Saturday, June 22, 2013

How Much Could My Life Change?

How Much Could My Life Change if I devoted thirty consecutive days to learning something new?  When I was a kid, my best friend Susan and I taught ourselves how to balance - arms outstretched on a guard rail across the street from my house in Miami Springs.  The guard rail was erected in this area to keep drunk people from accidentally driving into the canal.  Susan and I got so good at walking the guard rail that we were eventually able to run, perfectly balanced, laughing.  Life happened to us and unfortunately we grew up.  We had kids and ended up working for a living.  I've been thinking a lot lately - maybe because I keep getting these insistent form letters from the well meaning folks over at the AARP - about my childhood dreams.  One of my dreams has always been anything to do with climbing and balancing.  A fact that my mom was not too happy about when at age seven I climbed the fourth floor ledge at the Quito Hotel in Ecuador.  So, Surfer Boy and I huddled in together at my computer one balmy night and ordered a portable tightrope from a gentleman who constructs trapeze rigging equipment.  I don't know about you, but I've always had fantasies of running away with the circus.  Let's start with my front yard.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Day Thirty

If you squint, you can tell it's me

Today is officially day 30.  Yay!  I feel great.  In 30 days, I was able to rack up 32 classes.  Last week seemed to be tough going, but once I broke through, I felt a new surge of energy.

This morning, we had Nicole's 9AM class.  She's always full of fun stories about her hometown in New Orleans.  "Maybe we can have a yoga retreat in N'Awlins.  We'll do yoga in the morning, then eat fried foods and drink at night." she said.  "I'll come to it." piped in Doreen.  Trish took my photograph (above) one minute before class started.  We were in a hurry, so it came out blurry.  I promise you, I'm not in the witness protection program - it really is me.  

Surfer Boy and I have a special treat planned for tonight.  We do things in a big way around here.  We love to savor our accomplishments. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Day Twenty Nine

This morning we had nine o'clock class with Dear Sweet Emily.  She is what you think of when you imagine a loving, kind, lavender scented yoga teacher.  I love her.

Today is my thirty first class - so technically I'm done - but I just can't stay away.  In fact, the workout felt amazingly great, probably because I didn't have to be there.

One of the students, Shayna, who is a retired schoolteacher that recently relocated to California from Hawaii has a five year Bikram Yoga streak going.  She hasn't missed one day in five years.  Just this morning Surfer Boy was commenting "Shanya's practice sure is good."  Now we know why.  That's inspiration!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Day Twenty Eight

Day Twenty Eight seems like a really good day to go to the dentist.

It feels odd not to be in the studio today.  Now that I know I don't have to be there every day - I completed 30 classes last night - yay! - I miss it.

A trip to the dentist is a big affair around here.  It entails me securing a driver (Surfer Boy) a pre medication with Valium, an anxious looking dental staff upon my arrival at the dental office, a blanket, headphones piped into the television suspended over the dental chair.  All this for a teeth cleaning!

I know, I know, I can run a hundred miles, surf, do 30 days of yoga, jump out of airplanes (not really but why not) but I don't do real well with the dentist.

What does all this have to do with yoga?  Absolutely nothing.  Other than the fact that irreparable damage has been done to my self esteem resulting in curling up on the sofa with a good movie tonight.

I will be back in the studio tomorrow for day twenty nine.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Day Twenty Seven

Today was a double workout.  I woke up early this morning feeling great.  A silver moon hung over the ocean before the sun rose and I just knew it was going to be a good day.

This morning I went to Nicole's class and breezed through it.

Tonight, Surfer Boy wanted to go to Chris's 4:30 yoga class.  I was feeling good so I said "Let's go."

The showers in the girls locker room were broken.  I guess the 30 day challenge has been taxing more than our bodies.  The owner of the studio, Marna and her husband were there with their baby son, Ryder and a Roto Rooter man who was feverishly working to get the ailing showers back up and running.

