Monthly Archives: December 2015

Ho Ho Ho… Hot!

Happy Holidays Everyone. I went to yoga on Xmas eve, Xmas day and Sunday. Can I just say those were some of the 3 hottest classes I’ve ever had!?! I’m not sure if my studio is having issues or it’s the unseasonably warm weather, but my Xmas eve class was so humid that the teacher kept the windows and door open the entire class. I rarely see that. Many people were dropping and I had to take a few breaks. The humidity seems to be my kryptonite, but I’m working on it! Xmas day was a bit better. The class was packed and the room was like a swimming pool. The teacher  lowered the room temperature in some way as to balance the humidity and it seemed to work. I learned humidity without the heat is easier to manage (although not easy). Last on Sunday, class was not crowded. I walked in and saw the room temperature was over 120 degrees. Lord have mercy. I was going to tell the front desk but honestly didn’t want to use the energy to climb up and down the steps. Plus I figured the teacher would manage. In this case, I found it hotter than humid, which is personally easier for me to manage. The teacher didn’t open the windows or doors until late in the class, which was sort of surprising, but she did turn on fans. I was managing ok and then looked around and saw at least 1/2 the class sitting down. I have mixed feelings about all this. I figure on some level, it’s all challenges and you deal with them the best you can. On another level, I feel like teachers or studio managers should be on top of these things better so it doesn’t get to the point where half the class is down and out. Especially when the class is crowded, creating even more heat! On balance, as rough as those classes were, I’m glad to have gotten them in, glad that I was able to participate in the vast majority of poses, and glad that my year is ending well.

Namaste.

What Yoga Has Taught Me

During this holiday season, it’s always good to reflect on what you have, not what you don’t. So as I eat my avocado toast and mineral supplement this am, I am particularly grateful for my yoga practice. Here’s some reasons why:

It has given me a passion and a hobby. While there are some weeks I only go once, (and I think my longest break was 2 weeks), I have continued to return and my yoga practice is 19 months old.  It’s something I enjoy blogging about, reading about, learning more about, etc. It’s given me a real interest.

It’s made me humble. Outside of yoga, I’m a relatively successful person. Hard working, I’ve generally been able to accomplish a lot, mostly due to an insane work ethic and determination. Not so with yoga. I stink. I stink, and I keep going. Yoga is for everyone, not just the dancers and gymnasts. It may not look pretty, but it works.

It’s made me more determined.  Already a Type A person in work, yoga has taught me to be tough outside of work. Not to give up, to persevere and to go to my edge, as often as I can manage.

It’s good for me.  Surprisingly, I’ve had some opposition here. I’ve got chronic fatigue syndrome and several professionals have said hot yoga is not ideal, it’s too much, takes too much of my energy, etc. I believe yoga is good for me. Helping me lower my cholesterol, work everything from the inside out and increase my flexibility. While I still struggle with weight, I firmly believe yoga does a lot of good.

It’s gratifying. It is occasional (for me), but we have all had those moments of breakthrough. When you can do something for the first time or see tangible progress. It can be thrilling to work hard and see change.

I don’t take it personally. I have already said I’m not great at yoga. I hope to get better. I still get frustrated and annoyed at limitations, but I am getting better at not taking it personally. There’s certainly more talented yogis in class, but this is what I’ve got and it’s mine to work with. I also know that some days in class can be great, others eh, and some, downright lame. I don’t take it personally, b/c I know it’s all a process.

Yogis, Happy Holidays and wishing you peace and joy. Namaste.

 

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Christmas Yoga

I seem to do more yoga around holidays than otherwise. This may run counter to most, but my biggest challenge in getting to yoga (besides my mind of course) is my work schedule. Around holidays I’m off or on half days, so finding time to catch a class is much easier. I don’t generally travel for Thanksgiving or Xmas and I have a have small, local family, so I generally have time for class. I’ve already booked my class on Xmas Eve and Xmas Day. There’s fewer offered (last year, none on Xmas day in my location, so I guess people requested it) so I’m already confirmed. It also seems a good way to get the New Year in motion. I finished my class today, doing all postures. As usual, not a beauty and still tight in hips and shoulders, but I did it. That gives me a sense of accomplishment and appreciation for the holiday good cheer. Yoga is a lot less fun after a night of drinking, so while it does impact how I celebrate (sometimes), it does make my mood better all around and make me able to relax more. What’s your Christmas yoga like?

