I am blind as a bat.

Ok so maybe that is an exaggeration, but I am certainly blind enough that I cannot see people more than 6-8 feet away from me. I can recognize them, I know they aren’t a statue, but really see them? Not a chance. To be honest, this usually doesn’t bother me. I go through life waving at strangers like it’s my job.

In the yoga studio, the teacher often tells us to make eye contact with our reflections in the mirror, or focus deeply on a certain area of our bodies and, without my glasses on, I can’t do that. So today I decided to wear my glasses to class. I know this doesn’t seem like some monumental thing to those of you who haven’t experienced Bikram’s, but there are a few things which have stopped me from doing this in the past.

1. My glasses fog up: This both obscures my vision and makes me feel like a huge nerd. The nerdiness I can handle, but constantly having to take off and wipe down my frames… so inconvenient. Not to mention distracting.

2. Sweaty noses = glasses slippage: This is once again just inconvenient. I don’t want to come out of standing separate leg stretching pose or balancing stick only have to put my glasses back on.

3. Discomfort: The bottom line is, my glasses are incredibly distracting. One of the most annoying things in yoga is having to make adjustments physically, whether that is pulling my shirt up or down, fixing my hair, or adjusting my glasses so they aren’t hanging from one ear.

I will do a lot to avoid having to make adjustments in class, because it distracts me from the meditation of my practice. Unfortunately, without my glasses, I am left out of another aspect of class, and one that could potentially help me with my balance, form, and focus (ironically).

So wearing my glasses in class did everything I expected it to do for me.

Pros: It helped my balance and my form. In standing head to knee pose, I could actually see the dimples that formed above my standing leg, assuring me that my knee was locked. It gave me the confidence and ability to start really kicking out my other leg in the posture. In some other postures, eagle pose, tree pose, and standing bow (to name a few), being able to make eye contact with my reflection in the mirror really improved my focus and balance.

Cons: My glasses did slip down my nose a lot, but guess what? They didn’t fog up once, and they never ended up hanging from one ear. I guess I would put them in the same category of inconvenience as I do my bangs. My bangs get sweaty and I have to brush them out of my eyes occasionally, but am I growing them out? No. (well actually I am… but not because of yoga).

So in conclusion: Why in the world was I so opposed to even trying to wear my glasses in class? It was a better experience for me with them on. I guess I’ll be a glasses wearing yogini from now on.

Coming soon: Guest post from Travis, who was tough enough to brave the heat and come to his first Bikram’s Yoga class ever!!

-C

So today was not a good class for me, but I will still start off with a couple positive notes.  In standing bow I saw my toes in the mirror above my head!  I was super excited about that.  I am having to think a lot less about keeping my standing leg locked, and so I can focus more on other parts of the posture which is nice.  In standing head to knee pose I am kind of worried about kicking out because I don’t think I can have the flexibility, but I think I am really ready to try.  My hamstring flexibility has improved so much that I think I should stop worrying about whether or not I can do it perfectly and just try.  Two sayings to think of while trying out this posture:  My teacher today said “this is yoga practice not yoga perfect.”  It doesn’t have to be perfect  just have to try.  And of course Danny’s “one millimeter today one millimeter tomorrow” saying, which helps immensely.

Today I was really tired and really stressed.  I’m glad Jessica came because I would have had a lot more trouble making myself get there if I didn’t know she was coming.  I had to cook for holiday dinner, I was supposed to go to a soccer game which I skipped, I knew after I would have to finish my sweet potatoes, get dressed, put on my makeup etc., and I also knew that 45 minutes probably wouldn’t be enough.  So basically today it was hard to fit yoga into my schedule.  On top of that I’m feeling a little burned out and just exhausted.  I stayed up way too late last night and I really need to start going to bed earlier.  It is a quarter to nine now and I’m going to bed after I finish writing this.

So anyway I did go and I worked really hard during the standing series, but I decided that during the floor series I was going to focus more on relaxation than taking it to my edge and working it.  I’m glad I did that because I spent most of the series feeling really sick and just so fatigued.  Like it was very difficult to make my muscles do what I wanted them to.  I sweat a lot more again today than the last two days, but that was probably due to the fact that I was in the hottest area of the room.

My knees are still sore but I think they are getting better.  I’m just being careful in one legged postures and I haven’t been doing toe stand I’ve just been staying in tree and working on balance and concentration.

