Monthly Archives: May 2015

Inch by Inch

Took an extremely HOT and crowded class last night. I continue to be “wobbly” in balancing postures, however, I’m working at it. It dawned on me to appreciate every inch of progress. I am definitely more flexible than last year. Not be mountains, but by some measure.  While it varies day to day, I am noticing small improvements in some postures and I’m learning to appreciate those. I think it’s more unusual to have the “WOW” moment like graduating to the next level in SH2K. Where do I see improvement? Mostly in flexibility over balance or strength. While no where near wrapping, I feel my legs are twisting a bit more in eagle, I am better in halfmooning, separate standing stretching poses, etc. I see less progress in standing bow or the spine series on the floor. However, I now try to appreciate small signs of improvement. They can be easily overlooked but I strongly recommend you give yourself a big smile when you notice small breakthroughs.

Namaste.

 

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Yoga Outside the Hot Room

In class and from others I hear quite a bit about how the hot room prepares you well for life’s stresses. This comes up from teachers pretty frequently as another benefit of Bikram yoga. Breathing, focus, patience and determination are all part of the 90 minute class and I wrestle with those each class. Where I am less successful thus far is applying them to life outside the hot room. I wonder when and how that happens. I suppose it requires a consciousness I have not yet been able to muster up in “real life”. I feel as easily agitated, lacking patience and short tempered as before yoga (I think). Even in the hot room I struggle. When someone puts their mat right in front of me I think “Really? Is that necessary? Are you oblivious another person is right behind you?” I don’t say anything though, generally, just inch my mat over a bit.

So, adding to my list of to dos is now trying to apply yoga inside and out. I’m going to see if I can use it to help me in challenging situations or provide some calm and clarity in moments of frustration. How? I’m not sure. Perhaps start with breathing? Or see if I can conjure the same voices in my head that push me to stay in a posture or not sit down. It would also be great if I can use it to let go of things that I can be obsessive about. I know teachers say, “That posture is over. Now move on.”  That would also be great to apply…

Has anyone been successful at applying lessons from the hot room to their life outside?

 

Namaste!

I Can Grab My Ankles

No, not in the warm up, that will take another year or more I’m guessing, but I can grab my hands under my ankles in Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose (the one where your head is supposed to touch the floor). Whoo hoo. I waited until I was able to do it in my last 3 classes as not to jinx myself (see how my mind works).  Of course, now I’m so stretched that I can barely pull with my arms, however, guessing that’s just temporary while I get a bit more nimble.

I also found for the first time I was getting bored in class. Not sure what’s going on there as normally I’m so exhausted that I focus on survival. I will need to see if it happens again.

I’m trying to focus more on form from what I learned in my private class, although it’s proving to be very hard. Small steps!

 

Namaste

Happy Bikram Anniversary and Private Class

Yesterday was one my one year Bikram yoga anniversary. And like lots of things in my life, it’s been completely imperfect. My attendance has dropped from 4 times a week to 2-3 times. For the first time, I had a winter filled with annoying colds (including one this past week to welcome Spring), and life got more complicated….from work stress to Alzehimer’s entering my family to being me diagnosed with Epstein Barr (you’re sleepy a lot). I would have liked to say I went to yoga almost everyday, but I’ll have to leave that to one of my hero’s Leigh Hall (check her out!) at mybikramyogalife.com and Mark Quast at http://dotheposture.blogspot.com

I will say I continued going. There is something in those 90 minutes we all find so satisfying, so necessary. So I look back on my anniversary with pride. I DID IT! And also the honest admission that I can do better. Both in my attendance and in how I hard I try.

So, yesterday I had a private lesson, a wonderful bday gift from my husband with one of my favorite teachers who class I missed the last 2-3 months with my schedule changes. It was supposed to be 90 minutes but was closer to 2.5 hours. See why I love her? And I am feeling it today.

I learned a ton. I really should have taped the whole thing…my memory stinks these days so hate to think I’m forgetting anything…

My toes come up with most balancing postures causing me to flail (“Taco feet” she said). I have to really be mindful of this and consciously push my toes down until they are white. The other observation is to really use my core more.

Eagle. I may never get this one. She said lots of people don’t. The key is NO space between my legs and to pull up.

Triangle. Life changing. I hope I remember all this. The way she taught me, the set up is 100% harder but you feel it everywhere.

Standing separate leg stretching pose: I grabbed behind my ankles. Was extremely tight so couldn’t grab much so def have to work on that.

My boobs are a lot of the problem. They are just in the way. Apparently that’s why I can’t reach my head to my knee is  standing separate head to knee pose…Hopefully when I drop some pounds, this may help.

My annoyance of not being able to grab my ankles in the warm up (padahustasana) is prob due to tight shoulders. The teacher originally gave me an alternate way to do the pose but when she saw me do it, she said I was close, and to keep on with grabbing my ankles the best I can

SH2K: This was a downer. She said I can’t continue with my “cheat” that let’s me pull my leg out and then readjust . I have to go back to the beginning and just keep trying to grab my leg.

Toe Pose: I was super tired by then…she told me to keep trying to straighten my hip and knee (I look like a twisted mess) on the side I can do it and gave me some advice on how to get their faster for the side I cannot.

Sit up: I knew I was probably not doing the sit up right. I took video of this and will have to practice. It’s one movement vs. my jerky approach. Go figure.

Lots of insight into the spine series. Clearly I’m challenged using my upper body to help pull up my legs in several postures and in Bow, I’m too far back and need to push onto my tummy.

