Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Mon. 4:30 with Amy

The heat was a roller coaster today.  We started at 107 and 42% humidity -- yikes!  I was pouring sweat onto my towel even before we started pranayama.   Early on, Amy figured out that she was gonna kill people and turned it down.  By Standing Bow, it felt cold again at least by Bikram standards, so she cranked things back up.  And by second set of Triangle, it was so hot I felt like I was going to collapse.  After class she insisted it never went above 105 again, but she admitted it felt much hotter for some reason.  Then she turned it down again in Savasana, and by the end of class it felt cold again (it was 102 afterwards).

It's amazing what a huge difference small temperature swings make at that level.  104 degrees and I feel absolutely fine.  I don't even get very tired in the harder poses.  106 or more, or extra humidity, and it becomes a real struggle.  And unfortunately it really gets to my attitude.  

Today, I got a cramp in my lower abdomen doing Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee.  It was either the heat, or I was compressing and sucking in my stomach in some new way.  And I had some spitting up problems in the spine strengthening series.  Nothing way out of line, just a few of those vicious little throw up burps.

Otherwise, class was really good.  I felt more flexible in my knee for the first time in a while.  I didn't go down on my elbows in fixed firm, but I probably could have pushed it there.  Instead, I'm trying to concentrate on perfect alignment in the poses that are pushing my knee.   I got into Japanese Seated position today without too much discomfort, and I didn't look like the Leaning Tower of Pisa while doing it.  There was just a slight shift to the right still, but not the really noticeable angle I've been seeing recently.

I've been getting some "You've lost more weight." comments from people in the last few days.  I hadn't weighed myself in a couple of weeks, so I thought it might be true.  They are probably noticing something that I don't see (because I stare at myself in the mirror for at least 45 minutes a day now, so I don't see the gradual changes).  I checked this morning, and I haven't lost anything since finishing the 60 days.  That's not to say they are wrong about my appearance, but if there are changes it is a matter of composition and not weight.

When I started at Lifetime Fitness, a few weeks before I found Bikram, they said that 211 would be a reasonable goal for my weight.  I was about 260 at the time.  Now, I think it may be most reasonable not to have a goal.  If I were to set one however, it would probably be somewhere around 205.  That's another 11 pounds, and it's sometimes nice to think about making a push for it.  However, its probably more important not to do anything that will not be sustainable.   

That means, for now, the goal is just to continue with practice.  I've been at it now for 6 months.  In some ways now, I am one of the more experienced people in the room most classes, which is kind of hard to believe.  It's dangerous to start thinking of myself as somehow experienced:  I'm still just a rank beginner.  Progress in yoga is measured in years if not decades, not just in months.  And that is a good thing.  If real progress could be had in just months, then it would also be OK to just set the practice aside for a few months as well.  And that is precisely what must not become an option. 

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