….wild is the wind…creative freedom is the seed….
Yoga Challenge Day 30:
It’s done! Marathon over, and weirdly, it doesn’t even feel that way. Today’s class was easy as a summer morning and a lesson in what the right mind set will do for you to get through something hard.
Apart from being the final day of the challenge, today was Halloween: Half the class turned up in costumes, some of which where truly absurd (Christian & Mette 😉 and having a full view of a deadly doctor with extremely crooked teeth doing half moon pose among other things, I laughed my way through the full 1½ hours, hardly thinking about the hardcore workout -in this case done in a zombie widow type getup.
We sang “We are the Champions” during triangle pose, and The Bulldogs sang a song made specially for our team captain during one of the stretches.
Party and prizes ensued afterwards and a posing face-off, as “The English Bulldogs” where at a tie with “The Bengal Tigers” in the contest of team with most people to complete the challenge.
I’m going to miss the daily coming to the studio and the sense of community that had started to form around doing this challenge, which will now morph into something else.
This month has both been really long and yet it went by in a flash. Also, it has been a lesson in time management. I have been amazed at how much else you can fit in around something that effectively takes 2½ hours every day and requires disciplined eating habits if you really want to, and how much those 2½ hours have put a mirror to everything else that was happening in my life on that day.
Even with the hardships along the way, this has been a great journey and a good month of my life 🙂
Yoga Challenge Day 29:
I really really felt like just staying at home, watching a bad comedy show on the telly tonight, but a farmer must to market, and so, I went to the studio for what turned out to be a pretty nice class.
My body is still rubbery, but pliable. No bucket sweating today, just normal massive sweating.
Also, there where an inordinate number of remarkably good-looking young men, sporting rather impressive six-packs, in the room, which never hurts on an otherwise pretty ordinary Tuesday 😉
Yoga Challenge Day 28:
Really high humidity and hot as hell in the room today. I was sweating buckets before we even started. Muscles felt like deflated rubbers. Not that they hurt or protest or feel particularly tired in anyway. They go about their usual everyday business like cycling to work, no problem, but when it comes to doing anything out of the ordinary, like a strong contraction of the thigh, they just.. don’t really.. No drama, they just decided to quietly relax after a few seconds whenever I tried to persuade them to do anything strenuous..
This was also one of those wonderful days, when a small pool of sweat had accumulated inside my bra and decided to dribble out and straight into my nose, as I tucked my chin in and bent forward for standing forward bend pose. And yes, these things do actually happen..
Yoga Challenge Day 27:
Home stretch! I’m back in the saddle with a double-up.
Come to think of it, I’ve done doubles 3 Sundays in a row and unlike the first time, I didn’t give the 3 hours of training much thought today and the idea of even doing a triple no longer seems far fetched or impossible.
Both classes where pretty similar. I wasn’t at all bothered by the heat and breathing was calm and normal throughout, without me having to give it any special attention. Nice.
Yesterday’s tiredness wasn’t just emotional; I was quite stiff and my muscles felt like large, rounded, dark gray pebbles lying up against each other under water, heavy and not all that inclined to stay contracted for any prolonged period of time. This also meant that my balance was shot to hell and holding 5 seconds in full standing head to knee pose was quite quite a feat.
It’s weird; some poses that I was really good at in the beginning have become really hard and others that once seemed impossible, now feel easy.
I stepped up on my mom’s weight yesterday; I weigh exactly the same as when I started this challenge, though the body has hardened and is distributed differently than it was 3 weeks ago.
Yoga Challenge Day 26:
Third day off. Dead tired all day. I don’t know if this is due to the funeral, the body letting go, or a bit of both. Doing a double first thing tomorrow to catch up will be interesting.
Yoga Challenge Day 25:
Second Day off – funeral, and a very good one as far as funerals go. I’m a bit stiff in the thighs and it was hard to do 20 squats this morning, something that has been completely impossible the last 10 days due to “soccer legs”, and did another 20 this evening without problems. I think my body is rested up.
Yoga Challenge Day 24:
Day off due to going to Jutland. Sat down in the bus going to work this morning, sat down at work and am now sitting down in the train. While I appreciate the break, I also have murmurs in my legs from all this unprecedented sitting around and actually, really wouldn’t mind going to the studio tonight..
