The Aspiring Yogi

Tonight I signed up for 30 Days of unlimited yoga at Bambulah, a new studio two blocks from my house, with the self-imposed stipulation that I must attend a yoga class for the next 30 days. I'm curious to see if I notice any changes, observe any growth, or experience anything transformative in this process- so I'd better keep track of it! You're welcome to follow this blog if you're interested, but my primary blog can be found at www.treekisser.tumblr.com

Day 12. Yum.

I was not super psyched when my alarm went off at 8:30 this morning, especially considering my brother and I stayed up late eating pizza and watching Entourage, but somehow I summoned the energy to hop in the shower for 9:30 yoga!  Much to my delight, my handwashed yoga pants had dried overnight (I ran out of quarters for the laundry machine) so I was ready to roll!  Magically I was able to rouse my brother at 9:00, fully expecting him to say he’d changed his mind and wanted to sleep, but he got up!  By 9:28 we were rolling out our mats in a much fuller (is fuller a word? I don’t think so) class than usual.  Nasslynne’s “Rise & Flow” class seems to attract a big crowd!  This morning Bambulah hired a photographer to come take photos of the class for their website, so hopefully there aren’t any super unflattering sweat soaked pictures of me floating around the internet anytime soon…

Class was HARD.  But so incredible.  I sweated a ton, but nothing compared to my brother.  He was a trooper though, fighting his way through some really challenging poses.  Also, I realized that when I did the “bird” pose (which I relearned today is actually called “bird of paradise”) that there is one more step you can take with that pose which I am nowhere close to achieving!  When I can do THAT, we’ll know I’m rocking this thing.

I’ve noticed that one skill I’m currently lacking is the ability to remember whole flow routines…like after we go through a flow, and then the teacher says “now go for it on your own”, I usually have no idea what we just did.  I think it’s because I’m always so focused on each position that I don’t realize how they’re connecting.  Maybe as the poses become slightly less challenging, I’ll be able to pay more attention to the whole flow.  Fingers crossed.

I can’t explain how wonderful it is to wake up (relatively) early on a Saturday and go to yoga.  A year (or even a month) ago I would’ve thought that was SO never going to be me.  But now it is.  And I freaking love it.

Namaste :)

Day 11

I was so so so close to bailing today.  I was out super late last night, and was definitely feeling it this morning.  However, when my concert night plans fell through, I decided to sneak last minute into Nasslynne’s Friday night power yoga class.  She rocked us hard, which was great.  My legs and arms were a little shaky, but I’m so glad I went.  My balance is definitely improving, and tonight I finally did the “bird” pose (which I believe is what I proclaimed last week to be physically impossible).  I was sweating hard, which is always delightful.  I’m seriously so happy when I’m in class there.  My flexibility is slowly slowly improving, but I’m still pretty far from where Nasslynne’s body is!  I can’t wait until I can do the splits again.  That’s a big goal for me.  Like Steve’s class, it wasn’t quite as intense as the power yoga I’ve done other places, but I’m still fine with it.  Maybe as I get more advanced I’ll suggest they amp it up a bit in some of their classes, but we’ll see!

Namaste :)

Days 9, 10 & 11. Oops.

Okay, well, two confessions.  One being obvious, which is that I haven’t been great about writing every day.  I keep having things immediately to do after my classes, so I haven’t been able to run home and decompress, and that’s ideally when I need to write!  I’ll try to be better about it :) (I’m not sure who I’m apologizing to since I only have a few followers…I guess mostly to myself!)

Tuesday was with Leslie again.  I love that woman.  I finally brought my brother to his first class, and he loved it!  He was super shaky the whole time, so I was worried he was going to struggle and then hate it, but he was actually totally fine and wants to go back!  Leslie’s classes are so great because she really stresses alignment, and I’m going to need that if I intend to do yoga for the rest of my life (which I do).

