Tag Archives: bikram

sitting in bikram yoga

To Sit or Not to Sit? What Sitting in Bikram Yoga Says About You

sitting in bikram yoga

Every day your practice is different.

Ok, you are no longer a beginner to this yoga thing.

Or, maybe you are, but you struggle every day to continue pushing through every posture.  

My question to you is, “Why are you struggling?”

The second you begin to struggle, you are forgetting the first step of every posture, which is normal breathing.  Yes, this breathing rate might be faster, but you should never feel like you can’t breathe.

Sitting in Bikram Yoga can actually deepen your practice.

“Bikram says to to ‘kill you self”” 

  • Killing your “self” means to kill the ego telling you to have the best posture.
  • Killing your “self” means you don’t care if you are the only one sitting.  Your body needs the break today.
  • Killing your “self” means to avoid reaching for the security blanket of your water.  Do you really need it?  (If you do, you should have drank more water before you came.  I know–it’s not always easy.  I reach for my water bottle too, but it’s always my goal not to!)
  • Killing your “self” means accepting the body you brought today.  You may be getting sick. You may not have drank enough water.  You may have drunk too much wine the night before.  Whatever the reason, listen to your body.
  • Killing your “self” means you can look into your own eyes for 90 minutes.  You spend the rest of your life trying to live up to the expectations and demands of others.  Take the time in yoga to see what you need.

Part of learning to kill the self is learning to focus only on yourself.

I realize it can be tempting to sneak a peak at the girl in front’s standing bow, to grab some water, to make faces to your friend.  (And there are days where this is part of my practice, but it isn’t what my practice should be.)

This is not being present.  There is so much going on within your own body that you are missing when you focus on anything other than yourself in the mirror.  In fact, you may be struggling because of your lack of focus.  Days when I am actually able to stay fully present I find that I work harder than I have ever worked, have a larger pool of sweat on my mat than normal, and yet I find I was able to keep my heart rate lower and a smile on my face.  

I am relaxed while also killing myself and my self!


Next time you start to feel uncomfortable in class, don’t reach for water.  Don’t wipe your sweat.  Don’t look to your feet.  Don’t make a face to friend asking if it’s hotter than normal.  If fact, don’t even ask yourself that question.  It doesn’t matter.  What you should do instead is look to yourself for answers.

sitting in bikram yoga

  • Stare into your own eyes.
  • Take a long slow inhale.
  • Take a longer slower exhale.
  • Give yourself a smile.  It’s hard to have negative or anxious thoughts with a smile on your face.
  • Repeat this process as much as you need.

Some days you may have to take it to the floor from here, but still work to look into your own eyes.

Part of the practice and part of the yoga is getting in touch and accepting yourself.  Your body.  Your thoughts.  Your actions.  Your Present.

Today’s present and practice might be harder than yesterdays   You don’t know what tomorrows will bring, but today you will get more out of your practice remaining calm.


Funky Monkey Protein Smoothie

protein smoothie


  • 1 Banana
  • 2 scoops protein
  • 1 tbs Sunflower Butter
  • 1/2 cup Coffee
  • 1 cup ice

Combine in a magic bullet and you have an awesome 320 cal 31g Protein, 31g CHO, and 10g Fat protein smoothie to refuel your body and keep you awake for boring office meetings or in late night lectures!



Focus.  Focus is a very small word with a large implication.  The meaning isn’t really that heavy.  Focus (cognitive process), as defined by wikipedia means, “Attention…The cognitive process of selectively concentrating on one aspect of the environment while ignoring other things.”  The action of focus though is much harder than the definition would make it out to be.  When was the last time you were able to focus on one task for 15 minutes?–Not do a task for 15 minutes, but give that task your FULL attention.  This is one reason I love Bikram yoga.  It trains you to focus.  Yogis talk about the art of being present.  That is really just a poetic way of saying, “focus.”  Focus on you, your breathe, your body for 90 minutes!  That is much longer than 15 minutes.  You might be saying, “I don’t have time to “focus” on just me for 90 minutes, I have a kid’s soccer game, a proposal to write, a presentation to plan, dry-cleaning to pick up, and a dog to feed.”  My question to you, is what if you made time?


Al Ries, author of “The 22-Immutable Laws of Branding“ writes, “focus” is a long-term concept that can eliminate the short term issues, but you need to start for it to work.  The result of focus is the more you focus the stronger your brand becomes, because you can stand for something.”  Seth Godin another entrepreneur/writer often writes about the need to focus on great element rather than spreading your energy.  In our ADD world of smart phones and constant stimuli we can not accomplish half our tasks efficiently (or effectively for that matter).


We as a society need to learn to focus.  We need to learn that it is ok to let go of the constant connection to email, texts, and facebook.  The problem is we aren’t disciplined enough as a culture to let go of these things on our own.  Yoga creates an environment where you have no choice but to let go.   There is nothing else there on that mat, but your body, your thoughts, and your water.  Maybe you don’t have the time to go every day, but you can make the commitment to try to go once a week.  I bet you will find, the to-do list gets easier to tackle when you have practiced having a little more focus.


coconut water

The quest for coconut water

Today on my way to yoga I had a quest for coconut water.  The faddy fluid you can find at any gas station in Washington, was eluding me in my new city of Nashville.

coconut water

What also seems to be eluding me is the etiquette ingrained in me from my Redmond Bikram studio.  Here everyone breathes loudly through their mouth.  They push themselves to exhaustion distracting those around them.  Worst of all, when they’ve had enough they walk out of the hot room whenever they feel.

