Thursday, April 29, 2010

Revolving Door Nearly Takes Out Yogi

We finally got to take the second yoga class, the wind was strong but not so strong they had to cancel class. It WAS however strong enough to have two doors almost flatten me.

On my way to the morning lecture, I went out the door you open, instead of the revolving door. As I walked through the threshold, the wind hit the door and it swung back into me and almost crushed me! I couldn't get out of the way, I was pinned up against the revolving door circle thing.

Then, when I went to afternoon class, I decided to use the revolving door. HA! I thought I was being sooo smart. As I walked it, there was a wind gust and one of the panels of the revolving door swung the opposite direction and banged up against me! I thought I was going to be smashed between two revolving door panels. Scared the daylights out of me! Who knew those panels even moved let alone swing the from side to side!

So now I have a lump on my elbow. Boo hoo right? :D

Even with all the wind, we had class and it was great. I didn't sweat but Bikram taught a wonderful class full of really funny stories and antics, I was laughing through half the class. We were all so happy to actually get to take class. Some of these people have hardly ever done a double in their lives but after doing them for a few days, you start to miss it when they cancel class. Everyone cheered when we were done and not because we were done, because we were so happy to get to take a Bikram class!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

High Winds In Las Vegas....

High winds in Las Vegas again today so no evening yoga class. I feel cheated! LOL I so wish they had canceled lecture and still done the class. Oh well. We got a little longer break before lecture starts and we finished with everyone saying the first posture so Bikram is throwing a pizza party for us, with movies, of course. :D

Let's all hope, and pray the winds die down tomorrow and we get to take two classes!

Off to see what fab bollywood movie is in store for me today...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Wind Removing Pose Not Enough to get Rid of THIS Wind

Evening yoga class was canceled today due to the wind. On my way back to the room from lecture, a lady said to me, "don't you love the wind?" I was thinking no when the wind pushed me back and I had to lean all the way forward just to keep from falling backwards. "I would like it better if it was behind me," I said. Then, just as soon as the words came out of my mouth, the wind shifted and all the sudden I felt like it was scooting me towards the door! The wind was like the wind from Wizard of  Oz, very fierce.

So, they canceled yoga class! And I was looking forward to being in the hot room, I had already mentally decided I would sit in the area where the three heater vents intersect, creating maximum heat in that one spot. Oh well, tomorrow.

I certainly am not in a hurry to sit behind "Sam." Sam wears shorts that are knit and WAY too loose. Granted, he does wear underwear but really, when your "yoga" shorts are falling of you like a gang members pants, you need to invest in new shorts. And what is up with the women here? Today I was behind a lady that had wide legged shorts. Geez people, no one wants to see all that, all sweating and hot. Please keep it all inside!

I was intrigued with the lady I was behind the other day, she had a tattoo of a man's head with fire flames coming out like his hair. It was on the small of her back. Every time she did a compression of the spine, back bend, or an extension of the spine, forward bend, the face moved. It was like a talking tattoo! If she bent backwards his head got smaller and his mouth got smaller. If she stretched forward his face elongated into more of an egg shape and his eyes and mouth were distorted, stretched out, like he was saying "OOHHHH!"

It was so fascinating! It was really fun watching when she went forward because it just kept getting longer and longer. I wonder if she knows it does that?

I think I might take a nap now, I have a feeling more movies are in my future. 

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Asians DO get sunburned!

I went to the pool today, for just a few hours, without sun screen. Yes, I know, you all can yell at me later about what a bad decision that was. At the moment I am feeling the consequences of my actions. I kept looking to see if I was getting any tan, if I was, I was going to go inside. (Since I didn't have any sunscreen.) But every time I looked it looked like I was as pale as when I got out there.

So a few hours later I decided to go to the room, I wasn't getting any studying done. When I got to the room and took my swimsuit off, oh my gosh! The front of my thighs were bright red! So I put some lotion on...sat in my room and studied.

Then we decided to go downstairs for dinner. I changed. Wholly cow! I changed and noticed it wasn't just my thighs that were red, my WHOLE FRONT side looks like I rubbed red paint all over. It is hysterical. It doesn't really hurt, it's just warm. And of course, it will fade in a day or two and be fine but how silly.

