Return to Bikram Yoga: the things I’ve noticed

Going to Bikram occasionally with huge amounts of time (months or years) between classes definitely doesn’t work!  Although you remember the postures, you feel the pain, every time!  During AND after class!

I don’t know if it’s because I’m older, because I practice so irregularly or because I’m in London and the temperature in the room is drastically different to the temperature outside but whatever it is, I’m feeling a lot more post-class ailments now whereas before I never had any.

For instance, last year, I went to my first class in ages and spent the entire day with a headache.  No matter how much water I drank, I couldn’t rid myself of the heat in my head… my face was HOT, my cheeks were flushed and I felt like I had a fever for the entire day.  The headache felt so bad, I didn’t feel like eating so I drank heaps of water instead.  It didn’t work – it wasn’t until I ate dinner that the headache disappeared!!  It turns out when you sweat.. you’re not just supposed to replace just the water but also the SALT that you lose as well!!

These days, I still feel flushed and hot faced all day but there’s no more headaches because I make sure I eat salt!

I’ve noticed differences between practicing in Australia vs practicing in London.

In Oz, they encourage zero water breaks throughout class because it wasn’t good to “cool down” your body in the middle of practice when you’d worked so hard to warm it up from the inside out – so you drink only before and after class.  In London you get lots of “party time” which is when you’re allowed to drink water in between postures.

In Oz the studio showers are cubicles with doors whereas in London they are communal.   Yeah, I’m just not used to so many naked, sweaty bodies walking around me and I don’t think I ever will get used to such a thing.  So now I just go home sweaty and smelly feeling sorry for anyone who walks down wind of me.

In Oz, I went to yoga a lot by myself but here in London, I’ve introduced Tony to it and he loves it and attends classes with me 🙂  I like having company, it’s more fun, like having a gym buddy.

Other things I’ve noticed is that doing Bikram yoga is the only thing that allows me to tell how certain foods affect my body.  For instance, when I’ve eaten wheat, my practice is weaker than if I hadn’t.  When I’ve eaten sugar I am in serious pain throughout the entire practice and always fall asleep in savasana.  When I’ve eaten meat, my sweat stinks and I can smell myself during the compression poses!  If I haven’t had enough water, I get dizzy and feel like blacking out.  So really, if I have an awesome practice and feel fantastic afterwards then I know I’ve eaten well and drank enough water… it’s a great way to tell if I’ve been good to myself!

Side effects?  I’ve gotten very crackly.  After yoga, there isn’t one joint on me that doesn’t snap, crackle and pop when I move, I’m like the walking rice bubbles.  It doesn’t hurt but I’ve never known of popping air between any joints to be a good thing.  Anyone know what I need to do to alleviate this?

Usually Bikram yoga  makes my skin awesome but recently my face has become constantly oily and I’ve come up with more pimples and blackheads than I had as a teenager!  Obviously, I’m releasing toxins through my skin and hopefully this will go away soon.  It’s already been a couple of weeks so I can’t wait for my skin to settle down again!

How about you?  If you practice Bikram – do you get the same things happening and how do you go about resolving / dealing with them?

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It’s called junk food because that’s what it’s made of!

We’ve been watching a lot of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.. well not a lot, we actually watched ALL episodes of both seasons, just one after the other.

I wasn’t going to harp on about it but this is absolutely ridiculous!

Dammit people!! Health is VERY important to EVERY human being… You cannot be your best if you don’t have your health!!

And yet people stuff themselves silly, every day with crap!! It’s meant to be crap on the way out NOT on the way in!!

I saw Jamie Oliver on TED a couple of years back – he just spoke all the things I was already feeling and thinking  and good on him for using his platform to raise awareness – here’s the clip, it’s really inspiring because he speaks truth and he speaks from the heart.

I totally agree with him and was shocked that children had no idea what a POTATO or a TOMATO was… WTF???!  What are they teaching at school? Even worse, why are they not learning this at home??? Lucky for those kids, their teacher immediately rectified that gap in their knowledge but how many children exist in a first world country that don’t know what a potato is?

