Tag Archives: yoga

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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Fidgeting

I consider myself a conscientious yogi. I try to sit quietly when I need to take a break, I don’t drink water between postures, don’t make noise, don’t put my mat down in front of others, don’t leave class early, try to smile when the teachers says to…etc. etc.  One of the things that often comes up in class is not to fidget. While I’ve seen people constantly tugging at something, fixing their towels, I don’t. I do however, occasionally adjust my hair, my shirt or my towel. And, to be honest, this is the least of my concerns. The only real concern I have is I don’t want to take too long and limit my savassana in any way shape or form. I understand this is part of the process of control, mastering discomfort and focusing, perhaps I’m just at a different level. I’m happy to give it my all in class, and if I need to fidget a little to get comfortable, for now, I’m ok with that. Again, it’s in relative terms, I’m occasionally making adjustments. Why? Well, it’s uncomfortable when your towel completely bunches up. The postures are hard enough. Sometimes my mat moves and I can’t see or I’m in someone’s way. I move it back. I can get itchy when I’m covered in sweat, or my shirt moves and I adjust the straps. I wear a headband and sometimes I move it to stay more firmly on my head.  Would I be better off not doing these things? I’m sure I would be on some yogic plane of mastery, but for now my goals are more basic. Do as much of the class as possible, do each posture as best I can and get to class regularly. Fidgeting ranks much, much lower.

Namaste

 

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Yoga and Cleansing

I’m on another cleanse, I went on a 3 week one in July. During that period I really felt my yoga get stronger. This cleanse is one is only a week but I thought that it would be interesting to see how my yoga fared. Well today (on Day 3), not so well. I had trouble controlling my breath and I sat down for half a posture. Is it because of the cleanse? Who knows. Could be due to my spin class the yesterday, stress or any number of things.  I do believe that hot yoga must help any cleanse, as you can sweat out more stuff you’re trying to get rid of and I learned 70% of toxins are removed through the lungs so I especially paid attention during the 2 breathing exercises.

We’ll see through the week is my yoga is declines or not. I’m drinking enough water to sink a ship so I certainly shouldn’t be dehydrated… Regardless, I am committed to my cleanse, which is an alkaline one, trying to lower acid/inflammation in the body. I often feel like when life gets more challenging and stressful, things like diet and exercise become all the more important as outlets of relief and ways to strengthen. Of course, it’s always during stress that I want chinese food and pizza, go figure.

I will say I had my best standing head to knee experience today (on one side), so although my practice overall was shaky, I did have one standout. How about you?

 

Namsate

Tingling and other random thoughts

I’ve noticed that while in different postures I feel different things, there’s two postures I feel a tingling sensation… one is locust, which I struggle with. It’s hard for me to put my hands under my stomach so that my elbows disappear. However, whenever I pull my hands back I do feel tingling all over my arms. The second is fixed firm when I feel tingling in my legs, notably ankles and knees. It’s not an unpleasant sensation, just more of an unusual one. I don’t feel it in most postures so I wonder if I’m not doing them properly, or only some poses are meant to provide that sensation.

As I try to get my practice back on track, I notice my balance is terrible. I constantly fall out of  bow to the point that I wonder what on earth is happening. My flexibility isn’t quite what it was before, but it’s getting better. I am able to take a more long term perspective for now, which is I’ll get better if I keep going. How much better, who knows, but clearly, the more you to go class, the better it is. To bad eating cookies doesn’t work in the same way as I clearly have no problem eating many!

I’m also enjoying the less packed morning classes of late. I’m sure after New Years especially they’ll be packed, so nice to have a little room…

 

Namaste

Yoga Life

How much does yoga impact your life outside class? Do you find it’s helped change the way you feel, think or act? Has it made you calmer, more patient, more compassionate?

In my case, it’s definitely as a serious interest. I write this blog, follow a lot of yoga blogs and people on twitter, instagram, etc. I look for new articles and insights on having a yoga practice. I monitor how I feel and if I notice any major physical differences… I am considering taking a “yoga” vacation.

I am clearly a struggling yogi. As I’ve often written about, my practice is a work in progress. I am certainly not a flexible person and making progress in the postures is slow, slow and slow! I have to push myself to attend more and in winter, I fear this is ever more challenging. I am still hopeful to get more of the “out of the hot room” benefits that are spoken of so frequently. I feel that when I leave the “old” me returns and the doubts, criticism, impatience and confusion reign supreme.

More important, I keep going back. I try not to judge myself and I am a believer in if you keep practicing, good things will come.

What’s your yoga philosophy?

 

Namaste.

Bikram Yoga Quirks

Here’s some quirks I’ve noticed from my practice:

I really cannot use moisturizer. If I put it on the night before a morning class, it melts all over

I still have trouble sleeping…

I constantly check my watch about when to eat before a class…to time it right

I drink water and pee constantly

I do a ton of laundry and my yoga towels still tend to stink

I mix coconut water in my HydroFlask. It seems to help.

I carry multiple bags with me at all times-my work stuff and my yoga stuff

I crave either green juice or seltzer after a yoga class

Crappy food doesn’t seem to affect my practice as much as booze

Many poses are easier (notably Rabbit) when I lose a few pounds

 

Namaste!

