Saturday, February 28, 2009

Soap Box or Just Jealous?

I had a good class today. Solid. My standing head to knee was the strongest and easiest it's ever been. I was kinda shocked actually. But as long as I flex both thigh muscles, I'm set. I think for so long I was putting a lot of weight into my hands rather than flexing the lifted thigh. By doing so, you're not just using your arms to hold the leg up. It's little stuff like this that you only learn by doing regularly. Some days I'm just not in tune with certain poses or particular body parts and other days I am and that's when I learn.

I also battled with envy today. There's a couple of students who are excellent and I am envious.
(NOTE: This is a random photo of an excellent student somewhere in North America being taught by Bikram, himself.) I had to work pretty hard in the beginning to set my focus on myself and no one else. Really, though, I just want to watch them and stand slack-jawed at their prowess. I find I have to put a pleasant smile on my face so that I stop looking so disappointed in myself. Someday, I will hold my poses just the same way. But I also realized that I have so many amazing opportunities and skills that they will never have. For instance, one of those students I overheard to be a financial analyst of some sort. God help that person. I thought, at least they have their yoga to bring them some sort of happiness because for me to be a financial whatchamacallit, I'd probably want to do a terrible wrong to myself. I know, that's very narrow-minded and egotistical of me to say that but really, what I mean, is at least they have a hobby that brings them spiritual fulfillment because, in my opinion, to work with money in big business is to walk a dangerous moral and ethical line. In fact, more people in big business should do yoga rather than beefing up at the gym. I'm standing on a soapbox right now, sure, but it's just my humble opinion that can be easily ignored.

Friday, February 27, 2009

To practice or not to practice...

This afternoon, I'm debating going to class at all. Not because I don't want to go but because I wonder if 2 days on and 1 day off is my best bet. I find I get frustrated some days with my lack of progress or lack of motivation and therefore don't work as hard. And if I take a day off every 2 days, then perhaps it'll leave me wanting more. I'd rather nurture the desire to get to my yoga classes than kill the passion by over doing it. I dunno. It's a hard call. I really want to go since I had such a great class yesterday. But what if I don't have a good class today (which is totally acceptable)? Will that really kill some of the passion or will it be a lesson? 5 days a week ain't a bad practice. I guess where this is all coming from is that I noticed during the 30-day challenge that I was pretty worn down with 7 days/week and almost as worn down with 6 days/week. So, if I wittle it down to 5 days/week, then perhaps I'm on to something. I suppose a solution to my angst-y-ness would be to do Yin poses on the days off in order to really get my hips opening up. Another thought for another time is that I need to get to a doctor. I have a bum left shoulder (dislocated it in a batting cage years ago) and my neck and back vertabrae are pretty effed. Like I said, that's for another blog entry.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Other Side of Town

I'm finding it hard not revealing myself freely as in a genuine journal. I'd like to say names and places, making it easier for me to remember people and places. I'll have to figure that one out.

I went to the other side of town today for a free class. They have a lovely waiting room with lots of yoga wear and products for sale. The change rooms were really nice too with Dr. Bronner's soap for showering. The room itself though has gone through a bit of rough and tumble with the heat, I'm assuming. It's a very old building, for starters and this room is under intense heat for most of it's "life". So, basically, what I'm saying, is that I understand the circumstances. But really, it's kinda shoddy looking with brown goo drops dried on the ceiling and around the floor boards. The windows have crappy plastic seal across them, falling away at the various corners. Don't get me wrong, through, I love the draft that was creeping through :)

The teacher was good and solid. She talked really fast and was pretty intense. She held some poses longer than other teachers but vice versa when I'm with those other teachers. One pose in particular that killed me was awkward pose. I KNOW she held it longer. Getting back to the intensity...I realized that I can handle that way of teaching now that I have a pretty solid base to build on. When I was first starting and had a teacher like that, I was ready to crumple under the pressure. But I realize that only I put the pressure on and if I don't want to or can't push myself further into a pose, then I don't have to, damn it!

