Friday, July 30, 2010

From Yoga Journal
I overstretched my upper back/shoulders yesterday in Plow of all positions. I FEEL like I have been plowing! This must be what mules feel like after a hard days work in the fields.

I tried stretching out a little and couldn't find the right stretch to make it feel better. I have a feeling today's class in the nice warm room will be just the medicine I need.

And how does one over stretch in Plow anyway? sheesh. I consider Plow to be an easy pose, not necessarily and "advanced" posture although we only practice it in the advanced class. This is what I get though for A. not taking the beginner class first to warm up and b. not listening to my body and stopping earlier. I could tell my neck hurt and I certainly could feel the stretch but I kept going anyway. Silly really. You have to listen to your body, it always tells you when it has had enough.

I rarely injure myself in yoga, I mean, it's yoga, come on! But people CAN injure something if they don't listen to what their body is telling them. The pain of stretching is fine. The sharp pain, pop or OVER stretching is bad. I think part of a regular yoga practice is learning the difference and then paying attention.

So, I am off to fix myself. If it doesn't work, I think I will treat myself to a Starbucks Coffee, that will surely do the trick!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Everyday is a new day, today was a good yoga day

Yoga today was outstanding. Half way through the class I thought to myself, "wow, Advanced Class really DOES improve your regular practice!" I felt strong and flexible, way more than I did during or before teacher training. It was like I was my old self again. I locked my knees in Hands to Feet Pose, kept my forehead and knees touching in Rabbit Pose, touched my head to my knees in the sit up and for the first time in probably a year, I got my heels off the floor in Stretching. I felt so good!

It was a hard class. Good class. My balancing postures still aren't there but I can see a big improvement in my overall flexibility. And to think, I have only done 2 advanced classes in the past week and a half! I can't wait until Thursday when I take advanced again. I hope to improve even more!

The Bikram Advanced Class is a class where you go through 84 postures in an hour and a half, sometimes 2 hours. It is fast paced but more relaxed and free flowing. It's a wonderful opportunity to expand  your yoga practice and take it to the next level. The postures are hard and you can get hurt if you don't listen to your body, that is one reason we don't do most of the 84 postures in the beginner class. Bikram designed his beginner class to be for all skill levels. The advanced class is, well, for advanced yogi's. Not that I am that advanced, I can't do many of the postures, but it is fun to try and to see how each class you improve...and now I can see how it improves my regular practice too!

The yoga competition also floated through my mind during class and anytime I felt the slightest bit tired I just thought about the competition and how I needed to really improve my practice if I planned on really competing. Just like any sport, you have to train for the competition and that means a lot of yoga. And 110% effort, 100% of the time. Frankly, it is hard to do. I've been "pacing" myself for months now, too afraid to really push myself for fear I would injure myself during training and even before training I wasn't trying very hard, again, for fear I would hurt myself before I left for training. Maybe those were just excuses, I don't know. Whatever it was, I feel like I am back on track and regained my focus.

Let's see if tomorrow provides the same great practice.

Distractions are part of life, learning to let them go is yoga

Distractions, they are everywhere from the cell phone ringing, kids cryings, people talking, someone cutting you off in traffic, etc. In the yoga room they can be anything from someone's sweat flung towards you, not so great smelling carpet, room is too hot, person next to you clearly ate something awful because now you smell it because it's seeping out of their pores, sweat rolling down your face, not enough water, tummy hurts because of too much water, the list can go on and on. Even outdoors like this past Saturday at Lululemon's Om in the Park at Northpark Center where the atmosphere was serene with the sun peaking over billowy clouds, large looming trees shading the grass and perfect temperatures, there was a distraction, noise of a rake smoothing out the gravel pathway. In yoga and in life, it is a daily, sometimes hourly task for me to not just ignore the distractions but to work to a point where I don't even notice the distractions, where I am so centered in myself and my goals, the distractions are zero, no matter what is going on.

I'm reminded of this ultimate destination often, in and out of the yoga room. This could be why my wonderful father bought me a calendar of "Don't sweat the small stuff" sayings for each day. I'm trying though.

This past Saturday when the grounds staff at Northpark proceed to rake the gravel right where the yoga class was going on, I ignored it the first time. The second time when I noticed students were looking at the man funny I just made a comment about distractions and part of yoga is to move past those distractions and focus on your yoga. It was funny and I think the guy got the hint, he smiled and stopped raking. He was just doing his job, I am sure he is suppose to rake the gravel and have it all nice and ready for when the mall opens but right when a yoga class is going on isn't really the best time. But what is it to a few yogi's to have a rake running through gravel in the middle of class? I should have been able to ignore it, or better, not even be aware of it at all. That to me is real yoga. Like I said, still working on it. I find laughing about it and realizing I need to work on it progress in the right direction.

Or how about when you are in yoga class and people are huffing and puffing as if they are about to pass out? Or when someone flings sweat on your towel, or worse, on you?! Or the person that puts their feet right in your face when they are in Savasana? All, very annoying, all just minor distractions...and really, zero of them have anything to do with me and my yoga practice. And yet, I still allow these things to creep in and disturb my 90 minute meditation during yoga.

