Category: 30 day Challenge Posts

Day Twenty Eight – All Done – John

Well here we go, the first time in over 10 years of practicing that I have finished a 30 DC in less than 30Days. Usually the last weekend and days leading up to the end are silly, doing doubles and the occasional triple in order to complete on time. I’m always up in my head “knowing” that I will be judged if I fail and I always forget that its a challenge for everyone to make the time to get to yoga, even if its only once a week. Unfortunately I have a “little” competitive streak that sometimes becomes completely irrational.

This year was different, the time was there, it wasn’t a conscience decision to “make” time, it’s just that it seemed to expand as required during the month for me. I am really enjoying the moving meditations that can, if I let go, clear my head for a few moments at a time. There has been an awful lot of stuff going on in life these days as I am starting to freelance again and there is always that fear when taking on more change. The yoga has helped a lot as I realize that in that moment there is nothing I can do but breathe and feel the floor through my feet, that action keeps me present, not worrying (projecting into the future) or regretting (actions of the past), just being (present in this moment) and escaping from the committee in my head that is always trying to run the show.

I actually finished 2 days ahead of schedule and ended up scattering 5 doubles over the 30 days (combining a 90 minute Level 1 class followed by a 60 minute Yin Class on a Sunday night mostly) with three days off. This for me is the best cure for everything, a hard physical workout to tire the body and mind and then just relaxing in the warm after glow even sometimes napping in the Yin class. I let go of who was teaching and what classes were on and just worked my schedule, usually 6 pm or slightly before or after during the week and then mostly afternoons during the weekend. I even got one day off per week, unscheduled, when life demanded it from me through other commitments, and then not worrying about it, just trying to let go and see what happened, like when traffic is backed up and there is only 10 minutes till class starts, somehow things would open up and I would get there. I think  its the same letting go (or giving over to a higher power) that has helped keep me clean and sober for 27 years one day at a time. I also find parking spots downtown this way, it can get a little weird but OH WELL.

As for teaching the two or three that I get to teach each week. I Love leading those classes and seeing each of you in the room in those minutes as you are, I love connecting and talking with you before and after class and learning more about your lives. We are all so similar in our hopes and dreams regardless of all the many differences we celebrate, you are my clan.

Thank you and a shout out to all you that signed up, I don’t care if you only did 1 class, you were willing in that moment to commit to your personal growth and that says tons.

As for the no bread challenge, I had some Nan bread on Saturday night after my last class and a piece of toast with breakfast this morning. I am ready to become a “Glutard” as my friend says – I would never personally use that term 😉  because within a few hours my tummy issues were back, Oh Well, some things are harder than others.

Day Twenty Four and Twenty Five – Jax

Two days melded together for me and a lot of yoga happened. I worked a lot, teaching and desk stuff, preparing for taxes, etc. I had lunch with my dear friend Jane Farries on Wednesday and then a lunch meeting with two awesome yogis and powerful women Wendy Debeck and Owl Blake on Thursday. Sometimes I attempt to pack too much into one day, I am sure everyone can relate. However this week I learned that late evening meetings are not a great idea. People are tired, a little cranky (me too), and hungry. I will not call a meeting in the evening again.

On Wednesday I taught the morning music class and took the evening music class with Eddie followed by the Yin class with Courtney. I love the music classes and I want to put more of them on my schedule.  Through this 30 Day Challenge I can feel my hips and shoulders changing and opening. Things I have been wondering about for a long time are starting to happen. I often say that we have no idea what our bodies are really capable of. This is a truth and can be realized by those that perform amazing feats under great pressure like lifting cars off of people, etc. Ok so nothing that amazing happened to me! I did not lift a truck off someone. However last night in Powerflow class I was only 2 inches off the floor in the splits with my right leg forward. That is amazing! Never have I been that close to doing the splits – I am shocked. It’s not earth shattering and life saving news, but it’s pretty cool. Also I was dancing in the kitchen yesterday afternoon with the dogs (doesn’t everyone do this?) and I can now feel the top of my femurs actually ‘rotating’ inside the acetabulum, something I’ve never felt. I can feel the circular nature of my hip joints. Their shape is now reflected within movement. My hips have always felt angular getting stuck here and there within a circular pattern with their corners and edges. Now these edges are smoothing out and lengthening. I imagine scar tissue and congestion breaking down and moving away, I visualize it happening.

