Saturday, October 31, 2009

Saturday Demolition

Ah, Saturdays. Many people get to enjoy a lazy Saturday morning and ease into the day. No work, no worries. Not me. You see, I have to work on Saturdays from 11AM-3PM. No big deal, except my studio's last class of the day is at 3 PM. My only choices are 5 or 7 Am (which is unthinkable), or 9 AM. So I do the 9 AM. During the week I practice at 5 PM (and 7 if I do a double). That's generally the highlight of my day and I am very enthusiastic about going.

Saturdays are a different story. I don't look forward to this class. I'm not a morning person. It takes me a while to fully wake up. And for whatever reason, my joints are much tighter in the morning, so the beginning of class is always an adventure. But of course, as the class goes on, I loosen up, and things generally go Ok. I always feel great at the end, which is why I continue to go to this Saturday torture.

Our teacher (Chasity, one of my favorites) was wearing a costume today (Halloween after all) so that was fun. People like to do different things before class, chat with other students, lay in Savasana, whatever. Me, I warm up, and like to take the chance to go over specific postures with the teachers. Today Chasity and I went over Rabbit pose. She watched me do it and corrected a few minor points. But those minor points are what makes the difference. Going over individual postures with teachers before or after class is some of the most valuable use of my time each day. It's really helps improve my practice, rather than just listening for corrections in class.

Since my last blog yesterday morning, I've done two more classes, and that puts me at 86 classes in 82 days since I started. And I finished the 30 day challenge yesterday that our studio was doing! Now my next immediate goal is 100 since I started, but that's going to be pretty easy.


Friday, October 30, 2009

Too Cold?

Bikram class # 84 in 80 days last night. Today I'll do # 85 and will complete the 30 day challenge. I think I win a bag or something, but I told them I want a t-shirt! We'll see if that happens.

One thing interesting that's happened in classes this week is I keep getting more and more used to the temperature and I honestly didn't feel hot in any of the classes this week. Very warm, but not horrible, want-to-run-out-of-the-room hot. The good part about this is that I'm really just focused on the postures and I could care less if the fans come on or the doors open. The usual percentage of people end up dropping during part of the standing series, but I'm just cruising along.

One of my favorite teachers was (is) Heather, who sadly moved away this week to teach full-time at a studio in another state. She told us to try to imagine the class as a whole, rather than a series of different postures. I really like this viewpoint, and that's how I've been approaching things recently. Instead of worrying about getting through the next posture, I just focus on the 90 minutes.

I'm thinking about doing some double(s) next week, like more than one. We'll see how that goes...


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Maze of UNLV

Bikram class # 83 in 79 days. Went better than yesterday, considering my hamstrings were more cooperative. I went deeper in some back bend related things, like Camel, which always makes me happy. I'm totally envious of people that can do great back bends!

I'm getting used to the front row. It took me a while to start going there. I finally realized the most important thing about the front row is to set a good example, not sitting out postures, not taking water at weird times, etc. Am I the best at doing the postures? No, but I do set a good example. I do notice people behind me checking out my postures from time to time, so I figure that's a good thing.

On another note, I got to wander around UNLV today trying to find a person to give me a check for some work our company did. UNLV has some nice buildings - and some not so nice buildings, i.e. glorified trailers.

Oh yeah, World Series Game 1, totally boring. Phillies will win this thing in 5 I imagine. And the Cavs lost again. They're 0-2. Should I start panicking?


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hamstrings of Steel

I'm typing this during halftime of the Lakers game, which I'm watching on TV. I'm thrilled the NBA season is finally back. I know a lot of people don't get interested in basketball until the playoffs, but I watch any Lakers or Cavs games that are on during the season. I'm really excited about this season, especially since football has been rather boring so far.

So now I'm at 82 Bikram classes in 78 days. Today was interesting. For whatever reason, my hamstrings were very tight, like steel. This is not a good thing when you're trying to stretch and bend in various directions. My mind was all over the place during class, which is unusual. I was thinking about everything from my car to some Jay-Z songs. On the one hand, maybe that's not the best focus, but on the other hand, I wasn't too worried about the postures, and was doing them with relative grace and control. Except for some of the balancing series, where my hamstrings made things interesting.

Technically, I'm near the end of a 30 day challenge at my studio. Three days left and I'll be done. Of course, I keep track of the bigger picture, but this is a nice little game. It looks like maybe 10 other people will complete the challenge. One of them, who I really like, seems to have disappeared the past few days. Hopefully, she comes back soon.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Welcome to My World

After being inspired by many other blogs I've read, I figured I'd start my own. I always have a lot on my mind, and I love to write, so this seems like a perfect forum. This won't just be a blog about one thing, although I'll talk about yoga quite a bit, and some sports, music and other interesting things that catch my attention.

So without further delay, let's get to my first posting. And yes, I'll be talking about Bikram Yoga to start off with. It's a recurring theme in my life, and the classes I take everyday shape my viewpoints on everything else. And I love to talk about it.

For the uninformed, Bikram Yoga is a specific form of yoga which involves two breathing exercises and 26 postures in a specific order, put into a 90 minute class. And oh yeah, it's hot. Like at least 100 degrees and 40 percent humidity hot. And you're constantly in motion, except for a few brief breaks.

I had no idea what to think when my dear friend Shannon convinced me to finally show up for a class. For all I knew, it was a bunch of silly meditation and chanting. Far from it. Take the most intensive workout you can imagine, and multiply it by 100. You work every part of the body and you feel unbelievable afterwards.

So Shannon had been talking to me about this for months, and then something finally happened which made me go. But what's interesting is that what got me to go the first time has nothing to do with why I continue to go, day after day. I've now done 81 classes in 77 days since I started but who's counting.

About a week before my first class, I had some major issues with my back. It got so bad that I couldn't even sit down without major pain. Three days before my first class I was in agony and taking medicine to numb the pain. After about a week of classes, the pain was utterly and totally gone, and has most definitely not returned. Now, the only pain I feel in my back (or anywhere else) is in class.

So after my back pain was totally handled, why did I keep coming every day? To keep the pain away? Not really. I imagine I could come 3-4 times per week and would remain in good health. So why, then? To lose weight? I've never been considered fat, so that's not a reason. To look better? Sure, but that's a small part of it. No, the real reason can be summed up with one word: ART.

Bikram Yoga is simply one of the most beautiful forms of art I've ever seen. There is something magical about seeing and doing the postures. It's expressive, awe inspiring and aesthetic. So I go every day to perfect my art. I've been a musician most of my life, and I've always appreciated various art forms. So now I've fallen in love with another one. All the other benefits from the practice just happen, but I always keep my purpose on perfecting the art form.