DEFEAT?

DEFEAT?

There are just some days where everything feels wrong. Today was one of them. I did not want to do anything or go anywhere. Of course, I’m on my #30DaysofFitness journey and how I feel doesn;t override my commitment. Took Bikram with Courtney Mace once more and she truly is an excellent, generous teacher. That’s exactly what I needed to get through the class. Glad I did it. One more day of consecutive classes and then I begin alternating days until the end of the month. Looking forward to breaking up the routine!

TIME!

TIME!

Day 4 of #30DaysofFitness involved another Bikram yoga class and 10 pushups. I have 3 more consecutive days of classes before I start alternating days next week. What I noticed today was that I really need to give myself more time. I am improving of course and I have a long way to go.

I was unable to stretch before class so, with my tightening muscles, there were some postures that were difficult for me to get into. Today it was Standing Forehead to Knee. I have historically had a difficult time holding myself in the first part of this posture and today I could barely lift up my leg to get into the first part. I see stretching and epsom salt in my near future for real.

In other good news, I took extra care to get ready after taking class. In that hour I ended up looking less like a beaten, soggy mess and more like a peaceful, glamorous version of myself. I liked it. I had a business meeting after class and I was presentable. The lesson here is all you need to do is take the time and there are amazing results. I will make sure to take time before and after each class to take care of myself. Onward!

STRETCH!

STRETCH!

Day 3 brought a solid Bikram class and a few realizations. This month is not another yoga 30 day challenge. I’m going to class daily for the first 7 days to jump start my fitness. My focus is on fitness. It is on doing something healthy and active every day. I don’t want to make that activity only Bikram yoga so September is really about exploring other ways to be healthy.

I’ve been doing the 30 day squat challenge to some great results. I feel my lower back getting stronger. That is amazing! It is the weakest part of my body and remember it going out as early as my twenties. Even yoga failed to address its wonkiness and most likely exacerbated it. You can’t take 144 Bikram classes in 136 days without overtraining. I wish I had been doing the squats then to save/balance my back. I’m glad I found it today. My back feels strong and ready to play!

The other thing that I noticed today was a tightening up in class. My range of motion seemed limited. I made a real effort to stretch before and after class. It seems that Bikram class does not encompass all the beneficial stretching that my body requires so I’m putting it in.

These 30 days of fitness are going strong. I am really in touch with my body. I am paying attention and moving in conscientious ways that improve my practice and well-being astronomical. Looking forward to the next 27 days!

PUSH!

PUSH!

Day 2 of #30DaysofFitness ended with a hot, humid and very challenging Bikram class. Just 10 pushups–working on form and consistency in area that I am weak and 55 squats. Slow and steady is the name of the game. Still working on winning at the challenge of waking up at the same time every morning. I keep going back to sleep! I filled myself with lots of barbecue which what the holiday is for! Happy Labor Day!

Time to RESET!

Time to RESET!

It’s September! Not only does this month have 30 days, the perfect interval for any type of challenge, fitness or otherwise. It starts on a Sunday making for a calendar friendly progression as we take on the month.

The theme for my September is SEIZE THE DAY! I’m rebooting, resetting and re-calibrating all over my life. I commit to 30 days of fitness in September, doing something great for my body every day. That looks like Bikram class at least 3 times a week, squats every day, crunches and pushups on alternating days, a delicious smoothie daily as well as delicious homecooked food every day and waking up at the same time every day no matter when I go to bed.

So far, I took Bikram class which was glorious after a hiatus of over a month. I renewed my soul at church this morning, long over due. I took care of myself by getting all the supplies to help me accomplish my goals this month.

What is your theme for September?

Bikram 101: Day 30

30 days flew by so fast. Brian taught today’s class and even that flew by. I guess when you’re focused, the session just zooms by.

Brian told me that he could see that I’m getting stronger, particularly during standing bow.

These first 30 days are the tip of the iceberg of healing. Lower back pain is gone although my hamstrings are constant work in progress. They are tight and have yet to open up.

With 71 more days to go, I have room for many healing miracle. Cannot wait!

Etiquette

Class 29 almost didn’t happen in time. I overslept and rushed to class with Kyoko crazed and dazed. Fortunately I made it in time for the first set of pranayama deep breathing. If I had missed it, I would have bee crushed. Of course, I would have gone to a later class at the expense of other plans. Thankfully I didn’t have to.

As I stood outside the class, doing the breathing exercise, I was reminded of the specific rules associated with Bikram studios and how new and sometimes long-term students forget or simply forego them. My near miss isn’t only distressing but distracting to other students. As a courtesy, get to class early to find a spot and side step the anxiety that being late gives you and you’re fellow students.m

The other day I practiced with one of my good friends and at the end of standing series, she grumbled about preferring running to Bikram and in my beaten, sweaty trance, I grunted something in response eliciting the teacher’s disapproving admonishment about not talking in class. Sometimes you can’t help an outburst or the teacher asks something requiring a response. Outside of that, contribute to the meditative state of the session by keeping your words to yourself. Savor and share your comments outside after class.

