spiritual self-exploration through health, fitness, and nutrition

Posts tagged ‘fitness’

Day 19: Discovering the Joy Within

“I know, it’s hot in here, but it’ll be cool soon. Just get over it.”

“If you’re thinking of something else, you’re not doing the posture correctly. Lock the knee. Tuck chin to chest. Don’t think. Just do. Stay in the moment.”

“What the mind perceives, the body can achieve.”

These are just a few of the many quotes of wisdom that Francisco shared with us tonight. I really love his class because not only am I going in with no expectations of what I’ll be able to accomplish in my practice…but I also have no idea what types of stories he’s going to share! He had a bunch of us cracking up in the first half of class, then toned it down in the 2nd half by telling us about some really serious, hard times he’s been through in his life. And how yoga has helped him be more in touch with his emotions and conquer his fears, by letting out all that was being balled up inside.

His story really struck a bittersweet chord in my heart. We all have our own stories of struggle, pain, and loss.. but to be able to talk about that openly with others is so very humbling and helps to appreciate the present moment. Yeah I’ve been through some hard times, but I got through it. Yoga tonight was harder than usual, but I got through that too. While this is much like my marathon training in the last couple years, I didn’t really get the sense of calm from running the way I do with yoga. I’m finally starting to let go of temporary pleasures in my life and discovering inner joy through this experience.

Eckhart Tolle said it best:

“Pleasure is always derived from something outside you, whereas joy arises from within.”

Day 18: Bitter Cold, Refreshing Heat

Another day, another practice. I can’t believe I’ve made it this far!

For Sunday night, when Insel asked us to set an intention… this time it didn’t seem so hard to do. I immediately thought “I will be more compassionate with myself.” I don’t know why, but it just seemed appropriate. It definitely felt hotter in there today but it’s probably because the wind chill outside made it feel like single digits.

I’ve found my favorite spot in the room: far left next to the window… furthest away from the door. So I can’t sneak out, but close enough to the window so I mentally trick myself into thinking I’m outside. Works like a charm! 😉

Day 16: Mental Block

Each day I come to class is a completely new experience. I learned early on, before starting this challenge, not to expect anything and go in with a clean slate and open mind. I recall days where I felt confident and ended up having a terrible class, and other days I felt out of my element but had one of my best classes.

I spoke with Insel briefly before class and shared my concern about my hip discomfort. He said this is normal…after all, we’re stretching and tearing every tiny little ligament in our bodies, so it’s bound to happen. The more I come, the more I can adapt. He also tried to convince me to sign up for the 30 / 60 day challenge starting January 1st and I hesitated, making up excuses about having to travel to Jersey and possibly California. Of course I could find studios in the areas I go, but I definitely think my body will need a little bit of a break after this 30 days is up! I mean, I’ll be finishing these 30 days a week after everyone else is starting theirs… I think that should be enough, shouldn’t it? I guess I’ll play it by ear…

I never, ever have a bad class when Insel teaches. I don’t know what it is, but this man has some seriously amazing energy and motivation unlike anyone else I’ve met. He is the epitome of the word teacher. One thing he does is ask us to set an intention at the beginning of the class, come back to it in the middle, then again at the end. I don’t know why but I always have trouble doing this! There are so many things I could think of but I usually hit a mental block and come up with the first thing that comes to my head. Maybe I need to do some more spiritual reading (just picked up “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle on my Kindle…this book is incredible)… then I’ll hopefully be able to be more in touch with my inner intentions.

Day 15: Halfway Mark!

I walked into class yesterday evening on a more positive note. I was more conscious of what I ate for lunch (Maui salad from Mixt Greens…yum!) so I was feeling energized and ready. Class went smoothly, I kept my mind focused, but I do admit I sat out on one set of 3 or so poses. I’ve been starting to get a bit of hip pain, which I really feel during the Standing Separate Leg Stretch Pose. I’ve been trying to do some more at-home hip stretches to help this out but last night it got to a point where I had to pop a couple motrin. This helped, but now I’m wondering if I overexerted myself a bit at the beginning of this challenge. Now that I’m aware of it, I will go forward with more caution and take things one day, one step, one pose at a time!

Today is Christmas Eve and I’m finally feeling festive about the holidays so my dear friend Caroline and I found an amazing Chocolate Cheesecake recipe which I’ve started making, and it’s baking in the oven now! My family will be pleasantly surprised…especially since it’s rare that I cook or bake much of anything. I hope to change this soon.

Day 14: Vicious Cycle

Today…was definitely an off day for me. Something just didn’t feel right.

First, I took yesterday off since I did a double on Monday. Nothing at work really pissed me off, in fact, it was a good work day. Got lots done, had an offsite team meeting at Clyde’s. Ordered the delicious trout parm w/ potatoes and green beans. Delicious, but I definitely over-ate. I thought maybe it was okay since I wasn’t going to class until 8.

Then tie in the PMS symptoms. I get them BAD. Usually when I’m moody and irritable like this, I skip out on yoga. I didn’t let myself do that today.

So, I went. But I was mentally not there. I went through the poses half-assed. I felt a little bitter that they were announcing a sign-up for the 30 and 60 day challenges starting on Jan 1. Why can’t I get my name up on a wall with stars next to it? It sounds so lame typing this out but it’s how I felt… just, bitter. Then from that bitterness came guilt. Then anger. Then sadness. Then back to bitterness. It was just a vicious mental cycle and I kept trying to let go during the savasanas but they kept coming back. What a fool I am to think that being on a hot streak (no pun intended, again…ha!) for so many days would last… I think this type of thing is just bound to happen! I KNOW I’ll bounce back…

But when?

I’m not giving up. No way no how not now...

