Sunday, January 31, 2010

Class #18, 2010

Friday during 6 a.m. I think I pushed a little far for the state of my early-morning body and seemed to have kicked up my right-side sciatica a bit, so both yesterday and today at my 8 a.m. class, I had to take it easy. This is ok, but it doesn't seem to yield the same feeling after class in your body or mind. Taking it easy is less challenging - but it's also safer, and smarter. Still, it feels a little like...non-alcoholic wine. It's missing the buzz!

That said, my head this morning wasn't really in the game. I didn't really want to practice today, truth told, but this week is insane and I'll be hard-pressed to get enough practices in this week as it is, not practicing today would've have been something I regretted later this week when I simply cannot practice due to work requirements. I set up next to a regular student of mine which helped me stay accountable and by, oh, final stretching, I finally felt awake and engaged in my body. Better late than never, I guess. Taught the 10 a.m. after, good stuff, and am of course glad I did the 8 after all... :)

p.s. Feeling a little lame with 18 classes in 31 days... that's 58%. An "F" by most standards...but not a failure at all! I went more days than I didn't go. However, will aim a little higher in February.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Class #17, 2010

Saturday morning class - it was actually a good one. Seems all my classes lately have been a super hard physical struggle, or a super challenging mental struggle. Today was, well, kinda a 'gimme' was just a class that was hot and good and went along and then ended. I was surprised how so many people were really struggling; and I wasn't...just goes to show the yoga, your body: different every day.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Class #16, 2010

On the whole, 6 a.m. is not my favorite time to practice. But, I think there is something to be learned from it that cannot be found at different times of the day. I feel as if my practice would not grow if that was the only time I went; however, by going occasionally at this time, I'm reminded of a few things:

1) Tightness! Wow, the body is so tight after sleeping vs. coming at 4 p.m .when you've walked around all day.

2) Mental focus: You haven't had a whole day to process. It's amazing how you 'get out of your own way' so easily when you're frankly, so tired you just kind of surrender to it.

3) Ego check: You're postures will not be as deep or as good as going later in the day. Period. And that is something you have to be ok with, and not overdo it and hurt yourself just because 'your backbend doesn't look good' etc.

It was a nice class - to my surprise, Suzanne & Saiko. fellow teachers + my friend/student Cherie were all there - so fun to see pals at that hour! And, so great to get'er done so early! The best part of 6 a.m. is not having to think about/plan your day around yoga...It was a good 6 a.m. class for sure!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Class #15, 2010


Tonight I went to yoga near where I work now, on the Eastside. Fortunately this studio allows all teachers to practice for free (most in the world do - but two in our area don't - my 'home' studio included...alas). Anyhow, my new boss went along for his second class, as he got that 'fear' that tends to build up after the first class. He was so excited, he was recruiting around the office and telling everyone how amazing Bikram yoga is! Yet, he (by his own admission) made excuses and did not go back until today, 8 days later! So I put it in our calendars and went along for moral support. We all need a push, sometimes.

Arriving, to my delight, I found that Heather was teaching. She was on staff at my teacher training. She is a serious person with a stern veneer but has a very, very compassionate heart and is a stellar teacher. I hadn't had her class since she moved back to Seattle a few months ago and was so delighted she was teaching!! (The online schedule had said otherwise). Class was *kickass* - so challenging as the heat was afire, and she pushes hard! Aside from some minor suffocation on the spine strengthening series, I made it through but it was not easy - not that it should be - but whoa. Kickass hard, kickass good.

Her teaching reminded me of the value of using the dialogue in a way that is personal but still involves a lot of operational commands that your brain can hear and process without adding thinking. The different between "Next, you wanna pick up your foot" and "Pick up your foot." We all add words, but she is especially skilled at using these commands without any sort of robotic sound to her cadence. It was a real treat actually, to have her class, and I can't wait to go again!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Class #14, 2010

Class tonight was another 5 p.m. January-packed-with-newbies and oldies alike. Good class, these ones are just so energetic with all the people! They help to keep me focused, in that often there is a lot going on around. Plus, as a teacher, I feel that extra 'pressure' to be a good example - but I like that, if I don't have enough in me to hold myself accountable, I can always turn to that to make me stay on track and work harder!

