You don’t do yoga, you try yoga

Days 59
Classes 65
Teacher Me/Bikram

And so the crazies start again. Made it to Barcelona. But due schedule issues couldn’t make any of the classes offered there today (50+ teachers at my hotel and no one to teach me) so I did a bathroom class to the cd. I’ve never done that before and it was so strange finally doing a class for no one but yourself.

Meet Bikram and Emmy. Survived one of bikram’s infamous speeches, only 2 hours (the post title is from his speech). He was much more coherent then I expected. One girl called him modest which made burst out laughing. The full report will have to wait until I’ve sorted out proper Internet access. Posting this from the phone.

Sweetheart your knee still shaking

Days 58
Classes 64
Teacher Raj

Had a decent class today which was nice. New (for me) teacher as well. He kept trying to get us to focus on the locking the core, almost made me feel like I was in an asthanga class. All good and something I really needed. I’ve been slacking on my bhandas because they aren’t mentioned in the dialogue.

He also spoke bout how teachers always try to build the posture into a 5 sec cresendo at the end. It was one of the subjects I considered talking about in my guest post on the main 101 blog. The beginning of postures are all about breath and alignment, you only go for depth in the last 10-5 second. Diane refer to this as B.A.D. (breath, alignment, depth). For my draft the other week I wrote the following:
Standing bow is physically the minor posture of the standing series. But personal development wise it’s the most important analytical tool we have. The posture is of two parts. A balancing meditation act for the first 50 seconds, followed by an energetic push the like of tuladanasa in the last 10 seconds.

What I was trying to say was you can tell so much about a person just by watching their standing bow. I know this is true of the entire series but it seems extra refined there. Maybe it’s because it’s really easy to see what everybody else is doing in this posture so you start comparing yourself.

I’ve got bikrams class cd on the iPhone and it keeps popping up at the funniest of places. Yesterday I was listening to this really up beat party song, just after it ended Bikrams voice comes in with “Party over, standing head to knee”. Today it was a song with the chorus going “you ain’t doing nothing, nothing” followed by savasana.

Snake oil or Emergen-C

Days 57
Classes 63
Teacher Andrew

Had a fairly good class today, a little stiff but otherwise fine. Have had a couple of different teachers telling me recently to life my chest more in the half-moon backbend. So I’ve been focusing on that, not going as deep anymore but I hope it’s more correct now. However my lumbar spine was a bit sore today, I wonder if it’s because of the change there or if it’s something else.

The other day at work we had a presentation by David McCandless who works on information visualisation. Very interesting, but maybe not so topical to yoga. However one thing that he showed was this graph that he’d made of his research into healthy living. Specifically supplements and there proven benefits, thought provoking:
there is a interactive version as well if you want to filter by specific issues.

Yoga truck car park

Days 56
Classes 62
Teacher Jessica

Had the yoga truck parked firmly above me in class today. Had no energy and my brain kept telling me I didn’t want to be there. I think that’s only the second time so far this challenge I really haven’t been in the mood to be in the room. At least that’s done and past, I feel fine now and I’m rearing for tomorrows class.

“This is a combination of Rabbit Pose, and Balancing Stick”. I’ve been noticing these part of the dialogue more recently. Thinking about how much the postures are the same. All the head to knee postures have their basis in the head compression of rabbit. All the balancing series is based on tree. It’s started making me see the class in a non-linear way. Messing with my mind slightly. The relationship between Pada Hastasana and Paschimotthanasana especially is playing with me. Speaking of Pada Hastasana, yesterday in the second class second set I managed to lock my knees for the first time in this posture. I don’t think I’m at the stage of being able to do it regularly yet but yay!

