The first day of hell…

Well, it has been a while since I wrote here. There are no excuses or justifications for this.

The first day of hell, is my first day coming back to Bikram Yoga, what is Bikram yoga and how I was introduced read in this post.

This part of my blog will deal with a Bikram Yoga  which is a system of yoga that Bikram Choudhury synthesized from traditional hatha yoga.

I was introduced to Bikram Yoga sometime last year just as I arrived from Ukraine. My sister who out of her love and good will has inspired me to try out Bikram yoga and see how the before and after difference. This practice is not easy, but has lots of benefits, which I will gradually describe here.

To help me evaluate my mood swings and follow my progress I will use Moodscope.

I got introduced to Moodscope through an important new book – ‘Willpower’ – written by eminent psychologist Roy Baumeister.

Here is what Roy Baumeister had to say about  Moodscope:

“By going public, you’re not just exposing yourself to potential shame. You’re also outsourcing the job of monitoring, which can ease the burden on yourself. An outsider can often encourage you by pointing out signs of progress that you’ve taken for granted. And when things are going badly, sometimes the best solution is to look elsewhere for help.  Moodscope, was developed by an entrepreneur battling depression who wanted help monitoring his condition. He devised an application that lets him take a quick daily test to gauge his mood. Besides using it to record his own emotional ups and down so that he can look for patterns and causes, he created an option for the results to be automatically e-mailed to his friends. That way, when his mood darkens, his friends see the data and get in touch with him.”

I will post some of my Moodscope scores here while attending Bikram yoga, so I can correlate my mood swings and with my attendance.

My thoughts keep breaking due to an old laptop that keeps shutting down on me.  My apologies for writing incongruently at times .

Back to Yoga.

Lets start with environment. 

Environment – is a very nice studio in Richomnd hill.   It has all the amenities to feel at ease and in comfort.

I usually come to practice 15 minutes before start of the practice. Never liked being late. My punctuality was actually learnt at a very early age, when I practised Water polo  for a York Mavericks Water polo club. Under great coach and a mentor Ross MacDonald.

For me practice starts when I am changed and ready,  I usually go into the room which is heated and lie down to get the body used to the temperature.  The recommended temperature is minimum 105F degrees and about 40% humidity by Bikram, yet sometimes at the end of the class humidity can go higher.

The whole practice is just a power struggle with myself.  Heating and physical exercise plus constant instruction (called ‘dialogue‘ in Bikram yoga )  from a teacher makes this practice quite hard at first. But, as I go on practising I give in to dialogue and mind quiets down.

It has been two full weeks since I practised last. I restart on July 17,2012.  I usually am attending last class which is at 8:30 p.m. I like the teachers at this studio, but for this time  Anton Vleikevitch is the one who is going through the practice with us.

The meat of the practice.

It is always funny, how I start out my practice mentally bargaining with myself what I am  going to achieve and this practice is going to be great, nothing to it. Or the notion that I can be a teacher, nothing hard here. What causes it?  It is a well known cognitive bias called  Illusory superiority  causes people to overestimate their positive qualities and abilities and to underestimate their negative qualities, relative to others. I behave irrationally and when practise is half way through I realize what was I thinking.

As practice goes on the only thing I can think of now is to get  through this, forget about becoming a teacher or even doing any of these 30 or 60 day challenges. My intentions and ambitions were high, but vastly overestimated.  My physical body starts to give in and with it my mind. Always looking for a way to go around this posture and that posture, how to  give yourself a bit more time to start  a posture or finish a posture early.

It is at this time that I need the cognitive bias to come in and for my mind to overestimate my abilities, which in return will create a  psychological boost. A conflict  in my inner mind that will only be resolved by completing a task at hand to the best of my current abilities and as a result I can at least finish at par with everybody else.

Alas, no thoughts came to me this time. My mind is blank. All I feel is weakness, looking around for teacher to turn on the fans or open doors.  I am sweaty and stinky and it makes me uncomfortable. Trust me I am not a shy person. Yet, that feeling of how I am are perceived by others never leaves me.

Finish of the practice.

We always finish with Shavasana  a great pose and very important one. I have been introduced to Shavasana before by my Guru John Ebert who has introduced me to many spiritual practices like : Ribirthing, Reiki, Firewalking,Yoga-nidra, and other spiritual techniques. It is in Yoga-nidra that we use Shavasana as the main pose. Benefits of Yoga-nidra will take many posts to describe, but for me it is a jewel and I am in awe of some of the results that I have seen using this practice.  Again this is for another time.

I finally finish this practice. I walk out with shaking legs, all I can think about is how I am going to walk home another 4000 steps, when I can barely walk to the change room.

I take a cold shower, dress up and on my way I go. I usually sit in a reception area after practice to drink my water, come down and cool off. I don’t think any of this will be happening today.

I reach for a complementary candy and I start my walk. It is hot outside, but obviously not as hot as in a studio. It is one more benefit to come in at night, there is no heat outside when I am walking home. During my journey home I understand  that while walking I have a chance to fully  appreciate the practice that I just went through and rethink some of the moments. Summer is great, soon there will be snow and I will look at these days as time well spent.

I get to my Moodscope next day, and very happy with results. I feel calm at peace and very stable.  Here is my score.

I had much worse scores before I started yoga, so I am definitely happy about this one.

 I have to get packing to go to another practice tonight. It took me two days with my annoying computer going on and off to write this post.

Happy practising! Namaste!

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