This week I have done 6:30am and 7 am classes this week. I love getting the classes done with, although carrying around my stinky towel and yoga clothes is no treat. As mentioned, I’ve had a series of better than average classes over the past 2 weeks or so. I knew it was a matter of time and Thurs the streak ended. It wasn’t a clunker-God-let-this-class end disaster, but it was decidely worse than my recent glory days. Why you ask?
Well, I knew I felt shaky around SH2K and Standing Bow. I always stumble with these 2 bad boys and I felt particularly weak with Bow. I started to put a hand on the floor in between to rest. Never a good sign.
By triangle, I knew I didn’t have the energy of the past 2 weeks and the heat was really bothering me. I sat out half of one set. I get very annoyed when the heat overwhelms me. I like it to be hot, but not torturous.
That doesn’t sound terrible you say… Well, my nose came NO WHERE to touching my knee in the separate standing leg pose, despite my recent breakthrough
My toe stand attempts were particularly lame as was my seated bow.
I did all the poses and moped through class.
As mentioned, not a disaster but not the best. All part of the practice…
It dawned on me as I attended the crack of dawn Mon am class that my worst posture may indeed be situps. I do recall somedays they are better, but as a general rule, I am never able to touch my head to my knees and often either my ankles lift off the floor or my hands readily separate from my ears.
I don’t think I’ve really considered them a serious part of class, almost like an extra or connector. This may be because these are hard for me or b/c they are not really treated like a posture.
My core strength could definitely use improvement and my poor situps may be one reason why I sometimes think the Bikram class doesn’t pay enough attention to this. I may simply be ignoring them!
I am adding this to my things to work on. Day 16 of my cleanse perhaps gives me a different perspective. Ironically, classes are easier in the sense that I have been able to do all the postures for the last 5-6 classes, where before, I’d enough sit down for one set of triangle or feel I was about to collapse by tree. No sugar, dairy, alcohol, caffeine, gluten, seafood, nightshades or soy seems to be giving me strength in class, although not helping my situps.
You know the pose after triangle where you are standing and twist your hips 5x and slowly bring your head to your knee. This is the pose the teacher says doesn’t start until your head touches your knee. You’re allowed to bend your knee, but your head must touch your knee. Sound familiar?
Well, bent knee or not, for over a year, I have not been able to get my head near my knee. Unsure if it’s boobs, stomach or lack of flexibility. I do know notice most people are able to do this pose but for whatever reason, I have not been successful.
Today, continuing in a roll of decent classes, I touched my nose to my right knee when it was totlly bent (my more flexible side). A nose!!! Something touched. Hallelujah! It wasn’t my forehead remotely but it was a smidge of a nose. And then I did it second set too. I love these moments of accomplishment. They may be small or big, but they are real and should be celebrated.
Part of me wonders if these good classes I’ve had the past week or so are related to my cleanse. I’m on Day 13 and survived a dinner out having a green salad (brought my own home made dressing) and tea while everyone was having tacos, ribs and burgers.
This is the pose that has been extremely challenging for me.
I went to Bikram class at 4pm yesterday on the hottest day of the year (so far). I was filled with trepidation b/c of the time (already winding down) and the heat but the teacher is one who I’ve noted control the temperature very well, so off I went. I had my electrolytes and magnesium before, trying to give myself every advantage. I noted however, almost no one went down in the class, so I think the temperature was perfect or even a little mild. No complaints!
Turns out it was one of the best classes I’ve had in a long time. Why? Well, I did every pose and had the energy to give it my all. Normally, after the standing series, I’m treading water. The warm up didn’t seem unusual-noticed on one leg in eagle I’m inching my foot a little closer to wrapping, but still no where close. Progress started on SH2K. I was able to grab my leg with hands under for both feet. This may not sound like a major deal after a year of yoga, but this posture has been a real challenge for me. I made progress only to find out I was doing it wrong, so I sorted back at the beginning. In this class, I kicked out on one side and even got a compliment from the instructor. Standing bow was still a disaster and posture I must say I’ve either made no progress or declined on. Anyway… was able to grab my ankles for separate leg stretching and just felt more flexible throughout the whole class, being able to stretch further in triangle, did better in toe stand (although still in the early stages) on the seated separate leg stretching at the end. Who knew?
