Come join me at my new site. It needs a bit of fancing up, but all the necessary components are there. See you in a few!
12 Oct 2015 1 Comment
Well, as you all know, my Bikram yoga practice has come to an end for the time being. Not too long ago, I said that it didn’t make sense for me to continue on with MBYL if I wasn’t going to maintain a regular Bikram yoga practice. So it’s time for this blog to come to an end.
But that doesn’t mean we have to say goodbye.
I’m launching a new blog that will continue on with the journey. Some things will be familiar, and some things will be new. But I will still have a spot in the world where we can come together and talk about our yoga practice. The only thing that’s really changed is that my practice has shifted into something different. No big deal.
I have loved having this space to write about and think through my Bikram practice, and you all have been amazing, and kind, and wonderful. I hope you were able to get something out of this blog that was meaningful and helpful to your practice or your personal growth.
I’m constructing a new space. It’s mostly ready to go, but I’m not at 100% yet. I expect it to go live on 11/19. I’ll come back here and make an official announcement and give you the link. I hope you will join me in my new spot. It would be lonely without you.
05 Oct 2015 1 Comment
You might recall that a little over a year ago I had the chance to try out the Aurorae Yoga Mat (and some lucky reader got a free one!). A couple of weeks ago, I was contacted again and asked if I would be interested in trying out the Aurorae Aqua towel.
First, a bit of background information about the towel. It’s described as a beach/swim towel, but when I received it beach/swim season was over for me. You could argue that beach/swim season was still on a few weeks ago, but I would tell you that the pool water was in the 80’s meaning I was not going in it. I had to find other ways to test out the towel which I will get to.
The towel is extra long which I love. It’s 32″ x 68″ so you can wrap yourself up in it. It folds up super easy and would be simple to take to the pool or the beach or anywhere you wanted it to go.
I took my towel to the car. I know, such an exciting life I live.
But my rationale was that I needed a towel after class. Even when I wipe myself off in the hot room, I continue to sweat all the way home. I needed a towel that I could put on my car seat. The Aqua Towel worked perfectly for that. Since it is over-sized, it easily covered the back and bottom of my car seat.
The towel is also microfiber and, I was told, was going to be super absorbent. Absorbency is key here since I had put the towel on my car seat.
So, how did it work?
Well, first let me start by saying that in the past I have put a normal beach towel on my car seat. I gave this practice up years ago because I just ended up sitting on a soggy towel. Also, the towel got bunched up from time to time or slipped down the back as I was driving. As my car got older and older, I decided I didn’t care anymore and just forgot about using the towel. I’m not sure it was helping anyways.
The Aqua towel doesn’t do any of those annoying things. First, the towel covers the seat AND it stays in place. That alone made it far more comfortable right off the bat. Second, even though I keep right on sweating after class the towel seems to pretty much stay dry. I’m not sitting in a soggy pool of wet towel when I get home, and that is awesome.
I have used the towel to wipe myself off after class. We all know how gross we can be after class! The sweat came right off and the towel felt dry. It basically just sucked up my sweat and took it to a better place.
Want to give it a try and see if you agree? The nice people at Aurorae are giving away one free aqua towel to one of you! The towel comes in eight colors with each color being connected to a beautiful waterfront location (I have Mediterranean seas).
So here’s what to do….
- head over to the MBYL facebook page.
- Look for the post on the Aurorae Aqua towel
- in the comments section of the post, just say enter!
One person will be drawn at random. You must live in the continental U.S. to enter (sorry). You will be able to enter until noon on Wednesday, October 7th. Drawing will occur sometime that afternoon.
28 Sep 2015 1 Comment
The Mat Bag
The mat bag is up first because it’s pretty straight-forward. I didn’t do any experiments on it to see if I could make it stink. It works just like the description says it does – you just roll up your mat (with the cover on it), put it into the bag, and then roll on out the door! The bag is stretchy and definitely has some give to it. You also wash and dry it just like you do the mat cover. Washing/drying is no big deal as this mat bag is very lightweight (all of Kosha’s products are very lightweight and should not do any damage to your washer or dryer).
I did not use my mat bag a lot because, at the time, I had a mat cleaning service. I only needed to use it when I brought my mat and cover home to wash and then back to the studio. I found it easy to use and a nice way to get my mat from Point A to Point B. The mat bag takes up zero space as it folds up very easily and will get just about as tiny as you want to it.