The teacher said I had a good practice after class. That was nice of her to say. I certainly appreciated it as I go through my ups and downs with this style of yoga. Physically speaking, because of the side lighting from the windows at this studio, I'm actually noticing the muscles that have appeared in the last month or so. My upper body is really getting broad and muscular and my legs, while I'm reluctant to embrace this aspect, are getting stronger and therefore, bigger. Eek! Bigger! Never! I say that in jest. I'd rather be strong and healthy than weak and skinny. If my thighs get too big then maybe I'll figure something out but I'm thinking that if I stick with this practice, I'll eventually even out. Really, I think I've just got muscle forming under the "skinny fat" that I've had and that skinny fat will vacate the building soon enough. My biggest goal, though, if you call this vanity a goal, is to put some muscle in my flabby butt. Yes, I said flabby. I'm skinny (110 lbs - though hopefully heavier since starting my practice) but the muscle seems to be hiding beneath this flabby layer of fat. Granted, I accept that at my age, things start to sag a bit but seriously, this kind of yoga should firm it all up nicely. So, now when I am doing poses that require me bum muscles, I'm tightening them as hard as a rock. I'll get back to ya on this fascinating topic.

Made it!

I made it to a Bikram class. I survived and am pretty sore today. Instead of feeling like 2 days away, it felt like 2 weeks away. However, my body was limber and I was more open to pushing myself. I think when I was going every day, I needed some days that were relaxed but instead I pushed myself to somewhere right in the middle, not too hard, not too soft. I'm not sure which is better to do; have an easy day here, and a hard day there? Or simply have a medium sized workout every time?

Anyways, I'm glad I made it. It was a close one there. Today I'm heading over to the studio on the other side of town because I have a free pass. I've heard mixed reviews about it but it's free and I'm willing to try anything. Plus, it's the only noon class in town and I have to go to work at 5pm.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday

Today is the clincher whether or not I'll go back to yoga. Last night, I did a whole ton of Yin poses focusing on my hips, inside and outside. It just hurt. Hopefully it will help in the long run. I have to make a 7:30pm class after my callback at 5:35. I'm debating staying out until the class. It makes sense. I'm also feeling or felt a lump in my throat so I'm a little cautious about my health. But I gotta do it. 2 days off is pretty hardcore. Plus, today is the beginning of Lent. I'm trying to observe it. I started by going to Mass at noon and have done the mild Catholic fast (2 small meals, 1 regular one and no meat). That part's okay. Now, I'd like to combine the yoga with the Lenten exercises. All a part of it. Tonight I plan on meditating as much as possible to make it through the 1 small meal-part of the fast. I had my big one this afternoon and figure I can make it through with some help from God. I'll write more post-class.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Vitamin Deficiency?

To conclude, I decided to rest one more day. It feels dangerous since, like I said, I'm prone to dropping activities if I neglect them for a couple days or more. So, I'm very cautious and a little anxious to say the least. I just have to believe that I WILL make it to tomorrow evening's class. I will have had 2 callbacks throughout the day and I probably will be tired, but I will try to stay hydrated and loose. I WILL make it back. I have a blog to keep up with afterall :)

I'm debating doing even the Yin poses. I'm feeling a little lazy. Lately, I've been noticing that my thumb nails are really brittle and are peeling. My right thumb also has a pretty big dip in it. I was looking on line and the general idea is that I have maybe some iron and calcium deficiency and/or malnutrition. I'm not the best eater in the world. I eat pretty consistently and would say I choose really healthy foods. But, I've developed this dip in my nail since having started doing yoga on a regular basis. I wonder what the lack of nutrition is? I think I'll post this question on the Hot Yoga Forum.

Rest Day

I think my rest day yesterday was worth it. I'm debating resting today too but I know I'm capable of dropping my practice altogether if I rest for too long. But my hips and knees didn't hurt when I sat cross-legged today. That was a sign that my body needed to chill and apparently reacted kindly to the chilling. Now, I could take off one more day but tomorrow I might not be able to practice at all depending if I have to work. That would be the risk I would have to take. However, I just looked up one of the studios in town and they have a noon class tomorrow. Might be do-able.

