Thursday, May 1, 2014

Bikram Yoga 30 day challenge conclusion

When I went to my second class on Saturday, I had told the instructor (the actual Atina, the other one I thought had that name is not her) I was doing a double, and she asked me what day of the challenge I was on -- I said I was walking into class 26, and she said I was in the home stretch.  She's right!  (And now, as I'm ready to publish this, it's done!)

Saturday, 4-26-14, class no. 26, at 4:00.  Second class of the day.  Atina was the instructor; the other instructor with the short dark hair who I thought might be named Atina is not.  I have no idea who she is.  More men than in any other class I've ever done.  I think it was just over 50% male.  Class was pretty good.  I didn't feel like anything was exceptional.  I had high hopes because the second class in my last double was phenomenal and full of breakthroughs, but this one wasn't.  But it was decidedly fine.  She gave me a correction that I didn't understand about locking my arm reaching up during triangle.  It was weird, I thought it was locked.  As I write this now though, I wonder if she said "lock your right arm" and my left arm was the one in the air.  I'm horrible about mixing up right and left, so maybe I got it wrong.  She congratulated me on my double toward the end of class, which was nice.  Probably the quickest I've left class afterward.  But the double was done and I had fully compensated for missing due to our anniversary dinner party and the hangover that followed.

Sunday, 4-27-14, class no. 27, at noon.  Instructor was Rene again, sigh.  The class was one of my worst.  I ran a half marathon in the morning (horribly, insanely slow, over 20 minutes slower than where I was a year ago, but AG award nonetheless, woot), and I think I was pretty dehydrated.  When I got home from the half, I drank some water, ate a piece of quiche, and had my morning espresso.  I got to class and it immediately felt like the heat was blasting like crazy for the first 5 minutes or so.  I checked with Rene after class, and she gave me info I never had.  The room is set to be at 105 degrees and 40% humidity.  It's automatic, but the humidity and temp outside can have an impact.  So it may not have been my imagination thinking the Friday class was a bit cooler and today's was a bit warmer.  But fortunately, after the first few minutes, it went back to normal.  The curser (the pink-purple mohawk guy) placed himself behind me.  Again, he was straining like crazy in the floor series, he let a "g-d it" fly (but no f-bombs) and again left class early.  It was also weird because I was in row 3 and the woman pretty much in front of me in row 1 basically sat out the whole class.  She did the opening and closing breathing exercises, and she did probably one complete posture, and one set of two or three others, and that was it.  The rest of the time, she sat looking bored with her head in her hands, or she was pulling loose hairs off her mat, or she was playing with her finger nails or nail polish.  So bizarre.  She was young (probably early 20s), but I really wondered why she was there.  Anyway, I felt dizzy several times in the standing series.  And my right hamstring felt tight, tight, tight, so there was little hope of locking my leg at any point.  But the big and exciting thing was progress in one of my absolute favorite postures -- toe stand.  During the second set (so perching on my right leg), I did it!  I've gotten my hands up a few times before, but I've always lost my balance.  Not so this time!  I got my hands up and held until she said to come out.  Woot!!!

Monday, 4-28-14, class no. 28, at 6:00!  It was so so hard to make the class at 6:00.  But I had been fairly unproductive at work all day for some reason, so I decided to cut my losses and go to the early class since another half hour of work wasn't going to help much.  I had really wanted to do the 6:00 class because it was taught by Karen, half of the husband-wife owner team of the studio, and I haven't had a single class with her teaching during this challenge (she was taking one of the Rene classes I was in).  She gave me a good correction in standing bow-pulling (definitely my strongest in that posture ever), and in the posture after triangle.  Class was good overall, one of the most crowded I've attended.  My right hamstring is still tight from the half on Sunday, but it's not a big deal.  It was so nice to get home from class just before 8 since my husband was still awake and hung out with me while I ate dinner, and I actually got a good night's sleep.  Hard to believe only two more classes.  When I get my t-shirt, I think I might wear it for 30 days straight!  Anyway, cool thing after class -- a guy was sitting with his legs crossed but soles of his feet up to the ceiling (so feet pulled up onto thighs, like a little pretzel).  I wasn't paying much attention, but next time I looked over, he still had his legs in a pretzel but was laying face down.  That looked very uncomfortable, but I'm sure it was a good stretch.  Well, then the NEXT time I looked, he was in a hand stand with his legs in the pretzel!  It was insanely cool! 

