Sunday, January 24, 2010

Busting out of the Comfort Zone

As we approach the last week of January, can anyone answer me this: Where the hell did January go??? Seriously, time has been flying by for me. And I am proud to say that I am now 24 classes deep for 2010! And I’m showing no signs of stopping! I feel amazing. I love practicing yoga everyday. There are times it feels like getting there is a chore. Bikram yoga is a HUGE time commitment, and there are times when I just want to sleep until 7am instead of 5am, and times that I want to go home and relax after work instead of getting home from yoga at 7:30 in the evening. But every time I get myself in the hot room, 90 minutes later, I am glad I did.

Besides feeling amazing from yoga, I’ve taken a real turn in my eating habits. I’ve never really been a “bad” eater, but my brother has taught me an awful lot about nutrition, and I’m now spending more time in my life to actually make better and more healthy eating habits. I have found that my energy level is way up. All day. I’m primarily eating only real food. You know, the kind that was once alive, the kind that doesn’t have shit preservatives pumped into it, the kind that our bodies were made to eat. It’s a lot of work. The limited time I have at home lately is spent preparing healthy meals for the next day. It’s all worth it though. My brother had a phenomenal post a while back that really hit home for me. Read it. You’ll like it.

I spent last weekend at Kripalu in the Berkshires for a weekend long yoga retreat/seminar with Rajashree Choudhury. It was from Friday to Monday. My friend Michele and I went last year and had a blast. When we went last year, I had just sent in my payment for teacher training. I was brimming with anticipation and emotion and excitement. So going back this year was meaningful to me. I got to meet a lot of teachers and I felt like a part of something BIG. On the first day, we got to meet everyone in the group. Listening to everyone’s stories of how they came to love Bikram yoga and how it changed their lives was incredibly inspiring. It felt so right to be there, as a teacher… as someone whose life has also changed for the better. Funny side story: As the microphone is going around the room and people are introducing themselves, my crazy anxiety that I get from public speaking totally hit me!! I was shocked how strongly it came on. Michele and I were toward the back of the room, so I pretty much had to wait an hour before I got the microphone. Lucky for me, the woman just before me told her story – she had cancer and said she never would have made it without Bikram Yoga. I was in tears. It totally took the edge off of having to speak. I guess my nervous emotions came out in tears, and I was good to go from there.

I also went and taught at a different studio yesterday, which was totally exciting and surreal for me. Teri Almquist was one of my first instructors where I practice (and now teach), and she now owns a studio in Andover. I’ve been wanting to go and teach for her, and we finally worked it out. So I get there and ask her if Saturday’s 4m class is usually busy. She says “No, not really.” That makes me kind of happy because then I a can probably catch a few names and really give some corrections and do my normal class. Well, people begin to roll in, and roll in, and ROLL IN! It was incredible. I think I had 12 brand new students, another handful of students still on their intro special, some solid experienced students and 2 teachers. I NEVER get that in Auburn! Suddenly my excitement and nervousness starts to creep in, I walk into the studio introduce myself and begin class. MAN was I nervous! It was so weird! I think I settled into my very first class quicker than I did yesterday! I don’t think I actually saw any bodies until 20 minutes into class. It was really fun though, and I hope to be able to go back there and teach. The students absolutely love Teri and they have great practices. I could tell that they have solid, dialogue-driven teachers. The new students did really well, too. With my nerves kicked in, Teri said to me, “Just say the dialogue.” And what do you know! It really works!! (As if I didn’t already know that…)

One more thing that is really exciting for me. (And will likely cause me another bout of nerves!!) The Holy Cross crew team is coming into the yoga studio every Thursday evening for class for the next 5 weeks. They started last week. I wasn’t there. I didn’t teach. However, Sunny (teacher) and Sam (the owner), thought I might like to teach that class. I usually love to have big classes and a few new students. Well, this will be 40 new students… athletic, young, brand new fellas in one class. I know it will be great practice for me and that I will probably learn a lot, so I was psyched when I was asked if I wanted to give it a try. I’m going to continue to push myself further and further out of my comfort zone. Because you know what? That is when we really begin to grow. ☺

And now for some comparison posture pics (and more)!!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Riding the wave

Happy New Year, everybody! As I look back at 2009, I smile. It was one of my best years ever. And as I look to 2010, I get giddy with anticipation of the wonderful things to come. I know it is going to be a beautiful year. As the winds of change start picking up, I will write all about it.

I awoke on the first day of 2010 (with a slight hangover) with the strong intention to practice. But once that time actually came, I was easily swayed to go out to breakfast with some friends. The second day of 2010, I set my alarm to go to 8am class, then re-set it to go to 10am class, then turned off the alarm and decided I would go to the 4pm class. And as 3:00 rolled along, my husband and I got a call from our best friends to meet them for lunch. Day 2 of 2010 did not include yoga. I had a brief moment of guilt, and another moment of disappointment. All these people with their New Year’s resolutions have started their year Gung-Ho! And I have started mine spending time with friends. Wait a minute… that doesn’t sound so bad after all!

Sometimes it is hard to fit it all in. Practicing, teaching, working, preparing my meals, spending time at home with Tim, and finding time for friends and family ends up being a balancing act. I WANT to do them all. In fact, I NEED to do them all. The time spent building relationships is what keeps me sane. The hard work that my husband and I do everyday – its reward is our down time with each other. Being able to do what we want to do with the people that we love. Spending all day in our jammies on a snowy Saturday is what we have earned, right? So why do these feelings of guilt and disappointment creep in when I take a day or two off of yoga? I’m not sure I have a definite answer. I know how amazing I feel when I practice. It energizes my day, revitalizes my being, even changes the way I feel. I love the every day challenge. I love that every day, something different happens to me in that room. The transformation my body and mind has made over the past 4 years is possibly the answer. But why guilt? Should I feel guilty for wanting to sleep in with my husband? Should I feel disappointment that I decided to hang out with my friends instead of practice? I know I shouldn’t. I don’t always feel this way. I think the combination of a couple of things exemplified these feelings.

The first thing being “the start to the new year”. I think everyone goes into a brand new year thinking, “Ok, this is going to be the year.” We go in strong and determined. Start strong, end strong, right? The second thing: Knowing that all sorts of yogis around the world have started the Bikram 101 Challenge. They’ve started with such amazing willpower, strength and determination. (Bikram 101 started on January 1st around the globe. 101 classes in 101 days.) And I had breakfast. And slept in. And ate lunch. Instead.

What is funny is that I originally said to myself that I am not going to “commit” to Bikram 101. I know my work schedule gets crazy mid-winter, where it is difficult to get to class. I also have a week long vacation to Mexico in February. So committing to the challenge of 101 classes in 101 days is pretty daunting. But you know, I was going to give it an effort. And just this morning, on my bleary-eyed drive to work after a wonderfully long, relaxing weekend, I realized that it’s not too late. (Wait a minute... I think I've heard that somewhere.) Yes, I missed Day 1 and Day 2 of this huge challenge. I started my 2010 with a thud not a bang. But 2 days is easy to make up. In fact, I am going to a weekend-long yoga-fest in the Birkshires with Rajashree in a couple weekends, where I am going to be taking 2 classes a day no matter what. There you go! Those classes are already made up!

This funny little wave of silly emotions is now over. I still have not officially committed myself to the challenge, but I’m starting with 30 in January, since my home studio is once again doing a New Years 30-day challenge. And I am really excited to see what happens after that. No more guilt. No more disappointment. The good old, valiant, “Danielle effort” is all I know. No choice.