June 27, 2019, 6:00am - class 801 with Cate Reese - I made it through the entire class with no issues. I'm bending deeper in Half Moon. I'm better on my right side than my left. I still can't go all the way down in Standing Separate Leg Stretching. I feel I can do the Esak Garcia version of Toe Stand again soon. I did more head to knee sit-ups today than in previous classes. I almost have my right leg extended in Head to Knee with Deep Stretching. I may be able to do Spine Twist Interlocked Hands again soon.
June 29, 2019, 9:00am - class 802 with Joel Pier - 135.9 today. It was so hot in class today. My insistence on not drinking water after Eagle got the best of me and I started feeling anxious after Balancing Stick. I felt the onset of body tingling again, so I sat down, rested, and did alternate versions of Standing Separate Leg Stretching and Triangle. The top band of my yoga shorts keeps digging into my scar, so I have to lower it a bit. Later in the day, I took a walk along the Wilmington Riverfront and scored 19,663 steps for the day.
June 30, 2019, 9:00am - class 803 with Thayne Dibble - I completed Thayne's class without the need to skip a posture. The yoga room wasn't the humid inferno that it was yesterday. I sipped water a couple of times in class. Yesterday, the lack of water made me feel anxious and I found myself overcompensating by splashing water on my face throughout class. Today I sipped water whenever I felt I needed it. I know that if I need water during class, I probably didn't make the best food choices the previous day. I’m proud of my Half Moon today, but my Triangle felt crooked. I’m approaching Toe Stand with the same quiet dignity and grace I exhibited prior to my surgery. I'm starting to see the back wall again in Camel. I got my hands interlocked in Spine Twist.
July 2, 2019, 6:00am - class 804 with Chris Fluck - Class lasted 84 minutes. I remember Chris said that Bikram was able to teach an 84 minute class with the same intensity as everyone else's 90 minute class. Chris can do it, too. I kicked my leg out and dropped my elbows in Standing Head to Knee. I did a bit more than usual in Standing Bow.
July 4, 2019, 10:00am - class 805 with Lauren Semmel - It was hellish hot in the fourth floor studio today, so I'm actually glad the windows were open. The postures felt like they were held much longer than normal because of Lauren's slow-paced, introspective style of teaching. It is as if she teaches the 26+2 from the perspective of how a more traditional yoga teacher from Kripalu would teach it. Many of you know that I'm getting my 300-hour certificate from Pranakriya, which has its roots from Kripalu. I caught a glimpse of the only body in the room that I felt was superb: Katelynn's. Her shoulders and scapulae are more chiseled than mine and I'm usually known for being "buff as hell." The spot next to me was strangely empty. Usually, I'd love it when another teacher practices next to me because that elevates my practice. I finally grabbed my heels in Camel today, the first time since April 1. I did a very majestic Spine Twist with Interlocked Hands. I liked that Lauren emphasized that our toes should be pointed on our bent leg. That's how I always teach it.
July 6, 2019, 8:00am - class 806 with Suzanne Musetto - 136.8 today. One word to describe this class: invigorating. I was able to work on improving my postures without having to worry about enduring the crazy heat of a typical Bikram studio. I still believe that 95>105 in terms of the temperature of a room in hot yoga, but many devout Bikram practictioners will not agree because that's what they're used to. I was overjoyed to discover that I received a scholarship to attend a teacher training on the Hatha Yoga Pradipika.
July 9, 2019, 6:00am - class 807 with Cate Reese - Since I've returned from surgery, I've only fallen out of Standing Bow once. I felt my legs were strong enough to do Esak's version of Toe Stand. I did it with a bit of wobbling, but I did it! I did a crappy Full Locust; my right arm wasn't cooperating. I also managed to do two grab-my-heel Camels today.
July 10, 2019, 6:00am - class 808 with Maria Spano - 136.3 today. We did the entire class without having to do any "supersets." We definitely need time to rest in between each posture, so the pacing of today's class was great.
July 11, 2019, 6:00am - class 809 with Justin Riley - 135.3 today. Justin complimented my Standing Bow, which felt strong today. I started seeing the mat behind me again in Camel.
July 12, 2019, 6:00am - class 810 with Justin Riley - 134.9 today. Today felt like the most humid day of the week, but I pushed myself through every posture. I felt a little more stable in Triangle and I did a good Esak Toe Stand on the way down, but met with a little wobble in the end. It was all good preparation for my teaching duties starting next week. Justin said something amazing today, about how, over the years, we can take a step back in our practice to go forward. I think my time off from yoga after my surgery was probably a blessing in disguise because it forced me to look at my recovering body in a whole new way.
July 13, 2019, 9:00am - class 811 with Joel Pier - 132.3 today. Today was even more humid than yesterday. I had to sit out of a couple of postures and make them up after class. The good news is I did an Esak Toe Stand without touching my fingers to the ground and I'm getting more and more comfortable doing Spine Twist with Interlocked Hands. Class was huge today with 51 students jammed into the room, so it was easy to miss someone. "Were you in class today? I didn't see you," Tina said to me. "How could you miss me? I always wear the loudest outfits in class!" I joked. After class, I stopped by Goldie to try a falafel sandwich. My work friends were always raving about it and it turns out they were right. They make a really good falafel sandwich, especially with harissa sauce.
July 14, 2019, 10:00am - Core 26 - Everyone was happy and surprised to see me return to teaching today. Several students really liked my preparation for Fixed Firm. I taught all the different grips for Eagle, Standing Separate Leg Stretching, and Spine Twist.
July 17, 2019, 6:30pm - Core 26 - I saw more of my students whom I hadn't seen in months. Everyone welcomed me back and told me how much they missed my class.
July 24, 2019, 6:30pm - Core 26 - Today we worked on the nuances of Triangle, achieving better alignment from both the front and side angles.
My recovery from my surgery in April is still not over yet. Complications from bleeding led to a series of biweekly chemical cauterizations that helped somewhat, but did not completely fix the problem. Last Monday, I met with my surgeon for an in-office procedure where she used "the big gun" on me - a Bovie Cautery device - that basically resembled a soldering gun. Burning your insides with a soldering gun is no fun and I'm sure there must be some horror film out there featuring it as a torture device. Can you imagine seeing smoke coming out of your privates and smelling burning flesh all the while? I sure did. It's not a nice smell. There was significant bleeding after the procedure and, like many surgical procedures, the outcome is usually worse before it gets better. I temporarily stopped my yoga practice so that my insides could heal. Hot yoga is very intense and demands a well-conditioned body, not one that bleeds during recovery from a Bovie Cautery. I'm still able to teach yoga, but I try to demonstrate postures sparingly. Today was a good day as I was able to demonstrate Triangle with great strength and form.
