Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Love at first SWEAT...

Tomorrow it is April. I am in the home stretch. I still can’t believe this dream of mine is about to become a reality. To think that it all started with one 90 minute yoga class….

I think back to my first Bikram Yoga class, and the fact that it is as clear as it was yesterday is a pretty powerful thing. I brought one of my friends that I worked with, Laura, to the studio. We walked in together, and the first person I see is the instructor, Linda. The woman had the strongest, tightest body I had ever seen in my life, and in my head, I thought, “OK… if this is going to make me look like THAT, I’m in!” She gave us the low-down about class, and just said, “It’s hot in there, but I can’t watch you if you leave the room, so just stay in the room even if you have to lie down. Join us when you can.” It didn’t seem so scary.

So we walked into the hot room, put down our mats, and looked at each other with crinkled noses. Ummm… it stunk in there. And it was HOT!

The lights come on, teacher comes in, and Laura and I were pointed out as the newbies and told to just look at the people around us if we were lost. Class began. I actually can’t specifically remember the class itself. That part of it is kind of a blur. I remember looking at the students around me thinking that they must have been doing this for years. I remember feeling insanely challenged. My heart was thumping out of my chest, and I wanted to RUN out of that room. But at the same time, I wanted to stay in there and get thru it and stay with the postures to the best of my ability. When the class was finally over, I was sopping in sweat and couldn’t wait to come back as soon as my schedule would allow.

And so I did. I took advantage of the 2-week introductory special and went to yoga class about 8 times in those 2 weeks. I didn’t become a “die-hard” right away. I was working about 60 – 70 hours a week at a start-up company, and that was the priority in my life. My health, my marriage came second. I had a warped sense of what was important. Everything was sort of off-balance. Things at home didn’t feel good, I didn’t feel good. I didn’t know up from down, and don’t know if I even cared to find out.

At some point in the middle of this depression I was feeling, I dove into my yoga practice. I began feeling good about myself again. I started wanting to fix the problems I was having in my life. I felt good. And healthy. I felt a shift in my life. Everything started to rebalance. I realized that the work would be there tomorrow, and that if I wasn’t feeling good, I wasn’t giving 100%. I saw myself make the decision to work harder at my marriage. And with that decision, it suddenly wasn’t hard anymore.

Yoga was the conduit for me to fix my life. It made ME the priority of my life. Without me… without a happy me, I don’t have much. This is why I believe so strongly in Bikram Yoga. It changed my life. I’ve seen the power of it. More than anything, I want to be able to bring it to others. I want to inspire people in the way that I have been inspired. I think there is so much more in me that I have yet to find. This 9 week journey is going to test me in ways I can’t imagine, I am sure. But the amazing thing is – I have seen firsthand how powerful it can be… and this is just the beginning.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Break the cycle

So I’ve got to tell you… Keeping up with my blog – DEFINITELY not my most favorite thing to do! And now here I am, 2 weeks after my last entry wondering what am I going to talk about today? Ah yes, the yoga always seems to work when I am at a loss.

Yesterday I had one of my all-time worst, most difficult classes of all time. There are times when I feel like I may literally DIE, but whether it is my sheer determination or my pride, I can usually push thru class. Yesterday, not so much. We got to the floor and every ounce of energy left me. The heat felt oppressive, my heart felt like a repetitive gong beating thru my chest, and my brain took over. I tried so hard to fight the mind game. I’ve done it so many times before, so I know I can do it. But this was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. Even TRYING to sit back up after savasana was a struggle. I laid there after class for longer than I ever have, simply because it was physically impossible to get up. Yikes.

Sometimes I beat myself up for classes like this. I tend to go thru spurts in my practice, where I go thru 2 months of kick-ass, strong classes, and I feel like I am making improvements and breakthroughs. Then I hit is rough spot, where for a couple of weeks I can’t wait to get out of theat hot room quick enough. I’ve come to expect this in my practice, and when it happens, I just go with it and wait it out until I am back on track. I’ve been thinking about this a lot since yesterday, and realize that I need to break this cycle. Expectations in yoga won’t do me any good. I had been thinking, ‘well, here’s my rough patch. At least it will be gone and done with by the time I get to training.’ But why am I giving in to this pattern that I seem to expect from myself? I’m not sure.

I’m breaking this cycle. Now. Coming to the realization that I was giving myself this excuse of a ‘rough patch’ is the first step. (Because you know, like AA, Bikram yoga is a 10 step program!) Now that I know that I’ve created this pattern for myself - that will drive me to break this cycle. I’m certainly learning an awful lot about myself as I prepare for training.

I’m also learning the dialogue! Every posture seems to come a little bit easier than the last. I can’t believe I am already up to Triangle pose! I’ve figured out a lot of tricks that work for me, and I just keep going with them. Not only do I have my own study groove, but I’ve been truly LISTENING to the instructors in class. I only do what an instructor is telling the class to do – no more, no less. Staying 100% present has helped me to really HEAR the sequence of the postures. I’ve always felt like I was pretty present in my classes, but I don’t know if I was necessarily listening.

Now... I’m listening.

I’m learning.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What to do, what to do.

45 days to go!!! WHAT???

That is just madness. As I mentioned before, time is traveling at warp speed. The weeks are just flying by. I still have so much to do, but I really can't get my mind about exactly what it is that I have "so much" of to do. Studying, of course, is priority #1. And I've been doing a good job of getting one posture down a week. I'm kind of getting in the groove of it, too. I actually might be able to up my 1/week. (That would be outstanding!)

I just started Balancing Stick Pose tonight. Got to it right when I got home from work, for about an hour, and I got a little more than halfway through. Hopefully tomorrow, I'll have retained what I've learned tonight and be able to crank thru the rest of it. Woo hoo! I am so looking forward to training so I can actually go thru postures with actual people in front of me.

Ok.. so things to do:
  • Load up the iPod
  • Figure out/buy vitamins
  • Take inventory on my yoga wear
  • Meet with my roommate and decide who is packing what
  • Make a packing list!!!
I guess the packing list is really the thing that is beginning to freak me out. I am going to be gone for 9 weeks. How do you pack for that?? Obviously clothes aren't the big problem. I'll be doing laundry while I am there, so that won't be too crazy. It's all the other shtuff. This whole eating thing during those 9 weeks has totally thrown me for a loop! We will have lunch provided Monday - Friday, but breakfast, dinner, snacks? I'll need to provide those meals for myself.

While staying in a hotel room with only a mini-refrigerator...

No stove. No microwave. No stocked pantry...

How in the world am I going to eat? I haven't quite got the answer to that yet.