I’m going to write a private post about some other difficulties that are a bit more personal.  If you are dying to see it just let me know!

So all in all I didn’t feel great about today’s class but I think it definitely had some moments of success as well.  I’m hoping that I’ll get a good nights sleep and tomorrow will be better.  I’ll be going with Kristine and Brittany VZ which is super exciting.  I really enjoy taking this class with my sisters.

Here’s hoping tomorrow is the best class ever!  Day 9!

-Claire

Today will be day 7 of my 30 day challenge- I’ll be a quarter of the way through already! Unfortunately the alcohol was a bit too tempting last night and I’m slightly hungover today. I just have headache, am a little dehydrated. I’m slightly nauseous at the moment. I really hope that part goes away because I can get hydrated and I can handle a headache but nausea I’m not so sure how that’s going to sit in the yoga room.

I’m going to the 7:45 class so hopefully by then I will be feeling good. I was hoping there was a 9:30 today but no luck there.

I will let you know how it goes afterwards!

-Claire

EDIT:

I’m just going to write a bit more before class. Luckily, with some food in my stomach and a couple of litres of water, I am feeling much better and I think this class will go well. Plus also Jessica is coming with me today and it is always really fun to bring someone new and share the experience with her. I really feed off of other peoples energy in the room and I think it helps to have some new energy. When you go to your first class there is so much excitement and I can really feed off of that energy.

Speaking of using other people’s energy in the class, I have noticed a little funny thing that happens. If someone falls out of a posture, then other people around her often do. It’s kind of a chain reaction and it makes you realize how connected the class becomes. I have been guilty of coming out of a posture with someone as well. I don’t really know why it happens, but I think it is because we really do use each other’s energy in the class and if there is a break in that energy then everyone feels it.

I am feeling really frustrated because of my lack of flexibility in my hamstrings. I know I talked about it before and said my flexibility was improving, and it is a lot, but it is still bad enough that it is preventing me from going fully into certain postures where hamstring flexibility is necessary. for example, in standing head to knee pose, I can’t kick out because of my lack of flexibility; in balancing stick I can’t tilt forward for the same reason. I know that I just have to keep trying. One of the teachers, Danny, says “a millimeter today a millimeter tomorrow and eventually you’ll get there.” When I get frustrated I just try to focus on those words, because he’s right: a millimeter of progress each day will eventually get you to where you want to be. I hope I make a millimeter of progress today in everything.

The last two classes I have had a lot of trouble with my concentration. Today I really want to be able to just leave the world behind me and be successful in centering my thoughts, because the actions and abilities of my body are definitely led by my mind. I get much more out of the practice when I am not distracted. In the last class I found myself actually making a grocery list in my head during savasana. wtf. That just totally takes away from my ability to participate and if I am going to put myself through such a strenuous experience, I want to get the most out of it possible.

So that being said, my goal for today is to stay focused.

Finally I wanted to show you some pictures of some of the postures I talk about a lot, just so you non-yogis can know what I’m always blabbering on about.

Staning head to knee pose

Standing head to knee pose

In this posture I do it so the knee that he kicked out is actually just at a 90 degree angle.

Triangle Pose

Triangle Pose

This is from http://www.bikramorlando.com.

Locust pose with two legs

Locust pose with two legs

We also do this with just left and just right legs. full locust is below…

Full Locust

Full Locust

from http://www.tracis.info.com

Standing Bow

Standing Bow

from http://www.bikramyogabozeman.org

I can’t do it quite this well!

Tree pose

Tree pose

From http://www.bikramyoga.com

In Toe Stand, you hold this posture then bend your standing leg until you are balancing with your hip just above your heel, and you bring both hands in to prayer.

Hope this helps you understand what I’m talking about!

Who knows when I’m going now… Joe wants me to go to go see Twilight with him and some of his buddies and you know I can’t resist a good vampire tale. 6:00 yoga maybe?

P.S. If you read this and want to see a picture of a pose I am talking about, leave a comment and I will post a picture.  Sometimes in the different forms of yoga poses are different, like triangle for example sometimes can look like this:

triangle pose

triangle pose

which isn’t how I do it. So if you want to know what a pose is for Bikram’s specifically let me know!

-Claire