March is Sailing season.  There is literally a race to sail in every weekend in March, so when I started my 30-day challenge I thought I would go in knowing I would be missing a couple classes.  I thought “ok so this won’t be a *true* challenge by the rules, but it’s a good for me.”  A few days into my challenge, however; I started feeling like I really didn’t want to miss a day.   wasn’t ready to skip a day!  I was enjoying my practice, my progress, and the momentum I was feeling.  After talking to some of my teachers, Katie and Gary, I decided I would do yoga on the days I was sailing, and I would do it at my home.  

Originally I was planning to just do the series to the best of my ability by memory and time the postures in my head, but Gary suggested I try using the Bikram audio recording.  I bought it and I would really recommend it to anyone who wants to try doing the series at home. Bikram is funny, and encouraging, and it was actually really cool to be able to listen to him delivering his own series and dolling out his own tips and feedback (yes I even said “mama give me money” when I did standing bow… what?  He told me to.)  Listening to the recording, as with any experience with a new teacher, did change some of my postures.  I especially improved my half-moon pose by bringing my chin up more and my upper body back more.  

I found it especially surprising that I didn’t miss the heat the way I thought I would.  I love the heat.  I know some people think of the heat as something they have to suffer through as a part of their practice, but I really love the humidity and the temperature.  I love the way it makes my skin feel, I love how the sweat can make some postures more challenging, and can help in others.  The way you can kind of just slide the top of your foot right down your sweaty calf into a perfect eagle pose never ceases to please me.  I love it.  So I did miss the heat in that way.  I realized, though, that it doesn’t affect my flexibility the way I imagined it did.  In fact I didn’t notice that the depth of my postures significantly changed at all.  In standing head to knee pose last night,  I almost locked my kicked out knee, and I really believe I could have, but I stopped myself because I didn’t want that monumental achievement to happen when I was by myself in my room.  That brings me to my next point…

I missed the energy of taking class with lots of people.  Until this month I thought crowded classes were satan’s gift to yogis, and that if someone smacked my hand again in full locust, or brushed my leg when we were going into standing separate leg stretching pose one more time, I would flip out and have to lie down and have a tantrum on my mat.  I realized how much I enjoy and how much I depend on other peoples’ energy in class.  There are times when I almost want to go up to people and tell them that it was a joy practicing near them.  I love the unspoken support that the yoga room provides.  I like struggling alongside other people who are facing their own challenges.

The last difference I experienced – and this is a big one – I was completely un self-conscious.  I did things that I haven’t done in the studio, but I don’t think I realized that I was limiting myself that way.  It’s actually really funny because one of the poses this most affected me in was standing separate leg stretching pose.

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As you can see in the photo, the goal is to touch your forehead to the floor, and you do this by grabbing your heels and pulling your body down, while simultaneously rolling your weight forward into the balls of your feet.  Now the teachers always say that if you can’t touch your forehead to the floor, open your legs wider and wider until you can.  I will open my legs wider to a point, but I always stop when I guess feels good enough.  I have rather inflexible hamstrings, but alone, in the privacy of my own bedroom, I decided to go for it.  Do you know what happened?  I nearly somersaulted into my mirror.  Really I did!  I actually fell forward and had to catch myself!  

So things I have taken away from this experience?  

1.  I love the crowds.

2. I miss the heat, but I don’t need the heat.  That means I might like other kinds of yoga!

3. I limit myself, and I shouldn’t.  If I’m somersaulting out of postures I think that means I’m trying hard enough.

FInally, although I would rather head to the Sweatbox any day, this experience gave me the confidence to practice in my own home at times when I just can’t make it to class, and that provides a lot of freedom.

Oh and the final thing I learned?  How to use my new version of itunes.  

Domestically yours,

C

 

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