August 31, 2015, 6:00am - class 401 with Sandy Robin - I thought I'd be able to enjoy a nice, relaxing morning in the second row, but then these two girls blocked my view of the mirror by placing their mats in front of mine. Argh! I scooted my mat right next to theirs. I did well up until the second set of Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee. I had to take a breather. I finished the rest of my practice as faithfully as possible, but I was weak in the spine strengthening series. I managed to do extended sets of Fixed Firm, Half Tortoise, and Rabbit, but I gave a crazy bad effort in Head to Knee with Stretching. At least I am down to 133.6 having been as high as 141 recently due to anxieties over my mammogram, my work, and my kids.
September 1, 2015, 7:00am - class 402 with Joel Pier - "That looks real good. Where have you been hiding that?" Joel remarked of the first part of my Awkward Pose. I did great up until Triangle and then started slowing down. I missed one set of Camel, but the rest I pushed myself to do the best that I could. Unfortunately, I was left totally exhausted and after a cold shower couldn't hear myself speak for several hours. It was weird because I could hear, but speaking sounded strange. I also felt woozy and my vision out of my left eye wasn't quite right. My left toes and right hand also started locking up, but not at the same time, thankfully. Needless to say, I didn't feel well today. I had to lie down and rest for 45 minutes.
September 2, 2015, 6:00am - class 403 with Sandy Robin - "Good job, Clare!" Sandy said of my Half Tortoise as she pushed down on my back to flatten it. "Your back is getting so strong!" she said. I took more frequent breaks today and sipped water after almost every pose. I paced myself and didn't push myself much because I didn't want to repeat what had happened yesterday. I concluded I most likely suffered from dehydration and then bodily shutdown. I'm down to 130.8 today, but is the goal of being thinner worth it? Before, my body was changing because of yoga. Now my body is experiencing the added effects of Aikido training. I hope this hot, humid weather goes away soon.
September 4, 2015, 6:00am - class 404 with Justin Riley - I sipped water after most of my postures today. I got through my practice with no issues. The only posture I skipped was the first part of Awkward because my big toe was still healing. Toe Stand was also a challenge.
September 6, 2015, 9:00am - class 405 with Leo Eisenstein - The heat wasn't on full blast in the upstairs hot room like it usually is, so I was able to breeze through my practice without any dizzy spells. I sipped water after most of my postures today. I did Awkward and Toe Stand with no issues. Leo doesn't hold us in postures as long as other teachers and his Savasana breaks are a little longer, too.
September 8, 2015, 7:00am - class 406 with Joel Pier - Joel gave me another compliment on the first part of my Awkward Pose. I left class feeling fine, unlike last week. Sipping water in between postures might be a good thing for now. Joel insisted that I do a full palm grip on my heels in Camel.
September 8, 2015, 12:00pm - 2 students. One of my students was new and said she enjoyed the format of my class.
September 9, 2015, 6:00am - class 407 with Sandy Robin - I had a slight hangover and lack of sleep coming into class, but for some reason I remained focused and completed my practice with no problems. Sandy lifted my chest slightly in Fixed Firm and flattened my back in Half Tortoise. I again made sure I did a full palm grip on my heels in Camel. Ideally, it should be the same full palm grip as in Rabbit.
September 8, 2015, 12:00pm - 5 students. One student was Malea, the manager of the studio. At the end of class, Malea smiled and gave me a thumbs up. "Your class was great! I really liked it. You really improved on your dialog!" she said. In the beginning, I wanted to strip the dialog of all of the little Bikramisms that didn't make sense to me, but I came to the realization that it's important to include all of these details because if you don't, it's like omitting key points from a story. For example, in Goldilocks and the Three Bears, what if we omitted mama bear's soft bed or cold soup in the story? The story wouldn't feel complete. Once the story feels complete, then you can begin embellishing it with more detailed phrases about how the bed feels as soft as the finest Chinese silk or the cold soup has a layer of congealed froth on top. I also didn't express my commands in my usual forceful way. I softened up my voice a lot in this class, much like the way I sounded in the candlelight yoga class.
September 11, 2015, 6:00am - class 408 with Justin Riley - Justin complimented me in Half Moon, Awkward, and Standing Bow. I felt good about these postures. I'm starting to get my hands in prayer in Toe Stand in the past week. I remember Chris Fluck telling me, "Just go for it. What have you got to lose?" "You can always tell if a student is doing a posture right by looking at their feet," Justin informed us. "Some postures require us to place all of our bodyweight on our heels or on the balls of our feet. When you do that, those parts of the foot light up." One of the receptionists in my building remarked that she would love to trade her big belly for my flat one.
September 14, 2015, 6:00am - class 409 with Sandy Robin - Last night, Robyn and I each tried a 45-minute session in an isolation tank at Flotation Philly. It was a very unique experience for us as we didn't know what to expect going in. She loved it. It was the perfect environment for her to meditate in. I found it to be quite relaxing once I got used to the fact that the salt water was going to allow me to float. I never learned how to swim, so I had to overcome an initial state of panic and fear. It didn't help that the salt water stung one of my eyes and nostrils at one point. I had to quickly rinse the salt water off and settle into the darkness of the tank once again. At several points, I did feel like I was floating in space in a weird dream-but-not-dreaming state. Just like yoga, I feel that there is something more to this sensory deprivation experience, so I will try it again soon. We both felt more relaxed and a heightened sense of awareness after our session. We enjoyed a mostly vegetarian Vietnamese meal at Same Same for dinner. I love the 60 degree temperature this morning. I had no issues with my practice today, probably because the weather was so nice.
September 14, 2015, 5:30pm - 23 students, including the owner of the studio. "It was a very good class and you had a strong presence. I liked the flow of the class, the pacing, and the breathing cues that you added, but you need more dialog in Half Moon, Triangle, and Locust," she said.
Why do I want to be a Bikram teacher so badly? At my very core, I've always been a teacher and a mentor in a large number of subjects, especially in subjects I love: math, music, art, and yoga. I want to be able to show people why I love what I love and I want them to love it, too. Joel Pier offered his wisdom in this. "In order to teach here, you have to pay your dues," he said. Sometimes I feel like Ensign Harry Kim on Star Trek: Voyager, the officer who never gets promoted. Still, I have to remain humble and remind myself to be grateful for the opportunities given to me and that I am trying to be successful in one of the most popular Bikram studios in the world.
September 15, 2015, 7:00am - class 410 with Joel Pier - "Crack, crackk, crackkk, CRACKKK!!!" said my spine as Joel told me to inhale and exhale as he pushed his fist into my upper back. I felt like I could lift higher in Full Locust after that. Joel again commented on how great my Awkward 1 was. Standing next to me was someone with a perfect Awkward 2. She could stand on the tops of her toes. "I've seen only four people in my life who could stand on their tippytoes," Joel said. I was a little overzealous in Eagle. I lost my balance, ironically after "leaning back more," but magically kept my legs twisted the entire time. I smiled, laughed it off, and twisted my arms again and went right back into the pose.
September 16, 2015, 6:00am - class 411 with Sandy Robin - I was a little wobbly in my right-foot Eagle, no doubt from yesterday's mishap. Standing Head to Knee is still iffy for my left leg; it's not going to be parallel to the floor any time soon. A leap of faith, or a leap across a canyon, is what it'll take for me to touch my forehead on my knee. A new Indian postdoc at my workplace marvelled over my yoga pictures, especially the Embryo Pose I did on Santa Barbara beach. "You have to be skinny to do yoga," he joked, but there was truth in what he said.
September 19, 2015, 8:00am - class 412 with Sandy Robin - It was really hot this morning at Bikram Yoga Northern Liberties. During Pranayama Deep Breathing, even our most senior practitioner thought it was too hot to breathe. I fell out of Eagle again... I lost my balance and my arms unravelled, but I couldn't get in position again even with my legs still twisted. I had to take a break during a set of Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose. Sandy has been helping me flatten my back in Head to Knee with Stretching Pose.
September 22, 2015, 12:00pm - 3 students. One of my favorite students returned from a recent injury. I promised I would help her with her poses in my future classes.
September 24, 2015, 12:00pm - 2 students. I felt it was a well-paced class with two sets of Cobra, Floor Bow, Camel, and Rabbit.
September 24, 2015, 3:30pm - 24 students, including 2 teachers. "Thank you for an amazing class," one of the students, who is going to teacher training, said. I helped her with her Triangle Pose and made several verbal and physical adjustments to other students' postures in class. I took attendance, checked and adjusted the temperature during class, and made sure my students stayed safe.
September 30, 2015, 5:30pm - 31 students, including 4 teachers. Two of the teachers - the studio owner and manager - were evaluating my class. I made sure I articulated more of the dialog than I usually do and I didn't perform the postures with the class as I did when I first started teaching. I flubbed up once during Eagle - we were supposed to go right into second set rather than take a break between sets - but the rest of the class flowed nicely. I got one student in the class to sign up for the Bikram Yoga 30-Day challenge. I wore a headset the entire class to amplify my voice which some have noticed could get soft at times. Katelynn and Malea told me that they were hard on me during the past few months because they wanted me to be the best teacher I can be. I appreciate the tough love, which is characteristic of Bikram's way. As a result of my hard work, I was offered the opportunity to teach a weekly morning class. I got my promotion! Yay!
October 1, 2015, 7:00am - class 413 with Justin Riley - My Bikram Yoga 30-Day Challenge begins. Why am I doing this even after completing teacher training? It's because I believe in this yoga with its power to heal and make us physically, mentally, and emotionally feel better from the inside out. What better way is there to show your students how much you believe in this yoga than to complete the challenge? I felt a little rusty after my break from yoga and Aikido. The Papal visit changed Philadelphia's streets and roads so much over the past week it made it difficult for teachers to get to their classes. Things should be back to normal now.
