31 January, 2014

Pleasant surprises

Today was vinyasa with JESSICA WILLIS!!

I decided to head to the 4pm class today, after a long week, wanting to start my Friday evening early. And I was surprised and excited to see a familiar face who left us for NYC. It was nice to have this class today. It was really difficult, and I can't even say that I enjoyed *the yoga*, in fact, I really ende dup winding down and doing my own thing for the last 15 minutes of class. But what I did enjoy was seeing Jessica at Be Luminous. I don't know her that well, but there is always something special when people "come back." Maybe I am sentimental.

Feeling the pressure lately, again, of the things to come at work. Nobody is pounding on the door saying "Do More!" but I still feel like I should be doing more, and that what I am doing is not happening fast enough. So I worry. I worry about the future. I worry about will I be good enough. I worry about whether what I am doing matters. I worry that I will have to work harder than I am. And there's not really any good reason to worry, because I have been trying to hold firm to the decision that I will not start working extended hours, because I don't want my life to look like that. Though, in some ways, I could do more, and feel better. What was that quote about worrying? If there's a situation, you have to first decide "Is there anything I can do?" If the answer is "Yes" then the next question is "Am I willing to do it?" If the answer is "No" to the first question, then there's no point in worrying. If the answer was "Yes" to the first question, and the answer is "Yes" to the second question, then, it would stand to reason, one should take action. If the answer is "No" to the second question, then, once again, there's no point in worrying, because you've made a choice. I find I spend too much time in my life saying "Yes" to the first question, "No" to the second question, and then choosing to worry and torture myself anyway.

I need to stop doing that.

30 January, 2014

Morning movement

Today was solo vinyasa in the hotel room.

I decided to leave the yoga to the morning, rather than do it last night. It’s one of those deals with the devil. After work, we went to dinner, and I didn’t feel much like doing yoga at 8pm when I got home. It might have been a better idea, in hindsight, but there was more of a desire to lounge. Yesterday was to be “the day off.” So that left me with morning practice. I did about 40 minutes, and it was hard to get moving. It began at 7am and my body just doesn’t really want to move and bend and fold in the morning. In any case, it was not a bad practice. A little more focused than the short practice of the other day. And I would likely have done a full hour if it were not for the fact that I needed to be ready and showered and checked out of the hotel by 8am.


Sometimes it feels a bit lonely. But that perhaps I will discuss later.

28 January, 2014

Reactivity versus Clarity

Sitting in the seat, having just boarded the aircraft, I was feeling a little strange and self-conscious in first class. I hadn’t purchased a first class ticket, but was automatically “upgraded” because I am now an MVP on Alaska, having flown enough miles to qualify. I’d just finished cup of water they’d brought, and was waiting to see a couple of my colleagues boarding the plane after me. They’d walk past me in a few moments, and I would feel self-conscious again, and a little embarrassed, for whatever reason. Then, suddenly, I had a realization: I forgot my car key at the security checkpoint! Holy shit! Normally, I would not take my key out of my coat, but since I was going through the pre-approved line (another benefit of frequent traveling), I was allowed to keep my jacket. To be safe, and not accidentally set off the metal detector, as an afterthought, I removed my car key and a car phone adapter, and placed them in one of the little dishes. A separate dish from the one I’d already placed my phone. And when I passed through security, and collected my belongings, I had only remembered to grab the dish with the phone. 

I have lost my car key. My car is at the airport. I have only one backup key which, for reasons I can’t begin to explain, is IN MY CAR! So now, I will be faced with coming back late at night in two days, with no way of getting in my car, other than calling AAA. This is not looking good.

I jumped up from my seat, and ran to the flight attendant, and they suggested I go to the get assistant (yes, get off the plane) and have them take down my information to see if it can be tracked down and held at security or lost and found for when I return. When I arrived at the gate, the woman at the gate says “Do you want to go back to security and see if they have it? The doors don’t close for another 13 minutes. You can probably make it.” We are at the very end of C Gates. I start running, top speed. Sprinting. I arrive at the checkpoint, and find someone who looks like an authority figure, out of the dozen or so TSA agents, and ask them. They check everywhere. No key. They go to the TSA office, and ask if it has turned up. No key. A few minutes have passed, and now I am more concerned with also missing the doors closing. So I turn around, and run back, crestfallen, with my chest pounding, having worked up a pretty decent sweat. When I arrived at the gate, there were still people boarding. They asked me at the gate if I found what I was looking for. No. When I got back on the plane, they asked me if I was all set. No, but what can you do? I was messaging my girlfriend, lamenting the nightmare of pain-in-the-ass that I will surely be facing when I get back to Seattle at 10pm on Thursday. 

