Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hello Everyone!

Hey Fellow yogi enthusiasts, it's been awhile but I have recently written a post for OhMyBikram and I would like to share it with all of you.

Enjoy and Namaste

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Cure for What Ails You

When I completed the challenge, I felt so many emotions including relief, sadness, sense of accomplishment but a lot of anxiety as well. I didn't know what to do with myself with the days following the challenge and I went on a roller coaster of ups and downs. One day I felt like I could work, clean, take on the world; the next I could barely manage to get out of bed. I felt lost with out this yoga in my life and I only went three whole days before I was back at my studio. I have taken days off here and there but the reality that hit me was I am truly addicted: the endorphins that run through my body shortly after class and the warm presence I receive at the studio makes me realize this really is a lifelong journey.
We have had such beautiful sunny weather that I take a few moments before class to walk out on to the balcony and take into some refreshing sun and a light breeze that brushes over my skin. Brian, a fellow yogi and one of my favorite yoga buddies, surprised me with a visit to this class as well as another yoga buddy Gerta so we 'uni-sized' ourselves in a triangular formation to give each other a strong energy balance lol. Anthea is great at keeping the class in a strong formation but always adding such great humour to her dialogue. For example, once we completed the full locust posture she warns us not to come out too quickly "you don't want to come crashing down out of the sky like a 747". And I have given Anthea the title of sit up queen because..well..she loves sit ups always telling us the health benefits and making sure we do the proper form. There is no question her classes bring upon a sense of giddiness and humour which can seize any moment of unassurance and should be noted that in any sense of uncomfortability, humour can be the cure for what ails you.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Well Howdy Everyone!

I'll have to admit, I haven't ventured onto my own site in a while, I have been taking classes, not consecutively but I frequent at least five to six days a week. I come back here and lo and behold I have more followers! LOL ...
Since my "break" I have learned some new things about my practise
* There is so much more appreciation for this yoga when I don't feel the pressure to go everyday. My energy is more consistent and I don't feel so guilty about taking days off.
*There is life outside yoga and I have taken what I have learned inside class and used it as a tool to deal with all the issues I avoided for a few months.
*You have to find something that fills the time you would have spent going to yoga or you will go crazy and suffer yoga withdrawal which includes, anxiety, boredom, chocolate and carbohydrate divultion (or just plain gluttony), irritation, and spending time in a sauna just to get the similar sweat profusion.
*Karma really does work: shortly after my 150 day challenge my studio had a potluck with three month of unlimited yoga door prizes and I won!
*Appreciation for this yoga goes above and beyond myself- I have taken this time to reflect on all the people who gave me encouragement and love throughout those months- those are the ones I hold close to my heart.
*I want to pursue the Western Hatha Yoga Competition this year. That is my next goal in this yoga.
*I will never do another challenge again (at least in the limelight). You have to remember that it's about you, everyone and everything else is just surface.
* I think I will continue this blog though because I really miss writing about my journey through this amazing practise.
Before I sound out for the day, I would like to give a big congratulations to all the BIKRAM 101er's..you have inspired so many people and shared the word of Bikram love to all those unaware of what it's all about. Your hard work and determination never ceased...Much love.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Day 30-150-March 2nd (Tuesday)

Studio-Metrotown, Burnaby

150 days..It's hard to believe I have gotten this far. I started out in October just wanting to do the 30 day challenge, never would have imagined that six months later I would be in a hot room being taught by one of Bikram's Canadian right hand men, Brad Colwell, also the director of this studio. I choose to take Brad's class because both Candice and Frank spoke highly of him and it would be an interesting way to see someone else's view of my practise.
Unlike Langley and White Rock, this studio has two hot rooms (as they have classes running every hour) and our class was apparently in the bigger one of the two (could have fooled me, I felt a bit claustrophobic at first), with only one window in the corner it was a little isolated for my taste but the atmosphere was quite different than what I am use to. The lighting is a bit darker, and the room has a soft, beige color to create a deep relaxing state of mind.
Brad is a perfectionist but his focus on helping the student's perfect form is much different than what I am use to, for he literally made me redo postures like balancing stick, cobra and fixed firm to make me aware of the small details I was either slacking on or have not focused enough attention to. The heat even felt different where I literally felt nauseous at times but even in my moments of panic (he is not a lover of fans), I was determined to take in this experience, even if I dropped to my knees at the end, however, I kicked past the mind BS and kicked my own butt.
The greatest moment tonight was when Brad asked me after when I was going to take TT because he said my passion and energy were there, he was excited to see me pursue this-true honour and privilege to have him congratulate me and say " I hope to see you in Las Vegas soon, come back to this studio anytime". And of course I was speechless.
Great night, that's why I'm up till midnight writing this, too excited to sleep♥
Last note-I have learned so much from many instructors but I believe my true determination and drive has always been from Frank, and I feel like he was there with me tonight and everyday in my heart and spirit. I hope to see him soon.

Just breath.....

Just want to take a moment to say thank you to all my readers, I will be taking a break from yoga :(, a temporary one but a much needed one for my body and mind. I think the hardest thing I have learned is that I need to give myself permission to say it is OK to take a break, one piece of advice I have given out but not taken internally. There are many students who are taking the 101 and there may or may not be a hype to continue on after, listen to your body and your mind, you are the reason why you go everyday, you are the ones putting in the time, effort and energy; everything and everyone else is just "surface"-valuable when you need the encouragement and support but not the necessity to overdue it.

Most importantly, just breath and the answers will come to you:)

Thank you for all the comments, I will continue reading every one's blog (and I have), and now that I have more time, you will see more comments- there are some amazing writers here, I encourage you all to read each other's yoga adventures, it makes me feel less alone in my thoughts and attitudes.

Everyone, Namaste~

Day 29 (149)- March 1st (Monday)

Instructor- Stefanie-1245pm (Making up for Day 143)
The last of my doubles, when I came to the studio I felt very stiff, I knew this day wasn't going to be as smooth as the others but Stefanie's class was amazing. The woman has such power that you wouldn't be able to guess it outside of class. My body was starting to take a little bit of a toll on the standing bow and my knees did not want to lock out properly but I managed to get through feeling ok after. Have you had those days where a class can fly by or crawl? Unfortunately, this class was the latter and it made holding certain postures like standing head to knee a real challenge, taking all my mental strength just to hold the posture at an L for what seemed like eternity.

Instructor- Candice-8pm
I was exhausted by the time I arrived for this class, just wanting to call it a day and crawl into bed but I made it out to complete my second to last day with Candice, it wouldn't be the same otherwise. I had to laugh to myself when I came out of full locust a bit early and she proclaimed that this was equal to disqualification in the Olympics, always go for the gold..hmmm...I wonder if she had read my bikram101 posting? lol
I'm going to leave it on this quote directly from Candice: you come into the room for you, no one else- you don't compare yourself to others as we are all at different stages and levels, as long as you give 100% of your best effort it is all you can ask of yourself. You are free. Always open your mind and open your heart. ♥

Day 28 (148)-February 28th (Sunday)

Instructor- Mary-4pm

Today was a great day! I had breakfast with a friend, watched Canada kick ass in hockey, then headed on over to the last class of the day with the lovely Mary. The doubles the day before gave me some tension in my neck so I was glad to have the morning off so my body could be limber. Most students were teasing Mary after about the class being tough (she loves to hold certain postures longer, stretching out the dialogue) but I found it to be an energetic class with lots of fan love lol. I have to say the camel is a posture lately I anticipate, as if my back is craving the extra stretch and I find myself arching more and bringing my hips up higher, it's such a great feeling. It was a rewarding end to a fun day.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

I have a post on http://bikram101.blogspot.com/ as of Sunday February 28th- Check it out!

Day 27 (147)-February 27th (Saturday)

Instructor-Dianne-10am (Making up for Day 133 (this one I know for sure, day before V-day)
My morning started off rough: woke up late, felt nauseous and had some car trouble but once I reached the studio I was calmer but my mind was a thousand miles away. Have you ever had classes that go by so fast you think all you did was the praneama breathing? Dianne is amazing for keeping the tone of the class very soothing and she pushed me into record depths in my bow and camel.
The camel: I haven't really mentioned this posture too often- there is lots of love/hate for it but for the past week it has been my new achievement. I think the hardest part about the camel is the moments between the sit up and crawling onto your knees, the camel itself is not necessarily the part that gets my mind in a spin of dizziness or nausea (and the fits of crying). My lumbar region has given me more flexibility and I think I have gone into my deepest camel posture as of today.
Instructor- Stephen 4pm
Another great class with lots of energy pouring out, I haven't felt this lively for classes in awhile, and I was quite limber this evening, stretching back with ease in half moon, holding my L form in standing head to knee, and lovely bow. I had one familiar student ask me tonight after class how many I've done so I told her and she asked am I going to continue? I have been on a see saw with what I should do and the truth is I'm not really sure. As much as I have loved the support and inspiration from so many people I'm starting to question who I am really doing this for anymore. The answer should be simple: for me-it's my body, my time, my effort but I have gotten caught up in the formalities, the surface of my challenge and I feel like I have lost my ground somewhere. The pressure seems to rise more and more...

