Anticipation

As human beings we anticipate everything. And I do mean everything – we anticipate that call that we’ll get everything nailing a final interview, meeting the love of our life, or even a great night out with friends. It’s in our nature. We always want to know what is coming next and with Bikram you know what’s going next every single time.

Bikram is the same 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises every single time – no matter where you go in your city, the country or the world. It’s hard to not anticipate the next posture or second set. As a practicing teacher I do it all the time. All the time. I have to make a conscious effort to not repeat the dialogue in my head while practicing so that I can stay present with the teacher (or Bikram’s recorded dialogue) and the class.

I noticed that students were anticipating what I was saying after only a few weeks of teaching at Bikram Yoga Cleveland. Students were anticipating when the posture would end especially in balancing stick. Balancing stick is one of my favorite postures, it’s so beautiful to see when students lock both knees and bring their bodies down parallel to the floor like a T as in The Ohio State University (Go Bucks!). There are benefits to holding this posture including increase circulation (flushing out your heart and arteries), stretching lung capacity and heart muscle, flexibility improvement, stregthen and tone your shoulders, upper arms, spine and the hip joints. Not only that but balancing stick is a therapeutic and preventive posture for heart conditions – got a heart problem get in the hot room. Want another reason it also burns the most calories from the other yoga poses plus you’re sending rejuvenating flood of fresh blood to brain!

But students know this posture ends with “stretch, stretch, stretch, stretch…” so by the time I get the second stretch out of my mouth most of them have come up from the posture! But I’ve figured out a way to trick them into staying the posture longer! I want my students to stay in the posture for the correct amount of time and I also want them to be PRESENT in class not just ANTICIPATING the posture – I want them to really listen to me as a teach. (I’ll tell you a story about one time a student really listened and I made a mistake next time! It was funny!)

Sometimes I’ll add more stretches and sometimes I’ll only say one stretch! The first time I added four stretches you should have seen the look on their faces as they started coming up and I was still yelling stretch stretch stretch stretch! I got them good on the right side. A few of them even smiled at me and I just winked back. One the left side I only said one stretch but I prolonged the posture with more dialogue focusing on the alignment so when I said “stretch, inhale breathing come up!” They were shocked! Couldn’t believe it.But in both instant they held the posture for the required 10 bikram seconds (which is more like 30 human seconds!).

What I’m trying to convey here is don’t anticipate your class – don’t think if you’re going to have a good class or a bad class, if you’re going to have a good day or a bad day, if you’re going to everything that you want out of your life. Just make the decision that you’ll have a good day, a great class, and you will get everything you want out of your life and you might just pleasantly surprise yourself and get exactly what you need!

See you in the hot room!

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Unexpected Rapid Hair Growth = Drink lots of WATER

I am amazed and quite honestly flabbergasted by my hair growth over the past 11 months. Last June, I cut off all of my hair in anticipation of attending Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in Thailand. I figured with all the classes that I would be taking plus lectures, studying and the heat (inside the room and out) I wouldn’t have the time (which I didn’t) or the focus to really “do” my hair. So i big chopped – cut off four years of hair growth and was ready to start fresh. In all honesty, I had been dying to cut off my hair for years, I was always jealous of folks rocking little TWA’s (teeny weeny afros) but I didn’t have the guts to actually cut off my hair but last year I finally found it.

June 2014 Hair Cut: I was so happy in this pic! Just felt to free!!!

June 2014

Anyway, back to the hair growth, my hair is almost back to the growth of last spring in just 11 short months. I can’t believe it and I started thinking why exactly has it grown back so fast this time. Have I started taking better care of my hair? Has my diet changed? What’s really different this time around?

You know what the difference is? WATER.

I spent nine weeks in Thailand, taking 97 hot (and I do mean very very hot) bikram classes, sweating in the room, lecture room, and outside which lead to me drinking A LOT of water. I was probably drinking one to two gallons of water a day, actually it was probably more. I needed to stay hydrated to survive training and I always had my hydroflask full of water and I was chugging before, during, and after class. Everyone has always said that drinking lots of water is good for a clear skin complexion but it’s also great for maintaining healthy and happy (nappy!) hair too. Think about it? If your body is dehydrated than your hair is also dehydrated. It needs the water has much as your body does…so give your hair what it wants lots of water!

I wasn’t always just drinking plain water while at training, I also would take two (2) Emergen-C packs every day like clockwork – one after class and one during lecture (or posture clinic). Emergen-C was great for putting back in the good stuff that my body was losing from sweating so much…vitamins C, B, Calcium, Folic Acid, Magnesium, Zinc and a whole slew of other nutrients I needed. One key nutrient for hair growth are the B complex vitamins such as B1, B2, B3, B6, and B12 which are all in Emergen-C.

B Complex vitamins are essential micronutrients that assistn in optimal health and well being. B Vitamins have a minimal risk of toxicity and are water soluble whilst promoting overall health to the body. The combination of these vitamins helps promote hair growth as they assist with conditioning and strengthening hair.

B1, B2, and B3 nourishment of hair follicle cells.

B6 – dandruff prevention (as someone that is prone to drandruff this makes me very happy!)

B12 – hair loss prevention; it also helps produce red blood cells which helps to deliver oxygen to your hair follicle assisting in healthy hair.

In a nutshell B vitamins are a blessing for your hair so as Porsha would so “go get you some!”

