bikram yoga (day 5)

A short post today…

I dedicated my practice today to a co-worker.  The past few days have been extremely tough for her, as she found out that her boyfriend might have cancer.  While I struggled through the different poses, I sent all my thoughts, prayers and good intentions to her, knowing that she has more rough times in front of her and wishing her the strength and support she needs to continue.

Namaste

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rest day (day 4)

Today is a rest day, no bikram.  Instead, I’m watching the Iowa Hawkeyes play in the Orange Bowl.  Go Hawks!

It’s also time for me to come clean with some statistics.  I need to measure progress in, I decided, two ways:

  1. Body content (this includes weight, pant size, etc).
  2. Flexibility

Body statistics:

  • 151 pounds (height 5’7)
  • size 10 pants, medium shirt
  • I’m avoiding measurements (hip, waist, etc) at this time, because I’m not in the mood to get off the couch and figure it out.

Regarding flexibility, this is simple, because I am not flexible.  Oh, let me list the ways (according to each of the 26 poses).

  1. Half Moon with Backbend: OK, I’m not bad on the sidebends, but the back one, I have a fear of releasing my head, and I feel like I’m crunching my lower back.
  2. Hands to Feet: I can’t touch my toes (with my legs locked), let alone with my hands underneath my heels…ummm…it might take all 60 days to accomplish this one.
  3. Awkward 1, Awkward 2, Awkward 3:  After doing the first pose, my thighs and calves are tired and shaking.  Plus, my balance is completely off, and I consistantly struggle with the 2nd pose.
  4. Eagle: This one, I can do sometimes.  I have a hard time keeping my balance when my foot is wrapped around my leg.  But this is one of my better poses.
  5. Standing Head to Knee: Look at this pose…ummm…yeah.  No explanation needed.
  6. Standing Bow Pulling:  I’m struggling through this pose, balance issues, but I think this pose.
  7. Balancing Stick: Balancing issues (repetitive, I know).
  8. Standing Separate Leg Stretching:   Although I’m not at the flexibility in this image and can’t tuck my hands under my heels or touch my head to the floor, I don’t mind this pose.  I find it restful and a change to regenerize.
  9. Triangle: My legs start to cramp up, and I can’t touch the floor.
  10. Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee: Nope, my front leg (which it head rests on) is bent, probably close to a 90 degree angle).
  11. Tree: I like tree pose, but I have to hold my foot.  I haven’t figured out how to rest it on my thigh yet and stand.
  12. Toe Stand: again, crouching from tree pose into this pose, impossible (at this time).  Plus, I don’t have the knee locked (for the leg that you balance on) yet to be able to start working on the crouching part of this pose.
  13. Dead Body: My favorite and the easiest pose.  I don’t need to work on this one.  🙂
  14. Wind Removing:  This is another pose that I am happy to do.  It’s restful, but if you pull right and sink your hips towards the ground, you really feel the stretch.
  15. Sit Up: Having done Pilates, this another pretty easy pose that I have mastered.
  16. Cobra: My back is extremely stiff and this is another pose that I have problems with, especially since you’re not suppose to use your arms to help support the pose.  It’s all back strength, which I have not.
  17. Locust: I hate this pose with a passion.  My elbows and shoulders scream each time that I wiggle my body into this pose and then my leg lifts up an inch, if that.  This is definitely a pose with tons of room for improvement.
  18. Full Locust: Another tough pose, because of lack of back strength and flexibility…room for improvement.
  19. Bow: An ick pose (get use to it, I don’t really like the next ones either).  I hate how my hip bones grind into the floor.  It’s painful and extremely uncomfortable one your stomach.
  20. Fixed Firm:  Yup, I can’t even get my shoulders on the ground, maybe in 60 days…
  21. Half Tortoise: Ah, a relaxing pose that I can do…finally!
  22. Camel: Makes sense, the name, I feel like a camel that hasn’t had any water for three months and am about to pass out!  I get light headed, and my heads aren’t even touching my ankles.
  23. Rabbit: Another lightheaded pose…the minute my hips go in the air, I have to sink down, otherwise, I’ll pass out.
  24. Head to Knee:  No flexibility and my knee is bent in order to keep my head on the knee, but I’m aware that class is almost over at this point, and I trudge on.
  25. Stretching: (Again, repetitive), unable to touch my feet, let along lift my heels off the ground, head not even close to the knees, much to improve.
  26. Spine Twist: This is the last pose and put a little extra effort into the pose and enjoy it.  Then, it’s savasana time and get the hell out of the 105 degree room.