The lack of discipline makes me miss my Redmond instructors. It’s shown me the importance an instructor makes in establishing the energy of the room. Ultimately, that is just my excuse for being distracted in some of my classes. If I was truly present in my own practice, those around me would not be able to steal my peace. The quest shouldn’t be for a studio with disciplined yogis, it should be for my own disciplined practice.

So here I am in Nashville searching for two things, coconut water and calm in the present. The coconut water I’ve found (for $6.50 a bottle! YIKES!!!) The calm I come closer to, one class at a time. 🙂

Warning: Following Directions, You could hurt yourself otherwise.

Following directions shouldn’t be that difficult, but people often don’t do it.  Remember tests in high school? Often, while handing out the test the teacher would say, please read the instructions.  Listed in the middle of the instructions would be those 5 extra credit points for putting a star by your name.  How many of you felt stupid for missing those extra credit points?

Yoga and group fitness classes are the same, but now those instructions aren’t giving us extra credit.  Those special instructions are there to keep you from getting hurt.  Each day I’m humbled by my inability to do Dandayamana-Janushirasana (Standing head to knee pose).  Despite all the strength I once felt confident I had, I cannot maintain balance on a locked left leg with my weight equally distributed in my left foot.  My hips lack the flexibility to kick out through my heel with my right leg to keep both hips square.  When I first started yoga, I was stubborn.  I would hyper-extend my left leg keeping the weight in my heel, my hips sinking into my hip socket.  Despite my inability to square my hips and kick through my right heel,

I would still bend my elbows down.  I was determined to touch my forehead to my knee.  All I did was create a cramp in my hip that would never go away. I was receiving 0% benefit from the posture.  In fact, I was actually doing damage to my body.

following directions

Once I realized this, I backed off.  I let go of my pride.  Now, I often do not even kick my right leg out.  I focus only on locking my left leg, keeping my body weight equally distributed along my left foot, trying to rise out of my waist using my always growing core, glute, and quad strength.  I’m now determined to receive 100% benefit of that posture.  Every now and then I surprise myself; not only do I maintain a locked knee, but I can also kick out.  It doesn’t happen every day, but it’s happening more and more.  One day, I know I will go to tuck my chin and then surprise myself when my forehead touches that knee.  However, this will never come without that first step.  I have to keep my left leg locked!

The next time you take a take a class think about those basic steps you might be skipping over.  We all have pride.  We all want to be the best.  But remember when you skip over those simple steps, you’re that student that didn’t put the star by your name.

sweet potato

Sweet Potato Hash

This weeks’ training has started off strong.  Sunday I had a great long run!  Monday I had a medium distance recovery run in the sun + bikram yoga.  Tuesday I hit my best mile repeats in over a year + yoga!  Today I rest!  On the training calendar it says x-train or rest and my body said todays’ workout will be a long nap!

sweet potato

Training Calender. I put it on my fridge and cross off the workouts as I do them. I also put down anything that could get in the way of a long run in red so I plan ahead.

On rest days I need to be more focused about my diet because I’m not expended as many calories. For all my TBTers and 20/20 clients this post is for you. Here’s how to get all those veggies and protein in.

sweet potato

Start by sauteing a sweet potato. You want to get the edges lightly browned. Then add some veggies. I chose jalapenos, a sweet onion, and a red pepper. (I know I use the same veggies all the time but they are good ones for vitamins, flavor, and fiber.  Plus having my recipes stem from basics keeps grocery shopping quick and easy!)

sweet potato

One seasoning I like to use is Traders Joe’s everyday seasoning.

everyday seasoning

Everyday seasoning is great because it brings out flavor, but has less sodium than table salt.

Then I add a meat protein. I like to keep chicken sausages or morning star breakfast links in the freezer. –EXTRA PROTEIN compared to going without!!

After the meat has defrosted and begun cooking I finally throw in the last part of my Trader Joe’s Beet Salad.–I know that one is a little weird, but I have to get the beets in.  They have so many vitamins and I swear they give me energy! 🙂

sweet potato

Sweet Potato, jalapeno, Onions, Peppers, Morning Star Sausage, Beets!

Then I add Spinach!

sweet potato

Spinach is a good source of iron. But you have to eat A LOT!!! But that is ok because it is very very low in calories. So cook it. It cooks down and leaves you full!

Yes like a lot of spinach!  It will leave you feeling full and don’t worry it cooks down a lot!

sweet potato

Finally time to add the eggs.  Tonight I opt’ed for 4 but feel free to add more or less depending on your protein and calorie needs.  I also use the full egg.  If you have high cholesterol you should just use the whites but then add more eggs!

sweet potato

See I told you the Spinach cooks down! There is hardly any green left 🙂


My meal was a total of 572 calories.  If you use only 3 eggs it is 500 calories.  Not bad for that HUGE plate of food.  I couldn’t even eat it all….so I have breakfast or a mid morning snack for tomorrow!…and I’ll need it too because the long interval workout just bumped up from 4 miles last week to 5 miles tomorrow!