Day 26 (146)- February 26th (Friday)

Instructor- Stefanie-4pm
I was feeling quite stiff and a little sore from the doubler the day before but overall I had a strong class. The mood was a bit melancholy it seemed or rather students and instructors were just starting to feel the exhaustion of the month coming to an end. I was feeling a bit of the twitches today, and a few short pains in my feet from too much weight in my toes. The half moon, eagle, standing bow, and tree/toe stand I find can be a bit straining on my feet if I don't balance the weight properly. So here I was shaking my legs and shuffling my feet many times during the standing series and I have developed a habit of moving my stance on my towel; for example, I will start the warm up series in the middle of my towel, then move myself to the back for the standing head to knee, then move to the front for standing bow. Not sure what possesses me to do so, maybe the idea that I will cool my feet down on the dry spots of my towel? lol Yeah, that's my random thought for the day....

Day 25 (145)- February 25th (Thursday)

Instructor-Ellena 930am (making up for Day 137?)
Yay...double day is here! The first of three...can you feel my excitement lol. But I was quite happy to see Ellena, the first time since her trips back from LA for the competition and Esak's seminar in Colorado. The lady has worked her butt off and continues to improve her practise all the time, as I told her when I came into the studio "this is your year for the competition". Never be fooled though, her classes are for people who come to improve and she is devoted to giving you the focus and confidence you need for your practise. I felt quite powerful this morning; waking up early, taking time for breakfast, vitamins, meditation and then pushing my body and stretching (to the best of my ability at 930am). Great way to start my doubles, I hope to see Ellena more often♥.

Today I think I got off easy when it came to instructors, or maybe I was feeling energized; either way this class kicked just as much butt as the first one. I think it also helped that Brian, one of the many characters I like to do yoga with, boosted me before class talking and making me laugh, and Anthea who loves to joke and have some fun with us made this class so worthwhile. Sometimes I find even when I come into the studio feeling unengaged, moody or just not in the mood for yoga, these amazing people lift me up and fill me up with feel good endorphins. Even just a smile can do wonders for the soul♥

Day 24 (144)-February 24th (Wednesday)

Instructor- Colin-1245pm
After a day away on Tuesday I come back feeling a little more vigorous and not at all looking forward to making up three doubles lol.Colin threw in a few quirks here and there to keep us smiling, which makes the instructor always in my good books lol. I think he is starting to get his own flow rolling quite smoothly by incorporating dialogue and character. I don't think there is anything wrong with adding some improvisational humour, it releases wonderful laugh filled endorphins which boosts my energy in class. My standing series is taking on it's own metamorphosis: transforming into my own creation of strength and agility.
I think I am ready for the next step of standing bow, complete standing splits, just need to figure out the best way to arch my body and kick up.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Day 22 (142)-February 22nd (Monday)

Overall, this was a great class but have you ever started to feel a bit impatient with new students? Maybe not necessarily the students themselves, just when the instructor is having to explain the form to them and sometimes repeatedly?When I have a routine going in my practise, having to pause for a minute while the instructor is trying to help out the newbies can put me off a little. Sure, it's nice to get a break, especially during the standing series but I feel my adrenaline slow down and I am not as pumped. Perhaps it is patience I need to work on, keeping the discipline and focus while I wait to start the next posture, but it can become repetitive hearing the teacher explain the steps. Then again, we become so accustomed to hearing the steps, but in fact, do we ourselves really listen to the steps in order to strengthen our practise?
One example would be my standing bow, in the second set Dale was there with me every step of the way: head straight, arms and fingers stretched like your going to touch the mirror, body down, hips down, arch your body, BREATH, kick up, kick higher like your going to kick the ceiling. The perfect balance sometimes is having that voice guide you to places you never expected to go.

Day 21 (141)-February 21st (Sunday)

Mary had a tough female dominated crowd this afternoon (except for Leo lol) as we were all hyped about new gold medals and the much anticipated Canada vs US hockey game, which of course, started at 4. So I told Rachael to give us a heads up on the score every half hour if she could. The room was a bit humid but Mary was generous enough to give us some fan love and even though my practise was strong, my mind was completely distracted. I had breakfast with a friend of mine that morning, I have two articles coming up to complete for different yoga websites and the hockey game; all these were staring me directly in the mirror that day and Mary's voice wavered in and out of my brain, only to keep me centered enough to have an amazing balancing series and for the first time in a while, an energetic floor series.
Rachael posted the score during our half tortoise set and since I was close to the door I managed to see it before Mary whisked it away and said we needed to focus, she would announce the score after class lol.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Day 20 (140)-February 20th (Saturday)

Instructor- Stefanie-10am
...and the fresh blow of recirculated air makes me appreciate my yoga once again lol. I woke up with a great flow of energy and after a wonderful conversation with a friend, I felt pumped for this class! Stefanie is so warm and her voice is so soothing that it makes this yoga feel revitalizing and relaxing all at once. Today in our studio, they had a Canada patriotism *go for the gold* spirit and so we were suppose to wear red and white or anything to promote the Canada theme. Unfortunately, I forgot but it was great to see a couple students showing their spirit with colors and flags (yes, even flags) by their mats. With a wonderful medal standing right now during the Olympics I am happy to call myself Canadian and am proud of all our athletes going out there to show our talents.
I would like to give a shout out to Sandra, whom I have greatly missed and am happy to see back in the studio~she is a great source of encouragement and strength, I am privileged to park my mat beside you.

Day 19 (139)- February 19th (Friday)

Instructor- Colin-6pm
Another hot one! Colin is one of the newer editions to our yoga community and I have a feeling he hasn't been able to combine dialogue with his own character yet but I'm sure once he gets a flow rolling he will probably be one of the stronger teachers out there.
Ahhh..instructors...we all have favorites though we don't like to admit it, or maybe we have bits and parts of each instructor we like. We feel comfortable with the old guru's and we feel uneasy about new ones. Haven't you felt like some teachers you just know what to expect, you receive more attention from or you know if they will turn on fans or leave you gasping for air? Sometimes it's nice to come in to the studio not knowing what teacher to expect and other times your feeling so emotional that you have to know who's teaching to see if you'll make it through the class. Don't get me wrong, I have love for all my yoga family, I just get into a routine where certain instructors I like to see at certain times, or when I'm feeling a certain way emotionally.

Day 18 (138)- February 18th (Thursday)

Instructor- Joseph-6pm
The heat wave comes crashing down on me..this was an intense class to the point where I was crying and begging my mind and body not to give up on me. As much as I would like to say Joseph is mean and torturous, I stayed in that room because he believed we could get through it and he purposely had me up front and center just so he could help me push my limitations. Nothing short of fear and anger soared through me many times but I had to calmly tell myself "it's only ninety minutes to give you ninety years of life". I'm not too sure many people could have agreed with that statement while in that room, especially the ones who left ( I think that was the highest drop out rate I've ever seen), but yet I felt like I passed a personal challenge. One thing I noticed physically afterwards was the massive headache I received, not sure if that was due to dehydration or the heat or a combination.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Day 17 (137)-February 17th (Wednesday)

Instructor-Dale 8pm
Last night was nothing short of tough, and not just for me, but for many students. Most of us seemed pretty pumped while waiting for class to begin in the lobby but once that humid air hit us, I think we all wanted to fall asleep lol! There were many "twitchers" (term I like to use when we can't seem to stand or sit still by wiping sweat or hair, moving in place on our mat, or constantly grabbing for the water bottle). My standing series was strong enough to block out the humidity but by the time I reached the floor it was a struggle just to do the twenty second savasanas. Have you ever wished sometimes certain postures were longer or shorter? I have thought about it but since no two classes are ever the same, I would find that my mind would change each day I went in lol. Mentally I had a short fuse and Dale sometimes likes to get off topic or sing a bit in between postures and since I just had no patience last night I kindly asked him to stop singing. Dale, bless his heart, did not give me a rough time about and stopped at my request. I hope he realizes at this point I am an emotional little firecracker and not to take me too seriously.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Day 16 (126)-February 16th (Tuesday)