I sat back down in my seat. Opened the pocket of my jacket, which I’d left on the seat. And, of course, my key and the phone charger were in the pocket. Where else would they be?

In hindsight, there was a fleeting moment, when sprinting toward the TSA counter, where it occurred to me that I hadn’t even bothered to check if I had the key on me. I was so sure that I hadn’t picked up that dish, that I trusted my recollection of what I’d done more than I should have. So much that I didn’t even make the obvious check. Instead, I bolted through the airport like O.J. Simpson.

The point here is about reactivity. Losing the car key would be a minor kind of emergency. Not a fire. Not a severed limb. But a pretty big inconvenience that should be addressed urgently if at all possible. Especially, when considering the circumstances of a plane about to leave a gate. And the urgency caused me to abandon virtually all rational thought and reason, skipping over the “easy solutions” and going right to the disaster management mode. 

When I found the key, a flight attendant walked over to me to check on what my plan was for dealing with the problem, and I showed him the key, and we laughed. I asked him to promise not to tell anyone. Shit happens, right? All’s well that ends well, right? 

But the lesson here is that the time where clarity, discernment, and intelligence, versus reactivity, is more critical is when you are actually in an urgent or emergent situation. It’s really easy to have discernment about how deep to go in your Triangle pose, when you’re in the comfort of a yoga studio, with nowhere to be, and nothing to do, except Triangle pose. I guess I failed the test? But not necessarily, if all was well that ended well. I got a little life lesson. A reminder not to react. A reminder to stop and breathe and come up with a plan. The 30 seconds it would have taken me to look in my jacket were 30 seconds I could afford. I also learned that having my spare key IN MY CAR is probably something to rethink, yeah? 

I even wonder if my uneasiness about being in first class led to me manufacturing this crisis...


But it’s okay. Life gives us plenty of opportunities to learn. Some of them, harmless, even.

What defines a practice?

Today was short-format vinyasa home practice.

I’ve been struggling with the neck and shoulder muscles. I know why now. I suspected that I didn’t have my head position exactly right for all these headstands I have been practicing. I didn’t really think it could have such an impact on these muscles, but it has. Today, I decided to go for a long massage, which I haven’t done in months. I would love to say that it was blissful, but it was actually rather brutal. I would liken it to going to a dentist after not having your teeth cleaned for 5 years. 

So, I need to think about how to do those headstands without hurting myself.

Anyway, I arrived home after the massage, with a couple of hours before needing to head to the airport (again) for a flight down to California. I was waffling about whether or not I should do yoga today, or just let the massage soak in, and leave it at that. But, after dawdling for an hour, I decided that there wasn’t a really good reason not to do yoga, so I did it. The sequence was an abbreviated Baptiste flow. Probably lasted about 35-40 minutes. I wasn’t 100% present, but I wasn’t 100% absent. I did what I did. I have a sort of arbitrary rigidity about “60 minutes is the minimum acceptable amount of yoga to make the statement ‘I did yoga today’.” I am sure that is related to the fact that every yoga class I have taken has been 60 minutes or longer. But the truth is (and I am not rationalizing), this is sort of more about the arbitrary counting process. I don’t have a contract. I don’t punch a time clock. I am not even registered for an official 40 day challenge or anything of that sort. I am just trying to be committed to my yoga practice.

Today’s yoga practice was 35 minutes.


And so it is written.

27 January, 2014

Paving new roads

Today was vinyasa with Michel.

The 90 minute Monday with Michel. These are never strolls through the park. But today, I felt ready to give it my all, and it was a very good class. Michel is uplifting, and it’s always nice to share a smile when we make eye contact during the class. She often makes me laugh, right when I want to be so tired and so pissed off that smiling is the last thing on my mind. But there I am, smiling. She is a teacher, through and through.

