The lesson is there if you just open your eyes

Days 89
Classes 104 (+7 advanced)
Teacher Diane

I’m sure it won’t last very long but I seem to have fallen into a rhythm at the moment. Nice solid classes with no major drama. Been working on my focus and it’s coming along really well. Still a couple of patterns I need to break but over all much better.

I no longer feel like I have to kick out in standing head to knee. I know I can do it so I’d much rather wait until I’m sure I’ve got the set up right. Sure I do still have to come back down because my leg starts bending, but I guess it comes with theย territory.

As I mentioned yesterday my biggest distraction at the moment is when laying with the ear to the towel in cobra series. It wipes the sweat of so my ears get hot hot hot. Sometimes have to cool them with some water. I’m sure that would have sounded contra dictionary at the start of the challenge. I’m starting to love the sweat. On saturday I got to a point were I must have been to dehydrated, it felt like I couldn’t sweat enough to keep the body cool. It was the most horrible I’ve ever felt i class. The body unable to take care of itself. However I’m sure it helped with my new mindset. All those little tiny annoyances just seem so petty now.

There is always something positive to take from each class, and often more than one thing.

Stomach workout

Days 88
Classes 103 (+7 advanced)
Teacher Karen

It was back to normal today. Actually it was a rather easy class. Except for the fact that my ear have started burning after the cobra series recently it didn’t feel hot at all. I mean sure the room was hot and juicy, it just didn’t bother me today.

I had to go take Karen’s class today, haven’t been to one of her’s for months. It’s funny even with a daily practice it’s hard to manage to see all the teachers you’d like to. I guess there is only a limited number of time slots I can take. Maybe it’s also that I have way to many favourite teachers. Was double lucky today in that Fran had been teaching the class before and decided to stay to practice. Another person to help keep me honest in class. ๐Ÿ™‚

Now my stomach muscles feels worked over in the most amazing way. I’m at lost for what I did different, but what ever it was I hope I do it tomorrow as well. Maybe it was the backbends, I’ve been focusing on using the front of the body in them. It makes a huge difference and doesn’t feel like you’re crunching yourself up the same way.

Manchester

Days 87
Classes 102 (+7 advanced)
Teacher David

I woke up this morning in panic, it’s only two weeks left of the challenge. It’s getting time to decide on what to do after. But the panic was all about not having the challenge anymore. I guess a long break is out the window. ๐Ÿ™‚

For now I can continue enjoying it. Went up to Manchester to visit the studio there today. Very nice, spotless clean and very fresh looking. Also loads of fresh oxygen and lower humidity then I’m used to.

I was stiff after yesterdays double but not to bad. The hydration was back to a more normal level as well. Maybe it’s because it was a evening class so I had all day to hydrate before getting there.

I think I’m turning into a camel

Days 86
Classes 101 (+7 advanced)
Teacher Emma

First back to back class in a week and it wiped the floor with me. Truely, I must have been really dehydrated, went through 4.5L of water during class (+a coconut water). Had 1.5 before and the same after. I’m still feeling thirsty, still got a slight headache.

Other then the water the class really re-aligned my body. I’m all kinds of stiff now.

In the second class I also bumped into one of the people from Barcelona. Nice suprise although I should have guessed it. She does work at the studio I went to. Oh yes went to a different studio then usual so it was a good opportunity to socialise some.

Meeting up with another person from Barcelona now. I can feel a yoga geek out day coming on. ๐Ÿ™‚ Now if only I can figure out how to work those appendixes that sits bellow the hips I’ll be on my way.

Well that’s awkward

Days 85
Classes 100 (+6 advanced)
Teacher Jo

Did another class at Soho today. Jo teaching and she was taking no prisoners today. Pure will power kept me going into the postures after we hit the floor. It might have been slightly better if I would have had some water when hitting the floor. But held off and was struggling all through cobra series.

I guess a kick arse class was what I needed today. Get me set up for the weekend and reminding me that it’s not all fun and games. I was surrounded by lovely inspiring people in the class today which helped a bit.

