It’s surreal that on Wednesday, we’ll be half way through. I have to admit, I’m fearing Bikram’s return. While you learn so much from him, there is an element of going through hell to get to heaven that is just….scary. That said, I am also certain good things will happen for me; and he wants good for all of us. So, I’m working to be open and not fearful of being called out, pushed beyond (what I think are) my limits, berated or just kept up way, way too late.
A lot of the young people here are really fascinating. I haven’t decided what the best time in life to come here is/would be. It’s like anything – pros and cons either way. It seems to me the young ones (and by young, I mean 17 – 23), particularly the more evolved ones, are really having some huge realizations and breakthroughs. I talked with a few yesterday at the pool, and it was just so interesting to me. It has been said that being here for 9 weeks is like 9 years of therapy – ah, the money I could’ve saved!!!!! ;)
Anyhow, one girl was saying how she has had two super-sob fests during yoga classes thus far – one left her muscles cramped, her hands contracted in a way that resembled an arthritic 90-year-old, and after class, she was unable to climb a flight of stairs. She really put time into processing it though. She told me she had a flashback to a young, young age of 3, where she cried hysterically because she felt jealous of her gramma holding her new baby cousin, as if she wasn’t loved anymore. Her gramma soothed her, rubbed her back…but she said that is the last memory she has of letting herself really cry. She’s got a tough façade, and that’s kinda her shtick, and she’s hid behind that, even prided herself on it to some degree. She’s 22, and she was like “I’ve held in or suppressed all my tears and feelings since I was 3, and I realized this on my mat the other day.” Now, she has a newfound understanding of the value of just letting feelings come, observe them, have them, and let them go. What I would’ve given to get that concept at the ripe age of 22. My therapist told me this from about 22 until I figured it out somewhere around 27...I just didn't seem to have a tool to internalize the concept so it would impact my actual actions and reactions. It sounded awful, too...
They talk about this a lot - the idea of letting what is just be - if you want to cry, then cry - if you feel something, have it. And the yoga is so much about this concept (those of you who do Bikram know this). It’s a metaphor, the whole class, every posture. You do a posture one day and it’s easy. Great. I can observe that, feel it, let it go, no problem. But then you do it again the next day, and it is so hard, it hurts, you’re soooooo hot, you can barely go on, you honestly feel like you might just die – and it’s your job to treat it the same as the easy one: Observe it, feel it, be with it, don’t fear it, let it go. It’s over, you move on and accept it as an experience you had in your life. Every posture, every class, applies in this way to real life.
I find myself more and more getting yogic about my – as I call them – lesser moments. For example (or shall I say, again, my typical example…), I look in the mirror some days and I just look so fat – it’s all I can see. My reaction to this has changed so much - here’s how the conversation looks in my head now that I do this yoga:
“You look super fat today. Hm. Stop that. Actually, somehow you do look a little puffy. Maybe you’re bloated. Maybe you ate too much. Maybe you need to poop. It’s ok that you look like this today. Tomorrow you’ll probably look skinny again. Walk away from the mirror now, this isn’t productive. Let it go. Move on. Have your day, you know you’re at a healthy weight, you work hard, and you’re honest with yourself about food and exercise. You do your best, and your best is enough.”
Wow. Just writing that actually makes me tear up. Here’s what it used to look like, for comparison:
“You are such a f*cking fat cow, you are disgusting, you should be shot. You really don’t deserve to live.”
I wish I was exaggerating.
And no, the yoga hasn’t been some turnkey solution, don’t get too excited if you’re reading this and think one Bikram class and you’ll cure all self-hatred. BUT, I will say, for me, it has been a capstone to the work I have done over the past 15 years, working to stop the body-hate, the self-hate, and honestly, the utter self-loathing. It just feels so far away from me now, and while moments pop up – they are like little flare-ups, they come, they may even have a speck of intensity that is surprising – but I react most of the time by pretty quickly and easily talking myself off the ledge (except it seems, when I’m really emotional and PMS’y, which once I realize, I can let it go then too – in those cases, it’s usually Jill who talks me off the ledge). And, though I still regress to old reactions periodically, they usually are shorter and not so intense.
I’m not trying to be extreme here – however, it is my opinion that this yoga is a gift from God. Or the universe. Or whatever you believe in. It is a gift, and if you don’t do Bikram yet, I will unapologetically say you should. There has been no quicker path for me to a sense of self-love that is deeper than anything I’ve known before in my life; and I only expect it to deepen and grow each time I step onto my mat, look in the mirror, right into the eyes of my teacher – myself – and see someone looking back who deserves the time and attention and love that I’m about to give, and get, from my practice.
Today's Pix: An outing to Starbuck's for the first time; Bonus Class Sunday! I went to 11 a.m. yoga just because I wanted to... it was so great, easy, nice class on my terms! I loved it.; Bought a new bathing suit as my reward for making it this far, it has flair...just like me ;) Todd studying by the pool; and the swans. I also got a beach massage (it was well, ok, and only $20); relaxed at the spa a little bit; studied dialogue...nice Sunday!