Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Here We Go Again!

Bad, bad, bad. I haven't been to yoga in 4 DAYS!!! WHAT?! I've been busy doing a shoot but the past 2 days I have absolutely NO excuse. I'm dreading going back today. I have been stalling which class to go to. I dread how hard it will be on my weak muscles. But I gotta do it, right? Right, I think. On a purely vain note, the reactions alone to the look of my body have been worth doing Bikram. The costume department on the pilot I did were very complimentary so I think I better keep doing it for the simple reason that costumes will fit that much better than on my old body. Okay, I'll update you on how tonight's class goes. Ugh. I keep making myself start over. But such is life, no?

...continued from today...so, it's 4:55pm and I am still stalling. there's a class at 8:45pm tonight. I hope people show up. I don't want to be the only one there. But I might have to be. I gotta go. Argh.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Morning Vs. Night

I went to class yesterday and today. I went last night at 7:30pm. I was nice and flexible and pretty strong. I went today at noon, without any food or coffee in me and I was fairly stiff and a little weak. My arms were not cool with an "early morning" workout. In Bikram you have to maintain straight, strong arms in most of the standing poses. Those triceps were not in the mood, lemme tell ya. It didn't take long to get warmed up though. And I am much more calm after having just woken up and no caffeine coursing through my veins. If I go later in the day, my pranayama is tense and agitating and my breathing through my practice is much more laboured. However, I don't push myself as hard in the morning as I do at night. At night I have a really strong, intense practice. Whereas, my morning practice is all about waking up my muscles and joints so I'm less inclined for a "workout". It's definitely more spiritual in the morning and more of a workout in the aft/evening.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I'm pleased to say I made it back yesterday after 3 days away. I renewed my monthly pass but I'm going to take today off. I'm feeling a little under the weather since I slept pretty poorly last night. Not sure why. Anyways, class was GREAT! It was difficult but everyone was well versed in the Bikram style so there was a collective energy carrying everyone. We were all trying our hardest and it was awesome! When there is a calm in the air, it's so much easier to go further and push harder without it feeling like "further and harder".

Today I've been up since the early hours and had a callback for a new role on a TV show up here. So I think my adrenaline was all used up, hence the need for a rest.

Tomorrow I am back. I have the whole day off with no stresses -- yet.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


I'm none too pleased with my lack of yoga. I have missed yoga 3 days in row! I had a shoot today but conceivably I could have made it to a 9am class -- that would have been pushing it, mind you, since I wanted to go to an 11am mass. Yesterday was excusable as I had to work all day and then run to a fitting for said shoot. However, Friday night was just plain disappointing. I had the car that day because of an audition and I was happy because I could drive myself to yoga. When I got there, I had a PRIME spot right in front of the studio. But I had no way of paying the meter. I left my damn credit card in my other coat pocket. I drove around the block a few times and realized there were no available spots since I couldn't park in them until 7pm and it was only 6pm. I was angry and just kept driving.

I think there's a little part of me that's spiteful since one of my teachers asked me how my body was handling the yoga since I wasn't taking it as often. Me, being skeptical of people's motives, I automatically (and still) assume that she's being snarky about my infrequent attendance. She just didn't realize (and I forgot to say something at the time) that I was sick for an entire week and that's why she hadn't seen me. As my imagination would rather believe, I think she was giving me a jab. So, all in all, I think subconsciously I've stayed away just to show her her snarkiness hasn't affected me.

The reason I think she's snarky is because she's made comments in class that have made me feel uncomfortable. For instance, she pointed out in class the size and flabbiness of her post-childbearing belly. I could care less! I'm not there judging her and saying, "Ew! Gross! She's so ugly!" To go along with the comment about her belly, she makes me feel self-conscious by comparing our bodies by saying something along the lines of "You're stomach is so fit and mine's not." She also made a comment about me to a crowded class about how "Mary might have a really nice body but she needs to work at her flexibility." Is that a constructive comment or a really subtle way of jabbing at me? Needless to say, rather than making me feel good, it makes me feel awkward. I really could care less but I wish she would knock it off. Maybe it's her Hungarian blood that makes her so blunt. It's her own insecurities, bottom line.

