Friday, 1 February 2013

Class 20: Sounds MUCH Better Than 19!

Class 20: Friday 1st February 12.30pm, taught by Paul

I don't actually feel too bad about not getting to thirty this time - I think it helps knowing that I have done it before, and am sure I will again - but for this time, it really couldn't be helped, and twenty classes in thirty days is probably twenty more than most people have done ever.  Probably fifteen more than I do most months!  I think there will be a time in my life when I can do this much more often, but for now... 

Wasn't sure whether to go to BYL today or not, but I hadn't been in a week, and twenty feels like a much better achievement than nineteen, and, although I am in a complete panic about the first workshop I'm doing on Monday (well, I'm sort of panicking, and I'm also sort of thinking it could be completely fine, maybe even good - please let it be good), I just needed to go.  I knew it would sort my head out, and that's at least as important as all the planning I can do sometimes, I think.  Paul is so great.  He obviously thinks so carefully about each posture and always says so many things in his classes that I've never heard before.  Interesting and helpful.  Problem is, I go to a class and really enjoy it, and just want to go back again soon.  

Well done to everyone who managed thirty classes this challenge - you are brilliant, and thanks to all the fantastic teachers, who are consistently inspirational, and also to all the other students who are so supportive and lovely.  See you all in the torture pit again soon, I hope.

Night x

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Classes 18 & 19: Beetroot Bows Out

Class 18: Wednesday 23rd January 9.30am, taught by Rachel
Class 19: Friday 25th January 12.30pm, taught by Harbinder

Hello!  Sorry I've not posted anything since Monday.  Here's what's happened since:-

There's no easy way to break this to you, so I'm just going to come right out with it: I have fallen off the 30-day wagon.  Actually, I didn't fall, I jumped, because I had confirmation this week that some work I have coming up starts two weeks earlier than I thought it would, and I have totally loads of prep to do for it, have to source/make instruments, and then panic, prepare some more and calm down all in the space of a little week.  Bikram yoga may fit in with this plan at some point next week - and I can't really leave my total at nineteen classes.  Twenty (at least) would be forgivable, and perhaps even respectable!

I've loved taking part in the challenge so far, but for me it does mean life going on hold, which, at the moment, just cannot continue any longer!  At this stage I must also admit that on Tuesday (before I'd even found out about the new deadline), I did not go to class due to a need for clean bathrooms, and a supermarket visit being overdue, and there generally being a build up of "days when I least wanted to go" (to clarify this last bit, it was more the constant journeys through frozen rural Leicestershire, and the occasional driver insisting on driving too slowly on efficiently cleared roads that I was tired of rather than BYL, but, unfortunately, I don't get one without the other!), and, most unignorably, my inexplicable propensity to jeopardise my chances of success.

Anyway, I made it back in for Rachel's class on Wednesday, which was great, and then yesterday, after making quite a bit of headway with work, I went to Harbinder's 12.30pm class for a nice treat - which it mostly was, apart from a couple of moments of weird pulsating colour sensation early on (you know the feeling that precedes a migraine?), and then a hilarious exchange when Harbinder accidentally mistakenly thought that I wasn't giving Janushirasana my all, and saw fit to mention, causing Libby to lose all concentration on her own practice so that she spun around to shoot me a dismayed/accusing glance: luckily, one look at me was enough for her to see that that actually WAS my best effort!

So, thank you for all the support, readers of this blog and fellow 30-dayers.  I hope you don't feel let down, but this really is the only sensible course of action for me this time.  For those who have been completing the challenge vicariously through my adventures, I am afraid it is now up to you to take a few classes for me!  As for the additional challenges I'd set myself:  firstly, I must be brutally honest in my practice and inform you that my Standing Head to Knee has actually got WORSE!  Could it be one of those things (like the economy or poison ivy rash) that has to get worse before it gets better?  I'll let you know if I find out!  Also, some good news is that my nice coat fits again without my arms sticking out from my body at 45 degree angles like a pampas-grass-limbed snowman, although that stone of blubber is still mostly with me - I don't see it as much now, though - am hoping it has morphed into heavy muscles!  They're mine permanently now, right?  Without the need for any further effort?  Thought so.