Oh my gosh, let me tell you about this tote. It’s my absolute most favorite tote bag in the world. Why?
- It effortlessly holds a full 32 ounce hydro-flask. I love my hydro flask, but I hate dragging it around with me. It’s heavy! Putting it in a bag has never made it any easier – until I got this fabulous tote. I am assuming that because there is bounce and stretch to this tote, it makes carrying a full hydro-flask no big deal. The first day I used the tote I had it filled up with my hydro-flask AND clothes AND shoes and it was not at all a big deal to carry around.
- It totally won’t get stinky. At all. Ever (well, from what I can figure out).
Like the mat cover, I was also on a quest to see if I could make my tote stink. The best way I knew how to do this was to leave stinky yoga clothes in it all day. Now, you might think this is not a realistic thing to do, but it totally is. You see, there were days when I would go to class in the morning and then go straight in to work. My yoga clothes stayed in a bag all day in the car. That is just never pretty folks. Never.
The first stink test came on a day just like I described. I did my class (as normal), and then put my stinky clothes in my yogi bagi as I normally would. I then put the stinky clothes in my Kosha tote. I had my car parked (with the stinky clothes inside) by 11:30. They stayed there until about 4:00.
The first thing I noticed when I got in my car was that there was no smell. There is ALWAYS a smell when the clothes have been in the car for a few hours. Additionally, I want you to know that I had put my tote in the passenger seat. Normally I put the stinky clothes in the back. No smell.
However, I also park in a garage. So, to truly put the tote – and it’s non-stinky claims – to the test, I redid this test but this time left my stinky clothes (still in the yogi bagi inside the tote) sitting in the front seat of my car parked in my driveway directly in the sun from 11:00-5:00.
That’ll do it, right?
Guess what, no smell at all in the tote.
I kept on using my tote to haul stinky yoga clothes around in, but I refrained from washing it for an entire week. I asked random people to smell the tote (including The Boyfriend) and to explain what they noticed. None of these people knew about my tests or why I would ask them to sniff a tote. No one could say anything except that it “smells like a bag” or “smells like nothing.”
I use this tote for everything. EVERYTHING. I haul stinky yoga clothes around in it, clean clothes, food, my hydro-flask, and basically anything I feel like putting in a bag. I’m not limiting this to just yoga. It’s an item I cannot live without.
27 Sep 2015 1 Comment
On Sundays, please enjoy the Retro Throwback where I share my favorite posts from some time ago.
So…have you guys heard about this new hot yoga teacher training (The HotTT)? I learned about it through a Yoga Buddy on FB (aren’t yoga buddies the best?). On their website, the HotTT is described as:
…true alternative to Bikram yoga teacher training. It is an 8 week – 500hr Yoga Alliance Hot Yoga Teacher Training where you will learn to teach the Primary Series (26+2), in an intense training environment, without the associated attachments.
Now, let me be clear about a few things before we get much farther:
(a) I am not a certified yoga teacher of any shape or kind
(b) I know nothing about the HotTT other than what is on their website (and through a couple of email exchanges)
(c) All I know about the standard Bikram yoga training is what I have read on his website and what I have learned from talking to people who have experienced it
(d) I’m not endorsing either curriculum. I’m sharing some information about a new program and my reactions to it.
What Got Me Looking at The HotTT?
Since the HotTT bills itself as an alternative to traditional Bikram training, I was curious as to what that alternative looked liked. You can view their curriculum, and I think you will see that there are similarities and difference to theBikram training. The things that stood out to me as obviously different, is that The HotTT is the three day course on meditation and the expectation that you will participate in regular meditation exercises during the training.
The second difference with HotTT is that you get to learn aboutyin yoga. Admittedly, I do not know anything about yin yoga except my acupuncturist is always telling me to go do it. On the HotTT site, they describe yin yoga as a complement to the hot yoga that we do – which is exactly what my acupuncturist tells me. You also get introduced to Synergy partner yoga and kids yoga.
Do You Want to Know Why I am Not Already Certified?
There are some practical reasons as to why I am not already certified. The first is that Bikram runs his trainings in direct conflict with my work. I know I am different in that I am only contracted nine months out of the year. Since Bikram training starts near the end of April I maybe could maybe kinda sorta work something out as I’m usually wrapping things up when he’s launching his spring training. But there’s a bigger hold out for me….