Wednesday I went to a 4:15 class with Brenda.  It was my first time with her, so I had no idea what to expect.  There were only two students in the class again, and the other student was much older and pretty inexperienced, so the class was pretty slow, but I’m not sure if that’s how all her classes will be or if she was just tailoring it to the students.  We started out in a really interesting pose, where we used two blocks to lay on (one under our lower back and one under our head) and then the bottom of our feet together with knees up on blankets.  We held it for a few minutes, and I was a big fan of that one.

Yesterday I went to my first power yoga class, with a guy named Steve.  Much to my relief, it didn’t end up being incredibly distracting having a super attractive male teacher with an accent…I guess I’m growing up!  The class was incredible, I definitely want to go back to his.  It wasn’t quite as intense as some of the power yoga classes I’ve taken at the donation based studio I go to in Santa Monica though, so I might still head over there occasionally to really get my butt kicked (unless they add a more powerful power class at Bambulah).  Again, there were a few students who were really struggling and getting a little frustrated, so maybe he held back a little for their benefit.  Either way, it felt great and I’m definitely going to try to make his classes happen regularly.

Side note- yesterday I was invited to give a talk about veganism to the corporate office of YogaFit, and it went really well despite my nerves!  I screened Farm to Fridge for them, and I think most people were really moved.  Beth Shaw, the founder of the company, gave me a gift certificate for Level 1 teacher training…which might be really interesting.  Even if I don’t want to pursue a career as an instructor, it would be great to have those skills!  I’m definitely going to take her up on it, but probably not until I finish the 30 Days.

Thanks for reading!

Namaste :)

Day 8

Last night was rad.  Class was with Nasslynne, and it was supposed to be “Power Hour” but turned into “Power Hour & 15 Minutes” because she was so impressed with our strength and flexibility and wanted us to keep going!  We did a lot of ab work- which is huge for me, because it’s the main area I’m hoping to see changes in from this month.  She also focused a lot on twists and wraps.  Wraps were super challenging and at one point I literally said, “I don’t think it’s physically possible for a body to do that” - but then of course she did it and proved me wrong.  I’m seriously getting so addicted to this place, even when it hurts.  One thing I’m majorly noticing is that my arms, legs, and feet tend to fall asleep pretty frequently when I’m there.  I’m wondering if I might have a circulation issue of some kind.  I think I’ll do some research this afternoon!

A few days ago, my Dad sent me this old photo of myself from back in the gymnastics days.  If I could hold this position as a 9 year old on a BALANCE BEAM, I should definitely be able to get there as an adult!  After all, it’s the same body, it’s just been around longer!

Days 5 & 7!

Okay, a few snafoos.  On Day 5, we were hosting a vegan potluck in the evening, so I planned to wake up and go at 9:30 am.  Unfortunately I was feeling kind of sick in the morning, so I decided to squeeze in a 4:30 class (in which I wasn’t my most focused, knowing I had to race home and shower before guests started showing up at 7!).  Class was with a guy named Etan, and again there were only two students.  At first I was a little resistant, my energy with Etan wasn’t exactly what I was looking for.  He was a little awkwardly strict, every time he said “breathe” it felt more like a scolding than encouragement.  He even added a “please” afterwards, which didn’t help.  However, about 20 minutes in, I realized how pointless it was to resist his style, and try to sink into it.  We did some extremely hard positions, very different from some of the other classes I’d been doing.  One thing he said that really stuck with me was that our reactions to stress and fear are fight, flight, or freeze- and that most of the time we end up freezing the stress and fear somewhere in our bodies.  For me, my fear usually hangs out around my neck and shoulders, which is one of the main areas I’m trying to work on during this journey.  To sum up, I wasn’t wild about this class, but it expanded my perception and experience of yoga once again, and for that I am thankful.

Then Saturday happened.  First of all, it was almost impossible to make it to any of the scheduled classes due to a previous engagement across town in Hollywood.  I was also in SO much pain from class the day before, that I started worrying class might do more damage than good to my body.  Even Etan suggested I take a day off, because 7 days a week on an unexperienced body is apparently quite risky.  So, fighting all of my competitive and stubborn instincts, no yoga on Saturday.  Honestly, it was a good decision, but I really did miss it!  By the time I went in on Sunday, I felt like I’d been away far too long.  Good sign.