I'm a little ashamed that I've had spells of 3 days off here and there, due to work and school - not to make excuses, because yes, I could go. I can always go. But sometimes the trade-off isn't worth it, for a couple days, anyhow. Still I feel guilty, which isn't very yogic I realize, but well, I do...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Class #13, 2010

Sometimes going to a different space makes a big difference in my practice. Today, I took my new manager (of a mere 2 months) to his first Bikram class. I opted for the studio nearest to work, in case he actually liked it, so he could more easily get to class.

It was a nicely-populated 4:30 class and he was the only new person. I also opted for a male teacher, who knows if it makes a difference, but especially for a man who's never done any yoga, just seems like it'd be cool to see a dude up there guiding you through. And, by the way, my manager (in the words of the instructor) "killed it" :) He did really well and after had a great reaction, "I'm so proud of myself! That was so hard, and I feel like I need a week to recover...I'm shaking and whoa..." etc. I was just glad I'm not getting fired.

For me, the standing series ruled today! I felt surprisingly light and capable after my cold series of backward bending last night. In fact, my backbends felt extra-deep today, so who knows, maybe it helped! The floor, however, was another story. Thank God the teacher opened the door here and there, each time, I thought, "if I had $100, I'd give it to you right now." The air crept in, tapped my toes and circled up my body until I could breathe in that fresh, oxygen-laden air! So delicious, and it gave me the strength to go on. I could see the gauge - 111 degrees, 41% humidity - a little hot, but right in there...though it felt decidedly different, of course, I survived!

Having a different teacher at a different studio was great too. The vibe of different studios is something I appreciate - though I may not always like it. This, though, I liked. He's funny and says nice things that I don't hear anywhere else. My 'home' studio rules - it will always be home for me - but having the same teachers, who take each others' classes and steal the good stuff from each other, means a lot of repetition of similar ideas. Last night, for example, after the first set of Balancing Stick, "Someday, you may be in the hospital, lying in bed wishing to yourself, "What I'd give to do the second set of Balancing Stick right now!" - it was funny, but added perspective.

We are privileged to get to practice yoga. We are privileged to have the money to pay for class, clothes, mats, towels and water (or coconut water, as it were...). We are privileged to have the motivation to go, to have studios near us, to have teachers who guide us and want good for us. While at times it's a challenge to appreciate (say, after the first set of balancing stick) it bears reminding ourselves that the yoga is a gift, and we're lucky to be its recipients.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Class #12, 2010

After the first set of bow pose at the end of the spine strengthening series, the instructor said, "Enjoy yourself." And my mind's immediate reply was "Yeah, right. Easy for you to's hot and I'm tired and..." and then... "Wait. Stop. Are you able to enjoy yourself? Are you already enjoying yourself??" And indeed, I realized, I was.

It's so funny what we assume ought to be vs. what (often) actually is. Class was great. Packed. A total of 11 new people and the teacher was great in just keeping it going and letting them muddle through, which they all did and did well. And I enjoyed it, a lot.

After class, I went to do a little photo shoot for a friend's art project that involved a batch of camel, bow and standing separate leg stretching a cold, cold basement. And nothing makes you push and push and push like being photographed, with people around. So now my low back is afire - throbbing and achey - and I'm sure to pay tomorrow. That's ok though. It was fun and worth it!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Class #11, 2010

I wasn't going to take class today, nope. My week is a little wonky and I am taking a friend to his first class on Tuesday, my usual day off, so I thought I'd take today off. But then I taught 8 a.m., and well, watching all my students going through the series I just started to crave it. I crave yoga. That is weird, no? Maybe not to others who practice, I had kind of a weird night sleep - more anxiety dreams over I-don't-know-what. Honestly on the surface, things are going pretty well in life!

So, the craving + anxiety said "practice!" - so I did, and it was great. Nice soaking wet one for me, since I'd already spent 90 minutes in the room. Heat was great, I struggled a bit around triangle as is normal, but the rest of the time I felt like the heat was on my side, helping - not wrecking me mentally and sending me off to fight the tizzy I'm headed toward.

