Getting back to it and learning how to wall walk

It’s good to be back in my yoga routine.  A Groupon came out a couple of weeks ago so there are a lot of new people at the studio. It’s nice to see new faces and I wonder now how many will stick with it.  I’ve been four times in the last week and I have only seen one person that I’m used to seeing.  Maybe it’s because of the summer break.  

It was so crowded in all of the classes (newcomers) that I actually moved up to the front of the room, rather than staying in my “spot” in the middle of the room.  It’s nice to have people who know what they are doing up front so I asked Becka if she would prefer me to move up a row and she was glad for it.  I certainly wasn’t excited to have a dozen people behind me watching for form help since I’m certainly not the expert, but I was glad to help. 

I was so happy to see Pong, Becka, and Erin in class over the past few days.  I’m sleeping much better too.

Last week, I also got an email from Becka about a back-bending class with Pong on Sunday after the 10am class.  For 10 dollars, I figured that I could use some extra help and Pong is ridiculous with her form. I’ve also seen her and Aimee wall walk before and after class, so I was curious.  Here is a pic of Pong in her usual bendy glory.


Of course I signed up! 

After the 10am class cleared out, I was surprised that only 6 people showed up.  Pong explained that they only invited a small group, rather than opening it to the entire studio.  She said that she just wanted people there who were practiced in Bikram and those that she felt were “ready” to do this sort of deeper practice.  I was like, uh, are you SURE I should be here? I’m not too sure you made the correct choice on that one, Pong, but hey, you’re the expert.  

She told us that she had gone to an intensive retreat with Esak Garcia over the summer and we were going to learn some of the things she did while she was there.  If you know a little about Bikram yoga, you may have heard of Esak.  If not, Google him.  He’s a competitive yoga person but he started this group called the Jedi Fight Club, which is a group of people who get together to do intensive work over a 10 day retreat.  They do two Bikram classes a day, practice competitive postures, and wall walk.  They wall walk a lot.  As soon as Pong told us that is where she was (she didn’t mention the Jedi Fight Club thing, I just knew that), I knew we were going to wall walk.

Here is a video of Esak wall-walking.  Basically, you stand with your back to the wall, lean back, touching your hands to the wall and walk them down to the ground.  Then, you push your chest to the wall and then walk your hands back up.  While this is happening, you are on your tippy toes.  

There is no way to explain these better without experiencing them for yourself.  It’s a bizarre experience.  Pong said that they will do hundreds of them a day.  She suggested if we wanted to deepen our practice, we could start with 10 a day and move up to 30.  Most people that do the retreat with Esak end up wrapping their wrists because they do so many.

I could barely do 5.  And from those, I barely got all the way down.  

It’s a freaky sensation.  But exhilarating when you do it right.  It’s also important to keep breathing or you get stabbing headaches.

We moved from there into some back bends on the floor with push ups (bizarre) and some work with a ledge to isolate our back muscles.  Pong swears like a sailor and she had some very explicit thing to say about the whole process of wall walking and back bending.  It was hilarious.

After it was done, we agreed that we would try to wall walk once a week with each other after class.  Like our own little Jedi Fight Club, I thought, smiling.  Oh, sneaky Pong.

Yesterday, I was super sore.  Pong said that it really works your back and abs to move up and down like that and she was not lying.  I really need to do more of this.  

I Googled some more about the Jedi Fight Club and those people are really dedicated.  Esak also does some cool work with youth groups to introduce them to yoga in the school systems.  It seems like a fun activity and clearly, Esak doesn’t take himself too seriously with such a funny name for a group.

So I’ll do my wall-walking and see where it takes me.  If I can work at it slowly, hopefully it will help me in my postures during class.  Pong assures me this is the case, especially because of my neuromuscular issues.  There were several times where I was down in the wall bend and I couldn’t figure out how to get back up.  Pong was over me saying, just get up, move, do it now.  She knows that half of my issues are brain-related and the longer I think about something the less it makes sense to my body.  The wall-walking forces me to take action, regardless of my abilities.

In other news, I picked up my 30 day challenge t-shirt!  I thought Becka did a cute job of coming up with something to put on the shirt.  Just think, everything on this I did double for 60 days!

30 days


What happens when you go back to Bikram yoga after almost a month off?

I know you are all dying to know about how yoga went last night.

The good news is that I survived.  In fact, the heat wasn’t bad at all.  I didn’t feel like I was going to die during class, which is a plus.  There were a couple of times that I took a knee and slowed down my breathing, but that was it.

