Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Knowing Your Limits, or My First Yoga Exorcism

My first blog post from the city! What fun, oh joy yada yada yada

Move in's been a little nuts due to the hurricane. So, got pushed back to today (Tuesday) from Sunday. Family changed plans, drove up 8 hours yesterday, got lost in FiDi where I was spending the night on a futon, finally found it, friends and I walked everywhere (particularly to a lovely dinner by my fantastic cousins!), crashed on the futon, woke up, carried my stuff on the subway, threw it all into my new room, grabbed a quick but rich lunch, and said tearful goodbyes.

For some reason, after this 48 hour clusterfuck, I still thought, "I know what let's do! Let's go to a brand new studio, one we've never been to before, and take bikram yoga."

This 48 hour clusterfuck led to what I'm calling my yoga exorcism. Basically, I got through the warm up. And then found myself sitting for the entire standing series. And, then it became not just sitting out, but weeping. Openly weeping. Everything from the past 48 hours, from the summer, from whatever just started coming and would not stop. Somehow, I did the spine strengthening series (I'm so proud of that fact) but then I basically just couldn't stop crying again for the rest of class.

I'm trying to remember that this is a good thing, the gift of my body letting something go. I'm taking class again in about twelve hours, trying to make sure I go in extra hydrated and ready to go. All things considered, I have nowhere to go but up after today!

Monday, August 29, 2011


All I'm gonna say is...

I was a 34 waist at the beginning of the summer, I'm now a 32. And I've never carried that many heavy boxes to the car with that little effort/exertion.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Day 60: The Beginning

Well, as of this morning around 11:00, I did my 60 classes of yoga in 60 days. Yes, there were many doubles and lots of running around to make them fit, but they did. Considering I was waiting tables and teaching part time, I'm pretty psyched that I made the challenge happen at all. In the future, it would be great to do a challenge with less doubling but for my first one, I'm proud as hell.

I was happy with my 60th class because it was just a class. It wasn't the best I've ever done, but it wasn't the worst, just another class in the long line of classes to come. I'd rather experience that than a total trainwreck or try and think of my 60th class as the magic class where everything I was perfect.

That's why I'm always grateful that the teachers practice in the room with us, not some special teachers' class. It's really nice to see them fall. That sounds terrible. So terrible. But it's not what it sounds like! It's just nice to know that this never really stops. Even if you've been practicing forever, you're gonna fall. It's OK. You're also going to look amazing in a ton of postures that some of us still look at with fear.

There will be pictures later. And I'm pretty sure this blog will continue. Because let's be real, I'm gonna end up doing another challenge at some point. The Overachiever Conditioning will never be gone!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Day 56: Almost There

I worked a 13-hour shift yesterday. This morning's class (which I am grateful for) truly felt like it was pulling my body apart. I'm glad it's over.

Thursday. I'm almost there. Thursday. OY!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Day 49: Moving

I've spent the greater past few hours trying to find a new yoga home in New York (where I'll be again in two weeks...holy balls) First off, Yelp is a scary place when in the hands of New Yorkers, not gonna lie. There is no middle ground. People either rave about the studio, or bitch about it and about Bikram yoga. Don't get me wrong, I have my complaints about the system but don't blame the particular studio for following the guidelines.

One interesting phrase was definitely "McBikram." I sort of agree. It is definitely corporate to have one yoga system taught, worldwide, the same way every time. Frustrating? Yeah, a little bit.

However, as I've learned in the past 49 days, it's never the same class. And it's never the same class for the person next to you. One day, everything fits and you feel like, "Wow this was built for me it's amazing blah blah blah namaste" and then there's the ones where everything sucks and you wish the dialogue would stop and you could just get out of the room. Unlike McDonald's, each customer does get something different from his or her Bikram practice.

For me, I do sometimes miss the chance for diversion or individuality. Sometimes, I'd really like to spend more time in a pose or opt out for something different. I have really really tight hips. Lots of days I wish there were more hip-opening poses in the series. I'm also curious about adding inversions into my practice. The easy answer is do them on my own, but there is something fun about a small, individualized yoga class.

On the flipside, it's great to work every system every time, leading to a more balanced body over time. I just find it frustrating that people think you need to buy it all or reject it totally. Bikram isn't perfect, I'm well aware. However, there's a lot to gain from it. If you feel like you aren't getting every single posture you need, nothing wrong with looking elsewhere or asking questions.

