Monday, June 28, 2010

Sunday, June 27, 2010

I forgot to write a new post for yesterday's practice! Haha, it was go-go-go after arriving home from my 7:30AM class. Better late than never, so here it is.

Posture of the Day aka Most Improved Posture:

Floor Bow = I was able to kick higher and at the same time lift my upper body higher. Peeking at myself in the mirror, I saw that I haven't achieved the "U" shape--more like a fat, squatty "U". Now do I remember what I did to achieve that? I will know the answer at my next practice!

It was another very HOT 90 minute practice. The fans weren't turned on the whole, entire time! I was so thankful that I have my monkey mind under control. But, towards the last maybe 15 minutes of the class, I was so ready to leave. I could feel my energy disintegrating. After I had my shower, I was still sweating! But I think I brought it on myself. I don't think I hydrated well enough the evening before. I went to bed really late. Better prepping next time, that's for sure!

Good night, Mommy. I love you.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Saturday, June 26, 2010

On a rare Saturday day off, I looked forward to my second practice of the week. I anticipated a much improved one today, with the dreaded "first-day-back-after-being-away-for-11-days" delegated to the history books, so to speak. After going through Pranayama without a hitch, I knew it would be a good one today.

The Standing Series was okay, but then again, it seems that I fare better at the Floor Series. I am guessing it's because my knees are not as strong as they should be. I was pretty active in sports, particularly volleyball, and I wonder how much damage my knee joints incurred with those sudden stops and jumps. But, as I am intent on practicing this yoga until I can no longer stand, I am confident that my knees will eventually regain their strength. One thing I have noticed is how much back strength I have gained since I started my practice a year ago. I was very pleased with my Full Locust today. Who would have thought that a few centimetres of improvement would matter so much? Or holding a posture a few seconds longer would elicit a feeling of fulfillment?

During the 2-minute Savasana, I thought about my mother, whom I miss so much. I take the opportunity to think about her during this time, as there is nothing else that would distract me. It is just the two of us. Life goes on; mine is quite busy with work and raising a family. I sometimes forget to acknowledge her when life passes by so quickly. And so, during Savasana, I offer her a few precious seconds to let her know that I will always cherish her memory.

Good night, Mommy. I love you.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wednesday, June 23, 2010 - Payback for 11 Days of No Yoga!

Yes, I was AWOL from yoga for 11 days. I just didn't feel like going. I did not want to leave my bed for the 6:00AM class during the week. I didn't even get up for the 7:30AM class for the past two Sundays. I have no excuses; I suffered from a spell of being sedentary.

So today, being a Wednesday and my regular day off, I vowed to resume my practice. I had the pleasure in meeting a new teacher, Christian, whom I heard is from Vancouver. He was great! Great energy, lots of laughs, lots of jokes, and lots and lots of encouragement and words of wisdom. Oh but OMG!!!it was a HOT one today (later I learned the thermostat registered at 117 degrees at the end of the class!!!). It was a very busy class, and there were only a few inches between me and my neighbours. I was out of breath towards the end of the first set of Pranayama, and all throughout the second set as well. I tanked during the second set of Standing Bow Pulling, I only managed one leg, yes, ONE LEG (basically 1/2 of the first set) of Balancing Stick. I just tanked during the Standing Series...period. The 2 minute Savasana was such a welcome respite! I thought about leaving the room, AND fetching my water bottle. Staying in the room has never been an issue for me, ever, and now, I was pretty close to making that escape. I've stopped drinking during class for the past 3 months. But you know, the mind is a powerful thing, and I could have allowed it to rule over me. It was telling me to leave, to go and get that water bottle, to have some fresh air and cool down. But then I thought, I've come this far, why leave now? By leaving the room, I would have thrown away today's practice. I needed to come today. For the past week, I could feel my body protesting already. Every morning when I wake up, then get up to start my day, I don't feel as alive as I would like to. I don't remember feeling this way when I was doing the 30 Day Challenge. Back then I felt rejuvenated, alive AND kicking. I need to feel that way again.

