My teacher said something in class that I’ve heard before but I really heard it today as I continued to fall out of bow pose like a fish flopping around trying to get back into water. TRUST THE PROCESS. YOU ARE EXACTLY WHERE YOU NEED TO BE. She went on to say, some days we got it, some days we don’t. Some days we get frustrated, some days we’re giddy with progress. Some poses haunt us, while some come easier. It’s the same you in all cases so what’s different? The intangible, ineffable, unknowable, that’s what. We have to trust the process and believe whatever we’re doing, that’s simply what we need to do. I remember thinking this 100 years ago when I went to a Weight Watchers meeting. They are positive and practical and know they have a formula that works (for many), so I remember leaving the meeting thinking, “If I just follow the program, it will work.” Well, of course, Weight Watchers didn’t work for me, but the point is the same 🙂
Do I wish I was more flexible? Had less injuries? Was taller, thinner and a dancer? Sure. But this is what I’ve got and I have to believe that I will get better, stronger, more flexible and better balanced. How much better? I’m not entirely sure if that’s up to me completely or your build, physical form and constitution play a role, but I do know I’ll get better.
I believe if you go to class (after class) and trust the process, all good things will come.
I’ve noticed I do better in yoga (not particularly in life) when I don’t think. I wake up, get moving and go to yoga. I don’t start mentally debating whether I want to, whether I suck, that it’s dark, that it’s cold, etc. Unquestionably, when I get to yoga, or more precisely, when I am done with yoga, I am always glad. I go back Jack and do it again…
I know it’s getting colder and darker here in the East Coast, which will make the crack of dawn classes a little trickier. However, I’ve generally found getting them done and out of the way is my surest best for getting them in.
I also have a physical in a month and I’m hoping a steady diet of yoga (and spin) will bring my cholesterol down, some pounds off and improve my fatigue.
So, I’m aiming for yoga 3-4x a week and spin 2-3x a week. I’ll take 3x yoga, 2x spin. I do find the spin helps improve my stamina for yoga, although no doubt, going to yoga more would quicken my progress. When talking to a friend over dinner the other night she told me that taking different kinds of yoga (hot, vinyasa, etc.) helps her across the board and seems to complement what’s missing from one class to the next. So, here’s to whatever works for you.
For me, the goal over the next 2 weeks is to regularly get back on a schedule, not overthink and to work hard!
So, I have missed classed the last 2 weeks. That’s the longest stretch I’ve had since I started Bikram yoga in May 2014. Work was extremely hectic and I put in super long hours. I basically got home, ate, went to bad and woke up and went to work. Repeat. I even worked on the weekends. Needless to say, glad that hectic period is over. My fatigue also kicked on (not surprisingly with that schedule) so I basically collapsed all weekend and managed a spin class Monday.
Knowing I had to get back to yoga, yet dreading what 2 weeks away might bring, I was hemming and hawing all day. I told my husband I was too tired, I was looking for excuses to drag this out more (why, I’m not sure as I know that would only make it worse)
I luckily know the machinations and meshugas of my mind, so I ignored it and went to class. When I walked into the studio, they greeted me by name and I already felt where I belong. Preparing for the worst, I told the teacher I hadn’t been too class in a little bit. She didn’t look too concerned. I did buy and add the Replenish packet into my water bottle–hey, trying to stack all the odds in my favor.
During pranayama breathing I did have pangs of “I don’t want to be here.” Luckily they passed. I made it through class and I actually did ok. I feared I’d back track much more. Sure, I was a little stiffer, my harder poses were a little harder still (hello seated bow), but not terrible. I didn’t regress as much as I feared. I made it through class. I did it. Back in the saddle. The hot room. The torture chamber.
I feel stiff and achy and I expect the next class may be more painful.
Your practice, like mine, doesn’t have to be pretty or perfect. My advice: go to class! Sometimes yoga is just showing up and being in the room. That is all.
I’ve read several blogs where people (including the always awesome Leigh Hall) are against yoga class with music. I certainly wouldn’t want all my Bikram classes to have sound, however, I enjoy the occasional restorative class with calm music and once a month my studio does a Friday night class with music. I like it. I may like it because it’s only once a month but honestly, I’d probably like a class with music once a week. Why?
It gets me out of my head. Instead of the self doubt, negative thoughts, frustration and sometimes breathing issues, I find music distracts me. I realize this is what some may not like about it , but I find it does help me focus on the posture and not on my inner dialogue. A good some gives me energy, and a smile. I also find music helps me with my breathing, perhaps the rhythm of the songs and oddly, I also seem to balance better in classes with music.
It also makes class a little more fun. We had some people singing along to Aretha, Annie Lennox, etc. and it made for a more playful class. As mentioned, this isn’t my ideal everyday but it certainly is a nice change of pace.
Attended my morning class (now limited to once a week, see earlier posts) and it was pretty crowded! I was happy to be back after hurting my wrist and taking a few days off. This was what I call “more of the same” class. Not a bad class, I did nearly all the of the postures…yay!! but not a great class, meaning I saw little improvement or advancement. I did hold on and not fall out of standing bow as much, that’s the best I can find.
