30 November 2012

The Sumits Experiment -- Part 1

As I wrote last time, I am spending this vacation by getting back into a hot room. I purchased a two week introductory package at Sumits Hot Yoga . Developed by Sumit Banerjee , this practice combines some Bikram poses with Ashtanga or Vinyasa flow. One of the guys I practiced with in my first class called it "Bikram on steroids".  I don't know about that, but I do know that I am enjoying the challenge of the practice.

I'm still trying to wrap my brain around all the "flow" parts of the class. I can tell you that in the class you will do Sun Salutations, Upward and Downward Dogs (a lot of those), planks, tabletops, side planks, just about every version of Warrior Pose (even more of those), Triangle (simplified), lunges, crunches, sit-ups, one inversion (which I am too weak to do yet) and maybe ten discernible Bikram poses -- but some of those have modifications (Triangle is slightly easier.)

The biggest difference is that it seems you are moving almost the entire 75-80 minutes. There is a "party time" early on, a 60 second Savasana at maybe 35 minutes, and a full two minute Savasana at perhaps 50 minutes, plus the final Savasana. You are moving almost all the time. In that respect, it is more challenging than a Bikram class where there are definite starts and stops. I am fighting to keep up but getting better with each class. Another big difference is that music is played during the flow segments, and it's not just instrumental. So far, I have heard John Lennon, Tears for Fears, Tom Petty, Run D.M.C., even Cameo (this morning). At first it bothered me because it distracted me and prevented me from hearing some of the instruction, but with each class it moves more into the background. Our instructor this morning told me that sooner or later, as I become more familiar, the instructions fade away and you simply move with the music.

Speaking of the instructors (I have only taken class with two of the staff), they are really great. The dialogue is the same each day, and they will assist you with a pose. There is no podium -- the instructor paces the back of the room calling out instructions and making sure everyone is practicing safely. I have yet to encounter a "drill instructor" type -- they continually tell us to have fun with the practice, to enjoy the challenge, and are always quick to answer questions. The studio is immaculate, and the heating system is state of the art. I don't know the exact temperature of the room -- I would guess it's 95 to 100 degrees -- but it is enough to where everyone is drenched by the end.

Since starting on Monday, I have improved each day in one area or another. I can keep up better with the flows, and I have been surprised by how well I can still do some of the Bikram poses -- especially Standing Bow, Cobra, and Floor Bow. Even my Camel is respectable. It is now Friday afternoon, and I have completed five classes. I feel MUCH better than I did on Monday. I am sore, and in this morning's class I did get a visit from the "yoga truck" but it still wasn't too bad. I will be back tomorrow and Sunday before heading back to work. Then, attending class will be more difficult.

Signing off for now. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask and I will try to get you an answer ASAP. All in all, it has been a really fun week!

I hope you can get into a hot room soon!!


26 November 2012

The journey begins anew...

So! Five months plus since I wrote anything. Even longer since I actually attempted any form of yoga.

 That ends today.

It has been a long and sometimes difficult summer an early autumn. However, things have begun to improve -- so much so that, while I am on vacation this week, I am attempting a "yoga vacation"/ "boot camp".

It goes like this. At noon today I will visit Sumits Hot Yoga and sign up for the introductory special: two weeks for $20. Sumits bills itself as combining "traditional Bikram poses with Ashtanga-inspired flow". In addition, the class is set to music. This will be the yoga I practice most this week. I'm going in with an open mind and just very grateful that I finally have a chance to get back into any form of yoga. In addition, I want to visit Karmany Yoga, which is even closer to my house. Karmany has several different classes -- I really want to try a "slow flow" class in which extra time is taken to get into and out of the poses ( a real chance to learn ).

Finally, as part of this week of yoga, I will attempt to go back to my old stomping grounds at Bikram Fort Worth. I'm shooting for Friday to go there, using the week to ramp up to a full Bikram class (plus it will be my first time to take class there since the ownership change and renovation).

So, with just over three hours to go until this adventure begins, how do I feel?

Nervous. Funny, but up until last night I was sky-high. I've been really looking forward to this for the most part. Last night, though, I started to worry. Will I be able to do it? Will I be able to go each day? Will I still LIKE yoga?

I try to sweep those questions aside. I NEED to do this. My body hurts. Back spasms everyday. Knees aching every morning. More importantly, however, I just need to get somewhere quiet so I can try to silence my brain for just a little while. I need to regain the focus and peace I developed while practicing. I also need to get this gut under control!! It is embarrassing and I want it gone. Finally, I am hoping that while I am practicing this week, I can find a way to continue my practice beyond the next seven days. They say that if you ask the Universe for help, you will find a way. Hopefully I will see the opportunity when it pops up!

There you are. Starting back down the road. Trying once again to establish a regular practice. Trying to improve myself, strengthen myself, and learn more about myself. Just have to remember to breathe......

Back soon (promise).