Necessities 

 

  • Bike- this is just a Long Beach necessity. Why use a car when you can get some fresh air.
  • Basket to balance my yoga mat on.
  • Basket serves as holder for soaking wet yoga towel on the way home.
  • Backpack holds my water bottle… That’s it. I’m not sure why I keep bringing my backpack.

And yes…That seat is wet from sweat. 

Lupus Lately

One thing I haven’t touched on in a while: Lupus.

She’s been O.K., definitely been worse, but has also definitely been better. When I began this blog two summers ago, I had just received word from my rheumatologist that I was no longer in “remission*.” Since that time my blood tests have shown that my lupus is active, fortunately, I have remained relatively healthy. What people don’t understand is that lupus has such a broad impact on different people. For me, I take two pills a day of an anti-malarial called plaquenil. However, lupus is an auto-immune that can attack any organ in the body and the tissues of the body. It does this because the antibodies produced believe the internal organs are invaders that need to be kicked out- fight the good fight, lupus. Just stop fighting the wrong fight, you idiot!

Most recently I have been experiencing photosensitivity. This is typical during summer because it is a challenge to avoid the sun, especially in a beach town. The other day Jess and I were about to walk into yoga when she looked over at me with a concerned face “your skin!” She appeared so concerned that I ran into the bathroom to check what was wrong- oh, this old thing?! 

photo 3

This is my skin without makeup during an outbreak of the lupus “butterfly rash.” Whole face has been left out for protection of its owner. Those little red dots that look like pimples are part of the package, people- beauteous, I know. As a concerned with my appearance female, I try to cover it with makeup, but there is only so much that can be done.

photo 1

It is what it is. At times it’s an enormous frustration for me because who doesn’t want to be “normal.” News flash: it’s probably my fault that I have the facial rash in the first place. Scouts honor- I laid in the sun the other day. I’ve discussed this before, but sun is a trigger for lupus and can lead to flares. I’m supposed to wear sunscreen all of the time, even in winter, because of UV rays. For some people with lupus, even fluorescent lights can become a problem. I am completely aware that I’m not supposed to lay in the sun, but then why does it feel so delicious?! Request for whoever is operating the world, stop making bad things feel/taste/look so good, please?!

So yes, it angers me that I can’t do unhealthy things with my friends. What I come to every time I find myself hostile towards the world: it could be worse. It could be organ involvement, chemotherapy, premature death. So as horrible as a rash is, my skin is not the worst part of this disease. So I guess I will take what I can get. Life is turbulent and unpredictable- we create it, we can shape and alter it. That’s why I wear sunscreen and why I usually don’t lay in the sun- I protect my health. That’s why I take yoga, run, bike ride, and try to live an active life. I cannot escape lupus, but I can live the best life possible.

*remission for lupus: is not real. there is no cure. That’s me being bitter- In layman’s terms, it means you aren’t really showing symptoms of lupus.

Seeing the Finish Line

Yesterday I woke up excited to go to yoga- 20 is such a nice round number. This thirty day challenge is quickly coming to the last 10 days. Mind = blown! I didn’t necessarily want to take the 10 a.m. class, but I definitively didn’t want to take the 8 a.m. 

Morning classes: tired but the classes help my body adjust to the morning. When they are done I have the whole day ahead of me and I feel inspired by the fact that I have a huge checklist off of my day.

Afternoon classes: mid day classes, like the 4 p.m. are bittersweet. I enjoy that I can be out the door and have time to get ready for dinner, or whatever the night brings. On the other hand, I frequently find myself running to these classes because I’m in the middle of my day. On two occasions I’ve been at the beach and have to leave to get to class. One time I just went straight to class. Let’s take a life lesson- 105 degrees and sunscreen do not mix  well. I was slipping and blinded in pain throughout class. So I learned my lesson. The next class I went sun tired and water deprived. Maybe third times a charm?

Night classes: I like that when they are done I can go home, shower, and have the most sound sleep there is. On the other hand, I find myself tired from the day and less likely to work to my potential. 

At this point I go to whatever class fits into my schedule. That’s how I’m rolling. 

Either way, yesterday’s class was a pleasant surprise when I found out class was taught by a guest teacher,Bruce  Kessler.  Bruce was a personality- from the east coast, but living on the west coast, he entertained throughout class. I found myself pushing my body further than I have in other classes. My main theory as to why I worked harder is that I had the best spot in the class. I was right in front of the sliding glass door. And he loved to open the door. No one opens the door. At one point he asked if they open the door frequently in the studio and in unison me and the man to my right said “all of the time.” The class had a good laugh, which is nice to do every once in a while when you want to die from heat exhaustion. 

