Saturday, February 27, 2010
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...
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....
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♥
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
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.
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
...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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
Monday, February 15, 2010
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
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
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
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!
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
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.
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.
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
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".
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?
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...