John said something last night as we were discussing the art of teaching. He said “I don’t want to connect with the teacher, I want to connect with myself.” I wrote it down and reflected on what that really means. I need a few days to ponder it before I can intelligently articulate on his statement, but it does seem profoundly important to do so.

I made a new playlist for the Hockey Workshop that we hosted at the studio last weekend and thought I’d post it along with this blog entry. It’s mostly instrumental, enjoy! Wishing you all a beautiful day. xo Jacqueline

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Day # Twenty Three – Jax

Today was a double, no trouble. I took Kat’s Hip & Core class at 6pm and then Eddie’s Level I 90 class at 7:30pm. I also taught the 6am class and the 9:30am class, so lots of time in the heat today. Soooooo good! Kat’s class was packed, fun, challenging and apparently a perfect warm up for Eddie’s class. I could really feel my limbs after all of that planking and down dog and leg work. I got to practice beside Anne-Marie who happens to be one of my fave yogis. When we moved studios this star wanted to help. She came and helped out so much, and she made it extra fun. She is always herself. She is someone I can depend on to be the same reliable person each day, caring, giving, understanding and compassionate – a beautiful human being. So it was fun to practice beside her. We had some good giggles together, and again in this class my lefts and rights were out in center field! Second class I was dripping from the moment we started, a hot yogi dream. Humid, not too hot, lots of bodies, good and juicy. Eddie’s soothing encouraging voice and calm confident nature helped me to stay grounded. I felt some tremendous opening through my front body. John and I did 90 minutes of Yin together on Sunday night at home in front of the fire, and I could feel some areas opening as a result of that. I now have 3 doubles left to do and I will be all caught up and on track to finish this Challenge!

Day # Twenty Two – Jax

To feel the intensity of the energy in my body, for me there are very few experiences that are more intense than a powerful bikram method class. I once had an experience with my friend and healer Dar Jmayoff which totally blew my mind. She wasn’t touching me and all of my clothes were on. I felt a liquid light fill my mouth and then start down into my body and it filled my body limb by limb and then I began to feel as if I was floating. The treatment was 1 hour and I floated and felt pure joy. I could see my self on the table and I could see Dar as well. I was ‘behind’ my mind’s eye, as if my viewing point was from deep inside my head. I came to her feeling a lot of stress and anxiety and then I just completely let go and the feelings of healing that I received from Dar that day stayed with me for weeks to come. I had never before had anything that could even come close to this experience.

Today’s class was something a little similar though. As I lay still in the savasanas I could feel this swirling tingling energy moving up from my lower spine all the way to my head, like a wave of fluid moving. I believe it is the power of the kundalini energy and it comes to me more often now than ever. I don’t get this from working out or weights or cycling or anything other than yoga and sex. It is truly divine, this power and energy, limitless, boundless and exciting. I LOVE it! If there is a part of this yoga that is addictive for me, this is it. If you’ve not had it yet – keep practicing and wait for it, it will come. And it’s hard not to chase that feeling because it’s so amazing I just want more of it. It takes total surrender to the moment and, well I don’t really understand how it happens but if I did I would make it happen all the time! I feel joy and happiness and ecstasy. And that is my yoga today, a hard class to top. Thank you Rachel!

Day Twenty One – Jax

Today was a day filled with emotion. That is not a complaint, simply an observation. The emotions have been strong and somewhat conflicting. I would be amiss to not share that I am deeply disturbed and frustrated and I have anger towards Bikram for what he has done. At the exact same time I am deeply thankful for the yoga that he brought to the west and for it’s presence in my life. I am holding both of these emotions right now, and working on letting go of what does not serve me.

