Thursday, May 26, 2011


Today I did Bikram Yoga again for the first time in over a year. If you aren't sure whether or not you're in or out of shape, doing Bikram Yoga is a good way to let you know. Holy cow.

All my memories of Bikram Yoga include me with a bright determined face, a spring in my step, and a farmer's exercise regimen. I forgot how healthy working 5 hours a day digging ditches and pushing wheelbarrows makes a person. I also forgot how unhealthy eating out every day, sitting around watching Netflix, eating cookie sandwiches, and drinking beer beer beer makes a person. I learned today.

Maybe I went into the room too soon. I was lying on my back about 15 minutes prior to the beginning of class, focusing on my breathing. Then, I started focusing on how much time till class started. Then, I started focusing on whether or not I should be stretching. Then, I started focusing on whether or not I was directly in front of anyone. Then, I realized I was focusing on way too many things, and I tried to focus on not focusing on so much, which made my body even more uncomfortable. Then I got scared that I wouldn't be able to shut my mind down in time for class to start. I was breathing heavily before we even began half moon.

It's amazing the power the mind has over the body, amazing that the body cannot be truly separated from that power. The instructor told us at one point to ask ourselves if our minds were telling us we couldn't do it instead of our bodies. She stated that the body is actually much stronger than the mind, but the mind is more powerful. If that makes any sense. Our bodies can do more than we often give ourselves credit for. The mind can make a strong body weak. It's terrifying.

Even while lying on my stomach, my left ear to the ground, staring blankly out the window in between postures, I couldn't get my mind to allow my eyes to stop shifting from one spot to another. Moving one's eyes around during resting poses literally deprives the body of much needed relaxation and recovery.

The pièce de résistance of the entire 90 minutes was the fact that, despite all of my reassurances to other people that even though you might feel like you're going to throw up, you won't, I still highly doubted my ability to finish without booting at more than one point in the class. My face was the color of a beet. My sweat was so salty, it burned my eyes, and I was starting to get some intense chills. 

Now, I'm sore, and tired, and my head hurts, but my mind is actually clear. I've been giving myself quick and easy answers for all my questions these days, but I haven't been giving myself solutions because solutions take too much time. My body taught me today that I cannot continue to be unless I allow myself and my mind to slow down and sit in the quiet. There will always be another challenging pose to keep my interest in life, but the times in between, the times when I'm resting, I really ought to rest, and allow my mind time to regain confidence in my body. 

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