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...