Is the person huffing and puffing annoying? Sure, they are loud and disrupting class. Are they doing it on purpose? No. They are probably doing everything they can to survive. On good days I just smile to myself and think about MY first day when I almost died and I try and give out good vibes to help the person out.

And the flying sweat...never have I met a person that meant to fling their sweat on another person. Is it a little gross? Sure. But now I comfort myself in knowing that I am sweating too and just as quick as it fell on me, it will be off too as my sweat streams out and down my body. If I am not sweating enough...well, I just work harder to work up a sweat to get it off of me quicker!

And the feet in the face, that's easy. No one's feet are worse than those at teacher training so feet almost don't bother me anymore. See, making progress already!

Everyday life is a little harder for me. Maybe it's hard for you too? This is one reason I go to yoga, to help me bring clarity and focus to my mind so I am always using my energy on things that improve me and not so much time worrying about what others are or are not doing. Of course, I still get caught up in the distractions from time to time, but I'm human and Bikram says humans are the slave to bad habits. So I come by it honestly I guess.

Monday, July 19, 2010

My focus lately has been on yoga...

My focus lately has been on yoga, if that wasn't already obvious. Going to teacher training left little time for much besides yoga and since I've been back, I've been on my bike twice and only thought of running. I don't really mind though, I've resolved it in my mind I might not make the 24 events I had set my mind to earlier in the year. (Bike Run Yoga has a 2010 challenge going on for people to complete 24 events in 2010.)

Life changes, goals change, things that are important change. It's ok. I've been told change is good by some pretty reputable people. And boy, are things ever changing! (Career, car, lifestyle, necessities, etc.) All in a good way.

My daily calendar of "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff" quotes and quips says today..."An almost surefire way to begin to reclaim your life is to develop the courage and wisdom to know when and what to quit."

How appropriate since I feel like I reclaimed my life recently with starting a new career as a yoga teacher.  It was hard to do, taking the leap was scary and exciting all at the same time. I'm happy I took the chance, took the opportunity to "reclaim" my life. It's a good thing, as Martha Stewart would say.

Yoga has helped me is so many ways from improving my physical body to improving my mind, focus and calming my brain. I feel lucky and blessed to be able to get up everyday and help others improve themselves from the inside out. It's nice to be able to help others to in their own path to self improvement/self discovery.

So for now, yoga is my "thing". I've committed myself to compete in this years Yoga Championships in September so I'll be practicing yoga more and practicing the Advances Series in preparation. I'll get back to running and biking soon though, can't let all the hard work from last year go to waste.

See you on the mat. Namaste.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

How Was Teacher Training You Ask?! Great!

Wow, my last post was June 6th! Eeeek! I was almost done with training then and I think training took it all out of me..I lost my energy to blog. I've been back for a few weeks now and honestly blogging has floated through my mind a few times and each time I have thought it was a monumental task. Not sure why, could be because teaching yoga isn't natural and free flowing like my work I did for the last 11 years so it takes more energy to do it well, leaving just about enough energy to brush Ginger (my cat) and make a smoothie.

Good news?! I'm a Bikram Yoga Teacher!!! I made it! Since I've been back, everyone I meet asks, "how was it?" My only response is "it was great! I loved it!" This usually is met with a bit of a surprised look. Bikram Yoga Teacher Training is hard, long and involves things that are challenging, sometimes not fun and often what you don't really want to be doing. So why did I love it? I've pondered this question and I've decided it was because I went with little to no expectation and the only expectation I did have was WAY hard and more mentally challenging than it was. Whatever we were told to do, that is what we did, we never had time to think about it.

 I am the type of person that needs to feel in control, always have a schedule, plan out my day, week, month. I don't like to leave things to chance so I think in my head of plan A, B and C, just in case. I also don't like doing things I'm not good at or that I just plain don't like so this training could have been a daily meltdown for me. And I was expecting it.

I've left Texas 3 other times for extended times (like this training, 9 weeks) and all three times I was miserable and wanted to come home. I was younger then and more stubborn, I'm glad to see I've grown up a bit! :) But I was worried I would fall into the same patterns and not enjoy or absorb the experience while it was happening.

Instead, I had a great time! It was hard, don't get me wrong. And I had to do a lot of things I didn't really want to do, I was challenged physically in class and mentally in lectures and clinics but each moment, each experience was an opportunity to change myself, to look inside myself and work on me. It was awesome. I felt like I was really able to let go and not stress, not feel the need to control my environment and not allow the little things to make me go completely postal.

I think the best compliment I received was from a teacher at my studio that came out to visit and she said I looked so happy, happier than she had ever seen me. That was awesome.

So I'm back in the Big D, Dallas, and teaching yoga at Bikram Yoga Dallas. Each day is a new day to work on myself and help others work on themselves. Always a work in progress, but what great work it is!

New Bag Styles