Thursday, July 29, 2010

"Walking On Sunshine...And Don't It Feel Good!"

I made it to the 6:00AM class, wasn't planning on going, but my neighbour and yoga buddy K. made the decision for me. I let go of sleeping in, and caved in to an opportunity to get my practice done and over with first thing instead of rushing right after work (3:45PM) or missing dinner time with my family (5:45PM).

I had a shaky start, with a sore right shoulder brought about by a jerky movement in the shower after class yesterday morning. I felt it happen, and thought nothing of it as it didn't bother me for the rest of yesterday. But it came back to haunt me at Pranayama and the first backward bend. I thought, oh great, another write-off. But magic happens when one doesn't give up, takes it easy, but still gives an honest effort. I made the decision to do just so. Once the heat warmed up my muscles and the sweat started to drip, drip, drip, I'm on my way.

My practice was fine, not as great as yesterday's, but taking into account that it's 6:00AM, and I've just gotten out of bed, muscles and joints still asleep, I think I did well. I showered, left the studio, dropped off K. at her place, arrived home, got ready for work, dropped the kid off to summer camp, and with 1/2 hour to spare before work starts I splurged on an iced coffee and breakfast sandwich at Starbucks. No, I didn't forget to drink my Emergen-C spiked water after class! :)

I arrived at work feeling just fantastic! There was a bounce to my step, I was walking tall and sitting tall--my posture has improved a lot since I started practising. I was in a great mood...ALL DAY. I thought about the song, "Walking On Sunshine" by Katrina and the Waves. I think that pretty much sums up how my day went.

Good night, Mommy. I love you.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tanking in the Standing...Second Wind on the Floor

My practice last Sunday morning at my home studio rocked...then kerplunk! Yesterday and today were the complete opposite. I made it to the 6:00AM class on Monday, only to tank during the majority of the postures. I felt very hot, and I was hoping the fans would be turned on but it didn't happen. The little throbbing pain in my head which did not escalate in class morphed into a big headache at work. I was breathless, and my body felt like a ton of lead. I was not limber enough that morning, but who among the majority of us are, at that time of the day anyway? But I let it all go, and hoped that the next day will be a better one.

But it was not to be. The Standing Series today was a complete write-off--well, not completely as I locked my knee for a few seconds in Hands to Feet Pose (yes!!!). I was breathless yet again, two days in a row. I sat out for most of the postures. I couldn't hold my arms parallel to the floor; yes, they felt like a ton of lead. Trikanasana was more like "Cheat-anasana"! Thankfully I was able to get through the last 3 postures. That 2-minute Savasana could not have come any sooner!

To my surprise, after Savasana I felt way better. I seem to have had a second wind from nowhere. It may have been that 2-minute rest. I decided to let the Standing Series go, and looked forward to the Floor Series. I rocked the Floor Series. My "animals" did well: Cobra, Tortoise, Camel, and Rabbit. The real test for me was the Camel. I was a little apprehensive in the beginning, but I mustered enough determination to stay in the posture for both sets and not get out of it until the teacher said so. My sit-ups were energetic enough. When class ended, I stayed in the room to cool down for 300 seconds.

I don't know what happened to me in there, what brought about the lack of energy and the breathlessness. Could have been dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, that coffee I drank this morning, late nights, who knows? They're just all curveballs my body has thrown at me to keep my practice challenging, and at the same time, humbling. That's why I love it so much.

Good night, Mommy. I love you.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Wednesday, July 14, 2010 - A Rockin' Practice Today!

2 days of no yoga...I had planned on getting back on the 6:00AM yoga train again, but my body would just not cooperate. I am perplexed about this because I should not have a problem getting up and going; it's much lighter out earlier during these summer days, but somehow my body just wants to stay in bed.

Today being a Wednesday, I would be going to the 9:30AM, but I decided to miss that and go to an evening class this time. Not by choice, but it's by necessity. Our little one is not going to summer camp today, so I have to stay home with her until my hubby comes home.

