Monday, January 6, 2014

Day One

So, I did four-and-a-half hours of hot yoga today.

Today was the first day of the Laguna Beach Bikram Yoga 30 day challenge.  Last year I performed this 30 day challenge which is held the beginning of the year to kick off the new year.  It was tough, but worth it.  Not only did my practice improve, but I felt a huge burst of energy, especially at the end of the challenge.

For those of you who don’t know, Bikram Yoga is a ninety minute yoga workout in which the same twenty-six postures are performed in the same order every time, in a room heated to 105 degrees,  I’ve been practicing for about eight years now.  Back then, I dragged my husband Kerry to the classes and when he found out how much it helped his surfing, he decided he was there to stay. I love yoga.  I started practicing when I was a teenager way back before there even was such a thing as yoga studios.  Back then, my life was a series of contradictions--yoga and bong hits, health food and Dairy Queen.  But I loved the way yoga made me feel, that deep relaxation and peace that came without having to meet someone in a dark alley for any kind of substance to get high.

I woke up this morning with great excitement, drank a cup of coffee with Kerry, then set about making my fresh juices which I planned on drinking in between classes.  I plugged in my heavy-duty Omega juicer and juiced all manner of organic vegetables to rehydrate and nourish.  These I put into Thermos’s which I had put into the freezer and toted them off to class.

Class One: 9am with Michelle.  My mind would not stop its chatter.  Am I really going to spend the whole day doing yoga?  What if I feel dizzy or nauseous?  Should I have listened to my daughter Jessica (who is more of a parent than I am) when she told me last night “Mom, that doesn’t sound safe.”  I peered out the window at a perfect seventy-three degree Laguna Beach day.  Maybe I should just go to the beach.

Class Two:  11:30 with Melissa.  I felt a little sick to my stomach because I insisted on drinking most of my homemade V8 juice after the first class.  Maybe this would be a good day for a water fast.  But Melissa entertained us with her usual upbeat personality and stories about her brother Jason who founded the Laguna Beach studio over ten years ago.   Not a class goes by that Melissa doesn’t have a fun story to tell about Jason, the poor guy who was the only brother amongst six sisters.

After the second class, I sat in my car and drank more of my homemade juice and thought about how hungry I was.  The thing about hot yoga is that you can’t eat much before classes unless you want to feel really uncomfortable.  I looked down at my belly where all that Christmas pie and cheesecake had settled.  I wanted to go home and eat.  Haven’t I worked out enough for the day?  I ran a couple of errands and started to feel better.  It was such a gorgeous day that I drove the two blocks to the beach to take a walk before the 4:30 class.  Parking was at a minimum but there was exactly one parking space available which I pulled into.  I looked up and saw that I had parked directly in front of Dominique’s old apartment by Heisler Park.  Dominique was my step-daughter, one of the true loves of my life.  I smiled as I felt her spirit and could hear her laugh.

As I walked through the park, I had to stop several times because I was overwhelmed with how beautiful everything was.  I thought about the people in other parts of the country, some who can’t even leave their houses, so high is the snow piled in front of their doors and driveways.

Photos taken today at Heisler Park courtesy of the lovely Melissa B.

It really was that gorgeous today.  As I walked, I felt light, happy and grateful.

Class Three:  4:30 with Melissa.  I couldn’t believe it, but the third class was the best.  My muscles felt loose and gumby-like.  At the end of class as we lay in Savasana (dead body pose) I felt blissed out.  I’m glad I stuck it out.

See you all tomorrow!

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