I can only imagine how sweating in a hot yoga room will feel tomorrow. NOT GOOD! And I look absolutely ridiculous. Not so bad when  you can cover it with pants and a shirt but in yoga clothes? Nothing is a secret.

So if you want to know which yogi I am, just look for the Sunburned Asian...but only from the front...from the back I just look like a plain old Asian. :)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

When You Have No Control, What Do You Do? Go to Yoga.

It's Saturday, I'm sitting outside at Starbucks, enjoying a latte, watching the world go by. I've done my laundry and grocery shopping for the week and am soaking up the moment. One week of training is done! It went by fast, it seems like just yesterday I was checking in at the Las Vegas Hilton, feeling nervous about who my roommate might be, what the training schedule would be like and when the late nights would start. All my questioning (in my mind) was answered the first week.

My roommate, Lara, is great, we were both relieved to have each other as roomies. Of course, she hasn't seen the overly anal retentive control freak side of me, yet. Hopefully the yoga will work its magic before that side comes out! I think I've been pretty easy going though, as best as anyone could expect.

The environment here is out of my control so there really isn't any point in worrying about it or being annoyed with it, that energy needs to be saved for practicing yoga twice and day. I knew it would be like this going in and really, it is a piece of cake compared to some kinds of training. You just have to be in the right mind set to accept the teachings.

Last night we didn't have lecture after class so Mark, Nicole and I went to Firefly, a restaurant owned by a Bikram Yoga student, it was recommend to us by Lisa, an owner here in Las Vegas. It was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. We decided we would each order what we wanted and then share, so we each shot off 3 or 4 dishes to the server and devoured the bread they had brought. Each time the guy brought food, we ate it like it was our last meal. With every new thing he brought he took away the empty plates, it was like a revolving buffet. So good.

We did 10 classes this week, we only had one class our first day, Monday. Our class today was great, our teacher taught in English and Spanish, my second like that in the last two weeks! It makes it more challenging because I can't understand a word being said so I don't know when to move or come out of a pose. All that means is I end up holding poses way longer, probably not a bad thing.

He made a point today of telling people to not leave the class, which in my head I knew would be a challenge for some people. It seems like some people come from studios that allow them to leave for the smallest thing. Not at my studio, we don't leave for anything. The only time I ever left during a class was when it started raining and the top was down in the car, I had to run and put the top up. Other than that, I have never left the room. I'm too self conscious, I would never what to be embarrassed if I left! There is a reason they don't want people to leave the class. Not only is it disruptive and makes people lose their concentration, it also changes the energy in the room, which effects everyone's practice. So today, it was interesting, we were on the floor so I couldn't see but someone tried to leave the class! LOL The teacher shouted out, "where are you going?!" LOL I was laughing inside, poor person. But everyone else did really well, no one left, which was such a change from the previous classes where it seemed like people leave if they have the slightest tingle like they need to pee. Hold it in people! We are in a yoga class!

Anyway....we are done for the day, just one class today and no more class or lecture until Monday. I already found a dollar store and bought some cheap crap, did my laundry and bought a few groceries for the upcoming week. I think the rest of the day might be spent pool side with my good friend, Mr. Dialog. He and I will be dating for the next 9 weeks for sure and it may end up being a life long marriage.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Why You (I) Should Not Eat Corn Beef Hash Before Yoga

If I eat the buffet every day, I doubt I will lose any weight, which was one tiny goal of mine while at training. Not weight so much as fat. The buffet at the hotel is pretty good, if you like what they have...and I do. They have fresh fruit, good chocolate cake, gummi bears, salmon, cheese enchiladas, and best of all....corn beef hash. Yes, that's right...corn beef hash. I LOVE corn beef hash. I know it isn't good for you but I don't care. I use to love it when my dad would make it with eggs sunny side up. He would make the hash and make holes for the eggs and cook the eggs right in the same pan. I was only disappointed I had to SHARE the hash with the rest of the family. But not here! Here, I get to eat as much as I want...and I had a BIG helping today. Plus I had a piece of cake. hehehehe

In the afternoon class I had second thoughts about eating corn beef hash every day though. One, my sweat stinks! ICK! I am pretty sure it was the corn beef hash was seeping out of my pores, I am sure it pleased my yogi neighbors. And two, my sweat was slippery, my foot was slipping in Tree Pose which rarely happens anymore. (Slippery means grease and crap is coming out in the sweat, yummy huh?!) Good news, I was SWEATING which means it was hotter! yea!

