It occurs to me as I sit down to write this that I set out originally in this Challenge to do 60 classes. But here I am with 30 more to go. So, in celebration of this milestone, I’m making a list.

60 Things I love about Bikram Yoga:

1. Never getting bored with the series.
2. Nothing compares to the afterglow.
3. The way it feels to finish Pranayama and feel dizzy.
4. The glee of getting the 2nd part of Awkward after 2+ years of struggling with it.
5. Water never tastes so good as it does after Garurasana.
6. Water never tastes so good as it does after Dhanurasana.
7. Water never tastes so good as it does after final Savasana.
8. One word: KOMBUCHA (right after class)
9. The way your skin glows.
10. The feeling of doing a double.
11. The look you give the other regulars who know WHY you did the double.
12. Being right by the stage and getting ZERO air flow and loving it.
13. Recognizing when the teacher messes up the dialog and laughing out loud.
14. The steam room.
15. Sweat, sweat, sweat.
16. Spending $50 on shorts that are almost as tiny as your underwear and knowing WHY you did it.
17. Advanced class.
18. Hearing your name said after “Awesome job….”
19. Laughing at yourself.
20. Losing track of how many times you’ve been to class in one week.
21. Feeling your circulation shift with a tiny rotation of you upward arm in Triangle.
22. The “Nauseas High” of Ustrasana.
23. The buzz of just doing it, even if it scares you.
24. Kicking up so hard in Standing Bow that you begin to believe you will ONE DAY lock your knee.
25. Celebrating the little victories.
26. Smiling at yourself more when you look in the mirror.
27. Letting go of judgment.
28. Learning to let go of attachments.
29. 90 minutes of hell, a lifetime of good health.
30. Amazing teachers.
31. Pranayama
32. Ardha Chandrasana with Padahastasana
33. Ukatasana
34. Garurasana
35. Dandayamana-Janushirasana
36. Dandayamana-Dhanurasana
37. Tuladandasana
38. Dandayamana Bibhaktapada Paschimotthanasana
39. Trikonasana
39. Dandayamana-Bibhaktapada-Janushirasana
40. Tree Pose
41. Padangustasana
42. Pavanamuktasana
43. Bhujangasana
44. Salabasana
45. Poorna-Salabasana
46. Dhanurasana
47. Supta-Vajrasana
48. Ardha-Khurmasana
49. Ustrasana
50. Sasangasana
51. Janushirasana with Paschimotthasana
52. Ardha-Matsyendrasana
53. Khapalabati
54. Knowing what all of those Asanas are.
55. Loving every single one of them.
56. Sharing this yoga with others.
57. Being thankful.
58. Letting no one steal your peace.
59. Seeing your life change.
60. Knowing that every day is different, new, and good.

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And also apparently the day of the longest blog title ever. Just for fun

First things first, I am officially doing 90, not 60. I know that kinda messes with some of you guys’ brains. But like it or leave it. I’m going for it. I have several cohorts joining me on the journey. So just look at it this way – you get even MORE of my banter day to day. Isn’t that exciting?? Also, since I’m on class 48, I am STILL more than halfway home. So, YAYY!

Secondly, I have succumb to the madness and started to wear these tiiiiiiny panties shorts to class. I never felt, well, comfortable wearing them before. And even though I am quite sure that nobody really should want to ever see that much of my legs in class, they are AWESOME. You never EVER go back to long shorts. For that matter you never go back to shorts at all. Just try it.

Anywho…

So there seems to be good and bad interesting things about having my blog made INCREDIBLY public (via mass email to a bazillion BYTW clients, HI Y’all!!). It seems that now my wonderful teachers are not only reading this blog, but now using it against me using it to encourage me in my practice. 😉

I’m not complaining.
I promise.

Today, Jessica encouraged me.. no, she made me move to the other side of the room for class. There was no kicking and screaming of any kind. I went gladly, actually. But I do believe her exact words were this: Karen you are WAY too attached to that side of the room. Today I want you to set up on the other side of the stage.

Gulp…

It was fine. Of course it was fine. And of course I did NOT spend the entire class thinking I was standing backwards in the room since Jess’ voice was on the other side of my head. Nah, not me. No no, I did well, and never ONCE thought I was in a foggy dream. Never once.

Attachments indeed.

Well, I’m here to tell you that this yogini will be varying her spot a lot more. This is just ridiculous. Two and a half years at BYTW and I have been standing in the same 2 or 3 spots all along?? Not cool, friends. Not cool at all.

I hear rumor that I won’t even have the option of having a “spot” at Training. So, this is something I need to learn to adapt to now. I’m ready. It’s good for me, right?? Right. Definitely.

48/90 Done.

See you tomorrow.

Day 40: Pain

July 10, 2008

Oh the pain in my spine. I woke up this morning exquisitely sore from last night’s class. I was tearing up during Half Moon. Yeah, pain..

