we'd been given, and another student asked our teacher about how & when he chose to give feedback.

My teacher said, "I got the shit kicked out of me my whole life, and I don't want to inflict things on others. Some studios demand that you do your teaching in a specific style, but I teach here because I teach best when I'm just being myself. When I give an instruction or a correction and a student isn't doing what I asked him to do, I figure, he either can't physically do it, isn't ready psychologically to do it, or he just doesn't want to do it. If he doesn't want to do it, he's only hurting himself, not me or anyone else, so I just let it be."

I guess the thing that shocked me most was hearing this teacher, a very nice, funny, positive person, say that he'd had the shit kicked out of him his whole life. He is so gentle, so calm, serene. He seems so content, so at peace with the world. I love his classes because his peacefulness permeates the class. He seems so free of suffering and insecurity, yet he's evidently endured some intense hardships in his life.

I guess that I sometimes mistakenly assume that people who are content and happy haven't had the same sorts of problems and obstacles in their lives as those of us who are currently struggling. What a huge mistake!

Similarly, without thinking about it, I found myself making the assumption that B, a woman at our studios who does doubles on a very regular basis and has a beautiful, accomplished practice, doesn't struggle much anymore. It was so surprising to hear her saying what a lousy class she had, how she didn't feel good, wanted to leave the room, was disappointed in her execution of some postures. From a distance, I watch her and think that it looks so easy for her, but it's not.

It's always a challenge. You might not see it unless you look for it, but each of us has our own struggle. We're all human, and we can't live in this beautiful world without experiencing pain and adversity. It's all the more amazing, admirable, and inspiring to see the beauty of someone's practice or feel the calm, positive energy of another yogi or teacher when you consider how much work s/he's done to achieve it.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Letting No one Steal Your Peace?

I'm supposed to meet with the studio owner and the adv. teacher tomorrow. I spoke with the owner about the whole incident, and I dunno. Owner described the teacher as "tactless," but seems to think that it's not that big a deal. Owner gave me a lot of the "let no one steal your peace" stuff.

I don't want to be treated unfairly or badly. If I seek to remove myself from classes and a teacher who does that, am I copping out, am I letting her steal my peace?

This feels like a no-win situation.
Either I take classes with this teacher, which pretty much guarantees that I'll be asked to take crap from her --(and by 'take crap,' I don't mean being criticized or pushed hard or challenged; I mean being treated badly by someone who doesn't care about me or my practice one iota)-
-or I miss out on advanced class and competition coaching,
or I go to great lengths to find some other arrangement to move forward with my practice--like starting all over at a new studio, or finding someone else who will help coach me, or putting it all on hold for another year.

I wish things were different. I don't know what to do. Gonna take the dog to the park, sit in the sun, and pray. My problems are little in the grand scheme of things. I'm going to try to summon up some gratitude and calmness.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Focus on Practice

I felt as if I had good stamina today. I made it through my class and my work with no problems. I did all of my postures and felt pretty good about my practice.

When I'm in the standing separate leg head to knee pose, with my forehead on my knee, trying to keep my eyes open and not let sweat drip into eyes, sometimes I find myself looking at the mirrors on the side wall. More than once, I've been unable, for a moment at least, to tell which hips in black shorts and which set of legs are my own. It's a weird feeling!

I am finding that I have the strength and stamina to do a lot more consistent contracting of my muscles; I'm able to keep them contracted throughout postures. In the past, I found it very difficult. It feels great to be able to do it better, do it more.

It's most obvious in the old standing head to knee/lock the damn knee scenario (contracting the quadriceps), but I am seeing improvement in a lot of other postures when I focus on contracting muscles.

Keeping the arms straight and contracting triceps, focusing attention on my arms really helps me keep my balance better in the second part of awkward pose. I've had to work hard to focus on contracting the quads in the separate leg stretching posture. I was hyper-extending at the knee for a long time, focusing on other aspects of the posture, unaware that I wasn't engaging the quads. I especially feel a great difference when I contract the leg muscles, lock the knees, and contract the glutes in cobra pose. I am just really loving cobra pose lately.

The postures I want to work on most right now are bow pose and camel. I want to work on staying aligned well in these postures so that I'll be able to release into more of my spine. Right now, I'm aware of a lot of tiny odd things that I do with my neck if I'm not careful. I mean, I do hunchy little things, sort of going forward with my neck before I go back, and it makes a world of difference when I put my attention there and let things line up naturally.

It is amazing to find the myriad ways in which my body holds tension and how that tension can distort my body's natural healthy alignment. The distortions in the neck, back, and shoulders can be so subtle, and so habitual. Some things require a lot of work to change and/or release, but so many of them only ask us to pay a little more attention. How sweet that we can help ourselves with just a little focused effort.

Not the first time this has happened...

Yoga studio drama continues...

The studio owner has not returned my call. Studio manager says the owner's out of town for the weekend.

I'm sure that there are students who want to rush into advanced class before they've built a good foundation. I'm sure that there are many times when a teacher needs to gently suggest that someone work on a specific aspect of their practice before moving on to advanced series. I understand that it can be really difficult for a teacher in those circumstances. It requires a lot of diplomacy and care to communicate real encouragement to the student while still letting her or him know that more work is needed before advancing.

I spoke with two other people who are regulars at my studios, who've competed in the championships and taken advanced series. There is, they say, a history of this teacher being rude, discouraging, humiliating, exclusionary and uncooperative with people who want to move up to a new level in their practice. One of these students told me about a couple of instances that took place and said, "I bet (the owners) get at least one email or call each week complaining about (teacher in question)." She said, "Don't worry, it's not you. It's her." She urged me to stand my ground and insist on taking the classes with the 'mean' teacher.

The thing is, I don't want to take a class or be coached by somebody who is so disrespectful towards me. I don't trust this person. I don't feel she has my best interests at heart. She does not appear to support my practice or my personal growth in any way. I don't feel very well served by taking her classes. She is really really good at doing the postures. She is really good at telling you what's wrong with your postures. But I don't feel supported or encouraged or improved by her instruction. I am so...fed up with her right now that if I were not a work/trade member of the studio, if I didn't have a paid position there, I would stop coming to these studios and go somewhere else. If I could, I would avoid this person for the rest of my life.

In a really lovely, fair, pleasant all the time world, the studio owner would remove this person from her position leading advanced class and coaching for competition. But I don't think that's gonna happen, any more than I expect the 'mean' teacher to suddenly become kind, encouraging, and inspiring to me. This teacher has a long history of unpleasant interactions with students, and it doesn't seem like she's ever been held accountable for it. I guess I'm supposed to get all yogic and spiritual about it and figure out some way to deal with her. Right now, I feel like, "f*ck that." It ain't right, she's not right, and I don't want to deal with her.

So here's the worst part: I have a desk shift and cleaning shift before and after her class this afternoon. If I want to practice today, I have to take her class. There's no way that I can sign in students today without having to talk to her. F*ck.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Full moon, head full of thoughts, heart full of emotions...

So, I am thinking more about my interaction with the advanced teacher/competition coach, and I feel so...squashed. I feel a little bit like she crapped all over my yoga.

I can't begin to imagine how I could possibly take classes and be coached by someone who doesn't want me in her class, doesn't think I am prepared for advanced classes, speaks to me in a disrespectful manner, and shows very little concern for my feelings.

I don't mind the idea of a coach who pushes you hard or pressures you to do more, but I can't bear the thought of training with someone who doesn't seem to want me to succeed.

I have learned one thing from this situation: You can know a ton about the postures and alignment, but that knowledge alone won't necessarily make you a good teacher. If you don't have compassion and respect for your students, you can hurt them more than help them. My feelings are hurt, but I'm not so fragile that this will ruin me. But I know that I never want to discourage students when I teach.

In my limited experience, teaching other styles of yoga, I have taught people who are elderly and have come close to giving up on their health, their bodies, and sometimes even on life itself. I've taught at risk youth, and girls in drug treatment, kids who have sometimes been told again and again that they're not good enough for success, for college, for a good job, for love, for a decent life. People with fragile hope need to be treated with care and compassion. One of the things I cherish about yoga is how the practice can bring us back to our strengths, can show us possibility. I want to, and I try to, nurture a sense of possibility in students. Yoga is so challenging, but so forgiving and so welcoming.

I wish I had a kind-hearted advanced teacher/coach who was sensitive to my feelings and supported me in my goals.