Tuesday, 4-29-14, class no. 29, at 6:30.  Class with Heather -- and just like my last class with her (on Easter), she totally made me laugh, harder than I've ever laughed in yoga.  Well, her Easter joke about a sweaty Easter egg hunt in the bathroom was funnier, but this time, in the floor series (maybe half-tortoise, not sure) she was talking about how good yoga is for you.  How it takes years to build up this tension and yoga releases it.  Like it makes you younger, takes away the years.  "Well, not all at once, not like you're all going to suddenly become Benjamin Button, but you know what I mean."  I must be particularly vulnerable during yoga because it totally cracked me up again.  Anyway, class was good.  Somewhat delayed onset of sweat, but by the time we got to balancing stick, fountains of sweat were pouring and dripping off of me.  I was VERY focused in Eagle and somehow, when we started the second set, I flipped my arms.  She looked at me and told me to flip my arms, so I tried to straighten my hands and lower my arms, I didn't know what she meant by "flip".  I have a major right/left deficiency in real life, but this is the first time I got it totally wrong in yoga.  Anyway, during most of class, I was noticing how much I've progressed from where I started.  I had a great Eagle, a good standing bow-pulling, I got my forehead on the floor (though my legs were about 10 feet apart), a fair triangle (second set was a birthday, which was nice, but wow, Heather might be the first person I've ever heard sing who is worse than me), a good "posture after triangle" (thanks to Karen's correction the day before), an awesome toe stand, and a pretty good floor series -- great fixed firm, which is my favorite.  Heather also used the term "monkey mind" -- drink!  That was by far my favorite occasional term when I did Bikram challenges before.  I guess it means your primal mind concerned with basic needs like wanting to wipe off sweat, wanting to move, wanting to drink.  And you learn to ignore or control it.  Using your mind to control your body instead of letting your monkey mind do it. 

Wednesday, 4-30-14, class no. 30, at 6:00 with Erika.  Big celebration of me!  She announced at the end that I'd completed my challenge and everyone clapped for me.  Unfortunately, it wasn't my best class as I'd hoped.  I did well in toe stand again, but the rest were pretty lackluster.  I felt tired and hot and was counting down postures almost from the start, which is rare for me (sometimes I'll count the last few, but usually not more than that).  A lot of people seemed to pack up and leave early, or sit out a lot of the postures.  My right hamstring felt somewhat tight again.  I think my best classes were yesterday and the second class of my first double (April 19 I believe, it was a class with Paul).  I got to make a special request to Erika before class, which she did during class -- she used the expression "momma, give me money" before standing bow pulling.  When I did my Bikram challenges last year (or was it the end of 2012?  too lazy to look), they used to say that in pretty much every class, and I hadn't heard it at all this year.  It was funny.  The best part about this class was that I was smiling A LOT.  From the very beginning, I was more comfortable looking at myself, more accepting of my body (doesn't hurt that I honestly feel it is better than when I started, not just that I accepted the way it was at the start more), and more excited about hearing "momma give me money."  So when it came time for standing bow pulling, Erika was smiling and looking right at me.  It made me laugh. 

After class, I got my t-shirt (which I might wear constantly from now on), and I took a picture of my name on the challenge board and my 30 little stickers.  The studio took a couple pictures of me and Erika.  One of us standing, then she asked me my favorite posture and we both did it.  That was tough because my favorite postures have remained the same (fixed firm, standing separate leg stretching, and toe stand win by miles), but none of those would be very attractive when photographed (toe stand might be okay, but I can't always balance, so it seemed to risky to pick that one).  So I picked standing bow pulling.  She was surprised, but we both did it.  It's funny in the picture because she's several inches taller than me, and of course she's better at the posture, so her foot is way higher than mine, but it's still a cool picture.  And then I signed up for the auto-pay monthly membership, but I delayed the start. 

And there you have it, 30 yoga classes in 30 days.  That's 45 hours in studio doing yoga at 105 degrees.  FORTY-FIVE HOURS IN ONE MONTH.  Yikes!  No wonder it seems like the rest of my life is desperately seeking attention.  It was like a part-time job.  10.5 hours per week in studio, but there's also the getting dressed for class, driving to yoga, parking, checking in, getting into the studio and setting up my mat, taking off outer layers in the locker room, waiting for class to start.  And then after class, there's the whole letting your body cool down in the studio quietly, getting more water, putting on outer layers and shoes, packing up mat and towel, going to the car, driving home, cleaning mat, hanging towel, showering, doing laundry about 2 extra times per week to wash towels and shorts, packing clothes for the next day.  I usually left work by 6:05 for the 6:30 p.m. class, and I'd get home at 8:15 at the earliest.  I seriously think each class total (counting packing clothes, changing, hanging towel to air dry before washing, etc.) took about 2 hours and 35 minutes on average.  That's almost 20 hours a week.  Yowza.  I have barely seen my husband, I haven't done anything social on a weeknight with friends, my house is a mess, lots of personal projects and errands need attention (there is still a smoke detector sitting on a ledge, a brand new battery next to it, and a ladder in the bedroom, but I've lacked the 5 minutes of time it would seem to take to just change it already). 

But actually, instead of getting back to a normal social calendar and a yoga-free or yoga-moderation life, I'm considering blowing off the alumni happy hour tonight and going to yoga in the park...  I think it would be a good gradual step down for me.  I think I'm going to do a couple classes this weekend, but I'm going to defer the start of my a monthly membership a couple months since I think I'm traveling for work a fair amount in May and June (and I'm hoping to go back to running to work when I am in town).  So I'll just go to individual classes when I can and attempt to do some yoga at home. 


  1. Congratulations! What a huge time commitment. I do think it would be great to commit to yoga daily even if only 10-20 minutes. I discovered Do You Yoga online a few months ago and there are some great short sessions. It's just a matter of actually doing them!

    I will miss your yoga commentary. I found your class descriptions very entertaining. I hope you are enjoying the weekend!

  2. Congratulations on finishing the challenge! I would never be able to do that mostly because I work so much overtime at work. I’d be lucky to do 2 classes a week, let alone 7! Plus, if I did that, I wouldn’t have time to run and, well, not running isn’t an option for me.