We had one new person in class.  Chris made sure to encourage her.  I think she'll be back.  We witnessed a gorgeous sunset during Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee Pose.  It was one of those sunsets that ends with a deep red sky on fire.

At the end of class, Chris called for a big round of applause for the new student - and for me.  You see, tonight was officially my 30th class.  I did it in twenty seven days.  I was the third student to complete the challenge, behind Dave and Trish.  I'm happy that my 30th was a class that I felt great in.

But I'm not done yet.  I plan on hanging out, filling you in on my 30th calendar day along with a full report on my celebration.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Day Twenty Six

As it gets closer to the end of the 30 day challenge, a frenzy is erupting in our cozy little yoga studio - a desperation to finish.

A few students like Dave and Trish have completed the challenge.  A few like Shayna are right on track and few who, well, life got the best of them in January.  But we've still got time.  The studio offers six classes a day Monday through Friday and three a day on Saturdays and Sundays.  So, just call in sick to the boss and spend your day at the studio!

This morning was Christian at eight o'clock.  Always a good challenging class.  A few braves souls - of which there were quite a few - were faced with double workouts today.  That meant they got to take first Christian's class, then Marna's ten o'clock right after.  Christian and Marna are two of the toughest teachers, God love 'em.

Who will finish?  Who will get to attend the party and be presented with a t-shirt?  The world waits with bated breath.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Day Twenty Five

When I walked into Nicole's eight o'clock class this morning, I was feeling not yet awake, dehydrated and generally ready for this challenge to be done.

Then I let the yoga do its magic and started feeling looser, more flexible and happier.

While we were concentrating and meditating - or should I say while we were supposed to be concentrating and meditating - I was entertaining myself with fantasies of what I'll be doing on the last day of my challenge as a reward.  Suddenly, my mood lifted even more to the point of being downright excited.

Now I have a wonderful day planned for day thirty.  I'm quite looking forward to it.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Day Twenty Four

This morning was Amy's 9 o'clock class.  It was raining.  You would think that the rain would make a hot yoga studio cozy and inviting.  It does.  It also makes it humid.  But that's what we're there for.  To sweat.

Today was one of the students birthday.  The custom is: if you come to class on your birthday, you get to pick one posture which the class then gets to perform three sets of.  I thought this students choice was particularly brilliant.  She chose the final breathing exercise.

The girls locker room after class was like Grand Central Station.  Trish was directing traffic in her best megaphone voice, handing towels to everyone, changing the soiled bathroom rugs for clean and making everyone laugh.

A word about the differences between the women and men's locker room:  The girls is all abuzz with conversation of the latest diets, detoxification programs, elective surgeries, non elective surgeries, boyfriends, husbands, children, restaurants, fashion, vacations, book reviews, the 30 day challenge, how the 30 day challenge is going this year, how it went last year, what we'll be doing next year.  There are lots of "oh my god's" and "that outfit looks totally cute on yous".

Then you walk by the men's locker room: Dead silence.

That is - as they say - what makes the world go 'round.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Day Twenty Three

This morning I went to Christian's 9:00 class.  Have I mentioned that Christian is one of my favorite - and one of the toughest - teachers?

The signing in process is the same everyday: sign my name on the list with the rest of the students, then walk over to the 30 Day Challenge chart to see how everyone is faring compared to everyone else.

"I notice that I haven't seen Dave since he finished his challenge." I told Amy - another one of the teachers who was folding towels next to the chart.

"He was here yesterday.  He took one day off to go to the gym and lift weights.  I told him that he looked great.  He lost weight on the challenge."

"I asked him if he was doing anything different during the challenge.  He told me portion control and no beer." I said.

Christian overheard us and snorted with laughter.  "Yeah, I like my wine on occasion but I quit while I was training for the S. Cal Yoga Competition.  In fact I didn't have any for the whole month of January."

"But it's still January." said Amy

"It is?"