I did an experiment this morning. Holding onto the edge of my bath tube I went down into first part awkward. Once I’d set up the legs exactly 90 degrees (both calfs and thighs) I slowly stretched forward while pulling my chest back. Releasing the tube I was then in a perfect awkward. Still can’t do it in class, but it felt good to see where that posture should be going too. It was also nice to see it wasn’t impossible.

Nothing to say

Days 84
Classes 99 (+6 advanced)
Teacher Jessica

I have no clue what to say about todays class. Nice strong practice, very focused. Almost all the postures are back to were the were pre-monday.

It’s the greatest moment of your life, man!

Days 83
Classes 98 (+6 advanced)
Teacher Yasmine

Back in business today, a nice relatively strong class. Focus wasn’t as good as I’d like but I blame it on having to spend more time thinking about my back.

I realised today that something has changed about the more challenging classes. I’m not sure what but they seem to be challenging in a different way then they were when I first started. Even if I feel like there is no way I’ll get through class I’m not worried about possibly leaving the room. Maybe it’s just that I’ve proven to myself so many times now that I can stay in the room no matter what. Also physically they feel different. I think maybe I’m starting to feel the nuances better. Just because back bending is challenging doesn’t mean forward bending will be. Or even just because it’s challenging in say cobra doesn’t mean camel will be the same.

As Tylor Durden would say I’m staying with the pain better. Not zoning it out, just accepting it and moving on to the next thing.

Stay with the pain, don’t shut this out!
Without pain, without sacrifice, we would have nothing. This is your pain! This is your burning hand! It’s right here! It’s the greatest moment of your life, man!

Finding the middle ground

Days 82
Classes 97 (+6 advanced)
Teacher Diane

Went to class today but took it very easy in all the back bends. Had a great class, focusing on minimising my fidgeting and made it the first no water class in ages. I’d say I managed to push between 50-70% in the back bending postures, so it was also a good practice of how to take it easy in class. I’ve been struggling with that, having no middle ground just all or nothing.

In standing bow I found that place where the balance of kicking and stretching is simultaneous and equal. Any imbalance in my standing leg didn’t matter, I just kicked more or stretched forward more.

Nice hot savasana

Days 81
Classes 96 (+6 advanced)
Teacher Elizabeth

It was finally time to pay for Fridays insanity today it seems. Got as far as standing bow then my lower back gave out. Couldn’t do any of the backward bends or even the third part of wind removing. Let me tell you there is a lot of backward bending in the series.

So today was a long nice hot savasana. I did the best I could, doing all the forward bends and other postures, and I stayed in the room. I guess I can’t ask for more. Hopefully all the resting today will set us up nicely for tomorrow.

Posture summary redux

Days 80
Classes 95 (+6 advanced)
Teacher Jo

Had another yoga geek out session today. Did the morning class with one of the people I meet in Barcelona at her local studio. Jo was teaching so after we all went and had lunch. Loads of yoga talk and fond memories sharing.

Jo was kind enough to call out before class that this was my 101 class in a row. So it turned from a normal practice to a yoga demonstration. Felt obliged to do every set and do them as perfect as I possibly could. I’m just happy it was today and not yesterday. It was a rocking class although I was struggling in parts. It was as Bikram would say: “Like a indian marriage, NO CHOICE!”. I was so wiped out after class.

I went to see Alice in wonderland after class and heard this quote from the film:
“I can’t help you if you don’t even know who you are, stupid girl!”
It reminded me of Bikram in Barcelona being asked if his yoga could help you find your purpose in life:
“If you don’t know what you want, poor you. I can’t help you.”

I’ve been reminded a couple of times recently about how I always wanted to know what the people in the front row with the great practice think about their practice. It was the thing I wanted to know the most when reading other peoples blogs.

Not to blow my own horn but I guess with all the announcements in class the last few days I guess I might belong to that group now. So I think I owe it to other blog readers (and myself) to do another posture summary. Plus it’s rather fitting after class 101. If you missed it I did a posture summary at the start of the challenge as well. I’ll keep to the same headings to make it more interesting.

