Thursday, April 28, 2011


"Mentor and coach others where you can. Your teaching will deepen your own Learning." Lee J.Colan
This future teacher training adventure will never stop expanding and developing. TT is just a tiny step to getting started. A never ending story perhaps? Can't wait to get started!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

May Mini Challenge

May 7th marks BYJ's first birthday. It's been a whole year already since hot, sweaty yoga came to the Northern Suburbs where I first discovered it. Originally there was going to be another 30 Day Challenge but instead there will be a mini one day challenge to mark the occasion. 

The challenge is to take FOUR classes in ONE day. At first I thought this was totally insane and crazy especially as they are back to back's. Then I was told it is possible you just need to put your mind to it. So I have. I shall give it a go, prepare myself well and see what happens. I even rescheduled an already booked massage so I could take part.

There will be two classes in the  morning, 7:30am and 9:30am. Then two in the afternoon, 2pm and 4pm. There will be a lunch break to hydrate and eat something from 11:30am till 1:30am. I'm thinking protein, salt, coconut water. My favourite almond/cashew spread will be playing a major part in my pre class snacking. I'll also up my electrolyte capsule in take and make sure I get some nuun's in in between the back to back's. 

No expectations, no fear. If I end up on the floor for the whole of the 4pm, then that's the way it rolls. One thing though I shall be changing positions round the room for each class, as well as changing my clothes and towel. Rash prevention measures!

Any Perth-lings wishing to participate get your name on the list at reception. Current BYJ membership is valid or for those on a casual class pass/other studio pass it's $50.

May Challenge Poster - designed by me!

Monday, April 25, 2011


Lovely energy in the 9am Easter Monday/Anzac Day class lead by Kira. It's ages since I took a class with Kira as she usually teaches at BYJ in the week day mornings. It's coming up to her first anniversary as an instructor too which is exciting. Nice full room, not quite the 41 we had on Friday but enough to get the sweat and humidity dripping nicely. 

I received some handy corrections, mainly for alignment issues. Those pesky hips rotating around in Half Moon. There was a major heavy breather in my vicinity today. It's great for pranayama to 'make some noise' but it does get distracting if there is deep, strained grunting in your ear all the way through the standing series. 

The best and memorable part of today's class of in the second set of Triangle. It was one of our regulars Colin's birthday. Good on him for coming to class. So Kira told us for the left hand side we were all to sing happy birthday once we were in the pose. I wasn't sure if she was kidding, but no, off she launched and we all followed suit. It was hilarious and totally took my mind off what I was doing. No inner dialogue screaming for air or change. I just focused on singing and staying in position. We nearly had to sing again and do a third set of Full Locust if anyone came out early or crashed landed. We held it good, right till the end...phew.

Lot's of fun today and class took away the black cloud I had lurking due to some technology issues that occurred yesterday. I love this yoga, so healing and puts everything into focus again if the mind has strayed.

More from the seminar

Now I have come to realise it's all about progression and not striving to be perfect I am happy to map my progress and set intentions. I will try very hard not to get hung up on it and make sure I stay present and enjoy each individual class at a time. Some people may think I should let all this go, stop analysing full stop. But I like it, that's me, that's what I do.

I've just received some more photo's from the March seminar with Craig Villani. Studying these photos is like having a tutorial. I can see where I am going wrong and what I need to focus on so I do the posture in the 100% right way to get the full benefits. We all know the Bikram saying, 90% right is 100% wrong. By visually seeing yourself in a photo you can learn a lot. In class some of the postures are impossible to see if you're doing them correctly as you can't see yourself in the mirror, Rabbit for example. 

Back to Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose. (Dandayamana-Bibhaktapada-Paschimotthanasa)

This photo shows the correct alignment for this posture. Very inspirational. Even if this is 'perfect' there is more ways of still learning and progressing. People who find this easy are told to bring their feet closer together. Does it get to the point where your feet are only head width apart? My biggest aim, apart from forehead touching the floor, is to keep my forearms and elbows close to my shins, like above.

Here's me again. My main issue is those forearms. My left one looks close but the right isn't. This was the major feedback here. I have to keep trying to pull those arms back, roll my weight forward into my toes and keep pulling to stretch out and flatten my back. Then one day that head will touch with the correct alignment.