Anyways, blee blee blah blah. Since no one reads this anyways, that's why I've written what might appear as egocentric comments. I actually hope no one reads it so they don't think that. ARGH. I DON'T CARE ANYMORE! This is a journal and I can write whatever's on my mind and even if people were reading this, they can make whatever comments they want. I can take it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Pain No More!

So, getting back to the question of whether or not Bikram poses are making a difference...they are. I've had a rest day today and will go back tomorrow but I'm not in the least bit hurting. My knees and IT band are fine. Is it the Bikram or the resting every few days? Maybe I'll never be sure if I continue to take Bikram classes. Right now, I'm enjoying the progress I'm making and I'm going to coast on that for a while.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Only Bikram?

This is a pre-class blogging. I don't have tons to say, I just felt like writing in my "journal". I should have gone to class at noon but of course, I slept until 10:30am and couldn't imagine not having my coffee until 1:30pm. 'Cause ya know, as a good yogi, you shouldn't drink coffee or eat until after class. Today I wanted my coffee much too much and decided to wait until the 5pm class.

My monthly pass is up on Friday. It's hard to believe I've already gone through two monthly passes. That means I'm actually doing my yoga on a regular basis. It's definitely a habit now. This past month I've been focusing on only doing the Bikram postures. There's a difference in my body compared to last month. Last month I was trying to not to discriminate between the two styles of classes offered at my studio so I went to both. I also was in the midst of doing a 30-day challenge and often times I found I had to go to "hot flow" class because that was the only class I could make it to. When I was going to both, my body was starting to feel pretty beat up. Remember? My hips were tight, my IT band was tight, I was just plain tight.
When I wake up in the morning, I often sit up cross-legged and it was hurting a lot when I was in my 30-day challenge. Lately, it hasn't hurt. Since I've been only doing Bikram for a chunk of time now, my body hasn't reacted badly. My body actually feels loose yet strong. I would never have figured this out if I hadn't done both. The school of hard knocks worked in this case. Granted, I haven't been doing Bikram poses every day but by now I should feel a little tight in my knees having done yoga 2 days in a row and getting ready for a third. Anyways, I'll let ya know how class number 3 feels. Generally, if my body is in pain I won't be able to go into toe stand comfortably. That'll be my indicator.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Headache, Schmedache

Bikram/hot yoga is probably one of the most painful but most rewarding things to do when you have a headache. I literally was at migraine levels when I booted myself out of the house today and went to the studio. I wanted to vomit many times on my way there and when I was doing the pranayama breathing I was swallowing the bile down. I know, disgusting. However, I didn't push myself too hard and was rewarded with a clear head by the time I got in the shower. I found all of the backbends to be especially good for my head. To conquer one of my migraines is a huge deal for me. Usually it's the other way around and I'm found lying flat on my back in a dark room or praying to the porcelain god for relief. Today was a turning point for me. If I can just get myself to the studio, I know I'll be able to squeeze that headache right out. Now, I will follow all of this by saying that I did have one regular strength ibuprofen before I left the house. That may have helped a little bit but like I said, it was on the brink of full-blown migraine so I am pretty damn sure the yoga had the most to do with my recovery, 'cause ain't no way a little 200 IB would do the trick. So, in conclusion, to anyone who suffers headaches like I do, it's entirely possible to recover through hot yoga. Cue the Disney Aladdin music for "A Whole New World".

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Focus, Focus, Focus

I had a good morning class today. I was definitely a little wonky. My equilibrium was off especially on my left side of standing head to knee. I completely fell out of it but managed to get both legs straight on both sides despite this wonkiness. I'm never all that flexible in the morning so I couldn't actually bring my head to my knee. But the other day, I did! I'm still so excited about that. It was a pose I thought I'd never, ever be able to do. It was so satisfying.