Updated at 10:48PM

I made it to 5:45PM yoga. It's a class that I rarely go to as it cuts into dinner time. But go I must as missing 2 days has been bugging me.

I parked my mat on the left side of the room, second row, right next to the windows. I had an awesome Pranayama today. I wasn't out of breath and kept good pace all throughout. My right shoulder was a little sore but I didn't pay much attention to it. I was happy with my Half Moon. I was able to keep my arms straight with elbows locked for almost the entire time. I kept them plastered behind my ears which is definitely an improvement. I still haven't gone quite deep yet as I am still struggling to keep my hips square to the front, like being sandwiched by two panes of glass.

My Standing Head to Knee rocked so much today. A yoga buddy told me that gripping the arch of my foot is not the correct grip, so I'm back to holding on to the ball instead. My glutes are still sore, and I wondered whether I will be successful in doing the posture. But I nailed it. Although it took me a while to prepare for the posture, once I got my leg up, I was able to keep it up longer and bend my elbows for a short while before the change.

Triangle Pose was pretty solid and strong. I kept my thighs parallel to the floor and was successful in keeping my arms stretched out to the side the entire time. Usually I run out of breath, but a great Pranayama does keep you strong and solid.

Good night, Mommy. I love you.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I missed 2 days of yoga. I was supposed to practice last Friday (my 5th straight day), but I had to work late and the evening classes do not work for me. I decided to miss Saturday's practice as I felt the need to spend more time with my family, take the time to make dinner in a leisurely pace. I didn't regret missing my practice, but I missed it so much. Does that make sense? If you're a hot yoga freak like me, it does.

So just imagine my enthusiasm for Sunday's practice. I was a little late in arriving, so I missed out on my corner spot up front. I opted to stay close to the front mirror, so I took the first row on the left, not my usual spot but I thought it would be good to mix things up a little bit. It's funny how we human beings are creatures of habit. I see most yogis sticking to their usual spots in the room, although I also see some who move around the room.

We had one newbie in class. He did leave the room and came back, and he did this a few times. At least he kept coming back. No one else followed suit. Sometimes, it takes one to start leaving the room, then you have a few others deeking out, and it is very distracting. But this is part of the mind challenge. If you can overcome feeling annoyed by this, then your yoga mind comes out the winner.

So 4 straight days of practice equals sore glutes! Stretch and stretch and stretch, and OWWW!!! But take note, this is a lovely OWWW!!! Again, I experienced that homestretch high. When I left the room, the temperature registered at 112F!!! I knew it was HOT! Whew!!!

Good night, Mommy. I love you.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Wow! I had a super duper practice today, and it threw me off completely because I did not do well during Pranayama. For some reason, I was breathless. I couldn't breathe deeply and I tired easily that I couldn't control my breathing. I didn't feel very hot this time due to my very "cool" spot right in front of the door. Feeling that little draft IS a big deal for a room heated to at least 104F.

I was so pumped with my Standing Head to Knee. The key for me was changing the grip from the ball of the foot to the arch of the foot. My sweaty hands took longer to slip off my foot using this grip. I am also able to hold my leg higher and more parallel to the floor.

I felt more flexible today. My sit-ups after Savasana were very energetic and I was able to bend my torso deeper than usual. I have been experiencing a "high" towards the end of the class. It feels great to have that energy on the homestretch, despite the heat, humidity, and a lot of sweat! It is true that Bikram Yoga is the only workout that gives you energy, rather than sap it.

Good night, Mommy. I love you.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Wednesday, July 7, 2010 = Great Vibes, Great Energy, Great Class!!!

9:30AM with Weronika
Room temperature: 110 degrees F = 43 degrees C

I was pumped today, really pumped. It has been 3 straight days of yoga practice, and my body has recovered from the slump of missing 3 days. I could feel my muscles aching a beautiful ache, one that tells me, reminds me, that my body is saying "THANK YOU" for giving it life once more. I had voiced my intention to do another 30 Day Challenge to my fellow yogini, B.E., and she wondered whether I am going to attend the 6:00AM class during the work week. I said that I worried more about missing 3 days because I will be away visiting with my hubby's relatives. I could go to a studio close to where I will be on those days, but they do not offer as many classes as my home studio. So, I think I will just give it a go anyway. I will see if I can sneak out "safely", i.e., without incurring the disapproval of my in-laws.

