This has been a very interesting week. On Monday, I celebrated one year of maintaining my pescetarian diet! This was a huge milestone for me considering I’ve been a carnivore most of my life (although I did go 6 years without red meat). I feel healthier, weigh less, and am at more peace with myself knowing that I’m doing my part in helping the environment and animal welfare. It was much easier than I thought it would be. I guess the only annoying part was having to explain to people what it meant to be a pescetarian. I usually kept my answers short and to the point, and moved on. I plan on continuing the diet going forward, perhaps with a little more leniancy.
Speaking of moving on, Monday was also a day I faced some serious personal issues when a HUGE road block came my way. I found myself reacting and defending myself at first, but slowly accepted that the road block was there and there was nothing I could do to change that. Tuesday, I evaluated the block and how I could get around it. By Wednesday, I retracted and found myself reacting again, so I went straight back to being present, loving myself, and accepting the situation on the best note I could leave it on. By Thursday – and after much reading of inspirational quotes and watching hilarious YouTube videos & late night TV(laughter really IS the best medicine!) – I was already seeing so much progress. This goes to show that PERSPECTIVE, OPTIMISM, and ACCEPTANCE can be such powerful tools. I’ve been blessed to have a solid head on my shoulders and while my emotions may get the best of me sometimes, my resilience always come through at the end of the day. Yoga, great friends, a sense of humor, and my loving family helped me along the way, in their own individual ways. Today, I open myself up to new experiences and thank God for blessing me with another day to live.
How do you cope with the major road blocks in your life?
Took the 6pm with Insel today. Walked in with a clear mind, and for the first time in this last month, I managed to really center myself in savasana before class commenced… to a point that I had a slight smile on my face for the entire 90 minutes!
Got through every pose with no rest again. Second day in a row doing that feels amazing. I think the thing I really enjoyed the most today was bow pose. Insel came out of nowhere in my second set and literally pulled me off the ground from my ankles! My body naturally leaned forward and the wind got knocked out of me for a split second. But the stretch…was…divine. I saw Francisco do the same thing to a 10-year old girl and refer to it as the “picnic basket” as he swung her back and forth. So cool. Insel told me after class that he could tell my spine was really strengthening and I’m more flexible than ever. Four hours later, I still feel the tingling.
I made the decision to do my last 2 days in the early mornings. I want to end this challenge on a relaxing note and I’m not sure if I can take the packed room in the afternoons.
This final week has been bittersweet so far. But as I’ve mentioned before… I’m going to keep up my regular practice 🙂
I managed to get my booty out of bed at 5am and attend 6am practice. I can’t believe this is only my 2nd time in the last 27 days that I’ve done this! I mean, it really sucks having to get up that early from my warm and toasty bed, but the benefits outweigh the brief heartache. The type of music (or alarm) that you wake up to really, really, REALLY makes a difference. This morning, I chose to have ‘Break U Off’ by The Roots wake me up…and I did so with a smile on my face. I’ve learned that loud obnoxious alarms do nothing but piss me off and make me want to sleep more, LOL 🙂
Experienced another new teacher this morning, Kristen. Very laidback, very to-the-point… just what I needed to keep my mind focused and yawning at bay. The only slight problem I encountered was the nausea – I downed a banana & glass of OJ before leaving for practice. Since I don’t usually eat much that early in the morning, ever, it didn’t sit well with me. I didn’t give myself enough time to digest. It even lasted through half hour after class was over. But I started my work day with more energy than usual and the stomach ache eventually subsided.
Day 30 is this Friday… I’m already thinking of doing a double on Saturday as the cherry on top! Any takers? 😉
For the last week or so, my favorite instructor Insel has been away from the studio. Today, he came back and I attended his 6pm class. Another super packed one as anticipated, so I’m glad I showed early.
It was another strong day for me despite the extreme heat and intense energy in the room. But it didn’t start that way. For some reason, I got really lightheaded during pranayama breathing and almost had to kneel. I think my mind was wandering too much and I slightly panicked as a result of the sensory overload all around me. Just as quickly as that feeling overcame me, I conquered it. And it was all downhill from there 🙂
Here are some of the major improvements I’ve been seeing in myself over the course of the last few weeks (I’ll expand on these in my final day’s post, and give a few tips for anyone who’s thinking of doing the challenge themselves):
- Strength: Unlike my regular running days a couple years ago (which slimmed me down & strengthened my leg muscles), I’ve increased muscle strength all over my body.
- Flexibility: Each day, I’m able to go juuuust a little bit deeper into my stretch. I wish I could’ve had someone photograph me in each posture in day 1 and compare it to now. Big improvement!
