It’s the last day of February! And a bonus day to boot! My day has been busy and lovely despite the clouds hovering over Memphis (the sun’s starting to peek through!). I started the day off at Inside Out with a client and The Pack, enjoyed a healthy lunch at Cheffie’s Cafe and am now settled into a booth at Republic Coffee drinking a green tea. The last day of the month also brings the last day of my February Challenge – Yoga.
Time to review how successful I was during my challenge. As far as completing a yoga session everyday (as I had originally intended…) I failed miserably. Like, less than 31% (9 days out of 29) miserably. BUT I don’t like to fail so I’m going to twist my definition of success. Looking back at my goals and reasons for choosing this challenge, I realized I have succeeded in most all of them.
- Increase my flexibility – SUCCESS! I can touch my forehead to my knee in certain stretches on the floor. (I credit Bikram for this).
- Learn to be present in my body and truly appreciate it – success (less enthused than the first goal). I am getting better at focusing on my breathing, bringing my thoughts to the present and appreciating what my body allows my athletic determination to put it through. But I’m not quite at full acceptance yet, which is where I’d love to be. (I credit Vinyasa for this).
- Increase my strength, without lifting weights – SUCCESS! Couldn’t kick up into a headstand before!
- Explore different kinds of yoga: success. I tried Bikram, Vinyasa, and one online routine.
- Yogi Stereotypes – SUCCESS! Bought a Lululemon yoga top while staying in Austin for my race……
- Learn to create my own routines – nope. Hasn’t happened, yet.
So, based on my goals, I’d say the monthly challenge was a big success. I made it to 5 Bikram sessions and managed to get three friends to try it out too.
What next? Yesterday at Midtown Yoga, I decided I’m enjoying the Tuesday class so much that I would continue to go each week. I bit the bullet and bought ten coupons so that I can continue going! Gotta work up to that headstand without the wall spot!
Stay tuned for the March challenge tomorrow! And a recap of tonight’s Grizzlies Game!!!
February 28 – Day 9/28
Location: Midtown Yoga
Other Notes: Today marked my fourth time attending this class and I’m starting to figure a few things out about it. First, the instructor always plays music and each of his playlists have a theme. In the past they’ve included: Bands or artists with animal names (Modest Mouse, John Cougar Mellencamp) or songs about dancing. Until today I hadn’t been able to pick out any of the themes (probably because I was so focused on keeping the even breathing or simply surviving the moving asanas…..) but all of today’s songs were about change – good change, bad change, literal monetary change. I enjoyed it.
I’ve also noticed every class starts out with a brief meditation and then we “set an intention” for the day’s practice. Focus, forgiveness, strength, balance are all examples of something one might choose. Normally I’ve forgotten my intention by the time we’re into our first Warrior I pose, and am not reminded of it again until instructor asks us about it at the end…..going to pay more attention next week! After 30+ minutes of moving vinyasa poses (the tougher strength poses) – warriors, standing triangles, etc., he gives us a chance to “go upside down”. Aside from the corpse pose at the end, this is my very favorite part of class. The first week, I was not able to go all the way upside down but with instructor’s help the second week and some practice in between classes, I’m now kicking up to a headstand on my own!
Next step is to feel comfortable enough to kick up without a wall to catch me……stay tuned!
February 13 – Day 7/13
Location: Bikram Yoga Memphis – Noon class
Bikram = 90 minutes. 105 degree room. 40% humidity. Same series of 26 poses each time.
Other Notes: This was my fifth Bikram class in the past two weeks. Today I noticed some big changes in my routine! First of all, I’m not even phased by the smell of hot (it’s a weird smell that must be associated with Bikram yoga because the studio I attended in Ireland smelled exactly the same as Memphis, not B.O. but not actually pleasant either) when I enter the studio. Or the sweat rolling into my eyes or off my nose on the inverted poses. Or the incredible flexibility, fitness and physique of some of my fellow yogis. Or the rapidity of my clothes going from completely dry to drenched (usually by pose 7). Nope – none of that gets to me anymore, it’s all about the work involved in the poses:
- I struggled keeping my balance on 4 today.
- Had my best day of 5 yet! Was able to fully extend the “floating” leg and hold it for a bit. Same with 7.
- 13 still rocks.
- 17 is about to be declared impossible. I may never try it again – my elbows (specifically my right) hurt SO badly.
- 19 is coming along – looks sloppy but there’s slow progress each class.
- I got all the way down to the top of my head on 20 – all that’s left is to bring my knees together.
- 24 was probably my proudest moment when I touched my forehead to the knee of my almost straight extended leg. Soon I’ll have it.
I’m halfway through the challenge! Looking forward to continued progress!