Life by Cynthia: February 2012

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Bikram Yoga 30 Day Challenge: Day 16

Day 16: SUCKED

Tonight was TOUGH.  I was struggling just to BREATHE tonight.  I felt like I was trying to breathe through a tiny juice box straw.  I was dripping with sweat though barely moving (I took a couple of "extra" Savasanas). My heart was thumping through my chest (again, even when virtually motionless).  I was tired tonight.   Practice was huge struggle for me. BUT I made it through the entire 90 minute class without leaving the room.  A small success, but success all the same.

I will strive to do better tomorrow.

It was one of my favorite instructor's last day.  I don't like emotional goodbyes so I didn't engage in one.  She was swarmed of course with well wishers.  I sent my wishes telepathically as I tried to catch my final breath to go home from my 14th class.  I still have to make up 2 classes that I skipped.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Bikram Yoga 30 Day Challenge: Day 15

Day 15: 15 Days Remaining | H2O-Uh-OH!

My sister & I went to the yoga studio together. Our class tonight was led by Amy. She was the first instructor that we have ever practiced with and will miss her dearly.  She will be moving to the Boston area to pursue her nursing dreams as a student at The Johns Hopkins University School Of Nursing. So proud of her!

My practice didn't go as well as I had wanted. I consumed so much water that I could not make it through the entire 90 minutes without sneaking out of the room for a bathroom break! Too much water was also a problem during the Bow Pose (Dhanurasana). While on my belly, I felt as if water would spew forth like a water fountain decoration. Not a good feeling. Sips of water, not gulps of water next time!

I have never left the room during a session until tonight.  I got dizzy from getting up and walking to the rest room.  The drastic temperature change was a bit of a shock to my body.  When returning to the hot room, I had to lay in Savasana for a few poses just to find my bearings.

I have 13 classes under my belt. I need to put in 2 make-up classes to be successful in the 30 day challenge! Tomorrow is Day 16 and my last class with Amy.

Happy Valentine's Day!

February 14, 2012

February 14, 2011
I hope that everyone had a great Valentine's Day.  I sure did!  I spent it with these two handsome guys!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Bikram Yoga 30 Day Challenge: Day 14

Day 14:  Bikram Break

I took a Bikram Break today and spent the day with my sister & our son's.  We had a nice Greek lunch and spent time at the mall for some Valentine's Day Shopping.

I now have 2 classes to make up!  I will go to class tomorrow EXTRA ready!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Bikram Yoga 30 Day Challenge: Day 13

Day 13:  Going With the Flow

I have 12 classes under my belt.  At this point I am one class behind since I took a day off on Day 11.  I still have plenty of time to double up on classes one day to keep me on track with my 30 classes in 30 days.  I am concerned because I'll have to "go with the flow" and I'm not talking Vinyasa flow!  When I was practicing Bikram in the past, I would just skip going to the studio during this "special time".  I hope I have the energy to make it through classes for the next few days.  Oh well, I have a bit of time before I have to face this issue so I just wont worry about it for now.  Secretly dreading those few days...
Photo Credit:

Tonight's class was led by Julie.  She is great at bringing us to focus on form.  She makes sure that we are doing our posses correctly before going deeper.  Her energy really makes the 90 minutes in the heat an enjoyable experience.  I felt good, with the exception of the dizziness from Camel (pictured).

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Bikram Yoga 30 Day Challenge: Day 12

Day 12: Return from Rest & Recovery

I am glad that I gave myself a one day reprieve. My rest & recovery session was helpful.  I returned to the yoga studio for my 11th class of 30 feeling great!  I reduced the likelihood of burning out!  I will have to do a double session one day soon in order to successfully complete the 30 day challenge: 30 classes in 30 days!  I'm up for it!

The weather has been cold, gloomy, and a bit rainy.  Not something that we are accustomed to in San Diego!  It's definitely napping weather. I'm forgoing the naps for a 105 degree sweat-fest!

On Sunday morning my sister and I met up for our 90 minute class.  We were led by Julie.  She is an awesome person to work with.  She keeps me grounded.  Her instruction brings focus back to the sheer enjoyment of doing yoga. She invites the class to relax (even down to our facial expressions). She tells us that it's OK to smile a little!  Reminding us that the class is for us and we should enjoy it!  I love her!

