Monday, October 26, 2009

Yoga Yoga Spa - that was my tri this weekend

Yesterday was a day to remember, Bikram Yoga for 4 ½ hours and the Dallas King Spa and Sauna for 4 hours. It was like the ultimate expression of “killing yourself in the room” to feel good outside of the room.

Courtney Mace and Joseph Encinia, the 2009 US Yoga Champions, were at the Bikram Yoga Dallas studio teaching Advanced Bikram Yoga and conducting coaching for the people that are participating in the 2009 Texas Yoga Asana Championships. Yoga was amazing. The regular class was great, I felt like I was focused and “in the room” the entire class. It was hard and I was exhausted at the end but still felt good inside.

After refueling we started the Advanced Series which a fast pace series of the classic 84 asana postures. Courtney and Joseph led the class together and gave great instruction. It was a fun, fast paced class. I can’t do all 84 postures but it is so great to see other people do them. I am so in aw of what the body can do. And everyone is different, that is what is so great. People that have never taken Advanced class were doing amazing, crazy things with their bodies and people that had taken Advanced class before like me were sometimes doing completely different postures in amazing ways. The Advanced class to me is the type of class that really challenges the mind and body. Although there certainly are limits to what the body can do, it is usually the mind that keeps someone from not being able to perform a posture.

There is a pose called Pregnancy Pose. You cross your legs, which is Lotus, then you push your arms through the creases of your legs, then roll your back and tuck your head and clasp your hands over the back of your head. You basically end up looking like a pretzel or something. It is crazy! Usually I can’t clasp my hands, I guess I mentally don’t think I can tuck my head or roll my back enough. But yesterday I did it. My hands weren’t in a tight clasp but I did get my fingers together. Somehow with Champions in the room the mind and body want to do better…and amazing things happen.

In Wheel, which is a back bend to the extreme, I was able to get into wheel from the floor and then lift myself up to standing; which is the first time I have been able to do that since I was a teenager. I even went from standing to a backbend to wheel – with a spotter, but still, I did it! Such a cool feeling.

So after killing ourselves in Advanced class and getting great coaching tips and corrections on postures, I went to the Dallas King Spa and Sauna. It is a Korean Spa, and according to someone I know that has been to real Korean Spas in Korea, this one is pretty authentic.

Now, I don’t know anything about Korean Spas and I only have been to a few American Spas. They have been talking about it at the studio so I knew there were hot and cold “baths” and different rooms you go to sit. But beyond that I was clueless and I am not one to just “try” new things. So, when I was asked to go I said “oh, I didn’t bring anything to wear.” This to me was my easy way out. But then I was told they give you “uniforms” to wear. Hmmm, I thought about it and decided sure, I’ll try it. Why not? I mean, I just killed myself taking Bikram Yoga all day, why not relax in a spa.

So we go. And it was amazing! It is a huge place with large lions at greeting guests at the entrance. And yes, in fact they do have uniforms, pink ones! I think to myself, this could be ok! And then we go into the ladies area. Everyone is naked! Oh, I think…this could be bad. There are signs every where telling you to shower before you get in the “bath” which is really a small pool. I walk into the area to shower and it is all open showers. Flash backs of boot camp are swirling in my head and then I start remembering the open showers I just saw when I went to see Alcatraz. I’m about to retreat when I see everyone else I came with just shrugging their shoulders, undress and start taking a shower. Hmmm I think….I can do this. I mean, I change in the yoga studio and everyone sees me, this is only slightly more escalated. And then all I can think about is thank goodness I shaved!

The baths were hot and cold, you are suppose to alternate between hot and cold ones. This requires of course getting out of one pool and into another, yet again exposing myself to the world. You quickly get over issues with that though because everyone is doing it and no one really is looking anyway. So I just tried to enjoy the water and relaxation.

After the baths we got dressed in our uniforms and walked around to the different rooms. If the hot Bikram Yoga room wasn’t enough, there were plenty of hot rooms there to relax in! There was a great room with Charcoal on the walls that smelled wonderful. I think that was my favorite room. It is technically called the "Hawng -Toe -Ssut - Jjim" Room but that is hard to say so I like calling it the Charcoal room. It was wonderful, there were baggies hanging that had great smelling stuff in them and one wall was covered with charcoal and huge amethyst rocks.

There was a salt room, gold pyramid room, cold room, yellow soil crystal room, Fire room, base rock room and others. We literally could have spent all day there going from room to room! And of course in most of the rooms you sweat but it is a good sweat and a relaxing sweat. Some of the rooms people were even just sleeping. Each room has different healing therapeutic qualities that are explained on the plaque outside of the room. And they work, my skin feels so soft and clean, the spots of eczema on my legs seems to have softened and aren't as red and itchy.

They also have a movie theater, big screen for sports, massage, food and Karaoke! It is the craziest place I’ve ever seen and it was wonderful. Such a great experience. It was a wonderful ending to a fabulous yoga weekend. I was so relaxed and peaceful I slept so soundly, I didn’t wake or stir one time through the entire thunderstorm. Going to work was hard today, I wanted to sit in heated rooms that smelled or aromatherapy scents and laze around all day. Maybe next weekend!

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