Thursday, January 27, 2011


547 classes (18 advanced) in 530 days.

I had a class recently which got me to thinking about a favorite subject for many students - fans. Some studios and teachers use them a lot and some studios don't even use them at all. At Green Valley, we have some very nice and powerful fans and they are used quite differently depending on the teacher.

I have an interesting theory after watching the use fans. I'm convinced they don't do much to get people to do the postures if they're sitting out or about to sit out. I know sometimes teachers like to turn the fans on in the hopes that the people sitting out will go and do the posture. Unfortunately this seems to have mixed results at best. If you're at the point where you need to sit out, then a little bit of air doesn't make much difference. I know that on the rare occasion I need to sit out a posture, it has nothing to do with whether or not the fans are on. It's generally because of something like eating bad food earlier, being dehydrated before class, etc. So you can turn the fans on all you want, and I would still sit out. What's worse is that excessive fan use drives me crazy, dries up my sweat, makes me cold, etc.

I like a little air flow here and there, but any idea that it makes the postures more doable is a mental reaction, not physical.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Grind

539 classes (17 advanced) in 523 days.

I’ve been in a grind for the past couple of weeks with my practice. I haven’t felt good physically for weeks, I’m very tired in class and I just slog through class lately. And mentally I’m just not anywhere in the room. What’s interesting is that I’ve developed so much muscle memory for the postures that I can barely pay attention to what I’m doing and still look respectable, but teachers who know my practice can tell something is off. I had one of them earlier this week tell me that my postures looked fine but she can tell I didn’t have much energy. True enough.

This recent phenomena is a bit disturbing to me, but I’ve gone through this before. I’ve even taken a few days off in the past month and it hasn’t really handled anything. I can’t take too much time off, as my body is quite addicted to this, even if mentally I’d just as soon take off a month.

The one thing this recent experience has reminded me is that I do this yoga for myself. I only care to a certain extent what anyone else may say about my practice on a given day. I know how I feel and even though I’m feeling lethargic these days, I still get benefits and I do what I can do each day and each posture. Teachers can give corrections and suggestions and I do what I can that day. If it’s not perfect, then so be it.


Monday, January 10, 2011

The Goodness in the Bad

529 classes (17 advanced) in 513 days.

There are numerous ways one can gauge their practice and improvement in Bikram yoga. There are obvious ones like getting more flexible or stronger, doing certain postures better, being calmer, etc. While I use these things as a benchmark as well, one of my favorite ways to gauge my progress is how I do in classes when I don’t feel very good walking in, such as being really tired, a little under the weather, have some nagging soreness, etc. When the conditions are perfect, room feels great, I feel great, then of course I can do the postures better that day. This is one way to measure improvement, but it’s a fairly easy one.

The real trick is to not feel good at all and still keep your focus and get something positive out of the class. Yesterday was a great example of this. First, I took the normal class at 9 AM and I absolutely did not want to be there. I was tired and fighting off a cold. The class was packed and I was right in front of the podium. Before class the teacher (Jen) was talking to some first timers who were right behind me and she made a big point that they should watch me! Normally this is no big deal, but I was not in the mood for this. However, it served as a nice motivating factor for me, and I overcame my obstacles and did well, and hopefully I set a good example for the people behind me.

Then later in the day after debating whether I should go at all, I took advanced class. I was concerned going in since I was still fighting off this cold, but amazingly I didn’t feel sick for one second during the class and it went fine. Funny how that works sometimes with class.