I felt energized coming today, everyone was in the Olympic spirit and it was a pretty packed class. I was able to park my mat beside Brian, a man that I have mentioned in previous blogs about him being inspired to take three to four classes a week in a row. When we reached camel I knew he was hesitant so I paused, waiting for him to get up, he looked over probably feeling my eyes on him and decided to give it a go. Once class was finished, I saw him in the lobby with Candice and she proclaimed to me "Brian's taking another class, doing doubles tonight". I just stared in utter amazement, the excitement on his face was nothing short of priceless.
Anthea has become my sit up queen, she loves the sit ups possibly more than the rest of the series lol, but it is quite important to understand the proper form of them and the reasons why we do them. The double exhales create energy, detoxify our lungs, not to mention the work the sit ups create on our abdomen and digestive system. Lovely class.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Day 15 (135)- February 15th (Monday)

I mentioned in a previous blog about how some students really just have a hard time getting through their first class and they insist on vocalizing it, well tonight was one of those nights. Have you ever had that thought where if you could go back to your first class what would you change? Hmmm.. let's think about this one..would you change the instructor if you knew which one would be considered an "easier" instructor to get through? Would you change the time of day you went? Would you convince a friend to go with you? It is interesting to think that if we would know different variables beforehand, would we make things easier on ourselves? And in fact, if you had an easier instructor who turned on fans or told you take it easy after every other posture, would it potentially make a difference in your attitude towards yoga now? If I really had to answer it, it would be no, I wouldn't change a thing, I had a hard ass for a teacher who insisted I try every posture, made sure no one talked and I felt nauseous, dizzy, and really thought this wasn't for me. Now I'm doing a 150 plus challenge...sometimes I believe attitude is everything.

Day 14 (134)-February 14th (Sunday)

Instructor- Mary-10am
I will admit, I wanted to take the morning class so i could crawl back into my bed and eat lethal amounts of chocolate (is there such a thing?). However, I felt pretty lively walking to class, knowing I had such a bubbly lady to wake up my senses but once I entered the studio most of the students and Mary seemed stressed, tired and unlively. So I suppose in that sense, I didn't feel so lonely anymore lol. In fact, most of us seemed downright exhausted, maybe because most of us there are partaking in the 30 day challenge and it was the anxiety of the half way mark and quite possibly because love day can be misconstruing for most. Most of us think that this day is interpreted by merely our significant other and the love we give and get to/from them but this day is about love from all people in our lives, our families, our friends even the love we get in our social circuits (like yoga). We tend to forget that this day is about appreciating everyone. I would like to give a shout out to my readers who have given me wonderful support and love and encouragement to continue when I did, in fact, think I might give up on my challenge. Hugs to you all who give me so much love.

Day 13 (133)- February 13th (Saturday) MISSED

I was in Vancouver in the morning to see the torch blaze brightly in the cloudy reclines of the city. The opening ceremonies blew me away, I was quite happy to say that I am Canadian and I hope that we leave a strong mark on these Winter Olympics. I also had the privilege of watching the International Ghosh Cup streaming live via Facebook and am very proud of our Canadian contenders, especially Mari Dickey. There is a feeling of spirit within us that we wait to release on such moments: before we enter the stage, before the gun goes off, before we enter the hot room. We are waiting for our moment to burn fiercely and nothing can get in our way to stop us.
The torch burns for all of us~

Monday, February 15, 2010

Days 10, 11 and 12- February 10th, 11th and 12th (Wednesday-Friday)

Instructors-Jaime (10th), Carol (11th), Colin (12th)-4,930,and 6

Instead of writing each day since I have missed basically a week's worth of writing, I'm just going to write what I learned in these classes:

*Coconut water (especially passion fruit flavored) is an amazing electrolyte booster and has made my classes a lot easier to maintain in hydration and literally it flushes so many toxins out of your body. Absolutely revitalizing.
*Emotions come out physically, I feel tensions in my neck and shoulders within hours of feeling emotional stress.
*Certain foods can make my classes alot harder, especially chicken (yeah, believe it!) and greasy foods.
*Advil is safer and easier to take just before class than Tylenol when you have back pain.
*Bikram Yoga is essentially, not for everyone. I see people come in and complain the entire time during class, then complain in the change rooms after. And it can make for a challenging class when they are creating such a negative vibe.
*The front is not always the key place to be, I find the biggest challenge is being at the back with the "weaker" students, they make it harder to concentrate and less motivating but they make me work that much harder.
*Your not going to warm up to all teachers, some may take some time, some you will try to avoid. Unfortunately I have met a teacher that has not rubbed me the right way, but I will give him another chance.
I know my list sounds more negative than positive but last week was very tough personally and I found that when one negative aspect is in your life, it can leak out negative emotions on other aspects, including yoga.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Day 9 (129)-February 9th (Tuesday)

Instructor- Candice-4pm

After a bit of a struggle emotionally, it was nice to take Candice's class, she is my rock~never changing but always transforming me into something stronger. The class was smaller than usual but I felt quite comfortable and the postures came fluidly, every one's energy seemed to be right in sync. One thing I don't think I have mentioned about Candice is her insistence on incorporating the importance of everyone being in sync during class, especially during the balancing series and the triangle, even during the half-tortoise and camel; it never fails that she expresses the importance of unison. Unison in these classes, does in fact, create energy, we can absorb other's energy thus retaining motivation.

As much as I enjoyed the class, I'm starting to feel a little bit on the outside, looking in on the other students. I feel like I have alienated myself so much lately because I have been pretty much trying to stabilize my emotions, trying to keep some mental peace.

Monday, February 8, 2010

I have been contemplating the pros and cons of continuing after 150 days...and after much self-evaluation, I have decided to continue to see if I can challenge one man's 270 day record. I know this man would want me to try♥He has been my faith and guidance, my inspiration and commitment. Any words of advice?

Day 8 (128)-February 8th (Monday)

Beautiful sunshine, peaceful morning and the Olympic torch was parading through our fair city, it has been a idyllic Monday and the icing on the cake: Maria's firm but serene afternoon yoga. I think the only other person who can push me with standing head to knee with a high success rate is Frank. Maria stood by to see me finish the posture, breathing deeply as I watched my standing leg shake but by god, I was going to hold it and she was detrimental on seeing me hold it lol. Maria commands, she doesn't ask but that is what is so beautiful about her instruction- there is a willingness to put forth the energy and follow through that is exceptional about her presence.
The theme I believe for this month is 'going for the gold', of course, because Vancouver is holding the winter Olympics, but perhaps because we should take pride in our ability to work hard in these classes and we should not hold back, always striving for better.
I challenge all my 101's and my 30 day challengers to really take this month as an opportunity to see how far you can go with your yoga, surprise your instructors, surprise yourself!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Day 7 (127)-February 7th (Sunday)

Have you ever had one of those yoga days where you come in and you feel emotionless? There's no real anxiety, no excitement, no sadness, no stress or anger-as if you are going through the motions, not necessarily to get class over with just your body is up and running but your mind is completely vacant, like it locked itself in some door of your head and refuses to come out. The only time that I was half aware of where I was and what I was doing is when Stephen cracked his usual adoring jokes and when we reached the floor series he commended our studio as having some of the stronger students.
As I think about that and the times I have ventured to Vancouver or White Rock studios I can't really say yes or no to that statement, we do have a variety of strong disciplined students mostly because I think we have an amazing array of teachers. However, to practise consistently good is tough and when teachers commute to other studios often they may see students on their good days or their bad days, but hey, I think we kick some ass lol!