My body feels so much stronger, my flexibility has increased dramatically, and I am sleeping so well!  I do need to invest in more yoga outfits!  Next time I do a challenge I'm going to have to look into getting sponsored!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Bikram Yoga 30 Day Challenge: Day 11

Day 11: REST

After completing ten consecutive days of Bikram Yoga, I made the decision to rest today.  I found it a great time to pause.  I am ready for class tomorrow and may even attempt my first double session day!  To be successful in the challenge we must complete 30 classes within 30 days.  A rest day just sounded smart!

It was a great day spending quality time with my husband & son.

I enjoyed the time out of the studio. But I am ready to go back for more.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Bikram Yoga 30 Day Challenge: Day 10

Day 10: Bikram On The Brain

I am at a point where all that I can think about is getting to my next Bikram session!  I've become a bit obsessed!  I just feel so good that I can't help but want MORE!

6AM Yoga today.  It is so tough getting up, but love feeling so energized for the rest of the day!  I usually practice after work. During the day I look forward to my workday ending, and my Bikram class starting.  It felt kind of odd that I didn't have to rush to the studio after work.  I think I just might be ready for practicing twice a day. Once in the early AM and again after work!

We were led today by Charlene.  She really is a trooper for teaching such an EARLY class. There were seven of us early birds today!  My sister was able to join me this morning and that always makes it more fun. I am hoping that attendance to the 6AM class grows and that they add more during the week.  Currently it is only offered on Monday's & Friday's.  If they would add Wednesday I'd be set!  After the challenge, I hope to attend at least 3 to 4 classes per week. With the early morning schedule it would work out so much better with my life!  I think I'd like to go EVERYDAY, but the time away takes a toll on our family time and that's no good!  I am fortunate that my husband is supporting me in this 30 Day challenge!

I felt good throughout class.  Only feeling a bit weird after the Camel pose.  Still my nemesis, but each day I've been trying harder & harder not to fear it.  I still get dizzy, but that is just part of it for now.

My hip & back are feeling good.  As I mentioned on my Day 9 post, my body just kind of "snapped" back into place!  My hip & low back pain was instantly alleviated!

I'm on a quest for more yoga workout clothing.  Working out every day = lots of laundry.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Bikram Yoga 30 Day Challenge: Day 9

Day 9: Focused on Form

It's hard to believe that my next session will be my 10th consecutive day of practice.  Today was an excellent yoga day for me.  I felt strong throughout and crave more time in the hot room!  I've even freed myself from the aches & pains in my hip & low back!

Today our class was led by Julie.  I really liked her teaching style.  She is down to earth and easy to follow.  She reminded us to focus on our form.  I followed her advice and found my foundation to be much stronger. I wobbled less that I had been.  I still need work on my balance, but my endurance and breathing is greatly improved.  Julie did a great job at putting the class at ease. There were many first timers in the room and she was very attentive and offered extra coaching to those individuals.

Snap, crackle, POP!  OK, not quite but during Dandayamana-Dhanurasana (Standing Bow Pulling Pose) I stretched and pushed myself to my limits.  I heard a POP! POP!  I felt some shifting in my hip and low back. I was frightened & relieved all at once. The pain that I had been feeling for MONTHS in my hip and low back INSTANTLY eased.  All of the pressure was released.  I am afraid to make any sudden movements to return me to that painful feeling that had been plaguing me.

Looking forward to an early morning class with my sister tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Bikram Yoga 30 Day Challenge: Day 8

I can hardly believe that I have completed 8 consecutive days of Bikram Yoga.  I am feeling accomplished and excited for MORE! I had such a wonderful practice today, finishing stronger than usual!  These past 8 days have been so rewarding.

Day 8:  Start Strong, Finish Strong!

I have had my best practice to date.  I am feeling more confident and in tune with myself.  I practiced today under Charlene's instruction.  I credit her control of the class for the success of my practice today.  She set the ground rules early in the session that if a student MUST leave the room that they do not do it in the middle of a posture so as to NOT distract fellow students.  She is fast becoming a favorite of mine.

I felt good throughout today's 90 minute session.  Having control over my breathing really helps tremendously.  I was able to focus so much better today.

Challenge Wall:
Photo Credit: Bikram Yoga Mira Mesa facebook

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Bikram Yoga 30 Day Challenge: Day 7


I was really looking forward to class.  I got there early, as usual, to stake out my spot. Since the class from the prior night was fairly full I found myself in the front of the class (which I don't like). Tonight I was back in my cozy spot towards the back corner.

I knew from checking the schedule that we would have a new teacher. Since I've been on the challenge this would be the first male teacher that we have had so far.  Today's class was led by Jake Symons.  He seemed really mellow in his instruction, which was fine.  It was a rainy night but the class was full anyway - I guess the rain didn't dampen the dedication of his students.  If anything, Bikram students are hard core. San Diego rain didn't keep them away.  I was secretly hoping for no-shows for a smaller class size. Shh...don't tell.

