Category Archives: Yoga

All things yoga because we love it.

Bikram Yoga: My body says No!

So, it’s been a while since I said we were returning to Bikram Yoga.

We went to one class which I felt absolutely fine in, as if I’d never left.

Soon after however, I caught a cold/cough and spent a week recovering.  I haven’t been sick like that in over a year.

Then just as I was recovering from that, my grandma passed away so I spent a week hiding away dealing with my grief.

I thought that was enough and I was better.

Committed to what I said about returning to Bikram yoga, I just went for my first class in 2-3 weeks on Tuesday.  This time, I couldn’t hack it.  I sat down a lot.  I felt emotional, my back was tight, I felt dizzy.

After class Tony just said “You looked weak.”

We had to go grocery shopping afterwards and I didn’t have the energy.  My back wouldn’t let up, it was like muscles tightening in my back more and more but stopping just before a cramp.

I started to feel anxious and the tension crept up to my neck causing a long and intense aching like my head was in a vice.  I wished right there and then I could just curl up into a ball and go to sleep but I had to walk home carrying heavy groceries.

Tony carried most of it but there was too much for him to be able to carry it all himself.  For the first time in over 10 years, I really wished we had a car.

After we got home, I just lay down and didn’t want to do anything.  I felt like I had my period and even started bleeding just like I had it.

My eyes were bloodshot.  I was not in a good way.

Before I went to bed I noticed a red mark on my hand.  It looked like an insect bite.  I ignored it and by the time I woke up, I had about 3 more insect bites on my palm and a couple on the back of my hand.  They were really itchy so naturally, I scratched them and the ones on my palm blew up into a full blown blistery rash that both hurt and itched horribly, by the end of the day.

Of course I consulted Dr Google about it.  It seems I’ve developed some kind of eczema caused by stress (and humid conditions) or I’m having an allergic reaction to whatever insect has bitten me.  If it’s  neither of those, I’ve contracted yet another disgusting skin disease from a sweaty mat.

As for the bleeding after exercise, it can be caused by stress.  Sometimes the stress on the body due to the intensity of the exercise can change the hormone balance, causing the body to act like it’s time to menstruate.  It’s either that or, it’s something a woman goes through before she gets to menopause (bleed between periods).

I have noticed however, bleeding only happens after exercise and the amount of bleeding correlates with how spent I feel after the exercise.   No bleeding happened during the time I didn’t exercise at all so it’s more likely caused by physical stress rather than menopausal.

Great.  (Read in the most sarcastic way you can hear it.)

Either way, it’s scary and all been triggered with Bikram and all those symptoms listed are a sign that my immune system is not coping well with stress.

It’s not like I pushed myself that much.  I sat out half of almost every standing posture after eagle but my body is telling me that even that was way too much for it to deal with!

I said I was going back to Bikram because I was in need of pain but this is not what I meant.

The good news?  My plan worked.  I went back to Bikram to help  me change my diet.  If I hurt enough, I’d learn to eat better.

Well, in the last 2 days we’ve eaten much better (no chips or cookies)and are more determined and motivated than ever to continue it.

 

All in order to help me recover quickly from these horrible ailments and so Tony doesn’t feel so “toxic” anymore.

Side note – we are still eating out occasionally and put no restrictions on what we eat when we eat out.

My bleeding stopped the next day.  The eczema is still there.  It’s only been a day so I’ll give it a week or so, to clear completely.

Since illness is a symptom of immune deficiency and we haven’t had kefir for a couple of months, I’ve started us drinking that again too.  Improved gut health through increased probiotics means an improved immune system and improved immunity means quick recovery and less sickness!

As for increasing the number of Bikram classes I attend, for now, for this body, it’s a complete no go.

Until my body starts dealing with physical stress a bit better and my immune system has improved, I am going to Bikram minimally.  I think once a week, if that, will do just fine and even then, unless I’m feeling super strong, I’ll probably spend most of my time sitting.

That will be interesting!  I have never walked out of a Bikram class and for the most part, until I got injured (pain in my butt), I never sat out any postures either.  Now I’m sitting out quite a bit.  To me this is already taking it easy.

It seems, I’m still learning what “take it easy” means.  So many times I think I’m taking it easy, that I’m pretty much lazing about and then I get sick, I get injured or I  post exercise bleed and get eczema – all indications of what my body really thinks of my version of taking it easy.