Day 6 (126)-February 6th (Saturday)

Our studio has become pretty popular which can leave someone like me who leaves coming to class pretty much at the last minute in a bit of a predicament as to where to place my mat. I had two choices: the back far left corner which I don't think I ever ventured to or right up front by the instructors block. I thought, hell with it, I'm pretty pumped today, I've got some energy to share-bring on the front!
Aside from the pinched nerve still aching in my shoulder blade, the class was pretty smooth and Stefanie was a sweetheart to give us some fan and door love.
Standing bow: for the past few classes I have noticed my standing bow postures has transformed itself quite a bit since I began arching my back so I can kick my leg higher up. I have also noticed that my right side standing bow (right leg up) has been holding more predominantly than the left, perhaps it has something to do with my hips and body lowering themselves. I am quite excited about my new standing bow revolution, it gets me pumped to see where I can take it the next day, or when I practise at home.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Day 6 (126)-February 6th (Friday)

I woke up this morning feeling obviously melancholy but an air of positive reinforcement that I will be ok. Life is filled with unexpected surprises but after taking in some wonderful sunshine, attending to errands and following it with yoga for the afternoon I feel better this evening. Dale's class was exactly what I needed with his strong presence, I was able to completely tune myself into Dale's dialogue and humour that made this class fairly strong. I say fairly because as much as you want to distract yourself from emotional turmoil, it's always brewing in the far corner of your mind, waiting to pop out when you least expect it. The room was cooler than usual, the first time I think Dale left the humidifier off and not as many students.
There was some wonderful pieces of advice Dale left us with and I can't seem to remember much of it, damn it! One that comes to mind vaguely is "we come into this room and we have already given ourselves a great gift, the gifts of patience, faith, acceptance,willpower, and determination". Dale is exceptional for such words of encouragement while he is clapping thunderously and making us sweat vigorously lol.

Day 5 (125)-February 5th (Thursday)-Missed

Love is like a puzzle. When your in love all the pieces fit but when your heart gets broken it takes awhile to get everything back together

If only relationships could be like yoga and you could get a fresh start everyday to work on the things that challenge you. Unfortunately, I am not going to get another chance and It is clear I was not as loved as I thought.

Days like today cannot be healed, they can only be covered up temporarily and as the tears flow and part of my heart drops to the ground I still see your smile in my mind, the way it lit up my world.

Maybe in another life we will get things right but in this one we have to say goodbye.

Day 3 (123)-February 3rd (Wednesday)

Instructor- Candice-4pm
Ahhhh....back to my original guru..she knows I love her lol! I have a quote I think would be considered a theme for this class "concentrating on poses clears the mind, while focusing on breath helps the body shift out of fight-or-flight mode". Standing series gives me utter contentment and focus but the minute I shift to the floor series panic dwells..why is that? The great corpse pose, savasana, dead body, however you want to call it I get this hamster wheel spinning in my head and I feel the room getting smaller as if I'm trapped, such panic and frustration..for what? The sweet irony of savasana is this: when I am supposed to be at my most relaxed I feel the most tense and I believe this to be true: this is when the real yoga begins. I know I discuss the ups and downs of my breathing and anxiety quite a bit but the reality is it's probably the most important discussion of this hatha yoga and it always changes, it's never consistent. Candice also pointed out to me that I use my water bottle as a crutch, for those who don't take class with me I tend to put my water bottle up to my head to cool it off in the spine strengthening series when I get the fight-or-flight attack.
But you know what is great about the times when we do panic, we sometimes get a nudge from our yogi neighbor to the left or right or behind us (thank you Dianne) to not skip out on postures, to do even just 10%, to gain some benefit. The inspired yogi man I have mentioned in a couple blogs back wanted to bail on camel and so with support and encouragement (and some chanting) the class got him to join in-that was an AH HA moment (as Oprah would say) for me because it made me realize how much energy we really give each other and how much I received in return by just seeing him do the posture.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Day 2 (122)-February 2nd (Tuesday)

Instructor- Joseph-4pm
First off, I would like to give thanks to my girl Tricia, who was a row in front of me tonight who gave me the motivation to keep going through this class, hats off to you dear.
Secondly, it is great to get new energy flowing through the studio, different teachers gives students, old and new, new insight and a varying perspective of how this yoga is taught elsewhere. I saw Joseph a couple years back when he competed in the Western Hatha Yoga competition and was inspired by his flexibility and strength; he was one of the competitors who stuck out in my mind and I just wish I had the opportunity sooner to take one of his classes, I suppose I have to get my butt out to Vancouver more often lol.
Two things that stuck out in this class: his flow of dialogue was flawless in the respect that he had a beat going and nothing was going to stop it, including adding frequent assurances that we would survive and how our bodies are like engines..but I will explain that further in a minute.
Second thing was the heat, yes, it was a scorcher with almost a full class and the humidifier running non-stop I could see some people unable to keep up. I even had to skip out one set of floor bow, half tortoise and stretching, but for me, it wasn't necessarily the heat that overwhelmed me it was the pinched nerve I had in my back. I think, possibly, I might be fighting a battle with the humidity that may end up with me in the winning circle, as long as I focus on breath and stillness, the feeling passes, just like any need: hunger pangs, nicotine fits, this too shall pass.
Back to the engine theory, I have a book on Ashtanga Yoga that proclaims this theory: "care needs to be taken not to overheat if one is engaging in strenuous practise in a hot environment. As with any type of engine, so also with the human body". It goes on to say this "heating the room to above 77 degrees may produce more flexibility, but it decreases strength, stamina, and concentration". (Ashtanga Yoga, Maehle, G. (2006)How many times have I felt more energy even with the cool breeze of the fans, it may be mind over matter but it never fails me every time. By the time this class was over the temperature had reached 110degrees.
I told Joseph after "You killed me in there, I don't know whether to slap you or hug you".

Day 1 (121) February 1st (Monday)

Instructor- Maria-4pm
I wish I could say that I started the month off right but physically my body was crying and I felt so stiff and sore coming to the studio it took willpower to fight back the urge to sit today out. The good part about today's class was the amazing lady I only had the privilege of meeting once before: Maria. A strong woman with a powerful presence, she blew me away with her energy that I had wished I had the motivation to give more than I could. It was her fourth class teaching that day and you would not have been able to tell; such characteristics of her reminded me of other instructors for instance her grunts (such a Frank move), finger snapping (Hillary), deep, sharp voice (Dale) but yet she conveyed a rhythm and presence and humour all her own that kept my mind clear to finish the class smooth and clean.
I hope everyone else who is on their second month of the 101 challenge is doing well, how do you feel now that the first month is complete? Any changes you would make for this month to make the challenge easier/efficient, etc?

Day 31 (Making up for Day 102)-January 31st (Sunday)

Instructor- Jaime-4pm
Instead of trying to fit in another double day I thought I could get away with practising on Sunday, even though the day off would have been a bit of a treat, I was still glad I came in to give February a fresh start. Jaime was her perky self with lots of energy to pour into us but I have noticed myself becoming a little run down. The afternoon classes can be so beautiful on my body but my mind has been lagging lately, struggling to find bursts of adrenaline, and even though I surprise myself when I can find balance and strength, they are too rushed; for example standing bow and balancing stick I have to fight to get into the posture because my energy is already running low and when I do reach that sweet spot there is little time left in the posture so I force myself to go to my edge a little quicker than usual. I worry about that because I do not want to injure myself.
Anyway, with another month come and gone I can honestly say I'm not feeling as strong as I want to be; with pinched nerves in my shoulder blades, lots of muscle tension and frequent tension headaches the motivation is wavering...

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Day 30-Making up for Day 107

The morning class went by so quickly I thought for sure the afternoon would crawl, especially since I was feeling very tired for my second set but that is what I love about this yoga, nothing is what it seems. The class was unusually small but the heat was rolling through us until Stefanie gave us some fan love, considering she had a newbie, a doubler and even a tripler I think she wanted to keep the heat at a minimum. My body was nice and limber, stretching out in the balancing series but my head just wasn't there, I was far away, cozying up in my bed lol. For probable reason of exhaustion I could not focus yet my body knew exactly what to do, like I was on autopilot, going through the motions. I have to admit I felt pretty good after class, knowing I remained strong but it is not the same when your energized mentally, the adrenaline that ceases through you when your alert is much different.
Anyway, kudos go out to the lady who took three classes and FOR FUN, I asked her if she was partaking in a challenge and she replied " no, I just wanted to see what three classes would be like". Forgive me for saying this but I thought I was a little insane for doing as many classes in a row that I am, but three classes in a day for fun? I only do doubles cause I have to lol. How does everyone else feel about doubles and triples? I'm curious, let me know! And if so, how does it make you feel after?

