Today, I needs to talk about Bikram. My mind has been filled with Bikram the last few days. As I mentioned in my previous post I had had two mind-blowing last classes, now make that three.
Tuesday night I dragged not only friend B to class (well that’s not true. She was aching to go again after last week. Can’t say I’m surprised…), I also persuaded male friend B to tag along with us! I was stunned, honestly, that he came along, and so proud of him. I love it when guys (or girls!) don’t give a fuck.
Needless to say it was great taking two such good friends to my beloved practice. Our man did surprisingly well (I had teased him all week, of course, that he’d suck. He dared saying Yoga is for wusses…). Although it’s really easier for me to focus on myself and my own reflection during Bikram than to watch others, I did manage to get a glimpse of his stability in standing bow pulling pose (one of the most challenging balancing poses)!
But other than taking my friends to practice, this class also had more personal breakthroughs for me. The first Pranayama exercise is starting to get more and more comfortable for me, something I’d never had expected. This class I even decided to push a little harder, after the teacher mentioned you’re supposed to get a little light-headed, and if not you’re not sucking in and pushing out enough oxygen. Not quite there yet, but the pushing harder makes me understand the exercise better. I can push my elbows much higher simply by pushing out more air from my lungs, and now that I dare letting go during the exercise and search for the back wall with my eyes, my neck stopped hurting.
This intense breathing exercise really gets your whole blood and muscles oxygenated, something which comes in very handy during class, and is essential for detoxing the body
This class I was also able, for the second time, to really do the half moon backbend pose! I’ve had a few classes in which I was able to look back a little and not shoot right back up, but only once before did I manage to completely drop my head back, look for the back wall, and also push my hips forward and arms back in the direction of the back wall.
Half moon backbend
Another exciting thing happened only a few moments later. This next pose, standing head to knee, is basically made up of 4 stages. The first is having one straight leg and one leg bend in the air. The next step is to kick the bend leg out and have two super straight legs (right image). The third is to pull on your foot and place your elbows next to your knee, upperarms parallel to your leg. So far I’ve been going back between stages 2 and 3. This time I was able to go all the way in to stage 4: roll your back and place your forehead on your knee (left image). This was so amazing! It was the last set of the posture so I couldn’t repeat it unfortunately but I wanted to so bad! It was so surreal to stand in such a demanding pose balancing wise, and to not be able to focus on your reflection or one point in the mirror. You’re just staring at your knee, hoping you won’t keel over :p
Yeah I didn’t smile like this though…
My standing bow pulling pose was very wobbly this class which was weird, seeing as how I love this pose and am normally quite balanced during. Every. Class. is. Different!
Standing bow pulling pose, such a graceful asana (when not wobbly )
With the partial locust pose (one leg up), my legs reached further than ever before!
With bow pose, I was again able to see the tip of my toes, although it did cost a lot more effort this time!
Beautiful bow pose
But the real highlight of my class was camel pose. I pulled harder, puhed harder, reached further and at one point, the top of my toes appeared in my eyesight. What! I had no idea this was possible, or even that there was a deeper level to a pose like camel pose. Amazing! I only saw the far tip of my toes and everything got quite foggy but it was an amazing experience.
Camel pose. Now imagine seeing your toes in this posture!
Ever since, I have been fantasizing about being able to do this:
Seriously. The mere thought of being as flexible as this, being able to things like this with your body, make me want to drop everything it is I am doing and practise Yoga full time. I keep visualizing myself doing full camel pose and I know one day I will.
My body has been a sore mess all day yesterday (and still a bit today) but I revel in the feeling. The lingering ache reminds me of what my body was capable of doing. The massage friend B gave me nearly send me into extacy. And I haven’t stopped glowing since this class.
I regretted not going to class yesterday. It’s what I had already decided but all day I couldn’t stop thinking about Bikram. About wanting to get back in the torture chamber. I have been feeling so amazing lately. Not just because of Bikram, but because a lot of things are falling into place, and Bikram is certainly an ancher point.
Bikram makes me feel healthy and strong, glowing and happy, clean and pure. Being in such a wonderful physical and emotional state automatically make me crave the healthiest and juiciest and freshest things to eat. Eating so lightly, fresh, wholesome and natural only magnifies and amplifies my state of well-being. I am starting to feel more whole everyday.
Combining Bikram yoga with eating so well, so fresh, has made some great changes in the way I feel. Like I discussed with Genesis last night, while we displayed our awe for what Yoga and diet – especially combined – are cabaple of doing, I love my new energy. It’s not just that I have more energy, rather it’s more present and more constant, but I have a different kind of energy. My energy feels warmer (say, 40 degrees ? ), happier and more loving. I have no idea what I am talking about, I can only say my energy truly feels different. I had no idea that other than the amount of energy you had, energy could also differ in kind.
Next to giving me great energy, I also noticed a difference in my period, and I am curious to see if this persists. My periods are never too excrutiatingly bad, although I’ve had my bouts of cramps, heavy bleeding and dangerous mood swings (dangerous not for me, but for anyone who comes in my 2 mile radius). Lately my periods are pretty much very doable. Last month however I skipped my period by means of my birth control pill (I know, feel free to scold me) and normally when I do that, I pay for it the month after. More cramping, lethal mood swings and a heavier, longer period. This time however I was only very cranky the day before, had no detectable cramping, and it lasted all of 2.5 days. I am pretty convinced that cleansing the body can have this kind of impact on our periods and after some researching I found certain Bikram poses are also PMS relieving (like bow pose). I am very curious to see how this will affect my periods from now on…
Obviously, these last few days I’ve had Bikram on my brain. I’ve been reading anything I could find, looking deeper in to the postures and their proclaimed health benefits, reading about the experiences of 30-60-100 day Bikram challenges. I don’t feel the need right now to do a 30 in 30 days challenge at the moment, although I would like to do this sometime. But I did decide on going to class a lot more. As often as I can and feel like. To improve my practise and to benefit even more from the things it does to my overall health and state of mind.
So that’s pretty much my life at the moment. Bikram. Life. Repeat. Oh, and some very healthy eats (and too much chocolate, as per usual)!
Post lemon water & Glowing Green Smoothie: half an apple & half a banana covered in coconut butter. <3
Plus tons more fruit :p
Snackage: homemade chocolate!!
Chunky Chocolate Chunks
* 1/2 cup raw cacao powder + 3 T
* 1/4 cup coconut butter, softened
* 1/4 cup full fat coconut milk
* 1 T coconut oil, softened
* 2-3 T agave
* optional: 1 t vanilla extract (I omitted)
Warm coconut butter and oil au bain marie (place in a bowl, place bowl in a pot with boiling water). When softened, mix all ingredients together. Spread the mixture out into a thick layer on a tinfoil lined oven dish. Freeze for at least half an hour, and finally break into chunks. Store in the freezer.
These taste absolutely amazing! Much more chocolate-y (as opposed to coconut-y) than some of my other chocolate recipes. They are firm and less calorie-dense because I subbed milk and butter for the oil.
Dark chocolate makes the perfect after dinner snack (they are neutral in terms of food combining) but I hate relying on store bought chocolate (too much sugar and processing thankyouverymuch). These make THE perfect alternative.