Lesson of the day: Be good to your neighbor. Don't eat crap. Crap in is crap out and the yogi sitting next to you doesn't want to smell it!

Off to lecture....more reciting of Half Moon Pose.

Fashionistas, Locusts and a Little Rain

Today as I was getting ready for morning class I for some reason started thinking of yoga clothes, brands and if  at some point I would be able to distinguish seasons like I did when I worked at Express. Back in the day us "Express" peeps use to be able to tell what season clothes were from. "That's from Spring '95." So as I am getting ready, this thought floats through my mind. Then I get to class and our instructor was giving corrections to people and identifying them by they clothing, "Purple Shakti....Tonic shorts...Shakti top..." It made me chuckle inside because of my fleeting thought while getting ready and because that is probably how I will have to identify people at first. What I thought was impressive was her ability to know what brand it was. I know most of the clothes have little symbols on them but some of the symbols are small and on the side. Now if she had said what season it was from I would have been totally amazed. She probably knew but who else really pays attention to those silly details? Only fashionistas I guess.

Class was good, it rained today. It sounded like a million locusts descending down upon us, popping against the tent top. It was perfect really, a whirring, swirling sound right when we laid down for Savasana. I laid in Savasana watching tiny drops of water touch the fabric draped above us to hide the roof structure. I wondered how many drops it would take make the water drop all the way down to us on the floor. But it never did; it stopped raining before we were done with the floor series. The good news is rain means water and water all over everything hopefully means humidity in the yoga room.

On the downhill side of the first week....still standing....

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Jackets Needed in Las Vegas at Bikram Yoga Teacher Training? Yes...

When I was packing for training I thought maybe I was packing too many yoga jackets, that it probably would be warm in Las Vegas and I wouldn't need them. But I decided to pack them because I am partly a fashionista and well, they matched my yoga pants. Las Vegas seems to be going through some odd weather, or maybe the cool weather is perfectly normal, I don't know. What I do know is it is windy and cold and walking to and from the yoga "camp" is quite chilling. Going to the morning yoga class today, I wore a long sleeved shirt, yoga jacket and capris and I was wishing I had my Eeyore fleece my grandma gave me a few years ago.

On my way to afternoon lecture I was behind a yogi wearing a North Face jacket. North Face jackets always remind me of a friend who LOVED North Face, I never understood the fascination. As the wind was blowing through my hair, and my clothes I clutched my snuggie tight against my chest and noticed the yogi in front of me seemed perfectly comfortable; I was beginning to understand the deal with North Face.

I am sure I will survive, how long can it be cold in the desert anyway? Soon it will be scorching and I will wish I had less clothes, not more. Glad for the is perfect to wrap up in for evening lecture.

Can You Touch Your Chin to Your Shoulder?

"Touch your chin to your shoulder..." Seems like a simple command but in actuality, it can be quite difficult, in any yoga posture. Yesterday in class Bikram demonstrated Triangle pose, which I have seen explained dozens of times and I've practiced it hundreds of times and yet, it was like seeing it for the first time, his explanation somehow clicked in my mind. For the first time in 4 years I was able to touch my chin to my shoulder, both sides! A small success for myself, hopefully there will be more as training progresses.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Can the Movie 'The Wedding Singer' be a Distraction? Uh, yes.

I signed in with the Bikram staff at 1:00 pm and went to grab something to eat with Nicole, one of the other trainees from Dallas. I had already eaten so really I was just there for moral support but of course I had to get something so I got desert, apple fritters with ice cream. YUM! Orientation was suppose to be at 3:00 pm and for some reason I thought it was at 3:30 so at 3:00 Nicole is texting me asking where I am because everyone is in the tent. Oh shoot! I grab my things and rush down. I was trying to decide if I should sprint to the tent or just walk fast when I decided walking fast would be better and I was right, they hadn't actually started yet so I was still good.

As we waiting for them to get started, I decided to jot down a few things in my new journal my friend Jessica gave me. Nicole grabs it and writes something. Dude, it's not a yearbook where everyone writes what they are thinking, it's my journal! lol She finishes and then says I need to promise to add her to the blog. I said sure. "You need to promise to add the note," says Nicole. "Fine," I say and write in the journal, "I promise."