I don't know how I can compete if I don't take this not-so-kind teacher's classes. But I don't think I can take her classes. I could go once a week, to the other advanced class, and try to work more on my own. I can't afford to pay for practice at another studio, and I've worked hard to get my work trade and paid position at our NE studios. I don't know. I just feel a little lost and heartsick, and I'm trying to let go of it, let god or the universe or some divine spirit of yoga take care of it or show me what to do. It's not the end of the world, but it sure threw a wrench in my little plans and dreams.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


So, now I have a new challenge, one I was not expecting and do not welcome. I am up in the air right now, after experiencing a LOT of emotional turmoil this evening. I don't know what to d0--don't know what I can do--in an upsetting and disappointing situation.

My studios have advanced classes twice a week. We don't have an officially certified-for-advanced class teacher, but we have two very accomplished certified teachers of the beginning series who "lead" the advanced practice. Right now, close to the Championships, the studios also have a coaching night for competitors, and coaching night is led by an advanced class teacher/leader.

My schedule has not allowed for me to attend advanced classes, though I was invited to attend (by the studio owner) a year ago. Having been encouraged to participate in the competition, I made plans to attend advanced class. Last night, I spoke with the studio owner, the studio manager, and another new-to-competition student about attending advanced tonight. I juggled my schedule and took beginning series class, worked a shift at the front desk, and was preparing to run to the other studio for advanced practice. The woman who is leading advanced had just finished teaching at the place I did my desk shift. When she was leaving, I said, "I guess I'll see you at advanced tonight," and that was the last normal moment in my life for the next hour.

She looked at me with a completely horrified expression, and she said, "Were you invited to attend advanced? Who told you you could go?" She went on to tell me that she feels I am not ready, and though she can't stop me from attending, she would prefer that I didn't.
I stared at her, looking like I don't know what, but I was stunned, hurt, bitterly disappointed, and just freaking shocked, really.

She said, "What are you thinking?" and I said, "All kinds of things, really." She said, "Oh? Tell me two or three of them." I told her that I was disappointed and felt very rejected. She said, "See? That's why I think you're not ready. It's not about your ego."

We actually sort of quarreled after that, trying to communicate. I felt as if everything I said was either misunderstood or invalidated by this woman, and I am really fairly flummoxed. This woman does the coaching for competition, and she leads one of the weekly advanced classes. I feel as if it is going to be very difficult and horrible for me to try to attend these classes with her as my coach and teacher.

I know that I am not perfect and I have ego issues and insecurities, but I can't help feeling that this woman was rude--or at least very insensitive--and not at all supportive of me or my practice. I feel very confused, because I've had several other teachers urge me to compete and to strive to go to teacher training, and to attend advanced practice. I am not the greatest yogi in the room, but my practice has come so far. It's baffling to be encouraged, then have someone in a position of authority take pains to DIScourage me. It is infuriating to try to explain my feelings and defend myself only to have my ego blamed for all the problems, mixed messages, and misunderstandings, the disappointment, hurt, and, well, what feels like disrespect. Ugh.

Maybe something will seem clearer later. I am hoping to speak with the studio owner tomorrow, but tonight, for a little while, it's felt like everything is ruined, that I'll never be able to take advanced, go to teacher training, or be in the competition. I am so angry with this teacher right now, and trying to resolve these emotions seems almost impossible. Let no one steal your peace, but gosh, I really didn't expect to have something like this happen. I don't know what to do. This woman has lots of influence at our studios. This disappointing assessment of my practice, along with the really really unpleasant interaction tonight makes me feel...very ill at ease.

What am I supposed to do here?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Talk about a challenge!

I've completed 5 classes in the Living Yoga 2 month Bikram yoga challenge. Every fall, the NE studio (now 2 studios) holds a yoga-thon challenge to raise money for Living Yoga and to encourage yogis to deepen their practice.

Living Yoga is a local non-profit that brings yoga classes (taught almost entirely by volunteers) to the incarcerated, to people in rehab, and to those living in shelters. It's a great organization, and at some point, I want to blog a bit about the program and the profound difference it's made for so many. All of us participating in the challenge are collecting sponsors/donations (hey, feel free to contact me by email if you want to pledge--no donation is too small!) and trying to ramp up our practices' frequency during the period from September 15 until November 15. My goal is 62 classes in these 62 days. Five down, 57 to go.

I am also finally going to try to drag myself into advanced class, and possibly to the 'coached' class for participants in the local/regional yoga championships. I do not want to compete. I mean, I really really don't want to do this thing.

I am old, my back's not flexible, and I don't have a very pretty practice.
I wobble, I grimace, I sweat and grunt and can't go very far in many many asana.
But my teachers encourage me to train for the competition, to do deeper work on my practice, and to challenge myself. Since I've expressed interest in teacher training, I'm told that taking part in the competition will be an especially valuable experience.

I'm not ready!
I'm gonna do it anyway.
God, I'm scared.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Weird but good

My class today was strange, but I so needed it, and it felt really good.

I was a little sleep-deprived, and I've been doing a lot of heavy lifting, moving furniture and boxes. I'm clearing out a lot of stuff from my house, especially all the odds and ends that have accumulated in the storage area of the basement. I got up early today to hold a yard sale with my friend, S, and we had a good day, chatting to neighbors and yard salers, wheeling and dealing, hanging out in the sunshine.

I went to class with a little sunburn, and not quite as hydrated as I wanted to be. My back was stiff. My legs felt heavy. I had trouble with every single posture that involves back flexibility, which is to say, most of them.

During the 2 minute savasana, my unfocused mind was wandering a bit, and out the blue, I was thinking about a little boy I knew in grade school.

His name was John, and in first grade, Sister Marilyn made both of us sit in the front of the classroom because we were "talkers." We were thick as thieves, and we probably talked even more, up in the front row right next to each other. One day at school, John brought a Kennedy half-dollar to class, and he proudly showed it to me. It happened to be on my birthday, and later in the day, when Sister announced that it was my birthday, John turned around in his seat and gave me his half-dollar.

A few winters later, when we were in fourth grade, John died in a sledding accident. I haven't thought about him in years, and suddenly today in savasana, I was lying there crying, remembering this sweet little boy. How strange. But it is good to remember him.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What happened there?

Today I took a late morning class, and I felt like hell going in. I was still sleepy and stiff, and I have been having a slew of digestive issues these last few days. Bleah. Just didn't feel like being there.

Have you ever started to watch a movie or TV program, and felt bored or disinterested at the beginning, considered turning it off? But then, somehow, you get caught up in the story, you're dying to know what happens next, and you've sort of lost yourself for a while because you're enveloped in this other reality?

That's was class was like today. I was so bored with pranayama. I was so not into trying to touch the ceiling during half-moon warm-up. I felt achy and cranky, and I wanted to be home, in my bed, with the covers pulled up. But somehow, I don't when or how, my mind floated out of that attitude, and I was just so engrossed in the practice that I didn't really think anymore.

How does that stuff happen? Can't I always be in that magic, non-thinking state during yoga?

You learn something over & over every day.

As I was finishing up cleaning the showers at the yoga studio tonight, I suddenly realized how tired I was. I got home a little less than an hour ago. I got up at 6:00 AM today, and our new class schedule means that cleaning lasts until 11PM, at least. I'm not really pleased about that, but oh, well.

I got up early today because I had several errands that I needed to complete before "work." I wasn't working all day, mind you, just a few hours. This morning, my work was observing a yoga class for people with Multiple Sclerosis. I'm assisting the teacher, a certified Iyengar teacher who's been living with MS for a couple of decades. It was really interesting, and I am happy to be learning more about the adaptions to postures and more about restorative postures. Bikram is my true yoga-love, but I really like exploring other styles of yoga and learning about postures or sequences that are helpful for specific groups of people. Sometimes it helps me appreciate my 26 & 2 even more!

There was one particular student who had pretty severe mobility issues, but she kept working on her practice. Tonight at my Bikram class, I was thinking of her and also remembering people from my seniors gentle yoga classes. There have been days at Bikram classes when a teacher told me to do something differently or to put more effort into it, and I thought things like, "Bitch, please, I am holding my stomach in," or, "This IS the best I can do! Lay off!" Seeing other people, outside the little bubble of our studio, doing yoga and really meeting the challenge of it, without complaint or self-pity--it makes me feel a little bit ashamed of myself. The challenges of yoga are so much deeper than the physical postures, and I can't seem to learn that fact well enough.