Tonight Surfer Boy and I had a long discussion about where we would be going for dinner on the 31st which will be the last day of the challenge.  You see, a decision was made at the beginning of the challenge to eat healthily and avoid alcohol.

"Well, we could go to K'ya Bistro for dinner and wine.  Or, we could cook a nice dinner here and have a bottle of wine.  Or, we could go to the Beachcomber in Crystal Cove and have dinner and a bottle of wine."

One thing is clear: wine will be involved.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Day Twenty Two

The pain of a ninety minute yoga class in a 105 degree room only lasts ninety minutes.  The pain of quitting lasts forever.  Not that I would ever consider quitting, but you all know that I have felt like playing hookey on several occasions.

Marna's class tonight was peppered with plenty of new faces.  The good thing about being a regular in the studio is that you know where to stand and more importantly, where not to stand.  A couple of the newbies set up right in front of the room which is fine if your balancing postures are perfect.  One of the new students unknowingly set her mat up in the hottest spot of the room - yes there is one spot that is hotter than the rest of the room and we all know where it is.

I didn't think that the room was especially uncomfortable tonight but a couple of the new people walked out and one of the regulars walked out as well.  There was a cute little kid of about age seven I'm guessing - a rarity in the studio.  Kids can't sit still very well.  He was in and out and at one point I saw him in the lobby doing the postures where it's nice and cool.  It was all very cute.

Another successful class.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Day Twenty One

Some days we all feel like doing the pose on the right

I thought I had more gumption.  Taking on a 30 day yoga challenge really didn't seem like all that much of a challenge to me since I love working out.

Tonight all I wanted to do was lay on the sofa with my book.  It seems like I've had a few whiny days like this now that I think about it.

But I hauled myself up off the sofa and went to class tonight.  Dave finished his thirty day challenge yesterday.  I found myself wishing I had done as many double workouts as he did.  Then I could've been the one who finished thirty classes early.  I visualized myself sipping fine Cabernet at a cozy restaurant with an ocean view.

As I stared in the mirror, toes and heels touching, preparing for the first breathing exercise, I told myself that I could do this.

I guess that's all that gumption really is...showing up.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Day Twenty

Now That's A Flexible Spine

Okay, my back hurts.  And my neck feels stiff.  That's the way I felt when I entered Nicole's nine o'clock class this morning.

After class I was talking to a fellow student in the locker room.  She has two scars on her lower spine and one scar on her stomach from a recent spinal surgery.  And she's back to yoga.  Today she had a big stride because she could grab her foot for the very first part of standing head to knee.  Her attitude is courageous and contagious.

My neck still feels stiff, but nothing that a little yoga won't cure - and a good nights sleep.  And a little dose of humble pie.  Life is extremely good and getting better all the time.  See you all tomorrow.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Day Nineteen

4:30 class was taught by Christian.  Congratulations to Christian for coming in first place yesterday in the Southern California men's division of the Bikram Yoga Competition.

Yes, Bikram Yoga has a competition.  But I think you knew that by the 30 day challenge.  When I first heard about yoga competitions,  I thought it was a bit odd.  Isn't yoga supposed to be one of those practices where you sit in a cave contemplating your navel with no one around judging you?

The competition involved Christian putting together a routine of eight postures.  He lead us in the 4:30 class today and it was an especially happy class.

I like competition.  It makes you stronger.  It stretches you to make your practice the best it's ever been. It puts you in a good mood when you win.

 I think I'll be content with the 30 day challenge.  For now.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Day Eighteen

The View From Our Deck Today

I really didn't want to go to class today.

The weather finally warmed up to seventy five today.  This is after weeks of walking around in neck scarves, boots, gloves and escaping the cold by going to the heat of Bikram Yoga.

What I really wanted to do when 4:30 rolled around was to have a nice dinner on the deck, preferably with a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, watch the sunset over the Pacific ocean and end with a calorie laden desert featuring dark chocolate.