Bruce ended class by letting us all know that he lost his aunt tragically as a result of Hurricane Sandy. This death  was transformative for his personal journey as he recognized the need to live a fulfilling life. Bruce now owns and runs a hot yoga studio based in Mexico and offers retreats for people. Personally, I rather lay on the beach and call it “hot yoga” every time I get up to get another piña colada, but that’s just me. Here’s the information if this is something you might enjoy! 

http://www.hotyogavacations.com

Detox Retox

I survived three sessions of yoga. I crawled out of the bikram hot room, took a two minute (exaggeration alert! One minute) shower to head straight off to beach yoga- which I was already late to. Upon getting out of my one minute (aka: 30 second) shower, I realized the only thing I didn’t pack? A new bra. Have you ever tried putting a wet sports bra back on? Wet from human bikram sweat? Don’t visualize it too much, but it wasn’t my sexiest moment. 

Beach yoga was phenomenal. A stranger joined in, an elderly lady on the boardwalk followed along, people walked up to Jess and asked her about it. Everyone had a great time. I miss vinyasa yoga oh so much

Yesterday I earned margarita(s). After all, following a sweaty bikram sesh your body needs salt, I was just trying to replenish my body’s needs. 
Detox, retox, babay. 

Day 20, here I come!

Yoga: All Day Erryday

As some of you may or may not know, my friend Jess and I got into yoga at the same time. One of us became a yoga instructor, one of us did not. It was me, I did not become the yoga instructor.

Either way, Jess is a pretty special person and we have a great time doing yoga together. Rain or shine, but mostly in the shine.

mejess

Because she wanted to be even cooler, she also started to do stand up paddle board yoga.

It was a long time coming and today was the day she decided to not only organize a trip out on the bay to do stand up paddle boarding, but also a free yoga sunset session on the beach.

Because she is an overachiever.

I had a dilemma at hand: How can I go to three sessions of yoga? Can I? Will I die? Are there enough hours in the day?

At 10 a.m. a group of us girls went out for a paddle board session and had an amazing time. Usually she is an instructor through Skudin, so check them out if you are in the area and are looking for something fun to do.

sup

I always repeat this, but stand up paddle boarding is not as easy as people make it look- unless I’m just as spastic as I do look. And yes, you can look spastic. I am covered in bruises on the regular. I particularly took pleasure in watching my friends fall into the water. But that’s just me. A few of us grabbed some lunch and upon realizing that a towel was left back at the beach, we went back and hung around the area for a little while.

When was the last time you went on a swing? Because I went today and cannot remember the time before. My butt definitely did not fit in the seat the same way it used to, but swinging is a good time! I also tried to re-learn how to dive. Diving is another one of those things that people that can do it will tell you is easy, but somehow you [and by you, I mean me] suck at. It was the kind of day that reminded me of being a kid.

Today is day 19 at the Bikram studio and from there I will be heading straight to beach yoga. Peace, love, and yoga ya’ll. See you on the zen side.

What’s your sign?

I’m a Scorpio. I don’t wholeheartedly believe in all that hoo-ha-mumbo-jumbo astrological stuff, but isn’t it fun?! If there is any truth in astrology, that means I am strong-willed, trust worthy, ambitious, intuitive… jealous, resentful, manipulative… Maybe it is all true.

Don’t I sound lovely?

I understand how this has little to do with working out, so let me explain. I was in class yesterday, waiting to be signed in, when a woman swooped around me and scanned in before I could. I was astonished and my face must have said it all because the woman at the front desk looked at me and said, “patience really is a virtue.” I wondered if she was hinting to me to take a breath deep, or if she was making fun of a visibly rude encounter that happened before YOGA. Manhattan and buying a train ticket, I understand cutting in line, YOGA CLASS? Wait your turn, lady! At that moment I felt the burning sensation of my scorpio-ness, but I ignored the wrath reminding myself to breath deep and ommmmm.

Class was packed.

The woman in front of me actually moved her mat even more in front of me. This is a no-no in Bikram because in this class you are encouraged to have a stare down with yourself for the whole class. How can I check myself out when this lady is blocking my flow? Two first timers plopped behind me- thirteen year old girls. I commend anyone that takes on Bikram yoga, especially young people because we all know working out gets much harder with age. I just don’t want them near me in class. I know- I’m generalizing and I’m mean. To further this dialogue, I want to encourage everyone to come to Bikram yoga. That being said, it is 105 degrees. If heat makes you dizzy and you do not enjoy sweating bullets, this is not the workout for you. This is the same animosity I feel towards people when they freak out that there are sharks in the ocean. It is an ocean- the sharks home. YOU KNOW THIS STUFF. A hot yoga studio is exceptionally hot and if you can’t handle the heat either lay down or never come back to the kitchen.

Tell me how you really feel about this?

These two adorable little girls became my mortal enemies as they chatted with each other, stared at each other, one left for a little while, the other rolled around on her mat during savasana. When she laid her hair and arms onto my mat I had enough and actually let out an audible “hmppptpfftttt.” I was actually embarrassed by my own behavior, it’s as though my scorpion emotions got the best of me and I let my blood boil up to my head and come straight out of my ears. It was then that the teacher had me move my mat- yes, I had to change seats in class. I am officially a real student.

