Many of the folks that I spoke to in the class only go once a week. While I am sure there are many individuals at my local studios that do this I typically talk to the folks I see most often (i.e. 3 or more times per week). It was odd to think of only going once a week. One gent viewed it as his weekly stretching amidst his gym and running routine. He was complaining her hurt for a few days afterward every time. That’s the sad thing about muscles… leave them for too long and they return to their old ways. Throw in some weight lifting to shorten the muscles… and that “long period” turns into a week. So many folks think they have to run for hours a week to “get their cardio” and this is so wrong. They don’t have time for a second yoga class because they have to go jog for an hour.
Many of the general public believes that you have to perform lots of cardiovascular exercise to achieve health and/or weight loss. However, this is not true. In fact, greater benefits can be achieved with shorter duration higher intensity exercise. One study compared the one-minute bout of intense exercise with twenty minutes of moderate intensity exercise, it was discovered that only four one-minute bouts of intense exercise would be required to exceed the total oxygen consumption of a twenty-minute bout of moderate (60% maxHR) intensity exercise. The research data showed that the one-minute bouts of intense stepping on the X-iser Machine™ used an average of 46.7 Cals/min compared to only 9.3 Cals/min for a twenty-minute bout of typical aerobic exercise. In addition, when you perform extended periods of cardiovascular exercise, you raise levels of Glucocorticoids, which are tissue destroying hormones. To maintain health and optimum weight you need to keep as much muscle tissue as possible. This probably explains why my personal trainer has me doing cardio for 10 min (5 peaks) 3 to 6 times per week. Of course this being said… when they talk about higher intensity they literally mean pushing with everything you have for the full minute. Staggering on the treadmill for the recovery minute is permitted. I see why 1hour jogs seem more alluring.
Back to TT talk! The other thing of note is that I am vacillating a LOT less than I used to. I used to go through these periods of “what the heck am I thinking; I don’t need to go to TT. I should just focus on my practice?!” and “I can’t go to TT! We can’t afford this!” that used to occur more often than I care to admit, now I am finding them less frequent. I am more at peace with the idea that if TT is meant to be then things will occur such it can happen. You know, things such as winning the lotto or Master P continuing to be employed in order to pay said mortgage. Although… these days the lotto winning is seeming to be the more likely (what with him working for Chrysler (today at least) and all).
Onto another topic. I have hips that are about as open as the doors of a high security prison. Many of the poses are some hard work for me, ones involving open hips I still very much represent the “before” aspect of the yoga pose. So, there I am before class the other day and Pedro has his knees out and practically against the floor, while his heels meet his groin. So I ask if he can do lotus. He looks at me puzzled. Understand that I can’t do half-lotus with one foot let alone full lotus. So I tell him what to do with the foot. Bam. No problem. Looks at me and goes “the other one goes here right” and plonks the other foot up easy as you like. So not fair. Okay, I get to see my mat in my backbends on good days. I guess unfairness goes all directions.
Gents winner Ladies winner
Sleep, class, brunch, lecture, must… stay…awake (no offense to Emmy and Raj, but I think most of us were dozing off at the end there). Then some wise soul put on some very upbeat music and soon we were all dancing about (I bet the photos look like the later part of a drunken wedding party). We sure were invigorated for our evening class :) Dinner was good. We had a guest speaker Saturday night. May Yue, founder of the Tao of Youth was there talking about her life and her book. More revelry followed. I think we were all saddened that Sunday morning was our last class. We had a farewell ceremony after breakfast and we all dispersed. (or went to spa appointments, or hung around for a bit). I had a great dinner (and a beer sampler - gasp!) in the Minneapolis airport with Teri (another great yogi from CA – interestingly enough, Teri teaches Jill’s Advanced classes (go figure!)) Then off home… and straight into my massage chair…. Ahhh… and bed (needed a few hours rest before work!). Zzzzzz…
Me and Rajashree (half the reason I went to the event!)
For me the retreat really began with the Native American sweat lodge. Do not pre-judge the black tarpaulin covered branches making a low dome in the dirt =). So a whole bunch of us go in and the flap is lowered. It is pitch black in there. Ooookay. On goes the water. Place fills up with steam. Not pleasant steam, like a steam room mind you. Cloying. So the one woman who had be raised Lakota does the chanting and the initial blessings. Very nice. She did a great job. I’m wondering when the steam will subside so I can slip out (no exiting till such occurs). Then I find out what sweat lodge is really about as we are asked to offer up thanks or prayers. The words in the darkness are deep and profound. A prayer for a loved one diagnosed with cancer. Thanks for a healthy baby. A prayer for self-acceptance. So it went. For me that set the tone for the weekend. No facades, no drama; only warmth, caring and sharing. I felt connected. These prayers and thanks did not belong to one individual; they belonged to all of us. We were created together from the earth and we all share in all the world’s pain, suffering and joy.