At the end of class today we spent some time doing inversions. I decided to give the handstands a shot, since I have been so bold with headstands of late. I really don’t have the flexibility (or strength? not sure which) to kick up gracefully to the wall, but Michel came and helped me, and spotted me, and assisted me getting up into the handstand. I didn’t shy away from it. I would have shamelessly plopped on my mat in Savasana a few months ago, stubbornly unwilling to try any inversions. I am not saying that as a self-judgment. It is simply true. I was stubborn. But I was not ready. Can one be stubborn about not being ready? That’s what I was. But now, I want to try. 

I don’t know what it all means in the context of my life off the mat. What does it mean that I am now meeting the challenge of going upside down? I am now exploring what it is like to not be always on my feet, always on the ground, always in control. What does it mean? How does it manifest in my life off the mat? I think the answer may be that it is not yet evident, but eventually it will be. I am laying the groundwork for something that is yet to come. Or, if it has come, it is not yet at the level of my conscious awareness. It’s interesting to think about… the idea that I am creating something, but I don’t even know what it is, or what it will be.

But, like I have said before, and heard before, and am starting to believe…


It’s alright not to know.

26 January, 2014

Overcompensation

Today was vinyasa home practice.

I really didn't want to do it. So I decided to kick my own ass. Did a very non-standard sequence. Almost the reverse of typical. The sun salutations were near the end. And there were a lot of them. A lot. Ten half sun A. Ten full sun A. Five full sun B. Five more full sun B with Warrior II added. Zero breaths in downward dog between repeats. A lot, as I said.

The sequence started with side planks and crescent lunges and dancer's poses and trees.
There was a bunch of other stuff too. The strategy was to get out of the normal. Most certainly accomplished.

Supposed rested but still tired

Friday was vinyasa with Elizabeth.

I left work a little early to take the class.

It's pretty easy to start worrying about things. Whatever they are... relationships... work... money... it's easier to worry than not to worry, which feels backwards since it's more difficult to live life in a state of worry than not. Why is it that the thing that is actually easier requires more discipline?

Normally I would not skip a day after having only done yoga one day. Meaning: I normally like to always do at least two consecutive days before taking a rest. I don't know why I am so rigid about that, but I guess it's got to do with striving to go every day. If you take 2 out of 3 days off then you're far behind on that goal of going every day.  But yesterday I just didn't feel like doing yoga. And it's funny to say that, because Elizabeth was just telling us on Friday that "discipline" is doing something that you don't want to do. But I am not sure that it's a lack of discipline to not do something that you don't want to do. With respect to the flip side, I think it depends. There was time to do it. But I was still tired. And I just didn't see the point of dragging myself through it just to say that I did it. Just to say that I had discipline.

Of course, now it's Sunday, and I also don't want to do it. I really just want to sit and watch more episodes of "Breaking Bad" and vegetate. I don't want to do it today. But I am about to do it. As soon as I finish writing this entry, I will do yoga. The only thing to be determined is whether I will find a class on hitPLAYyoga, or guide myself. But it's happening. I can't imagine it's going to be good, but it probably will be fine. Because once I start doing it, I will come around, and remember why I want to do yoga.

I had a little bit of an easy period here, without too much business. I mean, it wasn't smooth sailing all the way, but relatively easy. And now it is going to get a little unbalanced again with work schedule. I have to try not to think too many steps ahead about everything that is coming, because that's worrying. And that's the opposite of what I want to be doing.

And thus, the yoga.

22 January, 2014

Hurried Hatha

Today was hatha at home.

It's difficult sometimes to fit in yoga with whatever schedule I've got going on. This time, I need to leave for the airport for an evening flight, but wanted to make sure I did yoga. But it's kind of hard squeezing in "being in the moment." It's sort of the antithesis of the concept. And I guess that's what yoga is like for most of us. Not trying to be philosophical... just noting that sometimes it's hard.

21 January, 2014

New tricks

Today was vinyasa with Jackie Elliott at Be Luminous.