Besides, I achieved my purpose of going back, which was to eat better.  If I’m doing that, there’s no point overdoing it just ’cause.

As the teachers always say, you only do as much as you can, with the body that you have, that day.  My body right now, is saying “No way Jose!  Not today.  I do not want to play!”

If only I knew how to listen to it before it has to scream like this.  So much changes inside, you never see it until these symptoms come up and usually by then, it’s been festering for a while.  I wonder how you recognise it before it does this because that would be way more useful.

Isn’t it interesting though, that none of these symptoms came up until I did Bikram again?!  I guess that room is a pressure test, a great way to find your breaking point and bring symptoms up to the surface so you can resolve the issues!!

Well, we obviously could feel something was off, otherwise we wouldn’t have felt the need to go back.

The good thing is, at least I’ve started the process for change and healing now.  As with many healing crises, it always feels worse before it gets better.

I’m really hoping now that this is the worst and soon it will get better.  For now, I think it’s time to learn how to chill out even more and monitor my symptoms for improvement.

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Doing Bikram Yoga Again because I’m Vane and Need Some Pain

We started going to Bikram yoga again.

I went to maybe four or five Bikram yoga classes in total over this last 9-12 month period.  One of them was accidental (ie I walked into the wrong room and sat there not realising, long enough to be too late for the class I was supposed to be in) and the other was forced (ie I couldn’t get into the class I wanted because it was full / booked out so went to Bikram instead).

The last 2 classes however were voluntary.  We went because we felt we needed it.  It only took a year to miss it 😉

The strange thing is, it’s not as bad as I expect it to be while I’m in there but by gosh I feel horrible afterwards.  My body aches and I’m always tired and I seem to be straining my neck a lot because I feel my shoulders and neck are so tense they cause me headaches for the next 2 days after class.

I’m also still losing large chunks of hair afterwards because my head drops hair when my body is hot and/or stressed.

Surprised I can still do the postures even though I hadn’t done them in ages.  Though my eagle is looking crooked these days and my initial back bends are more or less upright.

The rest of my postures are probably the same standard as they were before we stopped.  That is impressive.  It means vinyasa and yin have maintained our strength and flexibility overall so we can still do the movements we hadn’t done in ages.

So why did we feel we needed to do Bikram yoga again if the other yoga styles were maintaining/improving strength and flexibility already?  Vanity.

Bikram yoga is the only yoga that gets our skin soft and supple.  It gets rid of any lumps and bumps.  All the pimples and blackheads disappear because your pores open up and you just sweat it all out.

Bikram yoga is also the only yoga that’s gotten rid of my bingo wings, which have returned regardless of all the damned chaturangas I do and it’s not got to do with the postures but our diet.

You see, the only yoga that makes me change the way I eat is Bikram yoga.  That is because when you don’t eat well, you will feel it in that room or afterwards and after a while, you just get sick of feeling like sh*t all the time and so you either stop the Bikram or you change your diet.

Evidently I’m vane enough to go back just because I don’t like all my blocked pores or my wobbly arms and it’s the only way I know how to fix both.

Tony doesn’t like feeling “toxic” and according to him, Bikram yoga is the only thing that makes him feel like he’s eliminated all the toxins from his body.  He is convinced he’s wrung all the toxins out of his body through his sweat.

He is always the one moaning about not having enough vegetables and “eating too much junk”.  Those words are in inverted commas because he uses them every time he complains about the food we’ve eaten.  At the same time, he’s the one that’s always buying said junk and brings some home with him every day.

We now eat biscuits, cakes, crisps, crackers, chips, takeaway multiple times a day, every day and the only thing that’s going to stop us from continuing to do it is if we feel horrible afterwards.

Except, if you take the Bikram Yoga out of the following equations, we don’t feel anything but satisfied and full!

Eating Junk +  Bikram  Yoga = Feel Horrible / In Pain

Eat Well + Bikram  Yoga = Feel High as a kite

Whether you’re motivated by pain or gain, when it comes to diet, Tony and I have both found that Bikram Yoga is what is needed to make us change it.  So, we’re back.

Well, we all need something to motivate us to make changes / get in that room right?

Avoiding Bikram Yoga and now Starting to miss it

It’s a short one today just to say that I’ve been avoiding Bikram Yoga and people are noticing.

“We don’t see you in the classes anymore!”

