Thursday, August 28, 2008

Quiet the Mind, Do the Pose

Had a bit of an epiphany during practice today.   Reasons abounded for me to give up during class:  I had a new mat and it smelled like burning rubber; my teeth hurt during any pose in which my head was below my waist; my new metallic water bottle was hot on my mouth; my eyes were burning from running mascara; I hadn't eaten and was tired; it was just plain hot.  And through a good part of the standing poses, my mind was jabbering about all the reasons I should just give up and sit down.  Then finally, finally, I was able to  quiet my mind and not bother with my suffering.  I just did the work and in the process of that work, I found a great deal of satisfaction.  I suppose, in a way, that's what Tolle talked about in his book, "A New Earth".  Being in the moment helps to calm the ego and allow ourselves to be present.

A friend of mine a very long time ago talked about his experience at boot camp.  He said that although it was certainly a grueling experience, he understood too that it was a mind game.  I think that yoga training will be somewhat similar to that.  I will need to let go of my thoughts and just do the work.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Bendy? Not quite!

I am not a bendy person. Never have been. I was never one of those kids who could do the splits, or gymnastic moves, or put my upper body down on my knees. But here's the thing about yoga -- you don't have to start out bendy, but with time and practice, you will become more flexible - in your body and in your mind. I'm definitely better than I was, but under no circumstances am I the best person in the classroom - or even close to it - but I feel strongly that this practice will help me to age gracefully and stay healthy. I watched my parents lose their balance and their strength as they aged, and although this is a natural part of life, I feel strongly that it's the best thing I can do for my health.

I met a woman at a yoga seminar this year who had a scar on her elbow and couldn't extend her arm out all the way. Other than that, her practice was perfect. She executed the postures beautifully except her right arm wasn't absolutely straight. I figured she had been in a car accident, but I was wrong. She had rheumatoid arthritis, and at one point in her life, had joints so locked, she couldn't go to the bathroom by herself. She spent most of her days in a wheelchair. Then she started to do Bikram yoga and got flexibility back in her joints. She did have surgery on her elbow, which resulted in the scar and her inability to fully extend her arm, but other than that you would never know this woman had a debilitating illness. She's now a surgery nurse, she is married and walks around without any problems whatsoever.  I take a tremendous amount of hope and inspiration from her.  When I'm tired or sore, I remember this amazing woman and try to suck it up and continue on with "bulldog determination".  

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Start of the Adventure

Well, here we go. It's August 23, and I leave on Sept 10 for Acapulco and 9 weeks of Bikram's Torture Chamber (that's really what he calls it). Those who have gone describe it as being harder than boot camp, but one of the most rewarding experiences of their life. Why in the world would I want to participate in such a thing? Well, over the last 3 years, I lost a lot of things -- my dad, my dog, my best friend, a guy, my mom, and more. I really identified myself as a person of loss and the thing that helped me to get past that, to process the grief and make myself something more and different, was Bikram Yoga. It's definitely a workout, but it's also a form of meditation. And I love it. It's my intention some day soon to have my own Bikram yoga studio and share this wonderful experience with others.

So the adventure begins.