Saturday, December 26, 2009

A big dose of culture

My office is closed between Christmas & New Year!  This year, The Husband and I decided to stay home rather than travel overseas.  I am looking forward to my week off to recuperate and relax.  I already know how my week is going to shake out.  It's going to consist of bargain shopping, reading, bikram yoga, baking, and museum visits!  There are soooo many awesome exhibits in NYC right now (below is a list of what I want to see) and I'm excited to catch up on my culture.  Will let you know what I think from each visit.

American Museum of Natural History [AMNH]
Traveling the Silk Road: Ancient Pathway to the Modern World

Brooklyn Museum
James Tissot: 'The Life of Christ'


Morgan Library & Museum
A Woman's Wit: Jane Austen's Life & Legacy

Museum of Modern Art [MOMA]
Bauhaus 1919-1933: Workshops for Modernity
Monet's Water Lilies
Tim Burton

Whitney Museum of American Art
Georgia O’Keeffe: Abstraction

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!!!

Merry Christmas to all of you!
May the joy of the season be present in your hearts and lives today and always!

Christmas with my sweet hubby & one of my presents: a plush sea otter!!
In the background is a parol, which represents the star of Bethlehem.
Parols are a staple decoration during the Christmas season in the Philippines.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

There's a New Studio in Town!!!

OH. MY. GAWD.  My jaw dropped weeks ago when I saw a sign and banners come up out of nowhere in my neighborhood.  My neighborhood!  Hooray!!  There's a bikram studio is open in Astoria, Queens!  I couldn't believe it.  The studio is just a short walk from my house!!  Now I will know what it feels like to simply walk to my studio rather than commute to one via subway, which I do now.

I think the opening of this studio became a major reason for participating in the bikram 101 challenge.  While it is easy to get to my regular studio in Manhattan during the week because of work, it is a bit of a hassle on the weekends when I don't need to go into the city.  Now, I can easily practice on the weekends without having to worry about a 25 minute commute.  It is often longer on the weekends because the subways get re-routed or delayed.

I learned that the owner/director is Jim Kallet, a senior bikram instructor who owns a studio in San Diego.  From the online schedule, I saw that he was teaching the 10am class so I went.  He happened to be running late so class started with another instructor.  By time we reached awkward pose, he took over.  He was a great teacher; encouraging yet calm.  After eagle pose, he took the time to explain to us what it means to lock the knee.  He stuck out his right leg and straightened it while explaining that his leg was not locked because the muscles above his knee were slack.  Then he pointed to his kneecap and said, "Watch what happens to my kneecap when I lock my knee."  And ever so slowly, he tightened his quadricep and his knee cap rose as if in slow-motion.  His thigh muscle became more defined.  It was so beautiful watch as I have never seen a teacher so clearly demonstrate what it means to "lock the knee".

Jim giving a seminar.
Photo is courtesy of Bikram Yoga Paradise Valley in Pheonix, AZ.

By the time we got to the right side of triangle, he kept encouraging me to keep rotating my torso and my neck so that the profile of my face faced the mirror.  Afterwards, he asked if I had a tighter right side.  I nodded my head.  During the spine strengthening series' savasanas, my neck muscles always feel tighter when I put my right ear on the floor.  Left ear, no problem.  I guess he also heard from Nancy, the studio manager, that I was doing the 101 challenge and confirmed it during class.  Then he talked about the benefits of doing bikram for 100 days straight and how this yoga is the "Key to the Kingdom of Health".

You'll definitely be hearing more from me about this studio as I intend to practice here on the weekends!

Bikram Yoga in Astoria, Queens
32-03 Steinway Street (at Broadway)
Astoria, NY  11103

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bikram 101 Challenge

The Husband thinks I'm insane. Mind you, he recently joined me and started doing bikram yoga. He's been at it for about 2 months, three days a week (he emphatically stated that 3 days a week was enough for him...and he doesn't want me blogging about his progress so I'm going to respect his wishes and restrain from commenting about his practice). As a married couple, we journey together in life and I was absolutely thrilled when he decided to join me in the sweat box and stick to it. But I'm on my own on this challenge. He will cheer and support me from the sidelines.

Since I started practicing back in March, I've been wanting to do a 30 day challenge, where one practices bikram once a day for 30 days straight. I never got around to committing and then through thedancingj's blog, I discovered she and a few other bikram yogis are organizing a Bikram 101 challenge. They are so inspiring and so on top of things! They have created a website, a facebook page, and a twitter account.

There is no way I would've embarked on this commitment alone. And even though I am fretting just a teensy weensy bit about going 101 days straight, I am comforted by the fact that so many others around the world will be doing this with me and that the cyberspace will house the community of participating yogis. 

Why 101 days?  Read all about the reasons here.  I could definitely use physical and emotional healing and I think it's a great way to start the new year!  I look forward to the commitment and the discipline it will take to fulfill this challenge.  By the time the challenge will be done, I would've celebrated another birthday.  It would be a great gift to myself and I was inspired by Charlie, another bikram yogi who did a 60 day challenge that ended right on his 60th birthday.

In typical Aries fashion, as if 101 straight days of bikram isn't enough, I've decided to blog about it and do something akin to Flickr's 365Days Project, where you take a self-portrait every day for 365 days straight.  Instead of 365 days, I'm going to only do 101 days, in conjunction with the bikram challenge.  I was inspired to do this by i love sweat's blog who always starts his posts with a picture.

So wish me luck folks!  I will need it as well as your encouragement, your support, and good cheer!