Well, it’s simple, I’ve probably done all of 3 Bikram classes in the last 5 months.

I actually lose less hair by staying away.  That is, I now have much more hair remaining on my head because I’m not exposing myself to the heat – I drop hair like crazy in the hot room.

But there are disadvantages like I don’t get to do toe stand anymore and camels are just as non-existent.  Not that I liked camels, I hated them.  And, I’m getting fat around my belly again.  Hey ho.  You win some you lose some.

So what am I doing instead?  Yin and the occasional Vinyasa.  On the upside my hips are opening up and my crow is getting better.  I’m hating the chaturanga dandasanas but hey… you win some, you lose some!

I’m loving the yin though.  Yesterday I fell asleep and only woke up to switch postures.  Ahhhh my life feels so much more balanced when I do yin.  Being a very yang person within my entire being, the yin actually helps a lot.

So yes, I’m starting to miss Bikram yoga.  I don’t miss the heat, I miss the postures and feel like I’ve forgotten how to move my body in those ways (eg holding awkward pose).  I probably won’t be able to do any of the postures when I go to a class.

Methinks it’s time to start looking at my posture progress again to see if having spent time away has made a difference.  Curious to find out.

Has it been a week already?

When you’re young, a day feels like eternity but it seems the older you get, 1 week goes by in a blink of an eye.

Highlights of the week:

Ada’s Visit
A friend from Australia that I hadn’t seen for over a decade visited.  She was in London for less than 24 hours but still managed to squeeze me in for a catch up.

I chose a restaurant near where she was staying.  It was the German Gymnasium at Kings Cross.  They serve… German food.  Ha!

Anyway, it’s in a Grade II listed building and named German Gymnasium because the building was the first, purpose built Gymnasium in England with funding coming solely from London’s German community.

The building was built in 1865 so we ate dinner (I had a German afternoon tea) inside a 150 year old building.

Yin with Sharky
Yoga which has been my life for so long, was pretty non-existent because – January.

You have to book ALL your classes in otherwise they’re all full due to all those well-intentioned New Years Resolutions people who disappear by Feb.

I managed to book classes from mid Jan through to Feb and thought by February for sure, the classes would start being freer but it wasn’t to be.

So I have spent many days not going to yoga because the classes have been booked out and I hadn’t booked myself in, in time.

Can you imagine?  Attempting to book yourself in 2 days in advance is still not long enough.  FARK!

I did manage to get to one of Sharky’s first Yin classes and I loved it.  She did a different method to the other teachers and allowed time for “rebound” between each posture.

Rebound is a savasana in between every posture to allow whatever released in each posture, to move through and exit or integrate into, the body.

The result?  I ended up getting really teary and emotional.  I actually felt emotions releasing from my body and I was so grateful to be able to feel them so I could let them go.

It only lasted a few seconds though because as soon as Tony saw me looking teary, “WHY ARE YOU CRYING?” came out of his mouth and it was so abrupt and harsh, I immediately cut off all emotions and went back to thinking mode.

I got skillz like that.

Actually, he managed to say it just like my mother used to.  I know he said it out of concern but I heard it the way my mum said it which meant “Stop being a pussy, you have no reason to cry and if you don’t stop I’ll fucking give you a reason to cry.”  That’s the mild version. 😉

So I stopped.  IMMEDIATELY.  I’ll just have to find a way to cry at times he’s not around so I can release emotions in peace.

Paris & Rome
Another week in peace.  Both boys are really happy and binky every day.

Paris does the cutest binkies ’cause he’s so chunky like a bulldog and bottom heavy.  So he looks more like a jumping goat or ram when he binkies.

Rome has started to jump on my arm and shoulder.  Last night he sat on my shoulder and every so often would turn to lick my face – cheek, eyelid, eyebrows, temple, forehead.  Then he’d jump down and jump up onto my other shoulder and tug at my hair.

I know he’s just looking for a way over the fence and using me as a viewing platform but I like to think we’ve developed a good bond plus I’m loving all my bunny kisses!  He loves kissing my nose.

He’s still incredibly mischievous, spends a lot of his time in meerkat position, listening out for what Paris might be doing and he’s completely chewed up the skirting board instead of the chew mat we gave him because he thinks breaking the skirting board will help him escape the fence.

We keep him fenced because although the more loving of the two, he’s also the trouble maker.