But, I've got the 30 day challenge, so off I went to Nicole's 4:30 class.  I'm amazed at how many people show up for a hot yoga class on a Saturday night.  Maybe they're going out to party after, I don't know. I got to watch the sunset from the studio right about the time we hit triangle pose.

When I walked out of the studio after class, into the cool night air, I felt happy and refreshed.  And yes, I did have some dark chocolate tonight.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Day Seventeen

Surfer Boy and Me in Heisler Park, Laguna Beach

This morning was Amy's class.  She was relating her experience in Christian's class yesterday morning:

"I hadn't taken Christian's class in about a year and a half (he's a returning teacher) and I was embarrassed.  We're really good friends, so he knows that I had a major surgery.  I didn't want him to see that I hadn't completely regained my practice so I decided to just go ahead and not modify anything.  Much to my surprise, I could do things I didn't think I could do.  I had been babying myself for no reason."

The moral of the story is: Don't baby yourself, baby.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Day Sixteen

Keep Breathing

Half way there!  This morning was Christian's 9:00 class.  Always good energy with Christian.

Some Christian quotes of the day:

"This class is really about you breathing.  The postures are just part of that."

"Improvement comes in one sixteenth of a millimeter increments sometimes.  That's the great part about yoga.  It's a lifetime practice of improvement."

And then, my favorite quote of the day.  One of the new students, who is not familiar with the no in and out of the room policy, left in the middle of the class to use the restroom.

"What I've found, is that if I don't go to the restroom, the nice part is that the urine just comes out of my pores instead.  Nothing scientific about this.  Just something I made up.  Or, you could just use the restroom before class."

Always an entertaining class with Christian!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Day Fifteen

Surfer Boy and Me

Went to Emily's 9:30 class this morning.  She is a sweetheart of a teacher - soft spoken, loving, kind, and she comes around and rubs your feet.

She was encouraging all of the 30 day challengers and the non 30 day challengers.  "If you're not doing the challenge, you can make your own.  How about coming to 6AM sunrise class, then 4:30 sunset class?  Or, how about keeping your yoga clothes in your car and coming to an impromptu class that you usually don't go to?" she suggested.

Dave, who is powering his way through the challenge was in class.  When class was over, I said "See you at 4:30"

"Okay, see you then." he said.

I had no intention of going to 4:30 class because I want to stretch this thing out and get my moneys worth.  Plus - what else would I have to write to all you guys if I finished early?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Day Fourteen

The conversations about food and drink are starting in earnest.

Before Jennifer's 4:30 class today, Dave - who is way in the lead with twenty one classes in fourteen days - was chattin' it up with me about one of our favorite topics.  Food.

Dave has already dropped over ten pounds during the 30 day challenge.

"Are you doing anything different with your diet?" asked I.

"Portion control and no beer." he said.

"I've got my eye on the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory downtown for after the challenge."  I said.

I haven't been in that chocolate shop for twenty years, haven't even payed it any mind and suddenly, there it is, gleaming like a beacon in the night, calling me.

So it's settled.  Once the 30 day challenge is over, we're going first to the Chocolate Factory, then around the corner to the Marine Room for beer.  Then, back to Bikram Yoga.  Don't want to lose touch with what our real addictions are.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Day Thirteen

Our Studio in Laguna Beach

As I signed into Chris's 4:30 class tonight, he asked me what my t-shirt size was.

The 30 day participants will be getting t-shirts!  And a party!

It made me realize how long it's been since I've been involved in any kind of organized event.  All those many years I spent in Corporate America were filled with competitions, contests, who's-better-than who. how much money did you make this year, whose numbers are the highest and how many people do I have to climb over on the ladder to success.

