Tag Archives: bikram

What Do You See When You Look in the Mirror?

Hi Yogis!

I just finished my morning practice…man am I ever enjoying my yoga practice these days. Some days some postures don’t feel as comfortable physically as others, but the practice of the practice is so amazing for me lately. Why, you ask? Well…let’s see…

What do I see when I look in the mirror? I promised a while back I would post about body image and self image…and I got a reminder (thanks John) about it lastnight, so decided I would give it my best shot today.

I was never skinny or even thin growing up. I was not overweight but I was a chubby child and started developing a woman’s body early in puberty so was never the girl with no boobs and legs for days. My weight has always fluctuated up and down a bit-maybe 10 lbs difference over time, depending on how much I was exercising, how much I was drinking and partying (in my young adulthood) and what I was fueling my body with. When I started practicing Bikram Yoga, I started the correlation between what I did at night and how I felt in class the next day. The amount of partying I did had a DIRECT correlation to how much my heart was pounding the next morning in class….huh….how about that. It got to the point that I wanted to feel good in yoga class and I began making the changes in my life outside the yoga room…such is growing up I think!! In making better lifestyle changes I started feeling better in the yoga room, I began practicing more because there was not as much struggle and more and more my yoga became a constant in my life.

My body did not change right away when I started practicing Bikram yoga. It was a slow and steady process…at first my jeans felt tighter in the legs and I felt like I was holding on in my body instead of letting go. In hind sight, of course, I understand my body now and think I was probably dehydrated back then, as well as building muscles and not flushing my body properly to allow the fat and toxins to be let go…hind sight is 50/50, as they say. When I went to teacher training, the same thing happened to me and my body. I did not lose weight like so many people around me…I felt like I was holding on to everything…like my body was not getting enough fluid and/or the right nutrition that it needed to trust that it could let go of storage…I remember having a conversation with some friends in TT about body image and saying that I accept how I look, the body I have and the size and shape I am. That night in class, Bikram looked right at me and said, “Miss Maroon, I like your size. You know what I mean”…I looked at him, smiled and nodded my head, and was a bit amazed that he somehow knew exactly what I needed to hear in that class. It was the only time Bikram spoke to me in class during my training.

OK…fast forward to a few years later (I think that is a song…!), I was living in Hong Kong, teaching 17 clases/week and practicing every day. I had done my first competition year and started to get more and more inspired about what was possible. I spent all of my time doing yoga and thinking about yoga and, thus, looking at myself in the mirror. I was surrounded by predominantly Asian bodies all the time and started to get a messed up reality of my own body and what was “normal”…I started to lose weight very quickly in the first year I was there…I moved there in May and by Christmas I had developed some kind of intestinal infection or something and was not able to keep anything in. It got to the point that people were telling me I was getting too skinny but it didn’t look that way to me…finally when I got to the point that my body wouldn’t even let me keep water in…I was dehydrated and my body was so stressed I was emotional as well as weak…I finally went to the doctor and he prescribed some anti-biotics to clear up the infection. I remember the day, it was Christmas and I had taught a couple classes in the morning. The cleaning staff manager, who I liked quite a bit, looked at me and said, “ok, it’s time now, you can’t wait any longer, you MUST go to the doctor, you are too skinny and sick”…I didn’t want to believe that I had lost control of my self…but as soon as I started with the medicine, I began to feel better.

Over the next couple years I was still very skinny. It was the fist time in my life that I was a size 2 or zero…clothes fit me, I enjoyed seeing the smallness of my frame, I didn’t have to wear a bra if I didn’t want to…and for a girl who always did, this was a big deal!! When I looked in the mirror all I saw was my shell. All I saw was my physical body, this casing that I had created, and I made it mean everything about ME….did you get that? I will repeat it just in case….when I looked in the mirror, all I saw was this housing, this body, this casing on the outside and I made it represent everything about me and who I was. Whew, that’s pretty big, isn’t it? I completely disregarded my person, my soul, what I had to offer in the world became only how I looked and everything hung on this physical shell of a person.


So, when I got back to North America, and I was again around a multi-culture of people, the size of my body started to show up more to me…at first I was still very attached to this image of my shell in the mirror. I didn’t want to listen to people when they said I was too thin…I chalked it up to people being unhealthy and careless with the food they eat and the exercise they did. I “knew” I was right and that I was healthy. Over the next few years, I started to gain a little bit of weight back…slowly. As I began gaining the weight, people would say how good I looked, that I was too skinny before, and how my body was looking healthier now. I would thank them, agree that I felt better, but inside I didn’t like this weight gain. I would still look at myself in the mirror and obsess over how my shorts used to fit and how I would not let myself go back to how I was before.