He is so curious he gets himself into all sorts of trouble – biting things he shouldn’t, falling off things he shouldn’t have jumped on in the first place and starting fights by annoying the crap out of Paris by not letting him have space.

The other day he fell down the stairs 3 times in one day (that I saw)all because he kept standing on 2 feet on the edge of the step and then leaning backwards.  Don’t ask.

He’s been contained in the hallway with plenty of run space including the stairs and the bathroom but it doesn’t stop him from attempting to  break the fence and looking for FREEDOM!!!

I’m also having a battle of the bathroom with him.

After a week of watching Tony and I go toilet (he’s in the hallway so we have to pass him every single time and sometimes he follows us into the bathroom), he stopped pissing and pooing anywhere but the bathroom!

He just chose to go in the shower because he can’t reach the toilet.

Unfortunately, we have to keep clearing his poo and pee before we have a shower and he gets very frustrated with us because every time we clean it, we’re effectively saying he’s not allowed to pee and poo there, and therefore he has nowhere to go toilet.

So then of course he’ll poo and pee outside of the shower as well as in the shower, using the entire bathroom floor as his toilet which makes it difficult for us to go in there and use the toilet ourselves.

I put a litter in the bathroom for him and it’s taken a couple of days but I think he’s coming around to the idea that this is his new place to go toilet because there is much less poo anywhere but the litter.

Although the chew mat I bought is completely intact for Rome, Paris’ is almost completely torn apart and non-existent.

Paris actually only chews the things we give him to chew and he knows EXACTLY which is for him and which is not.

A perfect example is that he has a cardboard box he chews on, we give them cardboard boxes a lot.  Yet, I’ve left cardboard boxes full of my eBay stock out right next to his play area without any fences.

He can walk right up to them and start chewing on them, pissing on them, whatever he likes really and he leaves them untouched!

He has identified what is ok for him and what will get him into trouble and he really has behaved himself so we’ve removed the fence and he’s running “free range”.

He actually just stays in his area!!  He’s recently started to explore under the couch but he has steered clear of the hallway and gone nowhere near the only fence that keeps him apart from Rome.

So far so good.  Unsure how long this will last but we’ll see.

Paris has also started to approach us more and nudges us for treats which is much better than running away!

Still hates getting patted but he tolerates it a bit more before running away.  He also has no problems standing on our feet when he’s begging and asking us for treats.  We didn’t teach him, he just does it.

Overall we have 2 very happy bunnies and we’re finally starting to understand their personalities.

Because only their scent is on their stuff, they’re not marking territory as much as they used to.

That means there’s barely any poo outside of their litter and hutch and they’re not pissing outside of their designated litters at all.  I knew they were supposed to be easy to toilet train!!

All they needed was to be separated and feel safe about what is THEIR space.

Our house no longer smells as bad (either that or I’m used to it) and I’m back to normal amounts of laundry.

That makes 2 good weeks in a row with them out of 5.5 weeks together.  It was a hectic start but we’re getting there!! YES!!

Last thing… last night I attempted to feed them rocket (again, I think it was my 3rd attempt at feeding them rocket, probably the 15th time to attempt to feed them some sort of fresh veg) and THEY ATE IT!!!!  That was their first ever fresh vegetable they’ve eaten.

And to test trust, I held the rocket with my mouth and had them eat it from me.  BOTH of them did it which means they’re both cool with sharing food with me.

YES!  After many weeks of rejection, I finally got acceptance.

I can’t have asked for more.  Patience, persistence, trust and love. That’s what these boys are teaching me.

And restraint… I’m learning restraint.  Sometimes I wish I could just SQUEEZE them and smother them with kisses because they’re so damned CUTE but that’s probably why they don’t let me hold them!

Here is a picture of them when they used to get along:

Paris & Rome

 

 

This is them in rapport even when separated.

sleepy-paris
Sleepy baby Paris
Sleepy Rome
Sleepy baby Rome. Notice the completely intact chew mat next to him (on the right) and our chewed up door frame (on the left). That’s just paint on the door snake.

 

Seriously, Tony skyped me one pic while he was with Paris in the lounge and Rome was doing the exact same thing while with me in the hallway!  In rapport, even when apart – there is hope for them yet!

Handstand – It’s the little things!

Yesterday I did my first ever handstand without a wall!