I must say that although I am disappointed not to have seen it through to the end, I had no qualms about missing class this morning.  I always feel guilty about the weekend ones anyway, because they take me away from my family, but today I really enjoyed: having a normal-person shower, from which I did not emerge still sweating; drying my hair so that it resembled that of a normal self-respecting human being; wearing normal(-to-nice) clothes, as opposed to those that are so rubbish I don't mind them getting sweaty going back home after class; wearing make-up for the first time since Christmas!; and going to town with my family, shopping and eating pizza and CAAAAKE!  My daughter (wearing her just-bought gorgeous new boots) said this evening, "I wish I was just waking up this morning now, so we could have this whole day again!  It was so brilliant!".  And it really was.  Made me think that although I love Bikram yoga, to the point of obsession and addiction (sometimes!), life is a balancing act, and I do have to make sure it's the most important plates I keep spinning!

Will let you know how many more classes I manage to clock up next week!

Night xx

Monday, 21 January 2013

Class 17: Sweat

Class 17: Monday 21st January 12.30pm, taught by Lascel

When I found out this morning that almost all the other schools in the area were closed today apart from the ones my children attend, I thought my kids would be feeling really left out and fed up they weren't at home too.  Turns out they actually had a really great fun day, and were even all taken over to the school playing field to have a massive play in the snow, so I needn't have felt guilty about taking myself off to BYL at all, but I'm really glad that the staff at our school are so conscientious and made the effort to get to work.

Glad to have made it in, anyway, and really enjoyed this class.  Getting quite accustomed to seeing the rivulets of sweat running down my forearm to my shoulder every day in Triangle posture  - although it is still quite bizarre.  I suppose it's one moment where you're doing nothing (apart from working every single muscle, tissue, nerve, joint, tendon, sinew and fibre in your entire body) but looking up at your own arm, and so you're suddenly really aware of the sweat.  It is the maddest thing, but I sort of like it (sometimes), especially when there's so much snow and ice about.

Night x  

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Class 16: Snow Days

Class 16: Sunday 20th January 10am, taught by Harbinder

I've had to miss class the last two days.  On Friday, I'd planned to go to the 12.30pm, but as the snow continued to fall steadily through the morning, the increasing likelihood of school phoning to ask me to collect my offspring was making driving to Leicester look like completely irresponsible parenting, even though I did think about it!  Turns out it was a good decision not to go, as the eldest needed to be collected at 2pm, although there were mixed views from the younger two about being collected early (2nd Son: "Oh yesss! The weekend starts NOW!" Daughter: "WHY did you have to pick me up now?!! We were just about to build a snowman!")  

My husband was stuck in Istanbul for another night as Heathrow wasn't coping with the extra time needed in between each flight landing.  The added disappointment of his absence was that my plan for getting to Saturday morning class was scuppered, and the children were really disappointed they couldn't do the kids class (which he was going to bring them to, to meet me after mine) but luckily he was on the train back home by then, so we just enjoyed all being at home and pretended it was Christmas again by eating chocolate and playing games.

So, two days enforced break from my challenge, and lots more snow forecast for today, so I took my chance with the break in the weather this morning to be in the most humid class I might ever have done.  I have missed it, and it was nice to be back, but there was so much sweat!

Wonder if we'll be back to normal tomorrow or not?  There's a lot of snow outside the window, and some of the teachers at eldest's school have quite long journeys, so may not be able to get in.  Hmmm.  The unknown.  In the scheme of things, I know it's not that important, but I'm trying to complete this challenge and am putting quite a lot of effort into doing just that, but at this point I have no idea whether I'll fall behind any more days due to the weather, or whether I'll be able to make up the ones I've missed, whether I should bother drinking some more water now in preparation for tomorrow and packing my bag, and ironing all the school uniforms, or whether we'll be barricaded in with the heating on and the jigsaw puzzle and treats out (would really like that, actually!).

Night x

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Class 15: What, That's Only HALF of it???