Through this time, I (as I have learned and discovered) shut myself off to love. Love of myself and therefore love of others. I was too ashamed to have anyone get to know me too well because I was too concerned that I had to look a certain way to be loved and if I did not then well I wouldn’t be loved. Geeze, what a belief!! I would go to visit teacher training and see people I don’t see very often and inevitably the topic of my weight and body would come up. I would always feel defensive when people would say I gained weight and I would feel like I was now well on my way to being fat…yup, fat. I held on so tight to the past and how I was that I had no concept of being happy with the way I looked at any given time because I was only comparing myself to what I looked like before…and before was, in my mind, the ultimate body-it was the body that propelled me into the top champions circle of the yoga competitions, it was the body that fit into clothes at any store, it was the body that could do yoga postures inside and out…but it was just a body, just a shell…and now it was only something that was in the past and this new shell I had was not as good as the old one, and in my mind everyone knew it. So, I felt ashamed. Yup, I felt ashamed that I could not maintain the body of the past, I was not strong enough of mind and character to eat less and do more to keep that body.

Seriously, ASHAMED?? wow.

OK…so, listen…there are always people in the world who now comment on my body. That is the pattern that has been created…I have relied on my body and how I look in my life for so many years now. I spent so many hours and years being in a spotlight using my body that it became the biggest part of me. When I stopped competing in 2009, I knew that it was time for me to use what I had learned and what I had come to gain to share with other people. I started working on my whole self…opening my heart back up to love not only other people but to love myself…I have learned that through loving myself, my whole self, that loving other people is easy.

When I look at myself in the mirror now I don’t only see my physical body. I see who I am as a whole. I see where I have been and where I am going. I see my light and my glow. I am not going to lie and say that I don’t have days when I look in the mirror and don’t like what I see…but on those days I ask myself why. What is it that I am comparing myself to that makes me believe something different? There is always going to be someone who we think has a nicer house or better hair or more money and better postures/kids/clothes/smile/compassion/jokes…etc…but for me now all I have to do is remember the truth. The truth is that, as I wrote yesterday, we are all one. We are all sparked from the same energy source so what we see is what we reflect. So when I look in the mirror I see my whole self just as I see my whole self in your whole self. Nothing exists unless I say it exists and my vision is a reflection and projection of my doing…so I get to create anything and everything. Period.

So, yogis…what do YOU see when you look in the mirror…?

Happy gazing…


Namaste…One Love…get my drift?

Good afternoon my lovelies!! It’s an ah-maz-ing day here in Truckee…the summer is holding on for as long as it can…someone said today it’s supposed to snow next week so we’d better enjoy it…but everyone is always talking about snowing around here so I’ll believe it when I see it.

aaaaaannnnnyyyyyhow….this morning I was in class and my mind went to “namaste”. Some teachers say it, some don’t, some understand it, some don’t. Some mean it…some don’t…so, this led me to think about what it means to me and what I think about it (I, by the way, say it at the end of my class…but I will be honest, there have been times I’ve taught class and not said it because I did not feel connected to the students…my issue, not theirs). So, here’s my deal with it….Namaste, as far as I am concerned is an acknowledgement that we are all one. One love. That no matter what the outside package looks like or sounds like or does or how it behaves, we are all one….sparked from one energy, one common light and at that inner most place, we are all one…

I have only had a few experiences, through meditation, where I actually really understood this and got it. This knowledge of everything coming from one and everything being connected…everyone and everything. So, even on days when my ego gets the better of me and I get angry at someone or frustrated or stressed out or whatever, when I allow myself to remember, I always remember that we are all one, one love…namaste.

I also just wanted to say a big thanks to all of you who commented on my last post about the yoga tops!! I managed to make it through a week of doubles at TT in LA without wearing a bandeau and no one died ;). I got a couple new tops from my friends at Yogabela and I also got a few new pieces from my friends at Onzie….I am still on the hunt for the “perfect” yoga top for me, but I also know myself and know that my style comes and goes, so having options is really the most important thing…always on the look out for the things that make me feel the best in class…we all know how it makes a difference how you feel in class when you aren’t constantly tugging or adjusting your yoga costume!!

Have a wonderful afternoon, yogis…I am about to get headed out to teach a double tonight.

I will be making an appearance in Victoria over the next few weeks, at BYSaanich…and maybe a class or two over in Van City if I can wrangle any up…so, hope to see you Victoria yogis soon!!

Love and unicorn kisses.
And, Namaste.
~Ida x

sigh…I have a problem…

Hello my loves!!

