June 30, 2011


What do you do when you know you want something really bad but you're scared that when you do it your whole life is going to change?

I really want to go to TT. I have a couple things standing in my way. 1) I have half the money - I need the other half. 2) My own self. My doubting self. My scared self.

But I know deep down inside I want it - real bad. Another problem - I am now unemployed - so the idea of me doing this seems further away.

The moment I took an Iyengar yoga class, I knew I wanted to teach yoga. It was like suddenly - oh, this is what I'm supposed to be doing. Then, a year later, I took my first Bikram class - with deep hesitation and doubt - I fell in love.

And now I want it so bad, I want to cry. (Don't worry - I cry at the drop of a hat - it's how I deal).

So first step - I need 5 grand. Step two - grab my balls and dive in.

June 21, 2011

To The Back of the Room

I practiced for the first time in over a week this morning. My mat went down in my old home when I first started practicing - the back right corner of the room, far from people's eyes. It actually felt good to be back there. I felt like I was in my own little world.

My shoulder was sore right from the beginning so I backed off completely. My Half Moon was either a one arm Half Moon or Tadasana (Mountain pose). Half Tortoise was Child's pose, Triangle was one armed, Balancing Stick was done with arms to my side. Not ideal, but I needed to be there. Mentally and emotionally I needed that focus.

It was difficult to shift my focus away from shoulder. Shifting away from the frustration of having a really sore shoulder. So, I focused on my feet. I was conscious of pressing the corners of my feet into the ground, so that even when my weight was back on my heels, my toes were planted on the floor. It helped.

My class was not as vigorous as it normally is. It felt rather therapeutic, calming. I was finding focus and strength in my alignment as opposed to doing the poses.

Oh boy, maybe this is what I'm supposed to be learning right now.

June 17, 2011

I Need The Room

On my way to work this morning, I suddenly realized that it's been a week since I've practiced my yoga - stupid shoulder is giving me trouble.

No wonder I feel as though the sky is falling on me right now.

My body feels fine - my spine that is. Normally it craves the extension and compression of my yoga if I miss more than 3 days of practice.

I guess I've managed to put some yoga in the bank - as Bikram says - so that I don't NEED my practice every day.

My mind and spirit need it right now. I need that focus. I'm coming to realize it's not the focus of doing one thing for 90 minutes but that for 90 minutes I think of nothing but myself. Me. THE most important person in my world.

I've been stressed this week with the strong possibility of being unemployed at the end of the month. Thinking about all those day to day things I have to do.

I'm going to enter the hot room this weekend. Even if I just sit there for 90 minutes. I need to take my time back.

June 14, 2011

Changing Needs

I've been very aware lately how our needs and wants change as our moments in time change.

I went to see my chiropractor this morning about my shoulder. I hadn't been to see him for years, the receptionist literally had to go to their storage to dig out my file. My family, Mum, Dad and brothers, have been going to see M since he started his practice 21 years ago. I'm guessing we originally started going because Dad had a bad back. M was a great for me for a while but as I entered my 20s I found his, no nonsense, let's get this done quick, method didn't work for my poor back. I needed massage and gentle hands.

I chose to go back to him today because he has an amazing reputation and works with many athletes and I wanted this done quickly and efficiently. My shoulder feels so much better already. He tested the strength of both my arms and it was very obvious where my weaknesses were on my left arm. He did some active release on my shoulder and adjusted my second rib.

I have decided that I am also taking this week off from yoga. I hurt my shoulder again in yoga on Saturday. I was being very careful with my arms in class and then we got to Half Tortoise pose and I straightened my arms just a little too much. I had to bite my lip in order not to cry out in pain. It hurt so much!

So, for the first time since my Bikram journey began, I have decided that it is in my best interest to not practice yoga for a few days. Normally yoga helps me feel better but it became obvious to me that my yoga practice cannot fix everything. I truly do need a week off. A week where I work out my lower body and core. Squats and lunges here I come!

The Universe really does have a wonderful way of telling you when it's time to rest.