Can you believe it?  I’m so excited about it I was beaming from ear to ear after class.

So first of all, I have to clarify, I did my first ever handstand about 2 years ago.  It was against a wall where I faced the wall and I got there by doing almost a cartwheel with the wall preventing me from flipping backwards.

That is, I used momentum to get myself up, the wall as a break and held myself up by sheer will, using my heels to grip the wall so I wouldn’t fall side ways.

I have done handstands since but very rarely because I’ve been such a scaredy-cat about them.  I always think I might bust a hole in the wall from kicking too hard so every time I did a handstand against a wall, I’d climb my feet up slowly.

So, I faced away from the wall, touched my toes, put my hands on the ground, then walked my feet up the wall.  This too was a rare event because I’d only be confident doing this with someone around, in case I fell.

Also, I’d keep my toes on the wall and never take them off so I was never actually upright, always on an angle.

Yesterday however,  we were asked to do handstands with a partner.  The partner’s role was simply to touch your legs when you kicked up so you could gauge how far you had to kick to be upright.  Once you were up, your partner just had to keep your legs in place (not by holding you but by keeping their hands near your legs,  just to give you confidence that they will catch you or stop you from falling over).

I have no idea what happened.  I kicked up once, twice and then on the third time, my leg tapped my partner’s hand and the next thing I know, both legs were up and I felt like I was flying.

“You did it!” she said.

“I did it??” I screamed back.

Partner:  “Yes, this is all you!  You’re doing it!”

Me while upside down in a handstand, getting really excited:  “I AM???!!!”

Partner:  “Yes!  You’re doing great!  Are you getting tired?  Do you want to come down?”

Me:  “Um… no, but yeah, oh… yeah OK I’ll come down.”

It was the strangest thing, when I was back on my feet, my partner told me that she didn’t hold me up, that I was doing it all on my own.  It was hard for me to understand.

Here’s the thing.  When I’ve done handstands against a wall, it’s HEAVY.  My arms and shoulders hurt and tire easily.  I feel my entire weight of my body and legs all on my arms, wrists and shoulders.

However, without a wall, I felt no weight… that’s what I  meant by I felt like I was flying.  I don’t know what happened or how I did it.  I can only guess that I stacked my bones up to get the right balance.

I attempted kicking up with the opposite leg.  I was having a really hard time with it.  The worst part was that the rest of the class has finished theirs and so were watching me and cheering me on.

I think my partner had to collect the kicking leg (ie catch it and pull it up) and put my legs in line with each other.  Not as great as my first leg but I still managed to hold myself up there.

I tell you what, I’ve never in my life EVER done a handstand by myself.  Not as a kid, not as an adult.  But now, for the first time ever, I can see it as a possibility for me.

You know, it’s not the full posture and I didn’t do it by myself but it made my week.  I think that’s all you need to be happy in life.  Progress, possibility, learning new things and little wins!!

 

Introducing Myself and You To The Sauce (Psoas)

My first introduction to the Psoas was by Sofia Vergara, when I watched this video of her playing “5 Second Rule” with Ellen DeGeneres.

Here is the clip, though she doesn’t introduce us to the Psoas until 5:14

To any person who was unfamiliar with the Psoas prior to watching that video, she definitely said “sauce” right?!  What a strange muscle to mention.

Now I know of its’ importance, I understand why she mentioned it and I question why it isn’t more commonly known.

However,  after looking into it, it seems to be something that people write books about.  I was just one of those common people who was oblivious to the mighty Psoas or Sauce if you are Sofia Vergara!

So last night I went to my first i.flo class with Baris Yazar and died.  I’m not talking about dying like Taylor Swift fans who claim to be “deaded” when they see her either.

I’m talking about, not-being-able-to-do-a-push-up-or-a-sit-up-to-save-my-life-and-so-I-died kind of dead.

You would think having done yoga, I’d be able to do a push up right?  Well, no.  Unfortunately, Bikram yoga offers no familiarity nor acquaintance with Mr Chaturanga and my big shoulders have proven that they are simply ornamental.

Add to that my 9 weeks off of any form of exercise and me only just easing my way back into exercising 3 times a week this week and you’ll get an idea of how much I died.

Having said that, i.flo was fun and it pointed out certain malfunctioning muscles of mine.  Namely, my second and most important introduction to the sauce.  Psoas.  Sauce.  “What did I say wrong?!”

i.flo highlighted my psoas’ existence because it appeared to be non-existent.