Another interesting factor in today's class was that there were only 3 of us, 1 of whom was brand new. You can always tell based on the clothing. She was wearing long yoga pants and a loose tank top. Me, on the other hand, I basically wear a two-piece bathing suit. The less the better! Anyways, the interesting factor was that each of our energies were a little off kilter and I think we all contributed to the imbalance in the room. If there had been strong practitioners in the room, I probably would have benefited from their strong energy, whereas today, I was the strongest practitioner and the other two were sorta relying on me. I can definitely be weak in my mind when it comes to focus. It's a skill I want to acquire and am certainly working towards but I'm a long way off. I know it will help my acting, especially at auditions where it's easy to get psyched out. The focus in a yoga studio is such that in order to improve, you must stay on yourself and never stray. It helps no one, especially me. I guess sometimes I feel like maybe the person next to me thinks I'm competing and I get weirded out when I go all out. I hate competition so I'd rather look bad in a pose rather than go all out. But, I know, it's not about what others think. It's about attaining a strong practice and a strong focus.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Bum Dee Bum

Alright, I'm a bum. I slept in today. I went to class last night. It was a good, strong class but I definitely had the sniffles. So, my justification for today's sleeping was yesterday's sniffles. I'm drinking my coffee at 12:56pm as I write this. I hope to make it to class tomorrow morning but I am going to Hamilton for one of my husband's shows tonight. Not that I'm going to tear it up or anything but he got home close to 2am last night because of said show so I'm assuming it's going to be another late night. I'm terrible at waking up. I LOVE sleeping. I think it may even be an addiction. I'm a champion sleeper. Today I slept until noon and I seriously could have kept sleeping.

Anyways, on a positive note, I am noticing that my body reacts very kindly to rest. When I come to class after a day or two off, I'm flexible and strong and my hips aren't as tight as they would be if I went every day, like in the challenge. I'm not saying I should be a slacker all the time but I certainly do better with rest days inserted; sometimes just one day, other times, two days off. The goal is to enjoy it and get better at it, right? Well, if I'm not wasting my money, then I think I'm doing it right.

On a completely different note, I think I have discovered (I say that like I'm Christopher Columbus) a really good skin product. Dr. Hauschka is a German skin company and all their ingredients are grown on their own farms and the products/ingredients are developed in their labs. All natural and really good for your skin. My skin seems pretty damn happy. I bought the samples and they feel great and fresh on my sensitive, blemish-y skin. I won't know until I get closer to finishing the products whether or not they actually clear my skin up and make it feel confident :) So far, so good, though.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Return of the Jedi

I'm back! I went yesterday and today and though I am sore and extremely tired, I am content. I thought it would be really hard going back yesterday but a friend of mine was there and that lifted my spirits a bit and distracted me. I had a really strong practice both days. I am no longer concerned about my teacher's opinions of my practice. I am just happy to be doing my body good.

I told myself to take it easy. That was the first thing I did right in coming back after 7 days of illness. Then when I felt like I could go further in my poses, I did and it felt awesome. My standing poses were pretty strong. My legs didn't lose strength like I thought they would. They're a little sore but nothing crazy. My hips were happy since I had been stretching them in weird ways but I know they need those stretches. I haven't done full toe stand on my left side yet. I'm not going to aggravate that IT band. It's so finicky. I'm tightening my bum as much as possible, especially on the floor during uphill poses and I'm still aware that my ab muscles are becoming more defined. The only thing I think I need to focus on the most or is the most important is stretching my lower back and extending it so my hips tilt forward. I'm just really tight or inflexible in my lower back (really curved) and my hips therefore have difficulty tilting forward. I think you get the idea. Slowly but surely, I'm starting to see this said tilt and I'm slowly starting to uncurve my lower back.

I can't shake the fatigue today though. I think that has something to do with not sleeping well at all last night. I got stuck in a bad dream cycle and couldn't get out of it. I took a nap but I'm still really tired. Tomorrow I rest.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Tomorrow, Tomorrow, I Love Ya...