While at the grocery store this evening I ran into my beautiful artist friend Janine – she is the artist who painted the large Ganesha piece that is hanging over the desk in the reception area of our yoga studio. The huge hugs and smiles and the sharing, oh how wonderful to see her! It’s been too long. I was heading to Thrifty Foods, but then remembered that they are no longer local, and decided to head to Country Grocer instead, I am so thankful I did! She shared and I shared and she had just come directly from a yoga class at Bikram Yoga Saanich. So we talked all about how blessed it is to have this yoga, particularly in times of stress. And of course I know that it is a blessing to so many people! That can not be denied. It is so interested too that we find ourselves in a situation where the very person that brought this blessing to us is messing up his own life so badly, not to mention the damage he has done to other people’s lives,  trusting students, his family, all of his followers and of course the brand that he (and the rest of us) has worked so hard to build.  Regardless of it all, we are moving forward with the task of of rebranding and we were already in this process, so now it’s the sooner the better. We thought about re-branding when we moved the studio in the Fall of 2014, but it seemed like too much change all at once.

What it comes to now for me is this: there is no point in talking about Bikram. He is a man, that is all. All of the people whom he has wronged have been adults, thankfully. It is all wrong, truth – but I will not put him into the same category as child molesters.  And he will suffer the consequences of his actions. However – and this is where I stand – his students and people like myself and my beautiful teacher friends (and let’s face it there are so many) who shine brightly and radiate love and goodness – all of those people are not to blame and are in no way accountable for his actions. I will not take it on, and that feels empowering. What I can do is plan for the future for myself, my family and my yoga community. I can continue what I have started in terms of re-branding and move forward with that. I can continue to feel damn good about what myself, my husband and my team at the yoga studio do every single day. There are thousands of amazing people that practice and teach bikram method yoga, and they deserve respect and I can uphold that and stand for that.

On a lighter note, I had a lovely yoga class and have an evening to have kale spaghetti, read my book and cuddle by the fire with my true love, and it does not get much better than that. It feels like Sunday, and I have always had a special place in my heart for Sunday.

Day Eighteen – Jax

Here’s how it starts, here’s the story:

First time into the hot yoga class, it’s super hot. I mean they said it would be hot, but really it’s too hot. Then you start to get used to it. Then you start to like it more and more. Then wham, you are in love. Now here sometimes it’s get’s tricky for some of us. It’s all just too much. Too much reality. Too much of  YOU! Too much to take. And it’s so challenging physically. The more you get used to it, the more challenging it becomes. It’s self leveling somehow though. And by the time you are home it’s all completely worth it because you feel so amazing. So maybe you might think that it’s not really love, it’s something else. Oh I know, it’s a cult. It must be a cult or brainwashing of some sort, or for sure it’s an addiction. Ok but wait, you are missing it. More and more. You did feel good when you were doing it. But it was so hot! And so hard. Hmmmm….but you miss it. Maybe try it again. Must be me, everyone else seemed fine, actually they seemed more than fine they seemed blissed out, tuned it and super focused, yes they seemed extremely focused. Plus they are so happy. Everyone always smiling and happy. And occasional a lot of crying is happening but somehow there is still a happiness even in with all the crying. And it’s not so hot now….actually by 20 minutes in it’s quite lovely. And if it’s too much well then you just lie down and presto it’s ok, just breathe and try to chill and relax. And also you feel more relaxed about a lot of stuff. And also you are standing taller, and feeling better, and eating better, and drinking more water, and smiling a lot more, and feeling younger and looking younger and healthier.  And all of a sudden….YES it is LOVE and you are IN it. For sure. It is love and you are never ever going to leave it again. And that’s the story – the most common story.

It’s the story that I have heard at least a hundred times at least in the past 9 years. I love hearing all the stories. Every day I get to hear them, again and again. All the wonderful things that happen when people start and sustain a regular yoga practice. The stories all nourish my soul and affirm what I am doing has so much worth and goodness and value, that I am on the right path serving up this yoga day after day.

