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Bikram Yoga is HOT!

bikramFor the last month I have been practicing Bikram Yoga and I like it.  Well actually, I love it.

It’s true.  Those who know the “yoga me” and know my dedication to the study, practice and teaching of Satyananda Yoga, may be surprised at the above statement.  However, no one is probably more surprised than me.

As I started with the attitude  of “This is VERY different yoga.”  I have now moved toward “Well, there actually are quite a few similarities.” Instead of focusing on the differences, which are obvious if you know anything about Satyananda Yoga and Bikram Yoga, I decided to make an effort to look deeply and find the commonalities instead.  Probably a good approach for this new yoga experience and all of life, actually.

Bikram Yoga is a fixed set of 26 postures performed in a 105 degree heated room and was developed by Bikram Choudhury from Hatha Yoga.  And prior to the last month, my only exposure to Bikram were three classes I took outside the US last year.

The first was in Madrid, Spain where I only knew the word “cambio”(“change”) which came in handy between postures, but not for much else.  Luckily my very experienced friend was with me and I just followed her lead as well as my own limitations and made it through.  Although it was touch and go for a while, I finished the class and as gross at it was, I LOVED THE SWEAT!  The “pouring off of you, absolutely soaking wet” sweat.  Can’t even remember when I worked so hard that I sweated so profusely and it felt GREAT!  The next two class were a month later when I was in Singapore for a skating program and while I wasn’t yet sold on the practice, I loved the intensity and again, the sweat!

It took me almost a year to get to the local Bikram studio www.bikramcle.com which is one of only a handful of Bikram studios in all of Ohio and a short 25 minutes from my house.  Pretty lame of me considering the proximity, and even more lame given that I am actually distantly related to the studio owner. What kind of 4th cousin am I?

As of today  I have taken class 14 out of the last 30 days and I feel very inspired. Not inspired to abandon digging my “Satyanada hole” (See previous  “One Path, One Hole” post) and become a Bikram devotee, but inspired that I can still “dig deep” (hmmm…digging in a different way…maybe it can be the same hole?) and push myself, while still listening closely to my aging body.

That is where I really feel the benefit and the power in the Bikram practice.  I feel like an athlete again.  Something I haven’t really felt since I ran my last running marathon almost 25 years ago.

So I started the day today at 4:45am with a morning meditation practice and spent time reading from the plethora of Satyananda Yoga books on my shelf and by 10:00am I was a third of the way through the 90 minute Bikram class soaked to the bone.    Although I’m still not sure what to make of my new found “love”,  I feel some kind of positive shift happening.

Is my body getting more fit and flexible?  Probably.  Afterall, I read that the average person burns 800-1000 calories per class plus, I’m holding postures longer and experiencing deeper range than ever before.

Am I becoming more mentally strong?  Probably.  I don’t think  there is any other way to get through a Bikram class but to stay focused with present moment awareness-a definitive sign of mental fortitude.

But in addition to the above, and of course the sweat, which I believe I have made abundantly clear that I love, I am also learning new information and “teaching cues” for many of the postures that I have taught for years.  This benefits not only my personal practice but improves my yoga “tool box” so my students will benefit as well.  Another check in the plus column.

When it comes to study, practice and teaching, I am still very committed to Satyananda Yoga and to “digging one 10 foot hole, instead of ten 1 foot holes” as Swami Niranjanananda would say.  I am also well aware of the controversy that surrounds the man Bikram Choudhury and do not believe a safe and optimal Bikram Yoga experience is accessible for everyone.  But for me, the Bikram classes  have jump started my very stale physical yoga practice in a way that I did not expect and for that, I am very thankful.

So there you have it.  I am learning something new about yoga and about myself.

And it’s hot.

 

 
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A Valentine to Miami and the Great EsSkate

Friday Night Skate down Ocean Drive-Great EsSkate 2014

Friday Night Skate down Ocean Drive-Great EsSkate 2014

So it is almost a week since I returned from the sunshine and warmth filled annual inline skating event “The Great EsSkate” in Miami, FL USA.  Considering that it is Valentine’s Day and I am reflecting on all the people and things that I love,  it is a perfect day to also profess my love for this skating event.