While this is not exactly a competition, I have to admit that I'm having fun being a part of something again.  One of my goals in the 30 day challenge was simply to commit to something.  A competition with yourself is all there ever really is.  The rewards are there.  My spine feels stronger, my balancing postures are coming along better and I'm really listening - maybe for the first time in awhile - to the specific instruction the teacher is giving me.

So what if Trish and Dave are duking it out to see who can get 30 classes first?  Competition makes you better.  Give one a try.  Who knows?  You may even get a t-shirt and a party.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Day Twelve

Some don't like it hot.

This mornings surf session was greeted with a water temperature of 50 degrees.  I never thought I'd hear it but Surfer Boy actually uttered these words: "It's almost getting too cold to surf."

One we were home from the beach, all cuddled up on the sofa watching a three hour long movie, it was almost time to go to Marna's 4:30 yoga class.  We both had to encourage each other to get our butts off the sofa.  We'd already invested two hours into the movie and wanted to see how it turned out.

The good news is that Bikram Yoga is nowhere near 50 degrees - more like 105 degrees.

The 30 day challengers are almost halfway through, some like Dave who already has sixteen classes under his belt.  There was a visiting teacher in class tonight who is doing a 365 day challenge - but she decided to do it in six months!  I kept eyeing her in class once I found this out.   Plus she had the most beautiful tattooed back.  It's graced with all kinds of cool ivy and calligraphic writing.  I think that the guy next to her thought I was looking at him all through class.

Another one in the bag folks.  

I love happy endings.  After dinner we finished the movie.  Meet Joe Black - had a happy ending.  Check it out if you haven't seen it.  And if you have, it never hurts to look at Brad Pitt again for three hours.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Day Eleven

Look Ma, no wetsuit!

I kept having dreams last night that I was in a really cold house.  Family members were coming in and out and I was telling them "Turn the heater on. Please!"  When I woke up this morning, I realized that the bedroom temperature in our quaint wooden beach cottage (translate to no insulation) had plummeted to 32 degrees.

How soon we forget about the long standing 90 degree heat wave that we had last year.  Every time we thought summer was over - BAM - we would be back to the beach with our bathing suits instead of wetsuits.

How else do you celebrate a 32 degree morning?  By going surfing of course.

How else do you warm up after an ice bath in the Pacific Ocean?  Christian's 4:30 yoga class in a 105 degree room.

I'm feeling pretty good today.  I was starting to feel worn out a couple days back and wondering how all this working out is affecting me.  I've never done this many yoga classes in a row along with all the other physical activities we like to do.  What I'm finding is that if you just let your body settle in, it finally starts to go along with your mind.  It's all mind over matter.  If you don't mind, it doesn't matter.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Day Ten

Jason Winn

I went hiking with my favorite training partner Rico and Surfer Boy this morning.  I should know better than to listen to anything that Rico says.  What was supposed to be an hour and a half hike turned into two and a half hours.  It was a spectacular morning.

Rico with his home made trail belt - knife, whistle, ice pick, pepper spray and bell for scaring off Mountain Lions.

Then I went to Meagan's 4:30 yoga class.  One of the students was telling me that she almost didn't make it to class.  She's had a pounding headache for the past couple of days on account of the fact that she gave up caffeine.  She was lying of her sofa, hunkering down for a night of feeling sorry for herself when she heard Jason Winn's voice telling her "Get up!  You always feel better after yoga class."

Jason - may he rest in peace - was the original owner of Bikram Yoga Laguna Beach.  If you ever make it to our studio, you will still see his signature everywhere - mats half way across the blue line - white towels on yoga mats - water bottles neatly lined to the left of your mat.  He was fastidious, demanding, encouraging, funny and loving.  Everyone's practice improved with Jason.  I'm happy to see that he's still communicating with his students today.  He is greatly missed, but never forgotten.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Day Nine

Our clothes washer finally broke down.

One thing that you do a lot of in a Bikram Yoga class is sweat.  One thing that you do a lot of when you take class every day - sometimes twice a day - is wear out your washer and dryer.