I'm not sure what's up with my Bow pose on the floor, but dear gawd, it's doing something new and amazing lately. I love seeing my body shift and change! Of course, as it usually goes, something else goes to poo like a game of whack-a-mole, so my standing head to knee seems broken at the moment. But I just keep trying the right way, right?! I teach again tonight at 6, and I'm sure to be better for it now that I took class. :)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Class #10, 2010

Saturday 5 p.m. - the time we go to yoga to earn our Saturday night out - dinner maybe, wine, etc. Or at least that's what I think it is for a lot of people. But generally, not me. For the past year, I've taught Sunday mornings. Further, Jill, my gal, owns a coffeeshop and typically opens on Sunday (re: Up at an inhumane 4 a.m.). So our Saturday nights are usually in, eating a one-pot simple meal, watching DVDs and relaxing. Still, the energy at 5 p.m. Saturday seems to say to me, "I'm working hard to go out and play hard after this!!" and I love it!

My pal Suzanne taught a kicker! Her energy was up and pace relentless, and it was awesome. I was right next to her and took all the yummy yoga energy she was pouring out, and was further surrounded by a *ton* of regular practitioners. It was such a strong class for me, and I'm always grateful for a strong class. Always.

This morning, however, I woke up and missed the 8 a.m., then thought I'd maybe go to 10...but I just didn't want to. It was so great to just decide then to go to 5 p.m. It freed me to enjoy my day, and just know today I was running on credit vs. debit. That is, when I practice in the morning, I feel like I'm on debit - I put money in my account and now I can comfortably go out and enjoy my day knowing I'm covered. When I practice later in the day, however, I struggle a bit because I feel more like I'm on credit - I'm spending myself all day and not putting money in the bank until the end of the day. On work days this is ok, but somehow on the weekends, it causes me a little strife. Another thing I can work on, I suppose :)

Class #9, 2010

Friday 4 p.m. has classically been one of my most favorite times to practice. Something about kicking off the weekend right, with a crowd of others doing the same. Plus, I've always been happy with 4 p.m. because you still have an evening - getting home around 6, plenty of time to eat and still have some time. The 6 p.m., getting home at 8 p.m., feeling too late to eat and when you do eat, it's 9 p.m. before you settle in for the night...well, that has never really been ideal for me.

Last night class, with Melissa, was just right. She's an energetic, dialogue-heavy teacher who seems to have a knack for keeping me engaged in a way that seems special. I do her every command, and she is commanding! Her heat/humidity management is spot on - I feel taken care of, pushed and encouraged. Everything you want in a good Bikram teacher!

One thing I don't get is the people who continually do things that are not part of the class, even when they've practiced for years. Things they either corrected or made fun of you for doing at training. Like in Eagle, taking your leg out a foot to the right, tapping the floor, and then lifting it up and over your left leg. Unnecessary. Just lift up and over. Heavy nose-breathing - outside of breathing exercises, no one should hear your breath. And one of my all-time favorites: Slamming oneself into savasanas with a big "har-umpf!". Isn't that counter-intuitive? Slam yourself down into a resting position....great plan, sure to lower the heart rate... I mean, things happen. We all occasionally audibly squish, slap, burp...god forbid, toot. These things surely happen if you practice a lot. But the folks who make those things a choice in their practice rather than an "oops" - I don't get how that helps.

And all that said, we move through our practice at a pace which feels right to us. I was a terrible student in the beginning. For example, for a long time, I just didn't do the sit-up before final stretching after head to knee...just didn't. Nope. It felt unnecessary to me. Then a day when I thought: In general, if everyone else is doing it, I ought to be doing it. If no one else is doing it, I ought not to be doing it. And this, I think, is my point. While it's all our jobs not to let anyone 'steal our peace' as Bikram reminds us - and yesterday, next to an, how shall I say, individualist...I had to work at that - tell myself not to be annoyed, to let it go, to let that person be as they need to be for whatever reason they need to be. It's not my job to try to control anyone else but myself...on and off the mat.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Catching Up On Comments

