Day 4. Drinking the Kool-Aid.

Maximum effort, maximum stillness.

I love this. Something about this workout is clicking for me. It fits me. I love that we do the same 26 poses each time. I can measure the days. I can compete with myself. (And I can measure the time left in class…)

I wasn’t going to go today, but I felt the pull once again and left feeling tired but energized. I think I’m at the beginning of a slow but important change.

I am grateful.

Maybe someday I’ll even love the locust.

Day 3. The Girl Who Cried At Yoga.

84asanas

I’m not going. I’m too sore. I should drink water so I’m hydrated for class. But that isn’t necessary, because I’m not going.

Where is my towel? I should stay home and rest. Where is my pink sports bra? I’m dressed, so I might as well go. It’s going to hurt. I’m standing in the hallway examining a poster of the 84 classic asanas to avoid going into the hot room. Maybe I could sneak out now and go home.

The room is packed. The sun is on the floor, but it’s not as hot in here today. I wonder if the furnace is working correctly?

The routine is more familiar today. I can anticipate. I can synchronize my movements with the dialogue. Almost. Noticeably better, though. I can focus on my breath a little. I can correct my reflection. Right hip forward. Left shoulder forward. Chest up. Sometimes I am so wobbly, but today I smile and laugh at myself. I try again.

Today I use my breath to push further. I want to phone it in, but I can’t do that to my reflection. There is a difference between laziness and knowing your limits. I focus on form and then I push. I can hear the sweat dripping and hitting my towel. I like it. It feels like I’m working.

Today I didn’t bring a washcloth to wipe my face and hands. I think it keeps me cooler to just let it be. I’m all for avoiding excess movement. But I’m actually not dying. This is a relief. It’s hard, but I feel strong.

I smiled several times today. (Except during that damn locust pose—my elbows felt like they were being twisted in a medieval torture device.) During the final few postures, I felt like I could keep going. What is happening to me?

During the final savasana, the instructor talked about the absolute importance of taking the time for yourself. Yes. I was there for me. I was making myself stronger. As she kept talking, my heart starting beating hard and my eyes filled with embarrassing hot tears. I realized I was, at last, finally doing something for myself after four intense years of ever constant motherhood, sleep deprivation, depression, and feeling alone in my marriage. It will make me a better mother if I take care of myself. Rushing to the grocery store alone doesn’t count as “me time”. It’s been a long time.

So on day three, I cried. I cried in yoga. My usually Type-A, control freak self decided to let those tears fall. They rolled down the sides of my face and into my ears and were eventually absorbed by my special yoga towel. I didn’t dare move my arms to wipe them away. This is a time of change. It hurts and feels amazing. (Even if I’m now the Girl Who Cried At Yoga.)

I left that hot room feeling so unbelievably good! I stood up a little taller as I walked to the changing room. I couldn’t believe I almost stayed home and missed such a great day! I’m definitely coming back.

Day 2. The Good Kind of Hurt.

It’s so hot in here. 

It’s hot in here, but the air is cool. I feel the heat on my body, but I’m breathing cool air through my nose.

The air was HOT! But I told myself these little lies about the cool air during my second Bikram yoga class as a means of keeping my heart calm. It was beating inside my ears for most of the class. Even though I practically fainted yesterday, I came back again for another dose of the torture chamber.

I was listening to the dialogue and also not listening to it—trying to drown out the sound and focus on the poses. I was sore and wobbly from the day before, but able to push a bit more than yesterday, which hurt in a good way. The only pose that gave me true pain was the locust pose, which hurt beyond belief. I assumed my elbows had been incorrectly installed and made a note to ask the instructor about this theory after class. I could feel all the places that were sore from yesterday. It felt so much harder, and yet the time went faster, since I knew what to expect.

My “lamp-post leg” shook, and I got so frustrated. I wanted to be better than this! I hate failing. Was I failing? I was there, in the room. I was standing.  I made it through a second time and still had to concentrate on my steps as I walked to the changing room. As I rushed out to my car, to the air conditioning, for some reason I decided if I was going to try Bikram yoga, I should go all the way and do seven days in a row.