As you can see, right from the get-go there was a lot to deal with mentally and emotionally. I think everyone at the retreat got what they needed when they opened themselves up to it. I went looking for answers I hadn’t even asked. Prior to the retreat I kept vacillating between “I have to do this” and “no, this is nonsense, I don’t have the time or money!” I have to grow to TT. Yes, I meant to say grow and not go. I have to go. It may or may not be in the spring, but I have to go. My yoga practice sure could benefit from it ;) but the truth is I think I need it even more. I’ve always told people you take your emotional baggage into your yoga class with you. While that is true, you don’t have to deal with all of it at once. Everyone I have spoken to has confirmed that at TT ever nasty habit, bit of luggage, and scrap of self-loathing comes forth. There is no place to hide. Good.
I did confirm at the retreat that TT was being moved to California and would no longer be in Acapulco. Since then Bikram's website has been updated with the new dates and location :)
2009 Training ScheduleSpring Session: begins on April 26 to June 28, 2009
The Desert Springs JW Marriott Resort and Spa
I’m not sure anyone who has not been subjected to Bikram yoga will actually get the humor, the terror, and the irony of those 3 words. It’s all part of Bikram’s dialog that each teacher must learn. (for those of you not yet privy to the subtle nuances and downright funny phraseology, let me introduce you to a few of our favorite gems. While these are at first funny, one comes to embrace them. When you listen to the dialogue, it’s a form of concentration. It’s a meditation. So here are some: Open your chest like a flower petal blooming. Pulling is the object of stretching. (admit it, you’re thinking WTF?!) Focus with your English bulldog determination, your Bengal tiger strength. Inside out, bones to skin.)
I digress. It has been an interesting week. Sick. Sick of being sick. It all started with an exceptionally sore throat. By Thursday I was wishing I had the sore throat back! I didn’t see my personal trainer all week, but I think being sick and having done 4 yoga classes in the last 4 days counts :). I went Tuesday evening. I typically go 6am on Tuesdays and only miss that class with due cause. I hardly sweated all class and had zero strength. I therefore focused on keeping my leg locked any time my leg was to be straight. It is amazing how often my leg is not locked. :( I think this is probably because I’ve never needed to lock the knee to get my legs straight. It takes an inordinate amount of concentration let me tell you. At one point I was in Dandayamana Bibhaktapada Paschimottanasana (pose below) trying to keep my thighs contracted (aka locking the knee), suck in my stomach, and pull with my arms. I could only seem to do two at a time so I kept cycling. Oi! My water embargo proved detrimental as I had to leave the room due to hacking up the proverbial lung! Next time we allow little sips of water for extreme coughing.
Here's an davanced pose I won't be doing this week...
I did up the ante though and refused to let myself out of the room. Filthy habit that… allowing oneself to leave the room when overwhelmed. It’s such a cop out. Quitters never win and winners never quit. If you think leaving the room for 2 min is okay as long as you go right back you’re only kidding yourself. Even if it’s not yoga, we all have our “leaving the room.” For some it’s conning yourself into thinking one small bit of cake will do no harm. True in calories but not in psyche. Dressing like a frump is another lie, simpler to deal with than the truth. It is nothing more than another self conning betrayal. Why do we let ourselves down? Most of us would never even consider betraying our friends the way we betray ourselves. What is your cop out? Do you even know? Did you tell yourself you could skip your workout today because you were too tired? Did you tell yourself you would join the gym next year when you were thinner? Are you skipping push-ups because you “can’t” do them? Who cares… certainly many of us don’t care enough about ourselves to push. So I challenge you… do something today that you’ve been telling yourself you can’t do. You will surprise yourself with the result!
170 days to go...
I do think Master P is right when he says he thinks I should do another 60 day challenge. This is where one days 60 classes in 60 days. I did one before, but it would indeed be excellent preparation for teacher training. I need to prepare for yoga day in and day out.
Now... about filthy habits. We all develop them in life. In yoga they can stand between you and growing your practice. I am most annoyed at all the habits I have found in myself. I need to work through these before teacher training. First on my hit list is drinking water in class. So far I've done my last 2 classes water free. YAY me. Water in class disrupts your flow. not to mention putting water in your tummy which leads to blood flowing there to take care of it. This reduces ones energy. Then why do we drink water in class? It's a security blanket. It is simpler than dealing with one's emotions in class. Next i have to figure out why I need to pee in class. Got to stop the need to step out.