I am five weeks into my yoga teacher training and learning so much not only about my own practice but how the body works and how the yoga postures work. The more time I spend on my own mat the more I’m building my sequences and working through what works for me and what doesn’t. Not that everything that works for me will work for others but it gives me a good sense of what someone might be feeling. I also really use the experiences of the other women in my training. For instance we were talking about Warrior I and how when she does this pose and adds a slight back bend in it, her back really doesn’t feel very well. I don’t have back pain, have never struggled with back pain, and unless I’m in flare I really don’t give much notice to my back so I had to get on my mat and try to imagine at what point one of my students might notice some discomfort in their back. It is so amazing to really start analyzing the body, the moves, the postures, the good and the bad and come up with something that might work for most people.

I spend a lot of time noticing people modifying in weight training, Insanity classes, and yoga classes. I do modifications in my classes as well so it is important to show different modifications as well as what the final posture should look like and let others use their bodies the best way they can to do the postures without compromise. With each posture there are several ways to modify and some might feel really easy, some might need to start in modification postures and move slowly into full postures, some may never reach the final posture and that is ok too. I think of Insanity and doing high knees for me. That high intensity trying to get my knee hip level doesn’t work for me and so I modify that move by bringing one knee up and then the other but not in a fast, intense movement but a controlled movement. My range of motion is much better, my posture is much better, and my body isn’t exerting unnecessary energy doing something that could potential hurt me if done wrong. Same can be said about yoga postures.

There seems to be more focus on people getting hurt during yoga classes and if we think about what is happening we can see how this could be true. We are trying to combine kickboxing with yoga, or we are trying to power through our yoga flows and classes to the deepest, intensity we can muster. As I spend time on my mat I am really starting to see the benefit in slow moving through my postures and really feeling what my body is doing. Sometimes I think I can go farther and in yoga millimeters can be enough progression. I will move slowly into deeper postures and then back out to a more comfortable posture. My body is working hard, my mind is working hard, and my breath is the power to help me reach deeper. Yoga is about reaching new places on the mat and seeing where your body is tight, where it can relax, where does it need to push a little, where do you need to pull back, where are you holding tension, where can you let go, what feels good, what is discomfort and making adjustments.

Take this philosophy off the mat and we constantly need to evaluate where we are in life, where we are in this moment and do we need to adjust. Many times throughout my day I need to step back, adjust, start again and even try a new focus. In life I need millimeters of change not grand changes to make really changes.


3 thoughts on “YOGA SO GOOD

  1. mjh November 6, 2014 at 10:01 pm Reply

    Hi Nicole,

    I think it is so wonderful how far you have come in your journey! I wish you the very best with your yoga teacher training. I’m sure you will be a wonderful teacher and inspiration to others.

    I have written you before and I too have MCTD. You have inspired me greatly! I am on the Paleo diet very strictly. I went off all my medication 2 months ago with the exception of vitamins and supplements. The first three weeks off my medication was brutal, as I think my body needed to get used to it.

    I took my very first Bikram yoga class yesterday afternoon. I barely made it through the 90 minutes, but I did. There were some poses that I was not able to do and there were times I had to stop and just kneel. I was so tired when I got home that I could barely keep my eyes open. However, I have to say that I feel amazing today! I had a really restful sleep. I am a little sore in my upper body, but it is a good sore. The only thing that hurts is my knee. But mentally and physically, I feel better than I have in a long time! I think I lost 10 lbs in water weight! Ha! Not really but it felt like it at the time. I am going again later today.

    Thank you for inspiring me to push myself!

  2. mjh November 7, 2014 at 11:12 am Reply

    Hi Nicole,

    It’s me again… I was reading my post again & realized that I said I’ve been off my medication for 2 months. Then I tried to think back exactly. It seems like two months. 🙂 But it’s been about a month & a half off Xeljanz. I wanted to give you a little bit of background as to why I went off my medication and also ask you some questions. My doctor wanted me off of Xeljanj for a week for an infection that I got in my mouth. He put me on a med pack of prednisone & antiviral medication. After a week, the infection was not completely gone. It was not the first infection I had gotten that had a hard time going away and it started happening too often. So I threw up my hands & said enough! I was tired of the infections. I was tired of the prednisone. I was tired of being on medication that stopped my immune system. I was sick & tired of being sick & tired. I felt like I was on a rollercoaster. It was very scary for me to make that decision, but I felt that I had to. What you have done with your health is always in the back of my mind and as I said before you have been an inspiration. I’ve been on the Paleo Diet for awhile. I’ve been reading every book I could get my hands on, so I decided to go the next step. I was in pain at first. I think my body had to get used to being off the xeljanz. I’ve been trying positive thinking, which I believe has helped. I try to get enough rest every day & lastly I have now started Bikram. I went again this afternoon. It was harder the second day but still good. I was not as tired afterwards. Can I ask you…when you started Bikram, did you go everyday? Should I pace myself or just jump in & go everyday? Also, there are some poses that really hurt & I had to stop. Did that happen with you & should I just not even try to do those or will I be able to eventually? I thank you for your blog & putting yourself out there for others like me to learn from. 🙂

    • mevsmctd November 7, 2014 at 1:35 pm Reply

      Hi Marla
      Thank you for speaking about your own journey, I know it isn’t easy and the decisions we make can be very difficult and sometimes overwhelming but they are our decisions and in a time when you feel as though things are out of your control,your decisions are in your control. I do want to say that although I have found a good place in my life with my MCTD I do rely on medications every day. The first several years I was angry about it and tried all the time to get off but now that I have found a regiment that makes me feel good and even some days great I take my medications knowing they are part of my management. I used to envy people that would say they got off all their meds and maybe one day I will too but not right now.

      Good question about Bikram, it can be very stressful on the body if you aren’t comfortable in heat and humdity so I would say pace yourself and try for a few times a week. If you are someone that loves heat and humidity and you can breath deep the entire 90 min then going more often will make your body feel good. If any posture hurts don’t continue or try to modify into a posture that stretches but doesn’t hurt. For instance Awkward was a pose that was really hard for me in the beginning and fixed firm was really hard so I would modify those poses until my knees were ready to endure the full posture. There is no harm in modifications and although I understand that Bikram classes like strict discipline you know your body better than anyone so listen to it and really embrace what is stretching, what is pain, and only go to the point of stretch. Hope you find warmth, joy, and flexiblity in your bikram practice.


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