Tonight my friend and I went to Karma Yoga for a Vinyasa flow class. The instructor, Alyssa, played the song “Forever” by Ben Harper. I could not find an actual music video for the song, so instead I am sharing a YouTube link to the song with just a picture of Ben Harp http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHzAVDg4m1Q I loved this song when I was in college. It renewed my sense of faith in love before I really understood the depths that it could go. Tonight in savasana, it made me cry tears of happiness for the love that I have in my life and the love that will physically be with me again in ten short days.
Just 10 short days ago my dear friend Jenny did a guest blog about completing 10 days of two-a-day workouts. Welp, my wonderful readers, she’s back to tell you about how this huge undertaking went (during some of the busiest days of the year!):
10 days and 17 workouts later, I am so happy to be done with a challenge that stretched my time management skills and confirmed my need for 8 hours of sleep each night. I was striving for 20 out of 20 but I am happy with my 17 . . . a B average, shooting in the 70’s or about a 0.288 in the baseball world. . . I can handle that.
I have a new-found admiration for Betsy and her 365 challenge! The past 10 days took me back to my college preseasons with the very important missing components of coaches to push me and teammates to support me through the “don’t think just do” days. Without anyone but yourself to guide you through, you start to accept that this is not only a physical but mental challenge. An opportunity to explore what you are really made of and (as getting a little older had proven) to know your limits and how to pace yourself. Gone are the days when I could work to exhaustion and nap until my afternoon class/practice with a slurpee as fuel. These days, there are actual adult tasks that need to be done- ugh!
I’m not going to say that all 17 workouts were speed training runs followed by work to fatigue circuit training sessions. There were definitely some elliptical machine times (the “I am going to pretend to exercise” machine) sprinkled with yoga and stretch. Overall, it was an inspirational time that I am glad I tackled with optimism and a drive to explore my boundaries. I am hoping to carry this positive outlook into 2012!
Betsy is a true inspiration and saying that I admire her chutzpa isn’t even in the ballpark of praise! However, after a small taste of her 365 days of workouts, cheerleader and class buddy are more in my wheelhouse. I will work on improving my B to a B+ but with a bit more balance heading into the New Year.
Thanks for holding me accountable and sharing this journey with all of us Bets. You’ve got this!
Day 69: Yesterday I went to a Core Power Yoga C2 class during the Broncos game. There was not one male in the class, which is a big first for me at CPY. The instructor talked about how we choose who and what we idolize (cough, Tebow, cough) everyday. This got me thinking about what I idolize and I came to a realization that there is not much that I do idolize. Sports, music, celebrities, etc; they do not really mean that much to me other than the occasional escape from reality. There is nothing more important to me than the people (and a cat) in my life. Perhaps the occasionally sweat session is up there too 🙂
Day 70: Not everyone makes friends with the doctor who puts their dislocated finger back in place, but I got really lucky and got her digits. My newest friend (and rising the ranks to a favorite friend), Sangeeta, and I went to Karma Yoga where we have been going on dates for the past few months. Our instructor, Karen, started off class by asking us to let go judging ourselves in the studio. She said that the second we, “start judging ourselves, our egos kick-in.”
I found this to be pretty interesting and true. Some days I can’t do a head-stand and I immediately judge myself for it. Other days, I can and then I judge myself based on the quality. If I’m judging myself that much in the most gentle environment possible, then how much am I judging myself off of the mat? And how is this judgement effecting my daily life? It is powerful to think about how negative the mind can be without even realizing that’s the direction it is going. Of course I tried to stop the judgement in class today, but it takes time and lots of practice. Hence the term, “yoga practice,” which will inevitably turn into my unique “life practice.”
Day 65: Yesterday it was sunny and 50 degrees; just the way winter weather in Denver should be. I took advantage of the day by running four miles in City Park. It truly has some of the best views in the whole city. If you go to the South side of the park you have a full view of downtown and the mountains in the background. I tried taking a picture on my camera phone, but it did not do justice to the view. Hint: if you’re still in need of a Christmas present for me, I would love a real camera!
Day 66: Today I went to Karma Yoga for an all levels flow class with my friend Sangeeta and her friend from out-of-town. When the instructor asked us to set our intention for the class, she asked us to be so specific for our intentions that it should only be one word. I settled on the name of a person in my life who needs lots of strength, courage and love. My entire practice I imagined lightning bolts of powerful healing being sent to her, I hope more than anything she could feel them.
Guest Blogger: For a little extra holiday motivation, my darling friend Jenny Darga has decided to do two workouts a day leading up to Christmas. Help cheer her on here or on her facebook page (which will be tagged):
365 days of working out? WHAT?! Consecutively? This girl is either on crack or my new inspirational guru! It took me one day into her blog to realize it was the latter.
I am in awe and perplexed by this self-inflicted challenge. Approximately 0.15% of the world population can say they have run a marathon but how many can say they are a 365 Alum? I know of only one who will be wearing that crown.
In tribute to Betsy, I decided to take on a mini (well really a blip comparatively) 10-day challenge; two-a-day workouts for the next 10 days. My thought behind this was to get a small understanding of Betsy’s journey and work on offsetting the cookie and candy pushers that are lurking everywhere during this time of year (you know who you are!).