Class 15: Thursday 17th January 12.30pm, taught by Sam

I felt a bit worried before class today that I might have turned a tap on yesterday that I would never be able to turn off again.  Luckily, my emotions were back in check and I got completely lost in the class and tried my best and listened to Sam's confident and energetic dialogue and didn't even think about which posture was coming next.  Didn't even think about it being hard work, really, it just happened.  

Thank goodness for that, eh?

Night x

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Class 14: It's Been Emotional

Class 14: Wednesday 16th January 9.30am, taught by Rachel

The good thing about crying in a Bikram yoga class is that there's so much sweat rolling down your face that no-one notices.  The bad thing (particularly if you have absolutely no idea why you're crying, and have no reason to, but just can't seem to stop) is that you might actually have gone properly mad.  It's never happened to me before - not in class anyway.  Who knows?  Not me.  Hope it was a one-off.

Night x

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Classes 12 & 13: EVERYTHING

Class 12: Tuesday 15th January 9.30am, taught by Libby

This was a great Libby class, with loads of really concise and precise corrections.  She notices EVERYTHING, and can change the whole way you're trying by telling you to roll your weight into your heels more, or bring your arms down slightly.  In Camel (Ustrasana), I don't feel I'm doing it as well as I used to: I used to just about see the back of my towel, but haven't been able to do that at all in this challenge, or for ages, in fact.  Today in that one, I wasn't really trying my hardest, and Libby told me not to put any weight on my heels - how could she even see that?!  She notices EVERYTHING!  On my way out today, Libby told me to challenge myself in this challenge to break the habits I'm creating, i.e. giving up in my (least) favourite posture, Janushirasana, which was a bit annoying because she is completely right.

I gain a lot from Libby's classes, but was feeling tired again today (even in the first class!) because I'd been up too late ironing and leaving things ready for the morning so that I'd be able to escape early.  At about 4am one of the children needed me to wake up because he had a sore ear, so I thought that was going to put paid to my yoga plans for today, but he was happily playing Nerf gun wars with his brother and sister at 7.30am with no mention of the ear, so all well in the Beetroot household and plans back on.  Kids, eh?

Class 13: Tuesday 15th January 12.30pm, taught by Lascal

One thing I've noticed Lascal says differently to the other teachers is just before the sit-ups when we're usually told 'Inhale, feet together, arms over your head, and sit up please' (think that's how it sounds);  anyway, he says (every time) 'inhale your arms over your head', as though by taking a breath you also lift your arms in the same action - I quite like that idea.  Found this class quite hard work, but then I hadn't had enough sleep and it was my second of the day, so...

When I used to have trombone lessons, I was always told to think of breathing in as filling up a big barrel from the bottom, so as you took in more and more air, you would expand your ribs and stomach outwards, and this made sense to me.  In Bikram yoga, we're always told to pull our stomachs in as we inhale more and more air.  This also makes sense to me.  How can they both make sense when they are the complete opposite of each other?  I don't know, but if I'm told anything often enough with enough conviction I totally believe it.  I have different trombone breathing and Bikram breathing, so I don't have to decide which is right - there are probably lots of contradictory behaviours which become right in different situations.  I've even lost myself with that one, definitely time to end this post!

Night! x

Monday, 14 January 2013

Class 11: Still Here

Class 11: Monday 14th January 12.30pm, taught by Lascal

Hi, just checking in to let you know that I am still alive and still challenging, but here I am up too late again (ALWAYS doing that!), so I won't say much for now.  Planning a double tomorrow to make up for the one I missed yesterday, so we'll have LOADS of time to talk then.  

Tomorrow (for sure!). Night. x

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Class 10: Stay Focussed in the Front Mirror

Class 10: Saturday 12th January 10am, taught by Harbinder

Another busy Saturday class, and it's 1° outside, so the front mirrors gradually steamed up through the morning, creating a tableau of us trapped in a frozen wasteland - didn't feel frozen, though!  This morning's class was great - probably my best so far this challenge.  I can definitely feel improvements in my strength - which is helping me to hold postures for longer without wobbling over.  Eagle was quite good by my standards, although Standing Head to Knee was still rubbish, but I did quickly touch my head to my knee at the end just for a laugh - to see how it felt really, even though I'm not at that stage and, therefore, I was not honest in my practice; a total dishonest fraud, in fact, but every now and then's alright, isn't it?  Bit like reading the last page before you get to it to see what happens at the end. What a rubbish thing to do.  Impatient?  Moi?

