EUREKA!

Class with Courtney today was great! 3rd time’s the charm. Also got to see a few old friends at the studio. Wonderful day! Today’s greatest victory involved me waking up at the time I’ve been attempting to train myself to wake up and staying awake. I am stoked and encouraged. Other good news is no more yoga every day. Every other day starting Monday. Looking forward to having more time.

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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!

BREEZE!

BREEZE!

Today’s Bikram yoga class went by like a breeze! World Champion Courtney Mace taught and there is just something about her pace that makes me fly every time. It’s the same class and it’s just as hard except it isn’t.

Since my reset, doing Triangle has actually gotten easier or, shall I say, more manageable. In the past, it was torture. When I first started practicing Bikram it usually was the indicator that the Standing Series was almost done and all I had to do was hold on. During my 136 consecutive days of practice, it was just plain hard and I struggled to hold it. With this new run, it hasn’t been difficult to hold Triangle.

Let me be clear, Triangle–and all of Bikram yoga for that matter–remains and will always be challenging. It’s just that I have a chance at actually getting into the posture with the dialogue and holding on to it until the end. Courtney’s words and style today made it that much more easier.

I also am more aware and more willing to push myself these days. In the past, it was all about preventing injury. This time around, I feel strong. Here’s to getting stronger and healthier at the end of these 30 Days of Fitness!

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!

Bikram’s Beauty

Day 2 of my 101 day Bikram yoga challenge was completed with no incident.  I had the pleasure of taking a class with Jennifer Pope, one of the owners of Bikram Yoga East Harlem and a newly minted Bikram teacher as of last year’s fall teacher training.  After my second day, I am encouraged that I chose the right studio to embark upon this journey.  So far it’s a haven of peaceful energy as I go through the highs and lows of my daily practice.

Bikram 101: Day 2

Today, I had less dizziness, but I did pay for my insufficient sleep–a persistent complaint–with less stamina and strength to hold some postures, particularly my favorite, standing bow.  I could hold it for 60 seconds on the left but not on the right.  I’m not worried though.  I have 99 more days to work on it!  Although Stephanie provided insight yesterday about standing head to knee, I had trouble pulling back from kicking out during the asana.  My knee is locked but I don’t have the strength to hold the posture.  I think I’ll work on building that strength instead of starting the posture late and rushing through it.

After class, I had the pleasure of spending some time with another Bikram yoga aficionado which brought me even greater insight into why I practice this form of yoga.  To many “purists”, Bikram yoga, with its mirrors, commanding instructors and trademarked, regimented postures,  is the bastardization–the McDonaldization–of yoga.  I have experienced other forms of yoga and I have enjoyed them.  Elements that irritate detractors of Bikram Choudhury’s 26-posture beginning yoga series are the very things draw and hold my interest after almost 3 years of practice.

I love that it is always the same 26 postures for an hour and a half in a room that is 105 degrees no matter where I go. This consistency frees me up to focus on the tiniest victories as I discover adjustments to improve my form.  The meditation and introspection of the practice finds me in my eyes in the mirror.  I am my greatest teacher.  Watching myself drenched in sweat in that mirror for 90 minutes melts away any and ALL body image issues.  I am strong.  I am beautiful.  I do not question how God built me.  I can do anything, maybe not right away but every minute and every day brings me closer to it.  All I can do is my best and that changes with every day.  I leave each class satisfied and spent.  I can’t say that about everything in my life!  Until that changes, Bikram it is!

Back to Bikram

I think it’s time. Don’t you? Time to recalibrate and reconnect. What better way to do that than a vigorous Bikram yoga challenge?

Today I embarked on day 1 of a 30 day Bikram yoga challenge. It involves 30 days of taking 1 yoga class a day. That’s something I know I can easily do. I’ve done about 6 of them so far.

In all my challenges, I only did classes every day for 30 days straight during my first month of practice.  Actually I did 31 classes in 30 days because because I did class twice on one of those days.  Subsequently in my challenges, I have compressed 30 classes into 15 or 16 days.  I love doubles.  Going to just 1 class a day for a consecutive 30 days is definitely challenging considering my frenetic New York City schedule.

The real challenge though is to see if I can take on Bikram 101 and take class every day for 101 days!  The Bikram 101 blog explains it best:

Why 101 consecutive days?

There are different “challenge lengths” in Bikram yoga. Here is a break out of how each one helps and heals your body…

  • 30-Days: A readjustment period… You’re getting your body primed for an on-going practice. Just getting through a 30 consecutive day challenge is a difficult for most people. It can be difficult to mentally commit yourself to going to class for 30 consecutive days.
  • 60-Days: In the 60-day challenge, the second 30 days are where you get to the “emotional stuff.” While you experience the mental exhaustion “here and there” in the first set of 30 days, you experience it far more frequently in the second set. Anger. Tears. Hysterical laughter. It all comes out here… Both in and out of class.
  • 90-Days: This is when your body suddenly (or so people claim) changes shape. You will notice in the 30 and 60-day challenges that muscles and body parts tighten up. But the third set of 30 is when you start to see the yoga practice pay off physically in your body. You’ve been feeling it up until this point… But now you can actually see it. You can see your “yoga bum” starting to take shape.
  • 100-Days: Ten extra days, just to make things a nice big number…
  • 101-Days: Because you just have to show up for one extra day.

Day 1

I’ve set my sights on a new studio closer to home.  Although I’ve only been there just one day, I’m really enjoying Bikram Yoga East Harlem.  I took class with one of the sister duo who owns the studio, Stephanie Pope Caffey, and it was lovely.  She has an amazing, nurturing, challenging energy.  Her suggestions around standing head to knee might just be the difference between barely making it through the posture and actually powering my through it.

Today’s class was great although I had a few bouts of lightheadedness simply because I’m reconditioning myself after almost a year away from consistent practice.  It wore me out but walking out of there, I felt wonderful.  See you BYEH tomorrow!  Here’s to 30 days and then 71 more!  Let’s see how it goes!