Wednesday, December 30, 2009
I never made up for December first, so today, is another good ol' doubler! Starting off with Jaime's class was exactly what I needed and she had such amazing enthusiasm that brought everyone in the class high on the energy train! I don't see Jaime's personality come through too often in her classes but today she was fantastic, a cheery warm voice with such mellow atmosphere but she insists on working you, no holding back. My energy was untouchable this morning, I was able open my hips and with a little help of Advil prior to class, I had no pain in my joints. A great way to start the day!
My last class for the year...I was feeling tired, sore and not exactly looking forward to exerting the little energy I had. I wish I could say it was a good class but right from the breathing I was hoping the class would finish quickly. The humidity was making my hands slip relentlessly in the balancing series but I put forth as much strength and endurance as I could with standing bow and Ellena proclaimed "as long as you try to go past your comfortability, push past your limitations, you can bring your body to a whole new level". I think I would prefer to do that with less humidity though so I can have some energy to drive deeper. Ten days left to my 100 day challenge but knowing me, I'll finish off January at least with an even 120.
Everyone have a wonderful evening as I am enjoying just being able to recuperate physically.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
As the year draws closer to the end, I reflect upon 2009, quoting Dale "what you put into something is what you'll get, and what you want may not necessarily be what you need-be careful what you wish for". In other words, we come in to the classes always anticipating a fulfillment; physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually and sometimes it's not exactly the fulfillment we were hoping for but when we leave that hot room we exit with exactly what we need. I have gone through so many moments with this yoga of anger, gratitude, excitement, disappointment, sense of failure, sense of desire; buckets of sweat, cups of tears, ounces of blood, hours of stiffness and pain, loss of sleep, loss of appetite, pounds shed, endless water consumption, new friends, new sense of motivation, new sense of anticipation, sense of acceptance, sense of loss, sense of determination, sense of an endless possibility of life that is waiting to be played out. And many students would look at this crazy list and say 'is it worth it to you?' ....yes every aspect is worth every moment I have been in that hot room..just to take another breath.
Dale brings so much life to the class I just like to take a moment to thank him for all his advice, the countless times he has sat and chatted about his passion for yoga and how it all intertwines into our very lives. And just when we think about giving up on ourselves in class, you are there to plug us back in, as always, Namaste♥
Today was good ol' double day! Started off with Mary's bright and warm class but as luck would have it, I have a kidney infection so half moon, standing bow, camel and stretching were all torture. I know, I sound whiny and a complainer lol, but when you have pain or injury it's the only thing you can think about, on the bright side, I don't think about the heat this way lol. The class was fairly small for the morning but everyone seems to still be in the 'holiday work-it-off' mode so the energy was very high, even when Mary was making us hold the awkward and triangle postures. Mary is such a gem with her powerful voice that instills discipline but she never lets us go without a smile or laugh for too long in the series. My body is going through a few changes again with my spine stiffening a little much to arch my back for the cobra as well as the full locust. The floor bow on the other hand, is beginning to gain a little more height and my shoulders are stretching out farther so I can relax them while kicking my legs up higher, a small success but one that gets me smiling after the posture is over.
Instructor- Candice-6pm (making up for Christmas Day)
I had a busy afternoon which made coming to the 4pm class virtually impossible which made me sad because it would have been Frank's class but Candice is my booster when I need it and there is no question I needed it! I had the privilege of practising beside two strong ladies: Anthea and Dana and again, the class was relatively small and my kidneys were giving me allot more trouble this evening, but overall this was a fun class although I think Candice may have been giving me a hard time about fidgeting- it's hard to relax when you want to remove the left side of your body lol.
I arrived a bit early so I could chat with Frank and I was happy to hear that he will not be leaving until the 18th of January, so come and take advantage of his classes!
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Boxing day was a bit of a struggle in the morning as the festive turkey from the night before knocked me out like a sedative. The family get together was not complete yet until I had to knock back a couple of drinks with relatives in the early afternoon lol. So, by the time I arrived at yoga I was feeling a bit loose, a bit limber and quite relaxed for this afternoon session. The class was very strong as I pushed some boundaries on my balancing series just to see how limber I really was. Stefanie's headstrong voice kept the students energy levels high with equal amounts of motivation and tranquility during savasana.
I really start to notice that having a day off here and there from yoga, especially during this peak season of temptations and divulging in succulent meals and treats, that my body feels like it is needs to cleanse itself of treats immediately. For example, I cannot consume as much alcohol as I use to, as if my body has become sensitive to the treats I give it every now and then including fatty foods, alcohol, some dairy products, meats and other unmentionables lol.
I suppose the life of a yogi is based on balance but there is no question that this yoga in particular tries to steer you in a healthier direction, whether you want to or not.
After my class yesterday the temptations ceased to end and I ended up staying out late, eating sweets, some alcohol and making the most of the season lol. Not to my surprise class tonight was not as strong because my right kidney is in pain and my body is feeling quite stiff. Most of the students must have had the same idea as myself to rid the holiday temptations because this was the biggest class I have seen since the Garcia seminar. Literally, we had to share the floor but the energy tonight was amazing as we all tried our best to work off the holidays. It has been awhile since I last had Ellena but it is always a treat with her soothing tones and her ability to make you smile in the toughest postures.
Tomorrow I shall make up for Christmas Day, I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and continues to give themselves the gift of yoga.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Location-White Rock Studio
I strongly encourage visiting other studio's from time to time, White Rock, for example has a warm atmosphere, two doors for the hot room (one to exit, one to enter), and an inside cooling area. Plus it is an opportunity to meet new students and new instructors and give a perspective of what Bikram Yoga is like in other cities. The salty sea air awoke my body and I was revved up for this class but my spirit was broken a little by the reminder of why I went to this studio today; it would be the last or one of the last classes I would take of Frank's.
Frank reminded us of what this day was all about, or at least the way it should be for humanity; love, kindness, generosity and gratitude. There is no question that Frank is one of those people who lives up to such words of wisdom as he has always been generous in his ability to share the passion of yoga with students, his gratitude for those who welcome his thoughts on yoga, and his never ending love and kindness to those in his life.
Frank, we look forward to seeing you again in the future, until that time, Namaste♥
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
My day was filled with Christmas cheer as I was able to finish up the rest of my shopping and wrapping and baking so by the time I arrived at yoga I was feeling relaxed, rejuvenated and ready for some heat! However, today was the first day where the room was much cooler than usual and there seemed to be a trickling waterfall making a small puddle in the middle of the room. Either way, Candice was full of holiday spirit, joking and teasing us about our 'miserable' looks lol, making this class a relaxing, fun filled way to spend the afternoon.
