Friday, November 27, 2009

Holiday 30-Day Challenge - Here I go again!

Thanksgiving Day class marked the start of what we are calling the “Holiday 30-Day Challenge”. Students can pick any 30 days in a row between Thanksgiving and New Years to complete their thirty days. It’s a tough time of year to dedicate yourself to this. I know how busy we all get with holiday parties with co-workers, family and friends, but I’ve committed myself to it, and am feeling confident that I will complete it. I was having some hesitation writing my name down for it, but took a deep breath, set my goal, and VIOLA! I’m there.

Since I have been back from training, it has been a struggle finding the time to practice. I have found that 4 to 5 days a week is pretty consistent for me. I’m looking forward to pushing myself to making the time for yoga practice. Christmas Day will mark the completion date, however, my goal is actually to complete it a day early so I can sleep in with my husband, spend time in our PJs in front of the tree, and relax. ☺ That means at least one double, probably more. I haven’t done a double since training, which is funny because I when I came back, I had some high aspirations that I’d double up a couple times a week.

I figure I should set a yoga goal or two for these 30 days. I realized in class yesterday that I need to work on my stamina in Standing Bow. I think that possibly two times in my life, I have held the first set of this posture for the entire duration of the pose. I know that I give up sometimes. But I also know that I fall out even more than give up because I am kicking and pushing so hard. So there. I am going to work on holding it. The whole time. YAY! The other posture I want to improve upon has been my nemesis since the very beginning, Bow Pose (on the floor). I dislike/hate relationship with this pose. I have NEVER liked it. I have NEVER been very good at it. And I can NEVER get my legs 6 inches apart!! Such a struggle for me. There is so much for me to work on: getting my wrists straight, getting my legs closer, getting my legs higher, figuring out the difference between toes pointed and toes pointed out. And I might as well work on not dreading this posture every time we get to it! It just the one pose where I mostly feel like it is horrible, and the rest of the time I think, ‘well, I guess that didn’t suck.”

Of course, I see the correlation of the two poses. And of course, I know that if I can get one to improve, the other will likely follow. Hmmm… maybe I should take some pics after class this weekend.

I am hoping to be able to write a little bit more during these 30 days. I have a lot of things going on in my head and my life, and I hope to find the time to write, because it is another wonderful outlet for me. I will do my best!! But for now, I have to change and guzzle some water so I can head to the 3:30 class – DAY 2 of my 30 days!!

Wish me luck!

Friday, November 6, 2009

You are stronger than you think you are

I was just reading a blog post about standing head to knee, and it got me thinking about the posture. I might be in the minority, but this posture might be my MOST favorite. (And I say MOST favorite because I have few… but this one takes the cake.) So why is it my favorite?

I’ve taken myself back to when I first started practicing. It’s just amazing to go back there sometimes. First of all, this whole “locked knee” thing just didn’t make ANY sense to me. When I thought “locked knee”, I just knew that all of my life, it was important to keep my knees soft. (Where did that come from, I wonder?) So when teachers would tell me to lock my knee, in my head, I would think, “No, that’s not what they really mean.” And then one day, I figured out what they meant. CONTRACT YOUR THIGH MUSCLE. Kneecap lifts up! I can’t tell you how long it took me to realize wheat a locked knee was. Perhaps a couple of weeks. Maybe more. Maybe less. What amazes me right now, at this present moment, is that I could not stand there on that solid, concrete, lamppost, locked knee for half the posture. Perhaps amazement isn’t the right word. Maybe it should be pride… accomplishment… determination.

How far have you come in your practice? Go back there. I guarantee you will feel a sense of pride within yourself. I observe so many postures that I have grown dramatically in. And the best thing is, there is SO MUCH MORE. I used to dive in and out of workout routines. Five years ago, I never would have thought that a series of 26 postures, in the same order, every single time, would keep me interested. But those accomplishments that occur on a weekly basis keep Bikram Yoga so fresh and so challenging and so intriguing to me. Standing Head to Knee is my favorite posture!! I mean, really? And there are still 5 more things that I KNOW I need to work on while I am in it. And once I get those 5 things solid and concrete…. The next challenge will be there. At training, when the Advanced Series was demonstrated to us, my jaw dropped when I saw Juan let go of his foot, with his head on his knee, and Just. Hold it. There. WHAT??

I will do that some day.

How do I know that? I just do. I’ve seen the strides I have taken in my practice over the last 4 years. I say strides, but I really mean leaps. Bounds. This is what yoga is all about. It is about realizing your potential. It is about pushing yourself to achieve the impossible. We are so much stronger than we think we are. And every single day, as I look at myself in the mirror, I struggle. Sometimes I don’t struggle as much, but no matter what, I struggle. And when I walk out of that room, having endured those 90 uninterrupted minutes of my life, I see a more confident me… a stronger me… a more empowered me. And that person who walked into class for the first time slowly begins to evolve into someone else. Someone that no limits. Someone like me.