 

Namaste

Chasing Your Breath

Today in class I had a hard time catching my breath. That rarely happens–the feeling you’re out of breath and need to catch up. I pose after pose I felt like I was chasing my breath. Caught up to me in triangle… when I sat down for half a set… alas, it really wasn’t enough time to catch my breath and as a result I was a bit out of sorts the whole class. Even the 2 minute savassana didn’t give me enough of a break to align my breath. Makes you feel the whole class is aerobic and you’re winded. On the plus side, it did cause me to focus more, to try to minimize my movements and pay attention. On the down side, you feel out of control and less able to push yourself, since you can’t really go to your edge on the exhale.  I believe these are all good experiences to have–they show you more about your body, your reaction and how to deal.

I often struggle with ego given how inflexible I am, but I’m coming to focus more and more on the fact that I’m only trying to improve myself, and then inevitably, I can only get better and stronger, however slow and long that may take. These little misadventures in class teach me I am getting stronger, I can deal with foibles and I can handle them.

Right now I’m trying to focus on “chest up” a comment I hear when going back bends and camel. I’m also trying to ignore grabbing my ankles and just stretch my elbows back and hips up. Next area of focus: why I can’t get my elbows underneath me in locust.

Namaste and Breathe!

The Highs and Lows of Class

I had one of my humid classes on Sunday evening that i’m still recovering from. Then I took a Monday night spin class, which seemed to make my early Tues am yoga class a little rougher (dehydrated? tired muscles? not sure)… So, I could tell this was not going to be one of my best all time classes. That’s ok. It’s all part of the grind. I sat out one set of triangle, but more than that, I could tell I just “didn’t have it.” It’s hard to give 100% or your best everyday, but I did keep trying. I find there’s a general rhythm to class in general…stuff and achy through the warm up. For me on the hardest periods is balancing and getting through the long 60 second postures, right into triangle… half way through class and usually where I’m the weariest (like today). I can usually manage to stay strong through the remainder of the standing series, although there have been times toe stand is extremely taxing.

After savassana, I’m usually good until locust when my elbows revolt and don’t want to stay straight or under my body. Airplane is usually a hot mess and seated bow is the hardest but I try. For me, I then see two “break” postures… I like them both because I can breathe easily… fixed firm and tortoise. I have issues with each but I find them energizing. But then the party is quickly over as camel takes over and I try to keep my cool. Usually I feel dizzy. I made it to rabbit, and so far my head does not touch my knees. Working on it…

After rabbit, I know I have stretching and more sit ups, but I’m almost always able to finish class. I tend to divide the class in my mind this way … warm up over, almost done with balancing series, oh good, triangle done-class half over… etc. Strange the way we (or at least) I need to send myself progress messages. I’m my own cheerleader!

How are your classes coming along?

The Window and the Door

I like hot yoga but I don’t like so hot I can’t breathe yoga, or super humid yoga. For some reason,  NY studios are extremely humid. At least that’s what a lot of visitors to our studios tells me. It can make a good class a bad one in a blink. My salvation in these moments is when the teachers open the door or the windows a crack to let in fresh air. It’s usually for a few seconds, but generally enough to give me a second wind.

In class today I was trudging along. Doing all the postures but not feeling a lot of energy. This usually hits around triangle, when my arms just don’t want to move.  During savasanna, the teacher opened the windows a bit and that gave me the extra oomph to finish as strongly as I could.

Some people complain when the windows get opened, but most don’t. Some teachers rarely open the windows at all, while others make it more common. I take classes with teachers of all stripes but when the room is super humid, I find cracking open the window is definitely a big help.

How about you?

Namaste

 

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