Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Oooh, shiny!

Distractions are a major issue for me at Kitchen Yoga - Denver.  There's the dishes, the clutter, the bills, and oh my god, the cat!  Who let's a cat in a yoga room anyway?  That is so unhygienic; someone should speak to the management about it...

Oh, right.  I am the management!

Final Savasana with my Nina was super sweet and calming.

I added in Wind Removing Pose to today's class bringing me up to 14 poses.

Speaking of class, I really would like to go to teacher training next year.  Just putting that out there.  Even though it is very difficult to concentrate on yoga when I'm practicing at home, I already see the benefits.  I know it will put me in a better place with my practice when I get back to a studio.  I will be more disciplined and have a calmer mind for it.  I used to meditate on the Red Line and just about any other place I found myself needing a little calm and clarity.  I can push through the scattered brain that I get here and maybe even find the motivation to clean my kitchen...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Light a Match

I slept like a rock last night.  I didn't wake up once from my cat or my bladder, which is amazing.  It was overcast when I got up, which is a rarity for Denver, so I think that helped me sleep.  I didn't have work today, so no 14 miles on my bike, but I'm tired and sore anyway.  All I really want is a hot epsom salt bath; BioFreeze will have to do.  I'm going to raise the ante by one yoga pose.  I'm adding Eagle Pose to what I did yesterday because my traps are sore and that will help to stretch them.

Ready, set, go...

There's nothing like Pranayama breathing right after Nina took a dump!  Matches and a candle for tonight's Kitchen Yoga.

It's a big a temptation to skip the track when I am sore or just not wanting to do the pose.  When in class, you can't skip the teacher to the next pose so you might as well just do it.  I'm trying to resist the temptation.

Nina decided to lay under me during Standing Separate Leg Stretching and Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee poses.  She is not going to like me when I make her move for Fixed Firm.

13 poses and 2 breathing.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Set Reasonable Goals

I was running late for work and had to ride my bike again today.  That's another 14 miles and my legs were already sore from yesterday's ride and yoga.  I was fighting doing yoga today and trying to make excuses as to why I could skip my second day.  My legs are sore!  I need to eat beforehand!  I'm tired!  My floors are cold!  I told myself to shut up and choose less poses for today.  I thought that sounded better than not doing yoga at all.

Pranayama Deep Breathing-  Felt much smoother than yesterday.

Half Moon Pose-  Nina joined me on the mat for this one.

Standing Head to Knee Pose-  Nina proceeded to rub herself against my standing leg and her face against my lifted foot.  Giggles ensued.

Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose- Nina laid down on the mat, meowed in my face, and judged my worth by the distance between my forehead and the mat.  The second set I made sure my forehead touched the ground and she cold shouldered me.

Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee Pose- Nina did not like when my hands came down near her so she clawed and bit at them.  I held my pose and she got pissed and sauntered off.

Tree Pose-  If I were allowed to pick a favorite, this might be it.  I did Toe Stand for second set.

Fixed Firm Pose-  Love me some fixed firm.

Half Tortoise Pose-  The stretch up through my shoulders feels great.

Camel Pose-  I can't hold it as long as Bikram talks but I will keep trying.  I was able to really shove my hips forward in the second set.

Rabbit Pose-  Next round I will wear a sports bra...

Head to Knee Pose-  I will keep my knee locked!  I had flashes from when I did my triple in the spring and how much fun this pose was by the third class.

Spine Twisting Pose-  Oh no wait, maybe this one is my favorite!

Blowing in Firm-  He claps too fast for the second set.

All told, twelve poses and two breathing.  Tomorrow there probably won't be a play by play because I will try to set a goal of more poses.  Now I am drinking my kale-apple-carrot juice that I made between dinner and yoga.  Oh, and I really need to clean the front of my stove it is really dirty!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Kitchen Yoga Challenge

I miss yoga.  I still can't afford to go to the Bikram studio here so I have decided to set a challenge for myself.  I will do yoga along to the CD every day for the month of January.  I am starting with the standing series and adding in as much of the floor series as I can each day.  I want to push myself but I need to balance it with staying motivated.  A lot of my motivation for daily practice at BYA came from my teachers and classmates.  I do not have that here so the main challenge will be finding that motivation alone in my cold kitchen.

Day 1
Standing Series
     Almost didn't do 2nd set of Balancing Stick and skipped second set of Triangle
Floor Series
     Fixed Firm, Half Tortoise, Camel, Rabbit, Head to Knee (one set), Spine Twisting
Hip stretch at end (Pigeon?)