 

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Very Frozen Shores of Lake Erie Euclid, OH

The Great EsSkate has been an early February staple 14 out of the last 15 years. Something for us Northerners to look forward to in hopes of getting out of the frozen tundra that is our reality.  A welcomed reprieve from this year’s “Polar Vortex” winter we are experiencing in the Northeast.  My trip was worth every penny of the astronomical 2 months out flight I purchased for nearly $600 bucks to go from life on Lake Erie (or is it the Moon?) to a few days of life on the Atlantic.

From my sunrise yoga practice on the beach each morning with a group of skaters, to my daily indulgence of cafe con leche, to skating without a care in the world over the Venetian causeway, to meeting up with dear friends for dinner,  or just sitting by the pool soaking up some much needed sun, I truly cherished every moment.   “This is so lovely” was my mantra for the 3 glorious days I spent there.

A poolside view-Richmond Hotel

A poolside view-Richmond Hotel

For me, and probably may others who have attended multiple Great EsSkate events, it’s  a bit of a “Ground Hog Day” experience.  But in a VERY good way.  The amazingly run skates (thank you Event Director Gene Cook and the National Skate Patrol), the sunshine and warmth (thank you South Florida in February), and the familiar faces who share a love for skating, are the constants that keep me coming back year after year for the exact same experience. Nowhere in the world is there an event, at least not to my knowledge, that brings skating, warmth and fun together better than the great EsSkate does.

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Sunny Shores of South Beach, Miami FL

So on this snowy Valentine’s Day in Euclid, OH with a lot of love in my heart, I am feeling very blessed to have had my weekend in Miami, FL.  Thank you to all the wonderful volunteers who keep this event going each year, to that new friends that I met, and to the old ones that agreed to eat Haitian food yet again this year.

Lots of love to all of you who make this event a love of mine and who will keep me coming back next year! 

Taking a snack break during Saturday's 26 mile skate

Taking a snack break during Saturday’s 26 mile skate

Great EsSkate Volunteers at Registration

Great EsSkate Volunteers at Registration

Sunrise Yoga on the Beach

Sunrise Yoga on the Beach

Saturday Morning Group Up Before 26 Mile Skate

Saturday Morning Group Up Before 26 Mile Skate

Artist Tom Cocotos Art Space-Art Center South Florida Lincoln Road

Artist Tom Cocotos Art Space-Art Center South Florida Lincoln Road

Friends Eating Haitian Food at Tap Tap

Dinner with friends at Haitian restaurant Tap Tap

 
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New Year, New Moon, New You

Published on January 1, 2014 by in Yoga

supermoon-01

It has been 19 years since we have started the New Year with a new moon and this one is considered to be a “supermoon” as it will make its closest approach to earth making the moon appear larger, and the start of the year, all that more auspicious!

The New Year and a new “supermoon” are about new beginnings and provide the perfect excuse to wipe the slate clean and start again.

Is there something that you have been wanting to change in your life?  Are there old patterns of behavior that are no longer serving you and keeping you from realizing your true potential?  If so, the time to change is now.  Today.   In every moment of everyday, you have the opportunity to decide who you wish to be.  So why wait?  From the foods that you eat, to the company that you keep, you make choices that will bring you closer to or further away from the true and perhaps “new” you.

Awareness is the key to your transformation.   Being the witness to your thoughts, feelings, reactions, etc. will provide you with the data you need to make different choices in the future and alter long standing emotional and behavioral patterns.

Need to make changes to your diet?  Next time you eat a snack or meal sit back and wait.  Notice how you feel.  If the answer is “not so good,” well, that’s important information to make note of and either eat less of it next time or pass on it altogether.  If after coming home for the holidays you feel disappointed or depleted by the experience, then maybe on future visits you will need to lower your expectations or perhaps alter your holiday plans in a way that repletes, rather than depletes.

The key is to remember that you can always make a new choice about the “you” you wish to be. When old patterns and behaviors creep back in, and they will,  vow to choose differently next time.  The beauty of life is that it constantly gives you the opportunity to create or recreate your experiences.  You are the one in charge.

For 2014 set the intention to be the best YOU that you can be.    The YOU of good health, happiness and prosperity.  The YOU of peace and tranquility.

A toast to a New Year, a New Moon, and  a New You!

JustKrisSignaure

 
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