October 2, 2015, 6:00am - class 414 with Justin Riley - Justin kept telling me my Half Moon was all wrong in class. I kept hearing Bikram's phrase - "Hips forward, upper body back, arms back, weight in the heels" - in my head because I recited it to myself so many times in the past few weeks. I think that's really meant to be a correction more than an instruction. Whenever I would think of that phrase, I would remember the beautiful way in which Noelle said it, as if it were part of a song. She had a way of singing the Bikram dialog that sounded like music to my ears. "Hips back! Too far forward! Come on, hips back!" Justin barked at me, jolting me out of my dream state. Apparently, my much better alignment before is now marred by my adhering too much to the Bikram dialog I've studied and restudied these past few weeks. In the end, standing in a neutral position, as taught by my evolation yoga teachers, is the real way you should be standing, not this "hips forward, upper body back" goofiness. My knees are too far forward again in Awkward 1. I feel that I'm at my maximum edge leaning back and if I lean back any more, I'd fall over. I wonder if my flat feet are a factor in my knees being too far forward. Joel and others always liked my Awkward 1.
October 3, 2015, 11:00am - class 415 with Joel Pier - I haven't been to a weekend class in my studio in a while. The temperature is getting better as the fall season moves on. It's not so humid which makes the high heat bearable.
October 4, 2015, 9:00am - class 416 with Leo Eisenstein - It's easy to see why other Bikram teachers like Leo's classes. He's a genuinely happy guy and his dialog is pretty much spot on. He's easy to follow and you can challenge yourself as much as you want.
October 5, 2015, 6:00am - class 417 with Sandy Robin - Sandy helped me in Half-Tortoise, Camel, and Spinal Twist by pushing, pulling, and twisting my spine past my perceived "edge" each time. I performed Half Moon in a neutral position and Sandy liked it. One of my classmates told me that a gentleman she was talking to really enjoyed my class last week and would like to take it again. He referred to me as "the Asian lady with the deep voice." That's me! Feel the power of my voice!
October 6, 2015, 7:00am - 6 students. It was the first of my weekly 7:00am classes.
October 6, 2015, 12:00pm - 2 students. I practiced with the rest of the class, since there were only two students. I wore a headset for both classes.
October 6, 2015, 3:30pm - class 418 with Chris Fluck - "Arms up, Clare," Chris advised during Balancing Stick. Chris' classes are always intense and well-paced. What I've noticed about a successful Bikram class is there is very little dead air space throughout the entire class. I believe that the constant, almost rhythmic, talking causes the practitioner to lapse into a meditative state. After months of classes, you're going to know what to do and how to bend your body. At that point, the talking is just chatter unless the teacher makes a correction for something you're not doing. At that point, you snap out of your meditative state, readjust, and then lapse back into the meditative state. If you, as a teacher, do not keep talking, a student will be seeking but not finding the wisdom you're supposed to be imparting. In actuality, the words serve as timing cues to enable a student to get the most out of every pose. People like Chris with his extensive exercise background have this nailed to a science.
October 7, 2015, 6:00am - class 419 with Sandy Robin - I caught myself falling out of Eagle like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, so I pulled everything back into my legs and lifted myself out of the near fall. It must've looked ridiculous for a moment, so I had to smile and laugh. A new student was having trouble with Triangle, so Sandy had me show the class the difference between a Z leg and an L leg. My Triangle is a combination Sandy Robin/Chris Fluck Triangle. Sandy asked me to teach Wind Removing Pose, so she could sign in a new student. She tried to teach me how to come up out of Fixed Firm pose by lifting my chest and ribcage up. This move did not require the use of the arms or hands. Unfortunately, I wasn't strong enough to do it yet.
October 8, 2015, 7:00am - class 420 with Justin Riley - My back was sore from falling on it over and over again in Aikido class last night. I felt misaligned. The stretching in class today helped reduce the soreness.
October 9, 2015, 6:00am - class 421 with Justin Riley - My back is feeling a little better. Justin imparted a good piece of advice in yesterday's class about using mind tricks to keep you alert in class. One of the mind tricks I use to keep myself from giving up and passing out is focusing my eyes on a series of imperfections on the wall above the mirrors. There are nail holes arranged in a linear pattern, some up, some down. I follow my eyes from one hole to the next in a row of five or six and then go back again all the while slowing my breath down. This calms my mind and gets me ready for the next posture. Justin showed me what he's looking for in Awkward 1, which looks a lot like Thayne's "Superman" version of Awkward 1.
October 11, 2015, 9:00am - class 422 with Leo Eisenstein - I missed a class yesterday so today will make up for it. Am I doing a straight 30-day challenge or a 6 week, 5 days a week challenge? At this point, I don't know. Missing one day will require me to do two classes a day to make up for it. I'd rather not tax my body like that since I have Aikido classes to go to, too. One-third of the challenge completed, two-thirds to go.
October 12, 2015, 6:00am - class 423 with Sandy Robin - I'm in an almost trancelike state when I do Awkward Pose.
October 13, 2015, 7:00am - 11 students. It was the second of my weekly 7:00am classes. A few students thanked me for class. One student, in particular, felt I taught a good class. It feels weird teaching through a headset. It feels like I'm given an undeserved celebrity status, but in some ways it might just be a rite of passage. Someday when I get my voice tweaked, I may need the headset more than ever.
October 13, 2015, 12:00pm - class 424 with Adam Kielbaugh - Although this was an Express class, Adam gave us two sets of the first three postures as I had requested (I have to give proper due to Eagle Pose!). Originally, the class was going to be just me, so Adam was going to practice with me, but another student joined the class a few minutes late. Adam has a calming presence and nice intonation in his voice during difficult parts of the dialog. He's also a phenomenal yogi.
October 14, 2015, 6:00am - class 425 with Sandy Robin - "Nice, Clare!" Sandy remarked of my Awkward 2. Sandy could probably tell when I'm giving my 100% effort by the way my muscles pop out.
October 15, 2015, 7:00am - class 426 with Justin Riley - A bout with a stomach virus forced me to head to the restroom during Savasana and two poses. I practiced the poses after class ended. Hopefully, I'll feel better today.
October 16, 2015, 6:00am - class 427 with Justin Riley - One of life's little lessons you learn from the 30-Day Challenge is once you make a commitment, you have to stick to it and see it through to the end. No matter how sick or drab you feel, you just have to do it. The desire has to come from within.
October 17, 2015, 9:00am - class 428 with Katrina Bauer - I completed my practice, but I didn't have enough energy to do the third part of Locust in the second set. I'm now into the second half of my 30-day challenge. When a goal seems insurmountable at first, always break the goal up into parts. That way, once you finish each part, you will have completed a milestone that is part of a bigger goal.
October 18, 2015, 9:00am - class 429 with Leo Eisenstein - "Nice trapezius muscles, Clare!" Leo commented during Cobra Pose. Unfortunately, I had to leave for a restroom break during Savasana to empty my bladder of the water I drank with my Mucinex DM pill this morning. I promptly returned to do the remainder of my practice from the second set of Pavanamuktasana onward.
October 19, 2015, 6:00am - 8 students. There was some powerful breathing during Pranayama. That's how I can tell the serious students from the newbies. For all 26 postures, everyone was giving it their all. I like that.
October 19, 2015, 8:00am - class 430 with Justin Riley - I'm at the apex of my cold. The Mucinex is working well, but drying me out. I definitely need an extra hour of sleep each night to help my weakened state. I find myself cheating in Pranayama to muster up enough strength to do Half Moon. I find myself holding back on my first set of Standing Head to Knee so I could kick out fully on my second set. My goal is to sweat out this cold and even if the idea of sweating out a cold is a myth, at least I'll be exercising throughout this bad time. Turning bad energy into good is what yoga is all about.
October 20, 2015, 7:00am - 9 students. It was the third of my weekly 7:00am classes. My friend Chris took my class. He gave a valiant effort.
October 20, 2015, 12:00pm - 7 students. My yoga studio manager said that one of my students said about me, "Who is that instructor? She's awesome!" I'm still working through my cold and Mucinexed out, so I felt very weak and my head was pounding, but I gave it my all. I taught as if my life depended on it. It was probably one of my most spirited classes to date. I seem to do my best when all odds are stacked against me.
October 20, 2015, 7:30pm - class 431 with Emily Jane - Tired and spent after Aikido class, I entered the studio a few minutes before class begun. My Pranayama was a little haphazard and I took my time with all of the poses. Not my best day, but there was a lot going on today.
October 21, 2015, 6:00am - 4 students. I helped a new student with her postures. One of the things I'm coming to realize is every teacher seems to omit some portion of the dialog. Hardly anyone tells their class to "turn and twist their upper body backward like in Spinal Twist" in Trangle or "lift your head and spine up towards the ceiling as if I'm pulling your hair" in Awkward 2. What the good teachers have is the cadence and rhythm of the class down pat so it sounds like a continuous rapid-fire class rather than a shoot-shoot-pause class. The occasional pause is what makes some evaluators think that I forgot my dialog when, in reality, I'm taking a breath and breathing through my own anxieties. Just like practicing Bikram Yoga is like a moving meditation for the student, teaching class is also like a moving meditation for the teacher. I think the bigger lesson to learn here is no instructor can ever have a perfect class. You may strive to teach the perfect class, but it is never quite achieved... just like practicing yoga... you can never have a perfect class, but you strive for it. Just when you think it's perfect, someone will tell you how to improve it. When you finally think you've taught the perfect class and you spill out your heart and say all the words, you end up running over time by a few minutes. Today was one of those days.
October 21, 2015, 8:00am - class 432 with Justin Riley - My partner questioned the reasons for why I wanted to do the 30-Day Challenge. "Is it an ego thing? What more do you have to prove? Don't finish it. It's killing you," she said. "I have to do it. I just have to," I said. Two-thirds of my goal done, one-third to go.
October 22, 2015, 7:00am - class 433 with Emily Jane - A very nice class with great timing and execution. Certainly a nod to one of our mentors who once taught on this day.
October 22, 2015, 12:00pm - 7 students. I used an instruction I learned from Emily Jane today for Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee: "Left hip forward, right hip back" (or "Right hip forward, left hip back" for the other side) instead of saying "Push your left hip forward 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 times."
October 23, 2015, 6:00am - class 434 with Justin Riley - Something doesn't feel right in my body. I don't know what it is.