So let me tell you what I know about Mr Sauce so far.

The Psoas / Iliopsoas muscle is important to human movement.  It’s the muscle that helps you run, jump and walk by flexing your hip.  It connects the inside to the outside and the back to the front.  It connects your spine to your legs!

iliopsoasThat’s a picture I googled for illustrative purposes.

From the picture above, you can see the Psoas major connects to the Lumbar Spine (lower back) and then comes forward to the front of the body.  There is also another muscle called the Illiacus muscle which is attached to the illium (pelvic bone) and also comes to the front.

120px-iliacus_muscle_-_animation05

The Illiacus muscle is shown in the GIF above, in red.

Both the Psoas major and the Illiacus muscles combine at the front and are called the Iliopsoas.  They (Iliopsoas) share the same ligament which connects to the inner pelvis.

As mentioned, the Psoas connects your spine to your legs.  If it works, you should be able to do an L-sit.  Contract the Psoas and your legs will lift up towards your spine.  Mine did no such thing.  “My sauce is weak!”

Yes, the L-sit also requires arm, ab and leg strength but the only thing that’s going to get your legs higher, will be a mightily contracted psoas muscle.  It is the secret psoas!  (Did you see what I did there?  Ha!  I’m slapping my thigh and giving myself a high five right now!)

Next, Baris said, “Lay down on your back with your legs straight and your lower back flat on the floor.  No banana backs.”  He then gave a demonstration.

I’m a stickler for following instructions but no matter what I did and how much I tried to round my back, I had a little bridge – a banana back.  There was ALWAYS a gap between the floor and my lower back while my legs were straight.  The only way I could eliminate that gap and have my back flat on the floor was to bend my knees.

psoasanteriortilt See that picture?  I got that from SequenceWiz about Stretching the Psoas and it’s a good read so head on over there for more info.

That diagram totally explains the back curvature I have and why I couldn’t get my lower back flat on the floor.  Low and behold, the Psoas is involved again!

According to this picture, the psoas has been overstretched, constantly being pulled forward and downward, due to the pelvic tilt, taking the spine with it.

The result is a curved spine, duck bum and an overstretched psoas.   Overstretched muscles fatigue easily.  It’s hard for them to contract back to normal (let alone tightly) when they’ve gone too far one way.  “So that‘s why my sauce is weak!”

So here’s some more info about the sauce.  The Psoas regulates spinal and pelvic alignment but it isn’t strong enough to do it on its own.

When the surrounding muscles such as the abdominals, glutes, spine and quads are tight or weak, the pelvic bone will tilt one way or another and the Psoas will get pulled or contract depending on the angle of the pelvis and spine.

It will, attempt to regulate but there’s only so much it can do, poor psoas, with so many things pulling it up, down, front and back.  Eventually, it all becomes too much and it can’t do its’ job, one of the stronger / tighter outer muscles will win and imbalances form in the lower body.

psoasbackpullSo my understanding now is that a happy psoas takes a lot of work.  It seems it will only be happy when all the surrounding muscles are also co-operating instead of pulling against each other.

Happy and balanced outer muscles will make for a happy and effectively functioning psoas.  Once it’s functioning happily, then it can be strengthened.

More research will have to be done on my part to figure out which muscles I need to strengthen, stretch and how but there you are.

Now that I’ve introduced you, I leave you to get to know your own psoas better.  It’s worth getting to know because knowing and understanding your psoas will actually help you work out how to re-balance your entire lower body!

Voila!  You are very welcome.

Bikram Yoga: How NOT to be a douche in class

I found this drafted blog which I never posted and thought I’d share it.  For reference, we’ve been doing yoga now for over 4 years so I wrote this over a year ago.  I haven’t come across this type of experience in a long time but we’ve all been there and it’s funny to be able to look back and see what my experience was in the past…  After reading it, I cracked myself up so had to share it!

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OK, so yoga is supposed to be all about zen, accepting things, letting things go, yatta, yatta, yatta.

You’d think that after practicing for almost 3 years, you’d get to a stage where your focus is like a laser beam, your mind is empty and all you do is “feel the (life) force” every time you’re in the room.