Ah, off to bed now.

Friday, September 3, 2010

On my way to becoming Fireproof?

Today was so beautiful--a perfect autumn day: a crisp nice morning and a gorgeous sunny afternoon. It's a little sad to see the days getting shorter, but we even had a pretty sunset this evening. Me and my Buddy had the best walk ever today, and one of us chased a tennis ball around the park until he got so tired he couldn't stand up.

I spent the late afternoon at the studio, working and taking a class. The old studio has been really hot the last few days. Yesterday, I practiced at the new studio but went to the old one to do some work. People coming out of the last class at the old studio looked drained, drenched, and traumatized. The teacher told me that he felt like he was gonna pass out, it was so hot. According to the thermometer in the yoga room, it reached 118F.

So today, I took my class (no water again), and was busy thinking about my practice, thinking about what to make for dinner, thinking about friends, conversations, and job applications. My mind was wandering all over the place. I thought about how nice water was going to taste when class was finally over. I thought about that a lot.

My wandering thoughts made practice difficult in some ways. I had a hard time balancing today. In standing head to knee, by now I always lock the damn knee, for sure. But I was very wobbly today, fell out several times. Same deal with standing bow pulling pose: Wobbly, falling out. I feel as if I did a great balancing stick today though. And come to think of it, half-moon felt especially good today too.

Practicing this yoga is never easy, but some days it's really really incredibly draining, challenging, difficult, painful, or exhausting. I have lots of those rough days, days when I sit out postures or want to do so. Surprisingly, I didn't feel tired out or too hot today at class, not at all. I felt a little scatter-brained and distracted, but physically comfortable with the practice.

When we got out of class, everyone else was exclaiming, "Oh my god, it was hot!" and that sort of thing. Turns out it was 117-118 again.


This feels like some kind of amazing break-through to me in some ways. I didn't have an outstanding class, in terms of how I executed my asana, and I didn't maintain focus very well, but I withstood extra heat without even noticing it, without my mind complaining. Damn, that feels good!


I didn't drink water during class this afternoon, but it was an accident. I was working at the front desk just prior to class, signing in students, and I had to dash around, locking the front door, double checking that everyone had what they needed, and so on, just as class was starting. I ran into the room at the last minute, and I forgot to bring my water bottle.

It was fine. I was really wishing for my cool water by the time we hit fixed firm pose. It's always my weak moment. I can skip party time and any other water break, but I like a drink as I get into fixed firm. Hmph. I lived without it, no problem. And I hadn't really done much hydrating throughout the day either. I should maybe try to do without it a little more often.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

New stuff! New challenge!

I am sitting here at my computer, feeling that nasty twinge of sciatic pain in my right hip. Something's out of whack in my back, and I have sciatica that comes and goes. I was moving some heavy boxes, and I strained some back muscles and also knocked things a bit out of alignment, I guess. I had a very very tough class the day after I hurt myself, but it's been better every day since then. And I've had some really good classes this week.

Today will be my 8th consecutive day of practice. I've really neglected my practice these past few months. I had a whole week with no yoga in June, and I cut back to 4X/wk for most of the summer. I didn't intend to do so, but I somehow just didn't make it to class an awful lot of the time.

Another thing I don't like to think about is this: I gained back about 9 of the 12 pounds I'd lost during my 101 Day Challenge (from Jan 1- Apr 11). :(

I ate bad food too often this summer, and I ate a lot. During the challenge, I could eat damn near anything and still find myself losing weight. That every single day thing makes a HUGE difference in my metabolism, and I got a little cocky, thinking I could have all of the fries I wanted w/o gaining. Well, guess what? Unless I've got an intense daily practice going, I've got to be more conscientious about my diet. Damn it.

Well, things must change! I looked up my attendance, and I found that if I go to class every single day until the end of the year, I will end up with 309 classes for 2010. I have a new goal now: I want to end 2010 with at least 310 classes for the year. I am also gonna do my best to eat right! More vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, healthy fats.

An added incentive to attend class daily is our studios' annual Bikram Yoga Challenge. Every fall, our studio has a 30 or 60 day challenge that's a fund-raiser for Living Yoga, a program that brings yoga classes to the incarcerated, to people in drug and alcohol addiction treatment, and to people living in domestic violence shelters. I've volunteered a little for Living Yoga, but I've never signed up for the fund-raising challenge. We gather pledges of support--a friend might pledge to donate $1 for each class we attend during the 30 or 60 day challenge period. I'm gonna do it this year! I plan to be doing the yoga anyway, so I may as well do what I can to contribute to Living Yoga.

Oh, and I have a new yoga opportunity outside of Bikram: Once a week, I am going to be assisting an Iyengar teacher with a class for people living with multiple sclerosis. I'm very excited about it. I start next week.

I've got a new hobby/project here at home too: Kombucha brewing! Is kombucha a big thing at other Bikram studios? We sell it at ours, and it's very popular. A student visiting from the South was sort of mystified by it, had never seen it before, so I wonder if it's a West coast thing? I used to hate the stuff, but now I crave it. At $4 a bottle, it's an expensive addiction, but it tastes seriously wonderful after class. Several people from our studio brew their own, and I recently adopted a couple of "babies" to start my own brewing. Very excited about this too!

So, I'm off to the studio quite soon. Gonna run the front desk, do the greeting and signing in, duck into class at the last minute, then clean the studio after everyone leaves. Cooler weather and back-to-school schedule changes are already making our classes fill up quicker. It's weird to be up sort of late, doing something yoga-related. I usually don't get home until almost midnight when I clean after a 7PM class.

I am feeling a little of the 'back-to-school' enthusiasm myself. I'm going to be back to daily yoga classes, back to teaching a little bit, and back to a little more focus on my own health and well-being. And I'm going to blog more too!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I'm Back!

I can't believe that it's been so long since I've written anything here! I have been busy--working at 2 jobs for a total of 50-70 hours/week since late April--and preoccupied.

And this is just a quick update. I've been making it to yoga quite a bit, but I haven't had a stretch of more than 7 days in a row for quite some time now. Never less than 3X/week though, usually 5.

I'm not gonna make it to TT in September. No money, not ready, etc, etc. One of our newly minted teachers told me, "If you wait 'til you feel ready, you'll never go!!" I am going to apply for a scholarship for Spring Teacher Training and see what happens.

Tonight I practiced with 3 other women at a class taught by one of our very best teachers and yoginis. After class, in the changing room, she said, "Oh, my muscles are so sore!" I said, "Oh, what from?" and she said, "I don't know!" For some reason, I found this shocking. I guess that I wasn't aware of how much and how often I put skilled yogis and teachers on a pedestal. Yes, even the strongest, most flexible, knowledgeable practitioners of yoga have aches, pains, and challenges--mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical. They put their yoga shorts on one leg at a time too, ha.

When I'm sore or achy after yoga, I sometimes tend to see it as a big negative thing, proof I'm not 'good' at yoga, or one more reason to be grumpy and resistant to my practice. I've also managed, at times, to see aches and soreness as signs of progress, encouragement, proof that my practice is moving somewhere new, doing something to literally change my body.

It's so easy to get caught up in the illusion that my practice is like a job: I have tasks to complete, and then I'll be done. I see my teacher, a woman with an incredible practice who makes every asana look effortless, who's practiced for more than a decade, and she still experiences change and growth and pain in her practice.

No, yoga practice is not like a job. It's like...I don't know...a good friendship: One never knows where it might lead, it can grow deeper, stronger, and more fulfilling with time, and often painful things somehow lead to something sweet. My best friendships are like that...and I guess that yoga is a kind of friendship, with one's self, one's spirit, and with a universal spirit, the Divine. I am so grateful for my yoga practice.

I hope to blog a little more often from here on out.
Oh, and I may be doing another Bikram Challenge soon...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Promoting Bikram Yoga...

in my neighborhood--that's what I've been doing. I never planned on doing it, but it keeps happening. I walk just a few blocks from my home through a residential area to get to my studio, which is in a nearby business district. Almost every night, as I'm staggering home, clutching my mat, with my hair still wet from the shower, people ask me, "Were you at that Bikram yoga place?" or, "Did you just do hot yoga at that studio up the street?"

I've been stopped by homeowners doing yard work, a group of hipster kids on fixies, young mothers pushing strollers around the neighborhood, and an elderly gentleman sitting on his porch. People ask, "What is Bikram yoga like?" I very much loved it when the older man asked me, "Do you think that I could do that stuff?" and I was able to say, without reservations, "Yes!"

