Thursday, July 15, 2010

Bikram 60-day Challenge: Half way point

Bikram says that, at the end of a 60-day challenge, you will have a new body. I am already seeing that at the mid-point of the challenge.

I started Bikram Yoga to improve my stamina and focus. This year, I will be teaching at the local community college, taking classes at Wayne State University toward my PhD, and working full-time. I would agree with anyone who thinks that is just too much to do! And yet, that's the plan. I felt that I needed to do something to prepare for the work ahead. And, my doctor has been nagging me to get into an exercise program, but everything I have done has brought on migraines of epic proportions. That does not help with stamina, focus, or anything else.

My friend, Ann from work, suggested that we take Bikram's 10-day trial membership to see what it was all about. She had done a bunch of research and told me what to bring, how to prepare, and what to expect. We went one Saturday morning in May with a "We can do this!" attitude. She was successful and I was not. In truth, I had not prepared as she advised. So, a few days later, I went back on my own, fully prepared. I went everyday that was left in the 10-day trial and felt better than I had in years. I couldn't do half of the poses and staying in the room was a major accomplishment, but I stuck it out. A few weeks later, I learned about the 60-day challenge and decided that the time was right to give that a try.

The benefits of doing yoga are far more than I expected. As of this morning, I have lost 16 pounds. I have an appointment next month to see the pain specialist about getting cortisone shots in my back to ease arthritis pain, but it's mostly gone. I still sleep with the CPAP mask, but now I actually sleep. I am not waking every 45 minutes all night long. When I get up, I feel refreshed and ready for the day. And I have lost my sweet tooth! When I first started Bikram, I craved protein, but now I find that I want something green, some protein, and lots of water. Heavy, rich meals don't appeal to me. And I'll pass on the dessert (unless it's fruit!).

At the mid-point, I can do two set of many of the poses, and one set of the ones that are hard for me. I can do about half of the (modified) situps. Staying in the room is not an issue. Staying focused is getting easier. Still struggling with controlling the breath. I set a goal for every practice and, while it is not always achieved, a lesson is always learned. I can see that reaching the goal of having the stamina and focus to succeed in school will be met. That's a pretty good mid-point assessment, I think.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Marshall House Pool

Summer time in Marshall we spent almost all day, every day, in or around the pool. When we first moved into that house, we thought that we had the dinkiest pool ever! But the Germantown house had the pool landscaped into the yard with steps into the shallow end and a diving board into the deep end. There was a deck by the pool for table and chairs and a screened in porch off the family room where we kept the picnic table. We didn't use either space too much as it was too hot! I don't think that we grilled out even once while we were there.

Johnny was not interested in the pool at all. He would only go in with me, if I held him. He didn't even like playing on the steps. But the girls were all about it. Beth and Becky could not swim yet, but they were happy to splash around with life jackets. Beth used to swim with one foot sticking up behind her like a rudder.

This is me and Johnny in the pool at the Germantown house.

The pool at the Marshall house.

But I digress . . . One day in Marshall, not long after we moved in, a boy appeared on our porch in swim trunks with towel in hand. "Is the pool open?" he asked. I was not sure what he meant. I repeated, "Open??" "Yeah" he said "when the Smith's lived here, they put up the green flag to let everyone know that the pool was open. Are you going to put out the flag?" I admired his tenacity and straightforwardness, and smiled at him, but said that the Smith's did not leave us the flag. He sighed heavily and walked away.