The thing with this yoga is, when it is all over, you just feel absolutely great! Somehow you are rewarded with this, and so you should, after being in that hot room for 90 minutes. And this great feeling lasts and lasts, keeps you coming back for more. Yes, even if sometimes you don't feel like coming. But you do return.

Good night, Mommy. I love you.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Saturday, June 12, 2010 = 'Twas a Sweaty, Hot One!

With two days rest, a great lunch of chicken souvlaki and grapes PLUS lots of water during the day, I was determined to have a great class right after work. I made it to class early enough so I wasn't rushing. It wasn't a busy class either. It was such a gorgeous day, and the temperature was high enough on the way over that I felt warmed up so to speak.

I had a great Pranayama, but boy, was I sweating right from the get go. I pretty much rocked the standing series. But as soon as I got to the floor, I suddenly felt hot, REALLY hot. My face was very red, I felt as if I am overheating. During the 2-minute savasana, my eyes were getting stung by the salty sweat that just kept running down. How does that happen, when I am lying down? You can just imagine how much I was sweating then. When I looked at myself in the mirror, my eyes were just bloodshot! The thing that really perplexed me was that when I spread my arms out for the Full Locust, the floor felt COLD. It never felt like that before. It kinda freaked me out, seriously (my daughter says I sound like a teenager!). Second set of Camel took my breath away, I needed a few moments of rest before I was able to lie down for savasana. I was so pooped out, I kept thinking about my water bottle. If I had that bottle inside the room with me I would have broken my resolve and taken a few sips. It didn't help that the fans weren't turned on.

As soon as Aleya ended the class and left the room, I immediately got up and left. I was so relieved to feel the cool shower and the peppermint soap. Ahhhhhhhh...

I got home, happy to be with my hubby and daughter, had leftovers for supper, and soon we will be watching a movie in our rec room. I am ready for that ice-cold beer and a few munchies. I had my yoga, I have my family with me.

Life is good...I feel very blessed.

Good night, Mommy. I love you.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wednesday, June 9, 2010 = Going Great Guns at 9:30AM

Two days off from yoga, and I'm back. Two days of rest, of not pulling and stretching these poor muscles feels good. I've decided to forego my 6:00AM practice and instead showed up for the 9:30. It feels great to have some chatty time with my friends before what I anticipate to be another great class with Peter at the helm.

Pranayama went really well. I tried my best to hold my stomach in on the exhale which I find challenging. Reason being is I am consciously keeping my weight on my heels, pushing my hips forward, AND keeping my stomach in--that's a lot to keep track of. During Half Moon, I am pleased to be able to keep my arms stretched and glued slightly behind my ears, thereby opening my chest more. I am still challenged by keeping my hips in one line while keeping the shoulder that's down more forward. My back bends are pretty good, and I am just about THERE with Hands to Feet pose. Standing Head to Knee is way better today; I am able to hold my leg parallel longer this time. I think you can pretty much figure out that my standing series rocked today.

The floor series went well, too. My most improved floor pose for today would be the Floor Bow. It really helps to keep your eyes glued to the ceiling, and to keep them looking way back. Your legs will follow their lead and as long as you keep kicking, the closer you will get to looking like a bow.

So there you have it. I am really convinced that there should be a day of rest in between practices...until the next 30 Day Challenge! :)

Good night, Mommy. I love you.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Monday, June 7, 2010 = Mommy's 40th Day

Today, I forgot about ME, and instead I focused on my mother. This day marks the 40th day since she passed away. You might ask, what the significance of 40 days is. It is a belief in my culture that after the 40th day, the soul of a loved one will be crossing over to Heaven. During these 40 days, we also refrain from wearing bright colours as this is also considered the mourning period. I have limited my wardrobe to black, white, brown, beige, tan, deep purple, navy blue. Some people do this for a year. I remember Mommy wearing nothing but the above (save for the purple) when my Lolo (her father, my grandfather) passed away many years ago.