Days 12 & 13: A Spiritual Double

I finally did what I said to myself before that I’d never do. I did my 12th class at 6pm with Insel, then came back at midnight for the silent candlelight class. A double! The 6pm class went smoothly… and I purposely didn’t push myself too hard knowing that I’d be back in several short hours. It’s really starting to catch up on me knowing that I have to rinse my mat after each use…and I’m going through clothing SO quickly. Literally, doing laundry every 4 or 5 days! Crazy.

The midnight class was such a treat, and was scheduled to bring in the winter solstice and lunar eclipse . This rare event that occurs every 372 years was indeed a spiritual one, and I couldn’t imagine commemorating it in any other way. I was also very surprised at the turnout, the studio was jam packed…around 50 people! Silly me for thinking I would be one of the few crazies that showed up at such a late hour. This community is truly dedicated to the practice and I feel so  humbled and honored to be a part of it!

They added a child’s pose to the beginning of the class, and about a dozen meditative “ohms” at the end. I’ve never felt such strong energy in one room in my entire life! We moved quickly and swiftly through each posture. The silence was delicious.

I’ll admit I came into work 3 hours late due to going to bed at 3am after watching the moon turn red. But… it was definitely worth it 🙂 I’m also surprised at how good and at peace I feel today.

Day 11: A Breeze

Today was considerably easier than the past couple of days. I set my intention at the beginning of class: “Lucky 11… I can do this!” My mantra plus Insel’s amazing energy and encouragement got me through this…in a breeze 🙂 No skipped postures, just went through each at my own pace and at the level of my ability. It’s really amazing how I’m learning more about myself with each class. It’s becoming more common that I am able to do just one more thing or go juuuuust a little deeper in certain postures as the days pass.

I’ve never appreciated water and sleep as much as I do now!

Day 10: Marathon-like Hope

Did the 10am with Swyann this morning… got there about 15 minutes early to find a PACKED class. Now, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the torture chamber, the more people there are in the room, the hotter and more humid it gets since everyone’s bodies are radiating heat and energy . I thought maybe today would be a little easier than yesterday.

It wasn’t.

At this point, I feel like the experience is becoming purely a mental challenge. Yeah I can do most of the postures, but if I’m thinking of how hard it is, or how I want to take a break because I can’t breathe, or how lightheaded I feel… my body will automatically stop what it’s doing and take a knee. Interestingly enough, right as I was thinking of how I wanted to die, Swyann said: “You can do this. Don’t let your mind control your body. The mind is a powerful thing. Push through it.” This helped tremendously so I pushed on.

I also kept thinking, especially during the floor series, how much this felt like running a marathon to me. I remember during the long runs in training, or even during actual races, when I would repeat my usual matras “I can do this” or “F*** you hills.” But this time, it was more like “F*** you heat” …!

I cried a little during camel pose, which is rare because recently my mind has been just coming to a blank during that posture. I cried because I felt like I was mentally too tired to handle this. But I’ve come so far… 10 classes down, 20 to go… and after my last day, I get to pick up my sweetheart from the airport after not seeing him for a month. While that is a beautiful reward… the greatest reward will be merely getting to the finish line.

I can do this…

Day 9: Drenched

Just when I thought the room couldn’t get any hotter…

I got into class around 5 minutes before the start, which I consider late because it’s hard to find a spot by that time. I felt irritated by the traffic (took me 45 minutes to drive there from home…talk about dedication!) so I knew it was going to be a good class. When I walked in, there was only a tiny spot in the far right corner, so I camped out there. Next to the thermostat…. mayyybe not a great idea?

I kept looking at the thermostat at every situp in the second half of class.

Hot Hot HOT!

It hit 114 degrees at one point.

Let me say right now… I am NEVER sitting over there again! I mean, I’ve definitely been in equal or hotter heat before. But, for some reason, knowing the exact temperature number really messed with my head. I kept praying for the class to be over because I was really struggling, from bow-pulling pose all the way through spine twist.

I didn’t feel too guilty laying down after triangle, especially since Francisco told us that we should listen to our own bodies or else he’ll smack us. This guy is something else. I love the energy! And the sweat. And the sleep at night…

After class I had the pleasure of meeting the grateful yogini in person. What a beautiful individual she is! Wish we had more time to chat… find me next time, girl!! We need to talk before class when we’re not so worn out 🙂

Day 8: Exhaustion and Comedy

Two nights ago I got about 4 hours of continuously interrupted sleep (stupid me drank a cappuccino at dinner), and was yawning all day until I went to class. Last night – a deep, deep 8 hours of amazing sleep. Only to be tired and yawning all day today! I am convinced that this new daily routine is starting to catch up to me.

We had a beautiful one inch of snowfall late this morning, and everybody in my team at work left to go home to either (a) avoid worse road conditions or (b) pick their kids up from early dismissal. My ass stayed put because I knew I had to make my after-work 6pm class… how else was I going to thaw out my frosty toes? 😉

I experienced a new teacher today, Francisco. This guy was HILARIOUS. His teaching style was very unique, weaving in anecdotes from his teaching experience in other cities like San Fran and NYC. All while keeping the energy going and motivating us to do what we can. He shared a hilarious story during half moon about a lady approaching him after class asking him if “weird things are supposed to happen during camel pose.” He said of course… to which she responded: “I had an orgasm.” This story made half the class bust out in laughter while stretching to the right…despite messing up our breathing for a second, it certainly put a smile on everyone’s face!

During our final savasana, he said something that really stuck with me: “The breath is the most important thing. Just remember to breathe. It gets intense in here. Who cares? So does life.”

Then he ended with something I’ll never forget:

“Thank you all for coming to class tonight….hope you have a good evening. And for the first-timers…good morning. For you have just awaken. Namaste.”

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