My spine was not as open to the standing bow or the spine series but nevertheless it was great to feel energy come pouring back into my body. I also seem to recognize the alignment needed for the triangle pose, I think I finally understand what she means by keeping my hips up.
After class was almost as much fun and I wish I had brought my camera so I could watch three ladies try to devour chocolate cookies behind the counter, it was priceless! It was great to see these women relax and be themselves, enjoying the small moments that bring people together.
Instructor- Candice 930am
The following morning my body was feeling very stiff, I could slowly feel the tension rising in my shoulders and neck plus I woke up with dizzy spells that created a throbbing headache. The worst is when I start the half moon series and I have to pull my shoulders out and stretch, I feel like they are wanting to come out of their sockets but once I stretch, especially in the second set, the tension is gone. The room was very cool again and Candice's holiday spirits were wide awake which helped boost my lagging body. During standing bow she had to hold my right foot straight because I have a tendency to twist it off to the left for balance and I know this is due to my right pelvis which is tilted which is a huge pain when aligning my body in standing separate head to knee, standing bow, balancing stick and tree/toe pose. Either way, I felt very strong regardless of the throbbing pains and tensions and as always Candice's bright bubbly personality shines through in her ability to make yoga a revitalizing journey each and every class with humour, enlightenment, guidance and discipline.
My body has been going through some transitions, in particular, emotional transitions that have caused frustration and even some crying episodes through class. As Dale has always put it, its a a break through in your journey, but I know one reason for my emotional upheavals; Frank is leaving us for six months to pursue another path of opportunity that yoga has presented for him. Tomorrow I will be taking a class of his in White Rock to at least get in a couple classes before he is officially gone, I know many students who hold him in high regard as one of their favorite instructors and rightfully so:)
Monday, December 21, 2009
Even with the winter solstice upon us, there was no shortage of heat, thanks to the power driving force that is Dale. Although the humidity was cranked, I was determined not to let it get the best of me today, even though I was feeling under the weather all morning and afternoon. It is such a hard balance of force and breath about half way through the class for me lately that I start to feel a little discouraged. Dale always reminds us that each day you take class is different, your body will tell you where it is right from the get-go. I suppose if my body is talking, I should do a little bit more listening. One thing I have learned about depth in postures is that if it starts to feel too easy, your probably lagging on form, I seem to notice that one in half moon as well as awkward. My strongest postures today would be my eagle, which I have grown so much in flexibility as well as managing to keep a straight form, and my standing head to knee that I actually look forward to in my classes now.
I spoke too soon yesterday about my body feeling good, for I am feeling the aches in my shoulders and lumbar region.
I don't think I have had Hillary for the challenge so far, the first thing that comes to mind is her glow, she always has a bright warm smile and an energy driven voice that makes her classes a bit of a relief from the more challenging instructors. Plus she likes to incorporate new metaphors for postures, for example, the floor bow she refers to as a 'Vancouver rain drop' and she likes to snap her fingers during Praneama breathing as well as the postures that need a bit of driving force like the balancing series. It's interesting that she lets her personality come alive in the class through her own unique traits. It was also a relief to finally have some fans on lol, the heat seems to intensify as the day rolls on.
Eighty days in and although I have days where my shoulders ache and my bones feel stiff, there is no real pain, I feel tired and perhaps a little anxious to have a break, but I feel levitated with fuel to push a little farther. Maybe at this point I should consider taking some advanced series classes, at least to see what it's all about.
The past couple of days have been exhausting outside the yoga room and mentally I feel drained and it has showed itself inside the yoga room. Because of the rather unusual warm weather we have had, the humidity outside has been higher so I do not understand why the instructors insist on have the humidifier on for the remainder of the class...grrrrrrr!!!! Having it on to heat us up for the standing series is one thing, but by the time I hit the floor, I want to go to sleep or cry lol, so I kindly ask, turn it off, it is not necessary to boil our blood. Yes, I keep complaining about the same thing but it is the only thing that seems to have such a mental and physical effect on me. Jaime's soothing voice tames my frustrated mind at times but I could tell that afternoon everyone was struggling to hold on to whatever energy they could find.
I have noticed quite an improvement in my standing series, directing my form over depth lately has given me more of a perception of alignment in the half moon and balancing series. The only thing I have noticed is a pinching in my right hip as I go down in the separate standing head to knee.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
I woke up with a feeling of energy, just to have it zapped in class. The humidity was just too unbearable this morning, I tried to maintain most of what energy I had for the standing series but by the time we got to the floor I literally had moments where tears streamed down. I was told after class that this was a moment of releasement, your body trying to cleanse itself emotionally as well as physically. I personally, just thought it was too damn hot for my liking lol. I only got through this class because of Frank, he came by to practise with us, and I should have taken his slow and steady pace as a sign that I was trying too hard, forcing too much energy, especially with the higher than normal temperature. As I have mentioned before, anger can get the best of me and in my moments of anxiety and frustration, the balance of releasement and relaxation clearly did not coincide. On a positive note, my hips were out enough to align my head, arms and both legs in the standing bow, making it my strongest posture for the day.
Friday, December 18, 2009
I felt like a wound up ball of energy all day until the humidity made me fall on my butt this afternoon. Anthea sure had enough energy for the both of us though, as she was wired on Candy Canes lol. My back just could not handle many of the postures, especially the forward bend in the half moon series and the stretching series; basically it was feeling rough the entire way through and I felt relief as the class ended because all I could think about was going home and having an hour long salt bath.
It is amazing to see new students come into the room and complete the entire class, both sets and all. I remember my first class; I felt out of place, nauseous, dizzy to the point where I had to sit down, and wondering if I was going to survive the ninety minutes. There was no way I was going to complete every posture and set in my first class, I commend those who are able to, perhaps they are a new generation of yogi's.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
This is my first of two classes today, second one to make up for Monday, and I woke up with an abundance of energy as well as some clarity. There are days when I get up only to feel dizziness for the next few hours as I was diagnosed a couple years back as having a type of orthostatic hypo tension known as Dysautonomia, yeah say that five times fast lol, where blood pressure falls too quickly and therefore, I feel dizzy, feelings of faint and imbalance. When I arrive in the morning for classes where I feel this way, some postures in the standing series are difficult to hold because I have to bring my head below my heart then suddenly stand back up. However, if I breath deeply in the postures that affect my balance such as standing head to knee, standing separate head to knee, etc, it helps a great deal in creating more endurance and keeps the focus off of my dizzy spells.