I hadn't been to the 4pm Tuesday timeslot since Elizabeth vacated it. In a way, it just didn't feel like something I wanted to do. True, it has been impractical for me to go that early on Tuesdays because of the new work location. But I also hadn't attended on Sunday at noon, which was Elizabeth's other slot. When I think of Gentle Yoga, there has been that association with Elizabeth's teaching. The class isn't called "Gentle Yoga" anymore. Now it's called "Slow Flow," which is the same thing, in theory. But the practice was different.

Jackie's class was good. I felt myself wanting to show off a little bit, which was hard to resist, and I am not sure why it happened. Maybe because it was a new class for me, and because it was a group of people who are not typically in the "Power" classes. I didn't show off. But I felt myself wanting to. And it's not even like I have anything to show off! Seriously! But I guess there was some ego happening for whatever reason. Maybe it's just a resentment that the class isn't Elizabeth... not a lot to say about that. I could go to The White Studio and take Elizabeth's class, and I also have not done that. I tell myself it's because I don't want to be paying per-class fees at 4 different studios when I have an annual membership at Be Luminous. But I don't know.

The best thing about today's class was that I learned two new poses:

When we did pigeon pose, she had us do the "thread the needle" with the left arm, and then the right arm, on both sides. Doing the thread to the left and the right (for left pigeon, and then again for right pigeon) did really neat things for getting deeper into the hip stretch. Even though it might be called out as being a chest or shoulder opener, the big advantage of that variation was finding a couple of slightly different angles the deepen the pigeon pose.

Near the end of class, we did a Child's Pose, where she then had us clasp our hands in front of us on the floor, and then bend the elbows so the clasped hands are behind the head, and go deeper into the Child's Pose. This ends up being a really good triceps stretch.

It was a good class. I will give equal consideration to going to her Sunday classes too, since having a gentle(r) day in the week is a good thing.

Still wish that Elizabeth didn't leave Be Luminous...

20 January, 2014

Not what I planned but just as good

Today was vinyasa home practice with Katie Brauer on hitPLAYyoga.

Well, I'd hoped to take Jaime's class today, but I misread the schedule on their mobile app, and thought it was a yoga class when, in fact, it was a yoga plus cycle, which is not gonna happen for me. So I stayed home and did an online class with a new instructor.

I can highly recommend this teacher. She had good cadence, was very deliberate, appropriately sparse with her words, and (important to me) she didn't have music in the class. The sequence was not very different from Baptiste, though the order of poses was shifted around a bit, with Triangle coming quite early in the class. I was in a reasonably good concentration mode this evening, after having taken a nice long walk on a sunny day.

Have not mentioned lately, but I am adding in the notes here so that I can refer to it later, but my right heel has been continuing to be a problem. It's back to feeling about the worst it has felt. I am referring to the sensation of there being some type of bone chip in the ankle joint (which was supported by an X-Ray that said I had a bone chip in the ankle). There are times where it gets almost better, but never entirely, and right now, I am finding that some poses, especially Warrior I, are posing a difficulty.

Hanging in there.

Low energy

Today was vinyasa with Ara Gibson.

Another day of feeling low energy. My head wasn't really in the game, and Ara's soundtrack drove me bonkers. But, you know, someone after class walked up to her and said "I loved your playlist!" So it is definitely the case that everyone has their preferences. Probably around the 1 hour mark, I started petering out. I think it was when she wanted us to do handstand preps from a dolphin pose, and I was like "Nuh uh... time for something down, down, down in energy."

It's okay. That was today. And tomorrow will be different. In fact, that was yesterday, and today will be different, since I am writing this entry the morning after. Because I am home for the holiday today (waiting for the cable guy to install new broadband internet for reasons that I could write an entire separate blog entry about, and might), I may decide to do yoga locally at Live, Love, Flow for a second day and take Jaime's class. I haven't taken her class in months, and it would be nice. I would love to have my energy be back up again. But will it be? I don't know. Can I will it to be? Is it possible to say "Today is going to be a strong day?" and then show up, be strong, feel energized, and have a fantastic experience?

There's an experiment.