At the end of class everyone clapped for the newbies. I pretended to clap since I was still secretly bitter. Because my friends, here is the truth, I’m a scorpio, and scorpios hold onto grudges.

Dog Days of Summer

I fell out of everything. If it required balance, I toppled over, ankles weak, knees exhausted. I caught my eyes in the front mirror of class full of discouragement and frustration. I mentally began a list of excuses-

  • I rode my bike a lot over the past two days
  • It could have been too much time in the sun
  • Taco Tuesday probably didn’t help

I decided then and there to set one goal for myself because the excuses I was giving myself were not helping my cause. 

Goal of the day: no matter how bad you want to sit one out, don’t. Finish every posture. Up to this point, I have been unable to get through a 90 minute class without sitting down at some moment. I vascillate between sitting during the most challenging postures, such as triangle, to the ones I deem “easy.” It was nice to give myself a challenge because once I did I was able to regain my focus.

  
At the end of the 90 minutes I had completed each posted without taking a single break. I had a few breakthroughs too:

  • I kind of did the locust pose for the first time. I can’t explain how difficult it is for my body to lift my legs like that. My entire body was shaking, but I got those legs up!
  • In fixed firm pose my butt is finally touching the ground, but I’m still unable to lay my back onto the ground. I feel pressure in my knees, which I know is alright to feel, but I’m not ready to push it. 
  • My camel pose is getting Kuching stronger. In the first week I refused to drop my head back. It was terrifying, my heart raced, I actually experienced discomfort over the idea of camel pose. Now, I love it!
  • In head to knee pose I actually was able to lay my leg down entirely on both sides! Progress.

And what’s insanity about this practice- today I might not be able to do anything I did yesterday. Today, my balance might will be impeccable. So I guess I will continue to set goals with intention. 

Goals for the future: attempt toe stand with more diligence.

After class I felt deserving of ice cream so we took a bike ride to a well known ice cream place in the area, Marvel, for a treat. Yes, I said MARVEL, not Carvel. Because obviously, I earned it!

I ended the night in the best way possible – 

 

And now off to day 17!

That time John did Bikram

I love, love, love having a friend by my side for a workout. I don’t know what the scientific reason for this is…OK, well, I just googled this and there are many reasons, but whatevs, I love it. Having a friend by your side is immediate camaraderie and emotional support. In fact, when I began going to yoga in 2013, Jess was right by my side throughout it all. When I started to run, John jumped on board and started running too. The sad thing is, I struggle to get Jess to run and John to do yoga. One of the few times Jess did a 5k with me she damaged her foot and struggled to walk comfortably on it for some time. John just hates the idea of yoga entirely.

I want to accept that not everyone I adore has to adore the things I adore, but, why not?!

Well, I’m proud to say that I got my fiance to come to a Bikram class. I think in part because I didn’t bully him like I normally would to get my way. Instead, I was casual about it- at least that’s how I remember it going down, though it is possible that there were threats involved. I do not recall. I do recall telling him the following things:

  1. It is the worst heat you will ever experience.
  2. You can watch the sweat form on your body as it’s happening.
  3. The smell. The smell is like a garbage can and a diaper had a baby with a foot.
  4. It’s physical torture and you might faint.

His initial thoughts? Wait, why am I doing this again? And so naturally I explained my inclination to want to give him the worst possible aspects of Bikram yoga so that there are zero surprises or expectations. Actually, your expectations are now so horrible that you might be pleasantly surprised by what you do experience during class. Somehow, he still wanted to come.

As soon as we got to the studio I saw a few men pass us by so I leaned over to John, oh so casually, and said, “hey babe, look, guys are here. Something I love about yoga is that people of all ages, races, genders, shapes and sizes come together to practice.”

He shot me a glance like, you have to be joking, and said “yeah, I don’t care- it’s not a big deal.”

Alrighty then, buckaroo. 

In some ways this was the best class ever, and in some ways in was the worst class.

Best class? I had Jess and John both with me on my halfway through my thirty day challenge day. It just felt like emotional support overload (yeah, yeah, Jess had to be there because she is doing it too, but it was still exciting). I also loved that I could share my practice with the person I’m spending my life with and that he was willing to give it a shot for me.

Worst class? I sat on my mat in terror envisioning worst case scenario- because that’s what I do. I imaged him getting up and leaving, throwing up on the mat, shooting death stares my way, the list goes on. Because I was so concerned he was miserable during class, I found myself falling out of everything. It didn’t help that I was perpetually checking on him to make sure he was breathing and doing alright. Or trying to catch his eye to give him a “hang in there, champ!” sort of smile.

What I really needed to do was focus on myself because- he did everything. Was he drenched in sweat? Hot? Tired? Yes. Yes. and Yes. But so is everyone at the end of class. We walked out and he said, “that was fine. It’s not my thing, but it was cool.”

And that is the end of my fifteenth day.

Moral of the story: Worry about yourself. Everyone will be alright on their own.