As always Mary loves to make us work for our yoga, holding us in the classic postures such as Triangle and cobra and locust for as long as she can but with those few extra seconds I can look into the mirror to adjust my form although the harder I think about my Triangle, the more confused I seem to get about alignment and having my hips up or down, oh well, a learning process.
I will be back at 4, time to rest and eat!
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
It's interesting to listen to new teachers fresh out of training to gain insight into the experience they had and whether they recommend the training or not. As with the other teachers I have talked to, Stefanie had nothing but positive praise even if they were in a tent out in the desert to train lol. What really left a mark on my brain was her reply "You should really go if you have such a passion for it, even if you don't continue as a teacher, go for yourself you gain so much beneficial mental and spiritual awakening". Stefanie is a calm soul with strength and elegance to her practise and I was curious to see if she could bring some power to the dialogue; not only did she hold her own, she gave me much guided motivation to drive deeper into the postures where I might not have had the energy mentally to do so.
My lower back has been giving me some trouble lately, just a bout of stiffness and it holds me back from wanting to stretch deeper in back moon, cobra and camel. My half locust (with both legs extended) as well as my floor bow have been quite strong lately that I catch myself smiling rather than grunting after the postures lol. Stefanie is a treasure and it is nice to have a new addition to the wonderful staff.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Tonight's theme: Karma~ I feel like I paid for not going to class yesterday, lol, sweat poured off of me rather than dripped and I had a few dizzy spells but loe and behold, the class went by very quickly. The Praneama Breathing seemed to last forever but once that was complete, the class was over like a snap of a finger. Another quality of Candice's teachings: she makes the class very concise and clear cut- she separates each series with humour and personality but makes you drive right into the posture not to miss a single beat. As I mentioned, the theme was Karma, how do we treat others and ourselves once we walk out the door? Do we take the time to help a fellow human being, do we care for ourselves with stress management, proper diet, even a simple smile? And should this be the only time of year that we take the moment to appreciate humanity and be sympathetic?
Through the months of practising yoga, I have learned so much more about myself and the majority of it has to do with my reactions to stress and emotions. It really takes discipline and focus to leave stress outside the hot room and when the negativity erupts during difficult postures I try to breath. The fascinating aspect of this realization is that it can and should be incorporated into the outside world of stressors, you learn to take things as they come and when challenges arise, you take a moment to breath. The positive karma you learn within the room should be encouraged into the rest of your life.
A wise folk singer once said "Act the way you want to be and pretty soon you will be the way you act". Thank you Candice, as always, for your positive energy, you may not realize it, but it goes a long way with each of us. ♥
Life gave me missed opportunities of yoga today but I was told that it is not that your body is missing out, it will come back to the yoga when your ready for it, especially when you go as frequently as I. It is about peace and acceptance and making the most of your day away from the routine.
It is a busy time of year, we must take a a moment to reflect on all the things we do for ourselves and for others; what we sacrifice, what we reward ourselves with as it all plays a big role in the balance of life.
My only regret is that I could not take Frank's class~I hope to make it up to him♥
Sunday, December 13, 2009
This morning I knew I had to stock up on electrolytes, water and food to fuel myself for the day ahead. But once I entered the studio I felt reassured that this was going to be a good day; the temperature was balanced to my liking, the students were in positive spirits (maybe due to the snow) and the soothing voice of Ellena.
Some days I come in filled with anxiety, unsure of really wanting to do a class but today with two classes to overcome I actually felt calm and at peace just waiting to see where the classes would take me. I would have to say my standing bow was probably one of my strongest and I seem to venture to new depths all the time but as I have mentioned earlier this week, my endurance to hold many of the standing series postures has dropped but I have to keep reminding myself that the body changes and this too shall pass. This class was a great way to start my day.....
Instructor-Anthea-4pm (Making up for Day 8)
....and so I continue with snow boots on this time walking to the studio and hoping I wasn't going to be the only student there. Surprisingly there were six dedicated students whom I'm sure all felt pretty good about themselves for showing up. Another cheery lady to help us rev into the postures I felt this second wind to see where my body would take me in the afternoon. I have noticed lately my floor bow has had some major changes although I find it quite difficult to lean my body weight onto my chest as well as keep my knees inward. One trick about this posture that has helped me so much is to start by taking a deep breath in and looking straight up to the ceiling because as we all have heard "where your eyes go, your body will follow". However, my spine seems to have given me a little more leeway in rounding upward, giving me more strength to kick higher. It is encouraging to see little changes and amazing to know that my body was able to finish my day on a strong note.
I'm not sure what came over me this morning but this was one tough class to get through; the heat was overwhelming and I know I wasn't the only one who was having troubles with it. And it made it worse just staring at my water bottle while Elaine gave us water breaks.
This is the first time I have had Elaine for my challenge but through the humidity she is a treat, I like to call her my "full lungs lady" because during the breathing exercises or during certain postures where we must inhale she always replies "full lungs", makes me smile every time.
Before class I was mentioning to Dale how I was feeling through this challenge and I had noted that there are days where I have breakdowns and he replied "they are not breakdowns, they are break throughs". His statement is probably one of the reasons why I held on so long in class; break throughs in my focus, break throughsin my energy, break throughs in my determination to hold on to some sort of willpower. However, as much as I was able to complete the postures, my endurance simply wasn't there.
Anyway, Sunday will be a bigger challenge, I am doing doubles, 10am and 4pm....
Friday, December 11, 2009
I woke up in need of a booster, a Candice booster. My mind was filled with anxiety and my morning had started rough but the moment I stood up for the class to start, her voice drifted away all the mind blocks I had rolling around. As I have mentioned before, you go to Candice's class to work hard and create growth, not to slack and she will make sure you know that which is why I have appreciated her classes from day one; from the need to abstain from too much water and other distractions, to getting into savasana during the floor series in a three second time frame, to making sure everyone gets into postures such as separate standing head to knee, triangle and standing head to knee in unison. She demands it and rightfully so; it creates a harmony of positive energy and ensures that each student is getting the benefits they deserve when taking this challenging yoga.
I had to laugh to myself though about the water intake, I have been good, waiting until savasana to replenish but I still feel the need before fixed firm as well as before stretching series. However, considering I went from a litre during class to around 250ml I feel I have more discipline.