I hope I have classes like this more than 1 a year, but whenever/however they do happen, they certainly feel great! I have class tomorrow, we’ll see how it compares 🙂
On Day 5 of the cleanse. Surviving! Lots of green juice and today I’m having a kale salad and quinoa with mushrooms (in case anyone is interested). Went to morning class and went surprisingly well. Wasn’t dizzy or weak. It’s funny, I really tried not to think and it helps. It helps just to listen and have little expectations. Would like to get 2 more classes in this week for my comfortable 4x a week. I tried to do some planks and push ups last night. Yikes! Let’s just say that 🙂
In terms of my yoga class, halfmooning (one of my fave postures hence this blog’s name) has gotten more difficult lately, I think it’s because I am trying to really watch my form and not sink into either side. I was a little on the stiff side with backbending, but I tried. Still can’t get my bloody hands behind my ankles after a year! What can you do but keep gunning? My balance was better in awkward and standing head to knee but not in bow. The mystery is really Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose, where your head is supposed to touch the ground. For a while I could grab my ankles. Now I can’t and can only manage the middle of my foot. Odd, but just going with the flow. I still cannot get my head to (bended) knee on the Standing Separate Head to Knee pose. One day!! My toe stand on my good side was moderately better, so happy with that. All in all a decent class with good class energy (don’t you love when that happens).
Happy Thurs all!
Day 3 of the cleanse. Got the lemon water and the green juice in hand. Hoping this becomes more habit folks. Not craving anything, but not exactly loving what I’m eating… especially since it feels like I’m mostly drinking. Yoga class was ok. Not great, not terrible. I think that’s how most of them are. So much for my focus areas: I sat down for one set of triangle, could barely attempt toe stand and still struggled in locust( but tried)-my wrists have been pretty unhappy lately in that posture so wonder if I’m cupping my hands or something. On the plus side, my balance did seem a bit better so I guess you can’t always control progress. Maybe with yoga it’s about going with the flow vs. trying to preplan. I think inch by inch I am getting more flexible (of course a relative term), I can do fixed firm but can’t touch my head to my knee without bending in the seated postures near the end of class. When it’s this hot, I also push myself in varying degrees. I worked harder in the standing series so felt weaker by the time “the real yoga” came a calling. Still, it’s probably only the last set of seated bow that I gave a half assed effort. Annoyed that a work meeting with likely interfere with my Thurs class so now trying to figure out new options. It may be taking a Fri night class. Woot.
I went to class Sunday late afternoon it was incredibly humid. That time is also tough on a Sunday b/c I’m generally in the mood to chill out not go to yoga. But I went to yoga. The class was surprisingly good. Having tried (and not loved) my Vinyasa class on Thurs, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel, but I felt good. On top of that, I’m starting a 3 week cleanse that will hopefully help with my various ailments. It ain’t easy but I’m on Day 2 and surviving. No gluten, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, dairy and nightshade vegetables. It just goes to show that you never know.
Things I am going to work on this week: Balance. So annoying! Triangle… I have been hitting a wall lately around this asana, and need to give it my all. Toe pose… really have made no progress there in ages, Locust, I really can’t seem to get my arms under my body well. I think my boobs aren’t helping but others are able to…
Will be interesting to see how the cleanse and hot yoga get along. Will let you know after my 7am class tomorrow.
My acupuncturist wants me to limit my Bikram classes to one this week and try a not-hot yoga class instead. I was freaked out when she said this, but agreed I would try it for one week. so I’m planning to go to one class tomorrow am. Maybe I’ll squeeze one more in… shhh. Not sure how much difference I’ll feel, but I’m willing to give it a try. She feels hot yoga, particularly in the summer, may be too draining and fatiguing for me specifically. Needless to say, it’s a hard workout, and it’s harder (for me) in summer, but this does raise panic all through me.
She is helping me work on being extremely fatigued and having some sort of inflammation (or dampness as they say in Chinese medicine). She thinks hot yoga may not be ideal. I really like her and appreciate her approach vs. the limited options I have with traditional medicine, so as mentioned I’ll give it a week. I think she wants to see if I find the other yoga class as beneficial as hot, and I’m pretty certain I will not. That said, I certainly wouldn’t mind if there was a Bikram yoga class at 90 degrees instead of 105. I credit Bikram yoga with reducing my cholesterol and stress, however, I did only get chronic fatigue once I started.
I tried to poke around online to see if I could find anything about hot yoga and inflammation or fatigue and there was very little alas…
It’s amazing how uncomfortable it makes me to consider not going to class. It’s hard to imagine, especially since my studio is convenient to my work and has so many classes. I’ve poked around other studios to try this week and schedules are more limited. I’m probably just making excuses, but this week it seems will be different!
Earlier this week I told myself I was going to lower myself to the ground in toe stand pose. I can do this on my “stronger” side (I still can’t balance and do the posture, but I can bend down and shakily sit) but on my other side, I stubbornly stay standing, with my hands touching the ground. It feels like my legs simply CANNOT bend. The fact that this is the last pose of the standing series and I’m praying for savasana I’m sure also impacts my performance here.
So, tree pose gets done and we’re on to toe. My weaker side is done first so I told myself, “You are going to bend down no matter what.” So, guess what, I tried to bend down and I actually did bend down. What happened? I fell almost immediately. You know what else happened? I tried again! I still cannot vaguely do the posture but I was able to pass a stumbling block I had been in for months and at least TRY to bend. This may be my new reality for many more months but sometimes we have to force ourselves out of fear and habit.
That’s my lesson of the week.