I have been feeling lazy lately. Not really wanting to work on my hobbies so much (that being music), and not really wanting to do any of my little projects (like photo archiving, though the high-speed internets was supposed to help me with uploading these photos). I am trying to be okay with where I am at. If I feel lazy and need rest, just take it. But there's a tendency to beat myself up over it.

17 January, 2014

Just tired

Today was vinyasa with Carley.

I was just tired. I could tell from the very start of class, with the Sun Salutations feeling heavy, that it was a day I could have stood to rest rather than practice, at least in the heat. Rather than struggle against it, I took it quite easy after the first 45 minutes or so, and spent a lot of time doing my own thing in stretches, and skipped a lot of the upward dogs. That's just where it was today.

16 January, 2014

Wall to wall

Today was vinyasa with Lara.

We had a lot of people in that room today. My estimate was 57. That's be four rows of 14 people each, plus one person in the nook in the corner. That's a lot. Class was difficult, but Lara found a way to make it work with tight quarters. It was hot, but not out of control.

Still feeling good on the mat. Feeling pretty good in life. Wonder what that connection could possibly be, huh?!

I am not sure why my body feels stronger or weaker at various times. Is it something to do with the practice? Or is it an arbitrary rhythm or cycle that I don't understand? There is something psychologically uplifting about being past the "hump" of the shortest days of the year. We are officially on the backswing toward the summer solstice, however far away that may be.

I have been thinking about risk lately, and how to approach it. The context has been around savings and investments, though any words that speak of risking money could equally be applied to any situation in life involving risk. One that comes to mind is "nothing ventured, nothing gained." I have a very strong aversion to the negative outcomes associated with risk. That sounds trivial, but I think I grew up with a stronger aversion than most. I have actually believed that it is better to risk nothing, because you know you lose nothing, or retain that which you currently have. But, for me, the extreme is to the point that I never even stop to assess what it is that I am retaining, and what the true downside would be of losing.

I am rambling.

What I am trying to say is that I am working on being open to taking reasonable risks.

15 January, 2014

Strange way to focus, but whatever works

Today was self-guided vinyasa home practice.

I intended to go to Alice's class, but messed up on the schedule, thinking her class started at 7:15 when it was actually 7:00 so ended up staying at home to practice. I decided it would be an interesting day to do an intense home practice, adding variations and upping the level, instead of my typical staying inside the lines approach to self-guided practice. And it ended up being a great practice.

The strangeness came because my housemate came home (which she rarely does) during my practice, and came upstairs to the room where I was doing yoga, and had a one-and-a-half way conversation with me while I practiced. You'd think that would be taking me out of the moment, but I just stayed with the breath, and made a remark here and there. There was also this sense of wanting to do a very serious practice because I knew someone who is not a yogi was watching. Maybe a bit of ego, but definitely, I promise you, coming from a very honest place. Yes. Yes. Of course.

Anyway, as I think the class notes will indicate, I have been feeling pretty strong lately. Who knows why. But I'll take it. Right?

13 January, 2014

Special moments when you least expect them

Today was vinyasa with Bill MacDonald at Open Doors.

This, it turns out, is Bill's last Monday night at the studio, as he's shifting his schedule around, and has classes to teach on every other day of the week. Since he only teaches one other day, this is a substantial reduction of his time at the studio. And he has such a dedicated following that this class ended up being a very emotional and sentimental class. There are many in the room who see Bill every Monday. But I only get to see him every few months when I come to town. So I got to participate in this occasion, and it really was special.

The class was similar to Saturday's to a degree, but there were some new twists and turns put into the sequence that made it feel pretty distinct.

There are people who just bring out a certain special magical energy as teachers. Perhaps they don't do it for everyone, but they do it for someone. Though, I suspect there are some teachers who have such charisma that they really do "do it for everyone." I can think of many who are in my life now, or whose classes I have passed through in the two years I have been practicing. I might be tempted to say that I wish I could take only these magical inspirational teachers. But that wouldn't be true. Because one needs to have many experiences to know what is worth keeping. Still, I do feel very fortunate for the ones in my life now. And I miss a few of them who are not in my life as much as they were.

But you know the sayings... nothing is permanent. The practice is in letting go... All that stuff they say.

