17 April 2015

April Challenge: In a Daze

(On April 1st, I started a 30 day Bikram Yoga Challenge. Here is the latest update.)

As the title suggests, this week has been a blur. After a day off last Saturday, I was back in the chamber for a Sunday morning class. In addition to the normal stiffness and difficulty, the heat wasn't working well for the first half of class. To counter the cooler than normal conditions, the instructor advised us to not attempt to go as deep into the postures as usual. In addition, she moved us through the standing series at a faster pace to help get us as warm as possible. This meant little to no rest between postures; it was a sprint through the standing set. It worked pretty well -- I was sweating almost as much as normal. Somewhere around halfway, the heat kicked in, and all was as it should be. It was really not that bad a class. If nothing else, it reinforced the idea of being mindful: staying present and focusing on entering and exiting the postures properly and safely. 

The classes on Monday and Tuesday were strong for me. What I am most pleased about was that a) I did every Triangle, and b) my Locust Pose continues to improve. That really is huge for me! Triangle has seemed to get a little easier with each class. I believe it is because my hips are trying to open. I think my hips are trying to open because I am getting closer and closer to a proper Hands-to-Feet pose (my hips scream at me as I try to get my hands to hook under my heels). Locust still scares me at times because my lower back is still not strong enough but its getting better.

So, we come to Wednesday. 


It was just horrid. Earlier in the day, I let someone steal my peace. I became angry and upset. The reason is not important. In fact, in retrospect it really wasn't that big a deal. Anyhow, I had zero desire to do yoga. The fact that I was doing a challenge and that it was one of my nights to clean the studio were the only reasons I was there. I could not focus, I had no balance, and I just kept staring at my gut in the mirror. Result: I was down for the count at Triangle. I just laid down and checked out. My work-study partner was concerned enough to ask if I was ok, which was really sweet. I went home, went to bed, and tried to just let it go. 

Yesterday (Thursday), I decided I needed to atone for that horrible class the previous night, so I made sure to get to the studio for the 4:30 and 6:30 classes. Best decision I've made this week! I always go into a double thinking that I will just take it easy in the first class, then go all out in the second. The energy in the room (and the instructors) usually dictate otherwise. The energy in the first class was awesome. Everyone was doing their best, and it made for a great experience! Instead of taking it easy, I poured myself out on the mat, did every posture, and felt really great at the end. A quick change and some coconut water later, the 6:30 began. The class had a few more people, and the row in front of me was populated by an instuctor and two very strong students. Result? Excellent! I simply tried to be as deliberate and calm as they were and almost forgot that this was my second class of the day. Now, my muscles began to talk to me in the last half hour, but I was able to make it through. That may have been the best double I've ever done. I'm writing this post on Friday morning and I feel better than normal!

One other thing I've really been working in this week: conserving energy by economizing my movements during the floor series. Example: when getting into Camel Pose, I turn and roll over from my mat, push myself up to a kneeling position, and then walk on my knees back onto the mat. When the pose is over, I flop around to get onto my back for Savasana. At times I must look like a wildebeest that just took a tranquilizer dart, all stumbling and twitching. Now, the idea is to stay within the confines of the mat at all times. Instead of rolling around, I press my hands into the mat, kick my legs out, turn over, and lay down. Not only am I making smoother transitions (and saving precious energy), I'm making less of a spectacle and making things a bit more peaceful for those near me. 

So that's where I stand, except now it's Friday afternoon and I'm on the bus home. Then I grab my gear and head for the bus to the studio. Tomorrow is another off day, then back for more on Sunday.


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