Oh, and I feel treated when I get a quick back massage during half tortoise, the posture I still have trouble figuring out, I mean how can you manage to stretch your arms and put your hips back on your feet? Thank you Candice♥
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Two ideas that were brought to my attention today: one from a student who said after I complimented her practise and focus, "I only focus on myself, like there is no one else in the room." It brought me to the attention of where my focus is sometimes-do I manage to put 100% concentration on myself or am I easily distracted? For me, some days are easier than others to put all that energy into the image reflected back in the mirror and other days I need the motivation and inspiration from others (hence the reason why I go to the back of the studio). Some classes I feel relaxed when the blinds are open and I can few the sunshine outside giving me a feeling of calm when I'm doing postures such as eagle or standing bow. Other times I do feel truly inspired to challenge myself or see what corrections I need to make by looking at advanced students, so quite literally, I do feel like I can focus just let me choose the subject lol. When I have to view my stomach and the fact I cannot suck it in every second only frustrates me so for me, it's best to take a breath, look at the positive energy around me and smile.
Second idea has to do with monotony. As much as I adore all instructors here at this studio I find that when their dialogue comes across as a bit lifeless and monotonous, the zest of energy can quickly drain out of the students. In other words, if the instructor does not sound enthused, the students are going to find the class more like work than a time to self examine and have an exciting challenge. Either way, the class was soothing and it is always nice to see familiar students...yay Raj!
Yes, my dreaded time of day for yoga but as much as Tuesday felt unproductive, I made up for it today with tons of energy to tackle my morning and afternoon, and because of it, I felt lifted and relaxed.
Side note- I have started to decrease the amount of water I consume during class, for example, I avoid it now until savasana and let me tell you, it has revved my energy and focus and I don't miss it at all! I was told by a wise man that the water will just sit in your stomach, nowhere to go and so it can cause you to feel slightly bloated and even mentally distracted for the next water break. So, I only take small sips, especially when coming closer to the spinal series where sitting on my stomach with water and excess air only makes me feel nauseous; and the result with less H2O is pure focus. I recommend drinking water during the day before class and then rejuvenate once it is over. Perhaps there will be a time when I won't need it at all during class but hey..small steps.
Anyway, Ellena's class was fantastic, just what I needed after my day off; the energy in the room was really in sync as if every student was ready to give it their all. My balance has been a bit off for the balancing series but I feel my standing head to knee getting stronger everyday. My hips seem to be closed more often than open and it distracts me when I try to bring my body down in standing bow as well as balancing stick, something I need to work on outside of class. Either way, I felt uplifted and full of positive energy tonight, even for a 6'oclock class.
Ever have one of those days where its seems like a challenge even to get out of bed? Physically my body was feeling good but mentally, I felt drained like I had run out of fuel. Literally I went out about my regular routine and then just curled right back into bed but I don't let it get to me too much; I just let my emotions flow and then start another day.....
Monday, December 7, 2009
I came into the studio feeling a little nerved and little stressed but it melted away once the class began. I felt a serene calm that gave me a new heightened sense of body and space and how at that moment the yoga came together naturally. It also helped that Frank eased the humidity levels and motivated me to relax my shoulders and drive deeper into the postures. Sometimes there are moments when a teacher can get through to a student when no one else can, for example, during the standing head to knee he physically showed us step by step the importance of locking the knee, flexing the toes, bending the elbows and finishing the posture, as if he was a student doing it side by side with us. Those types of moments bring such motivation thus challenging my ability to prove I can be stronger and feel amazing after class.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
A wise man asked me today "Do you know when the challenge ends?" I shrugged and he replied, "when it's no longer a challenge to come everyday." Challenge: defined as a demanding or stimulating situation; to engage in a contest or duel. How does this 'challenge' relate to yoga? Perhaps the demand to fight/duel the demons within, to stimulate growth, to create an energy that does not need to be challenged, but rather to gain balance mentally, physically and spiritually.
There were two main challenges to face in class today: the humidity and my brain, two variables that create anxiety for me. When I asked for peace my mind gave me noise, so many distractions that I can usually absolve from and yet the sweat, my towel, my breath, my hair, my outfit, even my heartbeat seemed to overtake the ability to stay serene.
Frank's determination to push past my barriers made me want to explode and yet all I could do was laugh, I think he does it on purpose to make me realize it's just yoga, make the movements come naturally or else you have to work that much harder to go half the depth you could otherwise. Relaxation, such a simple concept and yet that is why savasana can be the hardest posture to be in. Even though this class was a challenge I feel like I learn the most valeuable lesson: what doesn't break you, makes you stronger~thank you Frank♥
Why is Candice my standing head to knee guru? I told her 'I want to be in the Hatha Yoga Competition next year' and her reply 'To start, you need to get into the standing head to knee posture with no pause, no stops, lock the knees, and forehead firmly on the knee, you nail that the rest will be smooth.' So, each class from then on out I have been determined to go further and further with my standing head to knee, at least stretching my legs out and pulling my arms closer to my calves. It appears for reasons unknown to me that I can concentrate and focus more in this posture than in the standing bow, I seem to exert more energy physically in the standing bow and more energy mentally in the standing head to knee.
Anyway, if you have ever seen Candice practise, you would be aware of the fact that her standing head to knee is immaculate; she has the focus to maintain the form and the strength to hold the perfect L shape, thus holding her as my guru for standing head to knee lol.
Before I came to class I was feeling very nauseous and it took whatever motivation I had to take her class but it was well worth it, by the time I got home I had clarity and energy to seize the rest of the day.
Diane's soothing tones were the much needed reward I was hoping for coming back after being so sore. Sometimes a day off is what your body needs to recuperate, to replenish itself so you can have energy to drive right back in! The room was quite mild especially for the afternoon but I didn't complain, I quite enjoy some slack on humidity and as a result, I was able to extend my form in the balancing series as well as the triangle. I had to laugh when Diane told us about a student who whacked her eye while trying to get a grip on her toes in the stretching posture, Diane can be so wicked....lol
Stephen's class was all about smiling and watching us like a hawk to make sure we were perfecting our postures lol. I have noticed the morning classes are quite tight on my hamstrings, it seems like the first set of most postures are a warm up to the second set which can be a little disappointing because as the instructors claim: it's half the time. I wish I was able to exert the correct form and depth all at once but the fear of injury is always at the back of my mind, perhaps it is something I have to let go of and just give my body the benefit of the doubt. Either way, Stephen comes in with a cheery attitude and a no bars hold and with that I try to always give 100% in his class.
