A friend sent me a link to a blog post titled, “Are you a Bikram yoga addict?” a couple of weeks ago as food for thought for my practice.
I couldn’t stop laughing throughout the entire post. First, I could totally see truth in everything that was listed. Second, I’m so far from it I actually do the exact opposite of what an addict does.
So I thought it might be appropriate to post what it’s like to be a Bikram newbie.
- You bring 2 bottles of iced water to class.
- You can’t wait until the first four poses are done so you can take your first water break.
- You take large gulps of water in between every posture.
- You use words like ‘brutal’, ‘torturous’, ‘killer’ and ‘painful’ to describe Bikram yoga.
- You miss Moksha yoga.
- You swear under your breath every time you lose balance or can’t hold your pose anymore.
- Instead of feeling good after your practice you feel completely drained and unable to move or do anything else.
- You need to eat a chocolate – just one small piece – to get your energy back after your practice.
- You have a love-hate relationship with Bikram yoga.
- You dread your next class already even though it’s one week away.
Now you’re probably wondering why I even torture myself with Bikram yoga. Well, I believe in the health benefits it claims to have. I believe that this initial phase of “newbieness” will pass and that I will eventually start to feel pleasure instead of pain after each and every practice.
I do this because I refuse to give up. Every pose is a challenge that I have to overcome. The feelings of mastering a pose is truly indescribable. I do this because it teaches me patience. And it teaches me to push myself but also to know what my limits are so I don’t get hurt.
I do this because it’s good for me. I do this because I have to lose 8 lbs. so I can fit into my skirt.
Coco is 9 years old but she looks great for her age. She takes me from point A to point B and she runs as smooth as butter. Coco is an Acura 1.7EL and she’s sexy.
As usual, I left her on the street just outside of my work’s parking lot. She waited patiently for 8 hours until I was done. When I came out, my heart dropped. It looked like a group of birds decided to use Coco as a party venue. They partied hard, leaving a huge mess everywhere on her. It wasn’t just one or two droppings on her hood. There were splatters of evidence all over the roof, trunk, both sides of the body, windshield, rear window and side windows. They were everywhere!
I looked at the other cars who were parked around me, in front and behind. Not a drop on them. Hmm, what a strange predicament. Did I do something to the birds? Did I run over a baby birdie accidentally? I hope not. The thought of having done that sickens me. But I must have done something to those birds. Coco certainly didn’t. She’s innocent, that much I know.
Well I wasn’t planning on taking her for a wash until winter is over but I could not let Coco drive around all winter looking like she had just gotten violated. Poor Coco. What would all her car friends think?
So yesterday I took her for a car wash at the Auto Salon across from where I work. The guy did a great job. She was hand washed and hand dried in about 10 minutes. And she looks like new again! I feel better now and I’m sure she feels great too .
suddenly my eyes focus and snap to attention, and my heart stops. In the window of Denny and George is a discreet sign. It’s dark green with cream lettering, and it says: SALE.
I’m sure I’m not the only woman who can relate to Rebecca Bloomwood…right? At her inability to think of anything else but that scarf or that dress or that purse? Of that’s SALE???
Sometimes I have to stop the blood from rushing to my head. I’m scared. Really scared. When I went to New York in November, I told myself I wasn’t going to shop. Not just because of budget but because I just didn’t feel like it! But when we got to NYC and I saw all those beautiful stores, each calling my name ever so sweetly, I just could not ignore them. I mean, it’s rude not to go in when you’re being invited in, right?
So it started off with a new pair of UGGS. But I had to! It was $100 cheaper than if I were to buy them in Toronto. Needless to say, by the end of the trip, 4 shopping days later, I was in tears. I was overwhelmed with mixed emotions. Emotions of pure joy and delight of the many treasures I found. Of the bargains I got! But also emotions of genuine distress. How did I end up buying this much stuff and spending this much money? Oh the anxiety of having to pay the bill later! And this happened when I didn’t feel like shopping. What would have happened had I actually planned to shop?
I’m scared now because I’m going to VEGAS in a week and I don’t want to shop. I really don’t. I’m on a tight budget especially after the Christmas holidays. I know what you’re thinking. “So set a budget for yourself or don’t buy anything.” Right? That’s what you’re thinking. That I should set an “intention” for my trip. An intention not to shop. That it’s mind over matter and it should be that simple. But who am I kidding? How could I set such an intention? Especially when I already have the intention of finding my Jimmy Choo sunglasses and breaking the bank for them. That’s already a lot of dollars I’m spending before I even get to Vegas! It’s hopeless. This is one intention I cannot set for my trip.
The good news is, I’m not nearly as bad as Rebecca Bloomwood. But that’s why I’m not the main character of a book or the star of a movie. I have to give respect to Sophie Kinsella though, for knowing how to relate to her readers. Naturally, I loved the movie just as much as the book. I remember watching intently, heart beating out of my chest, as Rebecca eyed that Denny and George scarf lustfully. I understood that look. That yearning.
But at the end of the day, it comes down to balance. Balance between satisfying your cravings and managing your checkbook. It comes down to the reality of being in real life, not in some book or some movie.
At the end of the day, I’m not a shopaholic. I’m just a woman who loves to shop. And I take comfort in knowing that I am not alone.
When I went to Moksha yesterday, the teacher told us to set our intention for our practice. What do we want out of it?
I thought this was such a wonderful idea. But it caught me by surprise. What did I want from it? To get through the class alive in one piece and not fall flat on my face? Well yes, that might be what I wanted, but all kidding aside, setting our intention for our practice has a much deeper purpose.
During the practice, I directed my energy to my intention, which, for that particular moment, was to experience a calmness that my hectic days seem to lack. When the class ended and I was in my favourite pose, savasana, I felt a renewed energy that I haven’t felt, even though I have been practicing weekly for the past month and a half.