June 8, 2011

When To Back Off

We hear it in yoga class often - your back is going to hurt like hell, don't be scared. I have heard many yoga instructors explain this more clearly, in that we need to know the difference between a pain that is uncomfortable and that we can breathe normally through and a pain that is excruciating and affects our breathing pattern. If your legs hurt in Awkward pose because they are shaking and sore and they have never held up your body weight before, well, suck it up Princess. Breathe through it, hold the asana as long as you can and challenge your body and your mind by pushing past your comfort zone. If you try to sit between your feet in Fixed Firm pose and your knees, ankles or hips start screaming at you, your breathing becomes laboured and you're seeing stars - back off! Put your hands beside your hips and slowly lower your bum down until you feel a little pain and hold yourself there. Day by day and week by week you will improve and notice a difference.

I am struggling with backing off today. Somehow, on Monday evening, I injured my deltoid in my left arm. I lifted weights when I got home from work and did a BodyRock. I was a little more tired than usual while doing my shoulder presses and bench presses but I didn't think much of it. I woke up Monday to a very uncomfortable pain my shoulder. I popped a couple Advil to get back to sleep. Tuesday morning, I worked out with my sore shoulder and just ignored it. Yesterday evening my shoulder was feeling OK so I decided that I could go to a boot camp workout today after work. But as soon as I started my yoga class this morning, my shoulder hurt - quite a bit actually.

I've heard many teachers explain that yoga can be used as a diagnostic tool. That through yoga you can learn from your body what is strong, injured, sore or weak. This morning my shoulder yelled at me, very loudly, to back off a little bit. I realized through my practice this morning that if I couldn't pull on my heels in Hands to Feet pose that my shoulder probably needed a break.

It's hard to allow yourself those breaks - to not push through the pain - to give yourself permission to have a slow week. I have spent the morning thinking about my shoulder, tossing all my different options around in my head, discussing it with Kristy, thinking about it again, talking about it again. And have FINALLY come to the conclusion that I should not work out tonight. That I probably should only practice yoga for the rest of the week and allow my body to heal itself.

It's so hard. I don't want to do it! But I've seen many people close to me re injure themselves again and again because they push too hard and don't listen to their body. Tonight I will listen very carefully to my body, respect it and give it what it needs.

June 2, 2011

The Story of Yoga

Check out this video about how yoga came to grow and expand across the world.

Thanks to Hearts Expanding for sharing this.

June 1, 2011

A Thought On Fixed Firm and a Little Ramble Thrown In for Good Measure

They say Fixed Firm improves the mobility in the knees and the ankles. They say Fixed Firm pose saved Bikram from having to have his leg amputated after a bad weight lifting accident. They say to take Fixed Firm slowly and to breathe into it. They say, "You can mess with the Gods but not with the knees."

When I first started my practice, my legs would tingle like crazy after the compression. Lying in Savasana I could feel the blood rushing - zoom - into all my cells and ligaments in my knees and ankles. It would feel amazing. About 6 months into my practice this feeling went away. I enjoyed Fixed Firm but wouldn't get that blood rushing feeling. On the plus side I had noticed a HUGE improvement in my knees and ankles. Especially in my right ankle that used to roll constantly - it became much stronger and more stable.

Today, I found a new love for Fixed Firm. My ankles and knees seemed to collectively sigh when I went into the pose. I didn't get the tingles and pins and needles sensation when I stretched back out again but they felt renewed and refreshed after the impact that they take on my workout days. I said to my instructor, as I was leaving, that I firmly believe that the yoga improves my ability to work out as hard as I have been.

I believe that the combination of the HIIT and BodyRock with Bikram yoga is absolutely perfect for me. The impact that I put on my body during my workouts is then balanced out perfectly when I walk into the hot room and stretch and compress and twist and sweat every muscle that I worked out hard the day before. And my Bikram yoga has benefited a lot from the strength that I've gained from my workouts. I feel as though my back bends are stronger - I have more control going into and coming out of the poses. And my legs are much tougher! I can withstand the second part of Awkward with only a slight inner groan and I feel as though my Triangle pose has improved greatly. I don't have to focus as much on keeping my legs strong - they just are - I can focus more on the lifting of my chest and creating a triangle gap as well as sitting my hips down lower.

Yoga does a body good!