Day 4- Instructor-Ellena- 1245pm
And as energy can soar, it can also plummet and unfortunately, as much as I tried in Ellena's class, my energy could not compete with the humidity. There are days when the heat rev's my body and there are days when the humidity exhausts and frustrates me. As many instructors have probably mentioned the "fight or flight" mentality, you can really only understand it by experiencing it. It seemed as though I was fighting to do every posture, every set because I knew that if I gave up, sat down, walked out, it would exert more energy than just completing the posture. I have also noticed that Ellena now seems to be more aware of my form which gives me more determination to do the postures the right way as best to my ability.
As many of you know, this is the continuation of my challenge~a 100 day challenge but it seems easier to go month by month, hence the title, 30 day challenge lol.
I appreciate the interest and by all means, any comments will be valued; let me know how your experiences are going, it fascinates me to know how others feel about classes and instructors and what you love about yoga.
Monday, November 30, 2009
....And the end draws near....since my morning class was so energetic I truly believed my muscles were going to give out on me for this class, but once again I love it when I prove myself wrong:)I wanted to end on a high note so I put forth 200% effort and energy and for the first time Frank did not come over and try to correct me every other posture lol. There is no question I try to put forth much more than normal in Frank's class just because I know he expects so much more from me and with this type of challenge from him, I am able to push harder and exceed my own expectations of myself. It was also a treat to have Candice come in and take the class with us as she is my standing head to knee guru lol: her focus and determination is quite exhilarating to watch and her growth in advanced series postures inspires me to take yoga to the next level.
One thing I would like to mention about Frank's classes is his acknowledgement of each students participation in the class, every time the student's exit the hot room he is waiting to give positive reinforcement.
When I began my journey in August of 2008, I loved yoga from the start but because of personal issues a couple months later I was unsure of whether I was going to keep yoga in my life and that was when I first had Frank as an instructor. He came in with this cool collective confidence but also with this passion for yoga, he really made me see for the first time that yoga could really draw a life force from within and to grow mentally and physically if you were truly determined to. So I thank him for showing me the path of personal self discovery and I will take that forever in my journey through yoga as well as the rest of my life.
I wanted to start early and do something I have never done: double classes back to back. I really wasn't sure what I was expecting the day to bring but Diane's morning class was just the right amount of charm and humidity I needed to complete my make-up class. I was surprisingly much more flexible than anticipated, as the morning's do a number on my stiff lumbar region as well as my shoulders and neck. I don't think I had a weak posture, my energy was soaring probably due to the anxiety to complete this challenge but also to end on a strong note. The only thing that seemed to puzzle me was why Diane kept laughing every time we would complete a sit-up during the floor series. Nevertheless, I am glad I was able to finish off the month with lots of energy, no physical ailments or pain and a refreshing renewal through my mind and body of why yoga is as important to me now as it was when I started.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Closer to the end and I am feeling a bit anxious, especially with the exciting weekend ahead, so I decided to start my weekend off with some yoga with a cool collect instructor named Katie. There was some very positive energy in the hot room today and Katie's humour filled the room with even more fun. If you have ever seen Katie in the room practising, you know that her tips and wisdom is based truly on her years of experience, her graceful yet strong poise is very inspirational to me and so having her every now and then as an instructor makes me want to work that much harder in her classes. However, since it was a morning class, my spine could have used a little more 'flow' as I call it, and towards the end of class my energy seemed to lag a bit but it still was a fantastic session. This is the first class I have had with Katie for this challenge but there is no question that when in her class you always receive what you put forth and she is detrimental on making sure you give it your all.
Friday, November 27, 2009
I figured it was time to repay Stephen a visit to one of his morning classes considering it's been almost a month. Like I have mentioned before, Stephen's classes are always filled with humor and today was no exception; putting in a joke or pun here and there relaxes my mind, especially before postures such as standing head to knee and triangle. I really have noticed that the morning classes take a toll on my spine in the warm up, I am simply not able to do backward half moon or even the 'ham sandwich' forward bend as easily. My hamstrings are quite tight and there is tension in my neck and shoulders again but I suppose it is the price to pay for necessary changes in my body and if it brings more results my way than it is well worth it. I had to laugh during the triangle, Stephen is urging me to stretch my left or right arm up in the air because, as he claims " I know your postures, you can't fool me"; he is priceless!
Thursday, November 26, 2009
My schedule has been out of sorts this past week and it can make my yoga times a bit rushed and a bit forced; once I was home this afternoon I crashed hard for an hour and with little energy decided to venture to the afternoon class. To my surprise it was probably my strongest class all week! I saw many familiar students, including my yoga buddy Raj, and it seemed because of that all of us were pretty much in sync. Do not be fooled by Diane's soft voice for when she observes that you can take the posture deeper, she will be adamant on seeing you take that challenge. As my thirty day challenge comes closer to an end I feel like my practise is just getting started for I feel like I still have so much more to learn from my body, it is still changing in so many ways, not to mention that throughout this year and especially the last few months this studio has become my second home. I feel like I am in a community where I can be myself with a group that has a passion for growth, well being and inspiration. Alright, enough of the sentimentality, Bikram, the man himself, will be in Vancouver on Saturday-very excited!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Generally when I take a morning class I feel sluggish, almost like a zombie, running through the routines of the postures and today was not much different. Carol's assertive yet rhythmic voice was always present but it seemed to take a back seat to a silence in my head I don't 'hear' too often. Sometimes when I come to class I am so insistent to be 'in class' that it takes away from the whole understanding of yoga; the meaning of being present but in a state of complete surrender to your body and your energy. The mind should never take over for when it does you lose control and I suppose that is why I appreciate having a morning class so my mind is not fully awake (but neither is my back lol) but my heart is open to a wakeful sense of meditation. Carol's insistence on creating a vibrant and perfected class always leaves me with a motivation to create change for myself. My weakest posture today would have to be the back bend in the half moon series because I am feeling lots of tension in my tailbone (or lumbar) region.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Today my energy was revived with Anthea's cheery personality and my ability to relax before class. I usually find that I have to work a routine around my yoga including my diet (eating no later than two hours before class), sleep (I am not one to function off of less than six hours a night), and keeping well hydrated (around two to three liters before class depending on the time frame). It seems if those align, I have a better chance of having a successful class. However, as Anthea claims "It's not about doing it's about trying the proper way" and she couldn't be more right I go into class with the notion that if I try at least one set, I've already succeeded. My strongest posture tonight would probably be my standing head to knee I seem to have some sort of drive to go down an inch more each class with my head as well as my balancing stick, keeping my arms stretched up and lowering my body down.
Less than a week to go and my body feels a little stiff in the tailbone but other than that, I feel rejuvenated. For those of you who don't already know, I am actually on day 54, not 24 and I am contemplating on continuing for another 46 days.