Same struggles, which has a much longer list than the strengths.Still cannot grab my hands under my ankles and after nearly a year and it’s starting to REALLY annoy me. I am noting another odd thing. I cannot lift my leg and evenly put my shoulders/arms under or around my legs. It’s either my boobs or stomach that seems to get in the way (literally) of my knee, so it moves to the side, closer to my hip. I see this in standing head to knee, wind removing pose and the seated head to knee pose. Very strange! Anyone else have something similar?
Happy to have this class under my belt. Happy it’s spring. Happy I’m going away next week!
Since I was on a tirade earlier this week, thought I’d note some positives and honest observation about my practice and class today…
I learn something new each class. Today was packed. I found a decent spot and tried to listen carefully. The teacher I had, in particular, is one of my fave and extremely helpful and informed. I heard (although I’m sure it’s been said 100x) that in fixed firm, you place your elbows down, then your head (top and middle) and then your shoulders so you get a stretch first. While I may have heard this before, it registered today.
The teacher mentioned me by name and the feedback was always helpful. Plus two compliments. Whoo hoo.
Did all poses except one set of the pose after triangle-separate standing head to knee (where my head never reaches my knee anyway)
My toe stand has clearly declined since my attendance has dropped and been less steady. Have to work on that.
Rabbit has become near impossible with weight gain. My stomach just gets in the way and it’s challenging to do the pose properly. No one to blame but me here.
The girl in front of me sweat on my mat and my hand towel. I know that’s nothing unusual but I still get creeped out by any sweat other than my own.
I think I’ve forgot to mention but I also stink at the final pose-spine twisting. My arm doesn’t move past my knee and I think I have stayed very remedial here for months. I think b/c it is the last pose and I’m so grateful that I often thing class is over vs. really focusing here. Must focus on that.
So, hot yoga seems to require more prep than other types of yoga. The obvious need is hydration. If I take a crack of dawn morning class, I try to gulp down at least 3 glasses of water when I wake up and eat maybe 1/2 a banana. If I take a later class, I try to drink all day, stopping maybe 30 min before class and I try not to eat 2-3 hours before class. This can play havoc with life. On weekends, I’m racing around to make sure I eat before 1pm so I can take my 4pm class. At work, I try to make sure I have time to eat and I’m not trapped in meetings during my key available meal times. I, for one, start to get a little anal about my routine. Thank god my desk is near the ladies room, as I’m constantly running there all day! I’ve learned through trial and error (those errors are awful!) about what’s too much, too little and less than ideal.
In class, I’ve noticed a menagerie of items people bring to class. I stick with my hydroflask (1/3 coconut water, the rest water) and a washcloth to wipe my hands or face. I’ve noticed people who bring several water bottles, EmergenC, tissues, keys and their phones (turned off). I am working on not fidgeting with my headband during class. I constantly move it and adjust it during poses. I am also working on not futzing with my mat and towel all the time. If it bunches, it bunches…Small steps!
Bikram teachers by and large generally seem to push students more than they push themselves. I’ve seen the extreme frowning upon leaving the room, excess water drinking and sitting out a pose. I’ve also seen a few teachers that are more laid back and suggest that you the student may know your body best.
I have mixed feelings about it. I do like being pushed and like a personal trainer, I find a teacher can get more out of you. I personally prefer an encouraging tone vs. a military command. I’ve heard a teacher ask “Are you dead yet? No, then get up.” That didn’t sit too well with me.
In my head, the following dialogue takes place, whether the teacher is talking to me (usually not) or someone else, “How do they know what’s going on? What if the person is sick? How does the teacher understand if this person is at their capacity or not? Why does this have to be so hard all the time. If they need to sit out a pose, they should.”
Despite being told never to leave the room, I’ve left 4 times so far in the last 6 months, each time to throw up. I’ve had one class where I literally had to sit out most of the class after triangle. The teacher, one of the toughest I take, saw I was really out of it. After his usual, “Get up, this means you” he realized I was struggling and told me to to lie down and relax. He opened the door several times to make sure I got air and even came and checked on me during savasanas.
I do think we (I) often need a kick in the ass that teachers can provide, at the same time, I pretty much follow my gut. From what I’ve heard Bikram gives a lot of tough love, so seems like this is what many teachers learn in training.
What motivates you the most?
Do you practice yoga when sick? I’ve been sneezing and blowing my noise all morning. So annoying as this is the same cold I have re-caught several times over the past 6 weeks. Bikram is such a tough workout that going when I feel below par never seems like a great idea. On the other hand, I always feel better when I go. Do you find you get less sick when you practice yoga? Part of me wonders if it’s easier to catch someones germs in the hot room any maybe that’s why I keep recatching this… What do you do when you feel under the weather?
Ever hear of anyone gaining weight after starting Bikram Yoga? Well, meet yours truly! After about 6 months into Bikram I feel better, my health is better and I am inexplicably addicted in a love-hate way as so many Bikram yogis, however, I have uniquely managed to pack more pounds onto my frame.
When I started, my teachers said, “Oh, you’re going to drop a few pounds, everyone does…” to now just smiling at me confusedly. I’m sure I’ll eventually catch on and drop the weight, I definitely feel it making certain postures more complicated. All that notwithstanding, I am very grateful that I found Bikram and regardless of size, very glad it’s part of my life.