Days THIRTY EIGHT, THIRTY NINE, FORTY
Have people been watching the Olympics? I have been so inspired by all the athletes but in particular, I marvel at Shaun White and the kind of pioneering moves he demonstrates on the halfpipe. My mouth just hangs open as I watch his height and the speed of his rotations.
The ice skaters are another group I simply have a new appreciation for now that I’m doing bikram yoga. I see lots of beautiful backbends in many standing spins and tons of foreheads to knees in sitting spins. Gosh. The struggle I have doing these backbends and foreheads to knees just standing still much less balancing and doing this while spinning on ice?
And last but not least, I have a newfound respect for Apolo Ohno and his zen attitude on the ice during competition. When he first came on the scene 8 years ago, I thought he was such a cocky kid but 8 years have made him grow and gain maturity and experience. He seems more confident now and just so at ease whenever he races. When the gun goes off, he starts but holds himself in the back off the pack and then watches and observes serenely. When you think he’s not going to make his move, he jumps and gracefully glides by his competitors, passing them as if it was no big deal. It is so beautiful to watch him because he makes it look just so easy and natural. I kinda think I have a crush on him now! LOL
What these athletes do to push their bodies and train for these games is just incredible. Some are healthy and some are injured like poor Lindsay Vonn who manages to still win gold despite the severe shin injury. As someone who is injured, I wonder where it is you draw the line between pushing your body and taking care of it? I am happy that this yoga is teaching me where that line is.
Off for President’s Day but The Husband and I decided to still go to 7am yoga and then off for a breakfast date to reward ourselves. We are happy we did. We were done with yoga, grocery shopping, and our breakfast by 11am and home by 12noon. Lots of chores on my list such as laundry and cooking for the week. We decided to indulge instead and took naps and ditched all the shores. What luxury — all this time!
Class was solid although it wasn’t as hot as it could’ve been. On days like today when the heat isn’t up and in the morning, I focus on alignment and use more strength since I lack the flexibility of evening, juicy classes. The knee continues to bother me but somehow it feels better. I don’t know…the tightness in the knee especially when sitting in Japanese style doesn’t bother me anymore. I suppose it is less painful but maybe it’s because I’ve learned that my knee sorts itself out eventually and the tightness goes away. Maybe I’m just becoming more accepting of my pain as part of myself, and coming to love it as part of me, rather than being disappointed and frustrated everytime it shows up. I don’t know…
I had to drag my a$$ to class because the thought of doing another 61 days of bikram just was a little depressing. I am feeling a bit of lack of motivation…perhaps because the long weekend made it hard to get back into gear. What got me through a relatively uninspiring pranayama was thinking about those Olypmic athletes and the determination they must’ve had to training every day. Apparently, Apolo Ohno trained 12 hours a day for these Olympics! Insanity. Their hard work motivated me to stay focused and determined…as if these classes were preparing me for the yoga championships or even an Olympic yoga competition! It was a neat way to find new motivation. My legs felt like lead in awkward…so heavy but I tried to stick with it and managed to do the best I could today.
Despite the blase start, I was thrilled to discover that I can get my forehead to my knee in standing separate leg head to knee pose on both sides especially my tighter right side!!! I can’t do it in the morning, but these evening classes, I can. Hooray! My front leg is totally bent but I don’t care…I can finally get the forehead to my knee. And in head to knee pose, I can do it too. I am noticing that I can flex my toes even further back in this pose, in standing forhead to knee, and all the sit ups. I have also noticed that my spine/back cracks as if it is realigning itself in the first set of rabbit. When it does this, I feel such a great release that I actually look forward to rabbit these days rather than the dread I used to feel.
I also notice that the hair clip at the top of my head, although small and flat, managed to get in the way of some poses so I’ve started to take it off, beginning at fixed firm. In rabbit, this small adjustment has allowed the pinching sensation at the top of my head to go away and I can really focus on keeping the weight on my legs and keeping the tops of my feet down and my heels together. Isn’t it amazing how the removal of even a small barrier, in this case a hair clip, that we create can make a world of difference?! Huh…who would’ve thunk.
Super juicy class and I managed to set my mat up directly underneath a fan blowing hot air on me. In the mirror, I could see my hair blowing in the wind. I panicked and said to myself, “Sh*t. Is hot air going to blow all over me in class?” And then I laughed it off and enouraged myself to think that I was in the middle of the Sahara but more humid with a constant wind.
The Olympic athletes continue to motivate me so I had strong determination and focus in class today. By the end I was losing steam but managed to push myself and got my forehead to my toes in the third part of head to knee pose. I managed to get a compliment from Kara as a result. Another fantabulous day of touching my forehead to knee and both parts of awkward were okay. No pain. Hallelujiah!
It is Ash Wednesday today and it is my favorite time of the Roman Catholic liturgical year. These next forty days are a period of reflection and introspection, of giving more of ourselves to others, of fasting, in order to culminate in the joyous celebration of Easter. There are so many commonalities between my Catholic faith and my practice of bikram yoga…perhaps one future post will be about this. For now, all I will say is that the season of Lent and Easter remind me that every day we start anew, that we have an opportunity for rebirth. We die and are reborn metaphorically each day. With each new day is a clean slate, to be a better person, to live life passionately and peacefully, to forgive ourselves for past shortcomings, and to do the best we can. It is all we can ask of ourselves. I learn these lessons in the yoga room and they are further reinforced by my faith.