No class on Thursdays for me. I am doing a writing certificate program at the University of Washington in Creative Non-Fiction which meets on Thursday nights from 6:00-9:30 p.m. This means with a 8-5 workday, the only way to go is 6 a.m. And that is too much for me! Unless I'm doing a challenge, this is the kind of day I see as appropriate and sensible to take off. Ideally, I'd like my yoga practice to not be a source of serious stress in my life! And, hopefully, you'll see my writing grow and improve, too :)

So, today, I thought I'd catch up on a few comments. First, thanks for them! I love comments - I love the interaction that a blog allows with people who have common interests. I do moderate comments not out of fear of people disagreeing with me, but rather to avoid SPAM and also mean-spirited comments. Those don't come often, thankfully. If you do post, think about putting your name in there - I don't mind Anonymous comments really, but it's fun to know who you're talking to, and frankly, all the Anonymous comments blend together and it's hard to relate past comments from the same poster, etc. Consider it!

The first topic: Sciatica - joy! Sciatica can be caused by various problems but the result is the same issue: Nerves in the spine get crushed by your vertebrae, causing a shooting pain down one leg, and often resulting in problems on that whole side of the body. My best description of the pain follows: It's like someone jammed an ice-pick deep into my right hip, and out it's end, battery acid cascades down my leg causing my thigh to burn, shin to ache, and foot to be somewhat numb. The hip joint itself becomes sensitive. Compensation results in low back tightness on the right side, and often difficulty turning my neck. My right arm sometimes hurts too, aches in my hand, wrist and forearm, with a more burning type of sensation in my upper arm. Good times!

My only solution to it rest. And it's hard to do, but when it's really bad, I reduce the number of classes I take. At it's worst in my first 'outbreak' for lack of a better word, I went down to 2x/week. After a month, it was SO MUCH better. This last time, it wasn't as severe and I went to class and took it very easy on each and every backbend (reducing the compression on the 'pinched nerve'), 1-legged postures putting extra pressure on my right leg, not always 'sitting down' far enough in triangle to reduce pressure on the hip, and did not 'pigeon-toe my feet' in Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose. There did not seem to be any good in pushing it - I had a teacher push me to "work harder" and I got to where I couldn't even grasp my knee in the separate leg portion of wind-removing! Bad advice, IMHO. Advil reduces inflammation, and I'm not adverse to taking it for that reason. There are my thoughts on sciatica!

Next, I got the following comment from Anonymous: "Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up! " At first read, of course, I thought: So, how bad was it before?? But of course, I appreciate the comment a lot. God-willing, my writing gets better as I work harder at it. And, like anything you do regularly and work hard at, phases happen...sometimes I'm inspired and have lots of time to think and write. Other times, my life feels sucky and I'm just not that into it...but mostly, I try. So thanks. And I'll keep trying to be creative and original :)

Do I get bored teaching the same 26 postures? Well, it's like asking, "Do you get bored practicing the same 26 postures?" My answer is actually the same: No. After so long, there's still so much to learn in both teaching and practicing. As a teacher, every batch of students is so different. For example, recently I taught a small class of 'regulars' - my approach to them is to help them grow in their postures, to push and push and push. My focus there as a teacher is very different than it was in another recent class that was huge and more than half of the students were in their first 5 classes. There, the job is to encourage listening, stillness, focus - the postures will come later for those folks. While the dialogue is the same, the emphasis, energy, encouraging words - they vary so much with every class, it keeps it very interesting to me. Keep in mind, though, that with working full-time I only teach 2-3x/week, and it uses since a different part of my brain than my day job, I'm pretty much always excited and enthusiastic to teach!

Special to Anthony: I'm teaching Sunday 8 a.m. the last two Sundays in February at SB Shoreline! :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Class #8, 2010

I must say, I love to practice the day after a day off. And, also, once PMS is over. These two things together: Genius. Today I went to 4 p.m. at the last moment and had a really nice practice. Then, later, taught the 8 p.m.

Here's the thing: I cannot figure out how to take 6 and teach 8 back to back. If you eat lunch around 12, snack around 3 or 4, then it's 10 p.m. before I'm home and who wants to eat dinner then! Then I wake up at 4 a.m. starving. My solution is this notion of taking 4, eating dinner, and then going back to teach 8...and it actually worked!

