Friday, February 19, 2010

3 days, 2 classes, 1 studio...

... and 0 clean, dry towels left at home.
And I couldn't be happier. :)

Has it really been almost a week since I went back to a studio? Amazing. The boyfriend mentioned wanting to do some yoga last weekend, so I checked the websites of the two closest studios. Dingdingding!!! We had a winner. The studio 40 minutes southeast of us had a $10 donation-based class scheduled at just the right time on Saturday.

We went, the owner taught, the heat was perfect, I loved it, B loved it. I'd been to this studio only twice before: on Thanksgiving 2008, and some random day last year. Always good experiences, it's just kinda far away, and at 20 bucks a pop for regular classes, kinda expensive, too. It's especially hard to consider joining when we're about to buy a house and money will be even tighter than before. I love this job, and I can't put a price tag on contentment, but taking a 15% cut has some practical consequences...

I got two interesting corrections in class, that directly contradict what I've been taught before and have read in Bikram's books. I did the postures "her way" after the corrections, out of respect for her teacherness, but I still wonder.

First, for the third part of locust, she told us to put our foreheads on the towel. Not just kiss the towel, but tuck the chin all the way to get the forehead down. I was like, But if I do that, I won't get my callus back under my chin!!! Just kidding. I was really thinking, My nose! It's broken!!! The boyfriend actually has quite a large nose. I don't really know how/if he did it the way she said. But damned if I didn't get my legs way higher in the second set. Have any other yogis/yoginis heard this?

Second, in janushirasana, the head-to-knee pose toward the end of class, she told me to grab my foot and stretch toward my foot, with a flat back, before tucking my chin and touching my head to my knee. More like the setup for standing head to knee than, say, rabbit. I had always been taught to grab my foot, then curl down. "This is a compression posture first, and a stretching posture second." Right? No? Thoughts?

B had taken a Bikram class five-plus years ago in a studio in southern San Diego, and he liked it. A few nights before the Saturday class, we ran through a single set of the series at home. So maybe those two things helped him on Saturday: At the end of class, the teacher/studio owner congratulated him on his first class, and said that maybe he was really a spy student from headquarters sent by Bikram to check on the studio. (That sounds almost creepy now, but it was just sweet and funny when she said it.)

Saturday night and Sunday we peeked in at to watch the asana championship. I didn't see any of my old Utah friends, including Marc, compete, but an old teacher of mine was representing Nevada. I was so excited when she won the national competition, with the most beautiful smile on her face the entire time! My computer/the live feed was screwing up on Sunday, so I didn't get the "streaming" experience, but I saw choppy pieces of another incredible performance by Brandy. She was always such a great teacher, and I had the privilege of practicing next to her several times.

Did that alone inspire me to get to class on Monday, when dead presidents got me a day off from work? I don't know. But I went back. The teacher (not the same one) had me move my mat to a weird, awkward place (I think because we were starting class while waiting for a couple people, and she wanted to save them spots in the middle row? I think? But they never showed.), then she was rapid-fire with the dialogue. Nothing but. There was no room for light or air in her delivery. Most teachers, if not all the ones I've had, will chill out for at least one or two of the pranayama breaths and just count to six on the inhale and exhale a few times. Not this lady. I was so aggravated and rubbed the wrong way! I don't think I've ever left class before, but I was thisclose on Monday.

In the setup for triangle, she was speaking so fast that I literally couldn't understand her. She was like a drill sergeant auctioneer. Unbelieveable. But by this point I was having a decent class, strong enough/flexible enough, but also one where it's just enough that you got to the studio. You know? After class I was thanking her for teaching, and out came these words: "I came in here today with really low energy and you were just 'boom, boom, boom' (snapping my fingers) and I didn't have a choice but to go with it." Whaddya know. My subconscious came through. It's not you, it's me.

I ended up talking with her for about 20 minutes, and she's great. Her daughter is a teacher, too. The daughter's first class taught after returning from training? My Thanksgiving class in ’08. I remember that she knew Utah friend Marc at training. Another guy from that training teaches at the studio and was in Monday's class. Amazing how this little yoga world of ours works.