I feel really fortunate to live in my cozy little neighborhood, the kind of place where people see our new studio as a part of our community and are interested in checking it out. I hope I see more of my neighbors there next time we have community day. I want to keep spreading the word.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Finding Time...

for yoga, for blogging, for rest and relaxation has been hard! I've been working 50+ hours a week. I know that millions of other people work that much and more all of the time, but it's a shock to my system after a year and a half of unemployment and very part time employment. I missed a day or two or three of yoga every single week since I started working!

Random thoughts about my yoga practice these days:

I feel like the princess and the pea at yoga class a lot. Every little wrinkle in my mat or towel seems to drive me crazy and distract me. I'm working on staying focused on my practice and overcoming the urge to be distracted. I guess the princess in that fairy tale probably needed to fight distraction as well. Bikram would've sorted her out.

My left hip joint did something weird and painful last week...but it seemed to straighten out my left leg a bit. In the midst of wind-removing pose, I felt something crackle and move and hurt, deep in my left hip, right in the joint. I had intermittent soreness and pain for 4-5 days afterward, but it feels fine now. I think that my hip joint is more open, and some of the misalignment in my left leg seems to be diminished. Weird to have it happen so suddenly, especially since I've felt so sleep deprived, tired and achy these last several weeks. But I think it's a good thing.

Radiant heat in the yoga studio flooring is...awfully unpleasant at times. Today, at the end of standing series, the teacher said something like, "Now we'll rest on the floor," but I heard it as,"Now we'll ROAST on the floor." Honestly, I feel like slab of meat on a grill when the floor is really hot. I hate it.

There is a direct correlation between how grounded and balanced I feel in my work, social, and home life and how well I am able to perform balancing postures.

If class ever becomes routine to you, all you need to do is listen very closely to the dialogue and try to have 'beginner's mind.' Just try to hear the instructions, as if you didn't know the posture at all and were just starting out, and you will find a plethora of new things to focus on.

Lots of way too hot classes in a row almost suck the life out of you, but you get really tough from powering through them. When you go to a 'normal' 105 degree class after 3 days of classes with temps over 108, you will feel like Super Yogi, and every posture will seem easy.

I am up way too late again...but at least I get to sleep in tomorrow. Back to work on Sunday, but back to yoga every day. I hope to post here more often, and I hope to have something worthwhile to say!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A picture of my best friend

and two pictures of me.

These were taken just after class on Day 101 of my challenge, April 11. I can't figure out whose legs are in the last photo! I suppose I should try to crop them out, but I kinda like them there.

These are my "after" photos, but I don't have copies of the "before" shots; they were on my ex's camera and computer. You'll have to trust me when I say, there was in a noticeable improvement in my appearance and in my standing bow. My practice improved and changed so much. The challenge was such a valuable experience.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

No sleep, plenty of energy...

I had to get up early today, and I didn't sleep well last night. I got four or five hours of sleep, but no more than an hour at a time. I felt very very sleepy during my training sessions for work, but once I got to yoga, I felt great. I had a fabulous class with no fatigue at all.

How weird is that? Especially since I felt run down and ill yesterday.

I've noticed this before, that I often have pretty good classes on days when I am sleep deprived. I've always heard stories of how Bikram keeps everyone up late at teacher training, but maybe there really is some process whereby we tap into a secret store of energy when we don't get much sleep. Hmm.

Changes Again

I need to get to bed because I have a long day ahead of me tomorrow and a busy couple of weeks ahead. Just finished eating late dinner after cleaning the yoga studio tonight. It's pouring rain outside.

My yoga was difficult today, but good, and healing. I woke up with a nasty sinus headache, and I felt crappy all day long. I think I am feeling stressed out, and it's making me run down. I dosed up on some herbal tinctures, and like blogger Bikram Barbie, I made friends with my neti pot. I had several packets of Emergen-C and lots of water and ginger lemon tea. I ate raw garlic too, and I hope that no one at yoga will hate me for it, because I know it stinks when it's sweated out.

Yoga took a lot of effort. I wanted very badly to sit out postures, just purely from fatigue, but I managed to keep telling myself, "just one more set; it'll be okay," and I made it through all of the postures. Well, actually, I didn't stay in camel for the full allotment of time on the second set.

I felt almost human again after yoga. I rested a long while after class, and I drank two liters of water.

I think that a lot of my stress is just about changes in my life. Change is often stressful, even when it's good change. I am going to be a lot busier for the next few months. I've been unemployed and lazy for so long. I'm used to relaxing and reading and walking the dog and going to yoga, teaching a little here and there, applying for a few jobs every week. It's a little jarring to contemplate switching up the routine, but it is very welcome, this change.

I'm going to be spending more and more time at the studio(s): I was offered some part time paid work, cleaning and maintenance along with a little bit of front desk work. My old "home" studio closed last month when the owners opened the beautiful new studio in my neighborhood. The original studio will be re-opening some time in May, so there's a need for more staffing. I am so happy to get a little paid employment, especially since it's at a place I love with people I love to be around. As a person who's been unemployed for quite a while, I can't tell you how nice it is to be offered a job, out of the blue (and not have to write another freaking cover letter)!

I'm also starting temporary work tomorrow morning for the US Census Bureau. I worked for the Census last year, and we were told we'd have about 2 months work, but it ended up being just 3 weeks. I am expecting something similar this time. I will have several 9 hour days for training to start out.

And one more change is happening at the end of the week: I'm getting a housemate. I am renting out the extra bedroom. My housemate is really wonderful, and she will be here through the summer. She's leaving to start a graduate program in September, and I hope to either develop a means of steady income sufficient to pay the bills here on my own by then or else find a way to downsize. Maybe I'd get another housemate then, but I have to say, I like that this is a temporary arrangement, just in case.

I think yoga will kick this sinus issue out of me if I keep going to class every day and get some rest! Yoga is so amazing.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Just another day, a good one!

I had a good class tonight. Struggled a little with triangle today, and I lacked balance in standing bow. But my stamina was good tonight, I felt strong. I wasn't looking forward to class because I wasn't very well hydrated, but my fears were unfounded.

On the 101st day of my challenge, after class, I asked one of the teachers to snap a couple of pictures of me. My ex took pictures of me on Day 1, and I wanted to have before and after shots.I chose standing bow for one of the photographed postures because I love to do it. So my teacher took some pictures of me doing standing bow, and she said, "Now do it with your foot straight. You keep moving your toes inward."

I was doing the posture on my "good" side, and I was completely unaware that I've been moving my toes in, not keeping the foot straight. I am now in the process of learning all over again how to balance on that side. My "good" side is now my bad side! I don't contort my foot on the other side. So, yes, I had trouble balancing today, but I am getting better.

Lately, I feel a deeper stretch in my waist and torso in postures like half-moon and camel. I am not going into the postures deeper, but I feel a deeper, more aligned kind of stretch and pull. It is really amazing to feel and see new things in my practice all of the time.

I'm sleepy! There's so much more that I'd like to write about, but it will have to wait for tomorrow or later.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Bringing it up again...

I have a non-yoga-doing friend who asked me all about my challenge. She is one of those folks who is afraid of Bikram Yoga, who will say, "Oh, no, that's not for me; it's too hot," without ever trying it. She wants to know why I threw up after class a few times, and once during class.

I don't know the answer!

One teacher told me that if my life had been stressful (yes), and full of excess cortisol and other stress hormones, my body might be doing a quick detox by vomiting. Other teachers blame it on water--saying you shouldn't ever drink any water during class, that I wouldn't have puked if I hadn't taken a drink at party time, fixed firm, etc.

At least one of the days when I vomited, I was feeling ill anyway, on the verge of some kind of flu or something. It's been mentioned (by dear Yolk E, I think) that dehydration can sometimes cause vomiting.

I think that all of these things played a part in my vomiting incidents. Anybody have any other ideas?

I continue to go to class daily, and the new studio is doing a booming business. It's almost overwhelmingly busy. When one class is letting out and the next one is suiting up, our changing rooms are packed! You don't have enough room to take your pants off without bumping into your neighbor. It's kind of exciting to see all the new faces, and there's lots of energy in the air, but sometimes I long for a quiet, private bit of space after class. I am letting final savasana get longer and longer! This lets the dressing room clear out a bit, lets my head clear out a bit, and it's supposed to be helping my body integrate my yoga for the day too.