I had my WORST class ever tonight.  Not with how I did with the poses, I felt really strong.  What made it horrible was the amount of disruptions to the class.  I have never been in a session with so many students going in and out of the hot room.  It is extremely distracting.  I am not yet disciplined enough to tune it out.  Instead of feeling calm & focused, I found myself becoming annoyed.  Usually instructors will coach newcomers to stay in Savasana if they feel like they need a break, making it their goal to REMAIN in the hot room for the 90 minute duration.

I am looking forward to Day 8 of my journey.  I have noticed that my circulation must be improving.  I have been experiencing some tingling in my leg & foot which is now decreasing.  My hip and back are feeling "stretched", which alleviates some of the pain that I have been having. My posture is also improving.  One of the biggest benefits that I am after with Bikram is bettering my alignment.  I have been sleeping so well this week.  I am no longer staying awake late at night so my online hobbies have fallen by the wayside.  Another observation that I have made is that my appetite has gone crazy!  I am super hungry. I have actually GAINED 1 pound!  Good thing I am not on a weight loss challenge!

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Monday, February 6, 2012

Bikram Yoga 30 Day Challenge: Day 6

Day 6: Feeling GREAT!

Today's class was led by Carrie Gerstl.  I admit that I was a little concerned that her class may be too advanced for me after seeing her bad ass yoga pose from her profile pic.  She was a little too "chirpy" (for lack of a better description) for me and where I am at.  I am sure that I will love her more as I become more advanced.  I couldn't keep up with her enthusiasm, but will one day soon.  She was very good at leading the class and definitely a motivating force. I am just not up to her speed yet.  She was very helpful and guided me with adjustments when I needed them.

I have been feeling GREAT overall.  I want to note that prior to starting this challenged I was getting ZERO exercise.  I have been struggling with back & hip pain since pregnancy. I do have scoliosis, but I am not sure how much of the pain can be attributed to that.  I  am hoping to improve my skeletal system with Bikram Yoga.  Jumping back into a workout like Bikram yoga was a shock at first but I am glad that I am progressing.

It really is inspiring to see an instructor who "practices what she preaches". Tonight Eeva worked out right alongside us and taught the next class. I hope to have that kind of energy one day soon!

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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Bikram Yoga 30 Day Challenge: Day 5

Day 5: A Struggle | NO Sleep = NO Good!

I have been eating healthier and taking extra care making sure that my portions are just right.  I've been hydrating properly and have even cut down on my Diet Coke consumption (not easy).  What kept me from having a great practice today was my lack of sleep. I stayed up WAY too late working on projects. I only got a few hours of sleep.

I had an 8am yoga date with my sister.  I was excited about it since I had such a great session the day before & taking class with my sis is a highlight to my day! Sleep deprivation and a morning Bikram session did NOT work well for me.  It was definitely a struggle.  I did make it through but it was not pretty.  I was frustrated that I couldn't find my breath or hold my balance.  I am excited to go back tomorrow and do better than I did today.  New class, new chance to succeed.

Eeva led today's all women class.  She gave us some good lady health tips!  I just might have to try her parsley water recipe.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Bikram Yoga 30 Day Challenge: Day 4

Today has been a breakthrough day for me.  I feel good and I am so happy that I committed to taking the 30 day challenge.  It is already making a big difference.

Day 4:  Back to Basics

Today I realized that I have been starting off ALL WRONG for every practice that I've ever had!  I think that I always KNEW that I was warming up improperly.  The breathing exercise never felt quite "right" to me. Not until TODAY.  I finally learned to breathe.  This probably sounds pretty stupid.  It really is something that you have to be mindful of. For me, using proper breathing techniques while practicing Bikram Yoga made a world of difference.  As crazy as I may sound... I didn't realize until I did it RIGHT that I had been doing it WRONG.  I had my strongest practice today. Breathing = BASIC!  Energizing & relaxing.  Today was a breakthrough day for sure!

I worked under Eeva's instruction today.  I still find my balance off a bit and I get wobbly in some of the postures. Even though I am only into my 4th class... I DO have more stamina to get more out of each pose.  I made it through the standing series and even attempted the Camel pose. Usually I get super nauseous and don't like the dizzy feeling that I get.  I'll work on overcoming that but for now I'm just proud of myself for not resorting to Savasana to calm myself.

Today's Saturday class seemed more full than the prior classes but that was OK.  

