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!

Gratitude Day 27

Day 27 of 30 Days of Tessism discovers gratitude right under it’s nose!

Gratitude:  I sifted through my hard drive of thousands of pictures over the past few years and realized that I have a great life.  I am grateful for the past years of adventure, love and wonder thanks to the amazing people surrounding me.  I have had so much fun with so many friends doing anything our hearts desire.  It has been a privilege to blaze trails with the beloved people in my life.  I am grateful for the blast my life has been and continues to be.  I wouldn’t change it for a thing!

Gratitude Day 26

Day 26 of 30 Days of Tessism leaves gratitude for what delights the eye.

Gratitude: I am grateful today for the majesty and awesome beauty of Nigeria. I still cannot believe I am here. After years of tales of Africa’s beauty, I am here to witness it. There are trees like nothing I have seen before. There are endless stretches of green land and red clay. I am grateful to see this with my adult eyes that can appreciate them in this lifetime. It is incredible.

Gratitude Day 25

Day 25 of 30 Days of Tessism brings gratitude very different from last year.

Gratitude:  Today, I am grateful to be in a warm place in November.  No snow.  No coat.  Just warm and sun here in Nigeria.  I never expected to be here but here I am.  I miss New  York but the warmth and new adventure is great consolation.  I am grateful for something I did not plan which gives me a reprieve from the norm.  I am grateful for the sun that blots out the storm.

Gratitude Day 24

Day 24 of 30 Days of Tessism finds gratitude in simplicity.

Gratitude:  Today is the beginning of the last 7 days o f 30 Days of Tessism.  I am grateful that I’ve made it this far in the challenge another year in.  I am grateful for the pleasure of every day.  I am grateful for this life.  It is all I have and it is more than enough.  Take time today to look at the simple pleasures that make your life worth living.  Look at the people you love.  For all of it, give thanks.  I know I am.  HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Gratitude Day 23

Day 23 of 30 Days of Tessism finds gratitude amidst chaos.

Gratitude:  Today, I am grateful for the peace I find no matter what storm falls upon me.  Somewhere, there will be quiet and an end to the confusion.  Then new roads, new paths will open up for me.  New possibilities never before imagined become available because of those tribulations.

From the rain comes new life and something more magnificent than what was there before.  This happens time and again.

I am grateful that while in life, troubles may be a constant, victory is constant too.

Gratitude Day 22

Day 22 of 30 Days of Tessism is all about gratitude for something simply pleasureable.

Gratitude:  Today, I am grateful for the opportunity to stop everything, sneak away and catch a moment of respite from my hectic life.  A nap takes that gratitude to another level of ecstasy.  I’m glad for the times when I take a moment to myself and relax.  During those times, the forces in my world collude to make sure that no one disturbs me until I’m ready to jump back in.  I am responsible for nothing and no one.  I have nothing to do do.  Nowhere to go.  Absolute heaven.

Those moments give me the fuel to keep going and going to achieve my goals.  I am utterly grateful for time to relax and be with myself.

Gratitude Day 21

Credit: Mikael Persson

On Day 21 of 3o Days of Tessism, gratitude comes in the aftermath.

Gratitude:  Today, I am grateful for how quickly and easily I recover from disasters.  I don’t just learn my lesson and slink away.  Every setback has an unseen victory and I am grateful for the fortune to find that win every time.  It doesn’t happen right away but eventually I realize that some circumstances I so desperately fought for or against were actually not  what I thought they were.  The things I was so sure were right turn out to not be so and getting the opposite of what I planned works out in my favor and vice versa.  In that way, I have grown to trust God and the Universe that it will all work out eventually.  For that I remain grateful.

Gratitude Day 20

Day 20 of 30 Days of Tessism has gratitude in something that can’t always be seen.

Gratitude:  Today I am grateful for what I don’t have.  I guess that’s probably an odd thing to be grateful for but it’s quite liberating.  Being grateful for that allows me to strive for things and let go of things that I don’t need.  I find it freeing to be grateful for what I do have and what I do not have and how that shapes me in my journey.

No matter how much I amass materially, nothing is more important than the family and friends that I will have no matter what.  I really don’t need much more.  That makes me really consider anything I desire to see if it’s worth the effort.  Does it symbolize something?  Is it something I already have in another form?  Do I really need it?  I am grateful for conscious connection to the things that fill my life and freedom from the unnecessary.

Gratitude Day 19

Today, on day 19 of 30 Days of Tessism, gratitude comes unexpected.

Gratitude:  Today I am grateful for the moments where I find myself laughing at loud at anything and everything.  Sometimes things are so daunting that the only I can do is laugh.  I’m grateful for the people that help me guffaw my way past meltdown and defeat.

There are many people who just kick back and laugh at me when I’m taking things too seriously.  My mom can’t quite put her finger on it but there some look I give her that I’ve been giving her since I was a baby that sends her into peals of laughter.  I’m glad I can do that without even trying.

As someone who can get bogged down by drama and seriousness, I find that laughter is great medicine.  It has some great benefits.  It was one of my favorite challenges in last year’s 30-day challenge.  It is very healing and takes the edge off everything.  Read about the challenge here.  Then join me in a gratitude for a laughter with a good belly-deep one!