I saw the Pink Slime episode  on the Food Revolution over the weekend and it got me really riled up!

and THEN I see this article which was written 2 years AFTER Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution got aired…

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/05/pink-slime-for-school-lun_n_1322325.html?ref=mostpopular

What the hell?????  I don’t know if this is something that happens outside of America but I tell you what, I’m never buying minced meat again…. I will buy meat and mince it myself at home if I have to!!

Most people will think.. for me it’s fine.. but my children?  No, it’s not good enough for them…. Others will probably say, hey, I survived it so I’m sure my kids’ll be fine..

We’re not here to SURVIVE.. we’re here to THRIVE!!!  How can you thrive when you’re being killed slowly every day??  On a computer game, that’s like losing hearts or power just by standing there.

I don’t have any children but when I do have them.. they are NOT going into any school that provides anti-nutrition or POISON for food!  HOW DARE anybody inflict a slow and painful death onto my child who has only just started LIFE!!!  Argh!!!  And for what?? I bet the people making decisions to put this meat into school lunches are making packed lunches from fresh food at home for their own kids!

If you’re a parent PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE start becoming aware of what you’re feeding your child in MIND as well as in BODY.  And once you’ve mastered the food (which won’t take long, the internet’s a beautiful thing) you can then start looking at what you’re putting on your family’s skin (skincare etc)!

It’s difficult in this world with bio-engineered food and chemicals galore to be able to find exactly what is good for you and your family AND Darwin’s survival of the fittest won’t work if our bodies don’t learn to adapt to the millions of toxins and microbes and whatever else that we live with…

But why inflict unnecessary pain on yourself by eating toxic chemicals only to consume further chemicals in the form of pills to ease the pain caused by the initial chemicals?  If you didn’t consume the first lot of chemicals, you won’t need the second lot…

My next question is why inflict this pain onto the next generation?  We know the consequences, we are living them!!!

God bless scientific advancement and our ability to live longer.

I only wish that people will learn that they do have a choice on what they eat by becoming aware of what they’re eating!!  And for people to learn just how important it is to look after their bodies (and teach their children to do the same) so that their longer lives will actually be lived healthily and happily, not in a wheelchair popping pills.

Bikram Yoga: the newby experience

Had I been told what to expect during my first Bikram yoga class, I might not have gone but the purpose of this blog is to let you know the good and the ugly so you can make a more informed decision as a newby.

My first Bikram class (2004) felt horrible.  I was dizzy and nauseous.  The smell of sweat, body odour and melting rubber had me lying down doing NOTHING, just trying to breathe and not panic!  The yoga mats stunk from previous sweaty bodies, the carpet was damp with wet patches everywhere and the room was so hot that I could swear the mats were melting!  The smell was so off putting that every time I tried to get up I felt like I was going to black out so I’d have to lie down again!

I was living in Sydney at the time and it was summer and I’d practised Ashtanga yoga for a while before going to this Bikram class but none of that helped.  I couldn’t stand the heat in this room, it was overwhelming and I felt like all I was doing was breathing in everybody else’s carbon dioxide!  If you’re really particular about germs like I was back then, you’d be really grossed out!  Everyone else was so sweaty – how disgusting!  I didn’t sweat at all!

Even with that experience, I went back.  I actually didn’t want to but the teacher told me that I was dehydrated (hence not sweating) and that I wouldn’t feel that way in the room if I’d drunk enough water before coming to class – at least 2L she said.  So, I thought I’d give it another go before completely writing it off and went to my second class.  I felt better, not as nauseous but the room still smelt and I still had to take a lot of breaks.

The progress was encouraging however so I attended my third Bikram yoga class and made sure I drank even more water, in fact I drank more than 2L… I was peeing a lot but I made it through the entire class without any breaks and without needing to go to the toilet because I sweated it all out instead… Awesome!  I found the secret to not feeling so sick in class!  Just drink more water beforehand (not in one go.. you have to spread out the intake over the 24 hour period prior to class).