When we arrived in Nanaimo, it was pouring buckets. I thought, oh dear, it's going to be a soggy visit to the cemetery. But once we got there, it was glorious sunshine. I'm thinking that Mommy must have a lot of pull with the Gods to stop the rain. It stayed that way until we left her, then the clouds started to roll in again. I said a little prayer that it won't be a rainy drive home to Victoria. It wasn't.

Thank you, Mommy. I miss you so much, and I am very sad that you're gone, that I won't ever kiss your lovely face every time I visit you. But I take comfort from knowing that you will always be with us, the family whom you loved and cherished with all your heart.

Good night, Mommy. I love you.

Sunday, June 6, 2010 = A Year and A Day of Hot Yoga Keeps the Doctor Away

I drafted this post yesterday, but was stymied by the sudden service interruption by So here's my "day old" post.

Touch wood, I have been feeling very well since I began practising Bikram Yoga a year ago. I sleep better, I haven't had a stiff neck, and all in all, I just feel like a million bucks. Mind you, my body feels sore everyday, but it's a soreness that you definitely can endure. It's my bum cheeks that are taking all the beating, from being stretched in Hands to Feet, Standing Head to Knee, Standing Bow Pulling, and Balancing Stick. I definitely perform better when I take a day of rest. Right now I am contemplating on whether I should take a break from daily practice by resting the day after, then practising again on the next. I am also thinking that IF I decide to continue my daily practice, I should probably attend an afternoon or evening class so I have the whole day to limber up. Yesterday I practised in the afternoon, and today I practised first thing in the morning. Yesterday I rocked, today I sorta rocked. Que sera, sera.

Good night, Mommy. I love you.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Saturday, June 5, 2010 = A Welcome Surprise on the First Anniversary of My Practice!

Well, friends, I missed yesterday's class...deliberately. I didn't sleep in, I woke up at the appointed time, used the washroom and instead of getting ready, I went back to bed. I stared at the ceiling and the time. I got up again, seemingly determined to go, went back to the washroom and put my contacts on, then did an about face and went back to bed. It's Friday, it's my hubby's day off so he's sleeping in, the little one is still in dreamland with about 2 hours to go before she has to get up and get ready, so I thought I deserve a little sleeping in too. I blame it on the weather. It's June, this is Victoria, so why is it still freakin' cold and grey out there? It really isn't motivating weather; I need the sun to be out to get me up and going!!!

Yes, I missed my yoga. This is what I get for missing a day. But I felt so sore that I needed to get a day's rest for my stretched out muscles to relax. I figured this one day's rest and penance will pay off the next day.

Today marks the first anniversary of my Bikram Yoga practice. I couldn't believe it has been a year! For those who know me very well, sticking to an activity for a year STRAIGHT is NOT an attribute of mine. I tend to lose interest quickly. So having been successful in not dropping out of hot yoga is a BIG DEAL for Lorrena!

Today, a Saturday is a work day. Only the 3:45PM class will work for me. Not my favourite time of the day to practice, but I was determined to go. I got to the studio in time, picked out a nice spot towards the left side of the room and in the second row--not my usual "nest" as I tend to stay on the right side. It's funny, but somehow I felt right there and then that I will do well. Pranayama breathing is my "litmus test"; how well I execute this breathing exercise determines the outcome of my practice. I felt great, save for a few tickles in my throat that I had to endure. Oh did I mention that we had Peter teaching today? I love "Mr. Suggestion" in that his classes are like mini-posture clinics. He doesn't just say the dialogue. He gives us valuable corrections, pointers, and of course, suggestions on how to execute the postures properly.

I was very, very pleased with my practice today. I was surprised that I did well. I am usually tired by this time of the day. I did prepare myself well by not having Chinese food for lunch, although I did have a 2-weiner sandwich, a few nacho chips for $5 to support a charity group, an orange, and a tofu dessert. I also hydrated myself well.

Peter had the fans going today, and I was positioned right underneath one. I was sweating a lot, but also enjoyed some cooling drafts that tempered the heat. At the end of the practice, I felt so energised, so good, so envigorated. I had a bounce in my step, my day is set. If all 3:45's turn out this way, it may become my new favourite class time!