I worked all day Sunday, so the only class I could make it to was Leslie’s at 7:00.  Leslie, if you recall, is the super hot 48 year old whose body and energy are incredible inspirational to me.  Her Sunday evening class turned out to be “restorative yoga”- which basically involves lying down in various positions.  While I went in hoping for a slightly more active class, I’m pretty sure my body was begging for some restoration.  I’m going to attempt to do this whole week again, not skipping Saturday, because if I do another restorative Sunday class, that almost counts as a day off.

So- tonight I’m doing an intense power yoga class with Nasslynne, which I’m pumped for.  I’m ready to get back in the active swing of things!

Day 4!

Alright, like I said- I am not typically a morning person.  I love morning when, due to some external force, I’m awake to experience it- but I usually have a hard time climbing out of bed.  I knew the only class I could make it to this morning was 9:30, and somehow I managed to make it there!  Today’s class was with Nasslynne, and during our last class I thought she said her morning class was super relaxed and easy, but apparently I misunderstood her and that’s when she likes to do her power yoga class!  I was totally unprepared, but psyched once we got into it.

We did a lot of leg work today, but I was happily surprised to notice my hamstrings weren’t as sore today as they’ve been since Nass’s last class.  They might even be slightly more flexible!  The highlight of the day for me was the few minutes we spent on intense core exercises, because I’m really in need of that.  None of my other cardio exercises seem to be able to target my tummy, which is one of the main reasons I wanted to get into yoga in the first place.  I still may go on a bike ride in a few minutes just to get a little more cardio, but even if I didn’t, I think I’d feel complete in my exercise for the day.

One bonus of morning yoga is I hadn’t eaten anything yet, and all I’d had to drink was a Steaz Organic Energy Drink (I’m obsessed, and they have 833% of your daily B12 which is huge for vegans!).  I really like experiencing the class without a heavy tummy, so that’s definitely something to keep in mind for the future.  I think I have to do morning class again tomorrow, because we’re hosting a vegan potluck at night, so hopefully I can keep up the enthusiasm!

Namaste :) 

Day 3!

Lots of thoughts today- the first of which occurred to me before class even started, while I was walking the two blocks to the studio.  I think the reason this pledge is so important to me is that I’m really not great at following through on things.  Aside from veganism (which is such a natural part of my life that it no longer resembles anything like a challenge- eating meat would be a much bigger struggle!), I’ve never been great at staying the path with things (if I were, I’d be a much more accomplished musician, runner, filmmaker, etc by now!).  I feel very confident in my skills, strengths, and abilities, but I’m never great at applying them (hence my lack of completed screenplays).  I’m hoping that the discipline acquired through completing this 30 Day Pledge might help guide me to extend that discipline in other parts of my life (ie- writing).  We’ll see.

Tonight’s class was with Hana, who I took my first Bambulah class with.  I really, really like her.  Great balance of mental/physical workout.  Tonight, for the second time, there were only two of us in class, so the personal attention was fantastic!  We did some great core workouts (thank GOD she focused on that, because my legs are killing me from the first two days, and I don’t know how I would’ve survived an intense leg class), and my favorite part- at the end she sprays some pure lavender around the room as she comes and touches each student’s palms and feet (hard to explain exactly what she does…but it feels good!).  I think I’ll be doing a lot of Hana classes.

A peculiar thing I noticed tonight is that my sense of time is completely warped in those classes.  I occasionally catch myself checking the clock, and I’m always shocked.  Sometimes I feel like it’s been forever since I last looked, and I’m stunned to see it’s been two minutes.  Tonight I swear twenty whole minutes disappeared while we did one exercise.  I haven’t quite figured out why that happens yet, but I’ll get back to you if I do.

