Wednesday, April 21, 2010


When I first heard about this "hot yoga" Bikram stuff, I totally resisted.  I mean, hey, I was different...I needed a "real" workout, and didn't want al the 'woo woo' crap of a yoga class.   Despite a friend's persistent calls and emails about how good she was feeling after a few months of regular Bikram yoga classes, I continued to run...and run...and then run some more.  Don't get me wrong, I think running can be a fine thing...but for me, it became about intention.  My intention was fear I overate at night and overran in the day...1, 2 hrs, or more.  I ran in fear of getting fat and towards some elusive goal that I could never actually pinpoint.   It ceased being fun.  Or healthy.  I lived with aches, chafing, and blisters, and I even ran for weeks on what turned out to be a stress fracture in my foot.  Good times..not. 

So I finally agreed to go to Bikram with my friend one day after she promised me that I would see "my sweat sweat..."  Of course, I had to jog the 20 minutes or so to class, so I would get my "work out" just in case this wimpy class was too easy.  I vaguely remember the specifics of that very first class, though I do recall that I did NOT like all the mirrors...ok, the mirrors were fine, actually...I didn't like what I saw in the  And for 90 minutes, I had to gaze into my own eyes most of the time.  And I sweated.  A lot.  It was not technically hard, really, though I was initially pretty frustrated when the yogini near me (who was probably half my size and half my age) could get her foot over her head in Dandayamana Dhanurasana  (standing bow pose) and my foot was nowhere to be seen.  OK, I kinda obsessed on this pose...I even dreamed about it.  It bugged me dammit...there is a story about surrender around this pose but I'll save it for another day. 

At the end of that first class, I do remember lying down in Savasana (corpse or final resting pose) in the 105° (Farenheight, not Celcius, thank God!) and thinking, "I hate this I hate this I hate this."  Not one to waste money, though, I went back since I had purchased an unlimited week to try it out.  And I gave it another chance.  I kept running...though the runs more 2 hours of running anymore...20-30 minutes to class and another 20-30 minutes back home.  It wasn't instantaneous; however, after a week of 3 or 4 Bikram classes, I felt a shift beginning.  Fear began to leave me and my intentions began to have a healthier foundation.  I slowed down a bit...first on a mental "toxic thought" level....then on a more physical level.  What had I been running for?  A better question: what had I been running from? 

That was nearly 7 years ago...I kept up my classes, and besides the physical aspect of the asanas (postures), I began to my that little voice I had ignored...not the ego voice that was often filled with toxic inner truth.  I began to actually like what I saw in the mirror when I gazed into my own eyes.  And when I did go for a jog or walk, it wasn't based in fear.  Instead I began to notice the flowers, the landscaping, my neighbors....the universe.  And it didn't revolve around me....

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