Day 30 (120)-January 30th (Saturday)

Today was another good ol' double day, not sure how the rest of you feel but weekends seem to be easier for me to take doubles; not as much stress or hectic time frames, I just wake up, relax have breakfast and head on to my first class. It is with sadness that I report Hillary will no longer be teaching at our studio, since Langley is quite a commute for teachers coming out from Vancouver, Hillary will remain teaching in Vancouver (but I'm sure she will surprise us from time to time). The room was unusually humid today but that did not distract me from my focus and I had the pleasure of practising beside Dana, one of the studio's receptionists, who is such a disciplined practitioner and always remains cheerful and bubbly even when she's having an 'off day'.
I love when instructors bring up a quote or a saying in class that is off the usual routine of dialogue, I find it relaxes me and lets me focus on the meaning(s) behind the statements rather than focusing on having to breath or the humidity. Hillary mentioned the book "The Four Agreements" which is a guide to living life more simply with an open heart, the agreements are as follows:
1)Be impeccable with your word- speak with integrity and say only what you mean, avoid gossiping and anything to speak against others.
2)Don't take things personally- what others say and do is merely a reflection of their reality, once you become immune to these projections you will save yourself unnecessary suffering.
3)Don't make assumptions- speak clearly about what you want, communicate effectively to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama.
4) Always do your best- under any circumstances and understand that your best changes everyday, especially when you are sick, know that once you give what you can you avoid self-doubt and self-judgement.
During savasana and floor series I really took these four agreements to heart and as I look at myself through these agreements I know there are things I can improve on. It seems as though I try to stick to these agreements in certain aspects of my life but not others. Life can appear to be so chaotic when you let yourself become unbalanced like a see-saw, I feel this was my moment of realization so I can love myself and love others wholey and without judgement. Namaste~

Friday, January 29, 2010

Day 29 (119)-January 29th (Friday)

I deliberately took the early class yesterday and the late class today because as much as I love yoga, I love my boyfriend more and so it was wonderful to have a date night, especially because it always reinstills just how lucky I am to have found my soul mate♥ Alrighty, enough of that....
I found towards this evening I had a bit of adrenaline running through me that needed some sort of releasement and when I arrived for Anthea's class I was ready to feed the need for tree...? sorry rhyme failure lol. Two things I can be guaranteed in Anthea's class: lots of humour and fan love. Not surprisingly, it was crowded and with many new students and the lovely Jaime was practising with me but since the front was too crowded she told me to stay up front while she went to the second row- a teacher telling me to stay up front is very flattering to say the least but lately I start questioning this theory...If we are supposed to be in the class for ourselves, doing the best we can regardless if it's a bad or good day, why do I feel so much pressure to be in the class for other students? I can't always be "on", there are times that I can't do every posture, every set and yeah I still like to go to the back sometimes. I suppose I will have to start showing up a bit earlier and hiding back there from time to time..muahahaha. shhh..don't tell the instructors..;)
Side note:- I learned today that in order to remove that icky musty smell from your mat do one of two things- get a new mat or spray with 1ounce tea tree oil to one cup of water in bottle then spray with peppermint oil.

Day 28 (118)-January 28th (Thursday)

Instructor- Hillary-930am
With my cold behind me I was pumped for my morning class and got a real surprise by seeing Hillary. It is not a usual class for her to teach but I was stoked, she is always a pleasure with her warm gentle voice I knew it was going to be a good start to the day. Since I haven't taken a morning class during the week in a while, I forgot how crowded it can be and I was stuck having to position my mat right in front of the 'podium' as we call it (a medium sized box stand where the teacher stands on) so in other words I was up front and center lol but I didn't really mind, I felt strong and ready to picked on if needed. For some reason I had a little trouble with my half moons, perhaps because of stiffness (especially in forward bend, my right knee has been cramping and it's a little bit of torture to straighten out my leg on the first set) but other than that I had a smooth class.
Funniest moment came right at the beginning when a guy wanted to leave during the second set of praneama breathing to go to the bathroom so Hillary was going to let him leave but as he walked out she paused her dialogue and said "wait...this is the most important part, he can't leave" and she ran after him and said " you should have gone before class, now you have to wait until class is over, it's only ninety minutes after all". I love Hillary, so adorable lol.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Day 27 (117)-January 27th (Wednesday)

One of the theories of yoga is that because you learn to breath and relax and give 100% internally, you incorporate that learning mechanism into the rest of your life externally. For example, the breathing can help settle emotional tensions, regulate stress, calmly and practically solve situations without using aggression; give back to family, friends, associates, community and society with compassion and support. I visited my grandparents today and I helped them with minor things around the house, just overall spent some quality time and it felt so good to take some time out and appreciate those moments away from the routine, from the noise, and give something back to those I care about. Emotionally, that brought up a feeling of optimism which can be so essential to yoga~more like a balance I suppose, so when I came to yoga this afternoon I was uplifted and feeling good about myself.
Surprisingly, the class was relatively small compared to what it has been which I felt a bit of relief, I enjoy small classes, sometimes huge ones can be overwhelming (in a bit of a claustrophobic way). Ellena was the gentle but firm lady that I know and love but I was a bit disappointed not to see any regulars. However, when class was done and the six o' clock students were arriving I saw the man I mentioned from yesterday's class come in all pumped up waiting for the class so I gave him a high five and said "keep this up, I wanna see you here!", he said with bright eyes "I tried to make it for the four but I couldn't and I thought maybe of skipping but I thought of you, your my inspiration". Awwww...how sweet is that.
Anyway, Ellena is about to head to LA for the competition and shortly after, to Colorado for Esak's coaching clinic, lucky girl, I hope she has a blast and takes lots of pics!

Day 26 (116)-January 26th (Tuesday)

The class the night before took a toll on me and my cold was at it's worst today I was a zombie all day up until I came to class. I called the studio prior to to ask who was teaching the 4 o'clock and Candice replied that she was, so I asked who was teaching the 6 and she replied "Dale". So my first thoughts were..."OK, if I'm going to survive one of these classes, which one would it be?" LOL...Candice it is! She was in a particularly uplifted mood, not that she isn't always bubbly but she seemed excited about something or she had a lot of coffee/sugar which surprisingly can pump you up, gleefulness is contagious. My sinuses were stuffed and when you can hardly breath to begin with, breathing through your nose can be quite a chore but I kid you not, praneama is literally a life force for me and I was revving to go by the first posture!
I was also excited because I saw so many familiar faces and I had the pleasure of practising beside Jaime tonight, I've never seen her practise before so it was a real treat and she was so sweet to say afterwards that I was motivation for her, vice versa girl! I also had a nice surprise from a fellow student who never gets the chance to come and practise a few days in a row and said I was motivating him to come more often. The smile on his face after class was priceless, something I could not forget because he felt accomplished and motivated~I don't think I will ever wrap my head around the idea that I could inspire others I'm practising just like everyone else, I just happen to come more often. At the same time, I want students to feel good about themselves, to feel strong, to feel energized, to feel alive- the way I feel about this yoga.

Day 25 (115)-January 25th (Monday)

This is the longest I think I have gone without writing here in the past three months, I have been recovering from a cold, which can be a little tough when doing the yoga challenge.
I was feeling rough around the edges but I knew deep down that the yoga would cleanse me from the inside out; as I have said before come to yoga when you need it the most!
So, in actuality I was anticipating coming to class to make me feel better and having Candice will knock the cold right out of you! lol I don't think in the entire time I've had Candice as an instructor has she ever let me slack or feel sorry for myself-rain or shine, depressed, pissed off, injured, sick or excited-this lady pushes me! As she has stated "when your in this room it's your body but it's MY mind" and whenever I feel the humidity or the wave of nausea or whiteness of pure surrender her voice literally becomes the voice in my head, I can't think about anything else. I could feel my body detoxing and once class was over I felt good, not 100% but thankful I came and thankful I had energy.
Side note: although I felt good after class I had to walk home in this frigid January weather and even with a heavy coat a chill went through my spine and I was sore all night, even with a hot bath. I'm not sure how others feel but sometimes I can welcome cold air on my skin after the practise and sometimes I dread it in fear of stiffness or even catching a cold..hmmmm...any thoughts?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Day 24 (114)-January 24th (Sunday)

I was almost anticipating my body to be sore today but after a warm bath and pretty much lounging all day I felt pretty good coming to class. Once again the room was full and because I have a habit of putting down my mat at the last minute, I was scrunched up against the right side wall, having to move doing my half moon and triangle. However, as much as I felt good coming to class, the life force breathing felt like agony today and I was so tempted to walk right out of the room. It was like a wave of nausea and exhaustion that swept over me and I was anxious to have the class over with and the postures hadn't even started! But again, I took a few deep breaths and let go and sure enough I had my strongest standing bow I think I have ever seen, my head was straight, my legs, hips, arms all in aligment and I was probably just a couple inches away from having a straight leg.That alone, made my entire night and bless Ellena, she turned off the humidifier and turned on the fans. Ellena is such a gem for her ability to make you feel calm but so determined, she has it in for me to do well all I can say was the class turned out really well.