I wonder if it had anything to do with setting an intention for the practice and focusing my energy on it? Or if it was simply because I went to a different studio?
In any case, I believe that intentions can go a long way. The mind is powerful and how and what we think can affect our days and essentially, our entire life. Setting an intention doesn’t have to be confined to yoga classes.
So whether it’s about getting through a hot yoga class without falling, or getting through rush hour traffic without irritation, or getting through the day with contagious enthusiasm, I’m going to consciously remember to set my intention for the day. What do I want out of my day? How do I envision it to be?
And perhaps the amazing energy I felt during savasana could be extended beyond the Moksha studio.
Try to fit into your high school jeans
is one of the 10 new year’s resolutions you should never make, according to Marie Claire magazine.
Well, how about trying to fit into a skirt? Because that’s one of my new year’s resolutions this year.
The magazine also advises against starting a blog. Well guess what? I’m doing that too. Except it’s not really a new year’s resolution if I actually started it in December is it?
I’m not one to make a new year’s resolution list. Ever. I’ve never sat down on Jan 1st to write down what I am or am not going to do for the year. Firstly, do people ever achieve what they’ve set out on their lists? Secondly, writing them out means actually formalizing them. What if you don’t achieve some or all of them? Wouldn’t that crush your spirit?
It doesn’t mean that I don’t have goals. My goals tend to take longer than a year to materialize so it never seems realistic to say that I would achieve them within a year.
But I suppose new year’s resolutions are about being ready to make the immediate changes that would make you a better you. Like quit smoking. You’re never going to quit unless you’re ready to quit. Unless you want to. I guess they should be things that are attainable within the year.
So here we go. Here’s my 2012 list:
- Fit into my skirt. One I’ve never worn because it was always a tad too big. One that I finally got taken in but never had a chance to wear. One that is now too small.
- Lose 8 lbs. so I can fit into that skirt.
- Stop shopping for our snack cabinet.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables.
- Go to hot yoga regularly.
- Exercise regularly so I can lose 8 lbs and fit into that skirt.
- Write every day as random as my thoughts might be. And no, Facebook and twitter do not count as writing.
- Stop eating so I can fit into that skirt! Okay I’m just kidding about that one. Really I am.
- Fit into my skirt! Oops I already have that on my list.
So what do you think? Reasonable and achievable, right? I guess we’ll see. It’s all mind over matter.
Oh by the way, here’s my last real meal of 2011 and 2012.
Wish me luck.
Okay, this is really really hard. I’m so lightheaded I think I’m going to faint. Why do I insist on torturing myself like this? I can’t hold my pose anymore. I’m going to fall. You can do it Astrid. Focus. Breathe.
Then, just as I get a grip on the situation, the teacher and pretty much everyone else around me move into the “toe stand” pose (pictured below taken from Bikram Yoga East York) and here I am thinking, “Seriously? You want me to do that? How in the world…?”
Many hot classes and failed attempts after, I finally did it. With sweat dripping profusely, I balanced myself on my right toes. The feeling of satisfaction, indescribable by words, was worth every torturous effort.
The more I practice the easier it gets. I guess it’s just like anything else – playing sports, painting, singing, etc. I was introduced to hot yoga a couple of years ago but it was only recently that I started going weekly. My goal is to make this a part of my weekly routine and hopefully overtime, it will become a part of my daily activities.
The one thing that hot yoga has taught me is perseverance along with patience and focus. When I feel challenged, whether during practice, at home or at work, all I have to do is:
Focus. Breathe. Focus. Breathe. Focus. Breathe.
And I keep moving.
A Moksha instructor once mentioned that no matter how many years you’ve been practicing or teaching yoga, you can still have off days. This is what keeps me going during my bad days. Knowing that even the experienced aren’t always perfect.
But what really motivates me to go these days? My pink non-slip lululemon yoga towel that I got as a Christmas gift from Edgar. I love love love this towel! I get excited just thinking about using it.
Now, before you move on to another blog, I will leave you with this:
The divine in me recognizes and honours the divine in you.
I was in New York last month and came across the Jimmy Choo Chirss sunglasses in beige. I didn’t want to buy them then for reasons I can’t divulge. But after searching endlessly for this back in Toronto, I now regret not buying them when I had the chance. But how was I to know that it would be this difficult to find these beautiful seemingly one of a kind sunglasses?
Now if you know me, it’s not easy for me to find sunglasses that would fit my small face and flat Asian nose. So imagine how giddy I got when I tried these on, and unexpectedly fell in love with the way they framed my face. And the colour? Oh the colour just illuminated my skin to perfection!
So now I am on a quest to find them. I’ll be in Vegas in a couple of weeks for my friend’s stagette and finding these Jimmy Choos when I’m there is my shopping priority. If I can’t find them there, then I’m stumped. Back to NYC perhaps?
Jimmy Choo, why oh why do you make yourself so scarce?
I started a blog a few years ago when, for the first time in my life, I had no plans and suddenly felt like a lost little lamb. But instead of the weight-off-my-shoulder relief I had anticipated through blogging, I felt like I had just undressed myself, taking off one layer of clothing at a time.
Had I really reveal my private thoughts to the entire world? I was torn between wanting my blog to be read by many and not being read at all. But publicizing my feelings made me feel naked. So I decided to put my clothes back on and delete my blog. From that point on, I made up my mind. Blogging was not for me.
So why start one now?
I understand now that how much I reveal is within my control. I don’t have to undress all the way. Thoughts of writing consume me from the moment I wake up to the moment I close my eyes at night. Although I write for work and I enjoy that tremendously, I itch to write outside of the corporate realm.
So I’m starting a blog now simply because I want to write.
Yes, I’m ready to undress….but only halfway 🙂