 Here those arms have flung forward again. My head isn't too far off touching without my legs being miles and miles apart. My back needs to be flatter too.

I totally lost the plot here at the end. Laughing kicked in when I was told to whistle. It was a great honour to have been picked out for some one of one tuition. Despite being told a record five times to "get my arms back with my shins." Lot's of room for progression.

Perfection or Progression?

So much for leisurely lie in's this public holiday. Monday morning and I was wide awake at 5am, only 20 minutes longer than I would be if it was a work day with 5:45am yoga! I think I am well rested and relaxed enough now that I don't need the extra sleep. Another positive effect of my Bikram practice. This leaves more time to hydrate & eat before the 9am class. And catch up on some writing.

I read some very inspirational words last week from J over at Lock the Knee. The post highlighted our desire to be perfect. J beautifully pointed out a down side to this:   

"Here's one thing about perfect: you have no place to go. You can't get any feedback. You're dead in the water, no place to swim"  

You've reached the peak, you can't get better than perfect and where to go next? Later in the post is a quote from on of J's student; 

"if you think you're "perfect," if you're always "doing it right," then you can't learn, but if you're just "practicing," then you can keep adjusting and taking in new information"

We are always being told yoga practice is a journey and 'it's yoga practice, not yoga perfect.' These quotes reiterate this theory. I couldn't think of anything worse than this journey ending. You've mastered all 26 postures that's it your done, you no longer can do this. I can safely say that will never happen! Every day if so different, you may pull of a near 'perfect' posture today but then tomorrow not come close. 

Instead of getting hung up over being perfect I will enjoy and relish the slow progression I am making in postures. This may be a contradiction now but if I didn't have a focus or an aim I'd just be going through the motions. I need to set targets or I don't push myself hard enough. I need that inner voice telling me I'm close and I can go that inch further. But not towards perfection, just the natural progress. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Calm after the storm

After a really ferocious storm comes a sort of soft, relaxed, calmness where the earth seems to sigh, the rain stops and the winds die down. Everything is still again. That's what I am feeling right now. After last week's bonkers craziness my storm cleared  today, my job bag box is empty, my client that kept me so busy is super pleased and I gratefully received some lovely thank you's. It's kinda cool, especially as there is 50 minutes of my working day left before my five day public holiday break.

I practiced at 5:45am with six other regulars. It's so nice to share a morning class with people whom you know all of their names and chat to often. There was a newbie amongst us though, a new visiting instructor. Juliette is over from France for a while to teach at BYJ and BYSB. I do like a new guest instructor and this one has a super cool accent. There is something so relaxing and romantic and the French accent. It certainly made me tune in. Same dialogue but in a different voice. I really had to concentrate hard. I missed a few cues but so did everyone else. 

The class rolled along nicely. I got a few "very lovely's" which is such a new cute phrase. I pulled off a strong Toe Stand on both sides today. I'd been backing off from lifting up because of the on off weird thigh/knee muscle ache. But today I just went for it. We finished spot on time and I even made it onto an earlier train. Probably because I was the only one showering today so I wasn't chit chatting instead of getting ready.

Happy Easter!

With Easter just around the corner I decided that there is no way I am going to kick my sugar habit this week. I have set my intention to enjoy the next five days filled with sugary, fatty goodness and then try very, very hard to get off it. Not cold turkey, just not everyday. I shall be choosing good quality, organic 70% plus cocoa dark chocolate for my fixes. Well that's the plan. 

Tuesday saw 8kg of chocolate arrive in my office from the Swan Valley branch of the Margaret River Chocolate Factory. We are running a promotion for our clients and gifting them with sweet little boxes of chocolates for Easter. It was hard for me not to fall face first into the crate but it was heavily being policed by my colleague who was getting really cranky with my drooling, constant yum yum noises and "can I eat a piece yet please?" pleads. I didn't eat one bit. Until I was bragging to my boss I'd not eaten any and he instantly gave me a square of the divine Red Gum honey crunch. (Bit like Cadburys Crunchie) Alas that was all I was getting as every single bit was used up in the boxes. 