Day 23 (113 and Making up for Day 109)January 23rd (Saturday)

"Fuuullll lungs!" Elaine gets me smiling right from the get-go in praneama breathing, even though I was not excited to be doing doubles today, you cannot help but feel lively when you are in Elaine's class. My body was feeling stiff and a little tender, especially because I did not stretch before class, but my mind was very alert and focused
A few things I try to do on double days:
*eat two hours before each session, something substantial too.
*I try to drink as much as I can but I don't force it and really cold water can upset my stomach and make me feel bloated, especially right before class so I try to sit my water out so it is at room temperature.
*vitamin and mineral intake, I lack calcium and iron so i try to incorporate those as well as some electrolytes. You lose already so much water and minerals in the first class you need to pay close attention to feeding your body the nutrients for the second.
*sleep the night before, crucial for me as well as well as avoiding any toxins like alcohol, greasy foods, sweets; it just creates more havoc and more work for your body to filter out the next day you want to focus on maintaing energy not bringing up mucus or feeling more dehydrated.
*take it easy between classes, don't overexert, relax, stretch, eat, maybe snooze..or your going have a bad time!
This morning class I knew I was going to get through I was more worried about the afternoon...
Instructor-Dale-4pm (making up for Day 109)
I was nervous and a little anxious coming to the studio a few hours later, anticipating the worst. As much as I try to go by my set of 'rules' I felt like a zombie as I was changing and entering the hot room. They don't call it the life force for no reason and with Dale's thunder claps taking hold of my mind by half moon, I was pumped! That man can lift you off the ground when you feel literally like a corpse; his energy, his tone, his dominance, his humour- in these moments I realize that if you let go of all your expectations of yourself, all your stress, frustrations, discouragement, you can open up and listen to the instructor fully without a second thought. I completely blew myself away, never really appreciating what my body is willing to do for me up until this point.

Off note- I just want to thank all the people who have given me comments with their support so far, sometimes I reply, sometimes I don't but I smile after I read every one. And to all the 101's and the blogs I have followed, you guys are doing amazing. I learn something new and fascinating from your experiences~Namaste

Friday, January 22, 2010

Day 22 (112)-January 22nd (Friday)

It was a struggle to get to class today; I was tired and feeling under the weather but I was told that when you feel at your worst sometimes those are the days when you need the yoga the most. At the end of a long week it was definitely the class that I needed, there are some instructors that can charge you up, rev up your engine and you can focus on form and depths and there is no question Katie does all that. It may have been a little humid for my liking but that wasn't going to stop the fresh burst of energy I received after each posture.
I have been trying to hold back quite a bit lately with the postures, some of it in fear of strain or minor injury, some of it due to wanting to come back to the original form as I may have been slacking off just a little but as much as I try to hold back I usually end up pushing my edge.
I am going to retire early tonight as I am doing the first of two doubles tomorrow.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Day 20&21 (110&111)-January 20th &21st (Wednesday and Thursday)

Yes, I missed Tuesday, two days within one week now but as I write this I feel so much stronger because I know I have quite possibly a new goal in mind...but I'd rather share it once I am absolutely sure lol. Wednesday's evening class was a bit humid but I didn't let it get the better of me and I have slowed down my pace, mentally reminding myself to breath properly, then expel energy into the posture.
If there is one thing I have let go of is the need for a challenge, it seemed like a huge weight was lifted off of me once I completed my 100 days, now I feel quite possibly like this may not necessarily be a challenge anymore (to practise as often as I do).
I have also observed the changes in Jaime's teaching, she has such a vibrant tone to her personality now, much more cheerier and enthusiastic and her support in me has made her classes so strong, I feel very mellow and driven such a strong combination.
Today's class was humid but I really wasn't feeling the panic I often do but I noticed that I did not drink enough water today because I could feel the heat burning my face. Stefanie is such a strong spirit, she never ceases to amaze me with her powerful voice and her little metaphors used in class; she makes each class her own with creativity and motivation. Another large class has me thinking that either Oprah or some sort of other form of communication has sprung out and opened people up to Bikram Yoga.
I read, like many of you have I'm sure, Oprah's first and second segment on Paige Williams doing the 60 day challenge and I am quite fascinated by her results: 14 pounds lost, five inches gone, cholesterol down from 149 to 108, BMI down 7% and her glucose down to 73-in 60 days!
The entire time I have been doing yoga I have lost maybe 15 pounds, approximately 3-4 inches off my waist and my BMI is down 10%. Mind the fact that she may have had more to lose than myself but I'm not complaining, really, I feel amazing with muscles and a strong mindset I feel this yoga has changed so much for me.
I'd like to leave some food for thought "The class you end up regretting is the one you didn't take".

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Lets Talk about Postures Shall We? Part 2-Floor Series

Savasana-one of the most challenging postures even though it appears so simple but it is quite amazing that most of us cannot lay still even for the briefest of moments. It has taken skill to lay there for two minutes while my heart is racing and my sweat is pouring and my mind starts to wander...

Wind removing pose- there is no doubt this posture has aided my digestive system however I do notice it is hard to focus in this posture since my heart is still trying to slow down, sometimes I think savasana should be a minute or two longer.

Sit up- apparently they are suppose to be beneficial in boosting energy (if you take a couple of quick exhales once you are up) but I notice I gain energy from the sit ups towards camel and rabbit, this first sit up is usually the toughest for me.

Cobra pose- besides standing bow, another posture I feel is beautiful to watch. I do have trouble lifting my body up with my legs in the first set but my back quickly warms up in the second and I find I arch my lumbar region more and more each time.

Half lotus- Not an easy posture for me, as I try to stretch my arms as far down as I can but my hips are boney and so when both legs go up, I have to balance my forearms on my hips which can cause me to fall out of alignment. Since this posture opens up the ribcage, I find that my lungs want to push toxins out.

Full lotus- Like the awkward, I find I have good and bad days whereas my body is willing to push up and out and other days where I feel like I have an anchor on my back, unwilling to give me strength to push up. I also find that my forehead scrunches which can cause tension headaches with me later.

Bow- Perhaps it will take years of practise but I am not sure how others can kick their legs up without having to rock forward first, rocking onto my chest helps give me that push I need to stretch my arms up and kick at the same time. I feel this posture requires the most strength from me and I usually come out of it breathing the hardest.

Fixed Firm- I can honestly say without a doubt, this is the easiest posture for me, never had troubles with my knees and throughout my practise my chest has risen higher, creating more of an arch (bridge).

Half tortoise- To this day I still cannot fully figure out the purpose of this posture, sure I know the health purposes (creating blood flow to the brain) but the ability to keep my arms and head parallel while just my pinky fingers on the ground and my hips back onto my heels. Another posture that looks simple but is quite tricky!

Camel- I try to do my strongest sit ups before this posture so I can have more energy but there is no way to predict how you will feel once you come up on your knees and hold your hips; sometimes I feel dizzy, sometimes nauseous, sometimes I start to cry, but for whatever reason I feel so much better by the time we get back into savasana.

Rabbit- It took me quite a while to understand this posture and how to stretch my lower back and properly hold my heels tight. The key is to holding your heels as tightly as possible and to fix my ponytail since it can fall out, leaving my head in an awkward position (which has hurt my neck in the past).

Stretching series- Another posture that has taken me months to figure out; flex my toes back, hold my feet tightly so my hands don't slip, flex my other foot out, not in, suck the stomach in and bring the elbows down. Apparently this posture is similar to the standing head to knee, but honestly I prefer standing up and flexing than this awkwardness lol. I remember the last part of the series I thought for sure my head would touch my feet when I first started this yoga, and with the years of dance and gymnastics this would be easy. I am just starting to bring my elbows down to my shins and my head is maybe just passed my knees but I don't worry about it.

Final Spinal- My bent leg never lays flat the moment I put my opposite arm around my back but this posture feels so good, another favorite of mine.

Blowing in Firm-When I first started I thought I would pass out from having to exhale so much but I love it now, brings my heart rate down so I can transition to the floor for a couple minutes of savasana/cooling down.