I guess this is all coming from my nerves about moving back to NYC/NYU. I don't want to give up my Bikram practice but how in the name of God can I pay for it? Either I get a workstudy and have no spending money, or get a job job and pay for the classes out of my wages.

I'm also just nervous about finding my NYC studio. I got really lucky here in Pittsburgh. A new studio opened only a bus ride away, staffed by wonderfully warm and helpful instructors. I'm going to miss them and don't know who I'll find in NYC. There's always this guy. One part of my brain goes, "Oh no, never him, don't do that." The dancer brain goes, "FUCK YEAH DO IT."

Needless to say, we're gonna have a lot more blogging.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Day 47: Finding the Breath

I think today's class and yesterday's class were the first time I ever did half moon posture right. It's the second posture in class, and it's basically two side bends, one right and one left. The teacher's dialogue says that you should feel a stretch from the heels to the fingertips. Well, I finally actually did. It was sort of amazing to have the moment of, "OH, that's what this is supposed to be."

I knew I found it because of my breath. Instead of feeling sort of uncomfortable and collapsed, I could breath really easily and fully. The hardest part of this whole challenge has been remembering that, especially on days when I'm feeling frustrated or exhausted. Just listen to your breathing. It's not exactly entertaining, but damn you'll learn a shit ton.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Day 45: A Request

I can't believe I even reached 45 days. 15 days to go. Lots of schedule finagling to do, but I'm confident that it will work out. Either way, my goal was to complete the 30-day challenge. And I did. That's something, at least.

These past 15 days have been...interesting. I'm feeling extremely fatigued some days, super energetic others. The 5 in 3 streak was rough. I got into bed last night and basically wake up unless someone exploded in my room. Feeling much better today. 

But enough about me. This is for you. My request is that, if you've read this blog at all, go try yoga in the next 15 days. Take a class. Take 15. Take bikram. Take kundalini. Take whatever. Just give it a shot. What have got to lose, really?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Day 43: Good Long Stretch

I missed Saturday and Sunday due to work. So, I'm doing 5 classes in three days. 2 down, 3 to go.

Got to admit I miss it when I'm gone. Usually I don't get too sore/tight, but oh man was I feeling it this morning. And tonight! I felt muscles in my back during standing bow that I didn't know existed. Definitely two classes of reopening.

But it's a remarkable sensation, feeling your body open up each class. Today it was during standing separate leg stretch. It's a nice pose after three balancing poses to calm you down, get your heart feeling normal, but it's an amazing stretch for the spine as you pull on the heels. I finally really pulled today in the second class and actually felt my lower back give over to gravity.

My body has never been especially flexible or malleable, so these moments are actually incredible to me. I can put my face on my knees....what? It's really incredible to realize potential and feel changes. What's also great, though, is to hear them from someone who's known you. My best friend even said yesterday, "It's like you're more vibrant every time I see you."

Yeah, it would be amazing to see a 6 pack or whatever. But in the end, this is about health. I feel healthier. I feel myself changing. I see myself healthier. I see myself changing.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Day 40: Feeling Good

It's exciting to feel thinking change. I still often get really negative thoughts quite often. They haven't taken a vacation, but it's strange to hear myself correct them. I'll find myself thinking, "But I don't wanna go to work. It's gonna be bad and whine whine whine whine" but something goes, "Well, you need the money and you like the people. You'll be fine. Shut up." I like this something. It certainly keeps me smiling.

I've learned, though, how much easier it is to say, "I'm going to stay positive" when everything's going well. Of course you'll stay positive, what's to stop you? When everything crashes and feels like it's turning to shit, that's when I'm actually impressed if I stay positive.

I managed to stay positive about eating Wendy's. I know my body is supposed to be a temple and blah blah blah, but today I wanted Wendy's. So I got Wendy's. I used to eat Wendy's far too much and after a while, that shit really tastes like cardboard. When you have it once, as a treat, after a good 5 months, let me tell you....that shit is genetically engineered to be delectable. I was in heaven. I very well may pay for it tomorrow. But I don't feel guilty. Sometimes you need Wendy's.

When I embarked on this challenge, I was pretty convinced that most of the mental benefits listed were bullshit, and they might be. I often wonder how much of a yoga pose actually gives you physical benefits and changes and how often you just think it does. Should I be in this placebo stage, that's fine by me.

I should probably stop writing these at such late hours. I realize that they make no sense.