Pain, or discomfort, has its place. There’s good pain and bad pain. Sometimes good pain brings us farther along in our postures. Sometimes pain damages. Sometimes pain teaches us that we are totally lacking in something. My pain is teaching me that there are imbalances in my body. My pain is showing me that where I have flexibility, I lack strength. Where I have strength, I lack flexibility. It’s teaching me that I have abused my joints and done stupid stuff to myself over the years. My pain is teaching me to work harder on set ups and pay closer attention to the words in the class. Left hip forward means left hip forward. Right foot out means right foot out.. All for good reason. No excuses.

I feel so much better now. The series always shows me that it works. I have renewed faith in the process after every 90 minutes. Even if I start off the class in tears.

Peace

I nearly missed class today. My in-laws have been having some problems and the business of caring for them and managing the kids with one vehicle was a little bit… stressful. All of that is part of life, and at times, yoga goes on the back burner. For good reasons, many times. But I had a reaction to the idea of not getting to go to class today that was, well, completely immature. I began complaining.

In the end, I made it. I was there and had a solid class with Jessica. But I learned a valuable lesson. I complain too much. I complain TOO MUCH. It’s not complicated or really anything I need to analyze. I just need to change it. Stop complaining on the mat, stop complaining off the mat. Simple.

Arnie says often that we should be continuously grateful, thankfully thankful. Gratitude and humility silence complaining. I’m learning.

Namaste.

I’ve been studying my Dialog pretty regularly. This evening when I went to class I arrived at the same time as Desy. Desy is going to Training in the Fall. She’s hysterical and I love talking to her. We had some good laughs about Bikram’s fickle Dialog. We both agreed that it’s easier to recall all those words when you’re with someone else. We sat down and laughed at the mistakes we had made as we tried to recall it in the bathroom before class.

But the truth is that the Dialog is pivotal to the series. I’ve been trying to listen more to it as I do class lately. Of course, I listen every day. But there’s something about listening with the ear of “hey I am going to learn this..” that makes it different.

I had a great, strong class tonight. Feeling better and better..

Goodnight!

I wasn’t able to write yesterday evening. So I’m combining the past two days (again).

I took Advanced yesterday as well as Regular class and it was great. Today I got up early for 5:30 class and felt awesome. Much less sore than usual after Advanced.

I think my lesson for the past two days is a simple one, something I hear all the time in class. Open your heart. I’ve been working through some emotional stuff lately. Yesterday in Advanced it kinda all came up for me. I have surrendered to the fact that the mat is the best place for me to leave this stuff. I don’t always like it, but at least it’s a safe place. I’ve been dealing with myself so much in the room. My reflection, my mind, my frustration. I’m just now learning to really surrender to it. Listen to my self, but be separate from it. Let it go, and open my heart. Let it be what it will be.

There’s tremendous clarity to be found when we allow the things that must be allowed and let go of the things that we don’t need. By opening my heart, I am beginning this allowing, this process of opening up completely. It hasn’t been easy for me. There’s tremendous vulnerability and exposure in opening yourself up like that. Admitting where you’ve hurt people you love, admitting your weaknesses, working harder, and pushing through. But ultimately never giving up. Sometimes surrender is seen as weakness. A wise friend of mine once said our vulnerabilities are our greatest asset. We must learn them, master them, and appreciate them.

I’m going back and forth a lot lately between feeling like I’m starting to understand this yoga at its core and feeling totally new to it all over again. Every day is different. But by opening up and allowing it to change me, I feel safe in my transitions.

Namaste.

I read yesterday in Michelle’s Challenge Blog something that made me really think. She opened one of her recent posts with the statement. Yoga fixes everything… if you let it. She’s right, really right. I know this to be true for myself in so many ways.

I’ve had a tumultuous week emotionally, dealing with a bunch of personal stuff that I won’t get into here. Thursday I stayed off the mat because I was trying to cope with something particularly painful, but looking back I should have gone. I don’t always want to get on the mat. The times that I fight it the most, those are the times I need it the most. It’s not the easy classes that change us. It’s not the mornings I wake up excited for yoga that carve out new territory for me emotionally and physically. It’s the ones where I feel like sleeping, staying in bed, and hiding out.

The truth for me is that this practice, in all its joys and pains, has completely changed me inside and out. This yoga has affected everything I do and the way I relate to the world. But I have to let it change me. I have to let it fix me. I’ve been good about getting on the mat even when I’m not excited about it. But now I have to remember that sometimes it’s not just getting on the mat, but letting. Letting the practice change me. Letting the heat and the work and the sweat clear things away. Letting those prayer beads of sweat work for me.

It’s interesting for me. I have never had any problem believing that Bikram Yoga heals the body. I’ve never had any problem believing the miracles that happen with chronic disease, health problems, illness, injuries. I’ve seen it. I’ve experienced it. In many ways, I have also always believed this yoga can fix emotional imbalances too. It cured my depression and has given me greater mental clarity than I have ever had. But it’s often harder for me to believe that this yoga can fix the pains of our life, stresses of relationships, and all the things we carry around day to day. Ultimately, it can and it does. I know this to be true today. It’s not always easy to stand there, 90 minutes of looking at yourself in your vulnerability, and understand the depth of change. But it’s happening. If we let it.

Today was my 40th class, taught by Arnie. It was awesome and I feel wonderful. 2/3rds of the way home. Advanced tomorrow. See you again soon.

Namaste.