One thing that I am having trouble adjusting to: The new studio has radiant heating in the floor! It's weird, because I am used to getting a little cooling when we move to the floor series, but there isn't much cool down there now.

I am worrying about the next few weeks--I have some temp work at normal people's work hours! I finally have to see what it's like for most folks with regular jobs to try to make time for 90 minutes of yoga. In order to do my daily Bikram yoga and teach my regular classes, I will have to get up at 5:30AM and take 6:00AM class at least a couple of times per week. On the other days, I can just work 8-5 and make it to 6:00PM class, but maybe I should just try to be a real morning person and do 6:00 AM class every day. Hmm. It will be interesting. But I want to keep going, doing yoga every day.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


I had a good solid class today, no problems with the heat. I peeked at the thermometer after class, and it said 110 F. Before doing the 101 Challenge, I never would've felt comfortable in a 110 degree class!

a few random thoughts and facts about the challenge

It's almost a week since we completed our 101 Challenge. I threw up at the final class, and it really bummed me out! I have been avoiding blogging, even though I have so many things I want to say about doing the challenge. I think my avoidance is partly because I was disappointed to end on a sour note, but also because I hate to see the challenge end.

I have been to class every day since Day 101, and I intend to continue daily practice.

Here's some vanity stats about the challenge: I ended up losing a total of 12 pounds. I lost an inch or so from my bust line, 2 inches from my waist, and 2 1/2 inches from my hips. My thighs each lost 1 1/2 inches as well. I am doubtful that I will ever have a "yoga butt" though! women in my family tend to have what my brother in law calls "Nebraska ass:" Wide and flat, like the state my mom's family settled in. Mine is not as wide as it used to be.

I ate like a horse most of the time during the challenge too...never went hungry or denied myself, and I still lost weight. I continue to have voracious cravings for protein, and I am suddenly a huge fan of pickles and all things vinegary.

One thing that I've come to see is how important consecutive, daily practice is for anyone seeking changes--weight loss, in particular--from yoga. Lots of trainers, teachers, and even Bikram teachers say that you need a day off to recuperate. As a general lifetime rule, that may be true, and there are certain conditions and injuries that preclude daily practice. However, most of us benefit immensely from a challenge, a daily practice. Whether it's 30, 60, 90, or 101 days, daily practice without let up makes a big, big difference. It's like a kick-start, really gets things moving. Weight that clung to me stubbornly when I was practicing 3, 4, or 5 X/week finally left when my body had a relentless, daily program of cleansing, detoxing, and working to get circulation to every muscle, joint, and organ. More oxygen, more circulation--every organ functions better, and suddenly my metabolism is on track again.

Many days during the challenge, class exhausted me, made me sore, tired, and cranky. I felt sick a lot. I threw up a few times. But overall, I have better, more consistent energy levels now, both in and out of Bikram class.

I am glad to fit into my skinny jeans again, but I also feel a little like, "Huh. Big deal." The weight and body image issues are just reflections of inner issues. And the challenge led to so many changes inside of me--not just bones to skin changes, but mental, emotional, and spiritual changes. And I sense the potential and the need for even more change.

It was a blessing to have this yoga, this practice, to guide me through a challenging time in my personal life. I don't know how I would've managed without yoga. After I came back to Bikram yoga classes, with an injured back and a lot of other aches and pains and physical problems, I used to say, "I don't know how this old body would cope without yoga." Now I feel that way about mind and spirit--where would mine be without yoga?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Day101! Um...

I got up 2 hours before class, drank a couple of glasses of water, and took Buddy out. Got to the studio a little bit early, but class was crowded, and I felt a little hemmed in.

It was an extra hot class, but I didn't feel hot. I felt good for a lot of it. I was very very happy with the progress I saw in standing head to knee pose. I felt pretty strong throughout all of the standing series, really. Had a small sip of water at party time, and one at the end of standing series.

Later, during good old wind removing pose, I had a painful intestinal cramp. Felt pretty yucky. Kept doing postures as best I could. Then during a sit-up, between fixed firm and half-tortoise, I literally threw up a little in my mouth. I felt terribly nauseated, and I laid down into savasana and tried to wait it out. But I had to get up and run for the bathroom, where I vomited the rest of my water. Laid myself down outside the studio door for a bit, and returned for the last two asana and final breathing and savasana.

It was NOT how I had envisioned ending my challenge, but there it is.

I have a million final thoughts about the challenge that I would like to share, but I am going to let these thoughts settle in and gel a little before writing them out. So much has changed in my life during these last 3 1/2 months. So much has changed about my practice and my body. My mind and spirit too, I think. I'm going to blog more about it in the coming days.

I am definitely going to class tomorrow. I am not planning to stop daily practice any time soon. And I am rather excited about a new challenge: I was invited to come check out the advanced classes at my studio!

Day 100

Another good class today.

And now I am up too late for somebody who's planning to finish off the challenge at a morning class!

My next door neighbors are having a party and have been drinking, speaking loudly, and playing Lady Gaga at full blast for hours and hours. Normally, this would piss me off to no end, but I'm not bothered. I think that all the yoga has me blissed out so that things don't get to me as easily.

I have happy plans to meet my best friend for brunch after yoga, and if the weather's good, we'll take Buddy to the dog park. I am so looking forward to tomorrow.

It is very exciting to think that we are only one class away from competing 101...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Day 97: New Deal

Well, another class at my new studio, and today I also had a new teacher. He was fantastic! He was a stickler for precision and gave us lots of added details and explanations, ostensibly for the new people, but wildly beneficial to the rest of us as well.

Because he insisted that anyone with both knees locked should at least try to touch their forehead to the knee, I actually did it for the very first time today! Also, I let go of my foot in tree, without having it slip down. Just a few hints, a few details added to the instruction, and it all came together. It feels SO good to make progress on those asana that have only been half-way there or have been terrible struggles. Thank you, new teacher!

I have to mention, however, that the room was nice and cool. When we began class, our teacher told us we were going to try to raise the temp a bit, that it was only 103F. I like 103! Even just plain 105. It's the 108 and up that knocks me on my behind.

Happy day, though. I just loved my practice today.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Monday, April 5, 2010

Day 95: Yikes!

That yoga truck is still in town, and I got run over tonight. I hope that I can pull it together and have some better classes before the end of the challenge. I don't want to end it with a whimper...

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Day 94: Yoga Truck was Here...

I was just a mess at yoga today. The yoga truck drove into town, found our new studio, and knocked me down. I didn't get run over, but I did get knocked off of my feet.

Rain started pouring down the minute I left my house to walk to the studio, and I arrived with...a broken umbrella! The wind caught my orange umbrella and mangled it completely. I brought a yoga mat that I don't like; it's sort of my back-up emergency mat. It has a yucky texture and it is really really long, takes up too much space. I'd put my other mats over my porch railing to air out and dry, but because of the rain, they were sopping wet. Oh, and one more little inconvenience: This weekend, I somehow managed to lose a pair of yoga shorts. Of course, they were my favorite ones! I had made one last search of the laundry room and my dresser just before class, and I had to wear the ill-fitting grey shorts today. At the studio, I found that I had forgotten to bring a water bottle, and I felt I was going to need water. I took an empty 1L glass bottle out of the recycling bin, washed it and filled it for class. I felt completely out of whack before class even started.

It was very crowded, and it still seems strange to be in a new studio. I was crammed into the front row, and we were so far forward that I literally touched the mirror in standing bow and balancing stick. There wasn't enough room to extend my arms for a proper sit up during floor series. My balance was off throughout the class. I was just unable to do much of anything very well. I sat out a set of triangle. I drank the entire liter of water before class had ended. I'd been hydrating all day, had plenty of electrolytes, but I was thirsty, thirsty, thirsty. Cool water tasted so good: I felt as if I needed it. I don't know why.

My instructor asked me, in the midst of toe stand, how many days I'd finished in the challenge, and everyone clapped. I felt a little embarrassed, because I was having a bad class! Oh well.
I hope the yoga truck will leave town tonight. I don't want to encounter it tomorrow.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Day 93: Easter Rabbit!

My 'home' studio is closed temporarily, and the owners opened up a new one today. The new studio is within easy walking distance of my home, and every single thing in it is brand spanking new. It is going to be my new home studio. I've gone to a couple of other Bikram studios in my life, but almost all of my classes have been at the old home place. All of my challenge classes, until today, were at the old home. It was exciting, slightly disorienting, and wonderful to practice at the new studio.

