Day 74: 90 Done!

August 14, 2008

I am a day late getting this posted.  But yesterday was so, well… long that I went to bed early and decided to leave this blog until today.

I finished!!  I did it!  90 Bikram Yoga classes done!  I also, DID, actually do the 11 classes in five days that I talked about back on Friday.  And let me tell you, five straight days of doubles was something else.

This Challenge has been less about can I do it than the last one and more about how I do it.  In class I hear all the time stomach stomach stomach!!!!  But in my mind, I hear, attitude attitude attitude!!!!  In fact, the entire thing has been much more emotional than physical for me.  This is not to say I have not literally worked my ass off, but so much more of it has been internal.  I know I can do the yoga.  Clearly, I can do the yoga.  But the real question and yes, challenge, was – and still is – Can I do the yoga without complaining??  Can I do the yoga when my mind is screaming?  Can I do the yoga when I have a million things on my mind?  Can I let it go and do the class?  Can I release my control on stuff and do it?  Can I get through a class without whining about my back?  Can I choose to be thankful?  Can I do it with a smile?

Nobody’s perfect.

I’ve surely whined, complained, obsessed, and been far less than thankful.  You’ve seen it here on the blog.  But what I am taking away from this is where I am today.  Today am I closer to that ideal.  Today I am smiling, thankful, and resolved.  Today I am 90 classes stronger.

Daren asked me yesterday, Now what? Well, the truth is that nothing really changes.  I will, of course, keep going to class.  I will keep journaling here and chronicaling my journey through this yoga and Teacher Training.  I’ll sort of miss the countdown of classes, the feeling of pusing through, and the adrenaline of it all.  But even as bittersweet as that is, I look forward to giving my body a rest.  I need to learn Dialog, spend time with my family, and focus on the next month of my life here at home.  And yes, one month is all that I have left.

Last night as I was winding down my day, I became frustrated with something going on here at home and just lost my temper.  I got into the shower and let the hot water soak into my skin.  It was there that I craved my yoga mat.  I craved the space, the heat, the work.  Crazy, as I was literally exhausted.  But I recognized the yoga as my outlet.  It’s my solace and my release from the junk in life.  I take this as a sign of how far I have come.  Yoga is not a chore, it’s not a task to tick off of my list.  Yoga is a basic function of my day.  90 minutes on my mat.  Me and the mirror, the heat, and the postures.  That’s all I need.  And for that, I am truly thankful.


Day 69: So close!!!

August 8, 2008

Every time I take a class, I check off a class on my challenge sheet. It’s still hanging on the board there with the others that have long been abandoned. Mine has now been turned over and a new list is running down the back of all my extra classes. I am SO close. 11 more classes to go. Tonight I am posing the challenge to myself to finish this in the next five days. Can Ren do 11 classes in five days?? If I double every day between now and Wednesday, including Advanced on Sunday I can. I’ve always wanted to finish this Challenge this way. Hard to believe it’s finally here. I can do it. I know it.

I had a great class with Nada this afternoon – her last at BYTW (for now). I am very very sad to see her go. I have learned a lot from her and she’s so encouraging. One day, I’ll go to Sonoma and teach for her. This is the great circle of life. After class I went to Lululemon for a fun event. I got to hang out with my yoga friends and we were all dry and dressed in street clothes!! Miracle!!!

Anyway, tomorrow starts my Double Marathon. If you are so inclined, say a little prayer for my spine. I’ve never done more than three days of consecutive double classes. This will be a first for me. Good preparation for Training, though.


Well kiddies, I went back for a double tonight. It was a great great class. I struggled in Triangle a little, with my feet literally slipping out from under me. coughthecarpetwaswetfrombeingcleanedcough… Uhhh.. Not that it should matter. But they were really.. slipping… out from under me.

SO! Onwards and upwards!

Hi, my name is Karen, and I sweat like a MAN! And no, not just any man, a SWEATY MAN! Thanks, yes, I’ll stay away now. Woweeee did I sweat tonight. I don’t usually like to wax philosophical about sweat but OMGHOLYMOLY did it pour off of me tonight. See and here’s the thing, I actually like it. Yes, yes.. I do. I LIKE it. I like the way it feels to flush my body hardcore and when it’s over I feel brand new, my skin literally glowing. So I’ve had TWO very very sweaty classes today and I’m just way too happy about the amount of sweating I did, apparently.

Forgive me, I’m a little loopy. It’s late, I need to eat, and oh yeah I just might be high on yoga. Might be. Stay tuned.

Oh and the backbend. Well… I have to say, not as awesome as earlier today. But I did feel I could breathe deeper and stay longer. So, there’s progress.

I will see you party people tomorrow.

Namaste 😉

This will be brief as I am super tired.

I did another double today and loved it. I am feeling strong! I was surprised, though, that I sat out a half set of Triangle tonight (something I haven’t done in a long time) in my second class because I just could not get my heart rate in check. No judgment, of course, just a little surprised.

Oh the HEAT today. I LOVED it and relished it. My morning class was hot hot and my evening class was WET! Both were great and I am feeling much better about dealing with the heat and humidity. I was struggling with it earlier in the Challenge, if you recall 😉

I am off to bed now to rest. Only a few hours to sleep before I get up and do this all again. I’ll try to get a longer, more thoughtful blog tomorrow.


Day 48: Double day

July 18, 2008

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.

First I have to say this; doing doubles ROCKS! No, really, it does. For some reason doing two classes gives me more energy than doing only one. And I can use all the energy I can get these days.

Now, I also have to say that my spine is MAD at ME! Seriously cranky here. But the yoga is the only thing that makes it better, apart from massages from Arnie. And since I can’t get massages daily (oh to dream) I take my cranky back to class. It is there, on my mat that I feel all better. But really, how far away IS the floor? I mean, really? Padahastasana never used to take me this long! The good news is that once I am down there, I’m good. The descent, however, sometimes makes me feel old and sore and well… OLD! My cranky spine also has taken a particular disliking to Half Moon. And the backbending, that used to be the worst thing ever for me, is now the easiest (well, comparatively).. See, isn’t yoga exciting??

But I’m not complaining. Because my spine will be all shiny and new again soon. At least that’s what they tell me. And since the Challenge is, indeed, a process I refuse to be discouraged. I know that trying to judge the overall benefit and effect of 60 days of yoga now is futile. That’s like pulling the cake out of the oven halfway through baking. Doesn’t make much sense, does it?

mmmm cake..

I digress..

So now I’m 22/60. Feels good. Maybe tomorrow my back will stop arguing with me and go for it. But I still love you, spine.. I love you, even when you make me feel old and decrepit. Even then, and I will take you back to that hot little room. Giddyup, Half Moon…..