I was feeling sluggish and under the weather all day so notably, I knew this class was not going to be quite favorable. As much as I wanted some energy for this evening class it was nowhere to be found lol. Plus my mind was racing so much it was hard to be focused on even the little details of many postures. It is surprising how easy it can be to get caught up on the minor "fidgets" (as I like to call it) that distract you from complete meditation such as minor aches, to skin being itchy from sweat, to the discomfort of the humidity. On a positive note however, my standing head to knee has come a long way for me; I remember for months I would keep myself in the first step afraid to try to kick my leg out and perhaps it was a way to gain strength in my locked knee so when I kick out now I am absolutely sure it will not give out. But my balancing series otherwise was not my finest moments lol, and so as an end note I would conclude that I had a case of the Monday's!
Monday, November 23, 2009
Saturday's seminar left me feeling a bit sore so I decided to take the last class of the day with my favorite instructor: Candice. I don't get the chance to have her classes too often but they are always worth it; she is motivating and keeps your focus on breath and attention to technique. No two classes with Candice are ever the same because she always helps me learn more about how far my body is prepared to go in each posture. I seem to notice lately once the floor series starts, I appreciate the twenty second savasana in between each posture, particularly in the last six sequences. Candice loves to give us the three second time frame to get out of the postures and into savasana which I finally understand the importance of. I am able to return my breath back to a steady pace and ease my body into a twenty second meditation. As Candice always says to us "open up your mind, open up your heart"and because of Candice I have opened up both to the energy I feel for Bikram Yoga.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
I had the privilege of attending Esak Garcia's seminar on Saturday, the Bishnu Charan Ghosh Cup champion of 2005. His dedicated practise makes him an abundance of knowledge when it comes to the proper techniques in the Beginner series as well as the philosophy and understanding of yoga. "Hatha" the term meaning sun/moon which is used to understand the balance of our practise (left, right, feminine, masculine) made me realize the importance of driving energy from all parts of our body (my half moon's will never be the same because of that lol).
The class itself was quite large and it was a privilege to watch (when we had the chance) the 'back benders' who resided all in a line at the back of the room. The rest of the students were able to watch them integrate the full extent of certain postures such as cobra (Ellena looked amazing in that one) and camel and standing head to knee, just to name a few. I was surprised when Mr. Garcia entered the room and with a soft spoken voice apologized for starting late (just a few minutes), for I was expecting a taller man perhaps with an egocentric personality but he was anything but. His down to earth wisdom and humor made this class so inspiring, especially to watch some students take certain postures to a whole new level and depth, that it would be impossible to forget what I have learned. "Accessing the strength that you have with the form when you need it", a powerful quote by Esak himself to show that when you align major themes such as breath and formation you leave yourself willing to let the yoga take you somewhere you've never been before.
I would also like to say that I am inspired by the teachers/students in the coaching clinic, directed by Mr. Garcia, who demonstrated that with hard work and dedication you can be more than you ever thought possible. Great demonstrations by all and good luck to those in the Hatha Yoga Competition on Sunday the 29th.
Friday, November 20, 2009
This certainly was not one of my favorite classes, the humidity was quite high for me and I was feeling nauseous the majority of the time. It was a large class this afternoon and yet the humidifier went non stop, I literally felt like my blood was boiling lol. Even so, my standing head to knee is much stronger than it was, being able to stretch out my right leg and bend my elbows down as well as bring my head to my knee when stretching out my left leg. It always amazes me that we have dominant areas of our body, areas that feel no tension (my knees are pretty good for that) and areas that need extra warm ups to relieve tension (my hamstrings are pretty good for that lol). I am quite excited for the seminar tomorrow, eager to learn more about my practise and areas that I need improvement.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
For this blog, I wanted to incorporate both different times and different instructors so each student could get an idea of each teacher's personality. All I have to say about Carol's class is WOW, she is fantastic! It has been probably a year since I last had Carol, not because I didn't want her class but our schedules clashed too much I always seemed to just miss her. What can I say about Carol's classes? She is built on perfection to the tee; adamantly walking around the room devoted to making sure each student is in the proper setup and alignment. One thing I really enjoyed was she actually showed us physically how to set ourselves up for most postures. Carol's ability to show such dominance in such a small (but powerful) frame inspires me to work that much harder in class and to prove great things can come in small packages like myself lol. During the balancing series Carol used a metaphor of our legs being like tree trunks, never moving, always in place. As I thought about that concept during the series I realized it helps to visualize certain images in order to enhance strength and endurance and sure enough, I had some great postures today. I warn you though, you go to her class be prepared to work and possibly be pinched! lol
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Yes, I was a bit hostile yesterday, today's class went much smoother. Surprisingly, for the afternoon, the class was relatively small but we still managed to have a newbie who kicked some serious butt! I remember my first class I was lucky to do about 60% of the postures and never mind both sets lol. Mary's energy always proves to be unwavering and the gentle but firm tone of her voice makes her classes very rewarding. Through my journey I have learned that every now and then I suppose when I need the dialogue the most, there are parts of the dialogue that speak out to me; if its when I forget to push my knee back with my elbow in triangle, when I need to hold my stomach in for the standing head to knee or when I need to push my hips forward in the standing separate head to knee, that make the posture easier to maintain and I am able to drive deeper in that posture. Mary's dialogue spoke out to me tonight and it proved to be quite helpful.
As many of you are aware the first male world yoga champion is coming to our studio this Saturday! I am absolutely psyched, a chance to see the postures in a whole new light I am sure will be absolutely inspiring.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Yes, I missed Monday so I decided to come and make it up today starting with Mary's morning class. It started off oddly due to some repairs that needed to be done on the ceiling so the class itself started around 940 lol. The class heated up quickly so I was able to stretch in the balancing series but I still find that when participating in the morning classes my muscles are still stiff and my balance is off when I do triangle and separate standing head to knee. It seems my strongest postures are the full locust and bow lately, bringing my chest higher and holding the postures for the duration. Coming up to the last week and half my neck and shoulders are starting to become stiff once again but I feel so much physical power and energy outside the class; I have built focus, I am able to sleep soundly, to eat (or should I say not overeat), to balance emotions and feel confident in myself. I will be back for the six pm class!