Since January, I've been tracking my movements with a Fitbit Alta HR, a cheap, discontinued device that works amazingly well. I also own a Withings Body+ that I consider to be a lovely weight and body composition scale. Intrigued with the idea of using one iPhone app to manage all of my health monitoring devices, I bought a Withings Pulse HR to replace my Fitbit. What a sad piece of junk! The first thing I noticed about the Pulse HR is its "one size fits all" wristband. The Alta HR gives you options for small or large wristbands and newer models even include both sizes in the package. The Alta HR fits like a glove and has a stylish, well-designed look. The Pulse HR looks like a 12 year old kid's experiment. The rubber loop used to adjust the Pulse HR's wristband fit keeps creeping to the other rubber loop making the wristband stick out awkwardly. I suppose you could trim the end of the wristband, but there has to be a better, more elegant solution. The fitness tracking abilities of the Pulse HR also leave a lot to be desired as its stats and corresponding iPhone app do not sync as quickly as Fitbit products. We're talking minutes versus seconds. Perhaps the most attractive feature of the Pulse HR is its promise of longer battery life. During my tests, one-third of the Pulse HR's battery was depleted in a week, so recharging once every three weeks is certainly better than recharging once a week on my Alta HR. Newer models of Fitbit, such as the Inspire HR, have even worse recharge cycles. Of course, nothing is as silly as Apple Watch's daily recharge shenanigans. I am in awe of the Pulse HR's battery life, but I am equally in awe of just how bad of a fitness tracker it is. Avoid the Withings Pulse HR and get yourself either a used Fitbit Alta HR on ebay or wait for the next generation of the Fitbit Inspire HR when it has a recharge cycle of seven days or more.
July 31, 2019, 6:30pm - Core 26
August 4, 2019, 10:00am - Core 26 - Class was packed today. "What an awesome class," a new student commented of my class. "You have an awesome voice. I wish I could record it, so I can practice yoga at home."
August 7, 2019, 6:30pm - Core 26
August 11, 2019, 10:00am - Core 26
August 14, 2019, 6:30pm - Core 26
August 18, 2019, 10:00am - Core 26 - I had a good practice with my class today. I felt pretty strong doing Triangle.
August 24, 2019, 9:00am - class 812 with Joel Pier - 137.0 today. I was 141.7 last night, so I'm fine with 137.0 for now. This entire week I've been waking up with tingly arms and legs. Perhaps this is a wakeup call to stop consuming so much Pepsi. After a short bout with depression, I went back to the one thing that brought my spirits back up: yoga. This past year has been especially jarring for me. Starting a new job, ups and downs with money, starting all over again in the dating game, and balancing any free time I have with friends have all took their toll on me. I even went back to my roots with what I like, but it just ended up feeling awkward and my partner ended up breaking up with me before anything good could develop. It's a shame, too, because she's a great person. In fact, she is an extraordinary person, being a top jeweller in Philadelphia and a singer-songwriter in a band. The previous man I dated was a world-renowned journalism professor who authored over 20 books and has appeared on television shows by Larry Kane and Anderson Cooper as well as The O'Reilly Factor. He was another extraordinary person, but, sadly, he just couldn't deal with one of my medical issues. Today's class was a return to my roots as well. More people know about me or remember me than I realized because when someone you've only met once or has seen you in a Bikram class remembers you and starts talking to you, that means you left an indelible impression upon them. I should hope they remembered me in a good moment, in a posture where I pushed myself hard and gave it my all, inspiring others to do the same. Today I was only a shell of my former self, starting all over again, sitting out on three sets of postures from fatigue. In a private moment with me after class, Joel reiterated one of Bikram's sayings: "It's never too late to start again." He encouraged me to sit up straight and chant "Hare Krishna" to myself again and again. "It can't hurt," he said. I did so and, true enough, I did feel better afterwards.
My friend Sarah recently opened a yoga studio in Coatesville, PA. When I first met Sarah in 2017, I was immediately drawn to her kindness and a true inner light that shone from within. You can see it in her eyes and the way she composes herself. In every Pranakriya course we've taken together, she has never once made me feel differently about her as a person. I hope Sarah does well in her new endeavor.
August 25, 2019, 10:00am - Core 26
August 26, 2019, 6:30pm - Core 26
August 27, 2019, 7:30pm - Core 30
August 28, 2019, 6:30pm - Core 26
August 31, 2019, 8:00am - Core 26
September 1, 2019, 10:00am - Core 26
I had a full schedule of classes to teach this week in addition to my usual 9-to-5 job. Somehow I managed to get through it all and tutor a few students in math on top of all of that. Saving up for a cruise my oldest son kept wishing for this year has really drained me, but somehow I found a way to pay for it. My hope is my kids will play a little less Fortnite and spend a lot more time with me while we're away.
August 31, 2019, 11:30am - class 813 - My friend Thomas and I found a spot along the Schyulkill River Trail to do some yoga. The sun was bright and warm, but we managed to find a cool, shady spot under some trees. "The last time I did any yoga was last year with you," he said. Thomas was an avid skater and BMXer when he was younger and admitted he didn't have as much flexibility as he would've liked. "That yoga class you taught me was the hardest thing I've ever done," he said. We did many basic postures and culminated in the very challenging Eight Angle pose, which he was able to do with my assistance. Make no mistake. Thomas is a gifted athlete who is in better shape than 95% of the people I know, so I felt honored to be teaching him. We did all of this after I taught a yoga class in the morning.
September 3, 2019, 6:00am - class 814 with Cate Reese - "Good, Clare!" Cate said as I extended my toes back in Balancing Stick. I had worked on this posture in the classes I taught all last week, saying the words and practicing my pose with the rest of the class. I did not feel I was ready to do an Esak Toe Stand, since I had not practiced it in over seven weeks.
September 4, 2019, 6:00am - class 815 with Marie Murphy - 135.7 today. Marie did a good job teaching her first Bikram class. I would've liked a bit more breathing room in between postures, since class ended at 65 minutes, a record time for a 75 minute class. The dialog was sparse. She didn't continuously chatter like some Bikram teachers, myself included. We held our pose a bit too long in Balancing Stick, but that was also one of my criticisms when I first taught class. I'm close to doing an Esak Toe Stand. Perhaps next week.