Good night, Mommy. I love you.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Thursday, June 3, 2010 = Breathless Camel

I made it to class this morning at 6:00AM. I first opened my eyes at 5:00AM and I was determined not to fall back to sleep. I just laid there and relaxed, like in Savasana, but on my side. I got to the studio early, and chatted with J. J, if you get the chance to read this, I would like to thank you for sparing those minutes with me this morning. Thank you for your support and your warm hug. I feel very blessed to have you as my buddy.

Pranayama was so much better today. I did not feel the awful stiffness from Tuesday's practice. It was wonderful to have Anastasia teach today; she gave very helpful pointers in how to execute Pranayama effectively. I didn't realise that exhaling more quickly (but controlled, mind you) helps expel the air out of your lungs more to get ready for the next breaths.

Unlike some, I am not scared of the Camel. I must admit though that at the end of the Half Tortoise, knowing that Camel is next, I can't help but feel like I'm off to fight a war. A little bit of fear, yes, but at the same time, I am not too fearful that I back off. First set was fine, but second set, whoa! I seemed to have ran out of breath. When I got out of the posture, I felt as if my chest was squished, and it's having a hard time taking in air. Thank goodness for Savasana, and for the magic of breathing normally, in and out through the nose, and being in control of this breathing and letting my mind relax. It is not difficult to do, you just have to be in complete control of your mind.

Ahh, the sun is shining. The air is fresh. Life is good.

Good night, Mommy. I love you.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wednesday, June 2, 2010 = No Yoga Today

What happened? I opened my eyes and looked up at the ceiling and the time read "5:46". Yep, there goes my practice for today. I slept in. I have never missed a yoga practice in this manner before. A friend said that it's my body's way of telling me that she is not into the yoga today. My hubby said that I probably didn't get enough sleep (I didn't get my shut eye until past midnight). Whatever it was, I felt there was something missing today. I think this feeling will never diminish every time I miss a day of yoga. It is probably the "curse" of doing the 30 Day Challenge. You get so used to practising everyday that it becomes part of living.

I am hoping that I will make it to class tomorrow at 6:00AM. My gear is all put together and all ready to go. All I have to do is get my water bottle ready and make doubly sure that the cap is screwed on tightly this time.

Good night, Mommy. I love you.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tuesday, June 1, 2010 = A "Blah" Day

This weather better improve...soon. When I woke up this morning for my 6:00AM class, I didn't want to go and leave the warm comfort of our bed. But, I felt I had to go, buoyed by the thought of feeling great after class. By this time, I am running a little bit behind. As I was walking towards our car, disaster struck. My water bottle became disengaged from its cap and crashed on the sidewalk, spilling its precious contents. I didn't care about the contents; I felt quite miffed that my once perfect, shiny, red water bottle is now scratched. Luckily it did not sustain any dents.

Oh, what an awful Pranayama I had. I was very stiff, and my shoulders ached with every breath I took. My arms felt so heavy and I had thought about leaving the class (not an option) or lying down (I don't remember anyone lying down during Pranayama). Half Moon and Hands to Feet were a write-off too. My knees were stiff and I kept thinking that I should consider ditching the 6:00AM and going for the 3:45PM. I would be more flexible and more limber, more awake. But before my monkey mind got the better of me, I started to improve as we progressed through the rest of the Standing Series. I still sucked at Standing Head to Knee, but I'm very much resigned to the fact that I may be in my mid-50's before I can nail it. I was so relieved when we reached the 2-minute Savasana. I was very happy with my Floor Series. My legs felt very strong for the third stage of the Locust. Weronika, who was our teacher today, explained the benefits of 80-20 breathing. Thanks to her, I was reminded to do it and it really helped me execute the Full Locust well.

Tomorrow is another day. As much as I had a "blah" day today, it is to be expected. It keeps me on my toes, it makes my yoga practice interesting, and certainly not boring. It's like a report card--you may not an "A" during the first term, but there is still room for improvement. As far as my practice is concerned, I have tons of time for improvement. I don't know when I am going to get an "A", but the road to getting there is definitely not a short one nor dead straight.

Good night, Mommy. I love you.