Friday, June 24, 2011


Participate in Solstice in the Square on my 30th Birthday - DONE!

So, I've been practicing yoga off and on since college, but I never really considered myself a die hard, because I was mostly taking "gym yoga" classes, not actually going to a studio.  About three months ago I started taking Bikram Yoga classes, inspired by this project to try something new and step out of the box. 

However, I was really concerned that I wouldn't make it through the class.  The Bikram Yoga classroom is heated to 105 degrees, kids.  That's HOT.  People usually report lightheadedness and nausea during their first class.

Oh HEELLLL no, Nasrene doesn't tolerate nausea.  I have an irrational fear of throwing up.  I will never be the girl to hold your hair while you're puking. Never. I apologize, but I will be running away from you as quickly as possible.

So naturally I prefer to avoid ANY activity that may even SLIGHTLY make me feel as if I am going to throw up. Can't handle it.

Anyway, when I realized that my fear of throwing up was holding me back from TRYING Bikram yoga, I had a serious chat with myself.  And came to the conclusion that I was being ridiculous.

So I tried it.

And the first class was...rough.   But good. I wanted to make it through the whole class without running out into the air conditioned lobby, and I did.  I was silently wondering when the hell this torture would be over in my head, but I did it.   I made it through.

And I sweated more than I've ever sweat in my entire life.  Seriously, I felt like someone had dumped a pitcher of water over my head.

And I was a complete space cadet for about an hour after that class.

But then I felt...amazing!  I felt calm, I felt like my head was clear, I felt less stressed...

So I went back...the very next day.

And it was no where near as challenging as it was the first day.

So I went back that weekend...and I loved it!

So I've now added Bikram to my list of things I really enjoy.  Ideally I could go several times a week, realistically I strive for once a week.  There's something called the 30 day challenge where you go every day for 30 days, which I would love love love to do, but there is no way in hell it could happen with my schedule.  I really don't understand how anyone who is a parent, yet alone a working parent, yet alone a working, single parent could find the time to do that, but I digress.

Last year when I posted the original list, I mentioned at the very end that I was hoping to attend the Solstice in the the Square on my 30th birthday.  I didn't know if I could logistically make it happen, especially since it only happens on one day of the year (my bday!!), and I didn't want to set myself up for disappointment.

Essentially it's a yoga class in the middle of Times Square.  It's grown since it's first year from a handful of participants to THOUSANDS!  And it's kind of become a mini-yoga convention for the day.  Right in the middle of insanity.

I wanted to do this soooo badly.  By the time I had first heard about it last year there were no spots left, and registration was full.  Sad face.  So I really wanted to make the effort to attend this year.  The event is coordinated by the Times Square Alliance, and somehow I managed to get myself on their email list.  Back in February I started stalking their website, waiting for information about the event, and finally, several weeks later it was posted.

I immediately registered--for the Bikram class!!--and called my sister.  She registered too.  My friend Shannon registered (her bday is 3 days after mine, which makes it TODAY!!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY SHAN!!) and so did her friend Lauren.  I was so excited that this was really going to happen!!!

And so on my 30th birthday, we took the bus up to NYC bright and early and joined 1800 yogis and yoginis for a class IN THE MIDDLE OF TIMES SQUARE.

The theme was mind over madness: finding tranquility and transcendence in the midst of the world's most commercial and frenetic place.  Ummm, can we say AWESOME?

Now in a typical yoga studio you'd have calm and peace, the lights are often dimmed, and there are mirrors to help you achieve your desired postures.  In a typical Bikram Yoga studio it would be heated.  In the middle of Times Square it was frantic.  Advertisements, tickers and lights as far as the eye can see.  Thousands of gawkers walking around, staring at you, taking your picture.

Not to mention we were positioned right next to the red steps, so spectators just stood there and watched...definitely awkward during Dandayamana Bibhaktapada Paschimottanasana (say that five times fast).  But there was something pretty amazing during the introduction meditation and then again during savasana...there was this peacefulness that came over the whole area, as everyone in the class was quiet and still.  Like we were in our own little oasis of calm.  It was pretty amazing.

Anyway, enough talk, here are some photos of the event:

Tree pose:

 Standing bow pose:

My perspective:

I never noticed this before, but the Sanskrit for "om" looks very similar to a #30! (How appropriate):

Watching the evening session:

What an awesome way to spend a birthday.  And it's one that will go down in history, because the Times Square Alliance folks decided to stream live footage of the event on the internet

Take a look at this video. Yes, we decided to bomb that live stream.  My cameo starts at 1:13, & Neda at 1:42.  Her swan lake pose is at 2:00, then Shannon and I grand finale at 2:42.  Those little jumping heads are us (I'm in the teal, Neda's in the white/black and Shannon's in the grey).  HILARIOUS!


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