Saturday, September 22, 2012

My Bikram Practice and a Trip to Sephora

Simone went to Sephora today!
As a makeupholic, I frequent Sephora at least once a month, if just to browse because I love the layout of the store. While in Toronto for tiff, I was looking a little bland between films and all I had was plain lip balm in my backpack. So I walked into Sephora and looked around for a 'fresh' lipstick sample to sample and wear. I walked around the Benefit section and I saw their lipstick display and I immediately took a fancy to the color 'Wanna'. I smeared a streak on my hand and I liked the medium-light plum color it had. So I grabbed a clean lipstick sample applicator and rubbed it into the side of the 'fresh' tester lipstick. I put it on in the mirror and was hooked! My face was alive again! I wanted to buy it on the spot, but it was $23 Canadian, which meant it was at least $6 more in Toronto than I would pay if I just wanted until I got home, so that's what I decided to do. But I made sure to write down the brand and color to reference at the right time. And that right time was today!
Wanna? is a beautiful mauve-y plum color.

I'm a member of the Sephora 'Beauty Insider' membership club, and I needed some new Clinique foundation in their Even Better formula brand. And since September is my birthday month, I would quality for a birthday freebie. Cha-Ching! So I went to Briarwood Mall here in Ann Arbor and I went to Sephora to pick up the Clinique foundation and I grabbed a tube of the 'Wanna' shade from Benefit, and just like I presumed, it was $18 here. Now let me preface that I usually buy makeup on sale and the cheaper, the better. Makeup under $7 is the norm in my life and budget, but since Clinique never goes on sale, and Benefit doesn't go on sale, and since my birthday is near, hey, why not splurge just a little bit? While at the counter, I presented my membership card and told her it was my birthday month, so I got a little kit of two of Fresh's sugar lip balms, and I redeemed 100 points to get the Philosophy cleanser. All four of those in my Sephora bag. Very happy!

Bikram Yoga

Every Friday at 6:30pm, at the end of a very long and busy week, I go to my Bikram Yoga class to detox and unwind at the Bikram Yoga Ann Arbor studio. I've been going there for nearly two years now, but really, in the past 12 months, I have gone weekly. I wish I could afford to go more often, but again due to my busy schedule and tight budget, I consider myself damn lucky to be able to afford going once a week. And it's doing my body and mind very good. So, every Friday, I post at my twitter that I'm either preparing for Yoga later in the day, or I report afterwards about how tough or how good the class was. But I never provide more info than that to help people better understand what Bikram Yoga is all about, and how I am progressing. And how would you know how I'm progressing if you have nothing to compare it with? Well, I'm going to present to you some images that will show you what all the 26 Asanas (poses) are, and highlight my favorites and the ones that I have made the most progress on.

One thing for the layperson to understand is that the poses for Bikram that you will see are the ideal advance stages - and one must take into consideration that it takes a person quite a while to get to that level. Also, keep in mind that each person is different, their bodies are different, and some are just more tighter, or suffered injury, than others and therefore, their bodies may not be able to fully get into that full position, and that's ok, just get to it as close as you are able to. I know my body has come a LONG way since the first class back in the summer of 2010, and I still have a long way to go - but my core is stronger and I'm much more flexible, and my immune system kicks ass. There are some poses I loathe and I may never fully get in that pose, and that's ok, I'm trying.

Introducing, Bikram Yoga!

All 26 Asanas of Bikram Yoga

This is Standing Separate leg stretching pose. It nearly killed me at first, my inner thighs were very tight from Elliptical training and doing lots of walking. Week by week, I loosened up until last week, my head finally touched the ground as demonstrated in this image.
The Eagle pose pretty much scared me at first because my shoulders would ache for days afterwards. In the beginning, I thought I dislocated my shoulder, but I apparently pulled a muscle, that's how bad it hurt. I'm still not 100% in this pose, but this is another one that I have improved on dramatically and therefore, enjoy this pose for the challenge of it.
I have always been able to bend over backwards pretty deeply without falling over. Even though I was never a gymnast I had a very flexible back. I can almost bend as deep as this woman in this photo. I just need to keep my arms tight and close to my ears and breathing is key to being able to focus in this position.
The balancing stick pose is my favorite pose. I hit this on the very first class. However, a lot of concentration goes into this even though this pose is for 10 seconds. You have to have a solid standing leg, and the arms and the other leg have to both be extended evenly for the body to be in balance. This pose is very good for the heart and concentration.
 I finally nailed the locust pose last week. The key for the floor series poses is to not have too much food in your stomach and chill out on the water intake up to this point in the Bikram session. This is pose 18 out of 26, so for most people, they will have died of thirst if they couldn't be drinking by this stage. Laying on your stomach with your arms under your body close together while you lift both legs seems impossible when you first do it. Many people just lay there and play dead, others lift their legs up one inch, and more advanced people lift their legs practically at 90 degrees or more. On Friday's class, I was at about 80% of what this picture depicts, and apparently I did so well, the instructor, Amanda, gave me a shout out in class and said I was doing great! I'm very proud to finally be able to do this locust pose, it was my nemesis - and still is.
Another favorite but very challenging and distracting pose is the balancing standing bow pose. I ain't nowhere near being this flexible - part of it is that I'm scared to let myself 'go' as encouraged, and part of it is because it's hard to concentrate during this one because it's one of the longest poses and with the instructor talking really loud to guide others and other people are falling out of the pose and falling, and tripping, etc., you lose your focus because there's so much 'static' going on. But I often manage to get into a safe bow where I can see my back foot over my head in the mirror, but I just can't seem to yet, bring my leg all the way up. I'm just not flexible enough yet, but I'll get there. This is a very popular yoga pose for people to pose in professional yoga images and I see people using this pose at their favorite vacation spots with a beautiful background. I wanted to do this pose at Torc Waterfall in Killarney Ireland, but I had no one to take my picture. I'll do it next time!

So, now you see why I brag about going to Bikram yoga every Friday night and how I kicked butt in class. After a 90-minute session in 105 degrees, I am a hot sweaty mess. Some people can sweat so much, it's really gross. Last week, this dude in front of me, sweated SO much on his towel, he created puddles of sweat water on his towel, I swear to God and Buddha yes he did! It was disgusting, but you know what, I kinda wish I can sweat like that because he surely detoxed all that crap out of his body. So sweat on brother!

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