October 25, 2015, 9:00am - class 435 with Leo Eisenstein - My cold has died down, but during the latter half of it, I was experiencing extreme allergic reactons requiring me to start a sequence of antibiotics. Despite feeling terrible, I'm still continuing with my 30-day challenge. I stood in the back of the room because I didn't want anyone to notice my allergic reactions. It may be a recent switch to Dove soap or a food allergy that caused it. I missed yesterday's class, so I'm somewhere in between a true 30-Day Challenge and the 6 weeks, 5 days a week variant. For me, I think 5 weeks, 6 days a week is more doable.
October 26, 2015, 6:00am - 6 students. I'm finding that correcting Triangle Pose seems to be one of my strengths. It's easy to correct people on their Triangles without actually touching them. I made sure every one of my students felt comfortable in class by checking up on them whenever they were in Savasana. One of my students said, "You're just like a yoga mom to me." I smiled.
October 26, 2015, 8:00am - class 436 with Justin Riley - I wore long pants while practicing today to cover up the scars from my hives. I learned that I may need to add Flonase to my Claritin/Benadryl regimen to get rid of these hives. I think it's food-related, but I'm not totally sure. I promised my partner that I'll reduce the frequency of my practice days after the 30-Day Challenge is over. Intense exercise may be one of the causes of severe allergic reactions. The past week hasn't been fun for me.
October 27, 2015, 7:00am - 8 students, including five new ones. I taught the three-point stance at the beginning of Standing Head to Knee and made a few minor posture corrections during class. Several students thanked me for class afterwards. I feel glad that I can help people achieve their goals.
October 28, 2015, 6:00am - 6 students. One student arrived late, but left early. Another student was new, so I was helping her with some of the postures to get her acclimated to the class.
October 28, 2015, 8:00am - class 431 with Justin Riley - "Your mood determines the way you carry yourself each day," Justin said. Subconsciously, without realizing it, we might slouch because we feel sad or depressed. We might walk with our heads up high when we're happy. The way we do yoga is to always stretch our head and spine up towards the ceiling... like natural human traction! My workplace offered free biometric screenings for all of their employees. The nurse on staff was impressed with my total blood cholesterol to HDL ratio, which was 2.0. She asked me what type of exercise I do and I replied hot yoga. She was very impressed and said, "Keep doing what you're doing!" Five more classes to go! But before everyone gets all excited, the big problem is my back is covered with small and large bumps and welts that are extremely itchy all day and night. My back, once considered exquisitely smooth and beautiful, now resembles human bubble wrap. I may need to take a break from all of this to recover.
October 31, 2015, 9:00am - class 432 with Katelynn Ingersoll - I survived another class even though my neck and back are still itchy as hell. At some point, I'll do the remaining four classes when my autoimmune syste returns to normal. Katelynn mentioned how strong I was in my postures.
November 2, 2015, 6:00am - 15 students. I love this larger morning class. Everyone was syncing together perfectly in Pranayama and I could tell that everyone was giving it their all in every posture. Many of my students thanked me after class. One said that it was a wonderful class. The room felt nice at 110 to 113 degrees.
November 3, 2015, 7:00am - 6 students. It's nice to see many familiar faces in class. Today's class was 105 degrees, which felt cold compared to yesterday's class.
November 3, 2015, 12:00pm - 2 students. Attendance might be down because it's Election Day. I practiced with the rest of the class. I followed my instructions in Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose and touched my forehead to the floor! Wow! I never touched the floor before because I kept convincing myself that I'd roll over and injure myself.
November 4, 2015, 6:00am - 11 students. I made some corrections and got everyone in and out of every posture safely. The room was piping hot at 125 degrees.
After class, I had an appointment with Dr. Michael Phillips, the Director of Allergy Programs at Penn Medicine Allergy and Immunology, who spent a good 45 minutes with me. As you probably know, any doctor who spends that much time with you is looking at a fairly serious case. He saw firsthand all of the itchy bumps completely covering my backside with many more rapidly appearing on my frontside. Seven vials of blood were drawn and a series of antibody and other tests will be performed. I hadn't had this much blood drawn since I was diagnosed with cancer. Dr. Phillips says I may have heat urticaria and the obvious solution is to avoid the hot room for a while. Of course, being a Bikram teacher, I can't do that, so he prescribed medication (Singulair and Methylprednisone) to alleviate the symptoms. The blood tests will reveal how fucked up my autoimmune system is and he requested that I see him again in a month or call him after two weeks if the medications aren't working. "The body works on sine waves, not square waves," Dr. Phillips said, "so moving from one temperature to an extreme temperature should be done in gradual increments, not in an abrupt change."
November 5, 2015, 12:00pm - 6 students. Two students were new, so I spent a little more time explaining each posture in class. My regulars were really sticking with the extended lengths of time in each posture, which is quite commendable. After class, I went to my usual lunch spot. The owner of the lunch spot asked me if it was better to go to a yoga class where the class was different each time or to a class that was the same every time like Bikram. I told him that I think it's up to him to find a good teacher that resonates with him. A good teacher can teach the same class in a slightly different way every time.
November 9, 2015, 6:00am - 8 students. I practiced along with the rest of the class. I'm feeling much better now after five days of steroids (Methylprednisone) and Singulair. I'm on five different medications for allergies and hives. One medication, Zantac 150, is used primarily for heartburn, but has the side effect of alleviating hives! I had some yogurt with white truffle honey today. I read that truffle products have very little actual truffle in them. As of today, I have completed my Bikram Yoga 30-Day Challenge. I originally signed up for the 6 weeks, 5 days per week version of the Challenge, but, as the days went on, I was on track to complete the standard 30-Day Challenge. As luck would have it, I got sick, so I had to postpone the Challenge until I felt better. Once I did, I completed it! The bad news is I'm 136 pounds right now, but that's due in large part to my increased appetite from the steroids.
November 10, 2015, 7:00am - 12 students. I felt good about my dialog for Standing Bow. It was rapid-fire and engaging. I never once shut up as I brought my students to their deepest stretch. One student kept asking me to raise the temperature in the room, which was already at 105. Eventually, it was 113. I ate a lot last night, perhaps too much, with my partner at a Yelp Elite event at Grub Burger Bar in Willow Grove. We were treated to samples of four appetizers, a salad, five different burgers, six different cocktails, and three shakes. You see, this is why we need Bikram Yoga! You can eat whatever the hell you want - within reason - and maintain or lose weight. Yoga may not be a cure-all for everything, but it's the closest thing we humans have.
November 11, 2015, 6:00am - 11 students. Yoga champion Alex Meer was in my class. She showed great stillness in her standing leg postures. One of the younger students in class continues to impress me with her textbook-quality poses.
I picked up my Bikram Yoga 30-Day Challenge tee-shirt today, a symbol of my completion of the challenge. Katelynn congratulated me and I was happy and relieved that another challenge in my life was over. Because of the intensity of this challenge and its effects on my body, I don't think it would be wise for me to do this again. Strangely, I didn't have a problem with heat ulticaria when I was in teacher training, but my diet and mindset were different back then.
November 16, 2015, 6:00am - 8 students. I managed the time and temperature perfectly and class ended on time. Yay!
November 17, 2015, 7:00am - 7 students. Everyone seemed to enjoy my class. I gave some pointers in Eagle and Standing Head to Knee. "Just like the instruction where I tell you to lift your right leg up high up over your left thigh to create room to twist your legs, I want you to stretch your arms out while your swing your right arm underneath your left arm to create room to twist your arms so you can get your hands closer together in prayer," I instructed. I corrected two students in their poses and helped one with her backbend in Fixed Firm.
November 17, 2015, 12:00pm - 1 student.
November 18, 2015, 6:00am - 10 students. There were four new students in class. Two students were impressed with my class and were looking forward to coming again.
November 19, 2015, 12:00pm - 5 students, including two newbies. I really wanted to acclimate the new students, so the extra time I took to teach them the basics forced me to stay with one set for each posture.
November 28, 2015 - Thanksgiving Day - I am thankful my friends and family. I am thankful for my health. I am thankful for yoga. I am thankful for Aikido. I am thankful for all the little things in life that I have stopped to take notice and enjoy. I am thankful for the memories of all of the wonderful people whom I have met and were an influence on my life. I am thankful for this day that allows me to reflect upon those memories. May they be everlasting and inspirational for what is yet to come.
November 30, 2015, 6:00am - 12 students. One student was new to my class and thanked me for a good class.
December 1, 2015, 7:00am - 11 students.
December 1, 2015, 12:00pm - 1 student.
December 2, 2015, 6:00am - 12 students. Many of my students, including two new ones, thanked me for class. Before class, a couple of students noted that it didn't feel hot enough in the room. Although it said 105 in the room, it felt more like 80. I cranked it up to 133 and many of the students were happy to feel the heat.
December 3, 2015, 12:00pm - 1 student.
December 7, 2015, 6:00am - 8 students. One student was new to my class and said it was "a really nice class." I might want Emily Jane to teach some Mondays so I can rest up for Aikido class on Monday evenings.
December 8, 2015, 7:00am - 11 students. During Kopalbhati breathing, the room sounded like one heavenly breath as everyone exhaled in perfect unison. It was a fantastic sound.
December 9, 2015, 6:00am - 7 students.
December 10, 2015, 6:30pm - Tonight I taught at Diamond Hot Yoga as a substitute teacher. The space looks really nice and inviting. Jen, the owner, did a great job designing the studio. There's plenty of free parking nearby and there's a pizza shop on the corner that gives you a helluva lot of pepperoni on a pepperoni pizza slice.
It's official. I've been diagnosed with acute urticaria. My allergist prescribed a whole boatload of medications for me to take, including Zyrtec, Benadryl, Singulair, Zantac 150, and Prednisone. He recommended another blood test to determine if I have mast cell disorder, but the trick is to get the blood test done within hours of an outbreak.
December 14, 2015, 6:00am - class 433 with Emily Jane - My first practice in over a month. I was a little overzealous in the first eight postures and lost my energy for the ninth, Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee. I got back up for Tree and Toe and lost energy again four postures later during the second set of Full Locust and Floor Bow. I finished the rest of the postures without problems.