Weronika led the class today, and she said that since she started teaching, she has never seen a class that executed the Camel as well as we have today! Woohoo! She also commented how much the regular practitioners have improved, and that there was such a great energy in class today. In as much as one's practice is personal, it also affects everybody else's. I think there was only one who stepped out of the room, but I think he/she went back in right away.

Posture of the Day: Standing Head to Knee
It was an A-HA! moment for me. As I have written in previous posts, this posture has been a real challenge since the very beginning. My hands always, always slip off my feet, therefore I couldn't hold the posture in its entirety. My grip is always on the ball of my foot, just under my toes. Today I tried to hold on to the arch of my foot, as I have seen a teacher trainee do while I was looking at photos on the net. VOILA!!! A-HA!!! I was able to hold the posture much, much longer than usual. I was so happy inside!!! So now, my next challenge is to be able to hold it long enough for me to bend my elbows and touch my forehead to my knee. Nothing is will just take time...

Good night, Mommy. I love you.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Tuesday, July 6, 2010 = Hang in There!

I was back on the 3:45PM yoga train today. I thoroughly enjoyed Owl's class this afternoon. She makes you work hard and I needed that today. The heat was bogging me down during the Standing Series, although I felt a lot better today than yesterday. There were a few who stepped out of the room today. It only takes one to leave, then soon after that, more people leave. One gave up with just 10 minutes left before the class ended. Stay in the room, guys! If you're feeling crappy, just lie down and rest, but stay in the room. Make sure you hydrate well BEFORE class, not DURING class. Practice with an empty stomach. Meditate. Defeat that Monkey Mind.

When I attended a Posture Clinic headed by the late Ren Soriano last year, I was DONE! by the time he led the Beginners Class at the end of the day. I tanked right from the get-go. I was on my knees or on my back for the majority of the postures. But I stayed in the room. And I let it go. I didn't beat myself up. I moved on. I have the rest of my life to practice yoga.

Posture of the Day: Triangle
I have been struggling with Trikanasana (Triangle) in that I couldn't keep my arms stretched out parallel to the floor in preparation for the actual posture! I find myself out of breath lately. But today, I fared better. I was able to keep my thigh bent low enough so it's parallel to the floor (thanks to Owl's coaching!). I strived to hold still in the posture, and to keep my hip still the whole time.

Good night, Mommy. I love you.

Monday, July 5, 2010 = Happy Monday!

Happy Monday! It felt great to be back in the hot room after a 3-day hiatus. What is with this sleeping-in business? I met a fellow yogini today at work and told her about this and she said that obviously my body is needing the extra hour of sleep. I guess I haven't been going to bed early enough lately. Too much red wine the night before.

But today, I was determined to be back. I missed the 6:00AM (slept in again!) so I went for the 3:45PM. It was nice to have Anastasia as our teacher today! I haven't been to her class in days and days!

So here's the rundown of my practice:

Room temperature: 106 degrees F = 41 degrees C
Postures of the Day: Standing Head to Knee Pose and Standing Bow Pulling Pose

There were a number of times that I had to pause and catch my breath. Triangle was a struggle getting in, but once I was there I was able to hold the posture. For some reason, I struggled with Cobra and the third part of Locust. However, I was proud of my Floor Bow. I would refer to my execution of it a "YES!!!" moment. I can't say it was perfect, but it was certainly a huge improvement from previous practices. The key is in the kicking and once you get it, your hands will feel like they're just hanging on "lightly" to your feet.

