Thursday, June 19, 2008

Day One

Today marks the second anniversary of the Bikram Yoga studio where I practice.  Bikram Yoga is a series of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises performed in a room heated to 105 degrees and 40% humidity.  In honor of the anniversary, the studio is having a 60 day challenge.  For the studio, this means taking 5 classes per week over the 60 days.  I'm going to do this, but I've decided to do the challenge the way that Bikram originally presented it:  60 classes over 60 days.

I've been practicing now for a little less than three months.  The idea of doing 60 straight days is both intimidating and exhilarating.  Bikram recommends this for very beginning students.  So you would think that it shouldn't be that hard.  We will see.

This is officially day one of the challenge, but I went to a class yesterday at 8:30.  The idea yesterday was to see if Bikram could help me get over jet lag -- I'd just gotten back from China, I 29 hour trip.  I took the class on about 4 hours sleep, and managed to get through the rest of the day and a regular night's sleep last night.  Two weeks off from Bikram does not seem to have had too bad an effect, and it looks like it is helping with the jet lag.

Lynette taught today's class.  The room was hot.  It seemed much hotter than usual.  This happens sometimes and in the past it was more a matter of psychology than actual conditions.  Today, however, my shorts were saturated by the end of the pranayama, about 15 minutes before usual.  It turned out that there is a problem with the HVAC, and it doesn't shut off automatically.  Lynette couldn't even shut it down manually, so instead she opened up the outside door.  That made for heat and drafts -- oh joy!

The standing series, as a result, was tough today.  I especially had problems with my balance.  Sometimes, I will think that my balance stinks because of weakness in my feet.  Sometimes its because of the person moving in my field of vision.  Today, I blame the drafts.  It probably is me, and not the draft, but the draft still makes a convenient excuse and I'm sticking with it...

The high point today was a lesson in the power of visualization.  Before half locust, I pictured my legs smoothly lifting up, my breathing steady, and my holding the pose with some composure.  And I didn't panic.  Typically, this pose is my nemesis.  It hurts.  It can cause my pulse to near 200 bpm.  It makes me spit up -- water, other liquids, a bamboo shoot, gross stuff.  Then I get to rest my head in the pool of whatever I spit up.  So, I've come to dread the pose, largely because of the picture I have of my suffering through it, of my panicked breath, and of me lying in a pool of my own bile.  Simply by changing the image, I think I overcame the panic, and managed not to spit up.  For me, the difference amounts to a sort of minor miracle.

After class, I think as part of the anniversary celebration, there was watermelon and cantaloupe waiting for us.  Still dripping from the heat, the cold,  juicy fruit was like pure heaven.

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