And there will always be a voice that rings true if you listen for it.

12 January, 2014

Making the non-automatic choice

Today was vinyasa home practice.

I had planned on going to Jaime's class this morning at 9am. I was very much looking forward to it, since I am not in Boston very often, and I like to take class from both Bill and Jaime when I am here. It was a done deal. But last night, for whatever reason, I was unable to fall asleep. It probably was a combination of jet lag and having too much caffeine. I went to bed at midnight, and didn't fall asleep until after 2:30am. And as I was restless in bed, angry about the lack of sleep, and angry about how uncomfortable the bed is, I kept thinking "How am I going to do yoga tomorrow?! And how am I going to feel later in the day when I am supposed to visit friends?" But the idea of skipping that class was simply not an option.

When the alarm rang at 8:15am for the class, I did wake up. And I did not shut off the alarm absentmindedly, and "miss the class" due to a lack of discipline, or laziness, or whatever sort of negative trait one might attach to such an action. I lay there in the bed and had a rational discussion with myself. I recognized that it was not "listening to my body" if I were to go and do a 90 minute class, in the heat, when I only had 5.5 hours of sleep. The whole point of the practice is to learn to listen to our bodies. And if my body was telling me that I needed to rest, then the right thing to do - the gentle thing to do - is to sleep more, and practice later.

So that's what I did. And it was a good day.

I tend to be very hard on myself, and often my lack of productivity in the ways I would like to be more productive is tied to spending more time beating myself up than actually doing the thing I want to be doing.

The practice was a straight Baptiste sequence, self-guided, 57 minutes including Savasana. I was quite focused, and really did an honest practice, even though I started at 10:45pm (which, unfortunately, feels like early-evening for me, with the time shift).

11 January, 2014

Getting to this moment

Today was vinyasa with Bill MacDonald.

This weekend is the weekend of the MacDonald family. Bill today. Jaime tomorrow. I like that about coming home. Having the opportunity to take their classes.  I felt good today. Class was tough, with some really interesting flows. There were no Warrior I today, but tons of Crescent Lunge. I am starting to have a little easier time feeling stable in Crescent Lunge. I am not sure what the cause was for it to be so unstable for that period of time, though it definitely correlated with the business that happened with my low back, and that’s a little scary. But it’s getting better, and I notice that. It’s one of the many neat things about yoga. It provides the ability to notice smaller shifts in our body, and in our mind, than we might otherwise notice. That is, of course, because we are sometimes truly paying attention. 

Bill talked a little bit about paying attention to what thoughts arise, and repeatedly returning to what is happening in our bodies. It was a good class. I found myself feeling a little “competitive” with the person next to me, who was a very fit woman, probably 5 or so years older than I am. She had a very strong practice, and I found myself wanting to “up” my practice to keep pace. I found myself having those feelings of wanting the other “good yogi” (whatever the hell that means) to see that I am a “good yogi” too (the irony is not lost on me here). But you know? It is what it is. That’s what was happening in my mind. It didn’t consume me, but it definitely motivated me.

After class she exchanged a few small talk words with me. So I think she must’ve thought I’m a good yogi.


Wink. Wink.

10 January, 2014

Hatha on the other coast

Today was home Hatha practice in my bedroom.

Sans mat. I do have my mat with me, and plan to attend class in studio tomorrow and at least one other day, if not all other days. But Hatha seems quite doable on a carpeted bedroom with no additional mat. Even though I started the practice at 10:30pm Boston time, I felt quite focused, and did a very respectable full hour of poses, with decent focus, and very good attention to breath throughout. I knew that I had “set myself up” for doing practice tonight, having taken Wednesday off, since my body was just beat from Carley’s class the night before. I don’t really like to take a day off after only one day on, because that feels like “falling out of the routine” though I know that’s a bit of an extreme rule to live by. Nonetheless, the core of discipline, I think, is to stick to it whenever possible, and it is almost always possible.