I like to get my sleep. I have no problem working my butt off, but I need to get at least seven hours of solid sleep, and I do not think I’m being unreasonable here. Have you heard about the Bikram trainings? You should expect to stay up past midnight often and get very little sleep. I have no idea what the point is of being sleep deprived, and I don’t care. That does not sit well with me.
This is one thing that I noticed and immediately appreciated about The HotTT is that you will get your rest. Weekdays typically run from 9:00 am to 10:00 pm. Saturdays usually done by 3:00, and Sundays are optional activities. The sample schedule shows that you should expect to take two 90 minute classes most days Monday-Saturday (same as Bikram).
Some Other Interesting Differences
I don’t know how many people attend Bikram tranings, but I know the answer is more than 200 at each. For The HotTT, it’s limited to 50. So you will get to know the teachers, and they will get to know you. And as a teacher, I like that. This is important. Teachers will know how to support you and help you grow into someone who is ready to launch as a new teacher when they leave. Maybe that is the case too with Bikram – I can’t say – I just know that the conditions for The HotTT are set up in a way that supports this.
The price is currently cheaper (10, 650 vs. 11, 400 for Bikram). However, The HotTT includes two meals in this price which I am pretty sure you do not get with Bikram – at least not normally. I’m not sure how things will be playing out at the new Thailand location.
Now, the thing to keep in mind is that you are not certified as a Bikram instructor when you complete The HotTT training. Trust me, this was the first question that came to my mind. But of course you will be certified to teach hot yoga generally speaking, and it might be possible that you would have more opportunities available to you. It’s something to explore.
By the way….do you have kids? The HotTT has childcare options to discuss with you. I have a pug. Are there pug care options?
Right now The HotTT has three trainings lined up. This is personally great news for me as I could likely make the summer training in Europe. Now, realistically, I probably won’t be doing that. I just spent all my money on a shiny new water pump for my car, and I’m going to be getting a shiny new tooth soon! That mess costs at least half the price of teacher training! I only wish I were joking.
I’m not sure how I feel about not being an officially certified Bikram teacher, but it is something I would be interested in having a conversation with someone at The HotTT at some point – maybe in a year or so. From an instructional perspective, I am very impressed with the thought and consideration they have given to both the curriculum and to the students. It looks like an excellent program with a lot of potential. If anyone ends up going, let me know!
21 Sep 2015 33 Comments
As you all know, my Bikram yoga studio recently closed. And while I could have gone to a different Bikram studio I (surprisingly!) chose not to. I thought I would view my studio closing as an opportunity to try something else. If I didn’t like it, I could always go to the other Bikram studio.
The day after my studio closed, I found myself at a hot flow yoga studio. All I could figure out about the temperature was that it would be at least 98 degrees, and there would be humidity. There would also be music.
Ugh. Music? Really? More on that later.
I showed up to a gorgeous studio with only one minor flaw (besides that whole music thing): no shower. Seriously, this place has no showers. I asked why, and got an answer about how the studio owner didn’t think yoga studios should have locker rooms or that people should have to wait around for showers.
I’ve waited around for a shower. It’s really not a big deal. This no shower thing kinda kinks up the works as it means that there will be days when I cannot practice because there is no shower. Given that the studio is directly centered between my house and my office, there is no zero chance of me grabbing a morning class before going in to work.
But I’ll get over myself. Maybe.
Anyways, first day there I went in and took the class. I was aware of what to generally expect, but I was not prepared for the true butt-kicking that ensued. The studio offers 60 and 90-minute hot flow classes. Since I was new, I thought I would start with the 60-minute. I assumed it wouldn’t be much of a challenge. I was terribly wrong.
The class was a blur of me trying to keep up and doing about one million downward facing dogs. The class was also hot – like really hot. Truthfully, I have been there for three weeks now, and I have zero complaints about the heat and humidity.
By the time I got home from class, 15 minutes later, I was already sore and starving (and it was about 10:30 am). I pondered skipping class the next day, but then I remembered that going to class while sore, at least with Bikram, tended to be a good thing. Yes, the class might suck, but I would feel better afterwards.
All the second class (still 60 minutes) did was kick my butt again and add new places where I was sore.
During the first two weeks, I would periodically have to take a day off from being sore/so damn worn out, and that was just from doing mostly 60 minute classes.
On the weekends, I decided to try the 90 minute classes. Let’s just say, I am starting to get better at them but initially they felt like they were 1000 hours long and full of never ending push-ups leading me back into downward dog.
