Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Focus for peace

I have had a roller coaster of a last few days. My yoga competition was on Saturday, and Friday night my studio paid for me and the other participants from our studio to stay in a hotel in San Jose, which is about 50 miles away. The San Jose studio paid for everyone to go to dinner, and, as I blogged about before, I decided to go because I thought they were going to go over pertinent details of the competition. As it turned out, the only pertinent information they had for us was that the women were to compete after the men, and we should be there by 10:00 a.m.

I went into a lion's den for that!

I had brought and drank my multi-banana/lettuce smoothie in the car ride down, which is normally quite satisfying to me, but not that night. I drank the whole thing and still felt hungry (or something!). Then we get there and find out this dinner is in basically a high-class pizza joint, and, to make a long story short, I gave in.

I wasn't the only one who was incredibly bothered by this dinner though. They gave us a tiny salad, way more pizza than we could possibly eat, then desserts like cheesecake and apple pie (of which I had a bite, but didn't otherwise indulge). It was ludicrous! I mean, some of the people at that competition are world-class athletes, and you're feeding them that before their big day??? My friend sitting next to me said, "Man, the pizza just keeps following me!" I felt the same way. We all agreed that like 5 of the salads would have been perfect. My stomach was a bit of a mess that night, but, fortunately, I recovered by morning.

Saturday I had performance nerves so bad that I could only drink my orange juice in the morning, then I didn't eat again until about 3:00, after it was over. That night we went to a party in San Francisco, where a friend of ours proposed to another friend. I had wine and Chinese food, already feeling somewhat defeated from the night before.

On Sunday I felt like a truck had run over my emotions, so had some more cooked stuff, even ice cream with my son (aaaaa!). But I did figure out how to get the video Gary took of me competing into YouTube. I have to say, although I was nowhere near as good as some of the participants who have had steady, daily practices for years, I think I did ok for only training hard for about two weeks (most spent months).

At 5:45 on Sunday I decided to stop being so down on myself, and took myself to the 6:00 p.m. yoga class, which is just what I needed. The teacher was talking about how he's doing an 8-day cleanse, which is basically 811rv except he's having a cooked broth each morning too. Everyone in the class was like, "Wow! 8 days of nothing but that???" And here I am thinking I'm gonna try to do a lifetime of it, and thrash myself mercilessly because it's a eensy weensy bit difficult. It really put it all in perspective, and I told the teacher, Tim, that I'm doing that cleanse too, starting tomorrow (minus that broth, of course). It seemed the forces that be were looking out for me in getting me to that class. It was difficult, and I drank about a gallon of water (after my imbibing the night before), but I felt emotionally recharged in an extremely fortuitous way.

In sorting this whole experience into logical sense, what is apparent to me is that I am at peace when I am focused. Sometimes it is hard to stay focus, like when someone wafts pizza in front of you and you're feeling hungry (and left out), but the focus is what I need to retain. I am getting good at recognizing when I've lost my focus, and I'm getting better at getting it back faster. Looking back at my experiences over the last few months of really trying to transition, I'm seeing that my off-day experiences are getting shorter and shorter. From 5 days, 4 days, now 2 days. Used to be (years ago) that if I was strong on a raw diet and then went off, it would be months before I could muster the will to try again. So I have to say I'm making progress, even if it's still all such a bother.

I've been spending the little time I have on the Fruitarian Fitness 90-day challenge logs, which is why I haven't been posting here as much. I'll try to keep this updated from time to time though.


Azura Skye said...


you are amazing!!!

those yoga positions look soo difficult, and you perform them with grace and beauty - and ease!

you should be so proud of yourself for being able to acheive that.
fantastic! Im so jealous : ) my flexibility is not so great : -//

how long have you been doing yoga?

Also it's great that you are gaining perspective on 811rv - well, I mean, it's good that you aren't being too harsh but realising that you need focus. I'm like that, need to strike a balance between havin a focus and being kind on myself without slipping away from the main focus!

Stacy said...

I have been practicing Bikram yoga since 2002, but I have had two pregnancies and ongoing tendinitis in my knees, which all required a lot of time out of the studio to recuperate. Then I got slammed with my thyroid crap. So I'm really only now at a point where I can seriously move toward a daily practice, which I desperately want to do (and which is challenging with the kids & such responsibilities).

Before doing Bikram yoga, I did Sivananda yoga (more gentle & meditative) for about a year, on and off, but was bored with it. I still appreciate that practice, but it ultimately wasn't for me as far as my asana focus goes.

As a kid I did gymnastics, and as an adolescent I was heavily involved with ballet. Although in some ways I'm not quite as flexible as then (i.e. my back, but hopefully I'll get there), in other ways I am much more flexible (legs).

What part of the UK are you in? (Maybe I knew but I can't remember.) There are some Bikram studios there I know. If you're interested check out www.bikramyoga.com and go to Class Finder.

As far as the flexibility goes, I can't say enough about doing it in the heat that you get at a Bikram studio. It's usually around 105 degrees (~37?), and, although it takes some getting used to, and you definitely sit down some, especially initially, in the long run your body moves quickly toward your peak flexibility, and then just keeps going. I was very skeptical before trying it, but I was a total convert very quickly: I gained more in 3 WEEKS of Bikram yoga, flexibility- & strength-wise, than I gained in a year of Sivananda yoga. No kidding.

Azura Skye said...

ooh eventhough the heat helps flexibility, sounds quite heavy. But I can see the logic. Lots of people in work have signed up for a yoga class in the local gym, I should go and see what it's like.

I've done yoga before, but found it quite slow and boring. I much prefer pilates - but I think my stretching could improve so I should reconsider yoga.

I live in south wales.

I've never done gymnastics, I wish I had because it looks like it instills a lot of confidence within the individual. I'm always scared to relax in such a way that I can perform such moves. I think that's why I like pilates, because each move is very controlled.

thanks for the tip and link for bikram, I will take a look.

Stacy said...

There used to be a studio in Bristol, but it looks like it's no longer there. That's not South Wales though in any case. (My in-laws live in Weston-Super-Mare, so I kind of know the area.)

I don't know about other forms of "hot yoga", but Bikram classes are anything but slow and boring. Slow and boring was my main complaint with Sivananda yoga, which is the practice I started with.

Probably vinyasa yoga or ashtanga yoga would be ones you would be interested in if you're looking for something faster/more intense.

Azura Skye said...

thanks stacy : )

So do you visit your relatives in England sometimes?

Stacy said...

Yes, although we haven't been there for about 3 years. We're due for a visit. Maybe next Christmas??? If so, let's meet up! What town are you in?

We were talking last night about the possibility of moving back to England some day (Sheffield is where DH lived when I met him -- I did a year at the Uni there). What's the fruit selection there? I'm sure it's better than 40 years ago when all you could get (so I hear) was apples, but it still a'int California, where there are guys selling oranges on the street corner!