Today I went to Nicole's 9AM class.  I searched through my workout clothes drawer and found a pair of hot pink yoga shorts shoved in the back that I had almost forgotten about.  They were given to me by a visiting Bikram Yoga teacher who made friends with me when she saw me in class with my walker after a major knee surgery.  She's a cute young thing - petite, fair skinned, short dark hair framing a pixie face.  One morning she woke up and couldn't move.  She was subsequently diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and the treatments started - mostly drugs and a dire diagnosis that went something like 'prepare yourself for a life of hell'.  She decided to take matters into her own hands and ended up at Bikram Yoga.  She started out by standing in the back of class with her walker.  She has since become a certified Bikram Yoga instructor and also has a small business making the cutest yoga clothing.

We had a large class this morning.  Nicole has been reading Louise Hay's You Can Heal Your Life, a self-help book that offers all kinds of affirmations for living a better, happier life.  "If you can't stop your mind from racing during savasana, you might want to ask yourself why?  What are you fearful of?" said Nicole quite uncharacteristically before she caught herself.  "Jeez, I sound like a yoga teacher who's been up all friggin' night reading a self help book."

Speaking of sweat - why does my sweat smell so much like ammonia?  I like to think it's because I'm sweating out all kinds of toxins?

The clothes washer repair person gets to our house next Tuesday, so if you're wondering why I'm taking my yoga clothes into the locker room shower with me, now you know my dirty little secret.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Day Eight

Rusty doing couples yoga with me.

I'm amazed at the snap-back-ability of the human body.  This morning, Surfer Boy wanted to go surfing - so did I - so it was off to the beach to dip our bodies in 56 degree water.

Tonight, it was 90 minutes in a 105 degree yoga studio.

Is it good - desirable even - to subject your body to such extremes?

I once did a run to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.  When we started out at the top, it was snowing.  When we reached the bottom it felt like summer.  When we made our way back up - all in one day - it was freezing again.

You can pay good money to go to an Asian spa that features hot and cold soaking tubs, hot saunas and ice rooms.  The heat warms and loosens, the cold ocean water brings down the swelling.

I say it's good - yes desirable even - to let your body do what it was created to do.  So does Rusty.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Day Seven

Standing Bow Pulling Pose

My car is starting to smell like the yoga studio.  That would be an aroma of dirty sweat socks.  Or good honest sweat if you prefer.  My car is littered with empty containers of coconut water.  Is it really only day seven?  I did two doubles in a row - Sunday and Monday.  I felt it.  What happens is you can get an excess of adrenaline going if you work out too much.  It makes sleeping an interesting adventure.  I think I heard every leaf that rustled in the night last night.

What doesn't kill me will make me stronger.  Whose bright phrase was that anyway?

Tonight, as I was sitting in the lobby after class, all sweaty and swigging my ice cold kombucha, I heard "Jennifer, is that you?"

I saw this tall, lean, good looking guy who I honestly did not recognize.  The reason that I didn't recognize him is because I only recognize him on Facebook.  It was a good friend who went to high school with my daughters.  He was getting ready to partake in his first ever Bikram Yoga class.

When I start to only recognize people when I see them on Facebook, that means it's time to get a life.  Or a good nights sleep.  Now where's my feather comforter?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Day Six

Half Moon Pose

Boy, am I working up an appetite.  To me, that's always been the most fun and - who's kidding who - the main reason for working out.

Morning class had me standing next to Dave, who lost over fifteen pounds last year during the 30 day challenge.

Then, I found out that Surfer Boy wanted to go to 4:30 class.  How could I ever turn him down?

Signing into class tonight, here comes Dave again.

"Dave, are you as hungry as I am?" I asked.

"No, actually I just don't feel like eating much.  In fact, my wife asked me what I wanted for dinner tonight and I told her whatever she fixed was fine.  I'm not that hungry."