So, here is what Nicole, future Bikram Yoga Teacher wrote...

"Hi Carolyn, you were watching 'The Wedding Singer' while we were waiting for you in the magical tent. There area  lot of yoga heads here. Everyone smells nice now. They won't smell nice later. The peeps to your right are from Singapore. Simon, Mark's roommate, is from New Zealand. I can't believe you at that godzilla sized apple pie at lunch. I better put me in your blog by the way. In the meantime, my state of mind if you must know is only mildly psychotic, right now I am chilling like a classic villain. I am also relieved to see I am not the only person in the "yoga temple" wearing camouflage shorts. How many will bend without breaking? All will cry and few will admit it. Most of us will probably get new tattoos..."

And that folks pretty much sums up orientation! We learned what to do and what not to do, all but a few appeared to be strong recommendations and not training ending experiences. Most importantly, I took from it to "be present", "have an open mind", and "have an open heart." Trust the process. 

Each day is sure to be difficult, some seeming almost near impossible to get through, all the while I plan on creating my own mantra with those words to recite through the tough times, just like a race. 


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Last Bikram Yoga Class Before Training, steamy and HOT! (DUH!)

I think Bikram Yoga Downtown was secretly trying to prepare me for teacher training yesterday during the karma class for Jason Winn. It was SO stinkin' HOT! Sheesh. I know it's Hot Yoga people but wow! I thought I was going to pass out before the first water break. I was sorry I hadn't gotten two towels and an extra bottle of water for class. I've never been good at rationing water.

You might be asking, "What is a karma class?", I certainly did when Michael at the Dallas studio told me he was going and suggested I come too. Karma is defined as "action, seen as bringing upon oneself inevitable results, good or bad, either in this life or in a reincarnation." ( A karma class is simply a class you participate in to bring good to others and yourself. Jason Winn is a senior teacher in the Bikram Yoga world. He is originally from Austin, Texas and has taught seminars and Advanced classes in many of the Bikram Yoga studio's in Texas and around the world. He is currently going through some very difficult medical issues and is unable to teach or travel so the Bikram Yoga Davenport holds a "karma class" periodically to help raise funds for Jason. It's is a pretty neat deal, I was honored to be able to go and support the yoga community.

I've never actually met Jason. He came to the Dallas studio a year or two before I found Bikram Yoga. I've heard many great things about him though and to me it doesn't matter if I've met him before; it feels good to be able to help people in need, whether you know them or not. And to me, helping someone in need within the yoga world is just an added bonus...especially in the karma world. 

So let's get back to the class itself. HOT! Carlos, a teacher from San Antonio taught class. He taught it half in English and Half in Spanish, so interesting! It was a little hard because unless you knew Spanish, you had to really think about the pose and what you were suppose to do and when to come out. But after a few poses I started to understand what a few words meant, plus, since I uh...know the dialog... I was able to follow along a little better than maybe a regular student. 

The dual language dialog wasn't enough though to distract me from the extreme heat, which really was probably more humidity than true heat but whatever right? I mean, when sweat is streaming down your face and your eyes are burning from sweat and whatever crap is in your hair (I had straightened my hair a few days earlier.)...who cares if it is heat or humidity? The point is it was HOT! And I normally wouldn't complain. I'm going to teacher training, it is going to be hot there, plus, I am going to teacher training, I shouldn't complain about the heat. But I've been sitting on the couch for 2 1/2 days doing nothing, "mentally preparing" for teacher training (at least that is what I was telling myself) and I was dehydrated and probably a little food deprived. The cucumbers from lunch weren't helping either...those were NOT tasting good the second time around. I thought I was going to pass out during Standing Bow Pulling Pose and truly felt like a big dork for sitting out part of Triangle but what are you going to do when you feel shaky and light headed? No one needs to pass out a day before going to teacher training. 

If Austin WAS trying to prepare me for training, well, all I have to say is, thanks. I appreciate the steamy, hot room filled to the brim with yogis.  It was a test of my patience's and ability to deal with things that are uncomfortable for me. I'm starting to really appreciate people trying to get me out of my comfort zone is getting larger, soon nothing will bother me. 