Now, three weeks in, I can say that I am getting the hang of it. I am starting to figure out what I don’t know and need help with. Things are less confusing. I also know that this yoga is killing my calves and my arms. A recent trip for a massage resulted in him spending 25 minutes trying to undo the mess that was in my right calf and learning my arms were filled with lactic acid (“Do you hear that?” he asked me. “Your arms are filled with lactic acid!”). I blame the down dog.
It’s challenging. It’s different. I’m loving it.
But the music. I am not sure I will ever understand why we need music in yoga class. Here are my pet peeves with it:
- it seems like a distraction. if I want to, I can tune in to the music and checkout from everything else. I think the music helps create a disconnect between the mind and the body.
- i cannot hear!!!!! or, should I say, all i can hear is music! some instructors are difficult to hear over the music. this is not bikram. there is no dialogue. the class is different every time even if taught by the same instructor. it is important that i be able to hear. some instructors just don’t amplify their voices enough.
So that’s it. My beef with music in yoga class.
And now, for me, the question is what to do with this blog? If I’m not going back to Bikram yoga anytime soon, then I can’t really have a blog called My Bikram Yoga Life. It’s not that I would never take a Bikram class again or go back to the practice at some point. It’s just that this is where my life has lead me and, for now, I am happy with where I have landed.
I’ve had a good six weeks to think about this. Rest assured that I have some thoughts, and I’m starting to move in the direction of making some decisions and feeling good about them. I’ll have some announcements soon.
20 Sep 2015 2 Comments
On Sundays, please enjoy the Retro Throwback where I share my favorite posts from some time ago.
Not too long ago, I wrote about how I had taken a 10-day hiatus from my practice. The thing about taking a hiatus is I eventually had to go back to class.
I went in on Day 1 with a good attitude. I had intended to go to the afternoon class (wasn’t sure about my hydration) but a schedule change forced me into the morning. So I went with no expectations and kept an eye on things given my concern about my lack of water intake.
Class 1 was ok. It wasn’t awful. It wasn’t awesome. I sat out a couple of postures here and there, but I was back. It went better than I expected.
So Class 2, which I took the next day, should be fine, right? Well, as is the case with Bikram yoga, if there’s one thing we’re all gonna learn it’s to have no expectations.
I walked in the class and immediately felt like I might die. So I went to the lobby until the last possible minute. By the end of the first set of the first breathing exercise (so let’s say we’re five minutes into the class), I had made a giant puddle all over my mat and was considering sitting out for the next 85 minutes.
I’m not even joking. I had to barter with myself so I wouldn’t sit down during the second set of the first breathing exercise. It went something like this:
Ok…you are probably gonna die in this class today, but at least stay standing until party time. You can make it through party time. After party time you have permission to skip the rest of class. For the love of God try to remain upright for the warm-up series even if you have to come out of a posture early.
I somehow made it through party time without sitting down, and I believed I had made a serious accomplishment. I think I deserved applause. And let’s not even talk about the state of my mat by the end of party time. It was basically a giant slip and slide.
I sorta tried to do the one-legged balancing postures. I think I started sitting down in standing bow, but then I had this insane idea that I should keep getting back up. By triangle I was out. I just sat there and breathed. I was good with that.
I managed to do wind removing, and I turned over on my stomach for spine-strengthening. I quickly realized I was delusional if I thought I was going to do spine-strengthening. I turned over onto my back and laid in savassanah. I’m not sure how much of the rest of the floor series I did, but you can bet I skipped camel and rabbit.
But I made it. I stayed in the room. I didn’t die. I worked out whatever needed to be worked out. Then I crawled out into the hallway and propped myself against the wall. I remember people speaking to me, but who they were and what they said has long left my brain. I can’t be expected to retain anything after a class like that.
Here’s the beauty of it all – Day 3, 4, and most of 5 (I’ll write about 5 in another post) were spectacular. Really strong and very enjoyable classes. By Days 6 and 7 I was falling back into the normal it’s a class, it was fine kind of thing.
In the end, if you’ve had a hiatus, all I can say is that at some point you have to face the music and walk back in that room. I’m not saying you’ll have a bad class. I’m not saying you’ll have a great class. You’ll go in and have whatever class you will have. So don’t be afraid. If anything, be excited to get back in the hot room and see what it brings.