Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Class 25 - new practice

Wow, I have a new practice now.

I came into class ready to ramp things up or die trying yesterday. So from the start I engaged a lot of what I learned this weekend.

Pranayama - I squeezed my lower body rock solid throughout the entire breathing exercise. I tried to keep my tummy in the whole time too, didn't make it all the way with that.

Half moon - I swear I got about three more inches length just by "struggling harder." I have some stuff going on with my right shoulder and I've been holding back, but I just went deeper anyway. It was great. My second backbend was nice and deep. I love the new thing that I've learned about having the eyes preceed the hands as you go back, and just reaching and stretching as you reach your perceived maximum. I didn't get that googly feeling by doing this and went nice and deep.

Eagle - I just squeezed harder. Period.

Standing head to knee. I really worked the lifted leg feet back towards my face and felt the whole lifted leg really turn on. My balance sucked but it was great to feel that thigh muscle turn on.

Standing bow - I'm really working deeper, and working to stick the chin to the shoulder. I fall out but I'm deep into it.

Triangle - I've got my thigh bicep at a 90 degree angle. It kills. I couldn't hold it for the whole posture but I did all four passes. My legs were jelly and I went down for the rest of the standing series.

Nothing much to report on the floor series, I'm ok there and just kicked up the practice harder.

I am kind of dead today in the muscles, but that's life!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Bikram Blast weekend retreat! AWESOME!!

It's Monday morning and I'm back at work, which feels kind of sad to me. I'm actually looking forward to training so much now. I had a blast at the bikram retreat this weekend and completed five classes. My body feels... GREAT!!!

Friday night - class 20: Arrived at the retreat and took my first class in a foreign studio, which is always interesting. You learn a lot about the way the air works... and the heating situation. I had one of the hardest classes of my life. During the floor poses I wanted to jump out of my skin and find some relief from the heat. I was pouring my water on my face and neck to find relief!

Saturday morning class 21: I felt strong in the morning. Some have trouble with morning classes - me I love them. I had so much strength. I didn't kill myself in the class as I was worried about feeling like I did Friday night. I'm being honest here, I know that's not the proper approach. But you do your best.

Saturday night class 22: for many at the retreat, this was the first double class they had ever experienced. For me it was old hat - it was my second double ever (ha ha.) I knew enough to really conserve my energy on Saturday, between classes catching a nap and reading quietly, hydrating, and making sure I was properly fueled. The class was great for me. I made it through 99% of the postures. I was tired but I made it.

Sunday am class - I HAD FUN FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE 30 DAY CHALLENGE IN CLASS. I don't think the heat was cranked as much as it could have been, and I chose to be in the back of the room. By this point, we'd had a nice discussion about practice, and about the anger that comes up, and the suffering mentality, and how it's just a phase, and you move through it as you get that junk out of your body. Pent up emotions and injuries and soreness.

Sunday pm class - this was not technically a class but instead a six hour posture clinic with Esak Garcia. It was simply an amazing experience. I went deeper in triangle than I ever have. I learned so much about my poses and many others poses. One could say this technically wasn't a class but I am calling it a class as I'm more sore than I am after a class, and learned more than I could in like 50 classes. He showed us the basic series executed perfectly, he and his wife demonstrated some amazing advanced postures, and then we clinic-ed the basic series. We went through every pose, he talked about each one, we did each one as he wanted us to... (holy burning quads! he really challenged our technique!) then answered questions.

It was an amazing experience. I can't say enough. I feel so supercharged. I can't wait to practice tonight. I'm really ready to step up my practice. I can't believe how much better my triangle is going to be, and how much easier it is to be in the pose as it's supposed to be done. It kills when I come out of it but while I'm in it I can feel that my body is holding a solid asana.

Goals for today - thighs and whole lower body on fire during pranayama
go all the way into triangle and hold it
find the sensation of kicking equally in floor bow
see what my practice brings!