HAHAHAHAHA Let's not go overboard.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I got to run onto the Dallas Cowboy field at the America's Run!

From America's Run

I ran my last race before I go off to Bikram Yoga Teacher Training, the America's Run in Arlington, Texas. It a nice course, even with the hills and the weather was absolutely perfect. I know it is a good run when sweat runs off my shorts into my socks, which happened today!

It started off a little rocky with trying to find where to park. After I learned the parking game the attendants had and after going to three entrances, I finally found how to get in the parking area. There didn't seem to be a lot of people around, I guess because it was the inaugural year, there weren't that many people. Also, the Big D Marathon and Half Marathon were going on and that always has a good crowd.

My ankles started to hurt just as soon as I started running, not a good sign. After the first half mile or so though the pain seemed to go away. I was feeling pretty good after that and decided to try and run the first three miles without stopping. I made it to mile 2 at 21:25 and 3 miles at 33 minutes. Doing pretty good I thought. I ran most of miles 4 - 6 but did have to walk in between the miles, but at least I ran about a mile before stopping. At mile 6 I had been running 1 hour 8 minutes, pretty good for me. At that rate I could have finished one of my best times....but that pace didn't last.

At one point there was a hill and I had decided I would walk up it only to find when I got close to the top there was ANOTHER hill, a larger one, right after. So I had to run up that hill since I had just walked up the OTHER hill. UGH! I made it but it wasn't pretty. lol

At mile 10 my time was 1:59. At my best speed I would have finished at 1:33 or 1:34 but I was losing steam and my knees started to hurt. I decided somewhere in mile 10 there was no need to push myself to get "my best time." I am not trying to the be best at running and I have to be careful since I'm going to teacher training, I don't need to mess up my new career path over a silly race. So I decided to just take it easy and just do the best I could, I would get there when I got there.

And I did. I made it to mile 12 at 2:24 and ran into the Cowboy stadium at 2:39.  It was pretty cool, we got to run down into the stadium where "regular" people don't get to go and we ran right onto the field! So cool!

The only odd part about it was nothing was really on the field. You got your medal and then they made you walk up the stairs where the seats are then into the hall, then up more stairs. It was very strange. Why would you make people that just ran 13.1 miles walk up a bunch of stairs? I felt like an old lady. I had to hold the railing and walked up the steps VERY slowly. Maybe other people didn't have an issue with the steps. I was just glad I had only run 13.1 and not a full marathon!

Troy Aikman was there too, it was his first half marathon. I am sure he was in the "elite" running group up front. I looked up his time, 1:45. I am sure he was gone by the time I crossed the field, too bad too. I would have loved to have seen him! Maybe next year!

From America's Run

Monday, April 5, 2010

I chanted with Deva Premal, Miten and Manose

From Bike Run Yoga

It's 11:00 pm and I am just getting back from what can only be described as an extremely fascinating evening of chants, mantras and songs by Deva Premal & Miten with Manose and Krishna Das. I had no idea what the evening would be like when my studio director, Karen, asked if I wanted to go. I only knew she had heard them all before and loved their music and the studio was sponsoring so I thought, why not go and try something new. (Seems to be MY mantra lately.)

These were truly beautiful sounds. I couldn't understand much of what they were singing or chanting but it didn't matter, the sounds of each word, note, reverberation were amazing. Lots of people sang or chanted along. That is a bit out of my comfort zone so I just listened and observed. There was one group mantra chant, Om Shanti Om, I did participate in. We said it 108 times, the magical number for mantras.

Krishna Das is described in his bio as the "rock star" of yoga and I have to say, based on tonight I would have to agree. He rocked the house...the best you can with chants and mantras. People were dancing around, flailing their arms around, jumping around like the music had taken a hold of them. It was similar to a mosh pit, chant style. The main difference? The chants went on for 20 minutes so the people gyrating around had to be prepared to do it for AWHILE, which of course, didn't seem to phase any of them, they clearly had been to one of these before.

Me? I was perfectly happy watching and enjoying LISTENING. It was fabulous indeed. I almost picked up a chant CD, then remembered a teacher from the studio talking about their roommate at teacher training chanting early in the morning...and I decided I didn't want to be THAT person at training so I left with no wares. Besides, I can always itune it.