There is a reason why I do not take the six pm classes, it's humid, it's crowded and generally the instructor refuses to make the class more bearable. Unfortunately, tonight was no different and the higher the humidity, the less energy I have for the class which I find unfair, I like to give 100% when I come to class. If my energy fails me due to my own physical well being then so be it, but when the humidity is so high that sweat is pouring rather than dripping and the heat causes me to lose focus I find that I lack any energy to want to complete the class. I maintained my composure for the duration rather than creating anxiety for myself but the point is it should be a balance of comfort ability as well as hard work. It's not boot camp, it's yoga.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
It was not easy to drag myself out of bed this morning and prepare to take this class but I like to put a bit of variety in the times I go to yoga. The room was a bit cool since it was the first class of the day but the humidifier kicked into high gear once we were in eagle posture. I was not as stiff as I thought I would be, as I was able to maintain the standing head to knee, flexing both legs out but I have to say my balancing stick was probably my strongest posture today. Mary has such great energy in the morning, it's hard not to be awake and ready to give it your all.
Now that I'm half way through I feel my arms and stomach toning and defining as well as having a greater appreciation for breath and relaxing my face.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Two weeks in and so far I am feeling strong with energy that surpasses my expectations. Dale once said to me "enjoy your journey because it is your own journey of discovery". When I have Dale's class, I think I discover my limitations and I push past them with endurance that I could never have imagined brimming inside of me. The room was quite humid and I was thankful when he finally shut off the humidifier but there was a roller coaster of energy flowing through all of the students tonight; sometimes up, sometimes down but when we were high, all of us soared as one. Even though Dale says "thank yourself, not me for your determination, discipline, energy", there is no doubt without his motivation and humour I could not have chosen to strive for strength in what may have been my best standing bow so far.
One particular student brought up an interesting concept tonight; he was asking Dale to physically help him perfect one of the postures and so Dale replied "I cannot help you unless a)you are a regular student and I know your postures well and b)it is a matter of perfecting the posture for yourself, not for the instructors, not for the other students, for you". I could relate to this students frustration when I first practised because I thought "OK, just show me how to do it and I will master it", and it's quite clear it is not a cut and dry approach, I still learn new tips and ways to understand the yoga and it will be a continuation in my journey. And that is one of the huge reasons why I love Bikram yoga because I learn something new everyday.
I woke up in the morning unable to breath, I was sure I was getting the dreaded H1N1 virus; my body was feeling sluggish and I had no motivation to do anything the majority of the day. Yet I was determined to go to the afternoon class in the hopes that yoga would make me feel more energetic and would help me combat this ailment. Right from the praneama breathing I could feel my respiratory system wanting to crash, it was hard for me to breath deeply and my throat hurt as my knuckles pushed against them while exhaling. However, as I was about to give up on being able to do this class, once the breathing exercise was complete a wave of heated energy revved my blood and I felt the oxygen fill my lungs up. I could not believe the energy I accumulated from the breathing alone that helped me drive myself into standing bow with my legs up farther than they have ever been. As well my full locust, which is generally my weaker posture, I felt like I could actually soar! I would also like to think I had some motivation from Raj, one of my favorite yoga buddies-he has such great energy! Not to mention my girl Ellena who never lets me leave the room feeling like I haven't given 100%, her soothing yet disciplinary voice makes you feel like working hard can be fun.
Friday, November 13, 2009
....Like I said I would, I came back for the 8 o'clock class, although I felt like a zombie that evening. After my morning session it was a pretty busy day and no nap to get me energized for the night ahead but regardless, I managed to have more momentum than I anticipated. The room was very humid, just the way Diane likes it, but the crowd was minimal which is fairly unusual for the evenings. One thing I would like to bring up is the slight irritation I have with students who come in after I have my mat in place and they put their setting directly in front of my view of the mirror. I can see if the room is crowded, there isn't much leeway to position so everyone can see the mirror, but night's like last night this student had many areas and I find this very disrespectful and even though its a slight irritation, it already starts to change my mood for the class. Moving on...I don't get the pleasure of having Diane's classes too often but when I do, I find her voice so soothing and mellow I feel like I am being put into a meditative trance for ninety minutes. Plus I have the sneaky suspicion she knows when I am starting to get a little anxiety in the spine stretching series and she comes over and massages my feet lol.
One thing I have noticed on and off about my practise is that I don't smile enough and I catch myself in postures such as cobra or camel or standing separate head to knee crunching my forehead and not relaxing my face. Believe it or not, it can make such a huge difference in your ability to go deeper and to feel less pressure and tension in your body.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Usually, I do not get the privilege of being able to take morning classes during the week and so I wanted to take advantage of walking in the beautiful sun and take a class with one of my favorite girls: Ellena. The nine thirty classes are generally pretty full and this one was no different but I quite enjoy the humidity at this time and once again, my energy was soaring; it has been a great week for yoga! I did have some difficulty balancing with eagle, standing bow and standing separate head to knee and I know that can be due to my lack of coordination so early lol, however, I feel like my ability to stay in these postures for longer periods of time increases each and every day. One thought that was running through my head during standing bow was how determined I am to kick my leg higher until one day I will be doing the standing splits and it makes me smile because even though it may seem like a little goal, it means so much to accomplish it. Ellena is one of the sweetest instructors and she never lets me fall short, (making sure I have my hands holding my heels to create more of a stretch) she is very adamant on doing the posture correctly over depth.
..And since I missed Tuesday's class I will be back at the studio tonight, rocking the 8pm class!
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Generally when there is a statutory holiday the room is fairly empty, however, it seemed many young practitioners were up and ready for yoga today. The room was quite cool starting out and I found I had some trouble warming up my body and pushing myself to the deepest levels of the first three postures. Regardless it was interesting to test out my body starting with a cool room and towards the end having sweat drip constantly lol rather than the usual heat wave ending with cool air flow. Even so my energy level has maintained it's high since Monday and I could really see some improvements in such postures as standing head to knee, cobra, full locust, and camel. Jaime's class was quite mellow but she is always observing every one's practise ensuring they go to the very deepest levels of their posture. Always a pleasure.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Today I pushed past the 'I can' to a whole new level of 'I will', a boundless amount of energy that broke new measures of my flexibility and endurance. With only a couple hours of sleep the night before, I was sure I was going to be dead on my feet for this class but as I walked to the studio I knew I had one assurance that this was going to be a good class: Frank. His vibrant energy and observant attention to posture perfection reassures one that they are coming to a class that is devoted to growth, perseverance and breath. My only hesitation was the standing head to knee on my right leg as I feel my body does not relax enough to align my hips and leg when flexing out. Regardless, I was focused and proved to myself that I could bring my body to a new level today. As Frank says at the end of the class "Relax your mind, relax your breath, relax your body", I feel like when I have his class there are no limits to my ability to grow, change and perfect as long as I can relax (with happy smiling face).