New marketing drive

Days 55
Classes 60, 61
Teacher Yasmine, Liz

Short quick post today. Did another double, just felt so good in the first class I decided to stay for the late class. Had a little bit less energy than I expected in the second class. But than again I only had a zico in between, nothing to eat. So I guess it wasn’t that strange. Both classes were absolutely filled beginners, 19 in the first class and 8 (out of ~25) in the second (apparently the studio just started running a new ad). I was trying really hard to be a good example in the first class. I hope I did the same in the second but my yoga brain refuses to let me remember. I spent a fair bit of time talking to the beginners afterwards, trying to convince them that coming often was a good way to start their practice, and giving them small tips for their next class. From the sounds of it a lot if not most of them will be back, awesome. One quote from the gents changing room after:

“That was sooo tough, I couldn’t even do half of it. But it just felt like me. I can’t explain it, it just feels right.”

How can you not love beginners on days like that?

Yesterday towards the end of second set of Camel Diane said: “Everybody in the front row, great posture. Really good posture all of you.”. Boy was I beaming after that, one can be so vein some times. 🙂

Survival is not mandatory

Days 54
Classes 59
Teacher Diane

I found the following quote today while reading up on stuff at work. It’s from esteemed business process guru Deming. He’s talking about business but to me it’s about yoga.

“It’s not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.” — William Edwards Deming

You know what, he’s right. We can’t convince everybody to join our journey, and even for the once that do it doesn’t mean that the yoga will necessarily be anything other than a exercise. We are not all ready to change. But if you take a hindu or buddhist look at it that is fine. What can’t be healed this lifetime can be worked on in the next. At least we are planting seeds towards a brighter future. Even if you take a christian view not everyone can be saved, there will always have to be the choice to make. It’s by making a choice that we prove our worth, not by getting things handed to us. We are day in, day out making a active choice towards a healthier and more aligned life for ourself. Sometime’s it easy to loose focus of that.

It’s too easy to let outside distractions in. For example letting work come before your practice. How many times in your life have you answered the question “What would you choice, health or wealth?” to yourself? Yet presented with the simple option of finishing a report or going to class how often have you chosen the opposite of what your answer to that question was? How many of those times were the selected route really that important in hindsight? Was it really that important that the report was on someones desk at 12 instead of 2pm? I’m not saying you have to make one choice or the other, or that one is more ‘right’. I just think we need to be more aware of those choices when we make them. Maybe there is more to the meaning of the Chosen people the bible talks about.

Now I hope I haven’t offended every religious or spiritual reader I have. I’ll be back to regular updates shortly.

Yoga as a cure for yoga exertion

Days 53
Classes 58
Teacher Sanjai

Darn I was suffering from this weekends yoga debauchery and last night lack of sleep today at work. Also felt a cold coming on, so I was close to skipping todays class. But I figured if I just got to the studio than at least I’d tried and it didn’t matter if I had to spend all the class in savasana. Well the body surprised me and threw in a gorgeous class, every set included. My back was really sore in the sit-ups and in Camel [Your back is hurting? Good for you!], but sorted itself out in Rabbit. Other than that it was fine. I’m not sure where the energy was coming from as all day I’ve been in the verge of collapse. But any which way now I feel a 1,000 times better. I better get some proper sleep tonight and take it easy again tomorrow.

Can I be the peace that I want to see in the world?

Days 52
Classes 56 & 57
Teacher Simi, Megan

“Yoga has a wisdom that’s been passed down for more than 6,000 years. And it helps to guide my everyday life. As I’ve grown deeper in my practice there is one question that keeps coming up for me which is this: Can I be the peace that I want to see in the world?” — Michael Franti

Did another double today. Was planning a back to back in the evening, than noticed Simi was teaching the morning class. Thought I’d try for the tripple but it wasn’t to be. Had almost no energy in the first class. But figured if I got a big lunch and a nap I could still have a decent double in the evening. Not so, couldn’t eat enough or fall asleep. So reset the alarm and promptly fell a sleep (what’s up with that). Made it with plenty of time for Megan’s class at Bikram Yoga City. Haven’t been to one of Megan’s classes for about a month so it was a nice treat. The second class was much better. I did have the overly flexible body with less strengh issue and was sweating worse then ever. I’ve never had those issues with doubles before so it was a new challenge. Sat out one set of standing separate legs stretching because my knee was hurting, but otherwise did all the sets. Much better than the yoga train wreck of a morning class.