I am sad, I have a situation that I am feeling conflicted about…and it might be a bit of a rant…and it might be that I’m blowing it out of proportion…or perhaps there is someone out there who has some good ideas…

I am going to visit Bikram’s Teacher Training tomorrow for my week of posture clinics and classes and seeing so many friends…but since Bikram’s Ban on the Bandeau, I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR. It’s serious. I *almost always* (99% of the time) practice in a bandeau and now we are not able to wear them at TT and I have no idea what I am going to wear when I’m there. I know this does not seem like too big of a problem…you are probably thinking, “just get a couple other kinds of tops, ones with straps, or borrow something for the week you are there”…yes, I was thinking that same exact thing….but the problem is I do not know of any good yoga tops that are flattering on me!! As many of you know, I was very skinny when I was competing and now I do not restrict my food intake and monitor my yoga practice the same way and my body has gone back to a more voluptuous past…meaning I like the bandeaus because the right one is flattering and supportive (for yoga) and isn’t too “cleavage-y”…

I have been feeling more and more frustrated with yoga clothing makers these past months because I feel not only that they don’t make any styles with the bigger chested ladies in mind (how hard is it to design a top that fits around me but has enough room in the boobies!!???)…actually I have been SERIOUSLY frustrated with the increasingly smaller and smaller fits of all the yoga clothing companies lately (have you notice that the smalls are so small and the mediums and larges are just normal sized?? It can’t be only me who notices this…) and have to go with what I already have because I don’t like the trend of what’s been happening…

Alas, I digress…here is my question…any of you girls out there with breasts but not a huge rib cage like a style of yoga top WITH STRAPS of some kind??

I honestly don’t know what I’ll wear…a Onzie I suppose…

OK…let me know what you think πŸ˜‰

Love and unicorn kisses,
Ida x



I wanted to post a quickie about my upcoming yoga vacation with some info for you…

I went on a yoga vacation (when I say “went on” I mean I was teaching there but it was so wonderful to be there, teaching was so not even work!!) last spring (2011) just outside Manzanillo, Mx. The location is AH-MAZING and the resort is clean comfortable quiet beautiful…it is called the Punta Serena resort overlooking a beautiful bay called Tenacatita Bay. I wrote a post about it here on my blog

I won’t get into it all again, just read the previous blog…but I am going again!! October 13-20!! I’m super excited to get back there and enjoy the beauty that is this place. You get to do as much or as little yoga as you want…get massages, go to the beach or the pool…you can go do water sports and head to town or you can relax in the sun all week…it’s up to you. Seriously, why would you NOT do this??!!

Check out the website for more info here!!

Peace out, Puppies…hope to see you all soon


Oh nothing, just drinking a coconut fresh from the tree…

“Mindfulness” (period)~ Emmy Cleaves

Hello hi hi!!

Whew, where to start where to start. I just got back from Austin, Tx, where I was attending the Bikram Yoga Women’s Retreat as well as judging the Texas Regional yoga competition. I am sure I have written on here somewhere how much I love the city of Austin. I always knew I wanted to go to Texas, I didn’t know what was drawing me there but I always knew I had to visit. I found Austin and have since named it as one of my favourite places I’ve visited! So, I was so happy to be back in Austin even if only for a few days.

At the women’s retreat, we got to take class from Rajashree (bikram’s wife) as well as from Emmy (the principal of Bikram’s school…and his long time friend and yoga teacher). Over the years I have probably learned the most tidbits of posture information from Emmy. I always learn a few great amazing things when I take her class, so I always feel so fortunate when I get to spend time with her. This was a special circumstance event as well because she was around for discussion, posture clinic, meals, etc, so there was so much invaluable time with her. I won’t get into all the details of the weekend, you’d be bored and I’d be here writing all night!!….but I will tell you this: Karma is ALWAYS a circle, so what goes around, comes around…if you know what I mean…

On Saturday I was asked to be a demonstrator for the advanced class we did. This meant that I, as well as another woman and amazing yogi I know, were to do the class on the podium with Emmy. No problem, I’ve done it before for Bikram as well as have done advanced demonstration at the teacher trainings, so I was happy to do it…knowing full well it meant Emmy would be beside me for 2 hours and was bound to find at least a few things to correct!! Of course, I was so looking forward to it…I needed a tune up! πŸ˜‰ I learned a couple of gems, a few things I didn’t know and was able to ask a few questions about postures which I had been wondering about. All in all a great great practice.

So, then on Sunday I was to ensure Emmy got back to her room, got lunch, and made it to the competition. So, I put my mat right up at the front, beside the podium, so I would be there for her when the class finished. Emmy has, presumably, taught for her whole career from a chair at the back of the room. She usually walks around, very stealthily, during the floor series if she is spotting some things she doesn’t like, and then has a seat for the floor series. This day, this Sunday morning in Austin, Texas, Emmy taught the ENTIRE class from the podium! Yup, she stayed up close the whole time…and once her eyes spotted me in my set in my ways (?) practice, she was all over me like a dirty shirt (is that even a saying??!!). I got some much needed help with a few of my postures (in addition to the corrections in the advanced class), and chalk it up to my karma of the extra attention I’ve been known to give when I’m teaching ;).

