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When I started my challenge this spring, I was unsure of how it would feel.  I was afraid to start something I wouldn’t be able to finish, and I was worried that my horrible, consuming sadness from my last challenge would come back.  It didn’t.  My goal for the challenge was to release the negativity from my practice, and open myself up to joy.  

It was about finally letting go of something sad and hard and difficult, and letting myself continue on with a practice that could encompass happiness again. 

Having been done with my 30-day challenge for a few days now, I can honestly confirm that it was the easiest challenge I’ve ever done.  Throughout the month I felt more energized and alive than I’ve felt in a long time, and during many classes I felt like I was powered by pure exalted joy.  I was able to be so present in my happiness, and it was wonderful.  Truly wonderful and magical.

The first few weeks were mostly a breeze.  I had the usual foot dragging that I think everyone experiences when it’s time to get up on monday at 5:00 a.m., but once I was there, most of my classes were so marvelous.  I felt my body totally opening up to new depths of flexibility whereas I usually make more noteworthy gains in strength.  

I have always kind of thought that it takes a lot of courage to take your flexibility to new depths.  You have to be willing to push through the pain of your lengthening muscles and ligaments and tendons.  You have to trust yourself enough to know what bad pain is and what good pain is.  You have to literally open yourself up to completely new sensations; and you have to, at some point, just go for it.  There has to be an element of “fuck it” in there somewhere – otherwise you’ll never push yourself hard enough!  This is so appropriate for where I was mentally and emotionally in my challenge.  My gains in flexibility definitely reflect what my goals were, and that I got there.   

I love practicing close to the mirror now, because I can see the anchor on my arm, pushing me to be better, go deeper, stretch further, work harder, and be healthier.  It reminds me that the bad events in our lives never go away, but at some point they become a part of who you are, and they endure through the happiness too.  Just as part of who you are.  Simple truths, right?

Glowingly yours,

C

P.S.: For those of you who keep track: nope, I’m not doing the 60-day challenge because *someone* is taking me to Coachella.  I know – poor me, right? 

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Last night Sweatbox Yoga got new floors.  I definitely wanted to be one of the first students to grace the not-carpet with my sweat, so I got up early and headed to the 10 AM.  I wasn’t the only one who felt like devirginizing the flotex this morning, the class was one of the busiest I have been to yet.  

A quick plug for the capeting: I did a little research, and it is pretty amazing stuff.  It’s waterproof, and according to the website, “cleans like vinyl but has the warmth of carpet.”  It is totally antimicrobial and anti-fungal, which is amazing in a place where people show up just to sweat. In actual use, it definitely lends a hand with foot slippage during some of the separate leg poses – especially trikanasana.  Yay for studio improvements!  I already think Sweatbox Yoga is the best, but the flotex carpet certainly doesn’t hurt!

The other day Bikram Butterflies liked my post, here, and I surfed on over to her blog to check it out.  Wow.  I have literally spent about an hour just devouring everything she has to say.  I can relate to almost every single experience she describes.  Bikram yoga, and yoga in general, is a really personal experience, and yet there are commonalities in the struggle.  It’s nice to know that other people have similar experiences, pains, triumphs, and both bad and good days.

Today I had quite a good class.  I felt very strong throughout the series, but I also had some unique sensations come over me that made me feel frightened and overwhelmed.   One in particular stands out, and that is something I felt in sasangasana (rabbit pose).  As I bent forward and pulled on my feet, I felt  my entire spine, from lower back to base of skull, surge in temperature.  It was like someone had inserted a heater right into my spinal cord and turned it on high.  I stayed with the posture, because for the first time ever, I could actually feel every single vertebra stretching along the entire length of my spine.  I wondered to myself if this is what it felt like to actually stretch the spinal cord?  As I returned to a seated position, and subsequently into savasana, the heat slowly slowly subsided.  I sat out the second set of the posture, because  I could still feel the heat up and down my back like a hot water bottle, and I was afraid that I had hurt myself.  The last of the warm sensation slowly drifted away though, and by about half and hour after class was over, there was nothing left.

I wonder what that was… and if it will come back tomorrow?

Warmly yours,

-C