What I’ve Learned So Far


Well friends, so much can happen in 9 days that it amazes me to think how much can and will happen in the remaining 51 days of this challenge.  Let’s see where to begin…

Comments on my practice:
My right knee no longer feels pain.  Once in a while, my left knee feels like I applied icy hot to it after some classes.  I feel strength in my quadriceps in a way I’ve never felt before.  All parts of awkward are strong and I’m even managing to kick my heels up even higher in the 2nd part.  The right knee feels strong.  I am so happy.

I always seem to lose the 10-fingered bikram grip especially in standing forehead to knee.  Otto called me out and instructed me to keep the heels of my hands together.  It worked for the second set in standing forehead to knee, I nailed it with a firm grip.  Three days later, he saw me losing my grip again and called me out again by saying, “Same thing as the other day my lady…you’re losing your grip.  You gotta break that bad habit.”  I haven’t taken a class with Otto in months and this week, I’ve taken three.  He has greatly improved as a teacher and for that I am grateful.

Out of nowhere, an emotional release occurred after the first set of camel in Corrine’s class.  I sobbed and my chest heaved.  My neighbors could see I was bawling but I didn’t care.  For second set, I stayed in savasana while others did the sit up but during the set up, I heard Corinne prod me in her firm but gentle way, “ActionJoJo, second set.  You’ll feel better, yeah?”  When a teacher…especially of Corrine’s caliber, asks you to do something, you do it.  I did it because I trusted her even when I couldn’t find the strength in me to trust and believe in myself.  In the second set, all I could do was kneel and put my hands to the back of my hips and push forward.  I was still bawling.  It was a powerful moment for me as I reaffirmed the important fact that I need to allow others to help me.  I can’t do everything on my own, as I tend to like to do thanks to  my superwoman-complex (more on that later).

I feel more acutely and can physically see in the mirror, the imbalance between the right and left side of my body.  My right is tighter and therefore, shorter in the mirror.  I see it prominently when I sit Japanese style to set up for locust and rabbit, and in final breathing.  The amount of skin between the bottom of my shakti top and the top of my shakti bottom is less on the right than on the left.  Crazy!  I hope these next 50 days will help in balancing me out. 

My spine is changing and I can feel it.  My spine cracks when I straighten up in half moon, both sides.  My lower back cracks and then slowly releases as I set up for the first set of standing forehead to knee.  I am entering a new phase in the spine strengthening series.  In rabbit, when I start to pull on my heels, I can feel my spine cracking and realigning itself.  I now am beginning to fully grasp why Bikram says, “You don’t have to chase the chiropractor, chiropractor will come to you!”  When I look in the mirror these days, I don’t recognize my back.  My thoracic spine has become more prominent and I see a slight curvature in my upper back whereas it was quite flat in the past. 

Update on Life:
We signed a contract on the house and this last week has been spent negotiating with banks to find the best deal on a mortgage and the lowest closing fees.  We admittedly lost sight of the fact that we needed to plunk down another $20,000 on closing costs in addition to the money we set aside for the downpayment.  It definitely freaked The Husband out, which led him to asking what else have we’ve forgotten to budget for.  Thankfully, The Husband is focusing on this part of the process:  finding the mortgage, dealing with the lawyers, and reading the fine print.  I dealt with the front end of this process by contacting the realtors so I feel we have divided the task of home buying that plays up to our strengths.  In fact, he negotiated so well that today, we got a bank to agree to lock in an interest rate of 4.75%!  Woot!!!!  Now we go through the application process and sometime in the next 4-6 weeks, we close.  That means we move, which means we pack!  Acccccccccck!

I am up to my ears with work.  I come in to the office and there are piles on my desk.  I leave and there are old piles and new piles on my desk.  I am grateful to have a temp helping me who is smart, quick, and self-sufficient.  I am planning for our upcoming board meeting and planning for my own three week business trip to South Africa in mid-April through early May.  Regardless of when we move, April is going to be mad mad crazy. 

The Olympic athletes have inspired me to re-visit the bigger question of what it is that I want to do in my life, a life full of passion and fulfillment.  There’s something stirring in my heart…yearning to accomplish what I dream about in my career:  one that involves travel and being in front of the TV.  But how am I to fulfill this dream now that I have a mortgage?!  Am I stuck now that I have such adult responsibilities?  When is this career shift going to happen?  We need to renovate the house:  where are we going to find the time?  the money?  How about expanding our family — when will we start?  HOW AM I GOING TO GET ALL THIS DONE?  HOW?!  HOW?!  HOW?!