My entire night is booked tomorrow, which means I’ll have to do my first morning class!  I know 9:30 am isn’t early to most people, but it is for me, especially to be exercising!  I’m about to hop in bed fully dressed in my yoga clothes, all I’ll have to do is throw on a sports bra and walk out the door!  Hoping that makes for an easy transition.

By the way, I’m totally loving this.  

Namaste :)

Day 2!

I walked into tonight’s class a little apprehensively, because I’d made the slight mistake of eating Baja Surf Tacos from Native Foods an hour before class, and contrary to my hopes, I was still pretty full when I walked in.  Note to self for the future- try to allow a 2 hour food window before class!

Tonight was another new teacher, Leslie, who was the embodiment of every reason to do yoga.  Between her naturally greying hair and a little google stalking, I concluded that she’s about 48 years old.  Her body was OUT of control.  Seriously, one of the most beautiful human bodies I’ve ever seen.  And, not a wrinkle on her face.  It was almost unsettling!  Anyway, she blew me away with her teaching style.  Again, it wasn’t as super active of a class as I’ve been hoping for.  If I hadn’t planned to rush off to other activities, I might’ve done a little cardio gym trip afterwards.  That said, the class was lovely, and helped me work primarily on form and alignment issues I’ve had in other classes.  Leslie’s energy was absolutely radiant, comforting, and encouraging, so that was fabulous.

Issues I’m struggling with- my wrists are super weak, and seem to run into trouble at times that other students at least appear to be pretty comfortable.  Also, my hamstrings were uncomfortably tight from last night’s class, and I think that held me back a bit.  I’m going to do some slow slow stretches in bed tonight before sleep, hoping it loosens me up for tomorrow.

One major goal for me throughout this process is to see if I can fix my neck/shoulder situation.  I’ve struggled with my neck muscles my whole life, and have a nasty habit of clenching them all day & night.  In class I’ve really been able to focus on pushing my shoulders away from my ears, and trying to make that a more natural position for them.  Even if this month does nothing more than help me improve in that area, it will be a major success!

Tomorrow’s class will be with Hana, who was my first instructor at Bambulah- she definitely gave us a good workout, so I’m looking forward to that! Here’s hoping the ridiculously irresponsible sunburn I got today has calmed down before that…

Namaste :)

Motivational Update!  Brenda, one of my favorite people in the world, has generously offered to reward me with a yoga themed item from her Love Infinitely shop if I succeed in my goal!  All kinds of loving energy coming my way! Thanks Spirit Twin :)

Motivational Update!  Brenda, one of my favorite people in the world, has generously offered to reward me with a yoga themed item from her Love Infinitely shop if I succeed in my goal!  All kinds of loving energy coming my way! Thanks Spirit Twin :)

Day 1

I almost skipped this post, and was just going to begin documenting the journey on day 2 (given that this idea occurred to me at midnight, and it’s now 1:28 am, and my brain is beyond exhausted).  Then I realized I’d feel incomplete without at least a brief entry regarding the first night.

Tonight’s class was my 3rd at Bambulah, and I worked with a rad new instructor named Nasslynne.  There were a total of two students, including myself, so we got some major personal attention & guidance.  My classmate wanted more of a slow class, whereas I was hoping for something more powerful, so Nasslynne made her best effort to accommodate us both.  There were definitely a few moments of sweat, but nothing overly tough.  She promises a more active class on Saturday mornings, which I definitely intend to attend!  She played a lot of contemporary music, which I’m a little iffy about.  I love that she started with Jason Mraz (if you know me at all, you know I’m a big JM fan), but it got into some J Lo and Katy Perry halfway through, which I wasn’t psyched about.  It might be more appropriate for the Saturday am class though.

Okay, I’m going to stop pretending I can provide any useful insight or articulate prose tonight and surrender to sleep.  If you’re out there…reading this…I promise not all posts will be this mundane! 

Namaste :) (gotta get used to signing off that way!)