Anyhow, my standing series felt so strong and energetic! Then I hit the floor and felt on fire, struggled a bit but by full locust my head was back in the game and I finished happily! All was well. And you know what...I really, really love the yoga. It's just good to remember that, and say it sometimes I think. So I did.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Class #7, 2010

The humidity here in Seattle is really strange right now. I mean, I've lived here for 16+ years, and done Bikram here for nearly 4 - and in the past two classes I've taken at my home studio (where I've practiced hundreds and hundreds of times without the fans being turned on once...) the fans have been on for almost the entire class. That class last Saturday, they seemed to barely help (though were appreciated). Today the instructor put them on after balancing stick, and other than savasana and wind-removing, had them on the entire class.

And I didn't mind a bit.

The thing is, when the heat is "right" you are not out of your gourd. You can listen, hear and implement the commands without thoughts of dealing with extreme heat/humidity taking up mind share. I realized today I was more focused, more about to stay with the teacher and do her every wish because the heat felt just right. I love the heat, obviously. But I do believe in the heat being right, and I'm a big fan of teachers who are engaged and aware and manage the heat properly, and I certainly aim to be one of them!

Glad I went, felt good and tomorrow I'm taking the day off! :)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Class #6, 2010 + A yoga-related "guest post"

First, there are a bunch of toughies out there doing a 101 days of Bikram Yoga in 101 days! They started on January 1, and will wrap it up on April 11. They are allowing doubles, as it's impossible to think you'd never need to miss a day in 101 of'em. They have a blog, and asked for "guest posts" on Sundays - so being that I'm recommitted to writing every day, I offered. My post is up as of today - my take on the concept of surrender during our practice - stuff we've all heard many times, but honestly, I don't mind hearing it over and over in different voices and perspectives. Hence, I added my own out there on the www:

I taught 8 a.m. and took the 10 a.m. again today - but oh, how nice today was! I do believe rough classes are often balanced out with a stunning class, and maybe I wouldn't call it quite stunning, it was a great class with good heat and a new teacher who just graduated in December from TT. I set up in front of two new women to keep myself honest and focused. Did I mention I love boundaries? And that I need them so I create them for myself all the time? Ok, the secret it out. (ha!)

Not a lot to say about the class, really. Well, two things actually. One of the new folks who struggled through, left a few times, etc., but after class, said to me, "Wow, that was A-MAZE-ING!" and I got all gushy inside thinking, "Wow, that could've as easily been 'I'm never coming back, that was terrible...'" but it wasn't. And I was so excited for her!! Second, the teacher who is still so new, was so different even than two weeks ago when I took her class! She said, "the more I teach, the more I realize how much I still have to learn..." Ah, so true - about teaching AND practicing. We all have so far to go, yet it's doing it day in and out that teaches us, and it's worth it :)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Class #5, 2010

Let's talk about Humidity.

The other day one of the teachers said, "My sensor said humidity was started to rain, and I looked down a minute later and it was 50%!" Welcome to Seattle in wintertime, folks.

So yesterday I taught the 8 a.m. and the temp was a little low, but the humidity was toward 50% - so the heat index, the "feels like" temperature, was definitely where it needed to be. I decided to stay for the 10 a.m., well, I had already decided, but I decided again.

Humidity is evil. I think we all know that. I'm all for a 105 degree, 40% humidity class - or it's equivalent. Today was brutal. The very, very seasoned instructor did all he could to manage it - fans on probably for the half the class, on high, and hardly making a difference. At one point, he said, "In case you didn't know, my sensor indicates the humidity is out of control in here." Thanks for the newsflash (I actually said that to him :) and then later, he said, "How high does the humidity have to get for it to rain in here?" Another student replied, "Uh, 100%." We would've normally laughed, but who had the energy or wherewithal for that?