Yoga Challenge Day 23:
Today, a bit like in politics, somewhere in my circulatory system, a body functional bureaucrat had a bright idea (this happens once a month) and decided to redistribute 90% of all available blood cells (and some unavailable ones) to my lower abdomen leaving none for the upper regions, like my head.
In terms of yoga this decision expressed itself as a kind of yin/yang effect, resulting in the crappiest standing series in ages and an excellent lying on the floor series, when everything was level, allowing free flow both directions.
Note from Cecilia: Bodil…switch off the annoying New Zealand accent to this video and just gawk at the bod! That’s what I do! I no longer attempt headstands ….use to be a ble to do it perfectly but have to admit old age and possible neck strain this time of the year would be really bad for upcoming Art show! 🙂 Beware of Bureacrats, their un-imaginative Dullness is like “Aids” for Creatives! lol.
Yoga Challenge Day 22:
Second double up this week. Breakfast at 6:45. read once that Hugh Jackman got up to eat at 5:30 every day when getting in shape for “wolverine” to keep the body well fed and then went back to bed again after. i’m followning that tactic and it seems to work. I was doubting if I’d overdone it as my belly still felt bloated at 9:30 when class began.
Class #1: Belly fine after all and the room felt really cool, and my shins where actually cold to the touch, pearls of sweat all over them, when I put my face against them during the first forward bend of the day. Afterwards, I was told it was 42C! in there afterwards. Also, I finally found my way back to relaxing in savasana and for the first time had a great mini nap on the floor at the end. Amazing what the body can do.
Class # 2: Got my period.. 4 days early.. In the middle of class.. Greeeeat.. having excused myself with “emergency bleeding”, I can report that getting emergency tampons at the studio takes exactly the same time as a full set of standing head to knee.
Came back and had another excellent “cool” class and another great powernap on the floor.
It didn’t even feel too hard doing 3 hours today. As far as I know, professional athletes train up to 4-5 hours a day and by now I can both see how that is possible, feeling fine, along with having the utmost respect for the effort involved.
Weird fact of the day: I spoke to a nutritionist today, who had plausibly calculated the calorie burn per class to about 900 cal! No wonder I eat like a full grown man at the moment 🙂
Yoga Challenge Day 21:
A fairly uneventful and mellow day at the studio, which suited me fine as a respite from all the recent drama.
I’m slowly inching my way back into some of the postures that went the way of the dodo in the past week, due to the whole strength vs. flex thing, though my left leg is still out playing soccer somewhere else during triangle and standing head to knee pose..
Yoga Challenge Day 20:
Double back-to-back class day. Ate a big breakfast in bed at 7:30 and took another 45 min. nap, managing to get back deep under and being a bit groggy, before hitting the studio for the 10:30 class.
Motivation stank, mainly due to the reason for taking the first of two double up days (funeral in Jutland) and sweating out a few glasses of fine claret (one of life’s joys) from a spontaneous dinner party the night before.
My mind was anywhere but in the room or in my body. Halfway in, I realized, that I had to change my motivation to something positive, like the fact that I’ll also see and be surrounded by a lot of people that I love and care about on that day and cherish someone who’s had a big impact on my life with them.
The rest of the class went something like this: “Funeral, funeral, funeral, people I love, funeral, people I love, people I love, funeral etc.”
Let’s just say it was all about the mindset, and I wont say I succeeded exactly, but the two variations each make for a very big difference, when doing a sit-up, not to mention the postures.
1 Hour break:
Replenished on coconut juice, water, a pear and almonds, had a shower and a good chat with some of the other people there, some going in for seconds too.
Much better, in spite of a fully packed-to-the rim, and therefore extra hot, hot-room. I had finally gotten my head back into where I actually was, didn’t have a second class looming after this one, and we had an upbeat “Top Dog” (my team is “The English Bulldogs”, Christian who taught this particular class is the team leader) on the podium, and it doesn’t hurt to see, that your, sometimes very fit, other teachers, who where also in the room for practice, sometimes struggle as much as you do with some postures.
Unlike last Sunday, I didn’t feel tired in my muscles at all, so apart from “soccer legs”, mini-Arnie is coming along nicely, and I left the place in a great mood.
Yoga Challenge Day 19:
Nick, our teacher today, mentioned that here across the halfway mark, the body would not feel quite what it was when we started and would start building strength at the expense of former flexibility, which will return again later on.