September 4, 2019, 6:30pm - Core 26 - "This is the best class I've ever had. Thank you all for being here," I said to my class today. My Fixed Firm Prep has become a regular part of class. "The prep makes a lot of sense," one of my students said. "I'm the only one who teaches it," I said.
September 5, 2019, 6:00am - class 816 with Margaret Welsh - 135.3 today. "Too long," I kept saying to myself throughout class as we held each standing series pose for far too long. I know the new teacher was trying to impress the senior teacher with her knowledge of the dialog, but there is a timing aspect that still needs to be adhered to and if you want to say all of the words, you have to whip them out a bit faster. I felt her delivery of the dialog was more like, "well, yeah... uhm... you do this..." rather than direct commands. The timing problems made her Savasanas very short in the floor series and we also skipped a set of Head to Knee with Stretching as a result. I did Standing Head to Knee off the mat as I had done before. I did Esak Toe Stand on my left side wobbling and losing my balancing only at the very end. The college guys practicing around me did a great job.
September 6, 2019, 6:00am - class 817 with Justin Riley - Standing Head to Knee off the mat... good. Esak Toe Stand... I lost balance in the end. Rabbit... really good. No walking the knees up needed. Head to Knee... very good. My leg was almost straight. Spine Twist with interlocked hands... really good. I could see beyond 180.
I have a group of friends who are not in shape and always seem to boast about their past greatness rather than talk about their present drabness. I have another group of friends who all look good and are constantly working on being the best they can be. The second group have all committed themselves, in various degrees, to yoga. If you are over 40 and not built like a professional tennis player, please don't fuck up your body by running and weigh training. Use your own natural strength to improve the muscle tone of your body with low-impact physical activities like yoga and cycling.
September 10, 2019, 6:00am - class 818 with Cate Reese - Balancing Stick was strong. Esak Toe Stand... both sides good, no touching the floor, and I kept balance by commanding myself to "balance"! Now I have to improve my steadiness and reduce my wobbling and then I can look in the mirror again. Two ladies left the room early.
September 11, 2019, 6:00am - class 819 with Maria Spano - I wobbled and fell out of Esak Toe Stand, but I did manage to get all the way down on the left side without touching the floor. I'm not a fan of the Half-Tortoise/Camel/Rabbit combo.
September 11, 2019, 6:30pm - Core 26 - Today I emphasized aligning with the coronal plane in the standing series and the sagittal plane in the floor series.
September 12, 2019, 6:00am - class 820 with Colleen Hoplamazian - 135.4 today. I wobbled and fell out of Esak Toe Stand again. Rabbit was good. One lady left early.
September 13, 2019, 6:00am - class 821 with Justin Riley - Standing Head to Knee off the mat... good. Esak Toe Stand... I lost balance in the end. Rabbit... really good. No walking the knees up needed. Head to Knee... very good. My leg was almost straight. Spine Twist with interlocked hands... really good. I could see beyond 180. Hey, this is just like last week! Two people left early.
September 16, 2019, 6:00am - class 822 with Justin Riley - Justin improved my Eagle pose today by directing me to place more bodyweight in my heel and to keep my knee above my toes. "Your knee is too far forward," he advised. I was able to go down on both sides in Esak Toe Stand, but lost my balance at the end on the right side. My Floor Bow was pretty good.
September 17, 2019, 6:00am - class 823 with Cate Reese - I felt a little wonky today. My Standing Head to Knee was a little wobbly and my foot wasn't high enough. Esak Toe Stand was good until I lost balance at the end of the left side.
September 18, 2019, 6:30pm - Core 26 - I emphasized extending the arms further to reach beyond the foot in Head to Knee.
September 19, 2019, 6:00am - class 824 with Cate Reese - Half Moon backbend and Camel felt a little more stretchy along my spine. Standing Head to Knee was better. Standing Bow was solid. I lost balance on both sides of Esak Toe Stand.
September 20, 2019, 6:00am - class 825 with Justin Riley - Justin pushed me further in Standing Bow and fixed my backside heel placement in Spine Twist. "I'm working on it, too," he assured. He told us about how our most memorable teachers are the ones who tell the truth rather than sugarcoat things. "You will never find our style of yoga on the cover of Yoga Journal," Justin said, "because it's hard. People want to see yoga as easy." Indeed, this is why I was initially attracted to Bikram Yoga in the first place. It's one of the most challenging and physically demanding styles of yoga out there.
Yoga as a Cure for Diabetes
I get the tingles in my hands and feet every now and again. Since my parents both have diabetes and diabetes affects as many as 1 in 2 Asian Americans, there is a good chance that I will have diabetes someday. How can I prevent or delay the inevitable? I'm hoping yoga will be the cure. "These five postures are very good for diabetes," Swami Ramdev has said.
- Mandukhasana (Frog Pose). Sit kneeling, thumb in closed fists, exhale and suck your stomach in, push fists into the stomach cavity, and bend over to touch forehead to mat.
- Shashankhasana (Rabbit Pose, but is more commonly known as Child's Pose)
- Padmasana (Lotus Pose)
- Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fishes, or Spine Twist in Bikram Yoga)
- Gomukasana (Cow Face)
Hold each posture for 20 to 30 seconds. Do each posture 3 to 5 times. Also, keep your BMI below 23.
September 21, 2019, 9:00am - class 826 with Joel Pier - Joel, like Cate earlier in the week, noticed that my leg wasn't high enough in Standing Head to Knee. Ah, my outstretched leg's heel has to be level with my hips, I remembered. He also noticed that I should bring the hip of my straight leg forward more in Triangle. Ah, that makes my side view more narrow! I was able to do Esak Toe Stand on both sides... until I fell out at the end of the left side. We sped through the last two postures and something told me to just go for it in Spine Twist with Interlocked Hands on the left side. I can interlock my hands on my right side with no problems. In a complete act of faith, I twisted my torso and found a way to slip my left forearm across my lower back, my right forearm between my legs, and hooked my fingers of both hands together. "Cowabunga!" I said to myself, grasping tightly. Holy shit! I've never been able to do this before today. All I did was believe in myself! "We don't do that here," Joel scolded, as he walked by me. "Sorry!" I said, beaming. I actually wasn't sorry, because today I found enlightenment.
I always wonder why some teachers encourage students to drink water right before Fixed Firm. You're about to do an inversion! There really is no good time to drink water during the floor series. Maybe after Rabbit? No, by then, it's winding down time. You can save your water drinking for after Kapalabhati or after the last Savasana. If you must drink water, drink it before the first Savasana, right after Toe Stand. That should hold you over for the floor series.