Well, in a recent class, I proved very much the opposite.  I found myself getting angrier and angrier and repeating “What a douche!” a whole bunch of times… more than I care to count and they were probably the gentlest words popping into my head among the many more flowery superlatives hanging about and decorating my mind at the time.  They were very colourful thoughts.  The scowl on my face was so tense I could’ve used it to hold up my leg in standing-head-to-knee.

“Let me guess… the teacher was on your case?”

NO my friend, it was not the teacher.  I’ve never thought anything like that about a teacher… well, maybe once but douche wasn’t the word I used and it was only temporary and momentarily and I forgot about it once my legs stopped burning.  It’s also never happened again since.

NO, the bane of my life that day was another student.  A newbie… new as in first 5 classes new.  I know, I know… I need to exercise patience…. they don’t know what they’re doing…

But seriously, EVERYTHING she could have possibly done to piss me off in a class, she did.  One or two things?  I can let them go… I am a patient person, it takes quite a bit to get me riled up but once it happens……

The rant begins…….

This lady did every. single. one. of my pet peeves and to top it off, she even gave me some new ones.  Got to hand it to her, if there was a “Douche of all Douches” trophy, she’d get one.

Here is a list of everything she did.  It makes a pretty definitive list of everything you shouldn’t do in a class if you don’t want someone giving you a death stare the whole time.

1.  Attend with your friend and have a chat during and between postures
Talking to each other like you’re having a picnic… is a big NO NO
If you wanted to lie on a towel and have a chat then go to the beach… douche!
Most likely all you want to say is “OMG look at how much I’m sweating!” or “OMG it’s so hot” or “OMG this is hard” That’s it… there’s nothing else for you to say while you’re in there and guess what?

Sweating? Hot? Feeling like it’s hard?  WE’RE ALL FEELING THAT WAY!

Saying it out loud, distracting everyone in the process doesn’t help anyone.  Saying it over and over every few mins because you think your friend might not have heard you the first time… doesn’t work either.  I’m farther away than your friend and I can hear you.  Douche.

You’ve got the rest of your life outside of that room to talk, surely you can keep your mouth shut for 90mins?
Etiquette:  Observe Silence

2.  Spread yourself out like you own the place
This lady had a face towel about 20cm from the top and about 20cm away to the right of her mat.  Her water bottle was standing up to the left and half way down her mat about 10cm away also.  Therefore, the amount of space she took was pretty much 1.5 mat widths and we were in a class that wasn’t packed BUT it had enough people there to be crowded so that others in the room were only about 10cm away from each other.
Really?  You couldn’t move your things closer to you to make space for other people?  What a douche!
Etiquette:  Observe your space and allow others theirs

3.  Treat your space like a dance floor
Having her items placed so far apart meant this lady had to keep walking from one end of her mat to the other every time she wanted to wipe her face or drink water.  Back and forth, back and forth…. back and forth… for the entire standing series.  First she’s on her towel then she’s off the mat to the left taking a sip then she’s walking across to the right to pick up her towel to wipe her face, then she’s on the mat but decides she doesn’t want to do the posture and sits down, then she changes her mind and stands back up to attempt the posture but realises she has to walk to the right again to wipe her face AGAIN even though she just did that half a minute ago…  Do you know how distracting this is for someone practicing right behind you?

STOP MOVING!!!!! DOUCHE!!!!
Etiquette:  Observe Stillness

4.  Keep trying to make your towel flap like a flag in the wind
If she wasn’t wiping her face, she was drinking and if she wasn’t doing that, she was moving her towel up and down the mat, she kept lifting it up and laying it down like you would do when you put out a picnic rug.  First she’d move the towel to the top of the mat, then she’d move it to the bottom of the mat, then she’d move it to the middle of the mat.. then she’d sit on it but after she sat on it, it had creases so she’d stand up, pick it up and she’d lay it out again…. over and over…. and over….. didn’t she realise that putting her foot on it would crease it?  If she wanted it straight, flat and pristine why did she keep walking on it??????!!!!!!!  Why not just lay the f*cker out and leave it!!! It’s not like she was doing anything anyway… just get off the mat and go home!  Then the towel would be straight and she  wouldn’t have to keep flapping it about so many times!!

I bet she’s one of those people at the beach who picks up their towel and flaps it about when the wind is blowing so everyone next to them gets whipped in the face by the sand that’s come off her towel…
Inconsiderate Douche!!
Etiquette:  See 3

5.  Stand directly in front of the person practicing behind you so they can’t see anything except you and your fat ass
Yeah I said it.