Nina joined me for a Savasana and for Spine Twisting but I think she just wanted food.  I have total yoga brain right now and am reliving last night's toxins.  I am making scrambled egg tacos and am trying to down some water to help flushing my system.  My legs are shaky due to yoga and the 14 miles I road on my bike today.  One of my challenges will probably be finding the energy for yoga after a long work day and commute.  Today, I spent 4 1/2 hours organizing the boxes in the back room and unpacking as many of them as I could.  If I have the energy after eating, I will make kale-apple-carrot juice for dessert!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

CorePower Day 1

The Motivation

I have not had a yoga class in two months.  My last class at BYA was August 19th.  I've managed to do the standing series following along to the CD a few times and I've thrown in some yoga poses at random throughout my days.  My body is aching like it used to before I met and fell in love with Bikram Yoga.  It's mostly my back and my neck that hurt.  They have every right to considering that I've broken T4, sprained my neck, and broke my coccyx in the last 13 years.  I've also had whiplash, horrible posture, unsupportive mattresses, long bike rides, and I've been using the same pillow for 22 years...  My digestion and anxiety have gotten worse since my move, granted I've got a lot of stress and I ran out of enzymes.  My muscles have lost tone, making my body change shape, and subsequently none of my jeans fit the same.  The tipping point was waking up yesterday with so much back pain that I felt like I couldn't sit up straight.  So, I did the only thing I could do.  I looked up CorePower Stapleton.

The Decision

Amazingly enough, they had a free beginners class at 4pm!  I had dinner plans with my new lady friend and her friends at 6pm.  That would give me just enough time to make myself presentable and hydrated on the drive to their house.  I attempted to convince this lady friend to join me but she was in study mode and would have had to have gone home to get clothes and supplies for the class.  She'd also had 3 cups of coffee and didn't think that was the best way to start her yoga journey (the one I will inevitably convince her to go on).  Luckily, I mentioned it to my friend/landlord and she was all kinds of excited to come with me and she even drove!  She's been to CorePower before, so it was nice to have someone to show me the ropes and put me at ease.  With that set, I attempted to eat lunch, start my homework, pick out dinner attire, and pack for class.

The Studio and the Teacher

My friend and I walked into the Stapleton studio and listened in as the teacher told the people ahead of us where the locker rooms were and where to put their shoes.  She seemed friendly and intelligent and the studio was nicely decorated.  I really liked these windows up high that were done like etched glass.  Each one had a woman in a different yoga pose.  There were, of course, yoga clothes and supplies for sale.  I giggled to myself because they sold pants, tank tops, and capris!*  When it was our turn to sign in, I filled out a little waver and my contact information and she gave me a key fob.  I explained I had never done Vinyasa Yoga before and that I couldn't put much pressure on my right hand because of wrist surgery.  She told me what poses to avoid, but because they weren't part of the Bikram Yoga series, I had no idea what she was talking about.  We finished the sign in and the new person talk and headed to the locker rooms.  There were nice wooden cubby holes, some with doors that you could put a lock on, toilet stalls, sinks, and showers with glass doors.  My friend said it looked like it was filling up so she took my mat in for me while I changed and went to the bathroom.  When I went to wash my hands my foot landed wrong.  I twisted it funny and planted my forearm on the counter edge.  Ouch!  I shook it off on my way to the yoga room.  There were only about ten students, so it wasn't crowded at all.  The room was less than half the size of BYA, but I was expecting that, and the floors were wood.  There were mirrors on the front and left walls.  The back wall had a huge chakra mural of a woman with lots of flowing colors.  It conveyed power and beauty.  The lights were low and there was music playing (and yes, this bothered me during the whole class, especially when we were supposed to relaxing).  It was warm but not nearly as hot as I was used to.  I laid down in Savasana and attempted to quell my anxieties and gain some focus.

The Class

This was a beginner's class.  The teacher explained that there would be a lot more talking than in a normal C1 class and that questions were welcome.  We started in Child's Pose which felt nice and relaxing.  It gently stretched my hips, chest, arms, ankles, and back.  She said that if you didn't want her to physically assist you in a pose to raise your hand.  I didn't raise my hand and she promptly came over and pushed my hips down while massaging my trapezius muscles.  It felt good and not invasive, which is what I was afraid of.  I breathed into the stretch and tried to relax.  She explained that Vinyasa was a flowing sequence (as opposed to the static postures I am accustomed to in the Bikram series) and that we would learn each posture and how they flowed then go through it a few times with variations.  Vinyasa emphasizes matching your breath with your movements, which we also do in Bikram Yoga.  My friend had put me right up next to the teacher so that she could give me modifications without having to yell across the room.  She explained the next series of poses as well as an aside to me.  I skipped Plank and Chaturanga Poses but put way more pressure than I'm used to on my wrist doing all the Upward and Downward Facing Dogs.  Doing the flowing series didn't feel graceful.  It felt like I was haphazardly attempting to do a dance I didn't know.  It felt rushed, uncontrolled, floppy, and spastic.  I would have preferred to have learned the steps and details of each pose, one by one, then worry about flowing them together next time.  I enjoyed the core work, though the muscle insertion points on my ribs were immediately sore!  There were a few poses that I knew from Bikram, like Camel and Eagle Poses, as well as variations of ones I knew, such as Cobra and Wind Removing Poses.  Overall, it was a productive class and I felt relaxed after.  When I was leaving, it felt like I could have walked right out of my hips because they were so loose!  I would have preferred more spine work, but it was a new experience.