Yesterday’s class was delightful. Sandwiched between teaching the 4pm and the 7:30pm I took the 6pm Hot Powerflow 60 class with Shelly. Yes I was in the room for 4 hours, and it was awesome. What a workout and a stretch, renewed and ready to roll for the 7:30pm class. The yoga usually gives me energy. However Wednesdays’ class was another story all together. I was so whacked out afterwards I went and had a little lie-down on the floor in the childcare room, sipped on some water and closed my eyes (in the dark with the door closed) and stayed there for about 15 minutes until the speed of my body’s energies slowed down enough for me to cope and ground and connect with the rest of the world. An hour later and I was really good and feeling clear and calm.

I did 25 call backs today, taught 2 classes and also did a Hellerwork session, it was a full day. I had the opportunity to speak to many of the people I called in person rather than just getting a machine. They shared their experiences, and questions about the various classes. I spoke to one person who had never done any hot yoga and she came to the Yin class and felt that it was too hot! This was a surprise to me as the Yin class is not supposed to be hot. It’s supposed to be warm, but not hot. I asked John (he had taken the class) and he said he felt a little chilly in the class, as it was only around 34 degrees. HA!! 34 degrees?!! I said to him “You are such a hot yogi! You are chilly and it’s 34 degrees celcius! You are completely out of touch with what the words ‘cool’ and ‘warm’ and ‘hot’ mean to most people in Victoria. All of you hot yogis know exactly what I am talking about. It’s exactly like those hard core gymnasts who look like they are related to the Egyptian mummies because of the massive amounts of sports tape on their bodies. I get it completely. For the love of sport, fitness, health and yoga. All hail sports tape and 40 degree yoga. It’s what we love and it is absolutely and completely normal.

Day Seventeen – John

Here we go again, another Blog post at the end of the day. I did a double class today and for the first time ever in the 11 years I have been practicing I have 1 class up on a 30 day challenge. Unfortunately that little slice of fun on lasts for 24 hours as I likely wont be able to practice tomorrow since I will be guest teaching out at another studio and won’t get off work until to late to get out there to practice. Another curious thing today in class, during the first one I weighed myself before going into the Hot room and intentionally didn’t drink any water, it was a good traditional class with the room about 2/3rds full. I then weighed in again right after and had lost 6.5 lbs of water. Most of its back after drinking a couple of liters between and after the next class but with this no bread thing going on it still seems to be 1/2 lb per day.

I heard the teacher say Floorhead instead of forehead to the floor, that was pretty entertaining (it’s the little things) and then she mentioned that on YouTube there was a yoga class somewhere that had bunnies running around while the people did their yoga, maybe we could get the a Highway Bunny class going on over by the hospital.

Yin after Bikram is an amazing experience, I was so relaxed at the end of the evening that I know I will sleep well tonight hopefully not waking up at 4 again to worry through bid issues on this tender closing tomorrow, so counter productive. I’m always curious about how sleep affects us and for many years would be totally freaked about not getting my 8 hours. I then read an article on the history of sleep and realized that this whole 8 hour undisturbed thing is a result of the post industrial revolution era. The advent of electric light and the structure required behind keeping “Corporations” going.  For eons humans would go to sleep for 3 – 4 hours shortly after dark and then wake up in the middle of the night for a couple of hours, tending fires, visiting friends and family, socialising, prayer, reading, meditation or making more humans and then go back to bed for the 2nd sleep which was usually a little shorter and less deep. This information comes from diaries and stories recorded and going back in pretty much all cultures that had a written history. Except us. Food for thought about why we want to structure sleep and work times. Anyway, it doesn’t bug me any more, just pick one of the midnight entertainments, and carry on.


This was me sleeping at Teacher Training (2011) with my friend who may not have eaten enough bread

Good night, sleep well.

Day Sixteen – John

Here we are again, its almost the end of the day and I had another great class. This time I took the Hip and Core class with Kat and a bunch of other wonderful people all working hard and wondering how she can be so mean but still sound so lovely (truly her mothers daughter). The flow flows with the music, I guess it’s supposed to and it works a whole bunch of apparently un used muscles much to my amusement later when I got up after feeding (post Yoga) to realize that my core and hips were sore. First clue I guess was in the class name, but who knew.