September 22, 2019, 10:00am - Core 26 - "I loved the class. I could tell you've been teaching for a long time," a new student said. I may not have taught yoga as long as other subjects, but I am a teacher of 35 years and I believe that good teaching habits translate well across a variety of subjects. I got my first teaching job teaching computer programming to a class full of high school students. I was 16 at the time. "That voice! I wish I could always hear that voice," another student said, admiring what I always thought was my greatest weakness, but now has somehow evolved into one of my greatest strengths.
September 24, 2019, 6:00am - class 827 with Cate Reese - Esak Toe Stand and Spine Twist with Interlocked Hands were perfect on both sides. I know there's no such thing as the perfect posture, but I achieved my checkpoint in each one and that is "perfectly fine" with me, so now I have to be consistent in my upcoming practices before moving on to a new variant.
September 25, 2019, 6:00am - class 828 with Maria Spano - Esak Toe Stand... right side perfect, left side fell out in the end. Spine Twist with Interlocked Hands... both sides perfect. I touched my forehead to the floor in Standing Separate Leg Stretching, the first time since my surgery in April.
September 25, 2019, 6:30pm - Core 26 - I have a new name for the series of seven postures that includes Standing Separate Leg Stretching, Triangle, Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee, Tree Stand, Toe Stand, Savasana, and Wind Removing: the Exploratory Series. This is the series in which you really get to explore the limits of your strength and flexibility all the while trying to maintain perfect alignment. Triangle, perhaps the toughest of all postures is sandwiched in between two inversion postures that some find calming. A familiar face from many months ago joined my class today. "I had heard you were out sick for a while. I've been looking for your class," he said. Today's class comprised all core group students, so it was easy to teach them.
September 26, 2019, 6:00am - class 829 with Dan Murphy - I touched my forehead to the floor in Standing Separate Leg Stretching again. I couldn't do Esak Toe Stand without wobbling out on both sides. I wonder if Esak Garcia knows I named this version of Toe Stand after him!
September 27, 2019, 6:00am - class 830 with Justin Riley - Justin liked my effort in Hands to Feet. Standing Separate Leg Stretching... touched my forehead to the floor. Esak Toe Stand... both sides with a little wobble, but did not fall out. I tried to lift myself out of Toe Stand without touching the floor, but couldn't do it... yet. Spine Twist with Interlocked Hands... both sides. I'm working on getting both legs straight again in Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee.
September 28, 2019, 10:00am - class 831 Core 40 - An awesome class with eight advanced yogis. We did the entire Core 40 sequence with additional warm-up drills, Phoenix, Standing Separate Leg Stretching variation 2, Guillotine, Spine Twist 2, and more. "That was a great class," one student said. "You got me moving muscles I hadn't moved in a long time." Others agreed. I emphasized the notion of believing in yourself. "You're all strong enough to do these postures. It's all mind over matter. Think 'Cowabunga!' and just do it. You'll amaze yourself," I said.
September 30, 2019, 6:00am - class 832 with Justin Riley - Justin liked my efforts in Awkward 1 and Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee. I used Cate's tip on placing my fingertips next to my front foot to help push my forehead higher onto my knee. My quadriceps felt really sore after my intermediate class this past Saturday.
October 1, 2019, 6:00am - class 833 with Cate Reese - In Standing Head to Knee, I got to the point where I tucked my chin in right before rounding down. Toe Stand on the right side was smooth with no major balance issues. I tried to push myself up without using my hands to assist. It ain't happenin' yet! I fell out on the left side as I was trying to extend my spine straight. My right leg finally got straight again in Head to Knee with Stretching. I'm beginning to bend my elbows down. Jai bhagwan!
October 2, 2019, 6:00am - class 834 with Maria Spano - Esak Toe Stand... Lots of wobbling and shaking and then falling out. I sweated a lot more today than usual, probably because of the crazy temperature change outside. The girl to the right of me left early. This type of yoga certainly isn't for everyone. I wonder if anyone noticed the bruises on my wrist today, a result of my vigorous training in aikido class last night.
October 2, 2019, 6:30pm - Core 26 - I went into a little more detail in Awkward, Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee, and Rabbit.
October 3, 2019, 6:00am - class 835 with Cate Reese - "Good, Clare!" Cate said as I reached my arms apart in Triangle. She may have taken a cue from Joel's old school Bikram teaching where the arms go parallel first, followed by the legs. Esak Toe Stand... started out well on the right side, but fell out at the very end.
October 4, 2019, 6:00am - class 836 with Justin Riley - 132.9 today. I didn't have enough strength today to do an Esak Toe Stand. I fell out in Standing Head to Knee for the first time in a while. Less than four and a half hours of sleep will do that to you. I couldn't do this, couldn't do that as well as I normally do, and then Justin points out my weaknesses in Half Moon. To him, I must be a total loser in Half Moon. Maybe push my arms to where they should be, so I can feel what you're seeing! Yes, I know I suck today, but it's the best I can do today given the fact that I had very little sleep and still made it here. But we all forge onward - all of us - with our injuries, ailments, and mental negativities the night before - I was up all night fighting with my ex - and many of us don't speak aloud about what troubles us mentally and physically, but we quietly go about our business doing this yoga as much as we can to achieve not perfect asana, but stillness in our lives. For some of us, it's the one thing about this yoga that feels good.
October 5, 2019, 9:00am - class 837 with Joel Pier - Marynoelle is one of those yoga practitioners who has a complete practice. Every posture looks great and she does it all with a smile on her face every time I see her. I like practicing next to someone great in the room because it forces me to show my A-game. The only way to improve in this yoga is to get the teachers to notice you... a lot. That's why I wear skimpy, wildly colorful yoga outfits because if I do something wrong, the teacher will notice right away. Some of my classmates, especially the ones who stand behind me, might also notice if I do something wrong, too, which forces me to always strive to show my A-game. Some people might see this as anxiety-inducing, but I see it as a challenge. That's how you improve. You won't improve by hiding in the back or somewhere in the middle of the crowd wearing nondescript clothes. Wear something crazy that will attract attention. I was a bodybuilder at one time and abided by Arnold Schwarzenegger's 8 training principles. One of them, principle number seven, is to Prioritize Weaknesses: "Arnold decided his calves had fallen behind the rest of his physique in overall development. Rather than hide the glaring weakness, he famously cut off the pant legs on his pants and wore shorts to constantly remind himself of his weakness and redouble his efforts to grow his calves. He trained calves more frequently, early in his workouts when he was fresh, and sometimes between sets for larger body parts." This, my friends, is why I wear two-piece yoga outfits to show off my weakness: my belly. Every inch of my body, except my belly, is rock hard and toned. Even with my belly, my body fat hovers around 10% and my BMI is around 20. I also adhere to Arnold's principle number two: Train Harder Than Everyone Else. Classmates, even teachers, have asked me why they aren't losing weight with their hot yoga practice. If I know the person can take criticism, I will respond, "Because you aren't working hard enough. You have to sweat your fucking brains out. You have to reach a point of intensity where a shit ton of sweat is dripping from your face and body after every posture and you feel like you're about to die. If you just go through class like 'ho-hum... this is so serene and peaceful...' then you will never lose any weight. You might even gain weight because you refuse to put in the work. Train like an elite athlete and you will become a good approximation of one." Dedicate yourself to improvement in every class you take, no matter what the discipline, if you wish to see great progress. Asana practice should be intense and difficult. It is during Savasana that you relax, lower your heart rate, and meditate.