December 15, 2015, 7:00am - 8 students.
December 16, 2015, 6:00am - 6 students.
December 16, 2015, 8:00am - class 434 with Katelynn Ingersoll - Katelynn taught me a sequence she created that she would like all of the Bikram Express teachers to use in place of our usual 60-minute routines. This is a much more intense, continuous sequence that incorporates sun salutations, two sets of each posture, and an extended breathing exercise at the end. The 26 postures are embedded in the sequence in a slightly different order and there are no Savasanas in between the floor postures. Katelynn will devise a name for her new sequence. In the meantime, the unofficial title will be "Power Hour."
December 17, 2015, 12:00pm - 1 student. The weather was horrible today, so nobody showed up. I practiced reciting the sequence aloud to prepare for future classes. Katelynn hopes that this new class will help increase attendance.
December 21, 2015, 6:00am - 11 students.
December 22, 2015, 7:00am - 9 students. My students tell me that my class is great.
December 23, 2015, 6:00am - 7 students. I demonstrated Eagle, Standing Separate Leg Stretching, and Triangle in my class.
December 24, 2015 - I never touched my forehead to my knee in Standing Head to Knee in class. Today I did it at home with my right leg extended. I didn't even think about it. I just did it on a whim. It just happened. I tried to do it again and failed. I tried to do it a third time and succeeded. I did it a fourth time and succeeded again. I think if I didn't have to do Pranayama Breathing and Half Moon, I could do Standing Head to Knee much more easily.
December 25, 2015, 10:00am - class 435 with Justin Riley - My left foot slipped in Eagle. Damn! I did Standing Head to Knee in class! I did it with my right leg extended, but I couldn't hold it for more than a couple of seconds. Still, it was a nice Christmas present to myself. The top of my head touched the floor in Standing Separate Leg Stretching.
December 28, 2015, 6:00am - 7 students.
December 29, 2015, 6:00am - 7 students.
December 29, 2015, 12:00pm - 5 students in my new Bikram Express Complete class. I'm not sure if everyone appreciated the additional postures and alternate nostril breathing. One student left early.
December 30, 2015, 6:00am - 10 students.
January 4, 2016, 6:00am - 12 students. Today I received my first gift for being a Manduka ambassador, an Insight Eye Pillow. This comfy eye pillow fits over your eyes and is great for relaxing in Savasana. Inside the zippered pouch is a bag filled with organic barley and flax seeds scented with soothing, calming aromatics, including lavendar oil, lemon balm, and orris root.
January 5, 2016, 7:00am - 8 students.
January 5, 2016, 6:30pm - 22 students. "I've had your class before, a while ago. I really like your voice," a male student said to me before class. My voice gets me misgendered over the phone sometimes because it's really deep and throaty. My grandma on my mother's side had the same kind of voice. I asked my doctor about it and he observed via X-rays that my lung capacity is really large. Bigger lungs, bigger voice. A voice made for Bikram Yoga, I've been told. I've gone to an otolaryngologist and he said he can pitch tune my voice a little to get it to where I want it. It's a delicate procedure, so hopefully I won't lose any power in my voice.
January 6, 2016, 6:00am - 11 students.
January 7, 2016, 12:00pm - class 436 with Katelynn Ingersoll - Bikram Express Complete was a good class today. Very intense and invigorating with its two sets of everything. It really challenged my balance and flexibility much more than a standard Express class. We didn't do the alternate nostril breathing and instead opted for two sets of 100 breaths in Kapalbhati Breathing. Even though I was encouraged not to demonstrate postures during teaching, this is the kind of class in which you have to demonstrate the postures since there's little dialog and more action.
January 11, 2016, 6:00am - 15 students.
January 12, 2016, 7:00am - 9 students.
January 13, 2016, 7:00am - 12 students.
January 14, 2016, 12:00pm - 7 students in my new Bikram Express Complete class. The new sequence still feels weird to me because there's so little dialog in it. The sequence from FIxed Firm to Head to Knee with Stretching felt too long to me, so I stopped and let the class take Savasana after Rabbit. We did two sets of Head to Knee with Stretching, followed by Savasana, followed by one set of Spinal Twist.
My Meditation teacher training course with Yoganand Michael Carroll is this coming Thursday to Sunday. I'm pretty excited about it. If it looks good, I may decide to take the rest of my 500-level teacher training with Yoganand's Pranakriya School of Yoga Healing Arts.
January 18, 2016, 6:00am - 7 students.
January 19, 2016, 7:00am - 7 students.
January 20, 2016, 6:00am - 14 students. A nice applause at the end of class. My additional dialog for Dandayamana Bibaktaphada Paschiomotthanasana: "Pull your forehead toward the floor. You can touch your forehead to the floor." I believe you can stretch another inch or two towards the floor with the power of suggestion, but it has to be with gentle persuasion rather than with forceful words.
January 21, 2016 to January 24, 2016 - Meditation: Theory & Teaching with Yoganand Michael Carroll - One of my fondest memories of evolation yoga teacher training was the meditation classes. To my great delight, I found a meditation training course right here in Philadelphia at Wake Up Yoga, the same place where I took Corinna Benner's fantastic Yin Yoga Teacher Training course. This 34-hour training course explores the many stages and techniques of yoga meditation, including Vedanta, Sankhya, Tantra, and Tantric Hatha Yoga, and offers students a chance to practice teaching the techniques they've learned. There are also opportunities to strengthen your yoga practice with individual yoga poses as well as partner yoga poses. I've never done a Navasana (boat) pose before, so it was pretty challenging for me. The course is part of the Pranakriya School of Yoga Healing Arts and I've taken this course to fulfill the requirements of a 300-hour yoga teacher training certification. Yoganand is a master-level yoga teacher at Kripalu and a fount of yoga knowledge. He has the gift of being able to explain traditionally difficult concepts in clear, accessible terms. On the final day, we performed a ritual where we saw the Brahman in ourselves. We were all like "Whoaaa!!!" I was on an emotional high for several hours afterwards. I feel honored to have taken Yoganand's class.
January 25, 2016, 6:00am - 7 students. The snowfall didn't keep our devoted yogis from coming out to practice.
January 26, 2016, 7:00am - 9 students. "Great class!" said a new student who had never done Bikram Yoga before.
January 27, 2016, 6:00am - 8 students. Lots of new faces. Fewer and fewer people seem to know the "Sandy Sigh" now. This is not good, so I'm going to keep the tradition going.
Ideally, a student comes to class to learn new things or follow along with a teacher who can teach a good class with a nice flow and verbal cues to get him or her in and out of postures safely. There are other reasons, too, such as health, fitness, mental/physical/spiritual healing, and more. Whatever the reason, a student who keeps returning to a favorite teacher makes a connection with that teacher and it is a good teacher's responsibility to make sure that the student follows a good path. Everyone follows the path at different speeds. There is no winner in yoga. The goal is to forge the best version of you along the way.
My allergist says I don't have mast cell disorder, so that's good news, but I still seem to be extremely sensitive to something. He says it might be stress. I do internalize a lot of my stress and yoga helps with that, but I will admit I haven't been doing yoga as much as I'd like with all the classes I teach and the Aikido classes I take to fill up my spare time. My allergist recommends I avoid eating foods with high histamine content since those foods would trigger my hive condition easily. Among the list are some of my favorite things, such as:
- Fermented alcoholic beverages, especially wine, champagne and beer
- Fermented foods: sauerkraut, vinegar, soy sauce, kefir, yogurt, kombucha, etc
- Vinegar-containing foods: pickles, mayonnaise, olives
- Cured meats: bacon, salami, pepperoni, luncheon meats and hot dogs
- Soured foods: sour cream, sour milk, buttermilk, soured bread, etc
- Dried fruit: apricots, prunes, dates, figs, raisins
- Most citrus fruits
- Aged cheese including goat cheese
- Nuts: walnuts, cashews, and peanuts
- Vegetables: avocados, eggplant, spinach, and tomatoes
- Smoked fish and certain species of fish: mackerel, mahi-mahi, tuna, anchovies, sardines
Oh, no! That means no red sauce Italian dishes, no Middle Eastern food, no sushi, etc. So what the heck can I eat? Well, I can always go for steamed chicken, broccoli, and rice, I think. Can I do chicken teriyaki? No, because it's got rice wine in it. Can I do broccoli? No, according to another source. So... steamed chicken over rice every day? Bleagh. I think I can cut back on these foods, but not completely eliminate them. With a new course in steroids, my allergist hopes that the combinations of my actions will "knock out" the problem. Maybe I just really need more yoga. I never suffered from any problems when I was doing yoga every day.
January 28, 2016, 12:00pm - 5 students. There were two newer students who didn't seem to follow along as well as the more experienced practitioners. In the interest of safety, I dropped back to the dialog, especially when I saw one of them try Toe Stand. As much as I laud the new sequence for its fresh approach to the Bikram series, I have to admit that it could be potentially dangerous for newer students who are not familiar with the postures. As teachers, we have to be aware of what our newer students are doing and drop back to basics when we see a potentially dangerous situation.
January 29, 2016, 6:00am - class 437 with Justin Riley - I started pre-practice with Shoulderstand. All things considered, it was a good class for me because I didn't feel that suffocating feeling I sometimes do. I even went so far as to not sip water throughout the entire class. Breathing into the back of my throat during Pranayama Breathing went well. There is something wrong with my hips because I can no longer wrap my left leg around my right leg in Eagle. I attribute this to several falls on my hips and back in my Aikido classes. My right side Standing Bow is also affected by my hip injury. I can't get my left leg up as high up as I could before. I touched my head to the floor in Standing Separate Leg Stretching. After class, I weighed in at 135.4. Not too bad in general, especially since it's been a while since I've taken a 90-minute Bikram class. One of my coworkers asked me to prescribe a short 30-minute yoga program for him so he could include it in his daily fitness regimen when he starts rabbincal college soon.
February 1, 2016, 6:00am - 11 students. I couldn't hold Standing Head to Knee in class today. It was really hot in class. I think many of my students felt the heat.
