Monday, May 24, 2010

Flying Blind

296 classes in 286 days.

Over the past week I had some crazy problems with eyes. The simple explanation is a kind of hyper-alergic reaction to all of the wind, pollen, etc going on in Las Vegas recently. So on Saturday I went to my eye doctor and got some antibiotic eye drops to put in, which has definitely helped. contact lens for a few days. This makes practicing a whole different game.

Practicing with my glasses just isn't an option, they would just slide off my face continually. So on Sunday I practiced with no contacts and no glasses. It ended up being much easier than I thought. Like water, eyesight is just another attachment we have in the room. Sure, I prefer to see what's going on, just like I prefer to drink water, but I can practice without it. When you can't see, you have to pay a lot more attention to your body and feel what's going on, rather than look. It gives you a different and interesting awareness to what you are doing.

Just like doing class without water, I don't prefer to be able to see during class, but at least I know I don't HAVE to see.


Thursday, May 20, 2010


292 classes in 282 days.

Last night I visited West Side studio again. This time it was because I was a little late at work, and it easier for me to go over there and take the 6 PM rather than wait around for the 7 PM at Green Valley.

Michelle (bikramyogachick) was there and one of her favorite teachers was there, Frank. It's always fun to take class from a new teacher, as I love seeing the different styles people teach with. This class was particularly interesting because there were like 10-12 new people in the class, most of them some teenagers from some local modeling agency. There was a surprising lack of yoga drama from these new people, which I found impressive.

It was also an interesting contrast between this studio and my regular studio, Green Valley. From what I've seen, West Side is great for new people and newer people. Frank was especially good with the new people, good energy, very encouraging, etc. On the other hand, Green Valley has A LOT of experienced students and teachers and I get pushed hard practically every class. This is not to say one studio is "better" than the other, just different. It's a balance that any teacher or studio has to deal with, between bringing in new people and getting them to want to continue versus catering to the more experienced students. I'm just glad I have a nice variety in Las Vegas!


Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Thousand Suns

289 classes in 279 days.

Friday I went to West Side to take class because Marie was teaching. Marie is spectacular, but unfortunately isn't teaching at my studio Green Valley at the moment. I still see her now and then, but I hadn't had her class in a few months and I really missed it. Plus Michelle (bikramyogachick) was there, so that made things even better. As a note, she gave blood earlier in the day and still had a great class! I think I would have fainted in that situation.

It would be impossible for me to accurately describe how special this class was. We often talk about energy in the room, and this class made me realize that it really doesn't matter how many people are there, but rather who those people are and how in tune you are with them. Marie and I feed off each other's energy in a special way, whether she's teaching or we're taking class together. If she's in the same room as me, I have a better class. This is not to say that I depend on her or anyone else for that matter, but having that extra horsepower in the room tuned into you certainly helps.

So on Friday you can imagine how good the class was. Marie literally made corrections on every posture and made me work harder than ever before. But you know what? It was almost effortless. Oh, I worked hard, believe me, but I was out of my head the whole time. It was as if I was turbocharged for that class, and Marie was the battery. You could practically see the energy, measure it, touch it, and you could certainly feel it. It was, well, magical:)


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Posture Discussion Part IV - Eagle Pose

284 classes in 274 days.

Eagle Pose:
This is one of my favorite postures. It's the last of the "warm-up" postures before the first and only official water break and it great for working the various joints in the body. I noticed benefits quickly from this posture shortly after starting Bikram yoga. It quickly opened up my shoulders, which are fairly tight on most people, particularly guys.

Of course, the most noticeable thing to me about this posture is if you can get the leg wrapped around. This is an obvious measure of the depth of the posture, but it's not the only one. I can get my right leg around fine, and I'm almost there on the left leg. I actually can get the left leg around, but I have to sacrifice some other important things, so I currently balance things out.

The point I get corrected on the most (not very often anymore) is to stick my butt out like awkward and then lean back so I'm relatively straight. Leaning back creates a great lower back bend. This posture has a lot to it, and it's quite difficult if you do all of the parts well, arms pulled down, butt sticking out, legs wrapped around, leaning back, sitting down, etc.

I've used this posture (or part of it) as a simple demonstration to people of what Bikram yoga consists of. I showed one friend of mine just the beginning parts with the arms and his eyed practically bugged out of his head. He couldn't come close to doing it. He works out regularly too, and was quite impressed.

Next up...Standing Head to Knee


Monday, May 10, 2010

The Point of Resistance

282 classes in 272 days.

I've always thought the best way to judge your practice is when you face the most adversity. When you have a great class, of course your going to be happy with your postures and your progress. But if you really want to see how far you've come, you'll know when you have one of those classes when you feel terrible and don't even want to be there.

Sunday fit that description. As soon as we started Half-Moon, I thought "Oh no." I had NO energy and it was honestly hard to remain upright during the standing series. Luckily I wasn't nauseous or anything like that, but trust me, I wasn't looking forward to being in that room for 90 minutes, or even 9 minutes.

Somehow, I did fine, and even had some very good looking postures and went deeper than usual during some of them. Afterwards, I told the teacher how "dead" I felt and she was surprised, and said I looked great. That's a pretty nice complement considering how I felt. If I have a decent looking class when I feel awful, I can have a good one anytime!


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Posture Discussion Part III - Awkward Pose

278 classes in 268 days.

Awkward Pose:
Part I:
I look forward to this one, as I get to something other than put my arms over my head in Half-Moon! Usually I can go right into this posture smoothly, although sometimes I'm a little stiff. The interesting thing about this posture is if you do it correctly, it's as much of a backbend as anything else. The obvious part about it is working the legs and the arms, but I can get a nice stretch for the lower back on it. The most common correction I get on this posture is to "fall back" more, with teachers sometimes wildly waving their arms at me to make their point!

Part II:
I'm convinced the full expression of this posture is to levitate. No matter how high up on my toes I get, I get asked to go higher up and get my knees up! I can keep the posture pretty steady without wobbly knees.

Part III:
This is the one posture I can consistently get praise from my teachers on. I'm almost always the last person to come out of the posture and I can take a LONG time coming up, much longer than the ten count the teachers use. I had strong legs before I started Bikram yoga, due to years of basketball and running. The posture was still very hard when I started, but the leg strength helps a lot. But it's only been over the past few months that I could really take a long time coming up out of the posture. It's not something I could do from the beginning.

Next up...Eagle.


Sunday, May 2, 2010

It Was Bound to Happen Eventually...

275 classes in 265 days.

I'll get back to the posture discussions soon, but I had to share my, uh, milestone event Saturday. I guess after 275 classes something like this had to happen. After my 11 AM class on Saturday, I got a little sick. Ok, A LOT sick. I'll spare you the details but you can figure it out. I am proud of the fact that I remained in the room the whole time, and managed to keep things under control until after class. The standing serious went well, but the floor series was ugly, and I was getting more and more nauseous and things came to a boil right after class ended.

I didn't have breakfast before class, which is unusual, plus I drank a lot of water. The room was ridiculously hot. I won't give you the specifics, but trust me, it was hot even by Green Valley standards. I think I actually OD'd on water. I didn't think that was possible, but lesson learned.

Amazingly, I returned to class this morning, because you know, I'm crazy like that. It was the first time in a long time that I've actually been scared and nervous going to class. I was smart and ate breakfast and I didn't go crazy on the water in class. I managed to get through fine, with minimal trouble. I'll be good tomorrow, going back to my normal week day routine, but I learned my lesson about eating breakfast and not going too crazy with the water!