Sometimes when you almost don’t make it to yoga …

Sometimes when you almost don’t make it to yoga class, it becomes the best day you could have, better than anything you could have imagined!

This morning my alarm went off at 9:30am, after going to bed at about 12:30am and also after a very busy and sleep deprived week. I don’t remember what happened, but I just remember waking up again and looking at the clock and seeing 10:35 and saying SHIT really loud … Michael and I have plans to go out tonight and the 11am vinyasa class this morning was my only opportunity left for power yoga today.  I was thirsty and hungry, and just about laid back down in defeat, thinking that rushing to make it was going to be like a few weeks ago when I arrived right at 11am and the doors were already locked, and I was SUPER bummed.

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I decided immediately that I was not going to miss class, even if I got stuck under the heater because the room would already be full arriving barely in time – didn’t matter – I really needed to go. I got up, brushed my teeth, put my hair in a messy bun, grabbed my clothes, made some Zip Fizz, and got my ice water – out the door by 10:53am and everything worked out with the sucky stoplight to allow me to arrive at 10:57am.  The doors were not locked, AND my favorite spot by the back door was still available for my mat, even though the room was quite full.  Good karma!!

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Today we had the English yoga instructor who is doing the vinyasa training – he is less organized in his style but I like his voice and he makes me feel stronger with his slower flows than some of the other instructors where I can barely keep up.  And I knew it was meant to be for me to make it to class today when he turned on the music and I heard The Kiss, from Last of the Mohicans – brought tears to my eyes and chills to my body with that level of karma/coincidence and sense of utterly “meant to be” that I made it to THIS class!

This week has been a good yoga week for me with having some awareness of my developing core strength and all the muscles there, and in my arms/shoulders that are much improved.  Today I was able to go from high plank to chaturanga without going down to my knees, and I really felt strong and confident in that flow, like never before (usually my arms are shaking and my core feels like spaghetti trying to stay tight).

It was weird, kind of like an out of body experience, or like I switched bodies or something – I don’t know why I could all of a sudden do it – but today I was able to lower myself down pretty well, and it was very gratifying!

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What I can’t seem to do easily is flow from chaturanga to up dog without putting my knees down to flatten my feet correctly for the pose.  I see other people able to do that without putting their knees down, I’m just not there yet …

I also had a few other breakthroughs and mini-epiphanies while in class today.  I wasn’t exhausted at the end, nor was I super over-heated.  The room temperature was “normal” for hot yoga, I guess about 105 degrees, and I was really sweaty (as usual), but I didn’t feel drained at all – I felt really good, like if there would have been a Hatha class afterwards I could have stayed for it and done fine.  That has never been the case before!

I also have noticed all week in both Hatha and Vinyasa (and sculpt too!) that I am able to think about the breathing correctly during the poses and between them, where that has been a struggle for me most times (I’m lucky to do the pose right, or at all, and whether I’m breathing in or out at that moment, or through my mouth or nose, is hardly able to be considered or I wouldn’t be able to hold the pose).  I also was feeling the weight of my body evenly in all parts of my feet, and hands at times, spreading out fingers and toes as needed. Every time I have done down dog this week, it has actually been a resting pose and felt good.  For the longest time that pose has been difficult to hold with my shoulder pain, and it was too much for my arms.  I also do not like being upside down or inverted, makes me dizzy.  Now when I do forward folds or down dog, it feels really good.

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I can feel my body getting stronger, and I can feel the muscles that I am working with each pose.  That kind of awareness has taken more than a year to develop, and it is such a new and “awe-inspiring” perspective for me.  I thought about how I felt for so long in boot camp, running, and in yoga, where I’m muddling through but not sure if I am doing anything correctly in form, and keeping my eyes away from any mirrors that would humiliate me and crush my self-esteem.

Today has been a good day, I am aware of significant changes in my body over the past year that are taking me to “physical” places I have never experienced before in my life.  I never knew I could feel this way from the inside out – so strong, peaceful, healthy, and alive!

IMG_0763Namaste

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Conquering the side plank

Today in my vinyasa hot yoga class I was able to hold a side plank on both sides twice without going down to one knee.

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I couldn’t believe it! I could feel my core holding me up, and the strength I have developed there to be able to hold my hip up in the air with less weight resting on my arm.  I did not lift my leg up in full expression, not there quite yet!

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It is just huge for me to not have to go down to one knee to do this pose!

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I am still on my knees doing chaturanga, and looking forward to posting about overcoming that obstacle sometime in the future!

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But for now, I am happy with another milestone in yoga practice, especially when it indicates some improvement in my upper body strength and overcoming the problems with the pain in my right upper arm! I posted to Facebook about it when I was posting on the Cardio Challenge page …

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