October 6, 2019, 10:00am - Core 26
October 6, 2019, 12:00pm - class 838 with Toni Rosenwald - I took Toni's first yoga class in her new studio space at SAS Philadelphia BJJ and it was amazing. The yoga was Bikram-style, but sprinkled in between the postures were small doses of other modalities, including Meridian Yoga Therapy and Thai bodywork. "You're getting one of the best teachers in the business," I said to one of her other students. "She's a complete teacher." Later in the day, I realized that I had practiced yoga every day this past week.
October 7, 2019, 6:00am - class 839 with Justin Riley - Wow, I was sandwiched in between two awesome practitioners who bring it all to the table every time they practice. Rob started taking my classes at the studio a few years ago and has been a frequent practitioner ever since. Brittani is great teacher with excellent stillness. Both of them have long, powerful physiques. It was an honor to practice with them because they help me maintain my stillness. Sometimes when a newbie stands near you, he or she can disrupt your thoughts when he or she falls out of a posture. Not these two. They're solid. Justin gave his tidbits of advice. "You come to class to be criticized," he said. I nodded and agreed. "If you're at that level, you'll bring your knees closer together, shoulder width apart," he said during Floor Bow. A number of us, including me, brought our bowed legs back in line. Justin is an ass sometimes, but he always speaks the truth. Good entry into Esak Toe Stand, but I fell out in the final moments. I'm trying to make the entry into the posture more graceful with a dive down and then a scoop up, never touching the ground with my fingertips. Previously, I just bent my leg and lowered myself down, which is potentially dangerous for those who don't have ankle strength.
October 8, 2019, 6:00am - class 840 with Cate Reese - Good entry into Esak Toe Stand, good dive and scoop. I fell out in the final moments of my left side. A brain fart made me want to skip Full Locust.
October 9, 2019, 6:00am - class 841 with Maria Spano - More "supersets" with Camel/Rabbit and then Head to Knee with Stretching/Spine Twist. These might be fine in a 60-minute class, but there should be more than enough time to give students a Savasana in between every posture in a 75-minute class. Good Esak Toe Stands with a fall out in the final two seconds of the left side. I mentioned what I'm doing to Tina who might try this more advanced version of Toe Stand. There's a growing interest in having me lead the advanced series, since I learned it from Tony Sanchez. It's heartbreaking that the studio doesn't have an advanced class every week like they used to. Perhaps someone could teach the intermediate class, which I am quite qualified to teach.
October 9, 2019, 6:30pm - Core 26
October 10, 2019, 6:00am - class 842 with Colleen Hoplamazian - To avoid wardrobe malfunction with my new yoga outfit, I went easy on the first set of Half Moon. If I gave it my usual intensity, an accident would've happened. It wasn't until I was good and sweaty in the second set that I could really drill it. A smooth Esak Toe Stand on both sides. I fell out at the end, but that's okay. Pushing back up without assistance from my hands is something that is quite difficult, but doable. It appears that Esak himself comes out of Toe Stand with his heel high off the ground.
October 11, 2019, 6:00am - class 843 with Justin Riley - "Can you come out the same way?" Justin challenged me in Esak Toe Stand. He saw that I moved into it and kept my balance the entire time without falling out. Now that I know that Esak kept his heel lifted high when coming out, I did the same and was in a more stable position to lift myself up. I was able to lift myself a few millimeters higher than usual, but I hit a wall for today. "I'm working on it. I know Esak can do it," I said. Justin told us a story about meeting Esak in a Bikram training class. Just like all of my training activities, if only I had started, or, in this case, restarted, my yoga journey a few years earlier! I would have taken Bikram's training before I heard all of the stories that turned me off of Bikram. It would have been wonderful to meet all of these superstar teachers in their prime. Still, I am grateful for my evolation yoga training with Zefea Samson, Maria Fillipone, and Susan Wyler, three great Bikram teachers who've influenced my teaching in a profound way.
If you haven't had the pleasure, seek out Amar Chitra Katha's The Mahabharata and Valmiki's Ramayana. These are graphic novel versions of two great Indian epics. The novels in the first boxed set have old style artwork that reminds me of the style used in the classic Asterix comics where all the backgrounds are a solid color. The novels in the second boxed set have more modern artwork with detailed backgrounds. The stories are rich in detail and provide insights into how we should live our lives.
October 13, 2019, 9:00am - class 844 with Chris Fluck - My first class on the new floor. The smell of varnish or glue was a little sickening, but I got through the class without any major issues. I aggravated my right knee in aikido class yesterday. I had stability issues in my right leg, but I worked my way through every posture, include Esak Toe Stand. "Holy fuck..." I said to myself as I wobbled out the first moment. "Shit!!!" I said to myself as I wobbled out again. I smiled, then laughed at my situation. "It's not going to look pretty, but I'll just have to shift my hips over to the left and bear all my weight down the centerline of my body," I said to myself as I lowered myself down. I try not to bend my knee until my hands go below knee level. Not this time. My knee was sore. Coming out of Esak Toe Stand, I know I have enough strength to lift myself out of it. It's just not happening yet. It might happen in a cowabunga moment. We'll just have to wait and see.
October 14, 2019, 6:00am - class 845 with Justin Riley - "That's really good, Clare," Justin commented as I straightened my spine, leaned back, and kept my hands together in Esak Toe Stand. "Now, to get out of it, you almost have to lean and stretch forward with your hands and hop out of it," he said. Suddenly, I had an "a-ha!" moment. Being in a position where you have your butt lifted off your heel would make it easier to do the hop than if you sat your butt on your heel and let the weight of your butt bear down on your heel. Once you bear your weight down on your heel, the longer you remain in that position, the harder it becomes to come back up without touching the floor with your fingertips. Remain lifted off your heel and you have more of a springboard to work with.