Okay. Today I'm FINALLY feeling like my old self. The pubescent boy seems to be slowly leaving my body and I am glad of it. My head is still clogged but my spirits are higher. They could be perhaps because the window in the living room is open and the fresh air is seeping in and leaving a deliciously fresh scent in the room. I also just lit a new sprig of my Nag Champa incense. Spring is sproinging. And oh yeah, the clocks moved ahead an hour. Luckily I didn't have to be up at any particular hour so I was cool with that. I'm looking forward to the light at the end of the day. However, today is somewhat overcast. I got out early (what would have been 11am but was actually 12pm) and got some groceries. I washed the dishes and set about my leisurely day.

I am reading St. Augustine's The Confessions for Lent. I am reading with a skeptical mind so that I'm not reading like my old self which succumbed to some inner Catholic guilt that would normally propel me into having to believe every single word written by a Catholic saint or else I would go to Hell. Instead, I want to come from a genuine place of belief. It's one thing to buy every word and spit it back out without giving a thought to it's meaning and it's quite another to understand and believe. If I don't believe some of his words, I'm not afraid to question them. The cool thing is that my question has usually been answered in some later passage. But if it's not, I'm okay with the questions remaining within me. I know God will answer them even if not for a very long time.

I've used this week as a means to listen to Augustine's words. It's been some serious down time for me which I think I needed. Mentally, I found myself able to focus on each task at hand because I was so foggy. I know that sounds weird. What I mean is that I was able to concentrate on the one thing I was doing and not on the million things that usually cloud my mind when I'm healthy. So, when reading Augustine, the words have sunk in. When watching the play yesterday, I was there 100%. When looking around in the furniture stores yesterday, I was looking at each piece as if I were in a museum. It's been a sort of tunnel vision. I have appreciated my week "off". It has been a much needed vacation.

Tomorrow, I am back with my yoga. It's calling my name pretty loud. I can't wait!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

'Tis nobler...

Alright, so it's been 6 days and will be 7 days that I have officially missed. This is torture. But at least I know I'm craving to get back to the studio once I feel able. I have gone from feeling like I have the flu to having a super congested head to now having laryngitis.

I can't believe the laryngitis. I went to work last night since I missed one shift already and wasn't about to miss a Friday night money shift. I was fine despite being really congested and practically deaf from all the stuffiness but I was fine. By the end of the shift I started sounding like a prepubescent boy.
I went to a play this afternoon and crawled around rainy Toronto beforehand, popping in and out of shops since I had no umbrella. I know, how stupid can a sick person get? I guess pretty stupid.

Today I sound like a boy in the full throws of puberty. I wonder if I am going to lose my voice altogether. I can feel it all in my chest; heavy and burning a little. I bought Nim Joim, the Chinese herbal cough syrup/expectorant. It's all natural and supposedly awesome. I had a cup of hot water mixed with this syrup and it tasted great! I'm going to have two or three more cups throughout the night and hope for the best.

But with this whole chest thing I realized I shouldn't go to yoga. I'm even bowing out of going to my friend's birthday party tonight so that I don't spread the germs to all the guests (all of whom are performers in some capacity and probably wouldn't appreciate getting laryngitis from me). Actually, I'm not sure if you can catch laryngitis but you can certainly catch the germs that cause it. Apparently, certain people are more prone to getting it than others. I am definitely one of those people. I would normally be pretty panicky about this sort of illness but I have no jobs booked for next week or the next as far as I know, so this should pass in a few days I hope. I will definitely make it back to class by Monday after resting all night tonight and tomorrow all day and night. I was of the mind that perhaps hot yoga would help to clear up the congestion but it wouldn't be fair to my fellow classmates to spread those germs so carelessly. It's much more noble to be thoughtful of your fellow human beings and the effect you may have on them rather than "suffering" out in the wide open for everyone to see. The result of the "suffering" is more suffering as your fellow human beings catch your cold and lose several days of work/play too. It's far more noble to tuck one's troubles into the safety of one's home and hide there until the coast is clear.

