2016: Yoga Goals

It was important for me to attend a donation-based yoga class (also called karma yoga for the idea that you get what you put into the world) for New Year’s Day. The whole idea of starting off a new year on the right note, and never having been to one of any form in the past, got me moving in the morning rather than sleeping in like I’ve done for these holiday/donation/karma classes in the past.

I practiced with Theresa at Santosha Yoga in Chesterfield, a practice of letting go of 2015 and setting an intention for 2016, rather than a resolution. That’s exactly what I needed to hear. It’s amazing when you connect with what the teacher is saying. I’ve never been to Santosha before, and practicing at studios I haven’t been to is one of my goals for 2016. One of the things about teaching yoga is that there’s no one right way to do it. My teacher Lisa said one time that you don’t feel like a yoga teacher until you’ve been doing it for 10 years. It can be so easy to fall into a pattern or even feel stuck, and this goal is a reminder for me to learn from other teachers out there.

I’m also planning a trip to New York City in April for the Yoga Journal conference to learn from as many master teachers as I can. I was supposed to attend the one that took place in the Colorado Rockies in September, but I was sick and could barely get out of bed. I’d imagine the atmosphere and energy is different from the mountainous outdoors of the Rockies and the hustle and bustle of the city, but I’m still looking forward to it! (On that note: Anybody willing to put me up for a few days so I don’t have to pay $200-plus per night at the hotel? 🙂 )

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Yoga: Sweating out my issues

My casual on and off yoga practice of the last two years has recently turned a dedicated corner. During this time, never did I think Bikram was the type of yoga I was interested in. Stick myself in a room of over 100 degrees for 90 minutes doing garurasana (eagle pose) and the like?

Britney knows how I feel.

But when Yelp put together a Bikram event at a Midtown studio, I jumped at the chance. If I wasn’t ever going to do it on my own, might as well do it via a free event to see what the fuss was about.

Bikram is no joke — not that I thought for a second it would be easy. There’s really no way of mentally preparing yourself for the grueling 90 minutes other than making sure you’re hydrated beforehand.

I’m bummed that I didn’t make it through the entire session. But if there’s one thing I learned through yoga, it’s not to compare myself to anyone while on my mat and to listen to my body.

During the first half of the standing poses, I was doing rather well. You might say I even surprised myself. Check out that fierce concentration.

Detroit Yelp Elites at Bikram Yoga Midtown (Credit: Yelp)
Detroit Yelp Elites at Bikram Yoga Midtown (Credit: Yelp)

Then we had to transition onto our backs before the sitting poses, and that’s when my surroundings started getting fuzzy, my breathing became labored and I could feel a migraine starting to settle in. Halfway through, I was only doing half the poses, and then when we had to fold forward, I felt like I was going to pass out. I made it out of there.

One of the teachers told me afterward that your blood pressure drops when you lie down after all the work that you put in. How is that safe and good for your body? Are Bikram’s health claims actually beneficial in the long run?

I don’t think of my non-desire of Bikram to mean I can’t toughen it out, although it’s easy to view it that way. There’s a time and place not only to pull back but also to push yourself. I find that on my mat daily — at room temperature, and it’s a beautiful thing.