Well, my flexibility is shot to hell, so I expect a female “mini-Arnie” to emerge from all this by the end of this month! 😉
Weird fact of the day: those little hard patches of skin I mentioned developing earlier; that also goes for the chin curtesy of the floor series..
Yoga Challenge Day 18 (already ?):
Felt the energy coming back after 4 really heavy days in the room YES!
It’s like a big mental block lifted at the same time and I can do this shit. It’s not even a feeling but more a fact just sitting there in my head and a good one at that 🙂
Today I started working consciously on my core muscles -sucking that stomach in- as it helps support my lower back during long hours in an office chair – one of the scurges of getting to do fun design jobs and drawings. It was also good to have a specific thing to focus on, to keep me on my toes – that I could only go half way of normal into a lot of the postures with all this tightening of the abdominals is what it is.
Yoga Challenge Day 17:
Blah day at the studio. I have a lot of tension in my body and for the first time it has felt stiff and heavy and so my lungs wouldn’t relax, open up and just breathe.. The result was what you could expect and I hope my energy perks back up as I work my way through this, especially with the prospect of having to do one or two back-to-back sessions, so I can go to Jutland next weekend for my other mom’s funeral. I guess that is why it is called a challenge, because right now it is exactly that -I just never expected so much of it to be a mental one.
Weird fact of the day: I am developing little patches of hard skin on the second knuckle of both my forefingers and to the side of both my knees, from where they sit on the towel in certain postures..
From Cecilia: I saw one of my artist friend had taken this gorgeous photo for
Ketiva ve-chatima tovah = “May You Be Written and Sealed for a Good Year.”
Yoga Challenge Day 16:
Jackie Wrigley, my other mom died last night, and after a long, emotional and exhausting day, I had a choice of being sad at home on my sofa, or sad in yoga class.
I chose yoga class.
Only yesterday, the teacher spoke of having a physical body and an emotional body. Today, not surprisingly, I cried my way through several poses, and had to just sit down during “triangle”, not because there was anything physically wrong, but just from sad emotion manifesting physically.
I finally get why people in movies break down in fields, falling to their knees. In reality, the location may just be slightly more mundane.
From Cecilia: Bodil. I am so Sorry. My sincere Condolescences to Jackie’s family. RIP Jackie.
Yoga Challenge Day 15:
Half way through aready! Wohoo! So where are we?
My body is fine, still a bit of jelly leg, and I can feel my back thighs and glutes are being used, though they aren’t sore or stiff.
Tonight I started to actually work my way through the jelly and regained some control over those muscles during class. My body is getting stronger and has gained some definition that wasn’t there 2 weeks ago. I no longer get “panic hungry”, my weight is the same and I have found a level and a routine around the training, where it just gets worked into the day like picking up your child from daycare, or making dinner would, and it doesn’t feel like a mental hump to be overcome anymore.
All the protesting my body did in the first 10 days seems to have gone away and I can’t remember when I last said what by now is a congenial “hello” to my “fear of death” (see Day 6).
Today I managed to fully open up my chest in “full locust pose” where you are lying on your belly with arms and legs stretched out and up in the air and just freely breathe. I find myself humming in the shower and spontaneously smiling a lot.
Yoga Challenge Day 14:
My “other mom” is dying of cancer and I came to class today distracted and feeling just ..sad.
Not feeling up to anything much, I tucked myself in the “cool” space by the vent in back of the little room where you can’t really see the mirror, rather than the usual middle or front row and as we started doing compression poses, tears just flowed, and kept on flowing throughout class.
A weird thing happened, as my mind was mainly on the feelings in my head and not fixed on the postures like usual, body plotting along nicely, feeling fine. Perfectionist Bodil was set aside and I just listened to the words guiding me through the postures, without trying to perfect them, and several of them actually became better for it.
Death and crying seem to be recurring themes in these updates. My other mom has more zest for life than anyone I know, and somehow I have a feeling she will be able appreciate the strange scenario of being physically on top while crying your way through a perfect standing bow pose.
Yoga Challenge Day 13:
Had my first back-to-back classes today, with only an hour in between a total of 3 hours of continuous training. I had been warned that it would be a good idea not to have any plans afterwards, which I did, and frankly dreaded the prospect. Given that I hit “The Wall” on Friday and expected to just want to die slowly on my sofa afterwards, it turned out to be actually quite.. easy.. all things considered.