She encouraged me to come back often. I mentioned sucky finances and that I'd done work-study in Utah. She said I should talk to the owner about work-study there. I was like, Ummmm, I've come here four times in three years. Usually it doesn't work like that? But I guess with them knowing I've been practicing at home, they are less inclined to think that I'm just a wannabe moocher. The owner is headed to Barcelona for the Bikram seminar (with bloggers aHappyYogi and Johan, too!) in less than two weeks, and I don't know whether to email her before or after. Sooner's probably better, huh? How do I ask? Sheesh. I think my old studio owners would give me a good reference.

It was soooo nice to get back into a studio, not just for the heat, but for the community, too. Sometimes we talk about how we can feed off of one another's energy during class, and lift one another up during some postures, especially triangle and full locust. Well, I think the concept applies to the whole studio experience, too. I get more stoked on yoga in general when I'm around other people who are excited about it. Isn't there some physics/chemistry concept about attraction that addresses this? (Gonna have to look that up... Ninth-grade chemistry was 14 years ago. Shit - half a lifetime. Moving on...)

So now I have this itching, burning feeling in my belly. I find myself daydreaming and conniving about how and when I can get back to practicing in a studio.

Congratulations to the Bikram 101 Challengers!!! I probably wouldn't be going through any of this if I hadn't seen the group on Facebook last December and gotten intrigued. Thanks to the organizers — here, here, and here. :) You guys are halfway done (Action JoJo, you're not far behind!), and you inspire me every day! Keep rocking it, worldwide yogis!


  1. What interesting corrections! I love the detail you use in reporting them to you. I actually like the one about janushirsasana. If you reach out toward your foot, maybe you get more length in your spine than you would otherwise.

  2. Fabulous. Your yoga-filled days sound awesome! It's interesting to take classes with teachers who have slightly different instructions - those little details do make a difference. And yes, the Bikram community is incredible indeed... :)

  3. Sweet, good times!!

    I've NEVER heard of forehead on floor for locust. It sounds kinda... hazardous.

    Janushirasana IS a compression posture, but you grab your foot (with your back still straight) before you tuck chin to chest, look at stomach, round down, and touch forehead to knee. Just like the standing head to knee, which is just like rabbit. :) I dunno about stretching TOWARD the foot, though... I'm not sure how to picture what you're describing. You don't want to pull yourself DOWN, you just want to sit up (relatively) straight before you round down and get the compression (again, just like standing head to knee before the elbows come down). Um. Did that make any sense?! Pay extra attention to the sequencing next time you listen to the CD - there's actually a lot of sequencing in that posture that gets lost. I should check the CD and see what it says...

    You should DEFINITELY ask your old studio owners for a reference for work-study. Like, DEFINITELY. The Bikram yoga world is so small and half the studio owners know each other. A good recommendation goes a LONG way, and I'm sure your old owner would be more than happy to write one for you. DO IT!!

  4. Wow!!! So many things to say!

    First, thanks for the shoutout!! :))) I'm doing my 50 tomorrow, I think. Yay!

    Second, I totally hear YA about saving $$ because of the house. OMIGOSH! Every penny counts indeed. Which makes reminds me: the 7am weekday class at my studio is always $10! I can't believe I didn't tell you this before!! Also, if there are any specials where it may help you, I'll let you know. And good for you for working in a job that you love despite the 15% cut. It takes a lot of courage.

    As for your questions about the poses: never have I been told to put my forehead on the floor for third part of locust. I agree with thedancingJ: sounds hazardous. As for head to knee stretch, I agree with J: it's like what you do just before you tuck your chin in standing forehead to knee. I was taught to suck my stomach in/pull my navel in and engage my abs, tuck my chin, and round over in order to compress compress compress. Since my greatest challenge is getting my forehead to my knee in all the compression poses, all my teachers have always told me to keep sucking in my stomach to create that curve in my [very flat] back. Good luck hon!