Today I am back at my father’s again. It is always surprising to me the things that he will say or do, or the things that are going on in his world each time I come home. Some of it is just so bizarre that I almost get hooked into a debate because it’s irresistible. But it’s becoming slightly more interesting to not just to into reaction and, instead, ask myself why I feel the way I do, and take an interest in what he’s doing, rather than dismiss it as crazy. The latest thing is that he decided to buy some ridiculous blanket bar that you put under the sheets to keep the blanket from being tight over your feet if you sleep on your back. Apparently the blankets on his feet bother him. And there’s of course some bizarre medical apparatus that he found in some surgical supplies store that he bought for like $25 to put in the bed and I guess this will make sleeping more comfy? Though it is just crazy. He’s not a medical patient. I don’t get it. And my inclination is to want to go at him and just harp on it, and ridicule it. But I did not. 


Maybe that’s what the yoga is good for?

09 January, 2014

Like vegetables

Today was vinyasa with Tina.

A lot of weeks I steer around Tina’s class because I always associate it with over-the-top intensity, and that kind of “energizing” dynamic that is sometimes the opposite direction of where I like to go with my yoga, which tends to be calming, slowing, quieting, down, down, down. But time and time again, when I do take Tina’s class, I feel amazing at the end of the class, no matter how challenging it is during. There are some classes that get difficult and I start to give up, but Tina is very much a “leave no one behind” type of teacher. Her energy keeps you going because how could you not be enthusiastic about giving it your best when she’s giving such intensity as an instructor. So there it was. Another good day, another tough class. And I was glad to be there.

Still finding a way to do the headstands in each class, either before or during class. I don’t want to start shying away from something now that I have it in the routine. I am still intrigued as to how that transition occurred for me. I was so emphatic in Chelle’s class a few weeks ago about not wanting to go there, but something shifted. It is a rare case of surprising myself.


Maybe it’s possible to surprise oneself more often. What’s the formula?

07 January, 2014

One liter forward, two liters back

Today was vinyasa with Carley.

It was 90 minutes, but it could have been 3 hours. Another very crowded class, one would presume due to the resolutions of the new year. So humid, and so difficult, I have muddled through, even with floating (if not flying) colors. Did a few headstands before class, and had a couple of good wheel poses during class. But man, I lost a lot of fluids. The yoga towel was so wet that downward dog was difficult to do because of loss of traction with the towel.

The bigger issue is that I keep getting so dehydrated that I am operating at a place of constant catch-up. After Sunday's class, I wound up with a headache at bedtime, even though I'd had 5-6 glasses of water. Yesterday's home yoga was supposed to be giving myself recovery time. But today has put me right back into the deficit again.

What can I do? Stop doing hot yoga? It amazes me that I sweat so much more than ~90% of people in classes with me. And that's no exaggeration. It may even be a conservative estimate.

As for life... feeling pretty good. And good ain't bad.

05 January, 2014

Live, Love, Overflow

Sunday was vinyasa with Alice.

I had forgotten that yesterday was the first weekend of "New Year's Resolutions." As such, there were 50 people in a class that usually has 30 or fewer. The consequence was extreme humidity. And I swear, Alice went a little harder on us than usual. Perhaps it was to give people that fire and motivation of feeling like they're getting a hard workout. But it was rather unrelenting. Due to the crowdedness, we did not do any of the typical Mandala sequences she often includes, but there was a lot of intense yoga, and a whole lot of Utketasana. More than to my liking, but still, I enjoy that class.

I had a weird day with off energy. All I felt like doing was lying on the couch and watching Netflix (which is exactly what I did after yoga, save for a brief stop to have dinner with a friend and a drink with a few friends, which I guess is a lot more than nothing). I'd been feeling lonely for whatever reason. Things have been on the whole good lately, but this one day seemed to be off.

Oddly enough, I have been told, in the past few days, that I seem "happier than I have seemed in a long time" and that I seemed "unhappy lately." It is intriguing to me that I create both impressions in people. The person who said I seem happy is someone I see every day, and perhaps they are unhappy? The person who said I seem unhappy is someone I see less frequently. Perhaps when I see this person, I dial up my negative energy? Not really sure, but I thought it was interesting.

What am I? Am I happier than usual? Or less happy than usual? Yesterday, I think I felt a tiny bit less happy than usual. But today I feel happier than usual.

I guess it all averages out.