I am excited to face another class tomorrow morning. One of Eeva's messages today is that our practices are affected by what we eat & drink, how we sleep (or don't sleep), and even how we interact with others on a daily basis.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Bikram Yoga 30 Day Challenge: Day 3

Sunrise yoga!

I took my first 6am class.  It was a struggle getting up & out of the door BUT I did it!  I am so glad that I did!

Day 3:  Determined!

I was sleepy going into class today.  I woke up briefly at 2:30am thinking it was time to go. I went back to sleep and got up just in time to make the 6am class.  I was in a such a rush that I forgot my water bottle.  Thankfully I was able to buy some there otherwise I could not have made it through class!  There were 5 people in attendance.  I don't know about them...but for me getting there for such an early class took a lot of effort!

Our instructor today was Charlene (pictured).  It was my first class with Charlene.  I only have great things to say about the instructors at my local studio.  They truly are great at what they do.  I appreciate the fact that she is up early so that we can all have a 6am class!  The prep work I'm sure requires a start much earlier than 6am.  I am NOT a morning person, so I know that I couldn't do what she does!

I felt really good about practice today.  I did have to take pause towards the end of the session.  I know my limits and push them when I can.  When I absolutely cannot, I let my body have a chance to recover.

Charlene brought up an excellent point during class for those of us who are participating in the 30 Day Challenge:  It is still very EARLY in the challenge.  She reminded us to eat well & hydrate.  It also reminds me  to make sure that I don't push to the point where I  "burn out" and in turn drop out.

I went to work this morning completely energized.  I wish there were more 6am classes available!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Bikram Yoga 30 Day Challenge: Day 2

I still came back for more after what felt like a torturous 90 minutes last night. I struggled with dizziness, nausea, and fatigue on Day 1.

Day 2: Improvement!

Today was much better for me & my practice.  I was able to complete the entire standing series. My nemeses has always been Ustrasana – Camel Pose. So by the time we reached this posture I was a bit fearful and felt a little dizzy (not to mention EXHAUSTED) so I remained in Savasana.

On day 2 we worked with Eeva Bernardo (pictured).  It was my first time taking her class. She is supportive and encouraging. I didn't tell her it was my only my 2nd day back when she acknowledged newcomers.  I didn't want to draw attention to myself.  A highlight to my workout was hearing her say "good job Labrador" (my last name). It was just the push that I needed to keep on going!

It turns out that I didn't need to tell her that I was new as she was in last night's class practicing. She remembered us. I was embarrassed that she witnessed my first day struggle but encouraged when she told my sister & I that we had shown improvement as compared to the prior night.

I was definitely better prepared for class on Day 2.  I kept myself properly hydrated during the day. I stopped eating by 2:30. I was determined to do better this time.  Every practice is different as each day is different.  I was glad to hear this bit of truth from Eeva and will keep that in mind each time I enter the yoga studio.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Bikram Yoga 30 Day Challenge: Day 1

After tossing the idea around, I made the decision to participate in a 30 day yoga challenge.  I haven't practiced Bikram Yoga since prior to my marriage in 2008. It has been about 4 years since I last set foot in the studio. Since then I had a baby and turned 40!

I gained 15 pounds in my first year of marriage and another 50 during pregnancy.  To date I have lost 56 pounds but I am still not as healthy as I had once been.  My strength, endurance, and overall energy level suffer.

This challenge is just what I needed to heal & strengthen my body!  It will do wonders for relaxation & peace of mind as well!

My sister has decided to take the challenge too. We will attempt to complete 30 classes in 30 days.  I've decided to document my journey!

Day 1:  Kicked my butt!

I was overconfident in my return to yoga.  For me, it wasn't like riding a bike - I couldn't just "hop back on" and expect the skill to return.  I didn't properly hydrate during the day and I am out of shape - it took a huge toll on me.  I was a dizzy & nauseous. I let my body rest between poses. 105° is no joke!

I was humbled by my inability to find myself where I had once been.  I'm glad to have struggled because I realize how strong that I COULD be when I keep up my practice. 

The very first instructor that I've practiced under is Amy Atwood.  She is always very supportive & encouraging.  I was so happy to see that she was still there and that she recognized me.  It was a surprise since I've had such a LONG absence.  She is really inspiring!

Coming back was TOUGH. I did my best, even though to look at me you would think that I had given up.  I endured.  I stayed for the entire 90 minute class even if I couldn't manage all 26 of the postures.  I have a starting point on which to improve upon.  This will help me to push myself. Knowing my struggles in coming back will help me to succeed.

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