In the studio lobby, a board lists everyone doing the challenge. And each day, as you go into class, you put a check for that day in the row with your name. It's meant to be a way for everyone to encourage each other, and my guess is that it does that job. It's also brought out a bit of the competitive streak in me. I don't compete with anyone in the classes themselves. I try not even to compete with myself. But those check marks kind of nag at me, as much as I know they shouldn't. Anyway, with today's double, I'm officially "winning" the race among the Sugarland Bikramites, with 22 classes in 20 days. I'm both a little proud of myself, and a bit ashamed for being aware of it in the first place.
I was toying with the idea of another double anyway, mostly because I've been reading blogs about the last teacher training. They do five doubles a week for nine weeks. Compared to that, this 60 day challenge is a cakewalk. So I've thought about doing some more doubles. The chances that I would ever do teacher training are practically nil, even though it sounds like an amazing experience.
Then, after the first class, I asked who was teaching the late class, and the answer was Zeb. My first reaction was that Zeb's classes are really hard, and I would just skip it. Then I almost immediately changed my mind. The whole point of this exercise is to stop avoiding things just because they are hard or a bit uncomfortable. And as a result, my first reaction basically forced me to go.
I'm glad I did. Zeb's classes are hard, and he keeps the room at perfect Bikram conditions, or slightly hotter. As a result, I find myself losing energy and focus towards the end of his classes. But the things that I do with concentration in his classes are very satisfying. Today, I felt like I had a really good Camel. And I got my knee locked for the first time in Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee. I was really happy about that, because usually I'm totally wiped by that point in the standing series. And tonight I was totally focused, and my front leg actually straightened out. (Skipping half of Triangle probably helped here. Oh well...)
On thing that's amazing about this yoga is that it feels like it works from the core outward. The first big effects I felt were in the spine, the hips and the abs. It's becoming clearer and clearer that minor changes in the extremities have big impact on the center. In morning class, Lenette corrected my extended leg in Wind Relieving Pose. She said not to let it just flop out. My foot should point to the ceiling while remaining relaxed. She showed me what she meant, and I could immediately feel a stretch in the hip that I'd never felt before. All from a change of a few degrees in a foot that's basically relaxed anyways. And then tonight, Zeb called me out in Half Tortoise. He said to push the palms into prayer and lock the elbows... more... This slight change created a huge stretch in between, and in, the shoulder blades. Again, a very slight adjustment in the extremites made a huge difference. I'm wondering if that idea might be a metaphor for how the yoga works on life in general. After all, its just 90 minutes a day, and to an outsider it appears to work on strength and flexibility. But these seemingly minor changes in a closed, hot room are having an amazing impact at the core -- and not just the core of the body. It's more like it goes to the core of everything.