Day 30: Midpoint

June 30, 2008

Halfway home. 30 days of Bikram Yoga done. 36 classes in those 30 days. 30 regular classes and 3 Advanced (which count as two classes on the Challenge). So if my math is correct, that’s right around 51 hours of yoga since June 1. Whoa..

Of course, it feels like it’s been longer and it sometimes feels like I’ve done more. But today marks the midpoint in the Challenge. Hallelujah!

I feel pretty good. And surprisingly I have little to say tonight. I’m more than anything just thankful for being able to do this. Thankful for my strong body, thankful for my studio. Thankful for the amazing teachers I have. Thankful that one day soon (maybe sooner than I know) I will be heading to Teacher Training. Thankful for the support and encouragement I get. But most of all, thankful that this yoga gives me the joy that it does. Thankful for the highs and the strength. Thankful that I get to wake up tomorrow and do it all again.

Namaste.

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Day 29: PUSH!

June 29, 2008

I love Zeb’s class.

I slept late today, like realllly late, and it felt AWESOME. I got close to 11 hours of sleep last night. YEAH! So, I went to 4:30 this evening and I am so glad I did. There was something really good going on in class. First of all, it’s awesome to have Zeb back (even if he only teaches occasionally). He’s just… Good at pushing you, good at encouraging you, and good at being, well… Zeb.

This evening’s class was pure energy for me. I never once considered skipping a set or a posture the entire class. I worked hard, and I loved it. Maybe all the rest, or all the relaxing I did today. Who knows, I was right there.

I’m loving that now that my practice is getting stronger, I am more able to really push in class. It used to exhaust me. I’d push too much too early and not have enough to make it through the class. Now, pushing myself gives me energy. My body is getting really strong. My legs are getting leaner and more flexible, and I’m moving deeper into postures I used to struggle with.

As an aside, one of my Challenge friends Sherrilyn broke her toe! She is off the mat for six weeks. This makes me very sad. She was halfway finished. I will miss her smile and standing next to her at all those early classes.

I’m going to bed soon. See you all tomorrow.

35/60 (if you’re counting… I am)

Day 28: Disconnect

June 28, 2008

Today was an interesting class. I had a pretty exhausting day yesterday and ended up staying up much later than I would have really liked. So waking up early was a stretch. Interestingly enough, being on the mat wasn’t as much of a problem as I thought. I almost felt disconnected from the class today. I was there, doing the yoga, working hard. But my mind was somewhere else. I know that we’re supposed to not even think, just focus on one breath at a time. Even though I didn’t feel completely ‘present’ in the room, I didn’t feel like my thoughts were racing either. I just felt, disconnected.

I’m not going to over analyze it. It is what it is. I loved Roy’s class today. It’s always nice to have new teachers, new voices, and I always feel like I hear something new.

Tomorrow’s a new day.

Goodnight.

Day 27: Sore no more.

June 27, 2008

Something has happened. I have my “old” spine back. I got up early today and took Jessica’s 5:30 class. Now, usually I am stiff early in the morning. But today I wasn’t nearly as stiff as I have been. Could it be? The yoga is working?? Could this be true? Of course, it’s not really an old spine. More like a brand new spine. Thank you Boss, I’ll take it.

Whew and only 27 days in. Can’t believe I’m about to say this, but this is FUN! Yes, I said fun. Today’s class felt like a dream. I loved the way it felt. And I almost slept in. Silly me.

Process, indeed. I did a backbend in the third part of Half Moon today that even I couldn’t believe. My spine has been so tender for so long I kinda didn’t expect to even see the wall much less see where the wall meets the floor. But WOOHOOO.. Fall back for sure, and I loved it.

OK friends, I have a confession to make. I am addicted to Kombucha. I blame Jessica, entirely. It’s her fault, I swear. Nothing is better after a class than an ice cold Guava Kombucha. Try it.

Alright, I have much to accomplish in this day. So I am going to leave you all. Looking forward to seeing Roy tomorrow at 7:30. Who knows, maybe Daren will be there. 😉

Namaste.

