All good things must come to an end (Day 131)

10-4722A864-798034-960When I began this journey, I was full of hope for what this challenge could bring to my life. Over the past 130 days I pushed myself in many ways and somehow found time to fit an hour and a half of Bikram Yoga into my already busy daily schedule—often times having to sacrifice my quiet time or family time in the process.

To think that today is the first day in 131 days that I will not be doing hot yoga makes me sad. But there is a valid reason as to why…

In the last month, I’ve been dealing with some very uncomfortable intestinal issues.  I was hopeful the discomfort was caused by eating dairy or spicy foods, which have given me problems in the past.

Alas, it is not that simple.

After meeting with my primary care physician today and going over the results of numerous blood tests, he told me  that I am anemic and he thinks I may have a bleeding ulcer or something of the like.

Honestly, he isn’t sure what I have yet and I need to do more tests. I’m scheduled to meet with a gastroenterologist next week and may have to undergo an EGD (esophagogastroduodenoscopy) and possibly a colonoscopy to find out for sure what the problem is.

When I asked him whether I could continue my Bikram challenge, he bowed his head a little and said he believes it’s in my best interest to put it on hold for now.

I immediately started tearing up.

To have come this far and be told I should stop due to health reasons was the last thing I expected to happen this year.

Despite my disappointment, I know he is right.

I want to be able to live a happy and HEALTHY life with my husband and boys. No challenge is worth more than that.

It’s with sadness that I must end my 366 days of Bikram Yoga challenge.

Mahalo to those of you who have followed and supported me on this journey.

It’s not over yet!

I will forever continue to challenge myself in life and strive to become a better person each day.

And I do plan to continue my yoga practice. Only now I will be going to Bikram four or five days a week instead of seven.

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One-third of my journey completed (Day 122)

Today is the 1/3 mark for my Bikram challenge. Although that may not sound like much, it feels like a major accomplishment to me.

I was slightly deflated when my husband said, “That’s all?” when I shared my milestone with him.

I had to remind myself that I’m not doing this for him—I’m doing this for me.

Class went very well today despite my hands slipping (damn Victoria Secret lotion).

I reverted back to using my hand towel to keep my grip. I know it’s kind of cheating to use the towel but  I wouldn’t have been able to do standing head to knee, standing bow or tree pose at all. (No more lotion before class.)

Kelli taught class today. She is one of my favorite teachers. She has this warmth and sincerity about her that instantly puts you at ease.  She takes the time to explain postures in further detail, which is so helpful (I’ve learned more from her than any other teacher so far). Not to mention I love her blonde dreadlocks.

Thanks to Kelli, my standing head to knee and standing bow are both improving ever since she explained the correct distribution of weight on my base foot. I had to go back to the beginning with these but I am gradually getting back to the full posture.

At this point in my journey, I thought I’d be further along regarding meditation and patience but I guess that 38 years of being impatient and controlling may take longer than 122 days to unlearn. Surprisingly I’m not that disappointed in myself. I am adopting the mindset that it’s okay to not be perfect– a definite new thing for me.

Getting to class every day is still a challenge but it has given me a focus and a goal to strive for that I am enjoying.

Here’s to 122 days of hot yoga.

Only 244 more to go.

Kelli and I after class today

Kelli and I after class today

Now I’m getting somewhere…at least I thought I was (Day 100)

I’ve completed 100 days of Bikram yoga in a row; what a sense of accomplishment!

It hasn’t been easy though.  In fact, it feels as though it’s getting more difficult. Last week, one of my instructors corrected me in a posture (standing head to knee) and I realized I’ve been doing it incorrectly for over 90 days!

Since then, I’ve struggled to readjust my weight so I’m not resting on my heel. This is MUCH easier said than done. Doing this changed the entire posture and now my legs are aching and I’m unable to complete the full posture (standing on one leg, with my other leg extended forward and my head touching my knee) because I’m using different muscles and they aren’t strong enough yet.

I’m honestly a bit frustrated because at this point I thought I’d have all 26 postures down. I’m not used to focusing on something so diligently –especially something involving my body and movement—and not being able to do it. My years of dance training usually allow me to execute yoga postures with ease but Bikram is much more challenging than most.

When I told my teacher today how I’ve been feeling, she told me not to worry and that she too still is learning after teaching for several years. That made me feel a little better.

The up side thus far has been that quite a few people have told me I look like I’ve lost weight and my husband told me that my entire body shape has changed. Although losing weight wasn’t the point of me doing this, at least there are changes that are visible.

Only 266 more days to go in my Bikram challenge. I don’t know what surprises lay ahead but I’m doing my best to keep my head up and continue my daily practice with intention.

Hot yoga and Halloween in the air…(Day 78)

Wow how time flies! I unintentionally let 12 days past since my last post.

I’ve continued my daily Bikram classes and have dealt with occasional lightheadedness, soreness and feeling of exhaustion off and on, but not today—today I feel great!  I have a few hours to myself before I have to take my son to his basketball practice so I intend to fully enjoy it by doing NOTHING. This doesn’t happen often so I’m milking it.