I know. I'll do some Yin poses today when I get back from my audition. Or I'll stay in town and go to my usual Bikram studio at 5pm. Hmmmm....I'm clearly on the fence here and confused as to what will help and what won't.

To be continued...

Monday, February 23, 2009

Yin class

Wow. I was not a happy camper in class yesterday. I can't do forward bends for the life of me. They turned out to be completely useless. The forward bends that involve sitting with legs spread wide and the pelvis tilting forward...forget it. I get nothing out of them because I seem to have no pelvic tilt at all. I'm so hunched forward (even with a prop pushing me that way) and I feel no stretch in my lower back, like my teacher said we would. I don't like my teacher. She does the class with us, but she's not actually assisting us. I sometimes feel like we're inconveniencing her. If she would go around and help us, then maybe I could figure out what it is that's happening, or not happening for that matter.

I literally was so unhappy in class that I was weeping. Maybe it was just the hip openers doing that but I was disappointed in myself that I couldn't stop the flow of tears. Of course, I kept it to myself so I didn't freak any of my classmates out. I think the feeling of defeat dates back to dance classes as a child/teenager and I was the only one who couldn't do the forward bends. Forever, I thought I wasn't flexible because of those stretches but I'm just not flexible in that specific area. I need to find some exercises or stretches that really help in that area. Otherwise, I get nothing out of the Yin class.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

My First Blog

I've put this blog together as a continuation of the private journal I kept for my 30-day challenge. If I have a yoga blog, then I am hoping that my devotion to my practice will stay alive by making me accountable. Writing a public journal is certainly one way of being accountable.

Today and yesterday I took it really easy in my Bikram classes. I got a $600 parking ticket yesterday afternoon for accidentally parking in a handicapped spot. I couldn't believe my eyes when my car was gone in a matter of 20 minutes (they towed it too). Needless to say, I was really upset and rattled but I needed to get to my class. I was ready to give up and throw in the towel (no pun intended, I assure you) since I was feeling sorry for myself. Instead, I dragged myself there with my miserable mood in tow and made it gently through my class. I nursed my crumpled psyche through 90 minutes of eventual bliss.

The day before the towing/ticket incident, I had missed the last day of my first 30-day challenge. Again, I was terribly upset. I even cried (?!). But the best thing about that day was realizing that my yoga practice is a lifelong pursuit. There will be plenty of days that I wish I could get to class and won't be able to because of traffic, work, weather, etc., etc. But I made it the next day (the day of the parking ticket) and am proud of myself for doing so since my old mentality of "Just give up, what's the point?" tried to creep back in. I think, too, I've been really caught up in what my teachers think of me and my practice. But, more and more, I am logically figuring out that I should be beholden unto no one but myself. I am a baby yogini and I'm proud of my little accomplishments.

Now, to my class journal since this is the real point to me having a blog. Today's class was relatively hot but not crazy. I think the teacher said it was 112F for most of the class. I noticed that my not pushing myself that hard these past couple days results in far less sweat. I like to sweat so, in the future, I will know how hard I'm pushing myself based on the amount of sweat dripping down me during the standing poses. I love making these little discoveries in each and every class. There's something new every day. Granted, I've only been going 6-7X/week since January 19th.

I took it easy on my knees today and avoided toe stand, even though I'm finally achieving balance when I'm down there. I have noticed that I am kept awake at night with the dull ache of my knees and if I avoid toe stand, there is less of that pain. My knees and my hips have been my biggest problems to date. My hips were starting to open when I began this rigorous daily practice and then all of a sudden they got tight and so did my knees! It was especially frustrating for me in class today. I was so angry in the intense stretching pose after stick pose because I haven't seen any bloody progress in my hips. It only seems to get worse. I also have a significant curve in my mid-lower back which makes it seem even more impossible to get that "intense stretch". I'm trying to be loving towards my knees and hips but since forward bends have always been the bane of my existence, I want to scream out in anger when we get to those poses. Patience is definitely a virtue when forward bends are involved.