I breezed through the first class, body rested and clearly appreciative of yesterday’s hiatus. A tiny bit of jelly leg during standing series, which seems to be my cross to bear these days. Same went for round two. No crisis anywhere, no need to sit down at any time (this is also new) and feeling great throughout both classes. My muscles finally became properly tired during the last 20mins. after the back strengthening series, especially the back of the thighs, but that was the extent of it.
I came out feeling great along with a “Was that it!?!”, since I had been counting on 3 hours of hell-on earth on this fine and rainy Sunday.
This may avenge itself as hubris later on in the process, but for now goes to show that you really can’t know what to expect of any exertion you might do and that there’s no real point in spending energy on anticipation and dread.
Yoga Challenge Day 12:
I’m in a weird place of feeling really energized and having a simultaneously very tired body. I slept in for 9½ hours this morning, and the “sleep cycle” app on my iPhone reported 93% sleep quality based on body movement during the night, as opposed to the usual average of 73%. So, I’m taking a break today, lying on the sofa, watching old Schwarzenegger movies. My body seems to approve, as it went straight into the sofa version of savasana -dead man’s pose, as I fired up “Pumping Iron” on the screen. Nice to see someone else do the sweating for once.
I will be doing my first “back to back” tomorrow morning -hopefully well rested 🙂
Yoga Challenge Day 11:
This was the day that my body decided that it was in fact just a little bit, well, actually really quite tired.
Bodil to Body (enthusiastically): “Standing head to knee pose!”
Body to Bodil (with disbeleif): “You expect me to keep this one thigh muscle fully contracted AND balance your full weight on top of it and sticking the other leg out at a 90 degree angle for a full minute? Naahh..
Bodil: “Come ooon..Standing head to knee! You can do it”
Body: “F**k off! I’m just gonna wobble, and then you’ll bloody well have to just let me sit down!
Body: “Just leave me alone already. I’ll trade you feeling generally great during the rest of and after class if we skip this standing malarky for now. How about that?”
Bodil: “Ok then.”
Yoga Challenge Day 10:
10 days down, 20 to go! This may sound strange, but I can feel my body restructuring. I remember an old horror movie, can’t remember which one right now, but there is a woman in there, all broken bones, that by all rights should be dead, who gets up, takes a slightly puzzled look down at herself, “clicks” the bones back into place, and walks on. It feels a little bit like a healthy version of that.
I can’t see all that much of a difference in the mirror, but putting my hands on my hips feels different, and I walk differently, more grounded and with more spring in the step.
Yoga Challenge Day 9:
Legs are still tired, the rest of me still fine. I have a ton of energy when I get home after class at the moment. Found it very hard to relax in savasana today though.
I concentrate a lot on doing the postures technically perfect, and so lose focus on my breath when I need it the most. Turns out the quality that makes me a good architectural draughtsman and site manager, trying to get all the details exactly right at exactly the same time, works a bit against me in here, and I need to let the perfectionism of precision go for now when I’m in the hotroom, and concentrate on one task at a time. I also need to come up with a good (and tiny/sweat frindly) halloween costume for the last class of the challenge. Free yoga in the balance for best outfit!
Yoga challenge Day 8:
Managed to focus and breathe normally and calmly though 95% of today’s class -massive improvement and surplus energy to actually focus on what was being taught. Legs are a little tired, since an hour’s worth of bicycling a day has been added, due to work. The rest of me is honkey-dorey 🙂
Weird fact of the day: the humidity level in the room today was fairly low and 40C felt decidedly cool.
Yoga Challenge Day 7:
One week down and I’m starting to find my groove. Best class so far in terms of just breezing through. Whenever I felt anything even remotely approaching stress/panic in the body, I just stood still, acknowledged the feeling for what it was, focused on breathing and let it pass. And felt remarkably good throughout. This all sounds pretty easy. Surprisingly, it’s actually a remarkably hard thing to do well.
Yoga Challenge Day 6:
Dragons were lurking and dragons came today, though not in any expected shape !
When I was 16 and an exchange student in Texas, I had one massive physical trauma during what was otherwise one of the best years of my life: I keeled over in the bathroom in the middle of the night and my body just started cramping up all over, so I couldn’t move my limbs properly. I got myself as far as my bed and as I started yelling to wake up the rest of the house, my one thought was, that if these cramps reached my heart and head, I would die. -Que 3 days in hospital with a 42C fever.