The instructor told us that the temperature was exactly 105 F, and the humidity was 39%, "Almost perfect conditions," he said. Yet somehow, with the beautiful high ceilings and great ventilation system, it felt so comfortable, almost not hot enough. No complaints from me; it was just perfect for my comfort level. The new studio is bigger than the old one, but it was crowded and seemed just as small! The carpet in the new place is made of some crazy miracle fiber, and it's got a very appealing texture. That sounds weird, kind of, but it's really nice!

I was sort of absorbing the feeling of the new place with part of my mind, and I was a little spaced out and foggy-minded to begin with. I had dinner with friends, and two glasses of wine last night, and I am reluctantly concluding that alcohol is not really for me. Even in small amounts, it leaves me with a groggy head and an inability to think clearly for the entire next day. And my legs got the heavy unpleasant feeling again.

So, anyway, I was not feeling sharp or very alert at class, but it was a very enjoyable class. I didn't even consider sitting out any postures. No 'perfect' asana, but there was something good about every posture today. I had moments of great depth in standing bow (relative to my usual practice) and better form than usual in camel and separate leg stretching. Had some good kicking out in standing head to knee, good form and depth in eagle and most of awkward. It was a pretty strong class for me, except for my semi-brain dead state.

Maybe I need to not be able to think in order to stop thinking too much at practice!

The crazy thing was that once we got on to the floor series, almost every time we moved out of savasana, I would mindlessly kneel and wrap the towel over my heels to get ready for rabbit pose. Then I'd go, 'Oh, wait, we're doing fixed firm,' or whatever posture was next. It was goofy. Some part of my mind just really really wanted to get to rabbit posture! Maybe it's because tomorrow is Easter.

My biggest complaint about the new place: the showers. Our old studio had 2 showers total, located off of a hallway, close by to our respective changing rooms and used by both men and women. Each shower had a private little room with it. We used to wait forever for showers after big classes, and often the hot water would run out. We were all excited to hear that the new studio has 3 showers in the ladies' changing room and 2 in the men's. Well, what we actually have in the women's changing room is one shower room with 3 spigots. Bah! No privacy! It took me months to get the nerve to let my belly and thighs show in class; now I have to be completely naked in front of strangers if I want a shower after class. It's like junior high gym class locker room all over again for me. Bah! I suppose it's good for me to be forced to deal with it, to get over more of my body image issues, but I'm not too happy about it! One more time: Bah!

I sound like a broken record, but I can't believe we're so close to the end of the Challenge. Yea! Yikes! I have a zillion different feelings about it.

Hope everyone has a good class tomorrow. Remember, you don't have to be a Christian to enjoy a good Easter Rabbit pose!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Day 91: Distractions

I had a so-so class today. I was very distracted throughout. I haven't found myself so fidgety and spaced out in a long while. I slept badly last night, and I was feeling stressed and upset through a lot of the day. I ate very little, and I had no opportunity to get myself hydrated until about 2 hours before class. I guzzled an electrolyte drink at 5, and I tried to get some water in me as well, but I was worried about my stamina for class. Between not being properly hydrated and suffering from a lack of sleep, it seemed I might be in for a dizzy little class.

It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I was lacking in focus and low on energy, but I got through it. I didn't hold my standing bow pose for the full allotment of time on either side, but my teacher urged me to go into it further, and I managed to get much more depth in the posture on both sides, however briefly. It felt great to see my foot getting higher and higher above my head.

I've been dealing with financial stress, job applications and interviews, and strained 'negotiations' with the ex. It is easier to handle everything because I have my yoga practice to keep me grounded, but sometimes I just don't cope in the healthiest ways. Yesterday and today were just crappy--lots of upset and negative feeling, and I didn't eat or sleep right. I was forgetful as well; I misplaced my cell phone a couple of times and I took my ring off to wash up and forgot it on the counter. Didn't notice until pranayama at evening class.

I was so...not present tonight. And even in that kind of distracted, bothered state, I saw some progress in a posture. I felt a little more sane when class was done, happy, even. And more of my fellow students asked about the challenge and commented on changes in my appearance and my practice. It's slightly stunning to me that people see changes in me. It's been so gradual that I don't see it clearly. I wish I had taken "before" pictures of my asana, to have a better sense of how much the challenge has changed them.

Well, I'm up too late again, even as I write this. Better get to bed so that I can be better prepared for tomorrow and for tomorrow's yoga. I don't want the challenge to end. I kind of think that I am going to continue a daily practice after April 11.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Day 89??!! It's Happening So Quickly!

I can't believe we're so close to the finish line! I don't want it to end. I think. I am in yoga bliss tonight. I can still recall many a night when I've felt depleted, drained, and cranky after class. It hasn't all been bliss! But right now, I am loving my yoga practice and loving the 101 Challenge with all of my heart.

Tonight we had a couple of newbies practicing at the back of the room, and two very pregnant (7 mo and 8mo along) women were set up next to the door. It was a fairly crowded class, but the room was cool, at least by our studio's standards. Our studio is known for being very hot. Our teacher opened the window a little for a bit, and also kept the exhaust fans on, so it was quite comfortable!

I wish it were not so, but I tend to do better at cooler classes. Too often, too hot and humid = depleted and cranky Sisya. Tonight I had one of my best classes ever. I felt very strong, and I saw progress in some of my postures. I felt very focused. I had to work at my focus, remind myself to ignore distractions, stay with the moment, listen to our teacher. It was a very satisfying class. If it hadn't been the last class of the day, I might have stayed for a double.

Last night I had a so-so, okay class. After class, I cleaned the studio. I do a couple of hours work each week as a trade for my studio membership and unlimited yoga classes there. I took a little break between cleaning the mirrors and getting the showers scrubbed, and I sat down and read a few random bits of Bikram's 'new' book, the one with the yellow/gold cover. I've read this book cover to cover several times, and I leaf through it every now and then. I always learn something new each time I read or reread any part of it. On the rereads, I often find myself thinking, "Wow, I thought I understood that when I read it before, but now I really understand it." Not even the parts about postures, but what Bikram says about how our minds work.

And it's just like that with the practice of yoga. I think I've understood a posture, or thought I did it 'correctly,' and then upon closer examination or review, I realize something entirely new about it, and I think, "Now I really understand it!"

Just about every kind of spiritual practice or teaching that I've ever encountered is very much like our yoga in this way: You can always revisit or review it and find more depth. The deeper you get into it, the more meaning you discover. The more you practice, the more the meanings--or the comprehension or the feelings or the benefits--grow exponentially. It's amazing stuff, this yoga.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Day 86: Why not Today?

I had a great day today, spent mostly in the sunshine with good friends, good food, and good conversation. I dragged myself away to go the last class of the day at my studio.

This past week, at class, I often found myself drifting off, not thinking about anything, really, but not really present either. Just spaced out, and coming to with, "wow, did we already do a set of half-tortoise?" What is going on?! I'm on some kind of blissed out autopilot. Is this good or bad? I'm not sure, but it's been interesting.

Today, I felt fairly present, and the room was hot and very humid, and the little voices of worry and fear and excuses started speaking to me: "It's really hot. I'm so hot, and I probably didn't hydrate enough. I ate a lot today, so I need to take it easy. My leg muscles are tired." And so on. But I was going through the motions, listening to my teacher and doing her bidding. When she said, "Push your hips, push, push," during half moon, I pushed. When she said, "Lock your knee!" I locked my damn knee! I was trying to stick with it all and put effort into each posture, but the the little chorus of the usual excuses kept singing to me.

I was about halfway through the first side and first set of standing bow when I realized that I almost always start to give up on the posture at about that point. Too often, I listen to that voice that tells me to "save" my energy for some other posture, that I can try really hard on some other day, that some time when I have a lot of energy, then I'll give it my all and try to do it perfectly for the full allotment of time. So I had to answer that voice today, and ask, "Why not now? Why not today? When will the perfect time be?"

So I had to keep trying, to keep putting all my effort and energy into it.

It's so simple, but so difficult, this business of being present, being aware.

And I can't believe that we only have a couple of weeks left in the 101 Challenge.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Day 82: Gratitude and Needing Peace

A very hot class this afternoon. Mostly just great. I kicked out better than usual in standing head to knee today, so it feels like a gift of a class.