The bad news is this: I realized last night, in the middle of one of the more challenging postures in the standing series that I literally could not do what Pong was asking me to do.  Not because I didn’t know what was going on (how many hours have I been in that studio in the past 5 months?) or that I was too exhausted.  It was literally like I didn’t know how to move my body to follow along with the dialogue.  It was in that terrifying moment that I realized I had completely lost all of the neuromuscular connections that I had established before.

It didn’t make sense to tighten my kneecap or to lift up my quad.  I was literally overwhelmed with information, feeling like I was a stranger in my own body again.

I can tell you that I had visions of calling up Cori and crying about having to go back to PT again.  In a matter of minutes, I constructed a scenario in my head of some of the worst possible things.

Then, I sat on my knees and calmed myself down.

And had an epiphany.

I’m not going to Bikram to get buff like everyone else.  I’m going because this is my PT.  This is my rehab.

I have neuromuscular issues STILL and I need to go or its all going to fall apart again.  I am still not well, heck, this may be a lifelong issue for me.  Because clearly, even after 5 months and HOURS in a studio, I got to work this morning, sat at my desk, and tried to make my left quad tighten….and nothing happened.  That’s how I knew I was in trouble.

Bikram is non-negotiable for me.

In other news, I found a cool video online of one of the Carolina Crown members performing their encore show with a head cam on.  This is the group I mentioned yesterday that won the world championship title.  If you have the time and want to see the vantage point of someone on the field, watch this entirely.  You will be amazed.  As a side note, the guy playing is a 5th year corps member that “aged out” that night.

Ready for some normalcy

It has been three weeks since I’ve been to yoga, people.  THREE WEEKS.

I’ll let you absorb that for a second.

What the hell happened, you may wonder?  How does someone go from doing doubles and a 90 day challenge (ending at 75 days) and then just stop going?

Was it because I hated it? No.

Was it because I was burned out? No.

Was it because I hurt myself?  No.

I literally shut down.  As you read in my last post, life just got too much for me during June and July.  You can refer back to that post for a refresher, but here’s basically what has been going on with me.

Everything.  I’ve been like a crazy person for the past two months.  Plus this month.  The good news is that Kevin started up at his new school two weeks ago and he is actually doing much better as of last week.  We have been sleeping throughout the night now for about a week now and it’s making a big difference.

We traveled up to Pennsylvania for a drum corps show two weeks ago, which was a bit of a drain on both of us but it was a lot of fun.  There are some amazing professional drum corps out there.  One of my favorite corps, Carolina Crown, won the world championship last weekend in Indianapolis and totally knocked my socks off at the show in Allentown.  Their show was entitled, “E=MCsquared”.  Here is a link to a video someone took at another show earlier in the summer.  Drum Corps International (DCI) may not be your thing, but this corp took it to another level this year.  The vocal track that you hear throughout the show are actually three percussionists in the pit up front.  You can hear them counting to 8 throughout the show and they have other dialogue in there you can hear too.  And, they are running back and forth and playing marimba when they aren’t singing into the microphones.  It’s just insane.  Watch it and turn up your speakers to be thoroughly confused and impressed.  My other favorite corp for the year is Santa Clara Vanguard, which is based out of California.  They did a Les Miserables show.  Here is a link to a part of their show, which has an amazing brass line “hit” on the I Dreamed a Dream song.  People went ballistic in the stadium when we were there.  It was a hair-raising moment for sure.  I may bitch about having to deal with band geeks, or even worse, marching band geeks with this stuff that Kevin drags me to, but I have an immense amount of respect for these young people.  You have to be 14-21 years old and the audition process is ridiculous.  Hundreds of people audition for spots in a variety of corps and only a handful of spots in each section are open each year.  Their talent is ridiculous and they are practicing for 16 hours a day usually, in crappy hot weather in the summer and running around blowing into/carrying an instrument.  Imagine running, then playing an instrument at the same time, getting good sound out, and making sure you navigate to a specific spot on the field and then move again.  These are truly musical athletes!

Getting back to my need for normalcy…

This week is the last week of my summer class, which has been giving me fits for the past 5 weeks.  I just want to be done with grading and exams.  Thankfully, that ends this week. Then I get to hurry, hurry, hurry and prep my three classes for the fall.

So I have to get back into a routine.  In a weird way, taking three weeks off from Bikram has showed me how much it was helping me.  I have noticed a gradual decrease in my energy, deep sleep, and my back hurts so much this week.  I need to get in the hot room again and work hard.

I’m going tonight, so that will be interesting.  Pong is teaching and she has a faster cadence to her dialogue.