Eh, 60 days from now, I hope to be able to touch my toes and be comfortable with those really hard poses (3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 12, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 22, and 23).

Wish me luck!

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bikram (day 3)

I am tired and it’s barely 10p.  As soon as my honey will make some hot cocoa, I’m going to bed (but he’s busy cuddling with Elston-cat and I am off topic again…).

Class was extremely, extremely hot and crowed this evening.  My mat was squeezed between two people, there was someone directly in front of me, another person directly behind to my left and one last person behind and directly to my right.  The whole room was that way  and I was amazed when the instructor mentioned that room should have four rows with probably 15 people in each row, so adjust to allow more people to attend the class.  Then, she said that we would get started shortly and one more person was joining the class, a 7-months pregnant woman.  Whoa!  I’m impressed, but she has to be crazy or extremely devoted.  Me, when I am 7-months pregnant, I will not be doing hot yoga.

I arrived early enough and had 20 minutes to adjust to the heat.  My face was beat red by the time the class started and a zit, which arrived shortly after the first class, became inflamed again.  Sweating out toxins?  Nah, becoming zit face (ok, it’s just one, but still!).

I rested in Savasana a lot during this class.  The room was extremely hot, worse than the other two classes; it had time to heat up from additional bodies and fourth or fifth class of the day.  It also had a stench of sweat, body odor and mustiness, which I didn’t notice the first two times.  I found myself giving up on poses earlier than the other two classes and becoming extremely light headed, especially on camel pose.  I didn’t even chance camel pose the second time, I probably would have passed out.  OK, it wasn’t THAT bad, but it was a lot for me.

I learned a few things from this session:

  • Get there early – especially since it’s the new year and everyone is making resolutions.
  • Change before I get there – so you’re not crowding into a small changing room, trying to get out of work clothes, into yoga clothes, bumping into people changing from the class that ended and people getting ready for the upcoming class.
  • Choose a spot by the wall, window, mirror – hopefully a corner one
  • Expect that you’ll end up touching someone else – someone’s sweaty hand and…
  • Staring at another person’s cracked, gross feet.

Oh, why am I doing this?

Yes, 60 day commitment and tomorrow is my day off.  Looking forward to chicken wings, beer, and Iowa football.

Ah, cocoa has arrived.  Then, bed.  Night, night.

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bikram (day 2)

Last night, I was exhausted.  In addition to waking up early yesterday and going to my first bikram yoga class, I had a jammed packed day around the house remodeling the library, but that’s another blog, another story.

It was a bit easier to wake up today, probably because I went to bed at 9.30p last night.  I didn’t joyfully jump out of bed and it was colder this morning (a balmy -1 degrees) than yesterday.  Still, I got up and didn’t hit the snooze button once (progress!).  I stumbled into the studio and was greeted by a nicer instructor.  Last night, I made a point to see if the same instructor would be teaching the 8a class this morning.  Relief, he wasn’t.  It was someone else.

After asking a few questions and receiving polite response, I changed and entered the hot room.  This time I had about 15 minutes to spare.  I’d forgotten, in a single day, how hot and stuffy it is in the room.  It’s hard to breathe and took a good 10 minutes for my body to adapt.  As we started the warm up, I avoided drinking water this time, I found that my body was aching.  It was tired from yesterday and didn’t want to work like I wanted it to.  During Hands to Feet pose, my legs started cramping.  Granted, my legs are also bent and it’s extremely uncomfortable to keep your elbows behind your knees.

Overall, the poses were more challenging, the room felt hotter, and I kept wondering what made me commit to a 60 day challenge.  I keep telling myself that I could give up and be done.  I find myself liking the other types of yoga classes I’ve attended more than bikram.

On the bright side, the instructor was nicer and more encouraging than the last one.  He walked around the room, assisting people, talking about the poses, trying to help you get closer to the correct pose.  He teaches class again Tuesday evening 6p, but that’s when Iowa plays, so I’ll have to hope that the person on Monday and Wednesday are more like him than the first guy.

That being said looks like I’ll go back tomorrow evening.