It’s not so gross when you’re sweating like everyone else, nobody is more disgusting than the other… you’re all as gross as each other!  Well, except for the time I found myself next to this really hairy guy (hairy like, thick curly hair on his back and his shoulders as well as his arms and legs) and he was DRIPPING in sweat from top to toe.  I don’t think anyone can beat that in grossness.  Just standing he’d have sweat dripping from his fingers to the floor and you could hear the *drip, drip, drip* in the silence between poses.  I would have ignored his grossness if he hadn’t splashed me every time he moved to a different pose… OMG.  I flinched and cringed the entire time.. It’s about as gross as when someone spits while they talk and their spit lands on your lips… or when you’re stuck in front of a heavy breather on a crowded tube and you can feel every breath of hot air from their nostrils weaving through your newly washed hair onto your scalp or neck… EWWWWW!

Amazingly, I kept going and by the end of a few weeks I was enjoying these classes.  I stopped caring if other people’s sweat landed on me or whether or not I could stretch like the contortionist next to me.  Even the smell didn’t bother me any more because the benefits I was achieving far outweighed those discomforts and I was learning to let go of my preconceived notions and I was learning to accept me, my body, my practice, my discipline, my progress.  It was very rewarding!

I guess like with anything, the benefits will come after you get through the initial hurdles but now that I’ve made you aware of my experience you may just try it more than once….

The Laws of the Universe – Gestation (reaping rewards)

The Pantene ad said it best “It won’t happen over night but it WILL happen!”

And since you waited a WHOLE WEEK (gee, you were patient…)  I’ve only got to tell you what I’ve learned from my WHOLE LIFE and I made you wait a WHOLE WEEK!!! Oh! How could I??!

Well, since you did wait a whole week, here it is…

From all my experience in life (which is greater than 30 years and less than 40… so I’ve got a lot more to learn!)… here’s what I believe the answers are to those questions:

How much more energy do I have to put in?   Whatever it takes.

How long do I have to keep tending to the garden?  Always.

How much more watering, fertilising and days of sunshine must happen?  Every day for as long as you live.

When will it happen?  When?!!   When you are ready.

Alright alright…. you probably feel that those answers are just way too vague and anybody could have come up with them.

But the truth is, nothing happens until you are ready for it.  And anything worth keeping must have due care and attention paid to it all the time.  How much energy does that take?!  EXACTLY…

Depending on what it is, it may take a little or it may take a lot… but you’ve just got to put in whatever it takes.

If you put too much water, the plant dies, if you put too little, the plant dies.  You have to put the right amount, whatever it takes to make the plant grow.

Now, when you think about health, money and relationships, they all operate the same way… you must do whatever it takes (as per definition above) ALWAYS.  If you do not watch your spending, research your investments and pay attention regularly, you will lose your money.  If you do not do regular exercise, you will lose your health and fitness and if you do not spend time getting to know your partner showing affection and attention (if that’s what they want), they will leave you.

So, as you can see, how could you ever stop?  You must continue to do this all the days of your life.  There is a reward for keeping continuous energy flowing towards your health, wealth and relationships – it means you will continuously have all those things in your life, all the days of your life 🙂

If you’re thinking.. oh  yeah, ok, I get that.  Maintaining stuff is EASY but how do I get it in the first place?

Here’s a hint, have you ever read the book “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill?

THINKing something is like planting the seed.  Then, you put a lot of energy into it and eventually it will grow into a tree which bears you fruits.

For health, you think of being fit and healthy.  The energy you put in will be starting to exercise.  At first it hurts a lot but eventually, you get used to it and then it becomes enjoyable.  Before you know it, you’ll actually be fit and healthy again.

For wealth, you think of being wealthy and put energy into it, you start saving, you pay off your debts.  At first it hurts because you may not be spending lavishly as you used to but then you start investing, it becomes enjoyable and before you know it, you’ve accumulated more money than you ever had before.

For relationships, you think of having a beautiful relationship, then you start dating and getting to know people.  At first it hurts, rejections and breakups are never enjoyable but then someone comes along who makes it easy to make the relationship blossom and before you know it, you’re in a very healthy, wealthy and loving relationship.