"Well then can I go over to your house tonight after Kerry and I eat dinner at our house?"

I have to confess, cookbooks have become my new porn.  Vegan cookbooks mainly.  The food is delicious.  Tonight, I made a pasta dish with a vegan 'cheesy' sauce served with a fresh salad from the local organic farm.  We both went back for seconds.

I also found out tonight that the owner of the studio is throwing a party for all the participants of the 30 day challenge once we've successfully completed our goal.

When we were done with class tonight, I sought the owner out and asked her "Did I hear you say there's going to be a party?"

"Well, yes, just a small one.  It'll be really fun."

The first words out of my mouth were "Are you going to serve pizza?"

Back to the cookbooks.  I guess I'll have to find a recipe for a vegan pizza.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Day Five

Locust Pose
I woke up this morning to the sound of rain.  Kerry's surf contest final was today.  Surfer Boy had been up all excited since four thirty.  By the time I staggered out of the bedroom, he'd already had copious amounts of caffeine.  To say that we were on different wavelengths would be putting it mildly.  My Dad was one of those early morning people that we love to hate - always whistling and singing - making you feel like you'd better buy stock in Folgers coffee and fast if you want to keep up.

Have I told you that I love this man?  He shoved me out the door and said "Go to yoga.  It's gonna be rainy and cold down at the beach."

So it was off to Christian's eight AM class.  Christian is back!  He's one of my favorite yoga teachers who broke all the yogi's hearts by moving to Los Angeles for the last year or so.

When Christian walks into the studio with his headset on and says "Everyone stand up, toes and heels touch and start with a breathing exercise." you just want to do better for him.  He embodies what I would want to look like if I were a male yogi.  Tall, lean, six pack abs, a brief black pair of shorts that only he can make look good, and a back filled with tattoos that make me feel like there's a safari going on in Laguna Beach.  If the authorities were to ask me what identifying marks Christian has, the first thing I would say is "A giraffe tattoo."  His dry wit keeps me coming back for more.

Bikram has an intellectual property patent on the dialogue used to lead the class.  You will hear the same dialogue whether you're in Laguna Beach or Brooklyn.  Sounds like why not just put on a recording, right?  Not so.  The teachers have a way of making it their own.  Christians voice gets loud and encouraging, then soft and relaxing in all the right places.

After class, Kerry came home from the cold, windy beach announcing that he wanted to go to yoga class - he didn't think he won the finals so what better way to celebrate?  Chris's 4:30 class.

The 4:30 class was packed.  January always has the largest New Years Resolution crowd.  New students were dropping like flies in the heat.  I sincerely hope they come back.  Yoga can change your life.

Speaking of New Years Goals, I'm not doing too great on my '15 minutes a day of closet cleaning'.  I made it three days.  Every day in a 105 degree yoga class is a piece of cake compared to cleaning closets.

Oh well, tomorrow is Monday, another chance for a fresh start.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Day Four

Balancing Stick Posture

The competition is starting to heat up and I didn't even know it was a competition.  The participants in the 30 day challenge get a gold star for each class completed which gets affixed to a chart detailing the 30 day progress.  Some of the seasoned yogis in the studio are getting ahead of the game by doing two or three classes in one day.  Some of the saavy participants are crowding two stars into the tiny little block meant to house one gold star.  Boy, I've got a lot to learn about sandbagging.

Eight AM class today, since it was Saturday, was crowded with lots of new faces - all the New Year Resolution specialists.  The nice young lady that set up next to me had to be all of twenty five with a body that looks like it's been well fed on tofu, rice cakes and wheatgrass.  Not an extra ounce of body fat to be found.  She seemed new to the workout so that's why I'll excuse her bringing her iPhone in the black case with the pink polka dots and keeping it directly next to her mat the whole time.  Really?  You can't be away from your phone for even ninety minutes?  Mercifully, the ringer must have been off because I didn't hear a ping, bleep or custom ring tone out of it the whole time.