October 16, 2019, 6:00am - class 846 with Maria Spano - I fell out on each side of Esak Toe Stand. I was visibly frustrated and upset, but sometimes you have to go backward in order to go forward. The timing of each posture was perfect, but somehow we still ended up doing supersets of Camel and Rabbit.
October 16, 2019, 6:30pm - Core 26
October 17, 2019, 6:00am - class 847 with Cate Reese - "Don't do what Clare's doing," Cate advised everyone in Toe Stand, "because if you're not ready for it, you can compromise the knee." Cate once described it as a very advanced version of Toe Stand that I simply called Esak Toe Stand, named after famed yogi Esak Garcia. I fell out at the very end of both sides again. A little too much was on my mind from last night. A note from my doctor confirmed my worst fears: I am prediabetic. My A1c has always been right at the top end of the normal range, but my recent bout with sugary foods has pushed my A1c to 5.7. For the past month, I knew that something was wrong even before I was told... the tingles every morning in my hands and feet. I know it has a lot to do with my love for Pepsi. I've cut down my soda intake tremendously in the past month. As Bikram says, it's never too late to start again.
October 17, 2019, 4:30pm - Bikram 90 - On this cold and windy day, I taught a class at a brand new hot yoga studio in the suburbs. The space was small, cute, and full of character. When you walk through the front door, you are immediately immersed in the hot room. The temperature is set to more practical levels and because the room is small, whatever temperature you set the room to, it feels ten degrees hotter. I adjusted the temperature throughout class, knocking it up two degrees here and there as class progressed. I could tell that these students were die-hard Bikram fans. They pushed themselves hard. "At first, I was worried that you didn't go through Bikram training, but you knew all the words. Your class was great," the studio owner said. I told her not to fear because I have an amazing pedigree with Sandy Robin and Joel Pier as my mentors. "They're Super-Bikram," I said, assuring her. "Oh, definitely! You're one of us, one of the family," she said, nodding. She asked me for my availability as she plans her schedule for the upcoming weeks.
October 18, 2019, 6:00am - class 848 with Chris Fluck - "That's really good, Clare," Chris said of my Standing Separate Leg Stretching. He also liked my Full Locust. "You have a beautiful practice," my friend Tina said after class. She was excited about my announcement that I may enter the 2020 USA yoga championship. Before anyone judges me and states that yoga is not about comparing yourself to others and winning contests, I am with you totally. I did not and still do not believe in the competitive aspects of this "sport." What I do believe is when anyone has enough guts to put herself up on stage in front of hundreds of people, with all the blinding stage lights accentuating each and every muscle on her body, and she is able to hold a great posture in spite of the genetic limitations she supposedly has, that should be a shining example of a winner in anyone's book.
October 19, 2019, 9:00am - class 849 with Joel Pier - A little shaky this morning from the big carb meal I had last night. I knew I should've had the fish dish instead of the pasta. I made it through all of the postures, sweating my ass off after every one. A little bit of fatigue during Bow pose. I did a standard Spine Twist as I didn't want to get scolded today. After class, I asked Joel for a push on my back. "Hmm, nothing there," Joel said, pushing into my lower thoracic. "Nothing there, either. How come?" Joe; wondered, pushing into my mid thoracic. Suddenly... CRKKK CRACKKK!!! "Ahh, there it is, your upper back," he noted, as he pushed into my upper thoracic.
October 20, 2019, 10:00am - Core 26 - All of my core group people showed up, so I turned the class into a master class where I made adjustments on everyone throughout class. I used what I learned from Sandy Robin and Joel Pier.
October 21, 2019, 6:00am - class 850 with Justin Riley - I noticed that my second and third toes grip the ground in Standing Head to Knee. In a leap of faith, I released the grip and I was still perfectly balanced! I still have the wobblies in Esak Toe Stand. Something is goofy with my knees the past week. I had my bloodwork done today at my workplace's annual biometric screening event. Compared to last year, my blood glucose level dropped from 98 to 96. My triglycerides dropped from 65 to 55. My cholesterol dropped from 260 to 180. Last year, I was not prediabetic, so it's quite possible that I may no longer be in the prediabetic range all because I stopped drinking soda! My HDL has always been over 100. "This number is phenomenal. Really, really great," the nurse said. I told her that I was prediabetic and she looked shocked. "You don't have the body type of a prediabetic," she said. Yes, thin people can be prediabetic, too. Many of my colleagues are afraid to get their biometric screenings done and all I ever hear from the ones who get it done are "Oh, I've been told I should lose weight and exercise more." I'm always told I'm a superhuman by the biometric screening people. I tell them it's because I do yoga almost every day.
October 23, 2019, 6:00am - class 851 with Maria Spano - I'm working on Standing Head to Knee. In L shape, loosen my grip on my toes, relax, tuck chin, stomach in, lower forehead down, look at my shin... my knee... my thigh... I got halfway down. We'll save the rest for another day. I came back up and out of my pose gracefully. In Esak Toe Stand, my right side was flawless. I then tried to come up the same way, but couldn't. There's still a point of impasse that I have to get through. My left side was wobbly. Floor Bow looked good today. My knees and feet were aligned and my legs up high. I should practice standard Spine Twist more so it looks like USA Yoga's expectations of it, because there's no bonus for my interlocked hands variation. If all the stars align, I can get close to a perfect score here. From what I can gather, if you get really great scores on easier postures, that's actually better than mediocre scores on difficult postures.
October 23, 2019, 6:30pm - Core 26
October 24, 2019, 6:00am - class 852 with Colleen Hoplamazian - Standing Head to Knee... going for forehead to knee today... fell out, but gracefully. "That was a very graceful fallout," Colleen noted. Esak Toe Stand was perfect coming into the posture and holding it on both sides, but both ended with a fallout. I then tried to move out the same way I went in. "It's hard for me, too," Colleen said. Ah, she knows what I'm doing! Much respect to her. I'm more and more ready for this yoga championship every day. I'm not super bendy flexible, but I'm strong as fuck. Ironically, many of the postures I'm choosing for my routine are considered flexibility postures. I'm going to be teaching on Friday mornings at 6:00am at The Bridge Hot Yoga starting November 1. I'm excited to teach there, but will miss Justin's 6:00am classes here.