Happy Easter everyone. Enjoy your long weekend. Us Aussies are getting five whole days off as we have the extra Anzac day holiday on Tuesday. I'm planning on doing lots of yoga to sweat out the chocolate fest and have some quality, relaxing time at home!

8kg of Margaret River Chocolate Factory goodness

Packed up boxes filled with lushness


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Flat out like a lizard drinking!

This has been one crazy, mad, bonkers week. It started last Sunday with a hangover from hell. As mentioned before I gave up the grapes for two months whilst on the 30 Day Challenge. I then only had the odd glass of vino on a Saturday since. I attended a lovely wedding out in the Chittering Valley last Saturday where all the drinks were laid on. Will power and mind control out the window. I drank a stupid, stupid amount of sparkling wine, enjoyed every minute of it but hated how I felt the next day. Toxic didn't even come close.

After nearly a year of cleansing my body and mind, inside and out this weekend binge hit me like never before. I have come to understand my body can not handle this. I've been looking after it and putting in through a strict Bikram routine so now it does not bode well to being poisoned.

I didn't practice Sunday, obviously, I was so dehydrated I was soaking water up like a sponge. Monday morning's class was fine. There was about 7 students so the room wasn't too humid. Wooow did I sweat though. Bucket loads than I usually would in those conditions. I was sore from wildly flinging myself round the dance floor in heels. My poor toes were squished and bruised. My arms ached. I didn't sleep well Sunday night as my toxicity levels were way up still. I made in through, nothing horrific.

The whole week at work was crazy busy. My colleagues and clients were having melt downs around me. I was knackered and grumpy from my hangover. This lasted all week. It felt like I couldn't make myself well again. I didn't help myself by not taking a lunch break as I had so much work on. I ate at my desk and didn't hydrate well enough. Reaching for the sugar was a natural reaction to the stress. Fruit or vegetables didn't interest me, I wanted carbs and sugar. 

Tuesday mornings practice went well again. I was still tired. Then came mental Thursday. A huge project I was working left little time for my minor jobs so I headed into work at 7am, missing my 5:45am practice. Gutted. But I knew work had to come first that day. After pulling an 11 hour work day, no lunch break, no fresh air/sun, only two litres of water, I headed to the studio for the 7:30pm. I was pumped up on sugar and adrenalin. There was lots of people to talk to so my mood was high. I went front row next to Janette and Karen was teaching.

Five days worth of toxins and abuse came flooding out in that class. I was a mess. The  moment I stood up on my toes for Awkward part two I got cramp in my toes and calves. I couldn't shift it. Cramp's all the way through. I literally collapsed out of the second set of Triangle. Never, ever have I sat out of this pose. I think I scared a few people. Karen even said after class I was really pale. Luckily she wacked the air con on at that point which rescued me. I pushed on, sat out of the first Camel. Setting up took a long time and my mind lost the plot whilst we were waiting.

I could barely talk after class. I managed to drag myself through a shower. I had my electrolyte capsules but felt like I needed something more. Janette rescued me with a Nuun which I happily drank on my 25 minute drive home. I was well shaky. 

Good wake up call though. It amazed me how one big, boozy night can knock me for six for an entire week! Also it was good to have a rough class. The yoga bus ran me down and gave me a reality check. It's too easy to go into cruise control, a little shake up now and again keeps it real.

Sugar demons

I will put my hand up now & confess I am a sugar addict, like probably 98% of the world. I did actually manage to give up chocolate and cakes for six whole weeks last year. I gave up alcohol for two months this year. Deep down I know my insides, my teeth and my thighs are silently suffering because I have no will power. How can I have will power when things like this exist.....

Pure yum in a pretty parcel!

Isn't that the world's cutest cup cake? So pretty I felt bad eating such a work of art. It was worth it! The divine strawberry sponge with thick, thick, thick vanilla cream and sugar rose melted in my mouth. All topped of with glittery stuff.