Day 18(108)-January 18th (Monday)

Monday is the start of a new week and so I share my own revelations:
*I start to realize that this practise, this yoga, is about embracing imperfection; I fall out, I fall down, I lose endurance, I lose focus, I have moments of panic, I have moments of pain, and this battle will continue. But as much as I use to find it a means of failing, a means of struggle, a means of loss I think I finally realize that it is about growth, liberation, acceptance, determination and peace. I let out a laugh when I fall out of postures and I get back on my feet and try again, nothing can be more powerful than your own motivation to try again.
*We had a new student brave enough to practise beside me right up front ( brave to go to the front, not beside me I'm not that scary lol) and I noticed within the last five or so postures of the practise she appeared to want to give up so I whispered to her that we had four postures left and that she was doing great. The glow of a smile on her face was priceless and she managed to complete the remainder of the class and once we were done, she thanked me for helping her get through. Such a small measure of compassion had such a huge impact that made me remember how supportive other students were in my beginning.
*My last revelation would be this "Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured" (Iyengar). Health wise, I have some barriers to break through, some diseases to cure and I am determined to work my body and mind to a healthy state once again and I know yoga will be a positive path in this battle. To endure what cannot be cured is another obstacle altogether for I have endured loss that can only be cured with his return....everyday of yoga is a day closer to your return.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Day 17 (107)-January 17th (Sunday)-MISSED

Last night I set my alarm so I could take the 8am class, however, once I woke up I knew a cloud had swept over my mental state and nothing was going to get me out of bed. The following were the necessities to get me through the day:
*comfort food-hot cereal, herbal tea, pickles and chocolate.
*epsom salts and a hot bath since my neck and shoulders are sore once again.
*a good cry
*a good book
* a chick flick, which I went to see this evening. "Up in the Air" is a recommendation by the way.
*cheering up and a heartfelt hug
I wouldn't necessarily write about my missed days but sometimes it is essential to take a break; yoga has become such a routine that I almost forgot about the world outside of it. I needed the reminder that I am not invincible, I am not out to prove anything, I started this yoga because I am passionate about it, not because I live it. I am still a student of yoga searching for my way and learning as I go along. Besides, God created Sunday's for rest, so I am sure HE can appreciate my day off. ~Namaste

Day 16 (106)-January 16th (Saturday)

Instructor- Stephen-4pm
Mentally, I felt myself lagging quite a bit throughout the day and by the time I came to class I felt pretty self defeated. My mental state, however, did not stop me from practising in the front nor was I feeling the sweeps of humidity overwhelming. What I have noticed is that many students are starting to think this is a walk in, walk out type of practise whenever the room gets the better of you and it's just pure logic to know that once ONE person leaves momentarily, another is quick to follow in their tracks. There is no question that we have all felt the same way, and I have actually left the room either to realize that I was going to be sick or that I was going to have a serious crying attack. However, I try not to leave the room for any more than a set of a posture so I can return to finish the second set and I am grateful for the instructors who do not dispute my reasons for leaving, they let me be because they know I will come back just as strong.
Stephen's class was a treat since I haven't seen him in awhile and he joked to me before class saying "hey, isn't this your 5000th class?" Apparently though he has been sending the word out about my challenge and I think it's great, my purpose is to inspire others to challenge themselves.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Lets Talk about Postures shall we? Part 1-Standing Series

Since I have never really discussed the postures in detail I figure better late than never:
(however this is just my interpretation of the postures, everyone feel differently I'm sure)

*Praneama/Standing deep breathing-can make or break you right from the get-go, my shoulders get sore but it is called the life force for a reason, literally I gain energy and a profound sense of awareness.
*Half Moon Series- I love when instructors will tell the new students right after completing this series 'welcome to Bikram Yoga'- probably one of my favorites because I am always trying for new depths and I am still in amazement to this day that my body sweats what feels like the most in this set of postures.
*Awkward Series- I am usually up or down with this series, my knees can get sore, my legs get achy, I feel the blood coursing through my thighs "and bounce and bounce and bounce...and balance" and the whole time I am staring straight at my stomach trying to suck in and breath normally at the same.
*Eagle Pose-It took me a couple months to really figure out which arm goes under which, to get the routine. For a posture that appears to be simple is hardly the case, all about compression and sucking in that stomach!
*Standing head to knee- It took me roughly eight to nine months, that's right, months to finally kick my leg out. There is a fear of failure in all of us that if we cannot perfect, we will ultimately never succeed. This is not the case, when I finally let go that is when this posture took me on a new journey of self discovery. I fall out more than I succeed in this posture but now I laugh.
*Standing bow-It may be one of my strongest postures but I will tell you it is not one of my favorites because it demands focus, stamina, endurance, flexibility and well, at times, your very soul. Yet, this posture is one of the most beautiful to watch and I have had moments where my kick and my stretch have combined a perfect balance, it's just too bad I can't seem to hold it for one minute.
*Balancing stick- Oh such a love/hate relationship and apparently the posture we burn the most calories in and work the hardest and I believe it! The struggle I try to maintain is my head up and my arms stretched up and out, usually I get the "amber, leg down, leg down, hips down, leg down lol"
*Separate Leg Stretching- A posture I could not fully understand for the longest time until I got bits and pieces from instructors about putting my hands on my feet ( I was detrimental on keeping them at the sides of my feet), pushing my body forward and locking my knees. My shoulders are usually stubborn and until I finally relaxed I noticed that my neck actually stretched out and my forehead could touch the floor, what a concept!
*Triangle- Another hate/love relationship (notice the hate first?), it is frustrating, my hips don't go down far enough, my arms don't stretch out, suck my stomach in turn my head even though it feels like it wants to pop off, no pressure on the knee, no pressure on the floor. So in other words, I need to levitate from the hips up because it is a stretching posture, oh yeah and wipe the miserable look off your face lol.
*Standing separate head to knee- on my dizzy days, this posture is no fun but slowly and surely I have managed to keep my leg straight but the compression is definitely not fun and by this time I have sweat dripping into my eye, gotta love the sting! Another thing I try to remember is to not come up too fast.
*Tree/toe stand- for some reason I am more of a fan of the toe than the tree and it is also one of my other favorites because it demands control and patience.

Day 15 (105)-January 15th (Friday)

Instructor- Anthea-4pm
What a way to end the week with the bright, bubbly Anthea to turn our energy on in the homestretch! Anthea never disappoints with her strong presence in the room but a soothing tranquility to her dialogue that can present a discipline to work hard and an ability for the students to create a calm steady motion between each posture. Not to mention that Anthea has a soft spot for keeping the humidity at a minimum which, I hate to admit, can have it's disadvantages, for example, during the warm up if my body does not properly heat up there is a tendency towards injury or stiffness particularly in some of the depths I try to conquer.
I know I sound indecisive; either too hot or too cold but regardless, I have found mentally an even balance with stamina and focus and slowly my endurance is coming back into my standing series. And yes, once again, I traveled to the front of the room and to the lady who was beside me-you kicked some serious butt! I enjoy seeing students from other studios come practise and show off what their studio has been doing for them. I feel that way every time I go to White Rock lol.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Day 14(104)-January 14th (Thursday)

There are times I come to yoga and my mind is running a mile a minute, juggling the stress from the day and fixated on things that are troubling me; last night however, as much as I had a fairly stressful mindset before I came to yoga, the moment I walked into the studio I felt lifted. This scenario does not happen very often where I feel elevated and serene but of course it does help to be in the company of warm spirited yogi's, two in particular; Sandra and Allison.
I have been practising with Allison and Sandra roughly since I began; Allison has come so far in her practise, she is one tough lady who never ceases to amaze me. Sandra is another tough girl who even though had some surgery done recently has bounced back with strength and determination and always remains calm. Way to go ladies!
I knew Dianne appeared to be struggling a bit last night because her voice was much rougher than usual and just like the students, teachers can have off classes and dizziness unfortunately got the better of her. And so Candice had to halt her practise and continue the class off for Dianne, and here I thought instructors were invincible to the heat!
I promised Sandra I would venture to the front of the room and practise beside her, although I was lucky to get a spot because it was crowded again, apparently someone is getting the word out about Bikram Yoga lol. Anyways, like I said, I was at the front and feeling uncomfortable about that, it is not my favorable spot but it sure helps in the standing series, I feel more focused staring into my own eyes for balance and strength during standing head to knee. I recommend trying that out once your in step two (leg kicked out), just focus into your own eyes, not your leg, not your hands, not your stomach; you will gain so much more focus and stamina for as they say feel the leg stretching out, don't look at it.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Day 13-(103)-January 13th (Wednesday)