Without this challenge, I think my mind would have been spinning its wheels worrying about how to accomplish all the goals in my life during this huge period of transition.  But these last 50 days have shown me that like my body, my life will open up and unfold at precisely the right time.  Everything will fall into place and when they do, I will be ready to embrace them.  All I can do and all that I can be responsible for is today.  Yes, I can dream of the future but I can only focus on the task at hand.  Like our challenge, if we focus on accomplishing 101 days of straight yoga, it could paralyze us.  But we take it one day at a time and the challenge becomes manageable and less daunting.  Similarly, my body was not ready to have my forehead touch my knee on day #1 but with patience, surrender, and hard work, I am starting to do it on day #50.

So what I’m saying is that despite the craziness, the unknowns, the doubt, and yes, the fear, I have hung on to my faith.  I am teaching myself patience and surrender despite my Aries tendencies of craving instant gratification. I can happily say that I feel peace and contentment and believe in my core that all will work out:  a beautiful marriage, an expanded family, a renovated home, a fulfilling career, and a passion-filled life.  All the pieces will fall into place and I really don’t need to know how.  I just need to work one day at a time, trying to fulfill my dream in the best way I know how. 

I’m surprisingly okay with that.

For the purposes of my own record keeping, day:

  • #41 Thurs, Feb 18 – 7 am w/ Danielle – class was uneventful
  • #42 Fri, Feb 19 – 5:30 pm w/ Corinne – bawled during camel – great release
  • #43 Sat, Feb 20 – 10 am w/ Caroline – “In this yoga, you should struggle, not suffer.” – Felt light afterward
  • #44 Sun, Feb 21 – 4:30 pm w/ Mark – first time taking his class…I enjoy the cadence of his dialogue and his NY Italian-American accent.  He sounds like he is singing!
  • #45 Mon, Feb 22 – 6:30 pm w/ Mark – super juicy – if I wasn’t in the front row, I would’ve taken a knee – but pushed myself…I think I was acting too proud in front of my fellow yogis.  Half a$$ed some sets in the spine strengthening series. 
  • #46 Tues, Feb 23 – 6:00 pm w/ Otto – strong forehead to knee thanks to a correction in order to  maintai the classic bikram grip; “Vera Wang, Vera Wang!” Otto yelled during tree pose.  He later explained, “Act as if you are wearing a Vera Wang gown, all $10,000 of it.  Proud.  Chest up, stomach in!”  LOL — I’ll never look at tree pose the same way again.
  • #47 Wed, Feb 24 – 5:30 pm w/ Otto – mind was like jelly today & had to sit out one set of separate leg stretching and balancing stick.  It also probably didn’t help that I had a pastrami sandwich & french fries (which I never eat) for lunch; they sat like a stone in my stomach
  • #48 Thurs, Feb 25 – 6 pm w/ Becca – strong class and felt light afterwards
  • #49 Fri, Feb 26 – 5:30 pm w/ Otto – another strong class although there was a moment in pranayama when the women next to me where holding back giggles from something Otto said and I was getting affected.  Found myself inhaling and giggling and exhaling and giggling at the same time. LOLOL
  • #50 Sat, Feb 27 – 4:30pm w/ Alina – drenched by pranayama but stayed strong

6 responses to “What I’ve Learned So Far

  1. Good work on the standing head-to-knee, and on a great interest rate! That's record low. I totally understand the emotional release part. It's happened to me several times. It always freaks me out, but you know what they say… "you feel it? Good! Something is happening!"

  2. So inspiring to read you my friend.. what a challenge and what great ways you are finding each day to face them and allow them to become a part of the journey as opposed to separating one from the other..As you said, all will fall into place! Your incredible strength and determination will guide you there! Congrats and keep movin'! 🙂

  3. Wow too many things to write a coherent comment, but nice to see you're still going strong."In this yoga, you should struggle, not suffer." – Strange I was looking at what searches people use to get to my blog and "Struggle don't suffer" was very popular. Maybe me seeing this everywhere is a sign before barcelona.

  4. Wow, congrats on the house and on the low interest rate! You are right, all of these other big life questions will be answered at the right time. So, like in yoga, your only job is to focus on your breathing…everthing else will follow…

  5. I wandered around on my lunch today and figured out where the studio is. 🙂 Do you usually go after work on weekdays? (I'd have to leave home by 5 to make the 7 a.m. class. Eeeeek.) Maybe I will crash one of those, soon? 5:30/6 is a great time. Congrats on the house momentum. I didn't think about closing costs either… Whoops! Hope you are having a beautiful Monday, and are enjoying this warmer weather!

  6. I love that your teacher calls you ActionJoJo! Miss you and love reading your posts. You're such an inspiration. Jill xoxo

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