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Melting steel to make something beautiful

19 Jul

“In order to make anything beautiful out of steel, you have to melt it first.” Bikram Choudhury
The first Bikram Yoga studio was in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco. I knew there was a reason I was drawn to it. I love that neighborhood.

Today was my third class in as many days. I couldn’t even think about blogging yesterday so here we are today. Some classes will be easier than others, and yesterday’s class was a killer. It’s been about 95 and humid in New York, and the room was unforgiving. I think I was on my mat for most of the second half of class.

During class today I was brought back to the very first Bikram class I ever took. A friend of mine in Minnesota that I worked with was opening this yoga studio and she would always tell me how it is so different. I had taken yoga in the past at different gyms and yoga centers, but I wasn’t that thrilled about it. I didn’t want to hear the affirmations or hear soothing music while I bent around in uncomfortable poses. And-I didn’t feel all that different after. She opened in 2006, and after some coaxing, I went to class. She told me to come every day for 5 days and my life would be changed. I went for 5 days. She was right. If you’re in St. Paul, you should stop by her studio and say hello to Sarah.

Now my practice is about remembering why it changed my life in the first place. 2006 wasn’t that great of a year for me, if I recall. This year has had it’s ups and downs, but in a lot of ways, it’s similar. I have had some major life changes, like I did in 2006, and Bikram helped me sort it out then. Maybe someday I’ll get into all of that, but for now that’s all you get. I need to go drink some more water.

I took some measurements of myself on the first day-and from my calculations I have about 23 inches total around my body that I would like to shed. Don’t worry-I’m not trying to have a 13 inch waist, this is all around my body total. To spare myself the embarrassment of listing my measurements for the world-I’ll keep you posted in total inches. Maybe as this continues and I get braver, I’ll let you in on the good bits.

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The Beginning of my #30daysofyoga challenge

17 Jul

Wow. I needed that.

Today was the first day of Bikram yoga for me in about a year. It’s also been almost a year since I moved to New York. I think I’ve been trying so hard to get a grip on life here that I’ve sort of lost my grip on myself and my body.

Don’t get me wrong; things on the outside are going relatively great. I have an apartment in a good neighborhood, I met a great guy here who supports me, and I am on the cusp of starting my career. (It will happen soon. I just know it.)

Even with all that good stuff happening, the strain of just figuring out how to do your laundry and find groceries has taken a toll on my body. It can be so stressful to live and function in New York that I’ve found myself withdrawing from the things that I used to like. I’m not big on going out these days and I haven’t met very many new people in New York. I find it really hard to make connections with people here. And, I rarely ride my bike-this is the one that really gets to me. Biking in Manhattan just seems like too big of a risk for me most days. Because of that, I’ve slowly let myself get out of shape, which is really bumming me out. Now is as good a time as any to change that.

As a challenge to myself I’m going to try to go every day for 30 days. Last year it was 30 Days of Biking that re-taught me how fun a bicycle could be and got me moving around again. I won’t say that I was in THAT great of shape last summer, but at least I was out and sweating a little. This summer it will be 30 Day of Yoga. I will be tweeting and posting to this blog as much as I can. I even found another person on Twitter, @shannondakin, who is starting #30daysofyoga in the UK tomorrow. Hooray!

So today was the first day. I went to the open house at the Bikram Yoga LES studio and was in a room with more people doing yoga than I ever have been. The energy of the studio was great, even though the noise of the cabs and bars outside were distracting during the first few minutes. Tomorrow I won’t sit by an open window. Towards the end of class I didn’t even feel like I was in New York still. My mind felt clear and I was happy. The studio was sunny and welcoming and my fellow classmates seemed excited to be there. I am looking forward to go back tomorrow. Hopefully my muscles will agree with me, but I have a feeling I’m going to be really sore tomorrow morning. I haven’t decided if I will post photos of my progress along the way, but anything can happen. Right now my goal is just to go back tomorrow.

Like they say at Bikram Yoga LES: It won’t be easy, but it is simple.