Friday, February 26, 2010

Exercise in America

206 classes in 199 days.
59 classes in 56 days in the 101 challenge.

The other day I was curious to see how the rest of the U.S. population compares to Bikram fanatics in terms of daily exercise. We're all aware of the rising obesity rates in this country and general lack of health and exercise, but I specifically wanted to see how many Americans actually exercised something close to what we do. I know that doing 90 minutes of exercise per day is far above the norm for Americans.

I couldn't find ANY surveys that talked about 90 minutes of exercise per day, or even 60 minutes. I did find a survey that I like (A Gallup Poll) that got a percentage of Americans that do 20 minutes of "vigorous exercise." The survey breaks down the percentage of people that do 20 minutes of exercise one day per week, two days, zero days, etc. Guess what the percentage of people who exercise daily (and ONLY 20 minutes) is? For 2007 it was 4%! The surveys cover time periods for a few years and that percentage varies between 4 and 5%. So it's consistently pretty small. For the sample in 2007, the survey said 45% (!!!) of Americans said they didn't do 20 minutes of vigorous exercise even ONCE per week!

Below is the link:

This survey really points out what an elite group Bikram yogis are. Even you aren't going every single day, you're still doing A LOT more exercise than the average person out there. The survey only covers 20 minutes of exercise, and we don't even get to Eagle Pose in 20 minutes!


Wednesday, February 24, 2010


204 classes 197 days.
57 classes in 54 days in the 101 challenge.

Do you ever get strange food cravings when you're practicing a lot? I have once in a while, but lately I've been craving pickles. Pickles! Specifically, big kosher dill pickles. Not that there's anything particularly wrong with that, I just think it's funny. So I went and bought a big jar recently and I munch on a few of them after class at night. I like drinking the pickle juice too. At least I'm not craving pork rinds or Doritos:)


Monday, February 22, 2010


202 classes in 195 days.
55 classes in 52 days in the 101 challenge.

"One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: That word is love." - Sophocles

I earlier wrote about a newer teacher at my studio, Jennifer and how great she was and I think this deserves further explanation and how this relates to all teachers. There are a number of qualities that I like in teachers. First of all, let me say that I have yet to meet a teacher that I really don't like. I like some more than others, but even my least favorite ones are just that - least favorite. They're still good and how much I like them is a matter of taste.

To me, the things are like in a teacher are as follows:

1) Dialogue. This is obvious. I'm familiar enough with the dialogue now to notice if a teacher is departing from it badly. This is the glue that holds the class together.

2) Corrections. This takes some skill, to be able to deliver the dialogue well while also correcting students on postures. From what I'm told, the more you teach the better you get at fitting in corrections in between dialogue.

3) Knowledge and experience. This matters in class, but tends to matter more outside of class when it comes to detailed knowledge of postures, and corrections. This is very useful when talking to teachers outside of class, going over little points on postures, etc.

4) Sense of humor. This always helps in class, especially when you feel like you're in a furnace and want to run out of the room screaming.

5) Interesting stories. Ok, this might seem to conflict with being a good dialogue teacher, but hey, I like to hear stories. I love hearing personal experiences from the teachers. I don't want a lot of time taken up with this, but it is a nice addition to the class. Heck, I've taken class from Bikram and he's the king of interesting stories while teaching.

Having said all of the above, there is one point more important than any of them - love. Now obviously all teachers love Bikram yoga, or they wouldn't put themselves through 9 weeks of intense training, but some of them just have a special and magical way of conveying it. Love is an emotional wave that can cut through all kinds of other emotions, anger, grief, whatever. That is extremely valuable when you're going through physical and emotional nonsense in the middle of a class. It makes you work harder, it makes you go on in spite of a million reasons not to and it makes you come back for more.

Jennifer possesses this quality in abundance. She makes the most routine things in the class sound new and exciting, even though I've done them hundreds of times. Yesterday, as we were going into Floor Bow, she said "Ok, now we're going to work the entire spine against gravity!" and this actually sounded exciting and fun! Believe me, it takes a lot of love to get me excited about Floor Bow.

I'm sure we've all experienced teachers whose love carries over to us and other students and they should be cherished and loved back. Love is ultimately what makes this all work.


Friday, February 19, 2010

Don't Ask This Question

199 classes in 192 days.
52 classes in 49 days in the 101 challenge.

Here's a question I'm not sure I should bother asking my teachers - "Should I do a double today?" What do you think they tell me? Last night before taking the 5 PM I asked Jennifer if I should do a double and take the 7. Guess what she said? Of course, Jen is a teacher I'm happy to take a double from. Not because she's "easy", but because no matter how wacked out my body might feel, she still makes the class enjoyable. It takes a really good teacher (and a special person) to do that.

