08 November 2013

A sort of homecoming...

I did it!

I returned to where it all began -- my (new) old Bikram studio. Quite an experience!

Got there about 15 minutes prior to class. After filling out the necessary forms and meeting the instructor (an affable gentleman named Michon), I met up with the owner, Tammy. She welcomed me back with a hug and wished me a Happy Belated Birthday and told me how happy she was to see me back. Tammy was an instructor under the previous ownership but now she runs the place. She then stopped me and told me, "Hey, take it easy in there. Have fun."

The lobby is now a nice boutique with clothing, mats, water bottles, and the like. Works of art most of which are for sale) adorn the walls, and the place has a definite Southwesten/Old West vibe. Very nice indeed. The hot room was just where I left it -- only with a darker mix of colors and an extra ceiling fan or two. The carpet was different -- I did have a little trouble trying to keep my feet from sliding out from under me at times. here are four lines across the room instead three in the former configuration. That said, I set up in about the same place as when I took my first class.

Michon teaches a very brisk class. His delivery is good but fast, and he stays very true to the dialogue. Still, it was easy to keep up for a while. I am proud to say that, while I missed a couple of situps, I did not sit out ANY postures. Fell out plenty of times, but never sat.  Even in Triangle, I was able to get back in after falling out.

Other impressions:

1) Any posture involving a forward bend was torture. From Hands-to-Feet all the way through Rabbit, my gut got in the way and made breathing difficult. I would pop up, take a breath, and try to bend forward again. Hopefully, with a better diet and more Bikram, that will improve quickly. Also, my balance was atrocious. In Standing head-to-knee, Standing Bow, and Balancing Stick, wobbling and falling out was the order of the day.

2) I listened to my body and stopped where necessary. In Camel, I could bend back and grab my right heel, but when trying to grab the left heel, I had to stop because I felt a grab in my back. Before that, in Fixed Firm, I could not get my shoulders to the floor. I didn't feel bad about it -- I know that in time I will get back there. Michon even called me out during Camel, letting me know it was OK if I could not express the posture fully -- "You're doing what you can today. Next time will be better. Good work." I must admit that made me feel at ease.

3) There was one familiar face in the class, but at times I admit I was reminiscing. I could hear the voices of past instructors, I could see the room as it was before, I thought of struggling alongside Sweetie and other people that we got to know through the yoga. I did feel a wave of nostalgia at one point.

4) I was shocked at a) my breathing, and b) how little water I drank. My breathing was actually good. Very few times did I gasp for air. The only time I drank water was at Party Time, which floored me. I did feel thrst near the end but by then I decided it could wait.

And then, it was over. The lights were dimmed, Michon thanked us for attending and even said, "Welcome Back, Mark. Good job today." I stayed a while and soaked in as much heat as I could, then showered and departed. Before leaving I was reminded that I am still eligible for the $49 intro special.

Next payday is next Thursday.

I think I'm back.



07 November 2013

Hello, again!

Nice to be back. It was a long, stressful summer.

In addition to the long, hot days and ceaseless stress at work, I found myself taking Sweetie to ER twice. She is doing much better now, back to her normal, wonderful self. Turns out she developed an allergy to wheat/gluten. We are now much more cognizant of what we buy and eat. We are reading up on the subject, and have gone through lots of gluten free products in an attempt to find things that a) are tasty, and b) don't upset her system. Lots of trial and error, and less than appetizing items. We are having to rethink our way through grocery stores and restaurants. If anyone has ideas, books, or products to try, please leave a comment below.

Of course, there was little chance to practice yoga. However, over the last few weeks, we have talked about returning. Sweetie knows that one of the things I would love to do is learn to teach. She is fully on board with the idea. This means that I need to resurrect my practice. Therefore, I am going to take a Bikram class tomorrow for the first time in almost exactly two years.

I'm mortified.

I'm in almost the same shape as I was when I took my first Bikram class in 2009. Overweight. Smoking (yes, again). Weak in body and mind.

This time, at least, I know what I'm in for. The heat. The sweat. The discomfort.

I guess the thing I'm afraid of most is that I won't find whatever it was that kept me going to yoga in the first place. That I will go, have a horrible class and decide, "Well it was fun but I'm not up for this anymore.Two years of inactivity is just too much to overcome. I want a pizza. And a cigarette."

That scares me. It means that I'm weak. It means that I would prefer to continue to do the things that destroy my body rather than begin the process of healing it again.

I tried to get acclimated today by going to a different studio. Karmany Yoga has been hailed as one of the best in the area, so I gave it a shot. It was not good.

Lovely venue. Instructor (Eric) was very nice. Four other students, all female. One hour class.

I was miserable. It was warm but I didn't break a sweat until halfway through. Strange postures. Inversions. Using the wall for some postures. Using blocks and rolled up mats that you put between your legs or put on the floor under your belly. I spent a lot of those postures either standing around or in Child's Pose. Near the end, we did Cobra and a variation of Locust. Those went well, as did the Warrior/Triangle poses -- but the Triangle we did was a faint version of Bikram's. Overall, I was not impressed. I am not used to using props, and I don't think you need them. Some of the moves were just painful because (in my opinion) we were not warmed up properly.

I just hope tomorrow doesn't go down like that. I know it will be one of the toughest classes I've ever attempted. I just want to once again discover what drew me to yoga in the first place.

Time to continue hydrating. Class is tomorrow at mid-morning.

Wish me luck!