October 27, 2019, 9:00am - class 853 with Thayne Dibble - For the first time ever, I was late to class and missed the first set of Pranayama. All of Market Street was blocked off for a run and my Lyft driver had to find an alternate route around this mess. It felt crazy hot in the fourth floor room today. Thayne told me to lift my leg higher in Standing Head to Knee and I was so out of it, I almost said "Yes, coach!" in response. I sat in the left side of Tree to get my bearings and then stood up and proceeded to do an Esak Toe Stand on both sides right after. The rest of the class was uneventful for me. I felt so exhausted from the heat.
October 28, 2019, 6:00am - class 854 with Justin Riley - 133.8 today. Standing Head to Knee... looked a little wobbly today... touched my forehead to my knee, but then fell out. Esak Toe Stand... down without issue... fell out last moment... couldn't come back up the same way on the right... a little better coming out on the left. I think I just need to hum a little tune to myself as I go into it and out of it because I feel I'm more than strong enough to do it.
Dear Soda (or "Pop" as they call it in my beloved Canada),
You and I have had a wonderful relationship over the years. As a child, I made friends with the always entertaining Rudy Bier and the effervescent Ginger Yale and all their cousins, and who can forget the always mysterious Doc Peppard, the kid with 23 different personalities rolled up into one? We were allowed to play with them so long as we shared a plate of deeply greasy food together. We shared a lot of such food. My parents would sometimes bring home the occasional vagabond to play with, the ones with no names other than Orange, Grape, and Cola. These were funny little names for kids, but we lived in funny times, so we always gave everyone a chance.
I had an active imagination. Sometimes I dreamed of spritely little faeries slicing through the fields, dancing their way up the mountains, as I watched the dew drops after the rain. Sometimes a mellow feeling came over me from the warm summer sun, or was it the moon shining over the mountains of Kentucky? I was somewhat fond of Uncle Coca but even more enamored with Aunt Poopsie, but now we must part ways because you Sodas have all infected me with something that is truly unforgivable. You opened up a pathway to a disease that can take my body parts. I love my hands and feet more so than you.
So go fuck yourself, Soda.
You are no longer welcome in my temple.
October 29, 2019, 6:00am - class 855 with Cate Reese - I've been practicing reversing out of every posture the same way I go in, especially in Standing Bow. Standing Head to Knee... touched my forehead to my knee, but then fell out again. Esak Toe Stand... down without issue... fell out during spine stretch at the end on both sides. I didn't hum a tune. Getting out felt like I hit a brick wall again. I did two complete Camels, so today was a good Camel day.
October 30, 2019, 6:00am - class 856 with Maria Spano - Standing Head to Knee... lost balance again after touching my forehead to my knee. I felt like I could suspend my leg indefinitely before I drop my head down, so the weak point has to be that I'm releasing energy at the final moment where my head drops down. If I could get this down pat before the contest, I could get a higher score overall. Esak Toe Stand... fell out again on both sides. Good class with proper Camel and Rabbit.
Tony Sanchez taught me a version of Eight Angle that he called Side Crane that has he top leg on top and the bottom foot hooking underneath the top ankle. The USA Yoga version has the top foot hooking underneath the bottom ankle. The two versions feel different, but, thankfully, I can do both. How long can I hold my pose? Sometimes I feel like I can hold it forever.
October 30, 2019, 6:30pm - Core 26
October 31, 2019, 6:00am - class 857 with Cate Reese - 130.9 today. Standing Head to Knee... I fell out trying to push and keep the energy forward through my leg. I didn't get to touch my forehead to my knee. Two steps forward, one step back. Esak Toe Stand... fell out again on both sides, but lasted longer than yesterday. I showed Tina after class that the next progression is Eagle arms with Toe Stand. A ringing in my ears before Camel. I took it easy with my Camel today, only doing a full expression on the second set as I usually do. After class, the ringing came back and I couldn't hear in my right ear. My pulse was sky high at 136 bpm. I'm now at that dangerously low weight for me where if I push myself too hard, I might end up in the hospital again.
November 1, 2019, 6:00am - Bikram 90 - This was my first time teaching a Friday 6:00am class at a new studio called The Bridge Hot Yoga in Narberth. Kaitlin, the studio owner, encouraged me to practice along with my class if there are three or fewer students. I typically don't practice with my class, but do demonstrate postures like Eagle and Triangle. "I was better last time," my student said of one posture. "We all move two steps forward, one step back toward our goals," I said. "Oh! I got a little farther this time!" he said of another posture. "You're doing great!" I assured, recounting memories of myself and other yogis experiencing difficulties with the postures during our first classes. "I've trained housewives to athletes and they all say that this is the most challenging workout routine they've ever experienced," I said. It's hard, but the results are so worth it.
November 2, 2019, 9:00am - class 858 with Joel Pier - 131.1 today. Standing Head to Knee... I touched my forehead to my knee and then fell out. Esak Toe Stand... fell out again on both sides at the very end. No ringing or loss of hearing in my ears this time. I eased up on Pranayama breathing, Half-Tortoise, and Rabbit and found lots of energy to move through class. Joel brushed his fingers along my spine in Hands to Feet and Standing Separate Leg Stretching to remind me to get my lumbar spine straighter. I practiced Shoulderstand with Lotus before class.
November 3, 2019, 10:00am - Core 26 - "The goal of every posture is not to keep stretching and stretching and stretching, but to achieve your pose and freeze it for at least five seconds," I said to my class today. "Don't stretch beyond your flexiblity. Rather, stretch to your maximum edge."
November 4, 2019, 6:00am - class 859 with Justin Riley - "That's good, Clare, really good. Right hip down!" Justin said, as I got into my Standing Bow pose. My first set of Standing Bow is more like a Quadriceps Stretch. I prepare my lumbar spine with it. My second set is where I delve into depth. Prior to class, I tried to see where I was at with my six contest postures. Five of my six postures looked really good, but my final posture, my pièce de ré·sis·tance, looked horrible. I had trouble lifting myself up in the posture! Last week, I was fine. This is what I get when I stuff myself with too much pizza and steak over the weekend. You know there's an issue when your smart scale doesn't even recognize who you are when you step on it.
November 5, 2019, 6:00am - class 860 with Cate Reese - "Wait, my knee is bent right, but my torso doesn't feel right," I said, lifting myself up a bit to get my right elbow slightly above my right knee in Triangle. "Good, Clare," Cate remarked. That's the mark of a great teacher, always looking at her students, even the senior ones. She demonstrated Triangle and how the feet and hips are supposed to be positioned. Sadly, I felt an irregular pain in my right arm, probably from my attempts at Eight Angle yesterday.