February 2, 2016, 8:00am - class 438 with Colleen Hoplamazian - I started pre-practice with Shoulderstand. I finally got my left leg to wrap around my right leg in Eagle. Yay! My Standing Bow is still a bit wonky and I can't hold it for long. I could only laugh at the situation because I know I've done better. I touched my forehead to the floor in Standing Separate Leg Stretching. After class, I weighed in at 135.6. A student named Margaret and I were discussing the merits of competing in the upcoming asana championship.
February 2, 2016, 7:00am - 12 students. I didn't demonstrate as many of the postures today. A bit tired from teaching a class and taking two classes yesterday.
February 3, 2016, 6:00am - 7 students. Only seven students on this rainy morning, but I felt it was my best class to date. Everyone was in the moment and class ended with two minutes to spare for Final Savasana.
February 4, 2016, 7:00am - 9 students.
February 4, 2016, 9:00am - class 439 with Gerardo Candolino - I started pre-practice with Shoulderstand. No problems in Eagle. My Standing Bow is still wonky. I touched my forehead to the floor in Standing Separate Leg Stretching. Gerardo took notice of it. I overheard two students discussing the merits of competing in the upcoming asana championship. Some people don't seem to like the idea of a yoga competition.
February 4, 2016, 12:00pm - 2 students. At the request of my students, I taught a standard Bikram Express class. My two students were both relatively new, so I had to give them additional instructions to get each pose right.
I found the following quote I wrote back in 2003 that is relevant to what I know today: "God is within each and every one of us. He is not an entity that exists apart from us. When we pray to God, we look within ourselves to find the answers to our questions and problems."
February 5, 2016, 6:00am - class 440 with Justin Riley - I started pre-practice with Shoulderstand. No problems in Eagle. My Standing Bow is a little better than yesterday. I touched my forehead to the floor in Standing Separate Leg Stretching. After class, I weighed in at 134.8.
February 5, 2016, 3:30pm - 16 students. Everyone loved my class. I knew this because it was the loudest after-class applause I've heard yet. Two new students, colleagues at the local public gym, were especially pleased with it. They gave me a thumbs up before Final Savasana. I met them afterwards. "What'd you think of her class?" the woman asked the man. "She was amazing!" he answered. Another student was particularly impressed with my demonstration of Awkward Pose. "I've never seen anyone get down so low in that pose before. You have an incredible center of gravity. Now I have something to work towards!" he said. Another student liked that my dialog was so detail-oriented. I taught from a place of love and compassion in my heart. I was more forceful and direct in the first half of class, but then I softened up and it made the second half much more enjoyable. When your students breathe with you in class, I think that's when you know your students really trust you.
February 6, 2016, 9:00am - class 441 with Joel Pier - I started pre-practice with Shoulderstand. No problems in Eagle. I touched my forehead to the floor in Standing Separate Leg Stretching. After class, I weighed in at 134.2.
February 7, 2016, 9:00am - class 442 with Leo Eisenstein - At the start of Camel pose, Leo said that we should place our hands as high up on our backs as possible rather than on our hips or butt cheeks. After class, one of my students from Friday's class said to me, "I really enjoyed your class. That was inspiring."
February 8, 2016, 6:00am - 6 students. Class is always a little smaller the next morning after a Super Bowl.
February 8, 2016, 5:30pm - 34 students. It was 5:30pm on the dot as I opened the upstairs studio door to a crowded room. BOOM!!! My thunderous voice could be heard by everyone in the room. I'm sure there were plenty of people who were surprised to hear how loud I was. Lots of applause at the end. "That was over the top! Really great!" one student exclaimed as he walked to the locker room drenched in sweat. Two girls who looked like they were giving me mean looks in class were all smiles after class and thanked me for class. "Thank you for class. That was a great class," another student said with a smile after the crowd filed out. "I'm just glad I was loud enough," I replied, returning a smile. I taught from my heart again and it felt really good. My voice was a little sore, but I think I'll be all right. The more intense the situation, the more confident I am. I've always been like that.
Here's my latest photo of me performing Standing Head to Knee. It's a shame I can't hold it for more than a second! I need another inch of muscle on my small thighs to increase my stability. I also need to lose a couple of pounds around my waist so there's not so much weight up top.
February 9, 2016, 7:00am - 7 students. I wore a headset today because I overprojected my voice last night. Today, I didn't have to project my voice at all. One of my students was very pleased with my class. "I've been to many Bikram classes and I think yours is the best!" she said. If you teach from your heart and your heart is in the right place, you will always be loved.
February 9, 2016, 9:00am - 10 students. "That was a nice class," one of my students said to me after class. I'm developing a fan following!
February 9, 2016, 12:00pm - 1 student. I wonder if we could just make this a Bikram 90 class to attract more people.
February 10, 2016, 6:00am - 10 students.
February 11, 2016, 12:00pm - 4 students. Three of my students worked for the same company and they all said they loved my class.
February 14, 2016, 1:00pm to 5:00pm - The USA Yoga Asana Championships, Midatlantic Region - The audience was treated to a magnamimous display of physical flexibility and strength combined with unwavering determination and self-discipline. Some of the 44 contestants had that cold-steel-look in their eyes while others smiled a lot and showed a calm, poised demeanor. The beautiful thing about this competition is nobody looked like they were competing. Everyone looked like a winner. Those contestants who had a less than stellar pose in their series more than made up for it with other poses. Some of the contestants made highly difficult poses look like easy, a testament to their many years of devotion to yoga. There were plenty of looks of amazement in the audience, lots of oohs and ahhhs, and when each contestant's time was up, a loud - sometimes thunderous - applause followed. It would be fair to say that every contestant who had the guts to walk up on stage and display his or her skills was a champion that afternoon. I noted a fair number of senior contestants this time, no doubt the result of the promotional efforts of our studio and USA Yoga. Perhaps the only gripe I had with the contest was the exclusion of Eagle as a possible pose. Eagle is not easy for many people. I wrote to USA Yoga about including it in their list. They responded by saying that I could do the pose with the approval of the head judge of a contest, but the maximum possible points I would receive on it would be low.
February 15, 2016, 6:00am - 6 students.
February 16, 2016, 7:00am - 8 students. A nice, loud applause at the end of class. Teach from a place of love and your students will love you. One of my students said that he likes my classes because they're very technically detail-oriented. He also likes that I demonstrate the postures from time to time. Another student said that I'm a good teacher.
February 17, 2016, 6:00am - 9 students. Big applause at the end of class. I ended a minute early. It seems like the applauses come when I finish class with time to spare for Final Savasana.
February 17, 2016, 8:00am - 11 students. Huge applause at the end of class. I started three minutes late and ended a minute early. One of my students commented, "Great class! I liked the even pacing throughout the class." The studio was really hot this morning. One by one, my students were dropping for a rest. I had to lower the heat to prevent people from suffering. One of my students is usually an unbreakable warrior and even he had to stop and rest for a breather. "It was balls hot in there," one of my students said after class.
February 18, 2016, 7:00am - class 443 with Emily Jane - I felt I had a good practice today. Emily complimented me on my Awkward 2 and pointed out to the class how everyone's bent leg should look like mine in Triangle.
February 19, 2016, 6:00am - class 444 with Justin Riley - Finally, after a long hiatus, I showed my midriff in class while wearing a yoga bra top and capris. Everyone could see where the extra few pounds I gained went. That didn't stop me from giving it my all in class. I reasoned that if I keep hiding my problem, it's not going to get better. The only way to fix the problem was by drawing attention to it... just like Arnold Schwarzenegger did with his calves. Once considered the weakest part of his physique, Schwarzenegger dedicated himself to building the biggest, most impressive pair of calves around. He cut all of his training sweatpants at the knees to constantly remind him they needed his attention, as they did their best to detract from what was otherwise a world-class physique. After class, I weighed myself and was 134.0, the lowest I've weighed since I started training in Aikido. Hopefully, I'll be back down to my yoga weight soon.
February 20, 2016, 9:00am - class 445 with Joel Pier - Yoga bra top and shorts! Joel told me I was leaning a little too far back in Half Moon. Half Moon is one of the toughest postures in the Bikram series. Even teachers have problems with it! I kept falling out of Awkward 2 and I even slipped in Eagle, perhaps because of my ankle bruise from Aikido. The rest of the class went smoothly. After class, I weighed 133.6. My partner and I celebrated my birthday with a vegan dinner at Miss Rachel's Pantry. Six courses of absolute deliciousness, including a cumin-spiced cremini mushroom crepe, carrot and sunchoke bisque, Brussels sprouts salad, grilled maitake and purple yams, tempeh and vegetable stew, and lemon cake with coconut whipped cream.
February 21, 2016, 9:00am - class 446 with Leo Eisenstein - I could do Awkward 2 and Eagle without problems today. My ankle bruise is still healing. Leo wanted me to lift higher up off my heel in Toe Stand.
February 22, 2016, 6:00am - 9 students.
February 23, 2016, 7:00am - 6 students.
February 23, 2016, 12:00pm - 1 student.
February 23, 2016, 6:30pm - 21 students. There were actually more than 21 students crammed into the third floor studio, since more than a few latecomers walked in after class started. Everyone's bodyheat made the room feel much more hot and humid than the 111 degree temperature would suggest. I had to open windows and the studio door to prevent people from walking out. I brought the temperature down to 101 and people still thought it was too hot in the room. Still, the group stuck it out to the end. They looked like they hated me, but, in the end, everyone applauded and thanked me for class.
February 24, 2016, 6:00am - 4 students. A small class today, probably because of the weather. In the second set of Head to Knee with Stretching, I offered my students a variant to try. "About laying the top half of your body to your legs, you're closer than you think," I said. "Try grabbing onto the outsides of your feet and pulling forward."
It's always interesting to hear recordings of our first classes after we've taught for a while. "What the hell? Did I really say that?! Why didn't I say such and such?!" I thought after hearing myself in one of my first Bikram classes. How painful it must've been to be a student in those classes! My classes are a lot more refined now. After working on my dialog for over 140 classes, I'm now giving posture tips and techniques in my classes. I guess that's all a part of making the class our own. I've removed the meditation quotes, although a couple of students have told me they really enjoyed the quotes. Students are coming to me for health advice. I never would've imagined myself as a fitness expert, but I'm sure that keeping myself in good physical shape has something to do with convincing others that I know what I'm talking about.