Fast forward 22 years and I’m 6 days into the challenge, and my body is starting to get a bit tired. 1 hour in, little cramps start nipping at my arms and fingers, nothing remotely like the ones back then, but similar initial feeling and my body panics! I lie down, try to breathe and calm my heart rate, but find it really hard. A strange thought hits me, that I need to get my fever down, even though I’m perfectly well, and as I got my body to relax a little, tears just streamed down my face. They say that when you really start pushing your body, you open up for all kinds of things. I just never expected to be facing my fear of death in a yoga class..
Yoga Challenge Day 5:
5 classes down and 25 to go. I’m entering into what is a blank spot on the map for me. Here be Dragons!
Well, dragons so far turned out to be a rather unremarkable day in the hotroom. Body is incrementally getting better and stronger and my skin is getting really clear and feels like a baby’s bum to the touch.
Weird note of the day: About 50mins. in, when everyone lies down for a 2min. savasana, you can smell EVERYTHING. People’s perfume, shampoo, sour feet (that has only happened once, thank God). Thankfully, there’s a very high level of cleanliness. Then again, once you have tried reusing a mattowel or a garment without washing it in this class, and had your nose in it for 1½ hours, you never do it again!
Yoga Challenge Day 4:
Had a great class this evening and feel fantastic! Body is starting to respond and I woke up this morning and was HUNGRY. The challenge so far is not so much about physicality as it is about logistics; Fitting in 1½ hours, plus shower and transport, each day around work and a social life is like planning for a big dinner every day –everything has to be ready at a certain time. Having to have had something solid to eat and 2 liters of water at least 2 hours before class, so as not to chew up the woodwork in the room from hunger, dehydrate, or spew that same meal during class, takes some advance planning.
Also, for my body not to completely crash, while doing what amounts to 9½ hours of hard exercise and sweating in excess of 7-10 liters a week, things like mineral salts, grape sugar, nuts and grains, coconut water, spelt porridge and an inordinate number of smoothies have entered into my diet.
Last night I found myself boiling a whole packet of eggs in order to have a backup stash of proteins for after class and little mumsy tubberware boxes with almonds and raisins are finding their way my bags and purse. I’m planning to get fit while doing this, not to lose weight and have never had to pay this much attention to my diet before in my life to keep on top of things.
Weird little note of the day: the hideous ceiling plates in the hot-room take on a kaleidoscopic myriad of quite interesting repetitive patterns when you un-focus your eyes while looking up at it.
Yoga Challenge Day 3:
First milestone: 3 days training in a row. Average day. Had confirmed what I already knew: I am NOT a morning person and my body stubbornly refuses to rev up just 1 hour after I have woken up. Am starting to feel various muscle groups stirring, who didn’t know they existed until today. -note to self: hardcore exercise just 45 mins. after getting up just isn’t happening.
Yoga Challenge Day 2:
I certainly don’t plan to vomit again. Jokes are already circulating on my team, named “The English Bulldogs”, that we are now “barfing” rather than barking!
Going from yoga hell to yoga heaven in less than 24 hours. Felt excellent through most of today’s class. Spent “shavasana” (dead man’s pose) looking alternately at someone’s elbow and a hole in the ceiling vent and managed , for the first time, to completely relax the body, like it is when deep asleep, while being wide awake. A pretty cool feeling I might add 🙂 Currently have a water clog in one ear, like you get at the pool, except this one is made out of sweat..
Yoga Challenge Day 1:
One down, 29 to go. First time doing the 8pm class, and as a matter of fact Cecilia , I did unceremoniously heave my dinner. Mid yoga. In the heat.. Figure that the only way from here on out is up!
-Note to self: White pasta is off the menu.
Bikram Yoga: Bikram Yoga is a system of yoga that Bikram Choudhury synthesized from traditional hatha yoga techniques. Bikram Yoga sessions run for exactly 90 minutes and consist of a set series of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises. Bikram Yoga is ideally practiced in a room heated to 105°F (≈ 40.6°C) with a humidity of 40%, and is the most popular form of hot yoga (a series of yoga poses done in a heated room).
Cecilia is a Hong Kong Chinese-Australian Social Entreprneur, Artist, Directors of NGO in Africa, South Ameria, Asia and California who really really likes to "tell it how it is", having travelled to over 40 countries around the world & seen some interesting things every so often.
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