Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Saturday, May 28, 2011
5. Less drama. We generally get a more experienced group of people in the morning classes. I guess it's less likely for new people to come to a random Tuesday 9 AM class. They tend to show up for the night classes. I love new people coming to class, but it is nice to have a veteran group with good energy.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Recently, I’ve had quite a few things going on in my life, both personally and professionally. Some good, some bad, and many ups and downs in just the past couple weeks. It’s been a tumultuous time for me. Many people have said that the hot room is a good place to go to “escape” from reality, take a break from the world, etc. I don’t do yoga nearly every day of my life as some sort of respite from the world. I don’t go there to forget about my troubles.
I go there because it’s home.
It is a place of hope, a place of love, where anything is possible. There’s a great familiarity hearing the same dialogue every day, doing the same postures, seeing many of the same people. We are often told to stay in the moment in class, and that’s certainly true, but there’s also an element of the future, of what can be. The past doesn’t matter in the room. Heck, your present state of affairs doesn’t even really matter. The words and postures and meditation matter. Most all of to me, the future matters.
In the room every day, in that time and place, the future is endlessly beautiful, and it’s why it will always be home to me.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Look at your own eyes in the mirror.
We hear this every time we take class, but why is it so important? There’s quite a bit going on by following this part of the dialogue, and it all boils down to confronting. Now this is not referring to the common definitions of confronting, which involve adversarial confrontation, or meeting face to face with someone or something, but rather some lessor known definitions of the word “confront.” Here are two that I dug up which are applicable to Bikram yoga.
“To bring together for examination or comparison”
This one is fairly obvious, and you could look at it a number of ways. We are all coming together in the room, or your mind, body and soul are coming together for examination or comparison. Pretty interesting way to look it. As we progress in our practice, we constantly exam or compare how we are doing to previous classes and only be confronting can we truly make meaningful improvements or changes. If you never saw how your postures look in the mirror, you wouldn’t have a very clear idea how to improve them.
“Face without flinching or avoiding.”
I like this definition, because it’s exactly what we’re doing in the room. In life, we all have situations we avoid or draw back from, whether it’s your own body or another person, a job situation, credit card bills, whatever. In the hot room, we confront ourselves without flinching or avoiding, or at least that’s what we are striving to do.
I had various physical problems before I started doing Bikram, long since handled. I was able to address them because I would go in the room everyday and face myself in the mirror. By confronting myself, I was able to handle these problems, and it became very simple. For years I had simply avoided things and didn’t confront, and this made everything very complicated. Only by confronting myself, did things get simple and finally resolve.
Friday, April 22, 2011
I’m putting these two postures together in one post for obvious reasons. They are the final two postures of the standing series, done in fairly rapid succession. They happen to be two of my favorite postures, even though I’m not particularly great at them. Let’s take a look at each one separately.
My two favorite things about this one are 1) it’s a great hip opener and 2) it slows down the heart rate. For the hip opener benefits, getting the foot up as high on your costume as possible is how you get the most out of it. My teachers point out all the time that it’s more important to get the foot up high than get both hands in prayer. As for prayer position, I still can only get one hand up comfortably. I still have to hold my foot to get maximum benefits. I can let go of my foot, and I do sometimes, but then I don’t feel like I get a good hip stretch.
The heart rate slow down shouldn’t be overlooked, especially if you’re having a rough time in class. Many times, I’ve been dying in the room and just want to sit down, but I always make sure to do Tree and Toe because it really does slow down your heart rate and make an easy transition to the floor series.
This is one of my favorite looking postures from the beginning series, it just looks wonderful when done correctly. A little oddity on this posture for me is that I’m not good on one side (the first one, balancing on left leg) but very good on the other side (balancing on right leg). One note on this, especially if you have bad knees is to put your hands on the floor before bending your knee. You can actually hurt your knees if you don’t follow this point of the dialogue. In the advanced series, you do Toe Stand without putting your hands on the floor (you stay in prayer the whole time going down and coming up), but of course this is the advanced series and isn’t something your average student should attempt. If you’re feeling up to it, by all means go for it, but ask a teacher to supervise it so nothing goes wrong. I can do the advanced variation on the right leg and once in a while I’ll do it in beginning class just for fun.
Friday, April 15, 2011
Many of you that have read my blog for a while may have noticed that I used to keep a running count of the number of classes I did compared the number of days. I started doing that from the beginning of my blog. About two months ago I stopped putting the count on my blog posts, because, well, I stopped counting altogether. Even more important, I stopped coming to class every day.
Ok, relax, I still come all the time, usually six days a week, sometimes seven, sometimes five, but no more “streak”, no more 30, 60, 100, 200 day challenges. In case anyone cares, I did get to 600 classes in 600 days. My studio is currently doing a 30 day challenge and one of my favorite teachers asked me if I was doing it, and I just told her I was retired from challenges. She told me that was a good idea!
There are two reasons I stopped coming every single day, both related to each other. The first is I simply don’t need to come every day anymore. When I started doing Bikram yoga, I had all kinds of things wrong with my body, which I’ve discussed in detail in previous posts. All, and I mean all of those problems are long gone. I had a bit of a realization when a few months ago I fell down some stairs and landed hard on my knees. The amazing thing was absolutely nothing bad happened. It didn’t hurt, I had no bruises and wasn’t even sore the next day. The few people that saw it couldn’t believe I was fine. It was then that I kind of realized, “Ok, I’m good, I don’t need to come every day anymore.”
The other reason I stopped coming every day was, quite frankly, I was getting burned out. It wasn’t fun anymore and I wasn’t enjoying coming to class every day. Physically it was rough as well. While I was obviously getting fantastic benefits, class itself was harder than it should have been. For a lack of a better description, it was a Bikram hangover.
So a few months ago I decided to start skipping at least one day a week and I couldn’t be happier with my decision. Since then, my body feels great, I don’t get burned out physically or mentally and my practice has actually gotten better. I have more energy in class and I’m excited to go again. I also had some great things happen to me in life outside of the room, and it’s not a coincidence.
Will I ever do another challenge? 30, 60 days or more in a row? Who knows? I’ll always have that choice, but I’m in a good place with the yoga now, and I plan to keep it that way.