How do you get to the “before you know it…” part?  Well, you must be aligned mentally, physically and emotionally.  By mentally I mean, you must be thinking of the outcome you want, emotionally you must desire the outcome you want and KNOW in your gut that you will have it (ie be ready to receive it) and physically, you must be doing the things that will get you the outcome you’re thinking of.

Will what I have told you work? You’ll just have to give it a go and see  🙂

Just remember… it won’t happen overnight but it WILL happen!

The Laws of the Universe – Gestation (sowing seeds)

OK so for 2 weeks now I’ve written about things other than the Laws of the Universe and you probably thought I’d never go back to writing about them right?  If not, “Laws of what…???  Really?  You talked about that?” Or perhaps you wondered what was taking so long?

Patience my friends!! All good things come to those who wait 🙂

For now, let’s plant a seed…

When I was growing up… I had to look things up in the Encyclopedia Britannica and borrow research books from the library!  I even had a very treasured photocopy card!!

We got a microwave when they first came out, (I was probably 12!) and didn’t know if we were allowed to be in the kitchen while it was nuking our food.  In fact, my brother and I broke it within a few days by putting a mug in it (with spoon) we were warming up our milo… You should’ve seen the sparks flying out of it!!

In this day and age… shock horror! You put something metal into a microwave??!! EVERYBODY knows you’re not supposed to do THAT!  Encyclopedia Britannica?  WTF?  If you don’t know something, just Google it!

Oh how things change over time… and only in 15-20 years at that!  In saying that, when do you think Bill Gates thought about putting a computer on everyone’s desk compared to when it actually happened?

The Law of Gestation states that everything takes TIME to manifest.

That’s pretty straight forward right?  Plant a seed and it doesn’t sprout straight away, in fact in the case of a bamboo plant it’ll take a few years before you even see a sprout!

So for life, that’s pretty self explanatory too.  Think of something you want (plant the seed), put energy into it (gardening and fertilising) and then over time, voila… it manifests into your life (tree bearing fruit).

So here are my questions… if all things take time to manifest WHO or WHAT decides HOW MUCH time it takes?  Can you change the time it takes for something to manifest?

OK, so in nature, the DNA/RNA will dictate the makeup of the seed/egg and what requirements it has before it will grow, including the time spent in particular conditions.  If the temperature were to get warmer in December instead of May, then the plant would flower in December instead of May.  And so, humans do use science and technology to play with nature in that way to make some plants grow fruit all year round.

But what about things not controlled by nature like sending a letter?  Before, to send a letter to someone across the seas would take weeks and months…  but now it’s instant!

So, technology has reduced the time it takes for many thoughts to turn to print and exist on the other side of the world. Technology has also reduced the time and need for travel as people can now communicate face to face from different sides of the world.  Machines have reduced the time it takes to manufacture products and build buildings.   So it seems that technology definitely has a big influence but there’s more to it than that.

What about things that don’t depend on technology or DNA like being in a meaningful relationship or being really rich?  People struggle with these ones a lot and the expressions “all good things come to those who wait”, “it’ll happen when the time is right” are often used to comfort those still on the path to manifesting these in their lives.

How much more energy do I have to put in?  How long do I have to keep tending to the garden?  How much more watering, fertilising and days of sunshine must happen?  When will it happen?  When?!!

And most of the time, the feeling of helplessness takes over.. “I’ve done everything.. EVERYTHING but let’s just face it… it’s never gonna happen, NEVER!!”

For all of you in that boat… have patience…

It won’t happen over night but it will happen…

I’ll explain more in the next post 🙂

And you wonder why you should eat wholefoods!

So last week I took a little break from posting about the Laws of the Universe to bring you a pretty insightful  (well to me it was) “Make sure you move your body” reminder!!  I hope from now on, you make sure you move your body!! ALL THE TIME if you can… if you’re not moving… well, you’re developing rigor mortis in preparation for your eternal sleep… good luck with that, just letting you know that it’s supposed to happen after you die, not while you’re alive!

So, stretch right now while you read this!! You’ll thank me for it!

OK so, following from that, I came across yet another one of those “insightful” clips.  This one’s about wholefood vs processed food.