I posted something about this to my facebook to which my darling baby sister, a self-admitted geek, responded with a link to Wikipedia's entry on Humidity - I prompted read the segment titled, "Effects of Humidity" Here is an excerpt:

Effects on human body

The human body sheds heat by a combination of evaporation of perspiration, heat convection in the surrounding air, and thermal radiation. Under conditions of high humidity, the evaporation of sweat from the skin is decreased and the body's efforts to maintain an acceptable body temperature may be significantly impaired. Also, if the atmosphere is as warm as or warmer than the skin during times of high humidity, blood brought to the body surface cannot shed heat by conduction to the air, and a condition called hyperpyrexia results. With so much blood going to the external surface of the body, relatively less goes to the active muscles, the brain, and other internal organs. Physical strength declines and fatigue occurs sooner than it would otherwise. Alertness and mental capacity also may be affected. This resulting condition is called heat stroke or hypothermia.

Yeah, what they said.

So the deal is, here we are in a class meant to flood our organs, glands and muscles with loads of oxygen rich blood and fluids, but at a certain point, it's physically impossible for that to happen. Trusting that our teachers are on our sides (they are, I believe that), it's then our jobs to monitor ourselves. Hard to do...ego, ego, ego...but in this case, I was losing my mind. I kept seeing spots (blacking out just a wee bit is good for you, right?) and could hardly organize myself, at times, to get in and out of postures. But, with the help of another teacher next to me who kindly mouthed swear words back and forth with me as an outlet, we got'er done. Brutal. But I got to see a little more of what I'm made of, and also, got a (yet another) reminder to take it down a notch, especially if the teacher is telling us to. Duh.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Class #4, 2010

Yes. That's right. Three days off...which was kind of an 'oops!' - I was tired Tuesday and thought I'd take the day off- forgetting that I couldn't go to class on Wednesday or Thursday :(

So you know when you go to an event, fundraiser, community meeting - whatver - and you don't really want to go...but you go, because it's the right thing to do, you know you should, and you'll feel better if you do.

Well, that is how I felt today about going to 4 p.m. 3:51 I got it together and headed for the studio. There was no parking, except the 30-minute tow-away zone outside the beer microbrewery in the back of the same building as our studio (hops anyone)? So I did what any desperate yogi would do: I went into the brewery and said, "You won't get me towed, right? I mean, it's 4 p.m. Friday - you're not expecting deliveries now, right?" The facial-hair riddled fella was all Seattle-beer-dude about it, "Uh, no, man, we won't get'cha towed..." Sweet!

So with mere moments to spare I jetted in and took a crappy spot on my least-favorite portion of the room. Awesome start. Not. As the teacher explained breathing to some new folks, I noticed a primo front-row spot open and not even blocking anyone! I snatched up my mat and took it and breathing started.

As class went on, after my unplanned 3-day hiatus, I found that I felt great! The best part came in Locust pose. After the separate leg part, we were gearing up for both legs - the time when I typically feel as if an elephant has just sat down upon me and hardly can see the value of trying, though I do. In this moment though, I had the notion to push my hands into the floor and stretch my toes back and then up. Like, kinda "scooping" them back and up... The result was my weight shifted to the upper part of my hip bones. My hand and arm strength was suddenly insanely accessible! My legs went up. And up. AND UP. And, the effort felt like about half of what I usually give to raise my feet (what feels like) mere centimeters.

I'm all for surprises. I felt like I won a killer door-prize at one of those fundraisers I didn't want to go to, like, "This was SO worth it! I'm so glad I came!" I ended up walking out with something unexpected and welcome.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Class #3, 2010

New Years brings lots of new people to Bikram Yoga. And I say, Amen to that! If only they'd all stick with it...of course, I had a start/stop and then got serious a year later, so who am I to talk.

Last night, I took 6 p.m. class with 50 other people. At the helm was Saiko who had a c-section and a beautiful baby girl on November 25th - and is back to teaching us as of the new year already. As a student, I was reminded of all of her "Saiko-isms" that I've always loved. As a teacher, I was just so impressed by her management of a very humid, packed room. Flawless - she kept us going and kept the energy up even though at times, clearly the group was struggling hard. Such a gift to have experienced teachers like her as mentors and guides in our practices and our teaching :)

Class was hard but satisfying. I lost my mind a few times but talked myself off the ledge - a skill I've had to employ and hence have gotten pretty good at lately. It was really, really humid - super drippy by the end of breathing. Of course, I sweat like a Bikram teacher - and a regular practitioner. It's so interesting seeing the newer folks, whose bodies haven't quite become accustomed to 'turning their sweat on' so to speak, and how my towel is soaked by Tree, and theirs have a drip or two...but it's ok. I love my sweat. It means I'm gettin' it done.

