Am I Doing This Right?

Day 53 with Kyoko brought up the age old question that dogs us all in our Bikram practice: Am I doing this right?

The answer, more often than not, is a resounding no. As I ways say to people, you get it right when you’re dead and you don’t have to try anymore. The practice isn’t really about “right”, it’s about endurance and discipline. You can wing your way through class grunting impressively or you can listen to the teacher’s dialogue and follow as closely as possible. There is no “right”. There is awareness and presence. That is all.

Wake Up Call

Day 52 with Angela was a wake-up call. I’m dealing with a wiggy lower back after sleeping on it the wrong way. Now that my hams are better I have my lower back to contend with. The wake-up here is if I cannot do the posture slowly and strongly then I need to stop.

My back is getting better incrementally and should be fine by tomorrow. It’s a matter–a reminder–to do whatever it take from getting injured and derailing my challenge. Once injured, I will have to stop. I do not want that happening so my awareness of my body in class has tro be that much higher. This is crucial.

Flow

Day 51 was all about learning to flow with it. Brian taught and I took class earlier than I had planned. I was tired and sore, yet class just flowed. No matter what was going on, class went on and before I knew it, we were done.

That is a lot of what this 101-day yoga challenge has been like. I don’t have to do anything other than show up and before I know it, it will be over. 50 more days to go. More than halfway through. Let’s go!

Being of Service

Day 50 with Brian was a gift. It was a class that he wasn’t scheduled to do and by doing it, he made continuing my challenge and what the other partcipants needed possible.

In appreciation of this gift, I made myself available to be of service at the studio and it felt great. I love my daily challenge and my daily interactions with other students and my studio home. It is great to be reminded how life doesn’t happen for me until I put myself out there for others. That is my truest delight and fulfillment. Namaste.

Dreams Realized

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.  Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. ~Unknown

 
Day 49 with Kathryn was soothing. The above quote was amongst the sayings that Kathryn intersperses during savasana. It’s a call for me to be bold this week.

Often people are amazed that I’m doing this ambitious yoga challenge. For me, it isn’t difficult. It is a part of my life and it is something I never compromise. Now there are many other areas of my life that are sorely neglected that need this same type of dedication. Those words call me to dedicate my daily practice to restoring integrity to different areas of my life. So that’s what I’ll do. Namaste.

Beginnings

Day 48 with Jen gave me a hint of something to come. There is light at the end of the tunnel and I’m seeing improvements in some postures that might result in strength where there was weakness.

Today I attended the wedding of a dear friend and continued my experience of beginnings. I came to the realization that every day, every class is a new opportunity. Each day brings a brand new, scrubbed, fresh chance to reinvent my practice. I can let go of the last class and invent my practice, my self anew. That is a true gift.

Pride

In that hot room, pride is a double-edged sword. Sometimes it’s the only thing that keeps you from sprawling out on your face during a posture and often it’s the very thing that has you throwing your back because you wanted to show off. I guess the best thing to do is just do the posture.

Day 47 of my 101-day Bikram yoga challenge began with me reminding Angela that I was in my 47th day taking my 49th class. There was the collective whoa amongst the other students and a newbie on his 3rd day, very taken aback, says “You took 2 classes in 1 day?”. To which I responded “Oh that’s nothing. I’ve taken 30 classes in 15 days. The 2nd class is always great because you’re so open but the first is the usual hell.” Angela also reminded us that teacher training involves class 2 times a day.

Class ended with me almost curled up in a ball crying for my mommy. Not because I was in pain–I ended up that way because 47 days of this yoga is just insane and I’m teetering on the edge of unresolved emotions. I expect the crying will start soon enough.

I remember taking class on day my young aunt died in front of me in the hospital. I came to class at Bikram Yoga Union Square clenched in disbelief. I mentioned the death to Otto, the owner, who encouraged me to take class and took exquisite care of me–all of us–as he put us through posture after posture that detached the mind from the body. I cried catharsis and felt like I was outside myself watching my prostrate body purging this new, unfamiliar, traumatic experience. I learned that truly, there is no pride in that room. There is no you in that room. There is release. I wanted my mommy then–I always do–and I expect I have a number of days like that coming. About time.

Thunder & Lightning

Class with Kyoko on Day 46 took place against a dramatic background. Today was incredibly hot and humid, prime condition for a thunderstorm.

I’d manage to avoid the deluge as I made my way to class this evening. It caught up to me in class. Around standing head to knee, there was bright lightning followed by the loudest, heart-stopping thunder I’d ever heard. How appropriate for that posture and all the drama I experience around it. Some people screamed. Others looked around to see if they were still alive. And, yes, class went on.

Even thunder and lightning melt in the face of a Bikram class. All that exists in that room are our postures and concentration. It took us all the way to the end.

Class with Kyoko was truly outstanding. She is not only an attentive teacher, she’s very encouraging. It’s great to hear her say “Yes! That’s it!”. I would brave all types of weather havoc to hear “Very good, Theresa” from her. Fortunately, all I had to do was be in the hot room and I got those very words from her in the backbend part of half moon, triangle and standing separate leg head to knee. I’ll aim to get more for other poses next time!

Cocoon

Do you ever wonder what happens to the caterpillar after it builds its cocoon? Does it melt and become reborn completely as a butterfly or does it keep the core of itself even after it grows embellishment?

On day 45 of my challenge, I believe I’m slipping into the cocoon where everything breaks down in bid of generating something new. Things in and outside of the studio are falling apart and calling for me to be great. I’m not sure I’m up for it but you can count on me to show up for it–for class, for life, you name it–and that’s more than half the battle.

Class with Angela was great as always. She’s a lovely person to see and hear even in a maddeningly warm room. I’m giving everything I’ve got to improving my triangle posture and Angela’s corrections–and those of so many teachers before her–have been making a huge difference. Looking forward to the tiniest improvements in class tomorrow.

Sweet Ache

After 44 days of my 101-day Bikram yoga challenge, I’m pretty sure I’m a crazy person. I had a solid class with Britney this morning. I signed in the next class and the puttered around doing my workstudy duties. The moment I realized that I truly need help was watching students come down the stairs after class, glowing from sweat and looking like they were floating. Right then and there I wanted to run back into that room to take another class.

Am I addicted? Not sure. Bikram class feels like you’re running a marathon with Snow White and the Seven Dwarves tap dancing and singing “Heigh-Ho” all over my chest, heart and spine. It takes everything in me not to curl up in a ball in a corner and pretend I’m in a sauna instead doing those postures. I may have difficulty with postures but I never sit out a set. I try to do each asana every time for as long as I can. When I fall out, I get back–except for standing forehead to knee where when I fall out I argue with myself about what the heck am I doing with my life and this whole Bikram thing.

At end of class I’m dishrag still soaked after it went through the ringer…and I love it. I think I do this yoga for the euphoria after you experience after taking your body to struggles it normally would never experience. You’re body aches like it’s just had a deep tissue massage and all tension has been released. It leaves you floating. I like that feeling and would gladly do another class to experience it. Thankfully, I have 57 more days to chase that sweet, sweet ache.