This is the main page of Blog entries about my Yoga Challenge. What began as a 60-day Bikram Challenge turned into (on day 55) a decision to incorporate Yoga into my daily life for 100 days! Scroll down to the bottom of the page to read the entries in chronological order. For now I will post the ‘beginning entries’ and ‘ending entries’. Over the next few weeks I will update the post so you can read about the entire challenge. Older posts can be found in the ‘archive’ and PLEASE keep checking for updates as the site becomes more and more ‘juicy’…
Day One Hundred came and went like any other day, but in my mind and spirit I felt VICTORIOUS! I did it. I set my mind to something and I accomplished it – I met my goal – I never gave up – I never gave in and as a result I have experienced abundant joy and incredible peace.
Here’s the ‘breakdown’ of the last few months…
In 100 days I have done:
• 19 classes at Bikram Yoga Bozeman
• 1 class at Bikram Yoga Missoula
• 1 class at Perfect Balance Yoga in Billings
• 1 class at Feathered Pipe Ranch in Helena
• 6 classes to my Barkan Method DVD
• 52 Bikram classes to my iPod
• Lost 13 pounds and 11 inches
• Quit Smoking! (yay for me!)
• Developed a new ‘career path’ and charitable organization.
• Created a new way of ‘BEING’ in the world.
So many people have helped me along the way I MUST acknowledge them:
‘My Girls’…(Shannon, Kathy, Jackie, Jesse, Rachel, Virginia, Kelly, and Allison) for coming with me to classes, for never-ending encouragement, for giddy laughs and big hugs. I love each and every one of you so much!
Suzanne Shanelac – without you, I probably wouldn’t even be in Montana.
Blair Williams, for your enthusiasm and expertise. I’m so thankful for all your input!
Kyle, for researching and introducing me to ‘The Barkan Method’ – the Universe truly conspired to bring you into my life.
Marc, for creating a beautiful Website to help me share my Journey. (and for being soooo patient with my lack of ‘skills’)
Tammy and Allison for helping me ‘edit’ my words…(without the two of you there would be MANY more capital letters and ellipses)
Autumn, for taking beautiful photos and handing them straight over for me to do with them whatever I wanted!
All the teachers and students at Bikram Yoga Bozeman, for all the encouragement and support.
Mike Swingley, for always knowing my ’20′.
Community Bible Church in Jordan Montana, and Shauna Clark of the Rimrock Plaza in Winnett, for offering space to allow me to teach classes when I get back from training.
Sue McKinna, for being my ‘first donation’!
My wonderful Massage clients for promising to come to my Hot Yoga classes!
All of my FaceBook friends that have offered encouraging ‘comments’ throughout my challenge.
My Family, for listening to me go on and on about my YOGA…(even though ‘cowboys’ don’t do Yoga)
My life is filled with Peace and Love because of ALL of you!
Day 99 I am in Bozeman at my ‘home away from home’ studio. The ride down is beautiful and serene and I am being followed down by good friend Christy to join me for class. I am always excited to bring new people to ‘hot yoga’ – Christy has practiced before, but it’s been about 5 years, so I give her my normal ‘dis-claimer’ before class. “Christy, let me just tell you. It’s F&%#ing hot in there. So, when your mind starts fighting with you, saying ‘why in the world are you still in here??!! It’s SOOOOO HOT!’… just breathe, look at yourself in the mirror and say to yourself, SELF, Nicky said it was going to be hot. remember? so chill. We’re staying here. That’s all you need to do, just thank yourself that you have a happy, healthy body that can DO Yoga”. Christy is glad for the reminder, and teacher Sara adds…”also, Sunday morning 9am is NOT the hottest class anyway”. (True Sara, but I’ve brought many a ‘tough cookie’ that were pissed at me after class for not accurately describing Bikram’s Torture Chamber to them!) … I just like my friends to be prepared.
Christy did great.
I on the other hand, I had a very difficult class as my left knee DISLOCATED during Toe Stand. Yep… Dislocated… First time that’s happened since a complete reconstruction 5 years ago. I was able to keep the scream inside my chest, tumbled down on my hip, and held back tears as I contemplated the choices I had: 1) I could leave class, drive to the nearest convenience store and pack my knee with ice while I drove back to Helena, defeated. 2) I could just lay down for the entire rest of the class and try to meditate my knee back to health . or 3) I could run out to my car, grab the Ace Bandage that I always keep in my glove compartment and wrap my knee up tightly and return to class – one problem…(the teachers in Bozeman ABSOLUTELY do NOT want you to leave the room during class) – I turned to Sara with tears in my eyes and she graciously came over to me, moved her mic away from her mouth and asked how I was. Sara told me to take the 2 minute Savasana and then sneak out to the car and return to class.