Sunday, November 8, 2009
This afternoon's class was not an easy one for me, before I came to class I felt physically unwell with a tension headache, fever and sore muscles in my shoulders and neck. As much as I would like to say that this yoga is painless once you leave the studio, the reality is your going to go through some rough patches just like any other form of exercise. As well, my body was not hydrated enough before class and about half way through the practise (which is somewhere around trikonasana) dizziness and a bit of nausea overcame me. I was quite relieved when Anthea put on the fans during our savasana but I still could not focus on the practise over the humidity. The good news is once I left the hot room I realized that all my energy and drive relieved me of my headache and my fever (as Anthea always tells us 'no pain, no gain'). One thing I would like to mention is the great example given to the new students by the intermediate students who practise at the front of the class, they work so hard with intense energy and focus there is no doubt they motivate me (one of the reasons I like to stay at the back lol) and give the newbies a goal to work towards. My strongest posture would probably be the half moon series tonight along with cobra.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
The noon classes on the weekend are like the 4pm's during the week; the room is quite humid, classes can be quite full and I feel like I'm past the half way mark of my day. Unfortunately, I was not feeling motivated to come to class today, my body is starting to feel the necessary changes to create more flexibility and growth in my practise such as tightness in the shoulders and neck and a bit of cramping in my left calf. My strongest posture was probably the toe stand even though my energy gave out shortly after. I have also noticed that the classes for the past couple days seem stretched out, mostly because mentally I am feeling a little burned out. It was, as always a disciplined but pleasurable class with Dale and to all the new students, I highly recommend him when you are starting out with these classes, for he helps out the new students with tips on postures but most of all: to breath!
As you can see I am very much a fan of the afternoon class, giving me time through the day to relax my muscles and to tire me out for a good night's sleep lol. This class was unusually small for this time of day but I had the privilege of being with all familiar student's, so I decided to surround myself with the strongest students I know which brought my energy level up (at least for the standing series). For the first time I was able to see myself in the side mirror, however, it revealed some major adjustments I need to improve on in such postures as standing bow, standing separate head to knee and floor bow. The front mirror can be wickedly deceiving when it comes to the full extent of my postures (I'm starting to think they may need a 360 degree mirror lol) but I know I have improved in many other postures. My strongest one last night was standing head to knee as I was able to finally bring my chest and head down to my knee, quite proud of that!:) When you have Mary's class come prepared to work your butt off, as she loves to make sure everyone goes to the fullest extent of each posture but through that she makes it so rewarding with her gentle voice and warm personality. Mary is always a treasure to have as an instructor.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Mentally and physically I was quite relaxed for this class and when I get to see familiar students, I know the class is going to be that much more energized. There is no question that days like today can make your practise that much more powerful and I was quite impressed with my floor and standing bows, as Jaime said later, I am only a few inches away from having a straight leg in standing bow. What I love about her class is the smooth and gentle tone of her voice that brings you into a meditative state but she makes sure no one gives anything less than 100%.
I have to say my favorite part of tonight's class was the brownies and red wine we got to enjoy after our practise:)
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
This afternoon's class was nothing short of fun! My energy level was quite high tonight and I was inspired by a few students at the front of the class with their determination and amazing flexibility. Dale's aggressive voice and thunderous claps made my standing series disciplined and focused although my hips were not as opened as they could have been for my standing bow. My strongest posture was probably the half moon as flexibility came quite easy (along with dialogue on perfecting my half moon from Dale). Lots of positive energy all around I could not have asked for a better class!
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Ahhh...the night classes..I use to dread these times but I welcome them now to release the frustrations of the day. However, due to personal reasons my mind was a million miles away and the class seemed to start intensely and faze out for around the middle mark. I don't think I had a weak posture tonight because I was so focused elsewhere but at the same time driving myself into these postures to relieve my emotional tension. And there is no way I could have made it tonight without that bubbly yet energy driving force that stirs from Anthea, her personality reaches out to you in the most peculiar ways, through her humour and her wisdom. As much as I was out of reach mentally, Anthea drove me back down to ground level, always a pleasure.
Monday, November 2, 2009
The noon classes are one of my favorite times to go because it is quieter (not as many students) and my body is feeling relaxed. However I am revved up with energy just waiting to push me further and deeper into the postures. My strongest posture today would be the triangle (trikonasana) as I am working harder to keep my foot from sliding and keeping my hips up. My weakest posture today would be the standing head to knee and standing separate head to knee as my legs refused to lock out nor would my hips give me any room to move. Frank pushes me more and more each class, driving me to perfect and to learn from my body. His classes are filled with enthusiasm and energy it's hard not to want to work your butt off!
Stephen's motto for the day was "all about the breath, not the depth of the posture". Then the heat kicked out about half way through class and the depth became the key lol. My strongest posture was probably the half moon and my weakest posture was stretching, one I still have difficulty in understanding how to straighten my spine and pull.
Even so, the class was a bit challenging because I had given myself Halloween off from yoga so my muscles felt a bit tight and my energy was lagging due to taking the last class of the day. Either way it was a great way to start off the challenge and when you have Stephen's class your guaranteed to laugh!
Then a revolution in my life occurred, I met a man who opened my eyes and ears to the world of Bikram Yoga. I had asked him how could I possibly be challenged in yoga? He gave me one of his sinister grins and replied "find a studio near you, check it out. I guarantee you it is the challenge your looking for". I was skeptical but I went out and bought a mat and oddly enough ( I like to call it fate) I drove past 88th avenue like I have thousands of times and the letters stuck out so vividly for the first time: Bikram Yoga.
My first class was tough: I went in the evening on a Friday and had my first and only class with Mak who sounded to me like a drill Sergeant but I realized later it was motivation. The heat overwhelmed me so much that I was lucky I made it through half the postures but the moment the class was over and I left the hot room to walk out onto the balcony for cool air my mind was made up. This is what I had been waiting for so long for; my blood coursed through thunderously and my skin felt tight but my mind felt clear. This is the challenge I had been waiting my life up to this point for and I would not trade it for anything else in the world.
It has now been over a year and I have felt and seen changes in my body, mind and spirit that could not been anything short of miraculous. And the most important aspect for me through this amazing journey so far has been the students and instructors who have motivated and pushed and inspired me to continue this journey. Not enough thank yous could ever be said for having faith in me so thank you all:)
Last, but certainly not least, I would like to thank you Grant, for opening my eyes and my heart to a world I could not possibly have imagined otherwise.