Since my mum jumped onto the “only natural” wagon when I was in my teens, I’ve heard it ALL!!  You know what I’m talking about, the “Sodium Laureth Sulfates shouldn’t be in your soaps or shampoos” and, “If you can’t say it, don’t eat it!”, “Numbers are for counting, not eating, if you see numbers in the ingredients don’t eat it!”, “Aloe Vera this”, “Bee propolis that” rants, raves and preaching (make sure you say those in a really “blah blah blah” voice and that’s pretty much how I perceived those lessons!).

Anyway, growing up with that, you learn to shut it off and even go the opposite way.  I actually spent much of my uni years eating only mars bars and cup-a-noodle soups but then I got REALLY sick and kept on getting sick.  I was on the highest doses of antibiotics for bronchitis for MONTHS and that caused all sorts of uncomfortable side effects and STILL my lungs were infested with phlegm… yeah pretty gross right?

Anyway, I was recommended to go to a Naturopath.  Needless to say I rolled my eyes at it BUT I was desperate, so I took the stuff they recommended and I went through this healing crisis for about a week (where you feel like you’re gonna die because you actually FEEL everything that’s wrong with your body and just how tired you really are).  Then I slowly started getting better and within a month, voila… all good and never been sick like that again.  I’ve also never eaten only mars bars and cup-a-noodles again either.  In fact, I got on the eat-wholefoods-only wagon for quite some time in Sydney…

It was all good until I moved to London.  OMG the food was so gross and expensive!!  And then…. I got used to the prices and started finding good food, you can actually get EXCELLENT food here made from locally sourced produce…. and I discovered…. tonnes of yummy stuff.

So, I had to give up all my dietary restrictions to try all the yummy stuff all over Europe, so much variety!! How could I not try it???

But you know what comes with it??

Yup! That’s right.. lethargy, head aches, muscle aches, rashes, tummy upsets, bloating, getting sick and getting fat….   Everyone bags me out for it, tells me I’m just “too sensitive” but I do believe my body speaks to me and gets upset when I don’t listen, and boy do I pay for it when I don’t listen, with pain!

Seeing this clip, didn’t surprise me… my body’s been telling me this for quite some time… but what seeing this clip did do, was allow my body to say “I told you so”.

It’s pretty freaky that you can swallow a camera the size of a capsule these days but that’s beside the point… here’s the video.

Yes body, you were right… those noodles were not good for you.  What does it mean for me and my eating habits from now on?

I reckon I’ll still eat some processed foods (Pizza Shapes and BBQ Shapes, Tim Tams and the occasional ramen noodle) but only once in a while and for the most part, I think I’ll stick with wholefoods..

Now… to look for some handmade noodle recipes…   🙂

A reminder to DANCE!!!

Throughout my teenage years, I developed broad shoulders and very strong back muscles.  It is so evident that most people ask me if I was a gymnast or a swimmer.  The truth is, I never played any sports and I couldn’t swim to save my life – throw me a buoy!!

So why such broad shoulders and why such big muscles on my back?Some say it’s because I’m an angel and it allows me to carry my wings…awww.

I used to carry a very heavy bag to and from school every day and when I lived on my own, used to carry LOADS of bags of groceries home on my own in a backpack and then carried the rest on each arm so that I didn’t have to go back and forth.   I was also quite stressed throughout my high school and uni days.

Whatever the reason, the muscles in my back would be knotted every day, my shoulders would be really tight and most of my body really stiff in the morning.  It is obvious that my back is where I hold tension.  And now that I’m older regardless of whether or not I’ve carried anything heavy or if I’m stressed, my back still hurts.

Nothing remedies these pains the way yoga does so I make sure to practice a min 30mins every day however as I’ve gotten older, the pain has become more noticeable, more frequent and not just that, the stiffness has increased as well so that very often even 30mins isn’t enough…

and then… I saw this clip….. and it all made sense!!

The key is to move!!!

I’m not getting old and creaky… I’ve just been sitting in front of the computer all day and not moving!!

So here’s your reminder (and mine..) to move.. dance and melt away the fuzz  🙂

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