Upon vocalizing my idea in a conversation with Betsy, I immediately started to back track until she invited me to be a guest blogger. I have NEVER blogged and actually (to be up front) find it kind of arrogant unless used for marketing purposes. Reading Betsy’s blog has changed my mind and made me realize that there is power behind blogging about experiences and life aspirations. Blogs can hold you accountable and give us the tools to connect and communicate our passions, goals and experiences. So this is my intro, I will be back in 10 days to summarize my experience. Let’s get this party started . . .
Hello. My name is Jenny. I set my spin bike to H, 7, 4.5, I like pizza with green olives, love the feeling I get AFTER a workout and adore my inspirational friend Betsy! Let the challenge commence!!
Day 52: On day 52 I went to Bar Method in Cherry Creek. This class is always hard on my tight hips, but it was especially hard to tackle after completing the yoga sculpt class the day before. Walking today proved to be especially difficult.
Day 53: Whenever I come home from Karma Yoga I feel rejuvenated and enlightened; tonight was no different. I went to a 90 minute bhakti flow class with my friend Sangeeta. The instructor, Katrina is quickly winning over my yoga heart. She had us keep our eyes closed for the majority of the practice and it not only made the balance and poses more challenging, it also challenged the faith that I have in my own practice.
Katrina started class by asking us why people are so unhappy? She said it baffles her how we can turn up our heat to 70 degrees, grab a Starbucks, head to our jobs, practice yoga, eat whatever food we want, talk to friends and family, buy lululemon clothing (she said that!) and still find reasons to be unhappy. I felt like was staring into my soul with that question…primarily because I turned my heat up before I left the house, drank bucks this a.m., was sporting lululemon and was looking forward to my salmon burger when I came home from practice. Things are good, but my heart was feeling extra heavy. I decided to dedicate my practice to celebrating gratitude for how abundant my life actually is.
After a few flows we did something I have never done before….
The drummer from a previous class I had taken there was back again tonight and I can almost guarantee that his eyes were open over the next five minutes that we were asked to “free dance.” Now, I actually cannot tell you anytime in my life that I a. danced soberly in public b. danced with my eyes closed c. danced to bongo drums and d. danced while confined to a yoga mat. During my five minutes of dancing confusion I ran into a wall twice, chuckled to myself like a child, peaked at other practitioners to make sure I did not look like I was break dancing in comparison, snapped my fingers a few times for good measure and tried incredibly hard to channel a past viewing of Shiva Rea dancing on a sand dune.
After some of my embarrassment wore off (I wish I could say that stuff does not embarrass me, but I am not there just yet!) we headed into a prolonged savasana. The instructor ended class with singing a bit of “what the world needs now, is love sweet love…” and with the quote “you’re heart doesn’t break, it just breaks open.” It left my heart feeling gratuitous for the ups and downs, the dark parts of life and the light parts, for my awkward mat dancing and my sweet fishing pole move, the heartache and the beautiful parts of love. It’s in the yin and yang in life that we find balance. I hope you know a way to find yours. Namaste.
This morning’s practice at Karma Yoga started out with our instructor, Katrina, asking us to cleanse our chakras by taking slow deep breaths. She then asked us to pay special attention to a chakra that was calling out to us- mine was my throat, the chakra that tends to take a bluish tone, which is relatable to peace. Katrina then asked us to dedicate our practice to the word that came up in relation to the attention needing chakra, my word was “peace.” We were then to chant our chosen word over and over again in our mind and use this word as our dedicated intention for our practice.
This class was slow, strong and spiritual. It was the type of class that made me remember why I love yoga so much. Later on in class Katrina asked us to think of our favorite pet name we have ever been called by a significant other, then choose a word even more loving than that because, “we should learn to be as loving to ourselves as others are to us.” I chose the word “beautiful,” because I want that to be the word that I radiate to the world with my soul. The two words peace and beautiful led my heart through practice and helped me set a strong tone for my day.
My friend Sangeeta came to Karma with me today and agreed that this is not just a beautiful studio- it’s a beautiful old home turned into a studio, decorated beautifully with a hindu touch and filled with instructors that teach yoga with their hearts. It’s a hidden gem in Denver. Yoga perfection.
This was my second class at Karma Yoga and I fell in love with the studio all over again.
When I walked in I heard someone say, “my name is Betsy,” which immediately made the two of us strike up a conversation. Five minutes later another person walked in and the instructor said, “hi Betsy!” Three Betsy’s in one yoga class with only seven people in it! With this many Betsy’s, I knew it was going to be a great class. We also had a man sitting in the front of the studio with drums and a guitar, who asked if we would be ok starting off with chants. I have never done this, but I am up for anything. We did two different chants (not a clue what I was saying) for about ten it was such a peaceful way to start off class. The instructor then led us through a 75 minute vinyasa flow.
During the last ten minutes of class when we are all winding down our practice, the instructor had us in a sideways twist. She kept asking us to relax our leg muscles and the guy next to me took that way too literally and let up a loud fart. I was in such a quite mind space, but there is not a place in the world where I will not laugh when I hear flatulence. I initially let out a chuckle and immediately tried to reel in my laughter. There was still a good few minutes left in class and I could not stop smiling, chuckling and starting to snort back bellows. It was just as bad as being in church and trying not to laugh.
This was one of my favorite spiritual classes of all time. It was unique, fun and full of Betsy’s. The only thing I would have changed was the tooter in the corner. At least it wasn’t me, it could have been way worse.