Thursday, February 3, 2011

Forward Thinking: Beyond the 30 Day Challenge

I've decided that I'm going to maintain my blog beyond just the documentation of my 30 day challenge. This is officially my yoga blog. Discovering that Bikram yoga has many more applications in my life outside of just a 30 day challenge I think it is important to continue to document my experiences in this practice. It's always good to see where you've come from and where you are going and I think the same is true for my new found love of Bikram yoga. Since everyday is different, the blog will give me motivation to continue and revisit challenges overcome or breakthrough's achieved. A prime example is my experience with class over the past few days.

There is no doubt this yoga practice is difficult to fit into the schedule every day but it is true that your body craves yoga when you miss even one class. After a day of rest on Sunday, I was excited to get back to class Monday to start of the month of February. Well, unexpectedly I had to cover something at work and couldn't get to class by 4. Tuesday I worked from home due to the "ice storm" that had been forecast but didn't really materialize, so I was determined to get to 4pm class. I left the house feeling like I really really needed yoga for my mental health that day. I arrived at 4:05pm, I could see the class just starting the breathing exercise...sweet just in time! Or so I thought, the door was locked as anyone working the studio had gone into the class. I found out from Megan it was not more than a split second before I got there (she saw walking up through the window) that Insel locked the door and came in. Feeling so in need of class and so upset that I had not made it and now wasted a 2 hour round trip effort to get there...I cried. A lot. So I went home and worked into the night to distract myself from my woes.

Wednesday, no way anything was going to get in the way of yoga. Today was my day. Then I had something that has never happened thus own personal worst yoga class. Maybe I was not mentally prepared or had been too stressed the days before, but I did not have the physical or mental strength for this class once we got started. My body could not seem to regulate its temperature and midway through standing pose I was so hot that the temperature was the only thing I could focus on. My clothes felt like I was standing directly in the sun, offering no relief. I began to wonder if the room was abnormally hot. The instructor, Max, a fairly new teacher was sweating much more than teachers usually do and he made zero adjustments to the thermostat during class...which I always notice the other instructors monitoring. The sounds in class seemed to be of amplified struggle, as if all of our bodies were screaming out "Check the thermostat!!!" Oddly enough, I gathered some unknown strength in triangle pose, but lost it from there. As soon as we hit the floor series I could not take it any longer. I debated walking out of the room, my clothes were on fire and my energy was zapped. How can I make it, I need to leave. Why is this happening? Then I succumbed to my despair and total meltdown, I began to cry laying on my back looking at the ceiling. I kept crying and sat out half of the floor series unable to muster the strength and mental capacity to do what normally comes so easy. Finally, I let the tears dry up and put in a half effort to finish the second half of floor series. There was no real intent or focus in any of my postures. There was no joy in movement, just basic movement...get me through this class and allow me to at least stay in the hot room the full 90 minutes. I noticed though that there was a lopsided number of others in the room struggling as well. Many sitting out posture after posture and one person did get up and leave with only two postures left. I've never felt a collective class energy like this, just biding our time to get to the end. I felt like this class and especially myself were so in need of an instructor that could provide strong words of encouragement, but none came. I never realized how much those encouraging words from more seasoned instructors really made a difference until they did not exist when I needed them most. I don't want to be negative about Max because I think this was a combination of "perfect storm" factors. I have had a class with Max before and it was the complete opposite, although his instruction was the same. Today was just a day that I would have benefited from my favorite cheerleader rather than relying on myself to pull myself together. In the end I finished class but could not believe how awful my performance had been. Surprisingly, I was upbeat after class despite how bad it was. I reminded myself that everyday is different and the next practice can only be better. Still that class was my personal awful!!!

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