I am taking a rest day from yoga so I best work at 110% tomorrow morning to burn this baby off. I do try to keep to the 80% good nutrition, 20% naughty rule. I strongly believe you need little treats now and again and what better than this lush little monster!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

30 Day Challenge photo!

This is a little overdue but here it is. This was taken on March 2nd right before our last class of the 30 Day Challenge. Behind us is the chalk board we each ticked off on over the 30 days to map our progress. This is just a hand full of Challengers who happened to be there & roped into my idea of a photo. Thought best do it before we got all sweaty and red faced. Not sure if everyone wants to be named in this for the world to see so I'll only say I'm the one in the red in the middle!

Bikram Yoga Joondalup February 30 Day Challenge 2011

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Watch out!

The in-laws, or the out-laws as I call them as we're not married, have just returned from New Zealand and came bearing gifts. I received probably the most useful present anyone could give me right now, a watch. I have a couple of nice watches but this one, from the point of view of a future Bikram instructor, ticks all the boxes. It's a rather cool Swatch with a big, clear face, numbers and a second's hand. I say numbers as I have a one watch that doesn't have any, looks funky but a little hard to tell the time. My usual daily watch is a digital with a seconds feature also. I am undecided yet which type of watch would be best suited to timing a class. I think it will come down to personal preference but at least I have both types now to try out. I like the accuracy of a digital but I also like the idea of the analogue and being able to see the whole clock face. I'm more a visual person so may find it easier to read, it also might be easier to see if I'm running over!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

5 classes, 5 instructors

I wasn't sure if I had anything worth sharing this week. Then again it's not often I'm lost for words! With some careful note taking I realised I did have something to say this week. Hopefully everyone out there isn't too bored with my constant analysis of my Bikram practice? Suppose if you are you stopped reading a long time ago!!!! If anyone is reading at all.....hahaha!

After last weeks strong classes I was feeling very positive. I do believe in the theory if you think about something hard enough you'll make it happen. Saturday probably was my strongest class this year. I felt awesome. I took Sunday off to have a rest and was back in Monday for the 5:45am.

We had Jo taking Monday's class which was cool as I don't get to take her classes very often. The morning classes, as I've mentioned before, are thinning out. I'm fine with this but I do miss the energy you get from a packed class. The humidity can't get as high either. My just above the knee ache seemed to have vanished and I managed to bang out two fare sets of Awkward. An improvement on the past few weeks. It was announced in class again that I was going to Fall Training. It didn't sound so weird this time & I felt good about the news spreading. Some of the morning crew hadn't heard yet but I received positive feedback and encouragement. So many students say how they'd love to go too but certain commitments hold them back. I say just do it, the rest will work itself out. I haven't got all the practicalities sorted fully yet but I'll wing it one way or another.  

Tuesday 5:45am was a real treat. We had senior instructor Lisa who's been with the studio for a while but I was yet to take her class. I had a great class. I was really tuned in and I was given some excellent corrections. Mainly in Standing Separate Leg head to knee. In most classes I can lock my knee out, more on the right side, but I still bend my knee in the set up to reach my forehead. It's just habit now. However I start to bend my knee of the front leg as soon as I round down, the dialogue doesn't say anything about bending the knee till you're down there. Lisa picked up on this and corrected me. I was a bit wobbly going down with a straight leg as I must sink my weight onto it for balance. It made me realise I could go down keeping my leg straight and I only needed to bend my me very slightly then lock it out again. 

Thursday 5:45am. Karen had returned from the advanced seminar with Bikram himself in Malta. I had the major wobbles. In Monday's class I was hyper extending my standing leg and not distributing my weight evenly. Same thing was happening again. It's so important to have a strong foundation but I really need to learn to utilize my big toe and not rock onto the side of my foot. The leg ache was back and I fell out of Awkward a lot. It's funny how it only niggles me in this pose, a pose I don't particularly like, I have a feeling I am attached to this ache now so I must let it go.

Friday 5:45am with Maya. Tiny class again but this was to our advantage as we all got lots of corrections and help. Or as Maya told me after class, when I thanked her for the help, she was pushing us. I still was wobbly but managed to push myself in standing head to knee. The result Standing Bow was all over the shop. We were given some good advice not to rush for depth in the first set, try to hold the balance. My bow has been coming along nicely so I was eager to get back into it. Rushing resulted in falling, a lot. Don't compromise form for depth! There was a slightly embarrassing moment. Maya came to straighten me up right before Cobra, I must have been laying wonky. It wasn't till fixed firm I noticed my feet were in a rather shocking scaly state. Channeling Hobbit style!! I'm sure instructors see some nasty feet over the years but brave sole for getting close to mine that day.

