August 29, 2013 § Leave a comment
I finished. I showed up everyday for 60 days. 90 minutes every day. 26 postures every day. There were many different students in each class, everybody doing their best at their current level. If yoga were a sport, my only competition was myself. I stared at myself in the mirror every day, and the challenge was as mental as it was physical. It all started out physical, as my body adjusted to the demands of the heat and the intensity of the postures. Gradually, it became a mental challenge, as I had to will myself to get my butt to class. Once I showed up, half the battle was already over.
As the challenge progressed I started to become more confident in my abilities and in the postures. I became more familiar with the dialogue. I listened to each sentence, and then broke it down to its most elemental level, THEN tried to do what then dialogue said. Whoever thought it would be so difficult to lock the knee?! “Lamp post, unbroken, no knee”. I’ve heard the dialogue numerous times, and I am still working on implementing it perfectly in my practice.
The challenge could not have ended on a better note than by having international yoga asana champion, Joseph Encinia himself, teach a class and a workshop. The workshop put everything in perspective in regards to why the 26 postures are arranged as such. For example, during the warmup series, we start with Pranayama breathing, to expand the lungs and let in fresh oxygen needed for the rest of the class. Then we proceed to Ardha Chandrasana – Half Moon – with Hands to Feet pose, which stretches the body in four lateral directions, all the while warming up the spine. Next up is Utkatasana – Awkward Pose, to develop balance and warm up the legs for the balancing series. The warmup concludes with Garudasana – Eagle Pose, which opens up the 14 major joints in the body. Listening to these explanations really made me appreciate the practice even more.
As if all the detailed explanations were not enough, Joseph expounded on the 5 principles/virtues of Bikram yoga. Self control, Determination, Concentration, Patience, and Faith. These are all needed to get through each class, which eventually applies outside as well.
So, what did I get out of this challenge? Starting with the external/physical benefits – I got deeper in my postures, my legs, back, and spine feel a lot stronger than I ever remember. Internally, the benefits include better mental acuity, peace with myself, less stress, and a total overall feeling of awesomeness and self confidence from the achievement. I have since started a different challenge since completing this one last week (yes, this post is late), and my plan is to continue to ride that wave of accomplishments.
I am glad I went on this journey, which taught me just as much about myself as it did about the practice of Bikram Yoga. I would recommend anyone serious about yoga to commit to a period of dedicated practice – be it 10, 30, or 60 days. Your future self will thank you for it. Namaste.
August 13, 2013 § Leave a comment
Here is a video of Austin Kleon discussing the main ideas in his brilliant book at a Ted Talk.
August 7, 2013 § 2 Comments
I just started reading Steal Like an Artist (Austin Kleon), a book on creativity which, as you would agree, has a very catchy title. Instead of doing a book review (which may come at a later time), I will just post the main chapter titles here. It reminds me of Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity, a brilliant book by Hugh MacLeod. I’m really looking forward to this book. The chapters are:
- Steal like an artist
- Don’t wait until you know who you are to get started
- Write the book you want to read
- Use your hands
- Side projects and hobbies are important
- The Secret: Do good work and share it with people
- Geography is no longer our master
- Be nice (The world is a small town)
- Be boring (It’s the only way to get work done
- Creativity is subtraction
Enjoy, and stay tuned!
August 6, 2013 § Leave a comment
Today marks my one year anniversary of working in Dallas.
It is quite surreal to think that about a year ago, I packed up all I had and left friends, family, comfort and familiarity of Kansas for a new job, and barely any friends in Dallas. I didn’t know what the future held, but one thing was certain, with a certainty so deep it can only felt, not described. I remember talking to my cousin in January of last year that I needed to get out of Kansas. I needed to get out of Kansas. I needed to get out of Kansas…and so I repeated it, until it happened.
“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Putting the past year into perspective,
Professionally, I have built a small but solid network in and out of the workplace, established trust and rapport with my client, and earned two Microsoft certifications.
Socially, I have built various social networks, from my friends who host house parties and meet up for brunches on the weekends, to my budding but supportive yoga family.
Physically, I have observed myself get stronger, undergoing a dedicated weight training regimen. Lately, I’ve taken a break, as I embarked on the ongoing yoga challenge. Today is Day 47/60.
Spiritually, I have feel freer and happier to connect with people from all walks of life. My life is enriched by new interactions, I am genuinely interested in people’s journeys, and what I can learn from them. Forming these kinds of bonds makes me feel connected with the universe, more aware of my being,
Personally, I am more at peace with myself, more present, and glad I made the big move to the Big D. Toasting to the past year, and very excited about what else Dallas has in Store for me.