I can't wait to practice. I feel like I had a major breakthrough yesterday and that I am most certainly capable of giving a lot more than I've been giving the last two weeks. I had to be where I was, which was a major struggle. Now I'm in a new place!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Class 19 of 30

Wednesday brought class 19. That means I skipped Monday and Tuesday classes. Yes, that's right, I skipped two days worth of classes. I don't feel great about it, but my lower back felt very crunchy and yucky and I really needed to take the time off. Especially with doubles all weekend. I do have a plan to get another class in... next Thursday I'm going to do a double to close out the challenge.

I am whiney and complaining and now have no good backbends. I am petulant and angry in class. It's all mental... and this is just a minute taste of what's coming this fall. sigh... it's worth it though.

Monday, June 22, 2009

16 - 18 of 30... It's all starting to blend together

Friday Class
I was angry on Friday and my practice had "attitude" - I didn't want to work hard, I was frustrated, and I didn't blast out any negativity. I took it with me. I literally screamed in the car going home. That and a phone call with a friend made things better.

Saturday Class
Practicing at home rocked on Saturday! I lifted the flannel sheet drop ceiling I created in my yoga closet a few inches to ensure that I can extend my arms and index finger all the way in some of the standing postures. I grabbed my heels all the way in rabbit pose for the first time!

Sunday Class
Was unable to grab my heels on Sunday morning... in rabbit pose. I had a slippery class. Wind removing pose is fast becoming one of my least favorite poses. Before, it was a place where I could rest, the pose is not that hard. But practicing with shorts and bare legs and having my grip slip over and over is so frustrating!

So this week is all a warmup for the yoga retreat this weekend! I'll be living the life of doubles on Saturday and Sunday and I can't wait to feel what it feels like. It's the perfect way to complete my 30 day challenge. Technically I have eleven or 12 days left of practicing, but with doubles this weekend, I'll hit 30 before next week is over. I'm definitely taking the long holiday weekend OFF from yoga. Well... maybe... I'm taking off going to the studio to practice. Gentle non bikram at home is always recommended.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Halfway through the 30 day challenge!

I have completed classes 14 & 15 of the 30 day challenge (bringing my summer total to 29 classes taken.) Wednesday's class was powerful. I really felt like the Hulk at the end of class - just beefy with strength.

This morning was a different story. I was strong, but I really lost focus toward the end of class. I was rolling my eyes at the wall... so as not to roll them at my kind and awesome teacher. My stuff not hers!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

13 of 30 down!

Yesterday's class was in my regular studio. There's not much to report really, as I did a very solid class. I didn't push especially hard, but my maintenance level practice got me through. I found triangle pose to be challenging yesterday. I just did not want to be in the pose, nor did I want to come into the pose fully like I've been practicing.

Maybe this had to do with having a few glasses of wine on Sunday night...

I like the idea of having a base level of strength to get me through all the poses in a respectable way when I'm not feeling that great. Of course I like to push myself and "struggle harder" as Bikram says... but when you're practicing all the time, it's not advisable to push like that in every class. You can injure yourself.

With training moved six weeks or so later in the year, I now have six more weeks to get my baseline practice to a deeper and stronger place. I feel great and look great (if I do say so myself) from practicing every day. I can't wait to see how my body has responded by August 1. I won't be practicing every day in July but from here on out I will be practicing 90% of the time (daily.)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Classes 7 through 12 of the 30 day challenge (21-26 of the summer)

I have not been great about posting this last week as my computer access was limited. So a quick recap of tons of classes here!

Tuesday was a really difficult day for me. I was very sore and tired from Monday night's class and practiced at home. It was tough to stay focused and even just to be in the postures at all. I didn't do much and rested a lot.

Wednesday I felt guilty about doing so little on Tuesday and just felt like I didn't have what it takes to be a teacher, or to make it through the training. I showed up for class really needing a pep talk and that's what I got - I big smile and cheering words from a teacher, that I would have classes like that when I'm practicing as much as I am now. She taught a fun class, had us laughing the whole time, and I felt renewed and recharged when I left.

Thursday I went to Burlington to take a class from the studio head there, and to introduce myself. It was a fabulous class, and I was welcomed and told that my attention to detail regarding alignment was spot on and that I have good mental toughness and will make a great teacher. Kinder words were never said! It was so wonderful to hear that after what transpired on Tuesday. I got a real boost.