Had dinner with a friend after the late class and she was asking what the purpose of the challenge was, what is the change I hope to see out of it. Hence the quote above. I think it really is time to start working on my goals. I know now that I can make them come true, now it up to me to dream big enough to set the stage for the type of tomorrow I want to see.

Have you set yourself goals other than physical once, if so what are they? That’s a good blog subject for you all.

Right here, right now

Days 51
Classes 54 & 55
Teacher Razia, Samanth

Managed the impossible today and did a back to back in two different studios. Had planned to visit both studios, but was a bit slow to start today so the only way I was going to make that was to do the last two classes. Luckily one studio started class 30 min later than the other, so Bikram Yoga West and then Bikram Yoga North today.

For the first class when I walked in my first reaction was Kindergarden! Not sure why but it wasn’t very settling for a place where you are about to do 90 minutes of meditation. Maybe I should be bigger than this but I couldn’t help myself today, I just had way to much fun showing off. Maybe it was because the teacher read off my name as a beginner at the start. Had so much fun I almost forgot to drink water, only after party time was finished did I remember I was planning a back to back. Considering how much effort I put into the first class I half expected the second one to be a write off. No such problem though, it was just as strong was shocked to find myself in Rabbit realising I’d almost finished 4 sets of 26 postures in four hours, and I still had energy to spare. The biggest problem was getting between the studios, but made it with just enough time to say hi to the teacher before she walked into the studio. I hope this will lead to a solid nights sleep.

After class I went to a pizza chain close to the studio that I haven’t been to for about 5-6 years. Celebrated the halfway point in style with apple juice, broccoli and pizza. This is a place that does proper italian style pizzas not the horrible (okay not horrible but in comparison) english type. Half the challenge done, and if you’d have told me before the start that I would be ahead at this point I’d probably laugh at you. I’m so impressed with myself I can’t describe it. To top it off in just over a week I’ll be having classes with Bikram, Rajashree & Emmy, a dream come true.

In the second class today at cobra I realised there was no other place I would rather be at that time, it was such a lovely feeling. It’s not often we get to be totally at peace with our place in the universe. The feeling lasted the rest of the class, beautiful. The teacher said something similar to this at a savasana later on in class:

We spend so much time trying to get peace and stillness in our lives, but then we don’t know what to do with it. So we come to yoga to learn how to appreciate it.

I leave you with this little video clip I found. For those of us that have a bit to much attachments to the look of our asanas. If you keep letting go and practice regularly hopefully you’ll have a practice like this when you turn 9:

Stuff your face and enjoy the benefits

Days 50
Classes 53
Teacher Sanjai

At almost twice as much for breakfast and lunch today compared to normal day. Had a solid 3 hours deep sleep according to the iphone. I guess it was just what the body needed. Had a very decent class today, good energy throughout and I think I was focused as well. Got a awesome correction in balancing stick, I’ve been having problem balancing in it recently. Held it solidly all four set today. Standing seperate leg stretching (why can’t this posture have a nice short name) I finally found out just how much of a difference the width of the legs makes. First set I took a much wider step then usual and ended up with the head about 1″ from the floor. Second set my hips were complaining so I brought the step in 1-2″ maybe, all of a sudden I was 1′ of the floor.

I think I figured out what happened yesterday, other than just being tired and low on food. I did a 6:30am the day before and yesterday was a 8pm class. 36 hours between classes, I’ve not had a gap that big this year. That would explain the stiffness. So lesson for later, if doing am class one day don’t do late class the next. Also eat more and don’t let things steal your peace when it’s time to sleep.