PM Classes

I returned to a 7pm class last night. I originally started Bikram doing night/evening classes when I began almost a year ago (!) but the past few months I have switched to morning. As some of you may have read earlier, I’m trying a slightly different routine b/c my sleep is really becoming a struggle (and I’ve always have struggles sleeping!).

Here’s my observations while I’m eating a yummy Vitality Bowl for breakfast (carrots, mushrooms, brown rice, sunchokes, beans and tahini)

Switching routines is hard and I bitched and moaned all day. What a waste of energy!

Certainly more crowded than the am, but I did get a locker and a shower fairly easily

The room was HOT. People, I know it’s hot yoga, but I mean HOT. It felt at least 10 degrees hotter than the am. Could have been the size of the class or the fact I was further from windows/doors.

The class was hard. I sat out one round of Camel, but otherwise did all the postures (although one lame set of cobra, I’ll admit it). Unsure if it’s b/c I’m not used to night, it was super hot or b/c it was a great and hard teacher, but I definitely felt like class was a bit harder and the teacher expected more (“If you can, then you must”)

As noted, this teacher is one of the best. He’s got a sarcastic personality, so not for everyone, but I find him excellent and I miss the fact some of the best teachers in my studio teach in the PM. That’s a plus

I was a bit more flexible, as expected by 7pm

Slightly less friendly, more serious crowd. I recognized 1-2 people, said hello. More business like it seems.

I still struggle with most of the postures in terms of my ability. That didn’t magically change in the evening 🙂

Got home around 9:15pm and struggled about dinner. Do I eat dinner that late? Have a lighter snack? Opted for a small portion of sesame noodles (leftover Chinese) which my husband told me was not a good decision (Eating carbs at night is the worst according to him)–whatever!

Overall, not as bad as I feared. I did miss my normal Thurs am class this morning, however, it was nice to sleep in a little so we’ll see what this new routine brings!

Namaste.

 

 

Clowns to the left of me. Jokers to the right.

Here I am, stuck in the middle with you. Funny how I rarely notice the people in class next to me once class starts. I find that comforting, thinking people don’t notice me either.  I do tend to notice the people in front me during poses like eagle or standing bow.  I used to glance at people a while back, especially new people, thinking I would feel better if I were better than someone. I would glance and think, I can do that posture better. Then I look at them later and they were kicking my ass.  I stopped doing that! Even when occasionally a teacher is taking a class and I want to watch and learn, I end up just focusing on me and the class. I think it’s hard to do anything else, which again, I like. That mindful meditation on survival. I like that even in a packed class (and they pack ’em in here in NYC), you are pretty much alone with your practice. Sure you have to navigate for airplane or other poses, however, generally you have what you need to focus on you. More people can make the room hotter but it can also create more group energy. I’m trying to psyche myself up for a packed night class tonight. Where finding a locker, getting a shower after class and locating a spot in the hot room and are infinitely more stressful than my am classes. However, maybe that’s part of the process. Being cool in a crowd, handling the hustle and bustle of prime time and dealing with the madness is all part of dealing with life right?  Wish me luck!

Namaste!

The Familiar

Happy Tuesday! I was thinking that one of the things I really like about Bikram yoga is the repetition of the same 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises every time. Sure, there a lot of interesting yoga poses I see all the time that I’m missing, however, for now, I’m content with the same old same old. I think knowing what’s coming is what let’s me have a bit more of a meditation and makes class more manageable. Yes, I often struggle with the same bloody poses (Compression postures, left side flexibility issues and lately, balancing, locust… most of them! ). However,  think you always struggle in class… always. Struggle to get better, struggle to make it through, to keep your cool, to balance your breathing, hold on to a posture a few seconds longer, to not coast…Maybe focus is a better word than struggle. The familiarity of the poses is comforting to me as well. I can pace myself. When I get the warm up, I feel a sense of accomplishment, when Camel is coming I psyche myself up, past Rabbit I am relieved. For me, progress is slow so I need to enjoy the process…

The familiar extends beyond the poses. I’m getting more familiar with the class -teacher and students. I didn’t make it to class last Thurs and today the teacher mentioned it . She remembered. I felt part of the team. A regular. I was getting friendly with a couple of guys in the class, but they’ve disappeared, hopefully only temporarily, so I can continue to find a collegial atmosphere. At night, it’s so packed and crowded that it’s hard for me to find that sense however since I’m planning to switch up my routine, hopefully I’ll find just what I need there as well.

Namaste

 

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Patience

This morning’s class reminded the importance of patience. Yes, we all want to see improvement, results, etc. however, a lifetime of sitting, injuries, etc. take time to heal. The teacher started by saying it was extremely humid today making the room super hot and it was early morning when we’re normally not warmed up. He said take it easy, take it slow. WHAT? I normally face the class like a Navy Seal ready for battle. Take it slow? Hmmm.

Next lesson was his constantly smiling face. It just made me smile without realizing it.

Last, during wind removing pose, he told me I had to move my thigh much further to my side, away from my middle. This caused my already tight shoulders to move further off the floor (where they are supposed to be). I asked him, do I need to try to push my shoulders down? He smiled and said, one thing at a time, your thigh is already moving back to the middle. Knowing what you have to do is good. Now you know and with each class set your intention toward doing this right. How long it takes you to do it right is irrelevant. Could be years. Just try every day.

 

Wow.

 

Namaste.