For example, yesterday was a more typical weekend day for us. We got up early and headed to the pumpkin patch. We spent two hours braving the hot sun and dust carefully choosing our pumpkins. The boys got two pumpkins each (one white and one orange) and my husband and I got one for ourselves as well.

I nearly fell over when I went to pay for the pumpkins and the woman told me my total was $50! Holy cow! She was nice enough to give us a discount (I paid $45 instead of $50) because I must have had a look of shock on my face.

Before we left Aloun Farms, we let the boys play in the giant sunflowers because we couldn’t afford to let them ride anything since we spent all our cash on pumpkins.

After that, my husband dropped me off at yoga while he took the boys to lunch at Hooters , which I suggested because I was hungry for buffalo wings. (I actually worked at the Santa Monica Hooters 13 years ago when I lived in LA. One of my coworkers was Holy Madison , Hugh Hefner’s ex-girlfriend. Honestly, it was one of the most fun jobs I’ve ever had.) But I digress…

My husband and the boys picked me up after yoga and we headed across the street to Party City to get the boys their Halloween costumes. It took the boys five minutes to choose what they wanted to be (Green Lantern, a Star Wars Arf Trooper and a zombie) and then  a half hour to actually get the costumes for them to try on. Thankfully, everything fit and we headed to the register to pay.

Once we got home, we jumped in our swimming pool and played with the boys for about an hour. By 6pm, we were pooped and ready hit the sack.

So far today all I’ve done is my Bikram class and it feels wonderful.

I love days like this (Day 66)

Some days everything falls into place; today was one of those days.

I fell asleep around 9:30pm last night, something I rarely do, but my body needed that extra sleep.

Last week was hectic; I had my usual office work to do, two last minute shoots for an upcoming story I’m producing, my sideline reports for two live games, my boys were on their fall break from school, my oldest son had to sell popcorn for Cub Scouts and my husband and I had to watch my Grandfather because my mother took a trip to Las Vegas. I managed to do all of that and still got my butt to yoga every morning.

It really is amazing what you can do if you put your mind to it.

Thanks to that awesome night’s sleep, I woke up today at 6:30am feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world. I spent the morning helping my boys clean up the living room before heading to Bikram class at 8:30am.

When I got to the studio, I was the first one there so I set up my mat and towel in my favorite corner spot and started stretching.

I could feel my energy building as soon as class started. By the time Standing Bow pose came around I was able to hold the posture almost the entire minute deeper than I’ve ever done it before.

What an amazing feeling of accomplishment especially since I’ve been struggling with this pose since I started my challenge. And now, on day 66, I nailed it! Finally!

Now I’m ready to spend the rest of my day off (paid holiday off– thank you Oceanic!) with my family.

I just LOVE days like this!

Patience where art thou? Day 60

It is day 60 of my 366 day Bikram challenge and I’m much more frazzled than I thought I’d be. I honestly thought I’d feel some sense of calm—but I don’t.

On top of that, my body has been rebelling against me. For the past month, I’ve been battling various aches and pains in my hips, knees, ankles, thighs and lower back which have made going full-out in class virtually impossible. Although there have been days that I felt I had major breakthroughs, most have been less than perfect.

The fact that I can’t control the situation and make the pain go away is irking me.

The lesson I am faced with once again, is that of patience. It seems I STILL have none at all.

Despite my desire to be at peace, I feel as though I’m in a perpetually distressed state—and it sucks!

I don’t feel any closer to ‘enlightenment’ than I did when I first started this journey.

I do, however, realize this is probably another one of the many obstacles I must overcome on my way to achieving my goal.

Ultimately, change is what I am looking for.

I’ve read that in order for real change to occur you must first hit rock bottom (figuratively of course)…and I do feel like I’m losing it lately (perhaps I am close).

So I will continue on my journey. And hope tomorrow will be a better day.

Being right, or being happy (Day 48)

The first time I’d ever heard the phrase “Would you rather be right? Or would you rather be happy?” I was reading a book called A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson. I was 19 years old and going through a rough break up.

When I first read that phrase, it stopped me dead in my tracks. I remember I put the book down and I felt like I was almost in shock because up until that point I never realized that I had this uncontrollable desire to be right all the time. I’d ruined friendships and my current relationship because of it.

From that point on, I became conscious of my actions and would constantly catch myself picking fights with boyfriends, family members and friends. I wish I could say I always chose to back down and go with my need to be happy, but I didn’t. My need to be right still almost always trumped my desire to be happy in heated moments.

Now, at the ripe, young age of 38 I still find myself battling the same issue—and losing half the time. But I am hopeful because at least it’s half and half now, so I’m making progress.

And honestly, with every year that passes I feel my need to be right becoming less important.

After all, who cares about who said what, how the clothes were or weren’t washed and countless other trivial issues that we argue about every day? None of that matters.

What matters, is how we make people feel—not just our loved ones, but everyone we come in contact with.

So the next time you’re getting upset about something, ask yourself: Would I rather be right, or would I rather be happy?

I hope you choose the latter.

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