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bikram (day 1)

as typical of my life, my alarm went off at 6:46a this morning and i hit the snooze button twice, while trying to convince myself that i should just skip the 8a class and make a later one.  it was also cold, so very cold this morning (the thermometer was hovering at 1 degree.  brrrrr).

at 7:01a, i got out of bed.  hurray!

by 7.30p, i was on my way to my first bikram yoga class.  after a little snafu (i forgot the address and thought it was on the 13oo block, oops, it was on the 1400 block), i made it to the studio.  i entered the studio a little nervous and definitely not awake, which is a good thing, because i think that my nerves might have won over and i would have called off the whole challenge.  it’s not like anyone would really know if i quit (only my boyfriend, mom and a few friends).  i digress…

i climbed the stairs to the studio and entered to the reception area.  behind the desk a man is helping someone in front of me, he (later i discover is the instructor) motions towards a clipboard to sign in.  i write my name and mention that this is my first time.  he says welcome and proceeds to have me sign a release form and pay the first month special, then mentions where the changing rooms are, the bathrooms and the ‘hot’ room.  i quickly change and enter the studio.  with 10 minutes until class begins, i lay in corpse pose, savasana, and enjoy the warmth.  i start to wonder why i got up this morning and wish that i was back in bed asleep.

class begins, and hindsight, maybe i should have read into the postures more.  i struggled through them.  i watched the people in front of me and mirrored their poses.  i didn’t really rest (lay down on the mat).  a couple times, i did taken an extending standing resting posture, because i felt light headed.  i also drank water when i shouldn’t have.  it was during the warm up section and apparently i should ‘resist the urge for water…even if you think it’s good for you, it’s actually bad’.  who knew??

another time, slowed class down because i didn’t have the right hand position for a posture and received a dirty look from the girl in front of me.  then again, maybe that was my imagination.  after that look, i ignored anyone else (expect to figure out the pose) and paid attention to my practice and breathing.  it was challenging, but not so challenging that i felt the need to give up.

yet, i have mixed emotions on this morning.  the class was good, uncomfortable, and i will be back tomorrow.  the staff, i was not impressed.  i guess that i figured he might consider asking me about the yoga history, how i heard about the studio, etc.  he did mention to take it slow and rest, as needed.  beginning the only ‘new’ student that i could figure out, i felt out of stopping and laying in savasana.  instead, i didn’t challenge myself as much i would in another class.  i slowly worked through the poses and waited until others sipped water.

tomorrow will be easier, now that i know what to expect.  note to self – bring water, but ignore it until after the warm up, bring a LARGE towel to place over your mat and position yourself away from anyone that you might end up distracting.

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happy new year!!

welcome to 2010.  it was an easier start than last year, in that i didn’t spend all day and night curled up in bed hungover.  my honey and i had a wonderful dinner at a great italian place in the bucktown neighborhood.  great food, great wine, great price, not so great service and our leftovers were sat, then stepped on by a drunken college boy.  then off to a friend friend’s place for ring in the new year.  next year, dinner and then home is on the agenda.

tomorrow is the first day of my challenge.  yes, originally my plan was to attend bikram classes sunday through thursday, but college football decided to schedule the orange bowl on tuesday and i will be cheering on the hawkeyes with my honey that night.  to keep with my promise of yoga five days a week, this week i will be attending classes saturday, sunday, monday, wednesday and thursday.

let the challenge begin!

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i hope…

i hope that today is not indicative of what’s to come, but let me back track.

my plan for the first 60 days of the new year (basically for the months of january and february) is to challenge myself to take five classes per week of bikram yoga, also known as hot yoga.  it’s a daunting challenge and i’m nervous, but excited to want to accomplish something this year.  in fact, the whole year is about accomplishing something new, something that i typically wouldn’t do.

for the next two months, 60 days, starting on january 3rd, attending bikram yoga classes sunday through thursday.

there, it was written and so it will be done.  yet, doubt begins to take hold: what if it’s bad weather, what if it’s cold outside, what if i need to work late, what if, what if, what if…

now, for today, it is almost 6p and i am sitting on my couch watching the nightly news with brian williams.  what happened?  i was suppose to go a yoga class after work. well, my boss graciously let me off work early today, and i was going to hang around the office until the 6p yoga class, but that’s never an appealing option.  i prefer to get out early when the opportunity presents itself.  ummm…what to do for that exact hour??  i checked the schedule at the yoga studio that i am currently attending (not bikram) to discover there was a 4:30p class.  golden!  i could easily make that class.  only, i didn’t.  somehow i misjudged my time and wouldn’t be able to make it until 4:40p.  i guess that i could have walked in late, but i didn’t think that it would be respectful to myself, the instructor and class to walk in late.  i hopped the bus home, thinking that i would change, and go back to class.

nope, i am sitting on the couch…please, let motivation come for the bikram challenge. new year…all about change, challenges, must remember that the next time i am presented with an obstacle.

not my cat, but very illustrative of how i feel.

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