- Breathing: My lung capacity has grown tremendously. I admit I used to be a casual smoker (picking one up only when I had an alcoholic drink in my hand), but since starting this challenge, I’ve stayed away for good. And cut back on drinking significantly.
- Confidence: Although I started this challenge with a healthy level of confidence, I feel like this part of me has grown but not to a level of cockiness or self-righteousness.
- Compassion: I am gentler and listen so much better not only with others, but also to myself. It’s like I’m more in tune with my inner voice.
- Mental Stability: Road rage? Gone. Mood swings? Dampened. Panic & anxiety attacks? No more. I can go on and on. This is probably the greatest benefit of all!
I know I’m probably missing a few items but I know I’ll think of them before post #30 🙂
I was born on September 25th, so 25 is my ultimate lucky #. It’s funny though… lately I’ve been losing track of what day I’m on. I only remember when I come to write about it and have to go back into the sequence of blog posts to see where I’m at. But today, I remembered 🙂
Rana led a great, energetic class. The noon class wasn’t too crowded which was refreshing. The heat was blasting though, and I witnessed 3 people drop and ask for permission to leave. Rana tried to unsuccessfully prevent them from leaving the room. Somehow watching them struggle brought my energy level down a bit but I bounced back relatively quickly. It’s like seeing someone pass out then feeling lightheaded yourself. Or a contagious yawn.
Human energy is such a fascinating thing to me though. I feel so much positive energy each time I enter the hot room. Even if people look like they’re about to drop dead. The intense energy mixed with a silent mind is such a sweet combination!
Today marks the first day of my last full week! I’m going to most likely keep going after Friday. But I’ve decided to keep it a weekday thing going forward and giving my body a chance to rest over the weekends.
I’ve also been contemplating maybe going to teacher training one day. November marked 1 year of semi-regular Bikram practice for me, and about 3 years of hatha yoga practice. I’ve met so many inspiring individuals who had dropped everything to follow their passion. I wish I could say it was that easy for me. I guess I’d need to learn more about it. But I do know one thing for sure – I really love this community and everything it has to offer! I not only want to share my passion with others but the businesswoman in me wants to open up my very own studio one day (whether it’s a hot yoga studio or not, I’m not quite sure yet).
If you’ve been through/are going through teacher training, what made you decide to do it? How many years did you practice beforehand? And how did you handle the sudden lifestyle change? Or did you ease into it? Any tips?!?
Two nights ago, I considered doing a double then chickened out last second. Last night, I mustered up enough confidence to walk in and tell Carrie that I’m ready to do a back-to-back double (I guess technically I’ve done a double before, just not one class directly after the other).
While this is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, I’m really glad I did it. First class was with Tandy, who I’ve never had before… I know she must be really popular because she’s been teaching for many years and the class was so full that they had to ask people to line up their mats in 5 rows. I liked her dialogue because she was very specific about alignment and it reminded me to think about that more.
Between classes, I gulped down a Zico to reenergize and got a fresh new towel. I’ll need to remember next time to bring an extra set of clothes, it’s not fun to start practice when you’re already soaked in your own sweat. The second class was led by Francisco, and I couldn’t imagine having that second class with anyone else! Less people, but his energy was amazing as usual. I was flying through each pose with ease since my body was so warmed up (the ladies next to me must’ve thought I was out of shape because I was sweating like crazy after pranayama breathing!). But, of course, I ended up pushing too hard, and by the end of camel pose… I felt so incredibly spent. To a point where I had to sit out a set of rabbit pose. The room was spinning and my mind was panicking because I was almost out of water and we still had about 20 minutes left to go.
Francisco’s encouraging words kept me going though.
Don’t freak out. Just chill…
We are more than this body. We are more than this mind. If you’re attached to your body and you think that’s all you have, you are mistaken.
Let me say, water tasted extra good after class, and my half hour shower felt amazing too! I will definitely be doing this again but only when I plan ahead of time and eat/drink properly the 24 hours before.
*sigh of relief*
ONE MORE WEEK!
“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.”
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! 😉
Merry Christmas everyone!
I was so happy BYT offered Christmas Day classes! I originally signed up for the 10am then decided last night that I wanted to sleep in after staying up til 1am watching the Disney Pixar flick Bolt with my family. So I switched it to noon, then realized I had brunch plans with my family late morning. Scratched that class, and signed up for 4pm. Whew!
Rana taught a great class, I think maybe only a dozen people showed up, but the energy in the room was really good. Today and yesterday were very positive days for me. I feel like I’m breathing more and more into my hips, which is helping to open them up. I took some extra time after class to chill out and meditate. I feel so… incredibly… ZEN… 🙂
We’re expecting up to 5 inches of snow starting late tonight/early tomorrow through Monday. Let’s hope this doesn’t impact the roads too badly…