Pros: calming and relaxing, teacher explained a lot, new experience, seriously stretched my hips
Cons: music was annoying, not enough modifications for my wrist, not enough spine strengthening

*BYA only sells shorts and bras because pants are not practical in 105 degrees plus humidity...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dear Yoga, I Miss You!

I moved to Denver August 20th and have not been able to make it to a class yet.  I have done a little at home yoga, but I lack the motivation.  Doing yoga in your kitchen with Bikram talking at you from your computer on the stove is not quite the same.

I miss everything there is about Bikram Yoga Andersonville.  I miss the people, the bike ride there, the stairs, the hot smelly room, the camaraderie of my classmates, the sun coming in the windows, the teachers and their nuances, and the combination of exhaustion followed by a wave of energy that hits me after a good class...

I haven't been able to sign up at Bikram Yoga Mile High because I don't have a job yet and therefore no income.  I emailed them last week asking about the possibility of a work study and I haven't heard back. I even looked into taking classes at Core Power.  They have a free week of classes to all first timers.  I looked over their schedules and they don't even offer  Bikram style class every day and some of the days they do I can't make it to.  I get an overall weird feeling about Core Power as it is so I haven't ventured that way yet.  Also, I'm scared to try other types of yoga.  I know Bikram Yoga and I know what my wrist can handle.  I'm scared to go to a new place with new teachers and try a new kind of yoga.  Even if I get offered a job tomorrow, which is a high possibility, I won't be able to get back to classes for probably another month.

I clearly don't want any of the available options to get my yoga fix!  But, fussing gets me nothing...

Friday, July 15, 2011

Yoga in the Sky

I've been inconsistent about getting to class but I feel alright about it.  I go when I want to go and I've been wanting to go more than I did before.  There have been some situational things that have prevented me from going to class as much as I'd like such as migraines, staying up too late so I don't make it to class before work and then having plans for after, oh, and that trip to Denver I just took...

I will be moving to Denver in mid-August!  I have decided to study holistic nutrition and there is a school there that I really think I'll like.  I just flew there, made friends, learned my way around, visited the school, found an apartment, got a tattoo and, of course, did yoga.  I only got to go once because I needed to acclimate to the elevation and only brought one outfit with me.

I have never done yoga at any other studio.  I only know BYA and I trust the teachers because they've proven their knowledge and insight over the last eight months.  I was scared to go to a new studio with teachers I'd never met and a room I'd never been in!  I read Bikram Yoga Mile High's website and prepared myself for some of the differences.  Everyone was very kind and welcoming, from the teacher when I walked in to the classmates in the hallway and locker room, but they weren't my yoga buddies and I got a wash of homesickness at the end of class.  Even though they do things differently, and yes I could make a list, I will be going back and not just because it's the only Bikram studio in Denver.  (There are other places that offer Bikram classes but I'd feel better going to a studio where I know that all the teachers primarily study and teach Bikram Yoga and have contact with other teachers.  I'm willing to check out other places that teach it, but I'll be pretty skeptical.)

I flew in Friday night and waited until Sunday to go to class.  I didn't feel quite up for it on Saturday and I'm glad I waited.  I had a few moments of low blood pressure where I started feeling funky and my vision started fading.  I haven't been having problems with that in Chicago lately, so I was pretty sure it was the altitude.  It happened at predictable times for me and I just took a step back, slowed down, and breathed.  I'd also been doing some risky eating (in the form of gluten cross contamination, see my other blog) and that could have played a part in my absorption of iron and therefore my blood oxygen levels as well as my sore muscles.  Overall the class went well.  I was able to focus despite my trepidation, constantly running mind, and new distractions.  I wanted to represent myself and my teachers and I think I did a good job of that.  When a difference in teaching came up I focused on remembering what I have been taught and not judging the teacher or their training.  This sometimes just meant doing my best to prevent disapproval from flashing across my face...  (Honestly, there is  nothing wrong with how they teach, it's just different than what has been drilled into me as best practices for the past eight months.  BYAs head teacher isn't nicknamed Little Sergeant for nothing!)

I will get used to the changes.  I will get used to the changes.  I will get used to the changes.

And my teachers and buddies are only an email away!