Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Sum of All Things

Hi there,

Yesterday marked the finale of the 30 day Bikram Yoga challenge with Melissa--and some other endings and beginnings that Melissa shared over here. I can't wait to read her Readers Write submission to The Sun magazine. Congratulations Melissa, on a year well spent, and thanks again for bringing me on for the 2011 adventure. Also super thanks to all the encouragement from everyone and Jaime and Bob for the rides to and from class during those super cold and wet days.

Meditation Month

I'm on the right.
As readers who follow this blog may recall January was meditation month, and as you can easily tell it was really more about the yoga for me. Does that make it a moving meditation? I really tried, and while I intend to finish my reading materials I just couldn't sink my teeth into it the way I thought I could. Part of the challenge was balancing everything else that's going on in my life. Meditation kept looking like an escape hatch or a total disconnect from everything I was supposed to be doing. Which probably is an indicator that I need to practice it more. Or maybe not. In any case, why does something like meditation--or even yoga for that matter--seem like a luxury?
I can say that with the theme of this month as meditation, complemented by the yoga practice, I have experienced and increased sense of focus and intention in every day behaviors. I immediately feel more focused in a period of time and more giving of myself to the task at hand--whether that be washing dishes, folding laundry, writing a blog post, doing my day-job work. I've just been more...here.

30 Day Yoga Challenge  

What the sign says.
This past weekend took me to Portland for a birthday party so I had to find a Bikram-certified yoga studio to complete days 28 and 29. I found Bikram Portland on Alberta Street. Practicing away from home in new surroundings was at first scary but a great experience that in a way brought me back to the very beginning of my 30 days--just listening and adjusting to a new environment. I don't know that I could have had any better classes. Of course day 30 I spent most of the time lolling about on the floor in Savasana wishing I could leave much like my very first class. It's funny how when you build up a climax in your mind and then you get there and it happens to be just like any other day.  
I've been asked by a few people what I think of this practice and if I've received any noticeable benefits. So here's a quick (very quick) summary of what's happened to me:

10 body improvements from 30-day Bikram yoga challenge:
  1. Slimmer waistline, calves, quads; overall improved definition in the legs and arms
  2. Ability to stand and touch my toes (something I haven't done in over 15 years)
  3. Ability to sit and extend my legs, lock my knees lift my heels off the ground while touching my toes
  4. Deeper breathing when outside of class; improved ability to stay relaxed during stressful situations
  5. Increased stamina for standing on one leg while engaging the quadriceps
  6. More conscious engagement of my abs outside of class, especially when bending over
  7. Greater water intake has led to increased alertness and mental agility while outside of class
  8. Smoother skin
  9. Overall more moderated appetite
  10. Deeper sleep
Namaste January.

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