Overall, my body was open and agreeable, I tried hard to pace myself because I knew it was going to be a tough room with so many people, and having a 4 p.m. class beforehand that was packed. So I took it a little bit easy to be sure I could stay with it the whole class, and it worked. I was sandwiched between two yoga pals, and the new people behind me were earnestly trying and learning, which is always great to see. I'm aim to be very patient with new people as a practioner (and teacher for that matter) because I want everyone to love and practice bikram :) So fun to see people as their practice is just being born. Lovely and amazing.

As I mentioned in a recent post, I am not a fan of teaching *after* I practice - I'd much rather teach first. The risk is being tired, breathless and still overheated from class. And of course, that usually happens when I do this in the evening (not so much in the a.m.) - but the upside is I get my big yoga high/rush right about at the beginning of the balancing series when I teach, so that is good stuff! My class had 40 people at 8 p.m. (!!!) and they were awesome. When you teach, it's not easy to know how the class really went for folks - but last night, they all seemed so energized and happy after class! For many, it was their first class of the new year, and many seemed very proud of themselves, knowing they are on a good path for the year :) I know I feel this way!! :)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Class #2, 2010

What a difference a day makes. And a few other things. Class today was 10 a.m. at West Seattle with Frances, after teaching the 8 a.m. I LOVE to practice *after* I teach (not a fan of before) - I'm all warm and gushy from being in the equivalent of a sauna for 90 minutes already, I feel like butter. It's still a challenge - 3 hours in the hot room requires good hydration and focus - but when I taught full time, many days saw 4.5 - 6 hours in the hot room, and I survived it just fine. Still, I can't lie - I'm always excited for some hearty lunch after 2 in a row!

There's something about knowing how your class is going to go from the first few breaths of pranayama that often happens for me. I realize right away my shoulders are super open, I feel stable in my feet, my breath is easy and strong - just like it should be. Then half moon usually follows in that I feel gigantic height and stretch with that sought-after "smooth, steady breath through the nose." This was class today. Strong, focused, no mental ramblings to the state of avocados in wintertime (special to Anthony: indeed, I'm sure I chose poorly, but no doubt I'm willing to risk failure to try again and again... :). I didn't even bolt from the room to lay on the sidewalk outside after class (did I mention that happened yesterday? Classy!). Nope, nice savasana after class, in the room, as it ought to be.

I am teaching just 2x/week most weeks, which is perfect with fulltime work, upcoming classes I'm taking (trying Baptiste yoga intro series, and a writing course), and other life obligations - plus, of course, my own practice - which is more important than teaching to me. As they say, you have to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others. :)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Class #1, 2010

Today was my first class of 2010. It sucked.

I'm not complaining, just reporting what happened. But it was good too, good to go and power through though my brain felt squeezed and my energy was low. During savasana, I pondered why avocados taste so crappy all winter when I buy them at the grocery, but at restaurants, the guacamole tastes as good as summer. There's some good yogic focus for you! It was with Suzanne, in West Seattle, and after I went outside and laid on my wet towel on the sidewalk at 6:30 p.m. on a Saturday night until my heart rate recovered after about 10 minutes. Nice. Did I mention this studio is on the main drag of a populated business district?

In 2009, I laid down 2 times in class - both were Penni's, for those who know her. I'm not sure how many classes I did in total for the year, but I know I completed three 30-day challenges and practiced regularly otherwise, save for some serious sciatica in the spring (that was/is terrible, btw). I feel good about my year in terms of Bikram Yoga. I looked back over my posted goals from a year ago, and, well, you could said I failed. Epic. Miserable. Fail. But really I didn't. I just didn't reach those particular goals in all cases, and I'm ok with that.

For 2010, I'm not going to set yoga goals. I'm going to let it unfold, but I am going to try to write more about it. Here. :)