Why my knee dislocated is a Medical explanation that is too complicated to give here, but the simple truth is… I was pushing too hard. I was showing off to my friend Christy, I was showing off to the new teacher Sara, I was showing off to the hot guy standing next to me, and ultimately, I was ‘dis-obeying’ my own body. I’ve NEVER done Toe Stand on my left knee. I know better than that. But, I REALLY, REALLY wanted to do it. So, I did, and that is what happened. I hurt myself. and… I hurt my Yoga.
After I exited for a minute to wrap up my knee I finished the rest of class (carefully). I thanked my mind for allowing me to remain peaceful in the face of adversity and I apologized to my body for pushing it too hard.
What a lesson the day before the end of my challenge…
PS – Bikram always says… ‘you can mess with the world, but you can’t mess with the knees’. Apparently I’d forgotten that.
It is time to COMMIT to my decision to goto teacher training. My website is alllllmost live and all over the place I am talking about how I am going to Yoga Teacher Training in the fall so I can begin my ‘Montana Yoga Project’… Bringing Free Community Yoga classes to the towns of Winnett, and Jordan, Mt. So, after a few connections with some former students of the Barkan Method Training in New York, I did it! Called it in… Paid the 500$ deposit and it’s official! November 3rd 2010, I’m off to Elmsford, New York for 20 days of intensive training. I must share with you a couple of quotes from the people who called/emailed me with encouragement about the training:
Karen says “the training was one of the most amazing life changing choices of my life. Probably second only to the birth of my children…”
Byrony emailed “…I could talk for hours about my experience in the training…Bottom line, the training is fantastic. Well rounded, well presented, and the material you cover is a perfect stepping stone to your own personal learning that continues beyond graduation. Jimmy is warm, tremendously patient, and really knows his stuff!”
Hard to hesitate with such powerful recommendations right?
Now, I must trust that my plea for support from my friends, family, yoga community will be fruitful and help me get this program going at FULL STEAM.
What will be, will be.
this video is an example of Jimmy Barkan teaching ‘Eagle Pose’
ok – THIS is HARD! Bikram says ‘anyone can do it – if you are watching it – if you are listening it – with the tecnique – determination – LOCK THE STANDING KNEE – YOU HAVE NO KNEE!!!!’
Well, wouldn’t that be nice. To have no knees. My knees have been my physical downfall my entire life. They have had FOUR MAJOR surgeries, they chronically dislocate, they hyper-extend. Hyper-extension is a tricky thing when you are trying to balance on one leg and bend forward. It’s scary, it feels like my knee will snap in half (not good). This posture is all about TRUST for me, the strength is there, the muscle memory is there, the flexibility is there. Today I decided to get out of the way of myself and just Go For It! It is only day 24 and MIRACULOUSLY, my standing knee locked! My lifted leg locked! I rested comfortably there and bent my elbows! Hard to stay balanced when you are doing a cheer inside your head… mine sounded something like “yay for me, yay for me, I locked my knee, yay for me”!!!
Some unsuspecting woman who was in the midst of what looked like a P90X ab work out sauntered by and I practically attacked her…”would you please do me a favor, and take a picture of me!???” Sure, she said, with a very inquisitive look on her face. I mean, who has their picture taken at the gym?
Here’s the result…and in the midst of my excitement, I forgot to complete the posture and bend my elbows…
Oh well, there’s always tomorrow, and the next day, and the next…
Wow. It just keeps getting better and better. I keep expecting to have a ‘down’ day, to have moments like I did in week one where I just DON’T want to do it, but it never comes…
I will admit that Triangle posture is still a killer for me… I rarely hold (who am I kidding) – I’ve NEVER held my right side triangle for as long as Bikram ‘announces’, but I’m SURE that he is waxing poetic about something for at least 20 seconds longer than he does on the left side! Still doing standing series at the gym after a hottub, and short cardio warmup – today I sat on the recumbent bike for 15 minutes and read Matt Tibe’s article in Rolling Stone about how Wall Street is bankrupting Main Street, and how this little town in Alabama?… built this 3 billion dollar sewer system (it was supposed to cost 250 million), and borrowed money from all the big banks… blah, blah, blah… sad…
But… as Bikram says… no one can steal your happiness from you… so after that I got my fat ass on the treadmill and ran for (slow jogging) about 10 minutes then hit the mat for standing postures.
Then home to a warm (not hot) living room for the floor postures… today I skipped Fixed Firm Pose because I have a little ‘catch’ in my lower back. Had a HUGE revelation today about Full Locust posture that I will share in my ‘posture tips’…
Yet again.. The power and wisdom of the universe has bestowed on me a beautiful gift… of forgiveness and self-realization…
How beautiful it is to have GRACE.