There’s a mirror for a reason and it’s not so you can check yourself out for 1.5 hrs.  The teacher always says “make sure you can see yourself in the mirror.”  but they also say “make sure the person behind you can see themselves in the mirror, even a little bit”.

Considering I chose that day to practice at the back, it was my responsibility to choose a spot that allowed me to see myself in the  mirror…. and I did.  I chose to place my mat, not directly behind her but to the side, and I had a person to my right and the mat racks to my left… I didn’t have much space to move.  She however, given how she spread out her mat, bottle and face towel had plenty of space to move to either side.

However, when it came to practicing, she moved her mat directly in front of mine and then stood right in the middle of her mat which was right in front of me, I couldn’t see anything except her.  She could have stood a step to the side and that would have been fine but she stood right. in. front. of me.

After set 1 of the breathing exercise… I moved my mat so I was right up against the mat racks but at least I could half see myself…. you know what she did??? SHE STOOD OFF HER MAT and again, ended up right in front of me.  What the hell was she doing off her mat anyway?… and  why didn’t she move to the right or stay where she was?

When half-moon came, I moved to the right of my mat, couldn’t see a thing and thought to myself… “just let it go, you chose this spot, now you just gotta deal with it.”

After first set half moon, a guy at the front, saw how crowded it was so he moved himself to make more space for those behind him to see themselves.  Thank you considerate human being…
I moved to the left at the start of the next posture, this time grateful that I could see at least half of myself.  SHE sees that he’s made space and moves her entire mat so AGAIN she’s directly in front of me… On the next posture, I move to the right and see….. NOTHING… just the back of her.   Again, I tell myself to just let it go.

Just accept that she’s…  A DOUCHE!
Etiquette:  See 3 & 2

6.  Drink in between postures
Drinking in between or during postures is not only distracting to others but is equivalent to eating a steak in front of a hungry meat eater who has just started being vegetarian.  Nuff said… what a douche.
Etiquette:  Show some Goddamned respect and consideration for others

7.  Lying down with  your feet facing the mirror 
Firstly, if you’re taking a break in standing series, you’re not supposed to lie down.  They say, take a knee or sit…. nobody said lie down!!!
Secondly, when you lie down, it’s with your head towards the mirror not your feet.
So of course during balancing stick… I was dripping sweat from my fingers and trying to avoid dripping on her face…  Didn’t do too well for my balancing and if she was sitting, I wouldn’t have had that problem.
Etiquette:  Your bad juju flows out of your feet.  Show some respect for the teacher and face that bad juju away from them.

8.  Moving off your mat

If she was tall, I would have forgiven her but this lady was on and off her mat non stop.  When she lay down, in the correct direction, her feet would extend off her mat because she’d place her head half way down the mat.  She moved her mat in front of mine, that meant when she lay down, her feet were in my face.  Did she move up?  No… instead she looked at me, lay diagonal and looked as if I’d inconvenienced her.  My mat was right up against the wall and her mat (where she placed it AFTER I’d moved my mat away from hers in the first place) therefore I had nowhere to go.  All she had to do was move her body up on her mat….
DOUCHE
Etiquette:  See 2

9.  Making owy faces and massaging yourself, drawing attention

Yes she did.  She’d keep mouthing “OW!” shaking her hand or her foot or massaging herself in between all her moving around and her towel fluffing, drinking, face wiping.  I don’t even know where she found the time to fit all that in but just like a parent who yells at their kid “STOP CRYING OR I’LL GIVE YOU SOMETHING TO CRY ABOUT!”  I found myself having to hold back so much.  All I wanted to do was give her something to say ow about… “Don’t you realise that everyone else is ALSO in pain and discomfort?  Nobody moans about it so we can keep going until the end.  YOU however are a whiney little douche who hasn’t done anything to be in pain!! So what’s with all the owy faces?  I’ll show you fucking OW!!!”

What. A. Whiney.  Douche.

Etiquette:  You’ve got the rest of your life to be a douche.  Just STOP IT for once in your fucking life. 90mins.  It’s not that hard.

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Needless to say I never saw this person back in class again, EVER.  Glad to say I haven’t seen this kind of person in the studio since.  Thank God.  And, my practice now remains quite calm and peaceful 🙂  What a difference a year or 2 makes! LOL