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". 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:)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Day 6-January 6th (Wednesday)

My energy has finally made a comeback! Even though the humidifier was on, Stefanie was an angel for turning on the fans, on low, the entire class. Even so, I feel a renowned sense of rejuvenation coursing through my body and mind and nothing could stop me...until I reached the stretching posture of course lol.
I just want to take a moment to give thanks and hugs out to the following instructors: Candice, Elaine, Ellena, Katie, Dale, Hillary, Stefanie, Anthea, Carol, Stephen, Dianne, Jaime, Esther, Mary, Esak and Frank, for your continuous love and support~I am forever changed inside and out. To the students and other staff: Jessica, Rachael, Dana, Devin, Raj, Leo, Sandra, Sara, Natasha, Allison, and the countless others who I have much gratitude and respect for and who have motivated me in so many ways to push further.
Thank you for continuing this journey with me, after Sunday..well actually Monday since it is Frank's class and all, I shall take a short "recess" to recuperate and replenish vital organs lol. But February will be my time to come back and start the 30 day challenge once again. And I hope to take the time to begin training religiously for the competition this year. Wish me luck.. ♥

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Day 5- January 5th (Tuesday)

Instructor- Anthea- 6pm
...and the humidity comes to an least temporarily. Anthea's class was absolutely fantastic but I learned that even though the humidity was shut off for the duration of this class, even with fans on, it was at 64%! The average class should only have 50% humidity, so I can only imagine how it has been in my previous classes while my skin felt like it was burning.
Aside from that, there was nothing that could take the smile off my face the whole class, I had amazing energy, my pain subsided for the moment and Anthea's wonderful humour lifted the anxiety I had desperately needed to release in the form of laughter.
My standing series was so strong, I felt my breath catch up to me for once, slow and steady with moments of pure releasement.. this was the class I have been waiting for, the one that has made the struggles a breakthrough. Anthea never fails to give us all encouragement and the most important reward is that she never lets us forget we are there for ourselves, we have nothing to lose and everything to gain no matter if we are beginner's or advanced, sick or healthy, happy or depressed- the class is all up to us. ♥

Day 4- January 4th (Monday)

Instructor- Frank- 1245pm
....and the heat wagon just keeps rolling in! Mind you, it was Frank's class, he is noted for intensifying your experience but nothing could prepare me for the nausea, dizziness and the back/kidney pain I was feeling which made my class that much more intense.
Frank brought up an ironic theme for the day: discipline. Hmm..let's see what the definition of discipline is: training that corrects, molds, or perfects;to train or develop by instruction and exercise especially in self control. Frank, no doubt, has helped me correct many forms of postures, molded my mental image of yoga and overall has given me discipline in practise, and focus. The past few classes however, my self control has been wavering, especially with the aches I feel and the intensity of the heat has been overwhelming. I know that it is just a period of self doubt and possibly anxiety that has created an emotional roller coaster for me and I hope for the breakthrough that I desperately need to complete the remainder of my challenge.
Although this would be my last class with Frank for the challenge, I know I will come back next week to his class, what can I say, the heat cannot stop me from seeing Frank, his classes are something you have to experience, you cannot express.♥

Monday, January 4, 2010

Day 3-January 3rd (Sunday)

A week to go and my body is feeling the burn: the humidity burn! lol Actually today I came in with lots of energy and although the last five or so postures were lacking some zest, the class was alot better than it has been for me. Again, my body is crying out for a break; my right leg is very stiff due to my hip which make the standing separate head to knee and the toe stand very uncomfortable and my kidneys are still letting me know they are sore.
Aside from that, I had some great postures including my standing bow and floor bow which I was very excited about, stretching my legs higher, kicking with all that I had. Hillary was very mellow today, helping me sooth my mind at times when I needed it. She is always a pleasure.
Instead of going home and relaxing, which would create more stiffness in the joints, I stretched and worked out a bit, loosening my muscles and bones so I could open up my hips for future classes-I highly recommend that-followed by a hot salt bath to ease any leftover tensions.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Day 1 & 2 January 1st and 2nd (Friday and Saturday)

Instructor- Stefanie-4pm
HOT, HOT and more HOT!! Wow, I cooked from the inside out, this class was busy and the humidifier kept right on rolling..!But it was great to see a big crew of regulars and teachers and staff taking part in the first class of the new year. Candice was in front of me, giving me motivation to keep some endurance during the standing series, her standing bow is amazing, I have noticed how far she has come in such a short period of time, she is still the first and foremost guru for me, truly inspiring to see her postures and the depths she has managed to drive herself into with such strength and determination. However, my kidneys are still in pain and the last half of the class unfortunately was almost unbearable for me that I had to leave the class briefly to grab air and a state of sanity.
Elaine is my 'full lungs' lady and it gets me smiling every time but she said something that really brought a profound impact on my lack of motivation lately. Elaine quoted Bikram stating "you have to listen to your body within" for it will tell you what you need to hear. As my challenge comes to an end within a week, my body is expressing itself in many forms and as much as I have wanted to continue after 100 days, I feel it is necessary to take a break for a brief period of time. As much as these classes can give you strength, they can also make you aware of where your limitations are and I cannot feel bad for taking a short break, I can only feel proud that I have accomplished something I never thought I could.