As for the second class itself, yeah it was a bit rough. It helped that Jen was teaching and also I was in the front row next to Nita, a 19-year old recent teacher graduate yogini Goddess. She was doing her THIRD class of the day (two beginning and one advanced), so I couldn't feel too bad.

The class after my last double went Ok, so hopefully tonight's class will too:)


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Progress, I Guess

197 classes in 191 days.
50 classes in 48 days in the 101 challenge.

I've been getting a bit frustrated recently with some of my standing series postures. I felt like I was getting worse on a few postures, mainly Standing Bow and Balancing Stick. I've been falling out more often the past few weeks. Of course, I've been going deeper and with Balancing Stick, I've been doing the posture correctly, you know, body down, leg up, looking like the letter "T", etc.

I went over this with the teacher after class and she pointed out the obvious. She said, "When you do the postures correctly, it's a lot harder." Using the Balancing Stick example, if you DON'T get the body down, leg up, looking a "T", it's not too hard to hold it for the full ten seconds. But doing it correctly, especially right after Standing Head to Knee and Standing Bow, is definitely harder. She described what I'm experiencing as good progress, so I'll take it:)


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Fun Times

196 classes in 190 days.
49 classes in 47 days.

I took the 5 PM yesterday with Sheri last night and she was in good form. She has a great sense of humor and last night she was great. Making jokes and taking pictures during class! She took a picture before class and then threatened to take a picture of everyone during second set of Triangle when people were looking sad. And guess what? She did! She took a few pictures while people were dying on the floor and looking miserable. At least I was smiling!

The most amazing thing during class was during Standing Bow. There was a newer student who was dying and starting wandering around the room and finally headed to the door. Sheri intercepted her and was talking to her in the back of the room for a little bit - and kept delivering the dialogue and making corrections on students! I'm not even sure how she could see anyone. That's some good teaching.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010


195 classes in 189 days.
48 classes in 46 days.

The weather has been absolutely fantastic in Vegas the past few days, around 65 and sunny each day. As much as I love the hot room, when the weather is like this I just want to come up with excuses to be outside as much as possible. So on Sunday, after class I decided to go for a little run. Four miles to be specific. It was fun, just me and my iPod and lots of nice weather.

And on Monday... I definitely felt it in class. My thighs were a little sore and awkward pose was a little more interesting than usual and Triangle? Let's not even go there. But it was worth it. I wish we could do a whole Bikram class outdoors sometime. It's hot enough in Vegas that we could do it in the summer!


Monday, February 15, 2010

You Never Know What You'll Get

194 classes in 188 days.
47 classes in 45 days in the 101 challenge.

Interesting weekend of classes. A few less of the regulars were in the studio, because they were in L.A. for the Yoga Championships (I'm jealous). Saturday was a rough class, despite having a calm night on Friday. Then Sunday's class was great, despite not getting much sleep and having a few drinks on Saturday. Very strange, but I'll take it:)


Friday, February 12, 2010

Easier Than I Thought

191 classes in 185 days.
44 classes in 42 days in the 101 challenge.

I was a little worried about class last night, considering I did a back to back double on Wednesday. The past few times I did a double, the next day was a little rough. Last night was totally different. There was something messed up with the heater, so the room was a little cooler (not a lot cooler), plus there were less people in the room. I had a very relaxing class and was quite happy with how things went. This makes me more confident about doing more doubles soon:)


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Another Double!

190 classes in 184 days.
43 classes in 41 days in the 101 challenge.

I ended up doing a double yesterday, and like most times, I didn't plan this one in advance. I set up in the front row and Marie was right next to me, who was teaching the next class. Marie loves to harass me about doing doubles and yesterday was no different. Before the 5 PM, she told me I should do a double. So I pondered this all during my first class. The first class was great and very funny. Michelle was teaching, who is always a lot of fun. There were a bunch of sorority girls from UNLV there during their first class, and Michelle had a lot of fun with that. She was making jokes about beer bongs and other stuff. We also sang Happy Birthday to a couple of yogis in the room - while we were in Triangle!

After this fun class, and another student asking me to stay for a double, I stuck around for the 7 PM with Marie. She was very nice to me during the class. Usually she'll correct me a lot but during this class she pretty much left me alone. She was very happy I did the double, so that was good enough for her. I did a respectable job, did all the postures, not sitting out anything. It was fun. Marie's teaching the 5 PM tonight too, so if I have a rough time, at least she'll know why:)


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wandering Around

188 classes in 183 days.
41 classes in 40 days in the 101 challenge.