This week was a good week. It was great to have five classes with five different instructors. It keeps it interesting and you don't fall into that trap of going through the motions and zoning out when you have the same instructor every time. 

I have the whole weekend off as I have a wedding and a spray tan. I don't usually do the tan thing but for a special occasion I thought why not. Hopefully by Monday it may have settled down so I don't leave a brown pool all over my towel, clothes or studio carpet. Will spare the other students that tangy fake tan smell too!

Bon Voyage BYTT Spring 2011 Trainees

One week today the Spring BYTT group will be fully installed in the Radisson LAX airport hotel, Los Angeles, USA. Some trainees have already set off on their journey, others are only just packing and booking flights. The vibe on the social networking sites is electric. For months now people have been bonding, making friends, sharing worries, tips and advice. It's so awesome how these people are total strangers but have been brought together through the shared love of Bikram Yoga. Can't wait for my turn in Fall.  

Good luck to everyone going to Spring Training, stay strong, stay hydrated and enjoy every minute! (despite thinking you're in hell 24/7 it'll be worth it!) A special shout out to Hannah, Binny and Sam, Team Western Australia. (There are two more North Perth representatives but sorry I don't know your names.) You'll be great, go show the world how strong Bikram WA is, do our state proud. Can't wait to hear all about it when you return as fully certified Bikram Yoga Instructors.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Supporting a cause

One of my yoga friends and blog reader Courtney, who I met through the 30 Day Challenge, has set herself a new challenge. Courtney is currently in training for the HBF Run for a Reason 14km race on May 22nd. The cause she is supporting is Diabetes WA after her partner was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes last year. I fully understand the strain and stress that comes with this condition as my own brother was diagnosed twenty six years ago. It is easily managed with careful monitoring and a strong, caring support system. Hopefully one day there will be a cure but organisations such as Diabetes WA need our support to carry out their valuable research and help people living with Diabetes to manage their condition.

If anyone is interested in sponsoring Courtney check out her fund raising page here. 


Saturday, April 2, 2011

A great week!

This week has been awesome. I have no idea what has shifted, maybe it's being a year older?! I do know one thing, all the hints and tips from the seminar have really helped. I definitely had hit a plateau after the 30 day challenge, I wasn't going anywhere, major road block mentally and physically. The seminar revived me and has shifted my focus to other areas of my practice. Instead of being hung up on what I'm struggling with I am trying hard to concentrate on what I learnt last week.

What has amazed me this week is Cobra pose. I did used to hang out lower than I could go because my elbow joints hurt when I went higher and it was hard to keep my breath right. Putting the 'look where you want to go' theory into action I'm literally flying up to where I should be without the discomfort. By looking up to the ceiling and actually moving my head and neck up my spine is bending correctly and I no longer need my arms as much. Maybe that's why they were hurting because I was using them to push up instead of using my spine strength.

I practiced five times this week. Mainly 5:45am. The classes have been tiny, like 6 or 8 people. The mornings are cooling off and it doesn't get light till after 6am now, this might be putting people off getting up. When it's cold I think coming to practice is perfect, it warms you up! As the classes have been small the humidity hasn't been up where it should. I'm using this to try really hard and stretch that bit further because I'm not fighting my mind and thinking about the heat. 

Thursday morning I did go a little bit too hard. I even thought I might have twanged a hamstring as I had a dull pain all the way down the back of my left leg all day. It would have been easy to skip Friday morning and rest up but I still went with the idea of stretching it out. It worked! I had a great class with a new visiting instructor Maya. I enjoyed her class, she had a cool European accent and it was a mix of firm and encouraging in a nice way. 

Saturday morning 9:30am with Meagan rocked. I've not had a class like that in a long while. I felt strong, balanced, focused and I pushed hard. All the twangs and aches had gone. It was great. My head even skimmed the floor in the second set of Standing Separate Leg stretching. There was a small, circle of sweat right where it should be on my towel. My arms however were no where near my shins. I really enjoyed myself today, this is why I do this, it makes me feel good.