Have you ever had moments where your feel like the complete outsider in a situation? Having absolutely no empathy or a remote similarity in emotions or feelings? The class tonight was very big, lots of the new students who took the open house advantage on the weekend are coming back, easily thirty five-forty students and the room was apparently very humid.
As half the class felt like their lungs were going to burst and half of them seated by the halfway mark, I looked around in complete puzzlement, I mean if anyone is going to complain of the heat, it's always and foremost moi, and yet I barely let out more than a couple quick breaths and that was only because of floor bow.
The only reasoning I could comprehend was the fact I made spicy tacos tonight with jalapenos and so, my body was already heated from the inner core, it remained balanced with the heat on the outside. I know it sounds odd but I believe it because during the warm ups and most of the standing series, my hands and for some reason my right ankle were burning from the jalapenos coming out in my pores! I kid you not, since I started this challenge, everything comes out of my system within a few hours, especially if I take yoga in the evening.
Ellena tried her hardest to accommodate the students who could barely stay in the room, let alone do many postures and her cheery voice and humour literally made me have a smile on the WHOLE TIME. That doesn't happen! I'm still perplexed by this bizarre turn of events for me but I am so thankful that this class was fantastic for me.
Side note: funniest moment was when a student walked out, looking quite miserable and when Ellena asked why she was leaving she turned around, glared at us, and said "I'm on my period". I didn't even know we could use that for an excuse, it's like gym class all over again lol.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

By the way- I finally figured out how to change comment settings so you don't need an account, by all means, comment away!!! I would like some feedback:)

To those doing the Bikram 101 around the world♥

"Before you've practised, the theory is useless, after you practise, the theory is obvious"
A challenge is a wonderfully invigorating cleansing as long as you stay grounded to the theories that apply to your need to do such a challenge. After doing my own 101 challenge, I have learned the following:
~Take one day at a time, the yoga never changes, only you do. And it's never the changes you expect.
~ You never know who you inspire, it could be family, friends, coworkers, fellow yogi's, instructors, but it never stops!
~The following are your friends: water-before and after class, and if you must small sips only during class; proper towel-long enough for balancing stick and one that doesn't shift and move to cause distraction; the front of the room-still an enemy on my days when my tummy is bloated and simply will not suck in but *sigh* gives me a clearer view of my form.
~Never be afraid to ask an instructor anything, no matter if you think it may be silly-that is what they are there for, to help you and encourage you!
~Check out other studios- you get to meet so many interesting and exciting people who are just as pumped about Bikram Yoga as you, plus you get to feel incredible energy from other hotrooms.
~Check out what is going on in your studio-seminars, new instructors, challenges, potlucks; it's a great way to learn more about your practise, talk to students and instructors one-on-one, actively get to know the people that you see regularly.
~Food and sleep habits will improve and you will pay more attention to what you eat and how much you sleep. Your body will start to tell you what it wants and what it doesn't, listen to it for it will make the challenge easier.
~You will lose water and vitamins and minerals- replenish your body's need for these essentials!
~Have more than one outfit, especially when you cannot do laundry everyday.
~Smiling in class is the second hardest thing to do in class besides savasana, believe me, it will relax your mind and your body, the instructors say it for a reason you know!
~Know that when your mind starts to panic with the fight-or-flight reasoning, all the other students are in the same exact position you are, in these moments, it's about unity-you will survive!
~Your life is waiting for you outside that room, so take this time to think about you and only yourself.
~Lock your f*&%ing knee!
~The most important thing I have learned is that there is love waiting for you, inside of you-it started when you began Bikram yoga and it always there every time you come into that room-share the love with all those around you♥

Day 11 (101)-January 11th (Monday)


I figured this quote would fit nicely here "Anyone who practises yoga can obtain success, but not one who is lazy. Constant practise is the secret to success". Frank mentioned to us that he had completed 270 classes before his 'challenge' came to an end; to me it's not about numbers it's about the changes I see in myself physically and mentally AND the changes that I can help make for other students so they can see such challenges ARE possible. What I do like about the challenges is the fact it keeps my motivation constant, never wavering, making it possible for me to keep my discipline.

As many of Frank's regular students are probably aware of, he is leaving Vancouver for awhile, well the country to be more specific, and pursuing other adventures in yoga and some much needed vacation time lol. So sadly, this was his last day at the Langley studio and so instead of saying I will miss him I will say I take all that he has given me and I move forward with as much passion and inspiration and most of all, love.

I ended his class strongly with my half moon back bend probably the deepest I have ever seen it and I have some goals that I hope to achieve in the next few months but I do take in account that change comes with time and practise.

One particular topic that Frank mentioned was the idea of writing out in one way or another, whether it be blogging or personal journal, your own personal account of each class. He mentioned my blog because I know I have many readers, but I say take it upon yourself, further your exploration of who you are and what journey this yoga takes you on.

"Relax your breath, relax your mind, relax your body. Thank yourself and only yourself for coming to class. Everyone Namaste"~Namaste, Frank♥ Until we meet again.

Day 10 (or 100)-January 10th (Sunday)

As I walked to the studio, I was feeling a bit anxious, a bit nervous and anticipating what the night would bring. I could not have imagined that there would be such an amazing turnout of new students, regulars and instructors! Carol taught two classes in Richmond and still managed to come out for my 100, it had me in tears, and the biggest smile was from seeing Frank come to celebrate my hundred. Thank you's go out to ALL for making it an exceptional class and I am proud to have practised beside Candice♥
So here's a bit of an idea of what the class looked like: 57 students with strong leaders like Candice, Frank, Leo, Rachael, Carol and myself right up front and Hillary's strong voice empowering such a magnetic energy in all of us that I had some of my strongest postures I have had in probably weeks or months. No humidifier was needed, for the humidity rose quick enough by triangle but we were all still on board laughing and breathing!
The full locust was difficult to accomplish with everyone so closely knitted beside one another so my arms were already raised but regardless it was such a fun filled time.
Side Note- funniest moment was when Hillary told us that we had a student in there with a broken leg, "if he can come in here with a broken leg and do it , so can you"~

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Day 9-January 9th (Saturday)

The open house was packed! 15 new students alone, we had quite a squeeze but it was fun for the most part. The humidity slowly rose and I could not seem to concentrate very well on the floor series, but Dale was determined to have each person trying their up most best and at the end I felt renowned sense of energy. Dale kept reminding us that this is part of the journey, you have mountains to climb, and mountains to climb down from. In the end, I find it a rewarding progression. One more day...The Hatha yoga champion Ryan attended class and I couldn't help but marvel at his skill, his flexibility~beautiful to see.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Day 7/8-January 7th and 8th (Thursday and Friday)

Instructor- Dianne-4pm
Dianne is one of the most calm and serene ladies I have ever met, her gentle tone is meditative and hypnotic and she knows exactly when to push you deeper and when to help you breath; a true balance that invoked such a harmonious class. My energy was rising above ground, to the point where I thought I could literally levitate during toe stand; and my muscles were giving me more leeway to stretch since they have been so tense during the past week, yes, I felt truly focused and nothing to take the smile off my face. I also feel that my body is going back to the basic forms of each posture, maybe to help me re balance myself so I can transform my postures perhaps to the next level. It may take awhile to realize but that is exactly what this yoga will do; it will drive your body to new lengths of power, strength and endurance, but sometimes when you push too hard, the body needs to recuperate, expel and replenish, bring the body back to its original form and start again. However, the beginning is never the same, your never truly back at square one, you are at a new level of beginnings...and the cycle begins again.
As they always say, no class is ever the same, every day is a new experience, a new chance to take your body somewhere new.
Instructor- Jaime- 6pm
Tonight's class was even better than yesterday and my strength exceeded my own expectations. Perhaps there is a little anxiety coming up to the end of my challenge and the more I hear people talk about the challenge, the more I am glad I am not a celebrity lol. I don't mind taking some credit but I am not the only one in that room, day after day, week after week, trying to make sense of this crazy yoga and making some sense of my body and mind, I just go a little more often than some people. I can only imagine what teacher training is like; two classes a day for nine weeks-that is what I call intense! And I commend all those who take the training and continue teaching and practising everyday but of course, they live yoga; I have another life (believe it or not lol) and sorry Candice, teacher training is not in my near future, I enjoy the ride as the student but I have so much love and appreciation for those who do teach, you have made such an impact on not just my life in yoga but to open up your hearts as people.
Jaime is such a lovely lady who brings warm sunshine to the class and walks around to make sure every one's energy is in sync with such mellow tones. My practise, as I mentioned, exceeded my expectations and my own personal strength and I feel like I am building up to some new transformation.
I would like to add that Devin, one of the warm spirited staff and amazing yogis, is going to attend the teacher training in the fall and I wish her all the best~but I don't think she needs it, she will kick ass:)