Monday, December 21, 2009

Things to come

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… Well, besides the fact that I hate the cold weather and snow, I’m still feeling happier than ever. The past 3 or 4 years I just haven’t been a holiday kind of gal. But a lot has changed in me in the last half a year. I’ve got all these maternal feelings that have taken ahold of me, I’ve become a more giving person, and yes… I actually got a Christmas tree. And it is beautiful. It may be the most perfect tree ever. (Unfortunately, the night we put it up, the tree had and accident and ended up smashing on the floor in the middle of the night. But let’s not go there right now, because you know what I’m exuding positivity and sticking with it!)

And well, this 30 day challenge is sadly coming to an end soon. I’ve got 4 classes left to take, so as I planned, I will be done on Christmas Eve. I know I can keep it going if I want to, but between Christmas and New Years I know I’ve got a few days I won’t get to class. But it’s ok. I love that I decided to commit myself to it, because I have truly enjoyed this 30 day challenge more than any other. It could be because I feel more connected with so many of the students that are also doing it, now that I am teaching. It could be that I love that I get to be at the studio and see all the people I love on a very regular basis. It could be that wonderful sense of unity that you feel when you are going thru something with others. It’s all of these things, I am sure. But mostly, I think it is because I have pushed myself to new heights, and feel incredibly strong. I have felt so in tune with my practice, my body, and my strength. I continuously work on my goals that I set on the first day, and can see clear improvements. Dare I say I don’t hate Bow Pose anymore?? Perhaps…. ☺

Things are just good. All around. I’m looking forward to holiday parties and spending time with family. I’m excited to see my dad’s side of the family. I’ve just realized that I haven’t seen them since I’ve been back from training!! I get to meet a new little cousin (who actually isn’t really “new” at this point, seeing she was born on May 5th!!) I get to spend time with my brother and his girlfriend, which makes me incredibly happy. We don’t get to see each other as much as we used to, so I’m looking forward to that. I am thrilled to have some time off of work and to be able to spend some snuggle time with Tim. I feel like my teaching has taken a great turn. The past few weeks, a little bit more has “clicked”. Things are just good.

I am psyched for tomorrow. I took the day off of work to have an all-yoga-all-the-time day. I’m teaching at 6am, taking at 8am, then heading to West Roxbury to take the advanced class with Diane. Sounds like there is going to be a good group of folks there. I finally get to meet thedancingj, after 3 years of chatting online. I’ve convinced another teacher, Laura, to take the day off with me so we can ride up together. We’ve got a nice friendship and so much in common, I often think we have parallel lives.

So as I embark on a short night of rest, I am hoping for deep sleep, sweet dreams, and a continuations of all things that are good in the world.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Struggle, struggle, struggle!!

Tomorrow marks the halfway point of my 30 day challenge! It is going really great. I’m loving that I am forced to find the time to make it to class every day. It’s not as if I normally have to “force” myself to class, but with my hectic schedule, I often find myself pushing that extra hour of work that I have to get done, which makes me miss class. But now – NO CHOICE!!

My body is feeling fantastic. I’m finding new muscles that are getting sore, and new depths to some postures. It always amazes me that after almost 5 years of practice, I can still wake up the next morning with a new soreness in my body. I got super deep bending left side in half moon the other day. I looked at myself and thought “Wow. So. Cool. That’s me!!” And on that same day, I got into my middle back in something… I’m still not quite sure what posture. But I woke up feeling more alive in that part of my back than ever. Such a good pain! Getting to that point beyond the normal depth that we are comfortable with is always an accomplishment. And feeling it in the body (all over, inside out, bones to skin) is when our bodies really start to change. I’ve been trying to stress this while I am teaching, too. It is so important to go beyond that normal place of comfort. If you are just hanging out balancing for the full minute of Standing Bow, you are not working hard enough. You need to fall forward sometimes. You need to kick so hard that you lose your balance. Even though the dialogue says “if you lose the balance, you’re not kicking hard enough”, that does not mean that we can just hang out there forever. Falling is not failure. Getting back in and struggling just as hard is success.

Which brings me to what I have been working on, which is my stamina in Standing Bow.

It is getting better. Off and on though. But ever since I have made up my mind to work on holding it longer, I have actually been able to in the majority of classes. I still struggle with just getting too damn tired in that first set. I’m not looking for these thirty days to suddenly reinvent my Standing Bow, where I can hold it the whole time, all the time. But little by little, I will get there. I have had a couple of classes where I actually have found myself relaxing into that posture. Hard to explain. "Relaxing" might not be the right word… There is a point where I am kicking back and up so hard and stretching my fingertips forward so hard that I have a sudden realization of ease. Then I put a big ol’ goofy smile on my face, and that is my posture!

I still don’t know that I can talk fully about any major improvements in Floor Bow. The past 14 days have brought me to somewhat look forward to the posture a little more because I have found some clarity in it. I want so badly to improve in that one. I totally understand why that posture is where it is in class, but damn! I am so spent after the previous three postures! That could certainly be a part of my struggle. But enough excuses. My exhaustion doesn’t really matter – all that matters is that I stick it out and try as hard as possible to do the posture 100% the right way to the very best of my ability. And someday, eventually, in the future… I will improve, I will progress, and maybe, just maybe, even learn to like that posture a little bit.

Halfway mark – here I come!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

One Day after the Next

I just finished my 8th day of the 30 day challenge. I’m feeling pretty good. Tonight’s class was awesome. It kicked my asana, was challenging, but not to the point of sitting anything out. I always consider that a great class. A good challenging ass kicking in Bikram Yoga is why we all continue to show up every day, right?

Well yesterday was quite different. It was a serious ass whooping… slaying… pummeling… whatever the word is; it was TOUGH. I absolutely killed myself in all the postures up to Standing Bow, was feeling strong, then – THUD. My hands and forearms got tingly and fatigue just hit my whole body. The next few postures I joined in slowly and half-assed them as best as I could, then finally had to sit out the first set of Triangle. The teacher, Sunny, has a nice long one, so it was a good break. I got my butt up for the second set, and Sunny says to me, “You can do it, Danielle!” THAT statement took me through the rest of the class. Every time I wanted to stop and rest, my brain said, “you can do it, Danielle!”

I’ve said it before, but it is true – we are so much stronger than we think we are. Strength of mind, strength of body, strength of will. It’s not every day that we get to really push our strengths to heir limits, but when we do… it feels so good. And when we pass over that supposed limit that we think we are at, well now THAT is powerful. In this yoga class, we have all experienced the feeling of defeat. It bums us out a little, but we go back the next day with that knowledge that every day is different, and if yesterday was bad, today will probably rock. But there are those moments in those killer classes that something happens to help us push through. Sometimes it’s the teacher’s comment (whether directed at you or not), and sometimes it’s something inexplicable. Whatever that “something” is, every day is different than the last. All we can do is put one foot after the other, one posture at a time, one breath at a time, and carry ourselves through class with no expectations, open hearts, and English bull dog determination. ☺

(Side note: I’d like to give a great big THANK YOU to miss dancingj for her tip on floor bow. Still not loving the posture, but I think I’ve found it! It’s a kick UP like in standing bow… brilliant!! I can feel it in my glutes, which I’ve never felt before! Rock on! I hope to write more about this soon.)