February 25, 2016, 12:00pm - 8 students. Due to the number of beginners in the class and the time constraints, I had to nix two of the four flows and do one set of each Bikram posture. Most of my students thought my class was great, but I wasn't sure about one student who seemed to be jumping ahead of my dialog. I always wonder why anyone would want to jump ahead of the dialog since the dialog is timed a certain way to give students a little space between each movement.
February 29, 2016, 6:00am - 7 students.
March 1, 2016, 7:00am - 7 students. One of my students liked my class so much he asked when I'd be teaching next.
March 2, 2016, 6:00am - 9 students.
March 3, 2016, 4:30pm - 13 students. I wore a headset while teaching in the large studio. I didn't want to strain my voice like last time.
March 5, 2016, 8:00am - class 447 with Chris Robin - There were 21 students in class this morning! The studio continues to give its students a first-rate Bikram experience. The shower facilities are spotless and shampoo is available. The class times are more what the students want (6am classes on weekdays and 8am classes on weekends). Chris, like Sandy, is a good teacher who helps students be the best that they could be. During class, he assisted at least six different students with their poses. The heat is still crazy hot in the room. I collapsed during Eagle, which was very uncharacteristic of me. I had to take a break after Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee because I felt dizzy. It's been almost two weeks since I practiced, so that might have something to do with it. I headed over to my Aikido class after yoga.
March 6, 2016, 10:00am - class 448 with Chris Robin - I sipped a little water after Eagle and before first Savasana this time. I didn't want to take any chances with getting dizzy again. Standing Head to Knee is hard to do in this studio because I sweat so much. My partner and I had lunch at Rustica after class. We popped into The Foodery for specialty beer and chips for later. I ordered the newest Pro yoga mat from Manduka, a limited edition two-tone purple and gray one.
March 7, 2016, 6:00am - 5 students. The third floor studio heater was broken, so I had to teach in the big studio. Unfortunately, it didn't feel as hot as I would've liked.
March 8, 2016, 7:00am - 6 students. The third floor heater is still not working, so another morning teaching in the big studio.
March 8, 2016, 9:00am - 22 students. I was the emergency substitute for Malea and Gerardo since it was six minutes into the hour and Malea and Gerardo couldn't make it. Ironically, I finished class on time. I remember Chris Fluck telling me that Bikram can teach a class in 85 minutes and have everyone on their knees. I used that as my inspiration. A student who usually takes class with me on weekends had never taken my class before and thought it was a great class.
March 8, 2016, 7:30pm - 12 students. It was murderously hot in the upstairs studio, but my students loved it and everyone gets a gold star for their effort.
March 9, 2016, 6:00am - 3 students. Whoa, this is weird that ony three students showed up for class today! The downstairs studio heater is still malfunctioning so I had to teach in the upstairs studio.
March 10, 2016, 12:00pm - 5 students. We did a variant of the Bikram Express Complete class with two sets of lunges, one set of sun salutations, the 26 posture Bikram series, and Kapalbhati and alternate nostril breathing at the end.
March 14, 2016, 6:00am - 7 students. Many of my favorite students reappeared in class today after a long hiatus. I helped one student go a little deeper with his Floor Bow. He also liked that I told him to take a slightly wider stance in Triangle than Standing Separate Leg Stretching. I was impressed that this many people showed up considering it was raining heavily outside.
March 15, 2016, 7:00am - 8 students. One of the students in the 9am class said that she liked my class last week and will try to make my 7am class next week.
March 15, 2016, 7:30pm - 4 students. One of the other teachers left a note for the studio manager that read, "<student-name-omitted> wants to extend her drop-in to a membership. I told her to call tomorrow to make a payment and set up membership. She loved the teacher." That teacher was me!
March 16, 2016, 6:00am - 10 students.
March 17, 2016, 12:00pm - 4 students. "Thank you, your class was great," one of my students said to me after class.
March 19, 2016, 8:00am - class 449 with Chris Robin - I couldn't do the entire series today because I was upset. I dropped one set of Standing Bow Pulling, two sets of Balancing Stick, one set of Standing Separate Leg Stretching, one set of Triangle, and one set of Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee. At the end of the series, I did my second set of Triangle. I will come back tomorrow, hopefully a little stronger.
March 20, 2016, 8:00am - class 450 with Chris Robin - I finished the entire class without dropping any sets. I even attempted a forehead to knee. I came back a little stronger today. The phoenix shall rise again. So many familiar faces today and yesterday.
March 21, 2016, 6:00am - class 451 with Bob Casey - One word to describe Bob and Leo's revamped Bikram West Philly studio: "NICE!!!" The pretty sky blue color covering the walls makes everything feel spacious and peaceful. The studio's ceilings are also sky blue with streaks of white painted here and there, presumably to look like clouds. The studio floor is carpeted and, surprisingly, no lingering odor of sweat was present. Relaxing in Savasana, I began to see the clouds morph into shapes of people doing asanas. The restroom was also spacious with three showers, one a private shower room that wouldn't look out of place in a high-end spa. The showers included shampoo and body wash. There is even a small library of books for guests to peruse. The studio space had mirrors on two walls, just like Bikram Northern Liberties. We did Standing Separate Leg Stretching, Triangle, and Standing Separate Head to Knee without stepping to the top of the mat and turning. The carpet had enough friction to hold us stable. In Bikram Yoga Philadelphia, we'd slip in the same position because of the hardwood floors. That's why we step to the top of the mat and turn or turn our mats around sideways in Bikram Yoga Philadelphia. "What happened to the guys? Eight beautiful women, but no guys?" commented our instructor. This place is so nice with nice vibes... why haven't I been here before?
March 22, 2016, 6:00am - class 452 with Allie Nicholas - My experience with Bikram West Philly was just as pleasant today as yesterday. The little details make this studio a really nice, tranquil place to practice. Allie was on point with her dialog. She sounded a lot like Leo during Pranayama. There were only five of us today, all women again.
March 23, 2016, 6:00am - class 453 with Allie Nicholas - Little by little, day by day, I'm building myself back up to the best body I had for a while. "Nice, Clare!" Allie commented of the first part of my Awkward pose. Eagle was looking good, too. The side mirrors are helping me see what I couldn't see before with only one mirror in front of me. I held myself in Standing Bow for 20 seconds on each side. The phoenix shall rise again.
March 24, 2016, 6:00am - class 454 with Allie Nicholas - I've been touching my forehead to the floor consistently in Standing Separate Leg Stretching. Why? Because I recite my own dialog in my head: "You can touch your forehead to the floor." I like that Allie says "No judgement" every now and again to remind us that we don't come to yoga to compete with anyone. "As the teacher, I am the least important person in the room. This practice is all about you," she said. On my way out, I saw Leo at the front desk. "Greetings, Clare, I see you've been coming here every day," he said with a smile. I nodded and replied, "Yes, this is a really nice space." I'd like to take Leo's class again, but this weekend I won't be in town much.
March 24, 2016, 12:00pm - 4 students. "In most classes, the teachers won't demonstrate the postures or do the postures with you. I do them with you to show you that I'm struggling with all of you," I said in class. My students appreciated that. More positive reviews from my class.
March 25, 2016, 6:00am - class 455 with Samantha Morrone - Samantha's class was a little more chill than Allie's class. There were less pranayama breaths and she speaks less words than the other teachers. It's easy to see how much of an influence Leo is on both Samantha and Allie. I like all of the teachers at this studio. After class, I weighed myself and was 132.4. I'm back down to my yoga weight.
March 25, 2016 to March 27, 2016 - The Universe Inside the Body of the Yogi: A Journey Through the Chakras, Granthis, and Nadis with Yoganand Michael Carroll - I spent much of my weekend learning about chakras, granthis, and nadis as taught in the Pranakriya tradition. What was especially mindblowing, and revealing, is that chakras aren't the colored energy points along the spine as proposed by Anodea Judith and other chakra "experts." They're more like symbols that represent concepts. Chakras, in olden times, were circular fortresses that protected people against enemies and demons. Nadis were forest roads that connected the traveller from one chakra to the next. The goal of yoga is to use rituals to dissolve the connection between the sun and moon chakras and that becomes sun energy. Rituals can be simple or elaborate and involve pranayama, meditation, and asana sequences. The course is part of the Pranakriya School of Yoga Healing Arts and I've taken this course to fulfill the requirements of a 300-hour yoga teacher training certification. I learned a lot of new things in this course that challenged some of what I learned before. I can't wait to take Yoganand's Pranayama course next year!
March 28, 2016, 6:00am - class 456 with Bob Casey - "Beautiful, Clare!" Bob said of a number of my postures. What makes Bob's classes nice is he emphasizes no judgement and he knows when to compliment. A good teacher realizes when a student pushes herself to her best and compliments her to encourage her progress. I just went for it in Standing Head to Knee, touching my forehead to my knee for a few moments before falling out. It was a minor victory that meant a lot to me. "It's good having you as part of the 6am crew," Bob said after class. "I'm glad to be here," I replied. It's good to be appreciated. Hopefully, my energy will help inspire others be the best that they can be.
March 28, 2016, 12:00pm - 3 students. As the Fitness Director of my school's computing group, I have to somehow inspire more than 60 information technology professionals to take my yoga classes or follow me on fitness walks every week. There were three students in my first Penn Yoga class, so hopefully it'll go up from there. I taught the Bikram series plus some extras, such as Phoenix pose, in a classroom space.
March 29, 2016, 6:00am - class 457 with Samantha Morrone - Two new students stood behind me. My weekend teacher training course killed my weight loss, since I ate badly over the weekend, but I'm back on track again. There just isn't anything good open during the off-season months in Ventnor City.
March 30, 2016, 6:00am - class 458 with Allie Nicholas - With one minute until the start of class, I thought I was going to be the only student in class today. Five more showed up within minutes. I wobbled and fell out of Eagle, something I haven't done in quite a while, but I still got into my Standing Head to Knee, falling out after just a few moments of holding it. My Floor Bow looked a little more even than in recent days.