I think I will fall asleep to the one chant I know now...Om Shanti Om...Om Shanti Om....Om Shanti Om...


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Yoga, Easter Style, Outdoor Shower and All

Happy Easter everyone!

I'm sneaking a moment to post on my blog while my Bro, SIL and the kids are at church...I missed going because I went to yoga instead at Yoga Groove in Austin. I know the moment they get home it will be chaos fo candy, eggs, bubbles, lots of kiddos and even more adults...I will be exhausted before it is all through. Glad I went to yoga early!

I went to Yoga Groove, it is the closest Bikram Yoga Studio to my Bro. Cosmo, the owner was there, we had a nice chat about me going to teacher training. Then as I was waiting for class to start and studying my dialog, he comes up and says "teach  me one." Oh dear....I think in my brain...what do I know? "ok, I know half moon pose." So he gets up and stands we go... "Everyone together, feet on the line, heels and toes touching each other.......and push and push and push." He smiled and was very complimentary, said I would do great a training. Yea! Always good to have postive energy and feedback.

I always love Yoga Groove, it has a sort of granola, laid back, Austin-y's well....groovy. The students are super nice, one even complimented me after class on my headstand. (I'm practicing moving my hands so I can work into Tiger.) And you gotta love the teachers, hard core, yet, laid back, great combo. One student in class said outloud, "move the water bottle." The teacher just said back, "Don't let it steal your peace, don't worry about the water bottle, just focus on yourself." I'm not sure the student appreciated it but I thought it was funny and accurate. How many times do we get annoyed in class because something isn't just the way we think it should be? For me...lots. It is a daily struggle to not get annoyed at the smallest of things...and I was thinking of that as the teacher said this. A good lesson to be repeated for everyone.

The best part of class though was AFTER class when Cosmo handed me a towel and said I could use the outdoor shower. "Outdoor shower?" I asked. "Why do you have an outdoor shower?" His response.... "because." Classic. As I hesitate and lean in while at the same time not really leaning in, he said "just get in." And under the full shower spray I go. It was cool and refreshing, perfect after a hot yoga class. What a great idea! All you really need after yoga is a rinse off and why not do it outside? I better is is awesome on a hot summer day, the cool water must feel amazing, I will have to come back in the summer.

I better take a real shower now before the house is full of people again. Hope everyone has a great Easter!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Thirty Miles of Avoiding Potholes, Cones and Other Riders - Tour Dallas was a Success!

From Bike Run Yoga

Today I rode in my first bike ride since Hotter N Hell last year in August. It's hard to get motivated to ride when the temperatures are so cold, plus, I don't really travel with my bike, my car is not exactly bike friendly. So usually, meaning, this year and last year, I ride the Tour Dallas ride, maybe a few other rides a century ride in late Summer or early Fall and then focus on running or getting ready for the yoga championships. This year since I set a goal of 24 events, I probably will do more rides than last year, I will miss some good rides while I am at Bikram Yoga Teacher Training so hopefully when I get back I will still have time to get in at least 3 or 4 rides.

Tour Dallas was a good one to start out with, it is an easy ride through Dallas and around White Rock Lake. My friend Emily asked me last year if I wanted to ride with her and it was such a great ride, we decided to do it again this year.

From Bike Run Yoga

Check out those AWESOME arm warmers!

I wore my arm warmers I bought for the Butterfly Boogie and boy an I glad I did! Wow, my arms were so cold riding to the start and for about the first 10 miles, I was REALLY glad I had them. I thought I was going to look silly, and maybe I did, but I did see at least 2 other people wearing arm warmers. I always feel safer, less silly, when I see people doing what I am doing, don't you? :)

We saw more bikers down this year and at two of the spots, EMS was there helping. There is a spot within the first few miles were you have to go over the light rail tracks and last year people were shouting "tracks!" so you knew they were coming up and to slow down. This year no one seemed to be doing that but I knew they were there so I slowed down. Some poor lady thought got caught in the tracks and went down, then right behind her some guy couldn't turn fast enough so his bike basically ran over her, over her bike and then he fell down. Amazingly, they both got up and seemed fine.

At another point we saw a man getting into an EMS truck and what looked like his friend lying in the grass, that was just before the lake. Then as we got to the North side of the lake there was another EMS truck and a lady was on the side of the road with EMS techs helping her.