Although the extra space we have the luxury of in the daytime classes is great, it's nice to practise when it's busier sometimes as the communal energy really helps you to push yourself more.  You do become more aware of other people closer to you, though, which can be many things, but when the person next to you blows their nose loudly and productively directly into their hands WITHOUT A TISSUE and then, sometime later, during Full Locust (the 747 one) they actually reach out and rest their wingtip on your towel, and even accidentally touch your aeroplane side (rows 15 - 16), well, you try to stay focussed, but you notice, don't you?  Good job I had my polyester and elastane top on.  Yeah, that'll teach ya!

Have a great weekend. x

Friday, 11 January 2013

Class 9: Haiku

Class 9: Friday 11th January 12.30pm, taught by Nicky

Nine classes in, and
It's Friday night!  Life is good!
See you tomorrow!

Night x

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Class 8: Get A Grip

Class 8: Thursday 10th January 12.30pm, taught by Nicky

You know when you wake up just brimming with energy and you zip through your to-do list so fast because you're super-organised and fabulous?  Well, I was the exact polar opposite of that this morning.  I felt cold and miserable and fed up and disorganised and like I did not want to go to yoga because it is taking over my life.  I've got a couple of projects happening next month, which I'm very excited about, but also completely terrified by, because I still have LOADS of planning and organising to do before I can just turn up and deliver them, and I'm getting a bit worried that my whole life will spiral out of control if I don't get a grip on it soon!

So, with all that ricocheting around my brain, I remembered that "the days you least want to practise are the days you need it the most", and took myself off to Bikram Yoga Leicester to avoid falling a day behind with my challenge and having another thing to beat myself up about.

I've really enjoyed Nicky's classes recently - she's so calm and in control.  And was I glad that I went?  Of course I was!  You saw that coming, didn't you?  I don't think I've ever left a Bikram class and not felt great afterwards, with everything a bit more in perspective.  You just turn up, get rid of all other thoughts and let the words take you over.  It is pretty amazing, and I am so glad there's a studio within travelling distance to me.  I am reminding myself to enjoy these thirty days, because they are a luxury and time out of life, and everything else will get done, because I will make sure that it does!

Tomorrow! x

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Class 7: I miss you, Rachel Blunt!

Class 7: Wednesday 9th January 9.30am, taught by Rachel

To me, the funniest moment of today's class came when 'Man 2' (having just seen 'Man 1' forcibly manhandled until his forehead DID touch the floor in Standing Separate Leg Stretching, with the madly cheery assertion "you can join the circus now!") tried to assure Rachel that he did not require this or any other type of scary assistance by murmuring "I'm fine".  "Are you sure?" She walked determinedly towards him.  "NO.  I AM FINE!"  Hahahahaha.  

Rachel, we need you here more, please.  And I thought Sharan was coming back to teach us every month?  We'd like her back too, thank you.

Today's Rorschach ceiling blot was Pootle from The Flumps peering around a wall, with his hands behind his back.

Good class.  Wow, seven already, eh?

Tomorrow? x

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Classes 5 & 6: Double Bubble

Class 5: Tuesday 8th January 9.30am, taught by Libby
Class 6: Tuesday 8th January 12.30pm, taught by Harbinder

Bet you thought I was having a nice rest yesterday?  Well, I was planning to make the late class last night, but ended up being needed at home, so I am hoping to make it up today with a double.  I'll just tell you about something that happened to me yesterday first though:  I remember the same thing happening to me last year, but it's so amazingly out of my gluttonous character that I'll have to share it.  Commiserating over yesterday being the last day of the holidays, we had lots of treats, but I had ... NONE of them!  There were lots of nice Lindt chocolates being passed around, but I just didn't need them, so I didn't have any.  That wasn't me being virtuous - I really can't deny myself anything, normally - I just didn't feel like eating chocolate.  Ha!  Weird.  Good weird.