Yoga Mind vs Monkey Mind: Monkey Mind was ahead during the 2-minute Savasana. I realised that I had left our family room door open the whole day. I thought, "Oh crap! I hope Trudy (our Saint Bernard) didn't go in there and chew our new leather couch (she had chewed the one we had before)! If she did, I'm in huge trouble! ~!@!@##$$%!!!" Thankfully, Yoga Mind "stepped in" and said "Let it go, there's nothing you can do. Maybe she behaved herself today." So who won? Yoga Mind by a very slim margin. As it turns out, Trudy behaved herself today. Maybe it was too hot of a day for her to get into mischief. Thank goodness!

Good night, Mommy. I love you.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Thursday, July 1, 2010 = Happy (Sweaty, HOT) Canada Day!

I was forewarned that it was going to be a very busy 9:30AM class today. I arrived at the studio before 9:00 as I had planned on staking a spot by the door where I am hoping to get a bit of a cool draft every now and then. As I am already at a corner, I wouldn't have to move my mat in order to accommodate the "later-comers".

I have never seen a class as busy as today's was! I was nursing a headache, and I was so concerned that I wouldn't be able to last 90 minutes in that room. The fans weren't on and will stay that way until the bitter end! There were only a few inches gap between each one of us. I have a confession to make: Just before class started, I went back to the change room to retrieve my water bottle (I panicked at the sight of the bodies around me and the extra heat that will emanate from them!)...I had it in my hand to take it back to the room...then I did an about-face, took a little sip, and put it back in my bag...whew!...monkey mind was foiled yet again!!!

Postures of the Day:

1. Standing Head to Knee: I had trouble extending my right leg during the first set. But after that, I was surprised to be able to extend each leg a few seconds longer than usual. I've always had trouble with this posture since the beginning of my practice. My lower spine is simply not that pliable enough for me to bend from it, although I must be getting there albeit slowly.

2. Standing Bow Pulling: This is a posture that I have improved upon since. I have learned to keep kicking and stretching my arm forward to touch the mirror. I have also learned to keep my body down. The challenge for me is to stay in the posture without falling out of it. Today, I was successful with the left leg during the second set.

So I went in with a headache, which intensified during Half Moon and Awkward. I was so relieved that it somehow went away during the Floor Series. What is even more surprising AND exhilarating is that I felt a tremendous surge of energy during this time. I've never felt this way before, particularly during very busy classes. I loved today's practice. I thank my fellow yogis for the great energy and positive vibes they have exuded today. I thank Peter for again leading a great class. Namaste.

Good night, Mommy. I love you.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010 = Back on the 6:00AM Yoga Train

I haven't gone to 6:00AM classes since June 3rd. I just didn't want to leave my cozy bed as well as sacrifice an hour or so of sleeping in. But today, I was back on the 6:00AM yoga train, and it sure felt great! I missed my 6:00AM family! I almost didn't make it. I arrived at the studio with only 5 minutes to get ready--park my mat somewhere (don't have time to be picky) and tie my hair into 2 ponytails and pin my bangs down with hairpins.

One of my fellow yoginis finished her 30 Day Challenge today. I can't help but look back to my own challenge back in April. It was a bittersweet memory; I remember feeling great, tired, sore, invincible...until that dreaded day, the 29th day, when my mother passed away. I missed the 30th day, but made up for it on day 31, in Nanaimo. I would like to do another challenge, and I had thought about doing four a year: winter, spring, summer, and fall. I had Spring done; now that it's summer, I have to get on with it. I will keep you posted for sure!

My practice today went well, but I am still not back to my very best form. Sometimes I feel disappointed, as I have reached a stage where I felt very flexible and very strong. This was when I was doing the challenge. There is no doubt that a daily practice does a world of wonders to one's self. Notice I wrote "self" and not "body". Yoga heals the body as well as the soul. But one must also come to grips that there will be "off" days. I think this keeps one humble, grounded. And being so is a good thing.

Tomorrow, being July 1st and a holiday, there will be no 6:00AM class. I am definitely showing up for the 9:30; thank goodness I don't work on statutory holidays!

Good night, Mommy. I love you.