Day 26: Insanity

June 26, 2008

I had a wonderful class today. It was perfectly hot. Perfect, and I sweat like crazy.

Jessica said something in class today I really like. And since people often attribute the word insane to this process and this yoga, I think it’s fitting.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

Yoga is often repetitive. Bikram Yoga is very repetitive. Sure, you do the same postures day after day after day in the same order with the same overall process. But for me, and what I believe Jessica was pointing out today, it’s not just about the class or the postures, but it’s about what we do. How hard we work. If I go into the room every day and give the same effort and never push myself, I get nowhere. If I go into the room every day and apply new focus, new determination, work hard, and push myself – then I begin to see change. Insanity is in the non-committal way we flop through class and never try new things. Insanity is never working harder or pushing deeper. Insanity is not listening, not paying attention, and still expecting results.

Yes, this lecture is for me.

I love Bikram Yoga (obviously) and really love how challenging it is. But there are plenty of days that I feel that non-committal flop in my body. But, those are also the days the class seems long, the heat seems hotter, and I want out. Pushing, working, focusing, and applying determination are all part of the stuff of yoga. Otherwise, we all end up insane.

Namaste.

Every teacher says, Don’t throw this posture away. They say it at various points in class, and often it’s during one of the deceptively easy postures or during the stretches at the end of class. But the further I get into this thing, the more meaning this has for me. It’s tempting, some days, to think to myself, I do this every single day, I’m going to sit out this one set. It’s very tempting. But what I found today was that my temptation to throw things away come early in class. It’s during those warm up postures that I feel lethargic, sleepy, and a little whiny. Particularly tempting for me is Pranayama.

Pranayama, standing deep breathing, is the first thing you do in a Bikram Yoga class. Pranayama opens the lungs, increases the circulation of the body, and prepares the body for class. Yet, this seemingly simple series is one of the most difficult things to really master. I certainly haven’t mastered it, in all my years of doing Bikram. In fact, I would say I am only just beginning to even understand it. Yes, it’s that tricky.

So some days it’s hard not to just muddle through the breathing to get to the rest of the postures. I’m working on this, trying to make a conscious effort to really do every…single…inhale, and every….single…exhale. But each and every posture builds on the next. Pranayama warms the body and prepares the lungs for the full class. But it also loosens the shoulders and begins to open the hips for Half Moon. Half Moon moves the spine in four directions, preparing it for Awkward. Awkward warms the lower body for Eagle. Eagle opens the hips and prepares you for the balancing series. You get the idea.

Bikram has said, of his series,

If you take the formula for Penicillin and remove one thing, you no longer have Penicillin. If you take Bikram Yoga and remove one thing, you no longer have Bikram Yoga.

Nothing added, nothing taken away, nothing thrown away – yields the benefits and results of the yoga. That’s it.

Today I did a double, and it felt great. I worked hard, and felt amazing after my second class. There really is so much depth in the second class that you often don’t find in the first. I feel strong. And I can’t believe the time is starting to fly.

Tomorrow I have a meeting with Arnie, Jen, and Daren after class. Should be fun to brainstorm together about things.

If you are keeping track, I have done 31 classes now out of my 60 and this is day 26 of the Challenge.

See you tomorrow.

Day 24: Losing Count.

June 25, 2008

I’m losing count of the days/classes ratio thing. Tonight I did class 29 in 24 days and it was wonderful. I was sandwiched between some of my favorite yoga friends and loved the energy in the room tonight. I’m starting to really pick apart a few of my postures. Pranayama and Trikonasana were the ones I focused on tonight and really really saw some progress. I also took very little water tonight which really felt good. This experience is so rich for me and I really am enjoying watching things unfold in my body. It feels gooooood to pull and pull and pull on my legs in some of the stretching postures and feel all of the vertebrae open up along the back of my spine.

Anyway, I have to be up early for my class tomorrow, so I will cut this short. Thanks to everyone for encouraging me. I love you all.