03 January, 2014

Finding ease

Today was vinyasa with Megan Howe on hitPLAYyoga.

It is Friday. Although a lot of people are still out of work because of the holidays, it is starting to feel a little closer to normal. I am almost done with what I had said I wanted to finish this week. And I have done a good job. Though I have been beating myself up for not being *as productive as I would like to be* I recognize that I am reasonably productive. And the ways in which I am not are usually because of the conscious choice of "ease" over "effort" and I guess that's not a bad thing.

This was first time taking class with Megan Howe. She sounds a little young, and her flow was a little fast, but it was still a decent class with good energy and a good sequence. She threw in a few of the affirmations of Baptiste in slightly awkward fashion, but hey, that's okay too.

I am doing the headstand at the end of class when an inversion is offered (using the wall, but then trying to balance off the wall). There's something invigorating about that inversion, and it makes Savasana that much sweeter. But you didn't hear that from me.

I feel optimistic about 2014. Not sure why. Maybe something about the number 13 no longer being part of the equation. Thirteen is not only odd, but it is prime and unlucky. Fourteen has a different ring to it. It's 2 x 7, and 7 is a lucky number (and my favorite). It's even, and it's got a gentler feel to it. I am being ridiculous right now.

Today a good friend pointed out that I have seemed much happier, and looked happier and less tired the last however-many months. It was an out-of-the-blue compliment, and took me by surprise. I am not sure if her assessment of "Why?" was accurate, but it doesn't really matter. It is nice to be perceived as such. Even though I have had my own doldrums the past month or two, on the whole, I am doing well.

02 January, 2014

A different flow

Today was Vinyasa with Datza Uldrikis at Live Love Flow.

I was lucky to make it to this class today, since I left Fremont with only 20 minutes to make it across town. I guess it was meant to be. Class had a very different feel than standard vinyasa classes. She's clearly not a Baptiste-style teacher, and it was a nice variety. Felt reasonably strong, though the bruise on my pelvis from the other night's acrobatics definitely had some impact when I was on my back. It was not possible for me to lie flat on my back, e.g. to put my legs straight up in the air. Fortunately she did not ask us to do this, because I would not be able to do it.

I'd better be a little more careful...

On the easy side of change

Today was vinyasa with Brittney Hiller on hitPLAYyoga.

Today there were some changes announced at work. For some, those changes brought anxiety. For others, disappointment. For me, although I am just as much in the path of the news, there was little to feel. It doesn't really make a difference. I will be okay with whatever is. I could choose to get caught up in some drama about possibilities, but why bother? If I had more attachment to where I am "supposed to be" or what I am "supposed to become" then maybe I would be distressed. But I am okay with where I am, and small changes around me do not affect that.

The class was not bad though the cadence fell more in the category of "listing off the poses" than "guiding with the pace of breath." I have come to hope that my teachers do the latter because then I know they are thinking about what they see rather than only what they are going to say next. In spite of that, I still enjoyed it.

01 January, 2014

Headstands!

Last night, while waiting for it to be midnight, I had the spontaneous impulse to do a headstand in the corner of the TV room, up against a wall. As you know, this is not something I am typically wont to do, and I have expounded upon all the reasons why I should not have to strive toward doing such things. Nonetheless, there I found myself, in the corner, upside-down. And it was fine. And I wasn't scared. And I didn't think "I am sure glad I didn't hurt myself! Better not do that again!" Instead, I found myself going up a few times. I pondered a handstand, but the mechanics of doing it with my back to the wall do not actually seem to be within my skills yet, so I did the belly-to-the-wall, walk the feet up version of handstand, and hung out there for a little bit too. Then, this evening, I did some more headstands, this time up against a door, instead of in the security of a corner. And I decided, from there, perhaps I would try a basket headstand, instead of the tripod version I'd been doing before. And sure enough, I could do that one too. I tried to get my feet off the wall in basket headstand, and found it was not easy for me to identify the balance point. But now I have learned something, which is that tripod is much easier than basket. That's something I could not have known before today. So I went back to tripod and sought to bring my feet off the wall, and found that, in fact, I could. So there I was, in a wall-free headstand. Something new.

And the year has only just begun.