Friday - worked hard
Saturday - worked hard, special gift of a Saturday class at the local studio
Sunday - I was dead from weeding and yoga on Saturday, but I made it through all the postures.

I just found out that teacher training has been pushed back a few weeks in the fall. Good thing I didn't buy a plane ticket yet! This affects many decisions for our family - but we'll figure it all out. I'm glad I got my bosses to agree to let me go before this happened... and it gives me more time to raise money.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Class 6 of the 30 day challenge (class 20 of the summer)

Yesterday's class was pretty amazing. A visiting teacher to the studio really kicked our butts. It's always wonderful to take classes from new people as I do the same sequence of poses in bikram over and over. I cherish the new insights and new ways of thinking about my body in the poses. For instance, my instructor yesterday talked about seeing the feet activated like suction cups, creating a beautiful arch that sucks the energy up the legs. I greatly enjoyed that imagery, as I work through foot issues.

My standing poses were deplorable yesterday and I felt very embarrassed as the new teacher saw me, lowly me, who's supposed to be going to teacher training this fall. I had a very strong second half of class and felt great this morning.

I feel a lot of fear when I think of how I will do taking eleven classes a week with posture clinics and late night lectures for nine weeks. I'm very attached to my sleep and I feel like my body will be really challenged to keep up with the demands of all those classes. As usual, I fear that everyone else in training will be better than I am, have nice slim and trim bodies and amazing and deep postures, while I struggle to hold my poses and fall out of them. I am scared that people behind me in training will get annoyed with me because they have to look at my back as I wibble wobble my way through class. I might mess up others around me who can't keep their balance as I distract them.

I think the fear is natural... And I can't be anyone other than who I am right now. I'll just have to breathe through it.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Classes 3, 4 & 5 of the 30 day challenge (17 - 19 of the summer)

Boy, practicing every day means the classes really start to blend together!

Friday night's class at my regular studio was excellent. We had 25 people in class! It was amazing. Nice and hot, lots of bodies, new folks... we even burst into applause for the new folks at the end of class.

Saturday I practiced at home. I put on some house music in the background while I practiced with Bikram's recording to see if it energized me. Sometimes I struggle with holding the poses all the way through so I was looking to see if the music might energize me. It did. Standing between poses is supposed to be a rest time but I ended up dancing a little bit. My favorite posture was beginning pranayama. I have felt a much stronger engagement of the stomach muscles by pulling them in on the inhale. It also gets the sweat rolling faster!

Sunday was back in the studio and I really felt "back" after my week off. I worked extremely hard. My left foot and ankle feels pretty weak so I'm wearing a brace today to support them and compress them. Hopefully continued practice will help me slim down and put less pressure on the foot when I practice.

I also had two choir concerts this weekend, and standing on those risers did not help my ankle.

I have officially put the cd of me reciting the standing series pose commands in my car cd player and will listen to nothing but for the next many weeks. It's not fun or pretty but hopefully the immersion will really help me. And this week begins my fundraising efforts. I am going to make three phone calls a night, I've put flyers out at the studio, and i'm going to (gulp) try to get my facebook friends to shoot some cash my way via paypal. I'm nervous about asking but everyone I've asked has been super cool and said yes right away.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Classes 1 and 2 of the 30 day challenge (classes 15 & 16 of the summer)

Mom's wedding was great, I sang in front of 200 people at the reception. Taking a week off from yoga... maybe not so great. It's been quite a struggle to get back to where I was. Of course, when you're practicing all the time, you're in optimal condition, and each single class is not a big deal. Class 1, on Wednesday, I almost puked, there was tons of junk food in my system, I was literally shaking. Did not feel good. I like naming a favorite posture for each class - well for this class it was most definitely savasana (lying on your back on the floor.)

I did my second class yesterday at home and was very resistant to "giving it my all." However, I felt my muscles coming back to life a little bit and didn't feel quite so drained afterward. This afternoon it's back to the studio for a class, and there are classes both days this weekend which is a GREAT boost to my practice.

By next Monday when I go to Burlington I'm going to be right back in the swing of things.

It's good to be back.