Yesterday was one of those days when I'm very glad that a) there's a teacher there and b) they use the dialogue. For whatever unknown reasons I just wasn't in the room mentally at all. I wasn't particularly thinking about anything, but I was just in a fog all class long. I felt fine physically and did the postures well, but I never felt like I arrived in the room completely. More than once I had to watch other people in the mirror to figure out if we were doing left or right side of a posture! Luckily I didn't do anything to make myself look too stupid, but it was a bizarre class.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Staying Still

187 classes in 182 days.
40 classes in 39 days in the 101 challenge.

The room was on fire yet again yesterday. I just expect it at this point. Lots of people in the room, tough teacher, the usual. One thing I like from class yesterday was the teacher making the point about getting your postures so they are all like Savasana. Totally still and normal breathing. Not an easy task by any means, but certainly a lofty goal to look forward to. I can get there for a few of the postures, but still a long way to go on all of them.


Sunday, February 7, 2010


186 classes in 183 days.
39 classes in 38 days in the 101 challenge.

The classes the past two days made the hot classes from last week look downright cold. I don't know exactly how hot things were, but it was a bit crazy. There was no shortage of drama in the room, with everything from people trying to bolt the room, to someone turning sideways to do Pranayama Breathing, to pretty much the entire front row sitting down during a lot of the standing series today.

Misha was teaching today and she gave the front row a hard time for sitting out postures. I was slightly back of the front row, in front of the podium. She made an interesting point about your discipline affecting the people around you, which is so true. It's one of the reasons I try to stay focused even if I feel like running out of the room screaming. I'm sure we've all experienced a situation where one or two people sit out some postures, then a bunch of other people near them do the same. The worst is when you see one or two people leave the room, and then some others follow. No matter what's going on, I least like to put on a good face, because at this point I know other people pay attention to what I'm doing. The same works for me. Sometimes I'm dying in there and I'll see some people with really good practices cruising along and it definitely motivates me to keep going.

So next time you're having a rough time, think about the other people around you, and try to stay strong, not only for yourself, but for them too.


Friday, February 5, 2010

Wonderful New People

183 classes in 178 days.
36 classes in 35 days in the 101 challenge.

I had planned to do a double yesterday, but due to work I couldn't make it to the 5 PM, so I only went to the 7 PM. It was nice because it was a little less crowded than the classes the past few days. Plus I heard the 5 PM had 60 people in it again. Of course, it was crowded enough to get the humidity over 60%! The teacher was Jennifer, who did teacher training in the fall. She's absolutely spectacular, which I'll blog about separately at some point.

There was a girl in class that did her first class on Monday and has been back every day since then. I told her I noticed she had been here each day since she started, and she told me that she was worried what her body would feel like if she didn't come back each day! Exactly! I love new people coming back consistently! Makes my day:)


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Swimming in Heat

182 classes in 177 days.
35 classes in 34 days in the 101 challenge.

The trend of crazy humidity continued last night, with it being over 60% in the room. The class was once again packed, with 61 people in there. This is always a recipe for high humidity and last night didn't disappoint. I was fine, and oddly enough, got stronger as the class went on and had a very good floor series. One of the students in the back fainted right as we went to the floor after standing series. It was her first class. What's cool is she went out of the room for a little bit and came back and finished the class! Love to see that, especially from a new student. Let's see how high the humidity gets tonight...


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Moaning and Groaning

181 classes in 176 days.
34 classes in 33 days in the 101 challenge.

Yesterday was hot in the room, real hot. The humidity got over 70%, which is a lot even by my studio's standards. In the past this has caused me a lot of problems, but last night it was totally fine. Not just fine, but I actually had a really good class. It's funny, because I was even thinking to myself, "Wow, it's way too humid in here.", but it was more of just a casual observation rather than freaking out. That's more than I can say for many of the other people in the room. Lots of moaning and groaning. I was happy that Sheri (the teacher) pointed out to everyone to breathe correctly, as moaning and groaning is the most obvious sign of incorrect breathing, although it is kind of funny to listen to sometimes:)


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Thinning Out

180 classes in 175 days.
33 classes in 32 days in the 101 challenge.

Last night I walked into class and was surprised to see a relatively small amount of people there. There ended up being around 40 people there, which seemed downright empty compared to the classes of 50+ people I've had the past few weeks. Then I realized it was February 1st! I assume it's a few people taking some time off after the 30 day challenge, and a general trickling out of others. My studio extended the 30 day challenge to 60 days for people that want to do it. About 90 people signed up for the 30 day challenge in January, and I think 12 have signed up for the 60 day challenge. Maybe I should put up a big board for 101 days:)