Afterward, in the changing room, a woman I don't know was getting ready for the next class. She asked me, "How often do you practice?" I told her that I'd been coming every day since New Year's, and she said, "I've seen you before, and I notice how different you look. It's really changed you. It's nice for me to see somebody getting such great results!"

Her comments surprise me! I feel better, stand straighter, lost a little weight, but I didn't think that the gifts of this challenge were obvious to strangers! I kind of felt like crying. I'm so glad to be doing the challenge.

On another note, I've been doing a little research and making some inquiries, trying to prepare a little before moving forward with offering some kind of yoga for police and our community. In the meantime, another man was shot and killed by a police officer in our city yesterday afternoon. While I was at yoga class, a group of about 50 people protested by starting a small scale 'riot.' They broke an ATM, a Starbucks window, and damaged an insurance agency's office. The details from the shooting are still being withheld. It's sad and difficult, and emotions are running high.

The more we are aware of the pain and violence in this world, the more crucial it seems for us to cultivate peace within, through yoga, meditation, prayer, or whatever means you have. Pray for peace. Practice peace.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Day 81: Good Enough

I can't believe I did this, but I skipped yoga yesterday! No yoga at all on Sunday. I met some friends for brunch, and it turned into an all day socializing session. I ate some great food, had a total of 3 cocktails, and got home around 10PM. I rarely drink alcohol, so I worried a bit about how it might affect my practice.

I've decided to not feel guilty for missing, since I had some yoga in the bank. I plan to make it to a class every day for the rest of the challenge.

I didn't sleep very well. I had a strange sensation of achy heaviness in my legs all night. I dreamed that I was trying to buy support hose to help make the heavy feeling in my legs go away. Today, my legs felt like cement, especially in the quadriceps and ankles.

But yoga was just right. My legs loosened up and felt great almost immediately. I didn't have any big new problems, and I did both sets of every posture. It was a hot and crowded class, and in spite of a couple of people going AWOL and many others sitting out postures, there was a lot of strong energy and focus in the room.

I'm noticing that more often now, I feel much more present in the moment at yoga class. I am finally finding myself detaching a little bit from judging myself and my practice. Doing my 'best' used to involve more stressful judgment in my if I had to be shamed into doing a better a job. Lately, I am just there, trying, and feeling like it's good enough. It is a very good feeling!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Day 79: A Lovely Class and a Wandering Mind

It was positively gorgeous weather here today, the first day of spring, and everyone was out enjoying the sunshine. Only 8 of us showed up for the 6:30 class this evening, but it was a great class. Our teacher, a young woman who just graduated from this fall's teacher training, is just getting better and better--very insightful, able to inspire, and quite precise about the corrections she gives. It's amazing to see how quickly she has grown as a teacher.

Some days, my focus at class is very good. Sometimes, my mind wanders all over the place. Today, I kept thinking of things unrelated to yoga...some community issues that have been in the news recently, especially. As I stretched, inhaled, held my postures, I kept thinking of yoga as the answer to all the world's problems.

In my city, there is a bit of a crisis concerning our law enforcement agencies. A few of the many incidents leading up this: A mentally ill man who ran from the police was beaten to death by the officers who caught him, and those officers were exonerated. Recently, an unarmed man was shot in the back and killed by police, and the officer who fired the shot remained on duty afterward. A twelve year old girl who ran from police was shot with a beanbag an officer who was involved in the beating death mentioned above.

Citizens are organizing to speak out, and the city is trying to reform some of our police oversight procedures. In the midst of all this, the city and the police union are trying to negotiate a contract. It's very contentious. Police speak about how stressful and unsafe their jobs are; citizens are concerned about a lack of police accountability.

I've been a volunteer for a few organizations that teach yoga to the incarcerated and to those who are homeless, living in shelters, or going through alcohol and drug addiction rehab. Yoga is a mandatory activity at the facility for people sentenced to drug treatment in our city. We have seen how much yoga helps addicts, people with mental illness and/or unbelievably stressful lives. The focus developed from yoga gives us those 5 qualities Bikram talks about: Faith, Self-Discipline, Determination, Patience, and Concentration. Yoga gives us better impulse control and some tools to use (BREATH!) to calm ourselves, energize ourselves, relax ourselves.
You don't have to do a headstand or have an amazing half moon posture to develop those qualities. Everyone can benefit from yoga, everyone can benfit from having more of those 5 qualities. Everyone around us benefits from us developing a greater sense of peace within.

So I was thinking, maybe the police could use some yoga too. Maybe they could use some help reducing stress, learning to calm themselves, energize and relax. I was staring at my hand during triangle and imagining having the city council make yoga mandatory for police. Or having the community yoga night at the Police Athletic League every week. Maybe I'm totally nuts, but I want to see something like that happen. Is that a crazy thing to propose? Like, if I got a few of the other teachers from the non-profits together to offer community class for PAL, could that plant a seed? I want to see more yoga everywhere.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Day 77 is now done! Stick aa fork in it!

I made it to the 6:30 for my double, and it was a hottie. One guy left the room, and 2 other people tried to leave but were persuaded to stay. I noticed a lot of students sitting out postures.

I got there just as class was starting, and I had to practice next to a heater, a super-hot spot. to make matters worse, I was wearing capris and a long top because my laundry needs doing and my shorts & sports bras were not available. I SO prefer to wear short shorts and a sports bra. I was once too shy to practice in shorts or a top that left my stomach uncovered, but I don't let body image issues or modesty come to class with me. It's hot, I sweat a lot, and I just feel cooler with less on. One of our teachers said that wearing long pants and a tee shirt adds as much as 5 degrees to your body temperature.

I felt a little more tired than usual toward the end of class, but my energy stayed strong for most of the practice. I had the dizzies/ black-out feelings during a lot of the standing series, and I felt so light-headed during tree that I just squatted down during toe-stand. Spine strengthening series felt great though. My first set of bow went somewhere new. It just felt completely different and lots higher and stronger than it's ever felt.

This the was the third time ever in my life that I've done a double, and it was lots easier than I expected. I'm hoping to squeeze a few more doubles before the challenge ends, just to have the experience. I stayed late to clean the studio tonight, an extra shift in my work-trade set-up. I
covered for another work-trade student whose band is playing at SXSW Music Festival (Knock 'em dead, Emily!), and I am amazed that I have so much energy right now. I've always been so afraid of doubles, and right now, I feel as if doubles are a very wonderful thing.

Day 77--Not Over Yet...

I went to a morning class today, and if i can get across town in time for the 6:30 this evening, I'm going to do a double. It was a fine class, but I really felt that morning stiffness in the first backbend and the first forward bend. I want to do more morning classes. I am such a night person! Morning practice is a whole different thing.

Today, the teacher spoke at length about accepting where you're at in each moment, about not judging ourselves or our practice, just accepting them and being present for them. I love those sorts of reminders. I find it very encouraging, inspiring.

Off to finish work and drink more water!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Day 76: Sorry, Bikram, I always wear green on St Patrick's Day.

This week, I feel great on alternating days, feel sick with fever and congestion every other day. I felt absolutely awful yesterday during pranayama and half-moon, but once I got into sync with class, I felt fine. Tired afterward, though.

Today was a good day! I am back in a head space where class moves quickly, is over before I know it. Our teacher pushed pretty hard, held us in some postures for extra time, and class ended almost 10 minutes late. Yet it seemed so fast. I feel focused enough that I don't notice thirst, heat, discomfort--at least not as much.

I wore my green Adidas sport top today. I bought it for yoga before I'd ever heard of Bikram's aversion to the color green. I don't wear it very often. It might seem a little silly, but I wouldn't feel right if I didn't wear green on St. Patrick's Day. My hometown has a lot of people of Irish heritage, and St Patrick's Day is kind of a big deal there. Nearly everyone there wears green on St Pat's, even if they're not Irish. I will be forgoing other St Pat's Day traditions: No Guinness or Jameson's for me.

I can't believe that there are only 26 days left in the challenge. I'm not sure that I'll be ready to stop daily practice then. I sort of feel like I'm just warming up...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Day 73: About Realignment

Still feeling a bit under the weather and not very energetic or ambitious. Yoga and the hot room feel so good though. I could feel something clearing out in my congested lungs during class, feel my sinuses opening. It certainly wasn't a rock star class, but I made it through again, and I feel better for it.