When I began this process of my 60-day Bikram challenge I KNEW in my heart of hearts that it would change my WHOLE life – EVERY aspect, and tonight, after my floor postures and a talk with my Grandfather, a three-year ‘problem’ has had light shed on it and a ‘resolution’ has presented itself. To open the door to ask forgiveness of a friend and former colleague and to in turn forgive myself for a transgression that has weighed heavy on my heart for so long… Thank you Grandpa, and thank you Universe.
In regards to my yoga practice…I think I figured out a way to accomplish my goal, and to stay focused. Today I did the standing series after a short warm-up at the gym… there is SOMETHING about doing the postures in the presence of others…even if they are not practicing with me. Something about a group energy that allows me to stay focused – to… as Bikram would say…”STUGGLE HARDER”…
It was a good standing series, and after a meeting in between, I cam home to a ‘warm’ living room and did the floor series with my Kitty cat, Diego, as my witness….
I will say this…after my weekend of hiking, and a double class in the studio yesterday….
MY ASS IS SORE!
No other way to put it…
Sunday… Day 8
Outline of how my week went.
Started out with a great class in Bozeman and my BFF to cheer me on for my Day ONE. Day two, three, and four were less than stellar as I could NOT get my living room heated past 75 degrees… ended up just doing standing series all three days…Day five was better! My dear friend Kyle drove all the way from Great Falls to bring me an infrared space heater… That got the living room up to almost 90 degrees! Day six got away from me, and I skipped altogether… NOT GOOD – Day was almost a disaster… let me put it this way… DRUNK BIKRAM = NOT GOOD…
Hiked mount Helena with my friend Kathy, and then we ‘rewarded ourselves’ by going out to lunch and having ONE glass of wine (well… honestly, one and a half..) anyway…
I was WASTED!!! How did that happen???!!! Well, I took myself home, started the heating process of the house, and promptly fell asleep on the couch for two hours!
Woke up grumpy and achy already from the hike and the poison I ingested…
At 8:30 pm I forced myself to get started… only got through the first three standing postures and then fast-forwarded to the floor series… Felt like a certifiable LOSER…..
Oh halleluiah! Day 8…
OMG… Day 8 was a revelation! I drove down to Bozeman for the 9am class with my friend Kathy. My intention was to do TWO classes today, so I figured I’d take it easy in the first class, but I have to say… I felt so damn good, that I had the best class I’ve had in a loooooong time. Some of my postures saw intensity that I haven’t been able to produce since the days of 27 years old and daily practice at my ‘home’ studio in Santa Barbara! Then Kathy left and I had to wait for an hour to take the second class… I find it best if you speak your intentions out loud to others as a way of … #1. Making the intention clear. #2. Fostering support from others – and most importantly…#3 if others know… you can’t back out!!!
So, as soon as the next teacher arrived, I promptly blurted out “Tavis! I’m doing two classes today!”
WOW! Second class was even better!
Then… I cam home and slept for 13 hours…
Well, I didn’t plan this very well… should’ve left the thermostat up before I left for work today. Ended up doing my ‘Bikram’ class in my living room and about 70 Degrees…
DEFINITLY NOT the same… could barely hold a posture, couldn’t really stretch. Mat kept slipping on my carpet… Realized when I was finished with the standing postures that I never did download the floor series, so now I’m sitting in a 60 degree basement waiting for my iPod to ‘sync’ and F@#! I’ve got to be back at work in an hour…Gonna have to re-organize for tomorrow. It’s alllll a learning process. Looks like I’ll be patronizing Home Depot tomorrow for a space heater and a humidifier. Not a total loss, but I’m only gonna count today as a ‘half’ class…
Well, I chose today to be the start of my own personal 60 day Bikram Yoga challenge. I had my very best friend visiting me and had to take her down to Bozeman (nearest Bikram studio) to fly out today, so we did a class this morning, and thus begins my journey of self-discovery and transformation. Shannon (friend) was charged with taking my initial body measurements as a way for me to quantify some results at the end of this journey, and though she is a personal trainer, and is used to ‘dealing’ with people’s body issues, she completely lost it when I stuck my jiggly belly out full board when she came at me with the tape measure and started a ‘giggle fest’ that put us both on the floor laughing and crying. God I love that girl! This is one of the reasons I chose this day to start my challenge. Only your best girlfriend can measure your fat and still make you smile. Thank you Shannon for making such a horrifying process the funniest moment of our long weekend together! So… class today was good. Fine. No drama… until later in the afternoon when my legs and ass reminded me that we hiked Mount Helena for 2 ½ hours yesterday!!!! Maybe I should have ‘re-thought’ the timing of my ‘challenge’…
Oh well….What will be will be. Stay tuned.