Friday, February 11, 2011

A Story

563 classes (19 advanced) in 545 days.

In one of Bikram's books (sorry I don't remember which) he discusses meditation and how anyone can meditate in a peaceful room with soft music playing, but the real test of meditation is if you can remain calm while driving on a jammed freeway in 110 degree weather while running late for something. Kind of like a Bikram class.

This past Christmas I was in Cleveland visiting my family. The day I returned I arrived at the airport with about 5 hours of sleep and no food. There was a big line at the check-in. Once I got through that I had to wait in a huge line to get through security and was in danger of missing my flight. So here I was, tired, hungry, having to use the bathroom and waiting in a big line with possibly missing my flight.

I was getting very frustrated and then I thought, "Well, I've certainly had classes that are a lot harder than this!" Just like that, I calmed down and stopped being tired or hungry and the line started to move faster. I made my flight on time with no problems. A true "open eye moving meditation."


Friday, February 4, 2011


556 classes (19 advanced) in 538 days.

Various things inspire me (or not) in class and thought I would list five of each here. I’m sure everyone has their own list.

Things that inspire me:

1) Heat. Not to be confused with excessive humidity, but there’s nothing I love more in class than a nice hot room. As discussed numerous times in my blog, I love the heat. Warms up my muscles and joints and makes for a productive and happy class.
2) A favorite teacher. I make no secret about the fact that I will try harder when one of my favorite teachers is teaching. At this point my favorite teachers all know my practice really well and can tell if I’m slacking off and they often don’t even have to say anything. They can just give me a look and I’ll correct things.
3) Being surrounded by people with a really good practice. Teachers talk about energy in the room all the time and it’s completely true. It’s palpable and when I’ve got really got people around me, I have a better class.
4) Having new people behind me. I blogged about this recently, but having new people watch me always will force me to concentrate more and work hard, even if I don’t feel too good that day.
5) Major drama. Kind of an odd one, but if there’s a lot of drama in the room, lots of people sitting out or leaving the room, it gives me an incentive to work harder. Maybe to give them more energy, I don’t know, but when I see people dying on their mats I get inspired.

Things that don’t inspire me:

1) Cold. This is a deal breaker for me. If it’s cold in the room I can’t get very motivated. I even have a whole way that I do class if it’s too cold. Basically I just work on the form for each posture and don’t worry about depth. And I try to avoid getting injured.
2) Bad teaching. If the teacher has no energy, poor dialogue, etc. then I just check out mentally. Not very common, but it does happen.
3) Low energy around me. This is hard to quantify because it doesn’t necessarily mean having new people around me, or even drama. Sometimes you’re just surrounded by people with no energy. Maybe they just don’t have energy that day, but it’s contagious.
4) Food problems. This can consist of being too hungry, or having some bad food earlier in the day. I’ve become good at figuring out what to eat and when before classes so I don’t run into this problem too much anymore.
5) Morning classes. For me this means any class before 1 PM. I’ve gotten much better at morning classes but I think I’ll always prefer the night. I’m looser and have had all day to hydrate. It’s hard to do either before a 9 AM class. And 9 AM is the earliest I’ve even taken. My studio offers 5:30 AM and 7:00 AM classes and I think you’d have to pay me a lot of money to take one of those.