I'm experiencing some awful aching in my left knee and much of the lower leg. It's the same dull ache that I've attributed to realignment, but it is intensifying in one area. I mentioned it to my teacher after class, and we got out an anatomy book and talked about what might be going on. I am still convinced that the pain is part of realignment. We talked about keeping the weight distributed evenly all over the foot, to avoid causing any additional strain to my lower leg, but mostly I just have to hang in there and endure and wait for the yoga to bring my bones into proper alignment.

I have mentioned before that my toes and mild 'bunion' have been straightening out because of my yoga practice. I've also noticed that my legs and hips line up much better. When I began yoga, I was slightly bowlegged, couldn't get my knees very near each other when my feet were together. Now, standing straight with my heels and toes together, my legs touch together inside the knees. My scoliosis seems less pronounced as well. Yoga really truly seems to be realigning my entire skeletal system.

I want to write about emotional realignment, what I am experiencing as I go through the ending of my relationship, but I can't quite express what I want to say. All I know is this: Change can be painful, whether it's emotional or physical. You needn't get attached to your pain, and if you do, you are likely to prolong it. If you're willing to face your pain and feel it, you can start to heal from it. You can emerge from painful realignment, whether emotional or physical, with more strength, with a firmer foundation, with better flexibility. Fireproof, etc.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Day 71: Muddling Through & Whining a Bit...

I'm in a daze. I feel, once more, as if I am fighting off illness. Yesterday, after a pretty good late morning class, I threw up. Ugh. Had a headache the rest of the day, and by mid-afternoon, I had flu-like body aches too. I broke down and took ibuprofen, an extreme measure by my standards.

I woke with a lot of congestion, and I had very little energy. My head felt fevery and hot. I wanted to skip class today, but I went anyway. One of my fellow students was urging me to go and just do one set of each posture.

It turned out to be a lot better class than I expected. I sat out one set of triangle, but I made it through all of the other postures with no real problems. I didn't drink any water during class today, fearful about being able to keep it down.

In the last week, teachers are suddenly giving me corrections for postures that I thought I was doing properly. Am I slipping, or are the teachers demanding more of me now?

During pranayama, one teacher yells "No back- bending, Sisya!" on a fairly regular basis. I don't feel like I am back-bending, and after class last week, I asked her to go through it with me and tell me when I was back-bending. She said, "Oh, that looks pretty good. You got it." Then today at class, what do I hear during pranayama? "NO back-bending, Sisya!"


Another teacher said, "Sisya, don't let your chest collapse!" during pranayama in two separate classes in the last week. No one has ever before said that I let my chest collapse. Is my chest really collapsing? WTF? She's a new teacher, and very young...maybe middle-aged DDs look like a collapsed chest to her, regardless of what my ribcage and sternum are doing. Or maybe I've been doing everything wrong the whole time. I feel baffled!

In the past, many teachers have told me that my awkward pose is very good. Lately, one teacher keeps yelling at me, saying that I am "hunching" forward in the first part, not "showing a lumbar curve, " not back far enough with the upper body. It's making me crazy! I can't see or feel "hunching" in my spine.

I was also told, today, that I am not relaxing my shoulders properly in standing bow pulling pose. That's another new one for me.

If I hadn't been so exhausted after class today, I might have asked for a mini posture clinic afterward. I love corrections when I can actually identify what I'm being told to correct, but it's hella frustrating when I can't feel and/or see what I am doing wrong.

Ah, well, how will I ever learn what's in my blind spot if I don't listen to my teachers giving me corrections? I know it's really a gift. I'm just not in the mood to open these presents right now! I hope to feel better tomorrow and to DO better tomorrow too, in my asana, my attitude and my focus.

And I hope the rest of the 101 Challengers are doing great!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Day 68: Focus = Peace

Winter has returned. It was cold, wet, rainy, and windy today. It felt so nice to get into the studio and relax into the heat.

Class was taught by the teacher whom people fear. My teacher is really getting better and better, and while she still pushes people to work in class, she is smoothing things out so that she inspires and encourages too. She did a lovely thing today. Gently, without making a fuss about it, she paid extra attention to my old friend, The Crying Girl, and The Crying Girl was almost Quiet Girl today.

The Crying Girl has often burst into sobs during classes, with and without tears. The Crying Girl hums and vocalizes throughout class, every class. The Crying Girl is almost always at the afternoon or evening classes that I attend. I try to focus on myself, I think, "Let nothing steal your peace!" but I still find myself sighing inwardly and sometimes cursing silently when I hear the sobs or humming begin.

My teacher gave several gentle, direct corrections to The Crying Girl about her postures, right at the beginning of class. She pushed and prodded The Crying Girl into a state of concentration. And throughout the rest of class, The Crying Girl was mostly quiet.

When I've felt annoyed and cranky about the noise, then felt ashamed of myself for being so bothered by what doesn't concern me, I have often said to myself, "This girl just really needs or wants, on some level, to be noticed and acknowledged." My teacher not only acknowledged and noticed her, she also got her to focus on her postures so intently that the need to make noise was gone.

The teacher whom everyone fears is really an amazing teacher.

Next time, it ought to be MY turn--I could use somebody pushing me into better focus and a state of concentration. Focus and concentration can quiet the chatter in my mind or the noise in the room. If I focus and concentrate, I have peace, no matter what anyone else is doing.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Day 66: Patience

Our studio has these words painted on the wall above the mirrors: Faith, Self-Discipline, Determination, Concentration, Patience. They're all qualities that Bikram yoga will demand of you. They're qualities that a Bikram yoga practice will help you develop. When I first started coming to classes at this studio, I really loved having the words up there to remind me. It's been a long time since I paid them any notice though.

Today, leaning back into fixed firm, I felt a little restless, wanting to make class move faster. I was grumbling a little inside too, thinking that it really sucks to still have to keep my knees way apart ("New York, LA") in this posture, after all this time doing the yoga.

So, of course, as I raised my upper body out of the posture, what did I notice, right in front of me? The word, "Patience," written in letters ten inches tall. Could it be any clearer?

I practiced on the "hot" side of the room today, over by the folks I call the super-yogis. I managed to keep my focus mostly on myself and avoided comparing my practice to others'. It was hot, but it didn't feel hot to me. I guess my heavy sweating was doing its job, keeping my body cool.

Another student asked me about how the challenge was going, and she wanted to know if I noticed "new aches and pains." It's funny, because although my muscles often get very tired as I try to move more fully into a posture these days, I don't really feel tired, achy, or sore muscles later on. I have noticed small weird aches in my legs and hips occasionally. It feels like realignment pain--like my whacked out knee is slowly moving back into the right place, or that my hip joints are slowly slowly opening a bit more. I don't know if that's the case or not, but that's how it seems to me.

I'm baffled by how my appetite changes with this practice. For awhile, I came out of every class ravenous, ready to eat a horse. Then for awhile, I didn't feel like eating much. Then I went through the intensive pickle cravings for weeks and weeks, and I indulged them. Lately, I crave fruit juices and protein. I can't get enough protein. I'm eating fish, eggs, meat, nuts, seeds, you name it. Right now, if I didn't have to leave the house for it, I'd get a quart of fresh juice--preferably something with berries in it--and a big old steak, medium rare. Yikes.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Day 65: Lovely Day

We had the most beautiful spring weather today. I took my Buddy dog on a nice little walk (his leg is healing up nicely) and spent a lot of the day in the garden. Went to the last yoga class of the day at my studio.

I have no special progress or insight to report, but I felt good during class, feel great right now. I guess that's actually progress! I am getting to class, doing both sets of all the postures, and loving my practice. That's all I've got tonight, but that's more than enough for me!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Day 63--A Piece of Blueberry Cheesecake

Today was almost...dare I say...easy, a piece of cake.

Well, no, it wasn't exactly easy. I remember how difficult it was to try to hold proper alignment for half-moon. It was hard to catch my breath after standing head to knee. And I fell out of head-to-knee several times. I struggled with triangle and was called out for not having my thigh parallel to the floor. I felt like a broken toy during full locust. All I could think of during bow pose was that I waould have the chance to drink water before fixed firm. I got scared and felt my throat ache during camel.

So it wasn't an easy class. Not at all.

But somehow, it was a pure pleasure to do yoga today. I loved class today. It wiped me out, and I am famished and exhausted. But it was just perfect. It was a difficult class, but so easy to be there, doing the yoga. Something's changing in my brain. This stuff is so amazing.