March 31, 2016, 6:00am - class 459 with Allie Nicholas - Wow, ten students today! Good stuff. I'm beginning to see some of the same faces, similar to when I was going to Sandy's classes long ago. The great thing about those classes was everyone fed off of everyone else's energy and the group got better as a whole. The same can happen here.
March 31, 2016, 12:00pm - 4 students.
April 1, 2016, 6:00am - class 460 with Allie Nicholas - Tuesday's teacher, Samantha, joined the class. She has amazing flexibility. She reminds me of Thayne who used to be in Sandy's morning classes with me. Thayne's presence always kept me on my toes. If I saw her doing something great, that inspired me to try to do the same. Today I felt that I could achieve stillness in Standing Head to Knee. My weight isn't where it should be today, probably because of my high salt intake this week.
April 4, 2016, 6:00am - class 461 with Bob Casey - Today, in Standing Head to Knee, I touched my forehead to my knee and felt I could hold it forever! The problem was getting out of the posture. I lost balance coming out.
April 5, 2016, 6:00am - class 462 with Samantha Morrone - I did it again. I touched my forehead to my knee in Standing Head to Knee and felt I could hold it for a while, but then comes the perilous part of coming out of the posture. I just lose my balance and fall out.
April 6, 2016, 6:00am - class 463 with Colleen Hoplamazian - My favorite teacher in this studio, Allie, was taking class today, which was very cool. Just like Samantha, Allie has amazing flexibility. She makes Standing Bow and Full Dancer look effortless. Today I couldn't touch my forehead to my knee In Standing Head to Knee. I fell out after bending my elbows.
April 7, 2016, 6:00am - class 464 with Bob Casey - I fell out of Standing Head to Knee the moment I touched my forehead to my knee. I was visibly frustrated. "Want to try again?" Bob asked. I nodded. The second time I did it and held myself to a point of stillness. What seemed like eternity was probably mere seconds, maybe even ten, but it was enough for today. "Wow!" Bob exclaimed. The studio sells Garden State pressed juices on Thursdays. The pineapple, apple, tumeric, and ginger one was good.
April 7, 2016, 12:00pm - 5 students. I included Phoenix pose in the series. It was nice to see many familiar faces.
April 8, 2016, 6:00am - class 465 with Allie Nicholas - I touched my forehead to my knee in Standing Head to Knee again, but I wasn't as strong today as in previous days. Allie noticed my leg wasn't completely straight. My lower back was sore from last night's Aikido class. The orange and ginger pressed juice was really good.
April 10, 2016, 9:00am - class 466 with Allie Nicholas - I touched my forehead to my knee in Standing Head to Knee again. Allie noted that my leg looked straight today.
April 11, 2016, 6:00am - class 467 with Bob Casey - My back was really sore today. I couldn't go as far back as usual in my backbend. I touched my forehead to my knee in Standing Head to Knee again, but I fell out too quickly. My Floor Bow looked better today than in recent times. In my three weeks practicing at this studio, I'm learning that a teacher can be an effective background voice, the voice inside your head reminding you what to do. A teacher doesn't have to be in the foreground blabbing like a drill sergeant. I'm also learning that less is more. In the past, I've tried to fill up every moment of time with words, but it might be more effective to just shut up in the second set and let students find their own way.
April 11, 2016, 11:00am - I taught a Yin class today at Penn Yoga because my students wanted a gentle way to focus on stretching and healing their spines. "If your classes are going to be like this one, I'm in," one of my students said today.
April 12, 2016, 6:00am - class 468 with Samantha Morrone - My back was more sore today than yesterday, especially after Aikido class last night. I passed my test and was promoted in rank! The soreness took a toll on my backbends and Standing Bow. My hips felt sore, too. I didn't have the stability to touch my forehead to my knee in Standing Head to Knee today. Maybe tomorrow.
April 13, 2016, 6:00am - class 469 with Allie Nicholas - There was no soreness in my back and hips today, but I still conked out in Standing Head to Knee and Standing Bow. The orange and spinach pressed juice looked odd because it was green, but it was really good. It still tasted like orange juice with a little less sweetness.
April 14, 2016, 6:00am - class 470 with Bob Casey - Good class all around. The other students were feeling my energy and I was feeling theirs. I still conked out in Standing Head to Knee and Standing Bow. I give it my all in every class, but I could still be healing from my injuries in Aikido.
April 14, 2016, 12:00pm - 4 students. Teaching a donation class keeps you humble because sometimes the donations don't amount to a lot. I think that's what separates the teachers who are serious about teaching yoga from the ones who just want to make money off of it. Today's class was about my love for teaching yoga and the connection between the teacher and her students. It was about getting as many people on board with what I'm teaching and getting them to feel good about what they're doing in my class. It was about making students smile and taking their minds off of the heat in the room. I believe I accomplished all of these things today.
April 15, 2016, 6:00am - class 471 with Allie Nicholas - I felt a sense of accomoplishment as I almost held Standing Bow for the full duration in the left side of the first set. Just as Allie complimented me, I fell out. Drat! Last night's Aikido class left my shoulders, lower back, and hips sore again, but I was determined to work through my injuries. My hands and arms always have bruises on them. My back is looking nice again.
April 18, 2016, 6:00am - class 472 with Bob Casey - Compliments on my backbend and Triangle. Unfortunately, I fell out of one side of Eagle today and my Standing Bow was really off. All I could do was laugh at the situation. "Our practice ebbs and flows," Bob said. I think I bombed my runway modeling audition yesterday, so I felt terrible and ate too much. I also worked bartending events from 11am to 12 midnight on Saturday, so that took a toll on my legs and hips.
April 19, 2016, 6:00am - class 473 with Samantha Morrone - "Nice, Clare!" commented Samantha of my backbend. I'm stretching up and out more these days. I was determined to not fall out of Eagle like yesterday and I succeeded in stillness. However, I wasn't able to bend my elbows down in Standing Head to Knee. I was too wobbly. I also noticed that when I turn to face the mirror and then turn to face the side mirror in Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee, I feel a sharp pain in my right hip. Something's not quite right there. Hopefully, it'll work itself out.
April 21, 2016, 6:00am - class 474 with Bob Casey - Compliments on my backbend and Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee. I feel a bit stronger today after taking a day off.
April 21, 2016, 12:00pm - 5 students. "That was such a great class, I'm going to tell Katelynn I loved it," one of my students said. She said she'll be attending my Thursday classes in the future. I feel I made a good impression with all of my students today. Sadly, I have to take down all the ads I put up around the Penn campus telling people to attend the morning yoga classes I teach at Bikram Yoga Philadelphia, since I don't teach in the mornings anymore.
April 22, 2016, 6:00am - class 475 with Allie Nicholas
April 25, 2016, 6:00am - class 476 with Bob Casey - Compliments on my backbend and Triangle. I'm back to touching my forehead to my knee in Standing Head to Knee.
April 26, 2016, 6:00am - class 477 with Samantha Morrone
April 26, 2016, 11:00am - I taught another Yin class today at Penn Yoga that was very well received.
April 27, 2016, 6:00am - class 478 with Allie Nicholas
Somehow I ended up being a runway model in a fashion show and so I've been watching what I eat and eating within reason. I readopted my plan of eating until my first burp instead of eating until I feel full, which has always worked for me. Doing yoga five times a week and Aikido three times a week certainly helps me stay trim. My partner is complaining that I'm getting too bony and muscular again.
April 28, 2016, 6:00am - class 479 with Bob Casey
April 28, 2016, 12:00am - 3 students. A good class with good reviews. I helped a new student with several poses.
April 29, 2016, 6:00am - class 480 with Colleen Hoplamazian - Compliments on Eagle and Half Tortoise.
April 30, 2016, 9:00am - class 481 with Leo Eisenstein - Compliments on Toe Stand and Locust. A nice group of fourteen students in class today. I had to shed some more water weight before my clothes fitting session for the fashion show.
May 2, 2016, 6:00am - class 482 with Leo Eisenstein - Compliments on Awkward. Leo helped me make my Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee better. "Squeeze your hands and arms together behind your head. Grab onto your ponytail, curl in, and come on down, touching your forehead to your knee," he said.
May 2, 2016, 12:00pm - I might just make this my Yin hour at Penn Yoga. Someone stopped by to check out rather than participate in my class and said, "Your class looks fantastic!"
May 3, 2016, 6:00am - class 483 with Bob Casey - Compliments on Awkward and Bow.
May 4, 2016, 6:00am - class 484 with Leo Eisenstein - Leo gave me a tip on how to hold me knee better in Wind Removing pose. "You have to hold your knee more on the outside so you're not bending on the outside wrist," he said.
May 5, 2016, 6:00am - class 485 with Bob Casey - I touched my forehead to my knee again in Standing Head to Knee.
May 5, 2016, 12:00pm - 3 students. It was an unusual class because I felt like one of the students wasn't getting the postures, so I practiced with everyone today.
May 6, 2016, 6:00am - class 486 with Allie Nicholas - Compliments on Awkward and Standing Bow. I felt I could hold my Standing Bow for a long time on my left side. It was a victory for me considering all of the injuries I've been getting in Aikido.
May 9, 2016, 6:00am - class 487 with Leo Eisenstein - Compliments on Awkward and Locust with both legs up. Leo pointed out that I should be holding my foot higher than I currently am.
May 10, 2016, 6:00am - class 488 with Bob Casey - Compliments on Standing Separate Leg Stretching.
May 11, 2016, 6:00am - class 489 with Leo Eisenstein - A good group of seven students today. Leo showed us what is meant by "toes to nose" in Cobra. "One of our senior Bikram teachers showed us how to lean weight on the palms of our hands which instantly pushes our toes back," he recounts.
May 12, 2016, 6:00am - class 490 with Bob Casey - I was able to get into Standing Head to Knee and reverse out to the point where my head came back up and my arms straightened! It was a milestone for me. I fell out immediately after.
May 12, 2016, 12:00pm - 2 students. I taught two sets of Eagle, Standing Separate Leg Stretching, Cobra, Floor Bow, and Head to Knee with Stretching with an additional stretch in the latter. Both students thought my class was great.