November 6, 2019, 6:00am - class 861 with Maria Spano - I fell out of Standing Head to Knee before I could shift my gaze down. In the front mirror, I watched myself in slow motion with my extended leg swinging out to the right and falling down... crash. It was actually much more graceful than that, but it might as well have been a crash. I fell out in Esak Toe Stand, but managed to get right back into it without hesitation, lifting my spine up with my hands in prayer. Every day I feel closer, yet also farther away, from lifting myself out of the damn posture. "That was really good, Clare," Maria said. I did two Camels to full expression, but I felt Rabbit was actually my best posture today. Throughout my practice, there was a lot of imbalance on my left leg. I recently switched to UGG boots, which force my feet to walk flat. Yesterday, as I was walking, I heard a little crack along the bottom of my foot. I didn't think much of it until I felt a slight pain in the arch of my foot. That could've been the cause of my imbalance today.
November 6, 2019, 6:30pm - Core 26
November 7, 2019, 6:00am - class 862 with Colleen Hoplamazian - 132.7 today. It took four whole days to get back into contest shape again. Standing Head to Knee... elbows touched the calves. Just held it there today. No need to go further. I lost my balance coming out of my pose, but managed to regain my composure with two winding turns of my leg in mid-air. I refuse to lose my balance, even when it tries to lose me. "That was a very interesting way to get back in," Colleen said, smiling. I returned a smile and knew I must've looked like a cartoon character doing that. The zanyness of the moment hid the fact that it was actually incredibly difficult to do what I just did. I could've just as easily tumbled to the ground. Colleen liked my Half Moon and Esak Toe Stand. "Beautiful, Clare. Really good," she commented. Esak Toe Stand with Eagle Arms might be my next variation.
Some of you may wonder why I am interested in entering the USA Yoga championship. After all, the Bhagavad Gita says that we should not seek the fruits of our labor. Such fruits should never be the motive in working. It should interest all of you that I don't care about winning or losing. My goal is to honor my teachers, the ones who threw me into the fire to see if I could survive, the ones who tested me, guided me on a daily basis, and forged me into a yogic katana blade so sharp and honed at 126 pounds that I became the best version of myself. I also honor my teachers' teachers before me: Bikram, Bishnu Ghosh, Lahiri Mahasaya, Mahavatar Babaji, and, of course, Lord Krishna, who is basically God. I want to show everyone what it means to train at Hot Yoga Philadelphia on a daily basis, the sacrifices and level of commitment you need to make, and how a little girl from Brooklyn who was told she had no athletic ability all her life can do all of this with a happy, smiling face.
November 8, 2019, 6:00am - Bikram 90
November 11, 2019, 6:00am - class 863 with Justin Riley - Justin pointed out something I did in Awkward 1 that I never noticed until now. As I sit down, I change the positioning of my shoulders and arms when I should keep them more level and static. I started over again and got back into my Awkward 1 with this piece of knowledge. Also, I should not let my hips sink below knee level in Esak Toe Stand if I want to have any chance of coming out of the posture the same way. I think I can get a good curl in my spine in Fish if I do what I do in Fixed Firm. I'm working on getting a real tight Rabbit, so I don't have to do the knee shuffle. I just went right into Spine Twist without the extra stuff. I wonder if anyone noticed all the bruises I had on my lower back and legs. I look like I was assaulted. I got the bruises from aikido and karting this weekend.
November 12, 2019, 6:00am - class 864 with Cate Reese - 132.3 today. I found myself in a very uncomfortable situation today in Half Moon. As I stretched up, I could feel my bruises around my ribs. It hurt like hell and I could've given up, but I didn't. I calmed myself and moved onward, deeply bending in my second set. "There is... no... tomorrow..." I said to myself, stretching my fingers further upward. "You can't wait another year..." That referred to the yoga competition I should've entered two years ago when I was 49 turning 50. Every year, it gets a little harder to do all of this, but I forge onward. Esak Toe Stand looked smooth coming in on both sides. I didn't press my luck coming out. Floor Bow looked higher today. I curled myself a little more in Fixed Firm to prepare for Fish. Spine Twist was textbook. I'm at a good weight, since my body fat is at 9.7%. I recorded my video qualifier for USA Yoga today. Except for an obstruction of view on the left side that affects one posture, I'm happy with it. I didn't go all out on my postures, instead opting to follow Tony Sanchez' wisdom: "Yoga is a discipline that should be based on alignment, symmetry, balanced effort, and relaxation. One must learn to flow through the poses with the least amount of resistance to develop a safe, sustainable, and fun practice."
November 13, 2019, 6:00am - class 865 with Maria Spano - It was super-cold this morning and nothing could be done to warm up the yoga studio. We were practicing in what felt like room temperature. Maria spent extra time with the new students in class, so we had to do combination super-sets of Camel-Rabbit and Head to Knee with Deep Stretching-Spine Twist to make up for lost time. More bruises appeared on my thighs and torso from karting last night, including a lump that formed over the previous bruise on my spine. Racing against the leaders of the track was an eye-opening experience.
November 13, 2019, 6:30pm - Core 26 - I reiterated Tony Sanchez's yogic wisdom and talked about his views on Standing Head to Knee.
November 14, 2019, 6:00am - class 866 with Cate Reese - After a week of falling out of Standing Head to Knee, I finally mustered enough strength to go into and out of it without falling out. I didn't touch my forehead to my knee, but I got my elbows down. I got into Esak Toe Stand smoothly, but lost balance and fell out. I had some issues with pushing my hips forward in Camel, no doubt related to the bruises on my torso.
November 15, 2019, 6:00am - Bikram 90
November 16, 2019, 9:00am - class 867 with Joel Pier - 133.7 today. Standing Head to Knee... I held it at elbows touching the calf and then reversed out without falling. Esak Toe Stand was smooth going in, but I fell out again. I did a standard Spine Twist. I practiced Shoulderstand with Lotus before class.
November 17, 2019, 10:00am - Core 26 - Thank you to the ten students who stopped by the front desk to tell me my class was great! I'm happy to be able to integrate my knowledge of Tony Sanchez's teachings with the familiar 26+2 series and add my own experiential knowledge to the class as well.
November 19, 2019, 6:00am - class 868 with Cate Reese - I felt strong in Standing Head to Knee. Hell, yes. Esak Toe Stand was smooth going in, but I fell out again. Spine Twist was good, but not great.