Pesky little postures:

  • Dandayamana Bibhaktapada Paschimotthanasana (Separate leg stretching)
    I don’t quite know why but this posture just don’t gel with me.
  • Janushirasana with Paschimotthanasana (Final stretching)
    I’ve started having a serious mental block against this posture. Even if the rest of the practice has been great I feel like this posture will be very painful. It never is but I can’t shake the expectation.

Average joes:

  • Garurasana (Eagle)
    I rock eagle first leg, second leg not so much. I’m sure it will even itself out with time, but for now it’s a major difference between the two.
  • Dandayamana-Janushirasana (Standing head to knee)
    Getting there, slowly but surely. It still needs a lot of work but progress is steady.
  • Dandayamana-Dhanurasana (Standing bow)
    Pretty much the same as standing head to knee. It’s getting there and I find something new in almost every class. But it still needs loads more work.
  • Tuladandasana (Balancing stick)
    Umm, how can I say this. I keep losing my balance. Even when the balance is there I’m of centre or have the hip to high. Some sets it’s rocking but it’s far from often.
  • Dandayamana-Bibhaktapada-Janushirasana (Standing separate legs head to knee)
    This posture even though it’s nice and deep and everything (fairly regularly lock out the knee) it still wipes me out almost every class. I don’t have a clue why but I always come up feeling much worse for wear. I’m trying to focus on the breathing to help it out, we’ll see.
  • Whole of the Cobra series
    This entire series is pretty much a white wash for me. Filler material in the middle that I hardly notice. Sure half locus is a little pesky, but it’s evened out by the other posture being nice and relaxing. Bow you can always talk yourself into because it’s the last real power posture.
  • Ustrasana (Camel)
    Much much better than it used to be. It still brings up it’s emotions in some classes but most classes it’s just another posture.
  • Ardha-Matsyendrasana (Spine twisting)
    I really should work harder at this posture but it’s just there at the end when you are ready to give up and go home. Not bad, not great.

Those beloved savasana extentions:

  • Tadasana (Tree)
    Thanks Bikram for giving me a chance to slow down before hitting the floor. It’s so important to not lay down with your heart at maximum rate since you’ll miss out on the energy you’ll get from that long savasana.
  • Pavanamuktasana (Wind removing)
    Been working on this posture the last few days. I’m sure there is more to be had here if I just bring some intensity, so more work needed.
  • Ardha-Kurmasana (Half-tortiose)
    What can I say, it’s just like savasana, but up side down and with extended arms.

Super stars:

  • Ardha-Chandrasana with Pada-Hastasana (Half-moon)
    Sure there is a lot more depth that can be had here, but all in due time. I’ve been working on precision lately and I think it’s really paying off. Opening (/lifting) up the chest and not collapsing into the lower back. It sounds so simple but it’s tougher than you’d think.
  • Utkatasana (Awkward)
    This posture is definitely coming together nicely. Somedays I even feel like I’m an unmovable mountain while in this pose. Nothing could tumble me. Other days I get humbled for such thought and fall out all by myself. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Trikanasana (Triangle)
    I’m loving triangle, it’s really one of my favourites. Triangle and rabbit, I would pay for class just to do those two.
  • Padangustasana (Toe stand)
    Still need to work on straightening my spine but otherwise it’s a solid posture.
  • Supta-Vajrasana (Fixed firm)
    Sit back and relax I think is how I describe this posture in my head during class. Sure some days my hips don’t like it much but it’s almost always a solid posture. If only I could work out how to increase the curvature of my spine it would be even better.
  • Sasangasana (Rabbit)
    Ahh, my beloved Rabbit. Come to save the day at the end. I’m still trying to figure out exactly where the shoulders should go. “Lift your shoulders up towards the ceiling” isn’t quite clear enough. I’m trying two different version of lifting the shoulders at the moment. One seems to be winning so I’m sure it’ll work itself out.

There you have it kids. ๐Ÿ™‚