I forgot to mention, watch out for boat pose, I keep trying to find ways to cheat but might have to accept that for me it is just hard. Speaking of work, it was too was fun today, seems like a lot of us are coming out of the winter doldrums and starting to anticipate the spring, I know I am looking forward to longer days and lots of biking.

I think I am going to try to get to the Level 1 – 90 and the yin class in order tomorrow. That way I could possibly get a day ahead and then who knows, a guilt free rest day perhaps

The bread thing is getting easier, I realize no that everything that you “normally” make into a sandwich can also be consumed with out the bread. again, who knew. I do miss butter tho’ seems wrong somehow to eat it with out the transport medium. The breathing thing was harder today, but we keep trying.

Day Fifteen – John

I’m back..Day fifteen of the challenge and it was one of those classes that reminds you how great you can feel. It was a old fashioned 90 minute class and I felt strong and flexible. A friend of mine was wearing a monitor during the class and I am really looking forward to seeing those results and sharing them with all of you. I really focused in today’s class on precision in the posture, those little adjustments that we can see in ourselves in the mirror that can really change what is going on. It was fascinating to detach and watch myself in the mirror as if i was teaching myself and adjusting as Rachel led the class in her usual classic style. What happened was that with the precision came depth that I wasn’t expecting, the action of lining myself up correctly by listening watching and adjusting allowed me to really work the areas that are targeted in the posture. Mind you it’s not like that every day but when it all comes together I remember why I love doing yoga so much.

As for the bread thing, I had a muffin today but that’s cake, not bread so still on track and down actually 1/2 a lb per day on average since this started.

Day Fourteen – John

Almost half way through this 30 day yoga challenge and it feels pretty good to be all caught up after teaching a 90 minute class and doing a double to make up for missing day 4. This is the first time in all these years that I have really been able to (almost) practice every day. Even at teacher training we had Sundays off to rest and eat. In my previous 30DC’s I was usually a few days behind at this point, scrambling to catch up on the last weekend. I will not do that this time, consistency is key.

The biggest challenge for me is always time, we have so much on the go that I really have to decide what the priorities are, for me I need the yoga to stay reasonably sane. I really use classes to make a break from work and relax me enough to be reasonable good company in the evenings. I have been focussing on breathing these days during class and find that if I can stay focused on my breath then I spend less time up in my head stressing about things that in that moment really have no real affect on me. I was at a meditation sitting the other night and found out that it is OK for my mind to wander when I am trying to stay focused on my breathing, sometimes even to just acknowledge the wanderings, explore them a little and then come back to the breathing until it happens again. In the standing series I also try to keep aware of my feet and how my body weight is located on them that too helps me stay present, and in fact even outside the studio hot room I find that “feeling” my feet is a great way to stay present to whatever is going on.

Todays YIN class was wonderful, a cooler room after the Level 1 90 minute class with windows open, its a special class when I can fall asleep twice with my arm folded completely under the opposite shoulder while in child’s pose (Kneeling down with forehead on the floor), once on the left side and then again on the right and it counts as a class, a win / win in my opinion.

As always, it is so great seeing my friends at the studio, truly this yoga is a great equaliser bringing so many of us from different backgrounds together in the common interest of staying healthier than we were, as we move through the adventures that get tossed at us from time to time. Thank you for allowing us to share in your lives and for being part of ours.

Oh yeah, I forgot the bread challenge, 15 days now with no bread, it really doesn’t sound that difficult in this time of Gluten free everything but bread is comfort food for me, when my brothers and I were growing up and we were always hungry, Mom would tell us to fill up on bread, so we would, that was fine as a teen but not so great as a Senior (Tuesday is senior discount day somewhere, it was real shock to be given the discount automatically).

I hope to see you all tomorrow evening at 5 or 7 for the challenge mid point.