As I write this, I've just completed the 9.30am class, taught by the lesser-spotted Libby.  I love Libby's classes (she pushes you, but I always feel happy and energised in them), but don't often get to be in them - hopefully I will get to a few more of hers during the challenge.  So, you'd think that after a day off I'd be feeling much more awake and ready to get back into it.  Hmmm.  I still felt pretty tired, but gave it all a good go, and could even start to feel that things were going better than the first few classes.  I was moaning to a fellow challenger on Saturday that I couldn't get my head onto my knees in the sit-ups any more, but today... I could!  Yay!

I feel like I've improved in quite a few postures since last January, such as Triangle, and I can balance for longer in Standing Bow now than I was previously able to, but, oddly, there are a few that I'm worse at!  For example, Standing Head to Knee.  I've never been good at it, but I can hardly kick forward at all now, and when I do, I can only hold it for moments.  What's that all about?  I'd really like to be able to make a better effort at that at the end of thirty days, but I might not!

Right, next!  Doubles are THE BEST!  Felt much better in the second class.  Makes me think that rather than feeling tired from doing too much yoga, maybe I wasn't doing enough!  In between the two classes some people thought it was odd that I would shower, get changed, go outside and then come back for the second class with a second bag of kit, put my mat on the other side of the room and treat it like a whole new day, but that seems the best way to me.  I also drank coconut water - that stuff works.  My mind felt a bit more alert, and I played Rorschach blot test with the ceiling during Savasana.  I was underneath the upside-down coffee cup ring stain and the embryonic stem cells - do you know where that is?  Harbs said her 'secwond backwand bend', which was nice, I don't always remember to listen out for it.

Rushed back, picked up the kids, and spent an hour and a half in the hot, humid swimming pool viewing area whilst they had their lessons.  It was like a third class!

Tomorrow, then? x

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Class 4: Spontaneous Combustion

Class 4: Sunday 6th January 10am, taught by Nicky

Man, I am struggling big time with this 30 day challenge.  I'm not sure if aching is the right word for how my muscles (ALL of them) feel, as nothing actually hurts, it's more that they feel really tired and like they've worked hard and would quite like a rest now, please.  Perhaps I should listen and give tomorrow a miss.  During Pranayama breathing right at the very beginning of today's class, my arms felt too tired to keep them raised - I did though, because I don't think I've ever seen anybody give up during the first breathing exercise, it would just be too pathetic to even contemplate.  I did actually attempt everything, but didn't feel like I could stretch or reach or move quite as much as I know I can.

It was ridiculously busy, though, which makes it more draining because it's hotter.  And then I spent too much time being distracted by my new leggings, which I hate very much.  I've always worn kit made mostly of cotton, but I recently had cause to buy some running kit (definitely more about the running another time) and wondered if these dri-fit clothes with their wicking properties (whatever they might be) are what I should be wearing for Bikram yoga.  The problem is that I have a strong aversion to man-made fabrics.  I can get quite clammy and panicky (without being able to tell anyone about it, because I realise that it's an 'unusual' reaction) if I'm made aware of other people wearing man-made fibres in close proximity to me.  For example, if I was in a coffee shop and someone walked past me in a thick nylon/polyester adidas tracksuit and their sleeve brushed my arm or face, this would cause me to freak out quite massively on the inside - on the outside no-one would be aware, but I would definitely be extremely uncomfortable.  I'm not sure if this is normal or not.

I think I can trace this back to my 1970s childhood (you did know you were my therapist, right?  It's mostly why I bother writing this!).  When I was five/six, I usually slept in the lower bunk of bunk-beds, but quite often I wanted to sleep in the top bunk, because it seemed quite exciting and adventurous, and a bit like being on holiday.  The only problem was that the top bunk had nylon sheets on it.  Deep orange NYLON sheets.  Urghhh!  But sometimes I just tolerated them, because of the excitement and adventure and the holiday thing, but it's left a bit of a disgust of man-made fabrics.  And THAT is partly why I hate my new leggings.  I feel better for telling you already.