So, this now brings me back to the topic….Mindfulness. (Period). Emmy said a few good gems this past weekend, I can only hope to remember them as I am living my life…but the one that stuck with me, the simplest and yet perhaps the most challenging thing…Mindfulness. (Period). She talked about mindfulness as being the most important element of any yoga practice…the ability to try and not give up as well as know when to sit down or take it easy…

Well my loves, it’s time for bed. I taught a double yesterday, a double today and teach another double tomorrow…SIX classes in THREE days….I am not sure when the last time I taught so many classes in a row was!! It’s fun but at the same time, it’s a lot of energy to give…so time for me to rest up for tomorrow. It makes me think of another blog post…about yoga and the gas station…but that’s going to have to wait… πŸ˜‰

Love you,

Have you ever noticed how different everyone is…?

Hello!!! It’s a Saturday evening and I am at home. I am supposedly packing for my road trip which begins on Monday…but, shhhhh, I am clearly not doing that. I was doing that, but now I am happily not. I’m a much better packer under pressure anyhow!

Today I taught a fabulous extra long Q and A class at the wonderful BYSaanich. It was a quickie throw together class…we decided about a week and a half ago that we would do the class. We took into consideration that it is summer and it was short notice and it ended up being a fab perfect class. 25 yogis hung out with me for 3 hours in the yoga room…and I have to say we all had a bunch of breakthroughs! (FYI, as I note, it wasn’t ME that made the class fabulous-I was referring to the ensemble…).

So…the real reason for this post is this: Have you ever noticed how there are not two people alike? Now, I don’t want you getting all identical twins on me, that’s not what I’m talking about. Do you ever compare yourself to someone, anyone else? Do you ever look at someone and then wish you looked like her/him and think you aren’t as good/fit/thin/funny/cute/fun/awesome in whatever way as this other person who you have decided is better in some way than you are? What IS “better”?? Seriously, think about it for a moment. There is so much pressure from society (but is there?) to look/be/act a certain way, so it directs us to think we need to all look the same…can you believe it? I have something to tell you….


Did you get it?

L.McB and I always think maybe we will compare ourselves to other people and think maybe we aren’t good enough in some way…and then after about 20 minutes we get bored because, seriously, what IS better? I mean, how can something be better than something else when there is nothing that is right? Seriously, seems a bit silly, doesn’t it?

Ah, yes, that is right. I almost forgot…we’re already perfect in this moment already…so there.

Ok Ok…back to packing…maybe.

Love you Puppies,
-Ida xx

Forgot to mention the OTHER freebie this weekend!

Good morning everyone!! What a beautiful morning…I was just checking the weather and we are expecting highs to TWENTY FIVE today!!! OMG THANK GOODNESS SUMMER HAS ARRIVED! I cannot say it often enough πŸ˜‰ I am going to do my yoga this morning, 10am at BYSaanich, so I have the rest of the day to enjoy…actually, I have a few other things I have to do so the whole day won’t be spent lazing around in the sunshine, but I will def have a few hours of it. And…tonight we are heading to the Buchart Gardens for the 2012 fireworks display. Good times good times.

OK…this is really why I wanted to write a quickie post this morning though…I forgot to mention in my post from the other day Some FUN FREE YOGA things coming up…. The Hudson Yoga studio has been having free yoga all this week and classes are still free through Sunday. I checked out the new studio this week and am happy to report, I snagged a free parking spot in the parkade (there are about 15 spots in the parkade which are free during the week for 2 hours as well as maybe 6 or 8 spots out front on the street…and then after 5pm and on the weekends, the entire parkade is free!) which was a good omen!

Ken made it his goal to ensure the yoga room was finished on time (you know how these things go with building, the completion dates are often pushed back and back…), but the rest of the studio-changerooms, lobby etc, is still under construction. No worries, the showers worked, the toilets flushed, the rest of it isn’t imperative in my opinion. The room is pretty, high ceilings, radiant heat panels, fresh air intake, cork floors. The floors are slippery when wet so watch your step after your practice.

On the website the classes are listed as “Hudson 60” and “Hudson 90″…the class I took was a 90 and was exactly the Bikram series. (There was an article in the Times Colonist last weekend in which he said they weren’t doing Bikram Yoga…I guess they just aren’t calling it that but the teachers are teaching the same series). I believe there is also a flow class and a yin class offered but I haven’t looked to closely at the schedule.

So…classes are still free today and tomorrow and I imagine there are all sorts of deals and steals for memberships during this free week. ALSO, today they are having a health expo out front of the studio. I might wander down there later to check out what’s happening…so far I have heard of live music and Salt of Life being there…

OK, Lovelies, must run. Have a super awesome day, go play outside!