I think it was because the roads were so bad, there were A LOT of potholes and other road hazards to deal with and if you weren't paying attention, well, there you went, down on the ground. Emily and I were discussing the road conditions when she mentioned these might have been the BEST streets they could find when they mapped the route. At that I had to laugh and then I was HAPPY they had picked these roads because geez...if these were the BEST roads, I hate to think what roads got marked off the list as too bad for the ride!

Even with the potholes, which you have to expect when you ride on the road, it was a great ride. Cool to start out and it warmed up just enough to take the chill off. And thanks to all the officers that stopped traffic and made sure no one got run over, there were certainly plenty of opportunities with all the drivers not paying attention.

Off now to go spend time with the family, I won't seem them for 9 weeks so I better get my fill today!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Day 60: Bikram Yoga Challenge - I finished! No foolin'.

From Bike Run Yoga

It's no joke, I finished my 60 Day Bikram Yoga Challenge today! Just as a reminder, I had to complete a week of "doubles" to prepare for teacher training so I really had to do 67 classes in 60 days, not just the regular 60. I did 10 days of doubles total, 3 of those were to make up classes I missed. Was it hard? Absolutely! Was it worth it? Definitely. I have to give credit also to those that actually do a class each day, that is SOME dedication!  Taking a double when you miss a class is hard but dedicating each day to class is equally as hard if not harder. Either way, a challenge is exactly what the name implies, a challenge. Over the last 60 days, there has been so much growth, not only in strength and flexibility but also in self awareness and personal growth. You never know what a challenge like this can do for you.

Here is a small example of why I know taking class everyday has helped me. My running time. During the challenge I ran in three 5K runs. The first one was Dash for the Beads and I finished it in 37:21, my second race was the St. Patty Day 5K and my time was 3 minutes faster at 34:28 and my most recent 5K was the Butterfly Boogie that I completed at a personal record of 32:55. Only in long distances like marathons is my leg strength an issue. At a distance of 5K, my legs can handle it, it is my lungs that typically give out. I use to breathe in and out in short breathes and would be exhausted almost the second I started. Now, with having learned how to breathe in yoga, I can breathe better and relax myself while running and still push myself to go the distance.

If you are wondering, no, I didn't do really anything else besides go to yoga every day. In addition to the three 5K races, I ran 1 half marathon but in general I didn't do any other exercise like the gym or other cardio. All my improvements are strictly from going to yoga on a regular, consistent basis.

There are probably a few things lately that have contributed to what I would consider my recent personal awareness and growth but much of it has to do directly with yoga and probably all of it indirectly has to do with yoga. I went home to see an old family friend about 3/4 of the way through the challenge. I hadn't seen him in years and his first comment was, "wow, you look 16 again!" What a nice compliment right?! My dad and I were talking about it later and he said it wasn't so much that I actually looked 16, it was more that the stress in my face was gone and I looked happy. That is yoga.

I've learned to let go of things too. Ok, not 100%, it is still a work in progress, but I have learned to be a little more mellow and not let certain things annoy much. There are so many things that can happen in and out of the yoga room that can annoy someone, especially me. Inside the room there are the bendy people, the people with extremely large towels, the people that breathe heavily, the people that fling sweat on you, the people that don't move their mat up or back, the people that for whatever reason stick their feet in your face....or how about the people in Locust that sway from side to side and swing their feet everywhere? There is the smell, the heat, the humidity, the teacher, the sweat from the earlier class, the fact that the person in front of you won't scoot over just an inch so  you can see yourself in the mirror...or the person next to you in really inappropriate clothing. Or the person that gets up and walks out all the time, or someone that has a cell phone in the room....or the exhaust won't work, the teacher won't open the door, the teacher opens the door too much, my towel smells...or is that me that smells? And where are the birds? I mean, there is A LOT to overcome in yoga! Little by little, I am working on letting go of my issues with all these things. Going to yoga everyday helps with that because I am faced with at least a handful of these issues each class.

So the next time you see me in class and you wonder if the class is easy because I go so often, just know I struggle with every pose, every day and I struggle with my mind and all the external forces (see above) every class, every day. Yoga is never easy but it is always rewarding.
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