ALSO, when I rolled them up to put them in my bag to take to class this morning they crackled with static electricity.  This cannot be good.  This was replaying in my mind just before Eagle, because I thought about the hot, thick, 92% polyamide, electric leggings, and the packed, over-hot, humid room, and worried that when I twisted my legs like ropes there could be crackling and sparks and electricity and spontaneous combustion.  I imagined shooting up like a Roman Candle.  This is also putting me off the leggings.  I might have to get some different ones.

Tomorrow x

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Class 3: Still Going On A Bit (But Not Too Much Today!)

Class 3: Saturday 5th January 10am, taught by Nicky

Sorry for lack of proper post today - the truth is, I'm just too blinkin' tired to muster any words for you.  Nicky was great and kept the energy up all the time, and the front row were inspirational.  I felt like I had a good class, but my muscles are aching a bit, which restricts stretching slightly, so I didn't always achieve the best I can do, but I felt happy, and lucky to be doing this, and that's all I can manage to tell you right now. Zzzzzz.

Night x

Friday, 4 January 2013

Class 2: Exhausted Already

Class 2: Friday 4th January 6pm, taught by Nicky

6.45am classes are great because you walk in all full of smugness (before you even attempt the yoga!) for even having managed to haul yourself out of bed at that hour, and so does everyone else.  It was a fairly busy class this morning with lots of nice people I recognised (a few of them also doing the challenge) - you always meet great people at BYL - so there was lots of positive energy.

Immediately, it felt hot and like hard work, and as though the past couple of weeks spent eating brandy butter straight from the tub and lying down watching tv was not the best preparation for hardcore early morning hot sweaty yoga.  It seemed to be quite a struggle for most of us, but Nicky coaxed us through it with bucketloads of "well done, everybody"s, "don't worry if you're not there yet today - it will come"s, and "come on, you can do this"es, which helped greatly.

Only two days in and I'm actually feeling completely exhausted!  I have been awake since about 4.30am though, as I was subconsciously worrying about sleeping through the alarm.  Might have to get to bed a bit earlier tonight, and look forward to tomorrow's 10am class.

Finally, I couldn't post last night's blog until today, but was completely astounded when I logged in today to see that Beetroot Face has now clocked up over 3,000 hits.  Thanks so much for all the encouragement and lovely comments!

Night xx

Class 1: Incongruous Juxtapositions

Class 1: Thursday 3rd January 6pm, taught by Hannah

So, two days ago I was standing in the kitchen finishing the last fifteen Mars Celebrations (I needed to throw the tin away) and idly wondering if I could justify spending the money, time and energy a 30-day challenge entails, when my middle child came in and, in affectionate greeting, slapped the sides of my waist.  "Bit chub, mummy" he laughed, when the wobbling had subsided.  Luckily, I was able to burn off the calories of almost one of those chocolates by chasing him around the house to 'congratulate' him on his hilarious joke.

Anyway, he has a point.  I have definitely chubbed up over the last six months.  I know because my nice coat is a bit too tight, and my jeans are getting a bit 'jeggingsy' (not good).  So, my determination is now set, and rather than just get through the next thirty days (and the blog), I'd quite like to lose a stone in the process.  Is that even possible?  We shall see...

So, class 1 of 30:  the thing I most like about Hannah's classes is the juxtaposition of her upbeat, high energy, happy delivery and the almost Tarantino-esque violence of her dialogue.  She says things like "take in one more breath until you feel as if your lungs will explode", "you should be hearing your heartbeat thudding in your ear right now", "shoulder blades/scapula bursting right out of your body", lots of "this should hurt", and "don't drink whilst people are killing themselves", all in the most carefree, happy voice. Ha!  It sort of reminds me of one of the things I love about The Smiths:  the darker and more angst-ridden Morrissey's lyrics, the more joyous and happy major key is Johnny Marr's jangly guitar playing.  The pairing of seemingly incongruous elements, which shouldn't work together, and yet do - know what I mean?

Anyways, first class back for a while, and a 6 o'clock one at that (which is hard because I had lunch at 12 and didn't want to eat again before dinner, which won't be until 9pm - did I mention I want to lose a stone?), so a good start really - got through it all, felt happier than I thought I would, and starting to feel like anything is possible...

Tomorrow x