In almost 8 months of Bikram yoga (BTW, I like to claim this closer to 6 or 7 since I was out sick for about 6 weeks-is that kosher?) I have noticed a few things about the toll of working out in 105 degree rooms. Everything stinks after a workout! Everything. I was initially shocked that I smelled like ammonia, although at least after a shower, I am fresh as a daisy.
My yoga clothes also seem to survive pretty well. Especially the yoga brands themselves, although pricey, the clothes dry quick and seem good as new.
It’s my mat and towels that I have problems with. Why is that? I follow instructions and have tried several brands, however, my towels (delicate wash, tumble dry, no dryer sheets) do not smell fresh and clean after laundry. Some towel brands are worse than others, however, none so far really seem to be smell free. It’s almost as if it’s now “baked in” to the towel… And my mat, whether I wash it or spray still has some kind of smell associated with it as well. I am thinking of trying to alternate between 2 mats, although I suspect that will just create 2 stinky mats instead of one.
If anyone has any tricks or great brands to recommend, let me know!
I made it to my 7am yoga class this morning. Yay. My next plan is the Thurs am class and then a Sat and Sun class. That will bring me to 4x this week, which I’ll be happy with. As I was going through class, I decided to REALLY listen to the teacher. And what do you know, I heard new things. I’m sure these are things have have been said in other classes, many times, however, the mind (mine at least) is a strange thing and hears what it wants. In addition to some personal anecdotes about the teacher’s practice which I found interesting, here’s what I took away and what impacted my postures.
REALLY squeezing knees in Awkward pose (the third part) when you’re standing and going down as well as when you come up. Yes, my legs have been together during that part of the pose, although I’m unsure if I was exactly squeezing tightly.
Head comes up LAST in Camel. I know I’ve heard this but somehow I see to ricochet like a rubber band when I get up. This time, I really tried to come up slow, head last.
I heard new stuff in Rabbit as well-about keeping the grip firm when you come out of the pose and squeezing thighs and ankles together as you come up.
I also noticed I fell out of standing bow pose frequently (this happens more in the am) and my toe pose, already terrible, has declined and I could only attempt it on one side. That’s what today brought, we’ll see about Thurs.
I have realized the first and most important goal I need to focus on is going to class. How I do in class is secondary. When I go is secondary. How quickly or slowly I get into savasana is secondary. My goal: 4x a week. I’d be happier with 5. This week I went 3x, which is why I am focusing ONLY on getting myself to the hot room… I prefer evening/after work classes, however, they are less of a sure thing since life/work seems to get in the way. So, I am aiming for am classes. You can read more about my carrying on about this in an earlier post… http://halfmooning.com/?p=32
Here’s what I need to prevent:
- The fact that classes are now packed to the gills with resolutions, etc.
- The fact that it’s freezing and sometimes less than motivating to shlep through rain, snow or cold
- Work or family obligations resulting in me canceling a class (more of an evening issue)
- Ignoring the fact that I have to do laundry all the time and/or buy more yoga outfits/towels
- A rough night of (no) sleep, resulting in not wanting to wake up early
- Seeing it’s dark outside and wanting to turn over and go back to bed
How do you motivate yourself fellow yogis?
As I’ve had a few classes under my belt for 2015, I’m realizing something obvious and probably (hopefully?) not unique to me: I have an issue with pacing myself. I tend to start strong and peter out as the class goes on. Despite my inability to get my hands under my ankles in half moon (grrr), I give the warm up my all. I’m still going strong with the balancing postures…falling out, yet trying to get back into the poses. After balancing series I start to falter…usually around triangle or separate head to knee. The result? By the time I’m in tree, I’m focusing on hitting on the floor. I’ve started trying to do toe pose. I just realized one of the reasons I’m struggling so much is I barely have any energy to work on it. I’m literally a hot mess by this point and while I try to hear what the teacher is saying, I’m fading fast. I wonder if toe pose were earlier, how much more improved I’d be…
There’s the 2 minute savasana as a reprieve on the floor. That helps and I hit the floor series with new energy. By airplane I’m generally out of it again and bow is always a challenge. Another super hard pose, that I find hard to really improve since I’m praying for it to be over. Occasionally fixed firm gives me an opportunity to regain my energy and then camel knocks me out again. The last 2 postures I also find minimal progress, largely b/c I’m out of steam…
I read in MyBikramYogaLife supplements made a world of difference (http://www.mybikramyogalife.com/2014/12/29/challenge-update-headed-into-the-last-week/). I already take vitamin B12 being a vegetarian, so maybe I’ll try the others as well. Other than that, I’m hoping continued practices makes endurance easier.
I always park my mat and towel in the middle row. I’ve read it’s good to move around, although I don’t like to. I probably just like routine. Feel comfortable. Yes, I know Bikram is all about challenges and being ok feeling uncomfortable. I guess I have to work on that. When I do move spots, it’s usually some other spot in the middle row (adventurous, aren’t I?). Why? Well, I’m definitely no where near good enough for the front row. And with the third row, I find it hard to see the mirror. So, you’ll find me in the middle. Middle path, moderate, you know, I like the middle row. My studio has classes on 2 different floors and I park myself in different places in each room. In one I’m by the door. I pray the teacher opens it a few times for a splash of cool air and it helps me keep going. I’ve survived if they don’t. Oddly, I’ve thrown up a few times over the months and it’s always been in this room, usually near or after camel. So being able to hop out in an emergency also makes me feel a bit of comfort… In the other room, I’m… you guessed it, in the middle row, although this time I prefer to park myself by a window that doesn’t open. These are both fairly crowded parts of the room, so I must be in good company. Definitely not the hottest spots (although occasionally I have had to suffer through those).
The other thing I’ve observed is my mat almost always ends up in some weird position so I either do savasana on an angle or I’m half off my mat. I can’t figure out when this happens as I see the people around me with their mat steady and straight. Mine looks like it can’t decide whether to be horizontal or vertical, so it’s hedging. I usually notice by cobra that the damage is done.
Neither my location in the room nor my mat are too much of my focus right now. Still the goal is to get to class regularly. One thing at a time!
One of my biggest challenges with yoga is attending steadily. I’d definitely like to shed this in 2015. This has only been a recent issue since getting sick on and off for a month, and it’s been harder than I thought to get back into a routine. I was averaging about 4x a week before and I’d like to return to that habit, or even notch it up to 5x.
Here’s the typical noise in my head: I’m tired, I think it’s better that I go home and rest than go to yoga. The class is soooo long. It’s dark out, I can’t wake up this early. I just ate an hour ago, I’ll be sick. I’ll go tomorrow. I’d really like to relax this weekend. It’s such a shlep. I’m too busy at work. I feel run down. It’s so packed in class, I just can’t deal. Any of these sound familiar??
So, what’s the plan? Pretty simple. Shut off the noise. Go to class. Go to class. Go to class. If I feel sick or get worse, don’t go to class. Other than that, just go. I almost never regret it. So I’m basically going to turn off all the voices and push.