The last thing that I think was key in helping my hair grow – I wasn’t in it all the time. I wasn’t combing, detangling, twisting, etc I was just simply washing, deep conditioning, oiling my hair on a weekly basis. That’s it. For the first time in about four years my hair routine was simply simple.

Hair After Training (no manipulation)

November 2014

First Twist Out: December 2014 – Australia

December 2014 First Twist Out

April 2015: Curls Popping – twisted hair!

April Twist Out

Hair prior to the 2nd Big Chop: This is a pic from my last trip to Maine where I decided to go to teacher training – June 2014

Hair in Maine

Hair 2015 – Super Stretched! But look at the growth! CRAZY

May 3rd

Blessed in O-HI-O

Greetings! I’ve made it back to Ohio…it’s so crazy to think I went all the way around the world to just come home. If you want to know if god has a sense of humor just make plans – someone famous wrote that and it couldn’t be more true.

When I first had the idea that I would be quitting my job, traveling the world, and teaching yoga I never in my mind thought that I would end up right where I started in Warren, Ohio. I remember having a conversation with a dear friend in her apartment about my upcoming travels and she said “this is the perfect time…your parents are healthy, you have no real commitments.” How untrue her words would be a seldom seven months later.

My mother was first diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2000 – I’ll never forget the moment I found out about her cancer. There is nothing that can prepare you for realizing that at 15 1/2 your mother isn’t invincible. I was a brat that day – I believe I had said “i wish you would die” and my mother simply replied “you might get your wish – I have breast cancer.” Yup. That was a turning point in our relationship…I stopped being a brat. I can’t even remember why I was upset but no matter what the issue whatever I was feeling didn’t warrant wishing death on my mother. I remember sitting on our steps and just crying – not understanding, how does this happen and why but my mother (even though she must have been scared, frustrated and pissed since I just told her I wish she died) told me that she would be just fine and she would beat this. She did. And we’ve lived a very happy existence since them. Our relationship has improved tenfold, not just because of the cancer but because I grew up and stopped being a bratty 16 year old. You get perspective quickly when the most important person in your world gets sick.

About six weeks ago, I was speaking with my mother and she sounded a bit off. She just didn’t sound like herself and I was immediately alerted that something was wrong. I asked what was up and she said she’s tired her neck has been hurting her and they were doing a test on her lymph nodes the next day. That would be a terrifying conversation to have if I had just lived in NYC a short 50 minute flight or an 8 hour drive away…but being on the other side of the world (literally – used correctly!) it was earth shattering. Once again, my mom reassured me that things would be fine but this time she was wrong. Things weren’t fine and we quickly found out that her cancer had not only returned but it had metasized and found her bones as the perfect place to take up residence. As the daughter of a cancer survivor, I’ve had the remission dream time and time again but I was always able to wake up – call my mom and know that it hadn’t returned. I didn’t get to wake up this time.

I spoke with her doctor on Saturday March 21st and a week later I was back in the states. That last week in Melbourne was unreal. I didn’t do much besides practice, teach and start packing my clothes. I had friends coming to visit in July and we had talked just earlier that week about booking rooms and flights but something in my gut had told me to hold off. I made calls to my studio owners on Saturday letting them know that I wouldn’t be able to teach after the 28th and I’ll be sending my final invoices. I wanted to give myself a week because I wasn’t sure about flights back to the states that quickly and I needed time to find someone to take over my apartment, buy my furniture, close my bank account, etc. Looking back, it’s funny to see how quickly I was able to do everything – within 24 hours my roommates had found someone to take over my part of the lease and buy my furniture and the studio owners were more than gracious about my leaving so abruptly. It reminded me of when I left NYC – everything just fell into place which made me feel like I was doing what I should be doing. By Tuesday, I was ready to go but my flight wasn’t until Saturday…again I thought there is something more than just my mom’s cancer sending me home. I’m meant to be here at this point in my life.

During this time, my very good friend Brian created a gofundme page to pay for my ticket back to the states and other travel expenses. I am beyond grateful for the 44 folks that graciously donated so that I could get a flight back to the states and not have that financial burden. As I saw the donations coming in and the sweet messages from college friends, sorority sisters, friends of friends, co-workers, and the anonymous I felt incredibly loved. If you know me, you know that I’ve been looking for love for a long time and finding it in my friends and family that have rallied around me in this time of need is unbelievable. For the first time in a very long time I realized that I am loved. And I will be forever grateful to each and every one of you. Thank you so very much.

I started reaching out to yoga studio’s in the area because I would need a job…I had previously reached out to the studio in Cleveland about teaching in December 2015 but they were full up on teachers so I figured nothing would have changed since my last email in February. Boy was I pleasantly surprised – one of the teachers wanted to cut back on classes and that had availability for me. I couldn’t believe it- again it was so clear that I was supposed to be home.

Spending this time with my mother and grandmother has been wonderful and terrifying. My mother cancer is at stage four and that won’t change but luckily she has a great oncologist who has put together a wonderful treatment plan for her. At first we were so worried that we were looking at months, maybe a year at best but we’ve got YEARS on YEARS on YEARS! I know that my mother (and myself as well) is very lucky. Stage four cancer doesn’t always have such a happy diagnosis and for that I feel very blessed.

I do believe that blessed is the new humble. πŸ˜‰