UGH! I am suffering though by not doing my yoga!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Man down!

I'm hanging in there. I can't believe I have to miss another day of yoga. My head is so full and my body feels so run down, I just need to sleep the day away. I'm not falling off this wagon though. I will be doing yoga for the rest of my life. This is a minor speedbump aimed at making sure I take life easy. It's not about getting to the finish line fast. It's about enjoying each moment as it arrives. Yoga is meant to help me create a greater and more beautiful union with God. How could I fall off that kind of wagon? It pretty much seems impossible.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

*Cough, Cough, Sniffle, Sniffle*

Here I am, sick again. It sucks but what're ya gonna do? I haven't laid myself out for the rest of the day yet but I'm planning on it. I rested all day yesterday and today I hope to do the same. I had an audition this morning, got some groceries and am home for the rest of the day. It's just a head cold but I can tell my body is still really run down. I seriously thought about going to yoga yesterday to squeeze out the toxins but my husband would have none of it. He was right. I feel far better than I would have if I'd gone to yoga and work last night. It's tough to know deep down that my body will hurt when I go back to my practice but c'est la vie! It's a good lesson for this Lenten season. Tomorrow I have a callback for a commercial so I will sleep the day and night away and hopefully nail the callback. Then, perhaps, I will go to a class in the afternoon. We shall see. I also don't know if I want to put other people at risk by exposing them to my cold. But if Bikram yoga does what it is supposed to do, then everyone will simply repel my cold with all of the sweating and squeezing of toxins. Hmmm...something to ponder.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Sicky McSicky

Well, even though I was going to have my 1 day off today, I may just be having a few days off. I have a bloody bug of some kind, either cold or flu, can't tell at this early stage. I'm laying low and might even call in sick to work tonight. We'll see. Tomorrow I have an audition in the morning. Not that big of a deal but still, might need my beauty sleep. The biggest obstacle will be keeping my spirits up despite missing a few days of practice. I can't get discouraged as though I'll never do yoga again, which would have been my attitude in the past. I am really trying to make this Lent worthwhile and nurture my relationship with God. I know it is capable of being a relationship that I can turn to when I'm feeling like I'll never make it to a yoga class again. I know it sounds like a silly "despair" but it really has been a problem in the past where I have dropped activities because I feel like I'm no good at them or I simply fall off the fitness wagon and never get back on again.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Booze and Caffeine

Another good solid morning practice. I woke up an hour and a half before class, had 3 8oz. glasses of water and no food (as per my teacher's recommendation). I always feel amazing when I've had only water and no food. The only drawback is having to pee a million times before or once during class, like today. I ran out between standing and lying down poses. I managed to get back in time for a little bit of savasana. I stayed on the cooler side of the room. I still managed to sweat a decent amount but I wasn't pouring sweat.

As for my poses, my standing head to knee was solid once again. It even rendered a compliment from my teacher. Speaking of teacher compliments, I know I'm getting better at focusing when I can receive a compliment during the pose and not fall out of it anymore. It's a grain of salt now. After that, my bow pose, especially on my left side, was pretty awesome. It was about half as open as the photo below (that's a standing bow, if you didn't already know) which is great for me. I could see my ankle above my head instead of just my foot. That's how I know I'm progressing. I laid off on toe stand today. I thought I'd give my knees a break. They will probably thank me in the morning. On the floor, nothing spectacular changed except that my hips were tilting forward in sitting head to knee (finally!), according to my teacher, which meant I could start bending my arms and pulling forward. F*#%, that pose hurts a lot but it's one I have to do religiously.

I thought maybe I would give up coffee and alcohol when I started hot yoga. But I actually will get through my morning classes knowing my coffee will be my reward. As for alcohol, I find I'm enjoying beer instead of wine, probably because my muscles are craving it. I don't drink more than a glass or two when I go out and if I do have more than two, I'm completely cranky and hungover the next day. Weird. I guess I'm what you would call, "in shape." Again, weird.