05 April 2015

April Challenge: Days 1-5

As I wrote last time, I started a 30 day Bikram challenge on April 1st. From time to time during the month, I'll bring you up to speed. 

Days 1 & 2

Wednesday evening marked class number one. Sadly, the class was much the same as they have been these past two months. I felt like the dialogue was in an unknown language; that body and mind were both still weak and not communicating with each other. I faded in and out during the floor series, seemingly exhausted. Thursday's class wasn't much better: I simply felt (as I have for a while) that I just didn't belong there anymore. That yoga was turning into a sick torture I was imposing on myself. I wished I hadn't declared this challenge. I wanted to go home. The only reason I stayed was that I had been asked to work an extra cleaning shift so I really had no choice. I got through it, did my cleaning, and went home. I was soooo NOT into this challenge. 

Day 3

When you commit to a challenge, you realize that there will always be a day or two when getting to the studio will be impossible. For me, that means most Saturdays because of my job. This means that you will have to double up on classes on certain days.

Good Friday was one such day for me. I headed to the studio for the 4:30pm class hoping that it would be a large class. This way, I could set up near the back and just ease my way through -- kind of like a 90 minute stretching session. Then I could really give it a go in the 6:30 class.

Of course, no such luck. There were only nine of us in class so the instructor has us all line up on the second row so he can walk around and get a 360 degree view of the postures. I thought, "This will not go well."

How wrong could I be?

Because it was a small class, the instructor was able to be more one-on-one with each of us. He helped us with the finer points of alignment, even moving us physically (after asking permission to touch) to get us into better form. The result was I had the BEST class in weeks! I actually felt strong again. The dialogue made sense again. I felt calm again. It was beautiful. The tip he gave me was that really helped came in Floor Bow. He moved my hands down closer to my ankles in order to keep my wrists straight during the entire posture. It made a huge difference!

The 6:30 had a few more people but the next instructor just let us set up where we wanted. I started to feel wobbly as we got close to the end of the Standing Series, but had another (for me) strong class. I even allowed myself a smile as class ended. I'm most proud of the fact that in three hours of yoga, I attempted every posture, did every sit-up and very breathing exercise. The post-yoga shower was bliss.

Day 4

Saturday was a bonus. Having to go to work earlier than normal meant I could make the 3:00 class. Dashing straight to the studio from work meant little time to calm down and let the workday go. Started off a bit shaky but got my breathing under control. Balance was more of an issue, probably because I was taking my third class in exactly 24 hours. Felt really good but it was a tough class. Again, a very technical class with lots of corrections for everyone.

Day 5

Easter Sunday. Early morning rain made me want to stay in bed but I needed to get in and get done before I lost the will to go. I generally loathe morning classes because I am just not flexible. Plus, when you take the first class of the day, the room is hot but dry. No one has been sweating and the carpet is really dry which means I slip a lot when we are straddling the mat for three postures. I went in this morning with the word "gentle" in my mind. I was very careful to go easy because my body was so tight -- I didn't go as deep into postures because I was inflexible. I took breaks. How tight was I? When doing the situps, I could not reach or grab my toes. I wasn't even close. That's OK. I went. I tried my best. That is what counts.

So, six classes in five days. Not a bad start, but far to go. The next five to ten classes will show just what I am capable of -- if I stay present and focused and try the right way.

A friend reminded me this morning that Easter is about death and rebirth. Hoping to be reborn a stronger, wiser, better human being.


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