I’d love to tell you that the 90 burpees a day are getting easier, but they still seem like a chore I do three times a day. The one thing that’s really getting better is my form. I used to really struggle with pushups and I feel like I can do them gracefully now and even slow it down so I can really focus on working my muscles. I suppose my endurance is also getting better but I definitely still sweat every time!
Running is getting better. My times are getting shorter as my speeds are getting faster. I’ve been taking things very slowly with running and I tend to alternate between speed walking and sprinting. I’m making my sprints longer and am starting to set firmer goals so I get to a point where I can run the entire time.
My latest love is Hot Yoga, closely related to (and sometimes synonymous with) Bikram. I had tried Bikram two years ago and had a really poor experience. I’ve been practicing yoga for *counts* 16 years (!!) so I have a solid foundation, though I’m definitely still learning and am not a “pro”. That said, I feel comfy in most intermediate/advanced classes. I went in on New Year’s morning, which was a poor choice after drinking champagne the night before. The temperature and humidity of the studio immediately triggered my acid reflux, giving me pain in my esophagus and I quickly got nauseous. I managed to stay in the class for 75 minutes, having to drop to child’s pose on occasion. I then felt like I really was going to puke and I left the class quietly and ended up crying in the hallway. I am not a woman who often cries, especially in public settings, this was a really low moment for me. I swore off doing Bikram again.
Flash forward to a couple weeks ago when I had a really bad day and was meeting friends late in the evening so I had some time to kill in town. I wanted to do something to help me get over my bad mood and the only yoga class I could find that fit into my schedule was a 6pm class at Geezum Crow Yoga. This was called “Hot Yoga”, which the teacher said is similar to Bikram but the certification is different. The room was HOT (~108ºF with 30% humidity) and believe me I dripped with sweat the entire time but…I did it! It was hard but the teacher was really encouraging, the class was small and I felt comfortable. I felt like I could really work through my shit and focus on my body and my space. I pushed myself to places I had never been with yoga before and I left feeling both energized and exhausted all at once.
I think the main difference was that I was well-hydrated for this class and also I’m physically in better shape now. Since the experience feels like running a marathon, I didn’t expect to go back any time soon but I found myself craving that feeling of catharsis and accomplishment (hello endorphins!). I went back this past Friday and had another amazing experience with a different teacher.
Once again I began lusting after that amazing feeling. Plus, when I saw that my calorie counter told me I was burning almost 700 calories in the class I really wanted to go back! I decided to once again brave the Bikram studio near me, Bikram Yoga Stowe. I attended a class there yesterday and unfortunately it’s not the studio for me. We all have different needs in yoga. For me, I love to push myself and explore but I appreciate a teacher who’s soft (but pushes me) and flexible in their teaching. I also appreciate smaller classes when I can get them. Bikram Yoga Stowe was like walking into Yoga bootcamp. It wasn’t a full class but there were still about 25 people there. It felt much hotter than Geezum Crow, despite them saying the temperatures are the same. I expect it was just more humid in there. It also didn’t help that I managed to be right next to the heater.
The real turnoff for me was the teacher, she was just not right for me. The room was filled with what looked like athletes. While there were many body types and age ranges, the predominant crowd was younger, thin and with chiseled bodies. They were loud and social before class and had obviously been going there for a while; so it’s clear that the teacher is right for some people and the practice is effective. The teacher came in like a drill sergeant. While she had a nice demeanor, I felt like she was barking orders at the speed of an auctioneer. She never stopped talking. Constant, monotone instructions interspersed with hand claps to prompt us into the next pose. Her instructions were also colored with back-handed insulting remarks that surprised me. Things like, “If your head isn’t touching your knee you’re not even beginning to do the posture”. Instead of the encouraging comments that I’m used to like, “Try to touch your head to your knee to get into the posture”. There was a definite sense that things were her way or the highway and with her constant chatter it was difficult for me to mentally get in the zone. Again, I know this works for some people but it’s not why I come to the mat. Friday I will be back at Geezum Crow.
Finally, I made such a delicious smoothie this morning that I have to share it with you!
Chocolate Almond Delight
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 tsp spirulina
- 1 tsp flax seeds
- 1 tbsp flax seed oil
- 1 cup fresh baby spinach
- 1 scoop Fat Flush Body Protein (or protein powder of your choosing)
- 1/2 cup raspberries
- 1/4 cup blueberries
- 1 tsp raw cacao powder
Chocolaty, fruity, nutty, AMAZING!!! Give it a go!