May 13, 2016, 6:00am - class 491 with Allie Nicholas - "Really nice, Clare!" Allie said of my Standing Head to Knee, but I didn't touch my forehead to my knee like yesterday.
I took a little break from my yoga and Aikido practices to take care of some medical issues. For the past week, I've suffered from extreme jaw pain. Those of you who know me know I internalize everything, so I hid my pain well. I was hoping my jaw pain would go away, but it came to a point where the pain was too severe to ignore. I saw my dentist on Monday, May 16 and he noted that the x-rays showed an abscess and necrotic tissue underneath the tooth causing me the problems. "The tooth is already dead. The way you bite down could've affected the area," he said. I knew it was more likely my hard fall to my jaw in Aikido class back in February. He recommended root canal therapy to remove the pain. At 48, I had never had a root canal before, so the experience was new and a bit frightening, but my dentist made the entire experience virtually pain-free. Perhaps the most painful part of the procedure was the initial needle. I felt pain on subsequent days, but it was managed with Advil during the day and Vicodin at night. Also, some of you know that I'm extremely allergic to almost everything. It came to a point where it affected my life negatively in many ways. I received my third Xolair treatment on Tuesday, May 17. I'm hopeful this will help my allergy situation going forward.
May 19, 2016, 12:00pm - 2 students. A good class. My students seemed to like my instructions. I was very careful not to overexert myself since my jaw wasn't 100% yet.
May 26, 2016, 12:00pm
June 2, 2016, 12:00pm - 2 students. I taught two sets of Eagle, three sets of Standing Separate Leg Stretching, and two sets of Cobra and Floor Bow.
June 6, 2016, 6:00am - class 492 with Leo Eisenstein - For not having taken a yoga class in three weeks, I felt I did rather well. Leo liked many of my poses today.
June 6, 2016, 12:00pm - I taught a Yin class at Penn Yoga today. My student said, "I always tell myself about how calm I feel after your yoga class. That's why I come."
June 8, 2016, 6:00am - class 493 with Leo Eisenstein - I could get my leg parallel to the floor with elbows down again in Standing Head to Knee. Leo liked my third part of Locust. Sadly, I couldn't do Camel very well in my first set. I made up for it in my second set. I missed the orange-spinach juice again; it sells out fast. Allie was in my class. She was phenomenal.
June 9, 2016, 12:00pm - 4 students.
June 10, 2016, 6:00am - class 494 with Allie Nicholas - Allie welcomed me back to class. There were five students in class, two of whom left early because they couldn't deal with the heat. They were newer students and probably didn't know what they were in for. Bikram Yoga requires a special kind of person to embark on it for the long haul.
June 13, 2016, 6:00am - class 495 with Leo Eisenstein - My left thigh muscle was twitching heavily today in Standing Separate Leg Stretching and I couldn't touch my forehead to the floor. My thigh muscle hasn't done that in almost a year. My left toe is still bruised and my right foot has what appears to be a bruise where the instep meets the leg. I'll have to keep an eye on it. I hope it's not poor circulation. It could be all of the driving I did over the weekend. I took my kids to see Baltimore's Inner Harbor.
June 16, 2016, 12:00pm - 5 students. Two new students really liked my class and let the manager of my studio know. I felt good about today's class because it felt like a real class.
June 23, 2016, 12:00pm - 3 students. One of my regulars practiced in my class today. She has nice energy and it was wonderful to have her in class.
June 25, 2016 - Today was Bikram Yoga Philadelphia's annual photoshoot for teachers and staff. We each took turns getting our individual and group shots in the large studio and on the rooftop. Prior to the photoshoot, we attended a lecture on creating safer spaces for LGBTQ populations presented by a member of the Mazzoni Center.
June 30, 2016, 12:00pm - 5 students. Best mini-Bikram class ever. My students sounded great and in sync in Pranayama. Four people returned from previous weeks. A tremendous effort from everyone!
July 7, 2016, 12:00pm - 2 students. My students really enjoyed my class. One of them offered me a complimentary Reiki session for helping her with her postures.
July 8, 2016, 7:30pm - 18 students. My first Bikram Beats class featuring Deep House music from the 90s to last month with some tracks imported from the UK. The music was great and the light show put it over the top. This is probably the last class that I will teach where my voice projects as loud as it does. My vocal surgery to correct my androphonia is less than two weeks away. I'm excited to see how my new voice will sound.
July 14, 2016, 12:00pm - 3 students. My last class before my surgery next Wednesday. "I'll be away for the next four weeks, but you'll be in good hands with Emily Jane," I said to my class.
I took a break from yoga to let my body heal from my vocal surgery.
September 22, 2016, 6:00am - class 496 with Alex Meer - 8 students. I returned to yoga after an extended break. My vocal surgery in July was successful and required some healing time before I could begin doing any movements involving the throat. Alex complimented me on the first part of Awkward and in Triangle. "If you want to know how to do it right, go see Clare after class," Alex said. I pushed myself a bit too hard because I didn't have enough energy to do a second set of Standing Separate Head to Knee, Tree, and Toe. I performed these missed postures after class. One student was especially flexible in Camel and Alex was kind enough to show her how to get into Full Camel. I believe I heard this instruction in Head to Knee with Stretching, which resonated with me: "If your leg is straight and your forehead is touching your knee, see if you can tense your thigh muscles and lift your heel up off the floor."
September 23, 2016 to September 25, 2016 - Asanas for Meditative Posture 1 with Krissy Dopson - This course is part of Pranakriya's Deepening the Asana Exprience series and goes in-depth into ten postures designed for meditation. On the first day, we were introduced to the basics, including the benefits and risks of these advanced postures, definitions, and assists. We ended our day with a two-hour yoga class. On the second day, we started our morning with Yoganand's Advanced Posture Warmup Routine and jumped right into learning about Rabbit, Gate, and Half Circle postures, practiced a full yoga class, and then studied Head to Knee, Lotus, Pigeon, and Camel postures. We On the third day, we started our morning with Yoganand's Advanced Posture Warmup Routine and then learned Seated Angle posture, practiced a stretching class, and then studied Tortoise, Reclining Diamond, Simple Twist, and Wheel postures. We were given ample opportunity to practice what was taught on different training partners and Krissy was always available whenever we needed help. My classmates and teacher all thought I had great physical strength, so postures like Wheel that I have trouble with should be well within my reach. I really enjoy small classes like this because you get more one-on-one attention than in larger classes. The course is part of the Pranakriya School of Yoga Healing Arts and is the third I've taken to fulfill the requirements of a 300-hour yoga teacher training certification. I learned a lot of new techniques in this course that I could readily use in my teaching. I look forward to my next asana course with Pranakriya!
October 6, 2016, 6:00pm, 8:00pm - Today was my first day teaching at my new studio, bluedeer yoga, in Cherry Hill. The space is gorgeous and is set in a quiet, serene environment that is easy to get to with plenty of parking nearby. It felt good to be teaching again. I taught back-to-back classes, 90-minute and 60-minute classes. I felt a little sad that I had to use the headset to project my voice because it's not the huge voice it once was. The cool thing about this studio is it's totally into Tony Sanchez, who is certainly someone I'd like to learn from in the near future.
My biometric screening results this year were classified as "superhuman" by the staff nurse. "Your HDLs are off the charts," she said. I told her I attributed it to yoga. She told me to keep doing what I'm doing.
October 13, 2016, 6:00pm, 8:00pm - Due to the very different nature of Tony Sanchez' teacher training, I'll need to adjust my dialog to accommodate my classes at bluedeer. I'll need to strip away some of the Bikramisms and focus on getting every person into their best poses. I see this as a good thing since my voice is still recovering.
October 16, 2016, 11:00am - class 497 with Suzanne Musetto - 6 students. I wanted to get a feel for how the Core 26 class was taught, so what better way to learn than to take Suzanne's class? This was certainly Bikram Yoga from the perspective of the 26+2 sequence, but the similarities end there. The dialog is stripped of the forceful "lock the knee" mandate that Bikram teachers love to say. I've taken so many Bikram classes, I can safely say that some Bikram teachers don't really teach. They just recite dialog and that, to me, is not a teacher but an orator. Suzanne is a teacher. She corrects postures and gives insights into the postures. At one point, she quoted Thomas Myers, author of Anatomy Trains, and applied this knowledge to the posture she was teaching. In the middle of class, Suzanne introduced me as the studio's newest teacher and let me teach Tree Stand. During Camel, one student complained about her knee pains. I stayed after class and gave her advice on buying the right yoga mat and teaching her of the importance of a pre-stretch routine before a yoga class. She was genuinely grateful for my advice and said she looked forward to taking my class.
October 20, 2016, 6:00pm, 8:00pm - Two students from previous classes and one new student who has never practiced yoga before. I spent a little extra time with the new student to ensure she had a good foundation.
October 23, 2016, 9:00am - class 498 with Justin Riley. I was able to get 90% of the way to Standing Head to Knee and stopped because I didn't want to topple over. I stayed with it in the left side of Standing Bow, but not so much the right side. A short while later, I felt dizzy and didn't have enough energy to do a second set of Standing Separate Head to Knee and Toe.
October 26, 2016, 6:00am - class 499 with Adam Keilbaugh. This was my first 75-minute Bikram class. We did one long set of Pranayama and Kapalbhati and two sets of all of the postures except for Eagle, Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee, Tree/Toe, Wind Removing, and Separate Leg Stretching. The class felt a lot easier than the 90 minute classes. I didn't feel exhausted, but I did feel I had to give more effort in the one-set postures.
October 27, 2016, 6:00pm, 8:00pm - My students used lots of superlatives to describe my classes: "great," "excellent," "learned a lot," and more.
November 1, 2016, 6:00am - class 500 with Emily Jane. I was able to churn through most of the Standing series and then felt dizzy after Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee. I skipped Tree and Toe and churned through the remaining poses. I completed 500 Bikram classes! However, I don't like anything special. I'm just another soul in the cosmos.
November 3, 2016, 6:00pm, 8:00pm - A nice size 6pm class today with students of all different skill levels.