Got compliments on my camel (I nearly died with happiness) and we started skipping some postures due to time…I needed help on spine twisting at the end and she gave me some good advice. I still do the posture with one of my legs straight and I grab the mat. It was much harder her way and clearly I need a lot of “props” or aids in this one…

Overall, countless tips, awesome experience. She made me feel like I’m progressing and that we all have challenges in some postures. My knees and elbows look slightly bent even when straight, so even hearing things like that are fascinating as well as small tips that I suspect will help a lot. (Keep ankles down when doing warm up in halfmooning series,move arms left and right when you’re on the ground as well, etc.)

 

Great experience and super motivating. I am a yogi!

Namaste.

 

 

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We’re all in this together

I am still recovering from an annoying cold smack in the midst of my birthday. No yoga this week so far…ahhh…   However, I was thinking about my recent class where a woman fainted and started to convulse right before triangle.  I’ve seen lots of people not feel well, but this was the worst. Normally they lie down or they leave the room. It was this woman’s first time at a Bikram class, though she had done a lot of other types of yoga and clearly looked in shape. Of course, I do not know if she was hydrated properly, if she slept well, how she was feeling that day, etc. but I know she was trying to get out of the room and didn’t quite make it. Scary. Scary to see it right in front of you. The teacher moved quickly. Got her water, put it on her face. Sat her up after a few minutes and with the help of a couple of guys in class,  got her out of the room. Another teacher came quickly to help and sat with the woman, helping her… more water on her, toweling her off, talking to her, keeping her alert. I saw a paramedic check her out, but left as the woman seemed ok. Our teacher in class told us the best thing we could do was not stare but continue our class and send positive energy. I did. I sent her healing energy and reminded myself we are all fragile and need to trust ourselves about when to take a break, to take it easy and when to push. I also found comfort in how the whole class rallied together to help this woman. It’s a nice community. I was glad to be there that day and glad the woman turned out to be ok.

Namaste.

The Joy of New Teachers

This morning I went to spin class. Have to admit, I don’t particularly like it, although I’m hoping it does help with fat burning and enhanced cardio….

This weekend I took a Bikram class with a new teacher. I was also excited as this was a time I don’t normally take class and the class was largely empty (a rarity!). I sometimes get nervous when I try a new teacher, fearful they won’t be “good” and I won’t have a great class. Generally the opposite is true. I get something new when I practice with someone for the first time.

What I liked about this teacher is she really focused on form. She described things in more detail or in a slightly different way than I have heard other teachers do. It helped me focus in new ways, which is always valuable.  I liked her perspective which was: check out how your doing in the first posture and adjust/correct in the second… I never thought of it that way before. Observe where you first and then the second time, try to make an adjustment.

I am also excited because this weekend coming up is my private class, so I’ll be sure to update on how that went.

I Believe in Miracles…

Where you from you sexy thing? RIP Errol Brown. What a class tune. I love the meditative quality of Bikram, although I do love music. We have a class once a quarter at my studio with music. Love it!! The week thus far has been 2 spin classes and 1 yoga class. Yoga slated for Fri and Sat as well. Pretty happy with that all things considered. I’ve also been pretty solid with my diet. Now if I could only banish cheese…I’m working on it.

What’s the plan here? Well, my one year anniversary of starting Bikram is end of next week. Granted I probably missed about a month’s worth of classes with the flu and a cold, but a year is a year. Have I made a ton of progress? No, not a ton. I’m certainly not a natural yogi, however I am a hardworking one and I have made some progress. Still can’t grab my hands behind my ankles in the warm up, but I can get all the way down in fixed firm. My husband got me a private lesson with one of my fave teachers as my birthday present, so stay tuned for that post! I will prob (hopefully) have lots of insights and tips.

At this phase, I am definitely looking to drop at least 20 lbs (and preferably 30), which I think will both make me feel better and help my yoga… compression postures without a big tummy have to be easier!! Hopefully the cardio will jump start this as yoga alone has not. I am still experimenting with class times (AM/PM) and see what works best…

Namaste.

 

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First Day Back

Went to my Tues am class, it was packed! Makes me think maybe morning and night are not so different. It was also hot… with spring here, it’s humid and open windows don’t deliver blasts of cold air…My fave employee who’s worked with me for 7 years or so resigned yesterday so I also needed time to process that and deal.

In the beginning, I was annoyed where I placed my mat and generally distracted. During pranayama breathing I had a twinge of “I don’t want to be here,” that remained during backbends,  however, it faded and class was fine. FINE. I actually felt pretty good, perhaps in part b/c I stretched on vacation and worked out a lot? I thought my shoulders would be super tight, but not really. I  sat down on one set of triangle… not bad for my first class in nearly 2 weeks. My wrist still hurts from 3 weeks ago and doing something in locust pose that is still with me. Dang. My flexibility and strength seemed close to being what they were when I left. This made me happy. One of the guys in my class said “Welcome back to the party” this made me happy too.

So my plans now? Not sure. I’m going to try for yoga 3-4 times a week and cardio 2 times a week. Hopefully that’s manageable. As mentioned, I am pretty convinced I need cardio to get my heart stronger and burn fat. I feel I get some strength training from Bikram although not a ton for my arms, so I may try to do some weights at home…

It does feel good to be back. Back in class. Back blogging.

Namaste.

Back

Back from vacation. Lots of cardio,  weight training,  hiking and healthy eating. It was good to get things back in check a bit. The week off did make me realize that I need to supplement my Bikram workout with some other forms of exercise as well. Of course, the challenge is how to fit that all in given the length of the workout. I believe the 90 minutes is a great overall workout, however, I saw both decline in strength and stamina from the days I went to the gym more. Since I in particular need to lose weight, I really need to focus on cardio as a priority. So I’m going to try to add at least 2 cardio workouts a week into my routine. Unsure how exactly, but stayed tuned. Tuesday am is my first Bikram class in 10 days, so that should be a challenge. I also have a Wed pm class already booked.

Namaste!