I would take no speaking even further: save your dramatic grunts anf groans. It’s distracting and disheartening. Besides your discomfort is no more important than anyone else’s. Those sounds don’t make class go faster or increase your flexibility. I would say they make it harder for you and everyone.

Last week a first-time student insisted on practicing the entire 90 minutes in socks which brings me to one of my greatest overarching courtesy you can extend to yourself, your fellow students and new students: take the time to read the studio’s rules. Every studio has them and not all are the same. They’re pretty reasonable, requesting appropriate attire, no perfume or jewelry, etc.

By reading the rules, you know how to seamlessly participate with existing studios. It saves a lot of unexpected conflict and conversation. Don’t wear socks to class, but if, you must, discuss it with the teacher beforehand who will come up with a solution for your concern.

Take it further, do your research before you begin taking Bikram and/or try a new studio. Bikram takes a lot of physical and mental strength and, most importantly, preparation. What you do when you’re not in that room can be difference between a mediocre and excellent practice. Heather Molina has some great advice at her blog, visit it here.

Tomorrow concludes my first 30 days. Cannot wait! You best believe I will be there early!

On Your Toes

Stand up on your toes, maximum, high, like a ballerina.

Class 28 was with a teacher I had not done a session with before, Danielle. This was a good thing because I can’t anticipate how she delivers the Bikram dialogue. Basically she kept me on my toes for 90 minutes.

There’s a tendency during challenges to slip into patterns of doing things the same way with same teachers. Habits can be formed anywhere during class like when you drink water or how you always sit down during the second set of triangle. One of the biggest challenges of your practice is to make sure you’re giving your best every single class. That means that when you rest it’s because you need to not because that what you usually do.

Today standing bow on my left side was strong. Still working on getting my right side to be in proper alignment and consistently strong. My awkward pose is pretty good, especially during the second part which I quoted at the beginning of this entry. I have control and I need to go lower and sit more down “in the chair”. I strive for control in every movement. There is no flinging the body around for me in class lest I injure myself and/or deprive myself of the benefits of the postures.

So far I’m working on my right ankle which is tight from multiple roll-over injuries during my high school track days. I’m also strengthening my knees which were tricky before. They are now stable and steady and better with each day. Then there are the forever tight hamstrings.

I’d like to go deeper in many asanas and I wonder if simply going to class will make that happen or if I should do some stretches before and after class. I suspect that is the ticket.

Class with Danielle brought some needed change to my practice and the same intensity as always that leaves me passed out on my mat at the end of class. 73 more days to go!

Easy

Class 27 was another rigorous one with Stephanie. I woke up feeling out of sorts and I was going to take it easy today. I learned my lesson.

There is no “taking it easy” in Bikram. Either you show up ready to work or your session is shot. You get the benefits from rigorous practice. Otherwise you’re hanging out in the sauna and not getting much out of it.

Even doing the minimal requires exertion so why waste your time and effort in the hot room by skimping on your postures? Besides that, excellent teachers like Stephanie don’t let you get away with that mess. Just the strength of their voices keep you going and reaching for the stars.

It’s a blessing to spend 90 minutes with someone who won’t let me give up on myself. I’m looking forward to 74 more days of honoring myself and my practice!

Seesaw

Some days are tough.  Some days seem easier.  Any day I stay in that hot room and make it to the end of a class, it’s a good day.  Apparently, so far I’ve had 26 good days.

Class 26 with Stephanie was intense.  Not sure if it was the higher temperature outside or lack of water or rest but class today was incredibly challenging.  Sweat didn’t just drip off my body onto the mat, it streamed off rapidly tapping out a machine gun staccato–the music to my yoga plight or joy, depending on how you look at it.

Just like that, the seesaw sunk down from my high yesterday and it was a struggle.  Not a painful struggle, just challenging in areas I did not expect.  I welcome ps and downs no matter how disorienting or uncomfortable because they reveal things about my practice in yoga and in life.  Opportunities for improvement show themselves and stick around, demanding attention, until they are taken.

Stephanie called for excellence as usual and we did our best to rise to the occasion and not succumb to the heat and humidity.  I did my best.  I feel that over the last few days, my triangle posture is improving.  I still have lots of work to do to get it up to snuff but lately it has been my personal best in this challenge.  Hitting a personal best makes the seesaw worth it!

Speaking of improving postures, Bikram Yoga East Harlem, has a cool two part posture clinic coming up on July 21 and August 4.  That will be a great opportunity to improve my practice exponentially.  I’ll do my best to make it.  If you’re in the area, come join me.  Read about it here.