Super Teacher's Job is Never Done!

Super Teacher's Job is Never Done!
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Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions. ~ Author Unknown

My goal is to reveal one teacher's humble journey of self-reflection, critical analysis, and endless questioning about my craft of teaching and learning alongside my middle school students.

"The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called 'truth'." ~ Dan Rather

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bikram Yoga = Sanity + One Happy Teacher!

It certainly has been a crazy semester. Aside from various challenges at school, I also struggled with finding a physical balance with my running (ie: my well-known and documented marathon addiction). Chest pains and exhaustion left me sidelined much of the fall, though I was able to finish the NYC Marathon (my 18th!) last month in my second fastest time of the year. I guess the body DOES respond well to rest and cross training!

Just when I thought I was back to full health and ready to resume regular running again, I ended up with an unknown foreign body in my left foot that two visits to the dermatologist could not cure. In fact, last week, he threw in the towel and insisted I see a podiatrist (I am tomorrow!). While the pain has now subsided, I couldn't walk well for days and had to stop running for over three weeks (which is like a death sentence for me!). I had to get creative in my physical pursuits, enjoying plenty of biking, swimming, stretching, strength training, Elliptical-ing, and, of course, my new favorite activity, Bikram yoga, which I tried for the first time two years ago. 

Since I am an intense, hyperactive person by nature (like most middle school teachers!), I like to sweat during my workouts, something that Bikram yoga more than offers. It is, after all, a 90 minute, 26-pose intensive yoga class in 105 degree heat. Sound horrible? Quite the opposite. In fact, I hate the heat but have come to LOVE this class. I recently started my practice up again at a new yoga studio, which is conveniently located at the end of my commute home (SO key!). Last week, I went to four classes and will hopefully get three more in before winter break. Every class, as hard and demanding as all of the postures are, I feel the stress of the day literally dripping off my body and leave refresh, renewed, and ready to tackle whatever the rest of the day -- and week -- has in store for me. This, of course, was something only running could fully do for me before.

For those of you wanting more information on this practice, check out the description taken from my studio's website (

Yogiraj Bikram Choudhury is the founder of the worldwide Yoga College of India™. Born in Calcutta in 1946, Bikram began Yoga at the age of four with India's most-renowned physical culturist at that time, Bishnu Ghosh, the younger brother of Paramahansa Yogananda (author of the most popular book on Yoga, The Autobiography of a Yogi, and founder of the Self-Realization Fellowship in Los Angeles).

Bikram practiced Yoga at least four to six hours every day at Ghosh's College of Physical Education in Calcutta. At the age of thirteen, he won the National India Yoga Championship. He was undefeated for the following three years and retired as the undisputed All-India National Yoga Champion.

At seventeen, an injury to his knee during a weight-lifting accident brought the prediction from leading European doctors that he would never walk again. Not accepting their pronouncement, he had himself carried back to Bishnu Ghosh's school, for he knew that if anyone could help to heal his knee, it was his teacher. Six months later, his knee had totally recovered. Ghosh was a celebrated physical culturist and the first to scientifically document Yoga's ability to cure chronic physical ailments and heal the body.

Bikram was asked by Ghosh to start several Yoga schools in India. The schools were so successful that, at Bishnu's request, Bikram traveled to Japan and opened two more. He has since brought his curative methods of Yoga therapy around the world.

Pretty cool, huh? I think Bikram yoga is the PERFECT compliment to any person's busy, hectic, sedentary life, especially teachers. It offers peace, physical challenges, serenity, solace, and the opportunity for true harmony between the body and mind. I feel so thankful that my random foot injury lead me to this practice once again and that I can easily get to a studio to bring peace to my day and balance to my body and mind. Go out and try it today!! 

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