I spent the rest of the day having lunch with my daughter and Victor Jose at Native Foods.  If they have one in your area, you must sample the delicacies at Native Foods.  This gourmet vegan restaurant is good enough to convince even the most die hard meat eaters to consider a vegan lifestyle.  We even had desert!

Victor Jose

Friday, January 4, 2013

Day Three

The less clothes the better.  And apparently, according to what I've seen in the locker room of the yoga studio, the less hair the better.

I would like to know who the first brave soul was that decided it would be a good idea to take scalding hot wax, apply it to the most sensitive area of their body, then apply thin muslin paper and proceed to rip the hair out by the roots.  Ouch!

What's this got to do with Bikram yoga?  Nothing other than the sad fact that I've succumbed to peer pressure and opted to be properly coiffed thus fitting in with all the other women in the yoga studio here in the good ole' O.C.

So today I made my way to my favorite Vietnamese nail salon where one of the many services they provide is what is euphemistically referred to as a bikini wax which is just a nice way of saying TORTURE.

"You go room numba two." advised the smiling Vietnamese man at the front desk.

Once I was in a proper state of undress, the cute little therapist and I had a discussion about what was to occur.  I could feel my armpits get itchy in anticipation.  "Have you ever had anyone ask you to dye it?'

She just looked at me and giggled.  One of the things I love about this salon is that they're always laughing.  At everything.  I'm convinced they're laughing at me, but I'm good with that.

Hot wax applied.  Rip.  Hotter wax applied.  Rip.

I walked into the locker room of the 4:30 yoga class with my head held high.  Just another OC Housewife getting her yoga on.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Day Two

My favorite training partner called me last night.  "Let's meet for a trail hike tomorrow morning."

I can never say no to my favorite training partner, plus it turned out to be a stellar California morning, so off we went for a two hour hike.

That meant that today's workout was a double, with Bikram Yoga at 4:30.  It turned out to be a cold day - winter at the beach might look like a good idea - but working out in a 105 degree room is a better idea.

I got there a little early to start enjoying the heat and set up on the opposite side of the room than I usually do.  There seem to be some new faces, probably due to the New Year and tonight was no exception.  This hunky guy who I've never seen before walks in and sets up right next to my usual spot.    Darn!  Why did I choose to set up on the other side of the room?  He looked to be a very in shape surfer with the tan lines in all the right places.  I'm not sure if he's a pro surfer but he could be - or at least model surf underwear.  He had the typical perfect surfers body which I'm very familiar with because I live with one.

My Surfer Boy Husband
Keep doing yoga and you too can have a body like this.

With all this working out, I think I'll sleep good tonight.  With all these good looking surfer boys dancing around in my head, I think I'll dream good tonight.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Day One

Look!  We get a gold star for every class.  Just like in kindergarten

Here are the 26 postures we do in class

Day one started with morning class.  Lots of faces I haven't seen in awhile.  Lots of folks, like me, that are in the studio a lot.  All walks of life come to Bikram Yoga.  The stereotypical you would expect - those with lots of tattoos and some kind of weird green drink in their water bottle.  Others you wouldn't expect - the ones that come to class all the time and by the looks of things are closet eating Hershey's kisses by the handful in the privacy of their BMW.

But one thing they all have in common is a strong spine.  No matter what else you do to your body, Bikram Yoga will give you a strong, straight spine.  So once you turn ninety eight, you may look like a breathing burlap bag, but who cares?  You'll still be able to lean over in the driveway to pick up the morning paper - which just may well be the highlight of the day.

The day ended with my other New Years goal - to spend no less but no more than fifteen minutes per day cleaning closets.  I set the timer and went to work.  After seven minutes I yelled into the next room to Surfer Boy "Is my time up yet?"  It certainly felt like fifteen minutes.  Did I mention that I hate cleaning closets?

Goodnight and see you tomorrow!