Friday, June 21, 2013

Day 5: Just when you don't think you can sweat anymore...

After four days it seems like you can't possibly have any water left in you to sweat out, right? WRONG. I think I was more sweaty today than I was in any of the previous four days. You'd also think you'd be ready to give up, but I totally wasn't. I almost sat out of the second set of triangle, probably mostly out of habit, but then the instructor announced that today is the birthday of one of the regular practitioners, so I knew I couldn't. The studio I practice at here has a tradition of singing a full verse of happy birthday on anyone's birthday during each side of the second set of triangle, so I knew I had to do it. Once I got through that the rest of the class breezed on by.

Still waiting for the final word, but it looks like my little buddy will get to go home today! That means that I don't have to practice tomorrow, but it almost feels weird that I won't be. Maybe a break would be good for the weekend though. I'll be visiting with family next week, and while there isn't a bikram studio in that town, there are two moksha studios, so you know I'll still be getting my sweat on! Or I could practice at home, with the cds... what, you don't own the bikram cds? It's worth the 20$ for the bikramisms alone ("This is not a cheesecake factory!" is probably my favorite).

*I put an asterisk in my post yesterday when I was talking about the instructors practicing while pregnant, which I meant to follow up on at the end of the post but got too excited about the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis video to remember to actually do so. All I really wanted to say is: a) it's super cool to see them practice, and b) if you are pregnant or considering getting pregnant and you do bikram, make sure you talk to your instructors/studio owners/doctors. There is a modified series (aka no lying on the belly, etc). If you are but have never done bikram, you might want to wait to start. The heat + some of the postures could be dangerous, especially for someone inexperienced. I don't know if I would do it if I got pregnant and I've been practicing for 6 years, but there is no set rule, it just depends on each person.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Day 4: Moving forward, always forward

Today was definitely not as hard as yesterday. The funny thing about this yoga is that the more you do it, the better/easier it gets. You think, after two or three days in a row, that you'll just keep getting more tired if you go one more day. But then you do go on the fourth morning, and it's not that bad. In fact, it's probably better than it was yesterday.

In spite of my weirdness after camel yesterday, I pushed through. The instructor that I talked to yesterday was practicing beside me and is 5 months pregnant.* The instructor today just had a baby two months ago and practiced until her doctor said she should stop. If they can do it, I wasn't about to sit it out! So I did camel and all was well. In fact, it was much better than yesterday's!

After practice, the first song that came on the radio was one of my favorites, from my new favorite artists, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (yes, they actually do get much deeper than singing about thrift shopping). This song speaks to me so deeply that I can't watch the video without crying. I can barely even listen to the song without getting emotional. But I belted it out in my car today. It perfectly encapsulates how I feel about human rights ("no freedom til we're equal, damn straight I support it") and just about life in general.

Keep pressing play, keep moving forward.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Day 3: Recovery

I decided to go to the noon yoga class, as opposed to 9am, today, to give my body a few extra hours to recover after the shock of two days in a row for the first time in a long time. It also gave me more time to rehydrate. From all accounts, my little buddy is also recovering, and doing a very good job at it. We are all so proud of you, little man!

I took it easier today, backing off when it felt like the right thing to do, sitting out a posture when absolutely necessary. I had a strange experience after the second set of camel, in that when I came out of it, the left side of my jaw felt tingly and numb, and then a slight twinge of pain. I took it easier after that, and made sure that I could keep smiling at myself normally in the mirror, which probably made me look like anything but normal to the rest of the people around me! (I know I'm *probably* too young to have a stroke, but many of us in the knitting world have read the brilliant words of Kate Davies and know it is not *impossible*.) It's gone now and I spoke with the instructor after class who said that as long as it goes away, it is probably fine. I've pushed myself this week and I may have tweaked a nerve or pulled a muscle that is reacting funny.

Still, I'll be there tomorrow, and Friday, and Saturday too, if necessary... fingers crossed that our little friend gets to go home Friday, not because I wouldn't go (or wouldn't want to go) on Saturday, but because it will mean that he gets to go home!!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Positive, healing energy request: Day 2

Today was far more challenging, physically, than yesterday. Even before I hit the hot room, I knew it would be. In spite of everything feeling easy yesterday (aside from the emotional messes), the muscles in my back and legs told me otherwise this morning. It was harder to get out of bed than usual. But (for once) it didn't even cross my mind to skip today.

So at 8am, as my little buddy got wheeled into the operating room, I suited up and got in my car to drive across town to the yoga studio. By 8:40, I was on the mat, stretching, trying to meditate, but restless to get going. At 9, practice started. I'm sure that little buddy was already well into surgery by that point, but I don't have any updates yet, so I can't be sure.

Like I said, physically, today was a lot harder than yesterday. It's the first time I've done two days of practice in a row in a long time. But as tired as I was, as much as my muscles protested (in a good way—I've torn a muscle while running before, so I would be the first to back off if I thought it was getting to be too much), I kept going. And I did some of the best postures I've ever done. I finally got down into toe stand (on the right side, anyway) and my triangle (which is usually SO. HARD. for me) was so good that the instructor noticed and called it out... which, of course, prompted me to fall out of it, immediately!

My little buddy is losing a part of himself today... a small part, and a part that is not necessary, and could, in fact, impede his development. Once he heals, he will grow into the smart, strong, handsome person we all know he's going to be. It's a good metaphor for life, actually. We often need to lose a part of ourselves in order to grow. We know, usually long before we act, that we need to quit that job, or break up with that boyfriend, or cut ties with a friend who is holding us back or even hurting us... and yet it is hard to let it go. But once we do, we can truly grow into our fully realized selves.

Those of us who practice yoga, especially those of us who have done it for a long time, know that one of the not-so-little things that we have to lose when we walk into the studio is our egos. Our egos can boost us up... but they can also hold us back. That's why, when the instructor told me how good my triangle looked, I fell out. Sometimes I want to be noticed so bad, I want people to see how hard I'm working, but when she said "great triangle!" to me today, it was like it was a signal to my ego that I had succeeded and could then give up. But that's not how it works. Not in yoga or in life. When our bosses or teachers tell us "good job!", it doesn't mean that we can quit and never return. We can't even go home for the rest of the day! We have to keep working, even harder, towards the next goal. So even though today was hard, it doesn't mean that I can give up. Tomorrow I'll go back and work harder, just like I know that tomorrow my little friend will be working hard on his recovery.

The instructor also reminded us today of the story of Daniel, a bikram student who is also in a wheelchair. I'd seen his video before, and it is a very powerful reminder of how much we can do when we put our minds to it. Unfortunately I can't seem to find the video anywhere, but if anyone knows what I'm talking about, please link to it in the comments and I will edit the post to include it!

Monday, June 17, 2013

a good vibes/prayer/dedicated practice/healing energy/whatever request

I know it's been a very, very long time since I've posted, but this is too important for excuses/explanations/apologies. Perhaps another day I'll explain my long, unexcused (and possibly inexcusable?) absence from this blog.

A very dear friend of mine, along with her husband (who I am lucky enough to also call friend), and their very young son (who is probably too young to understand the abstract concept of friendship, but smiles at me whenever I enter the room regardless), are going on a very scary journey. I won't bog this down with the details, which are not mine to tell anyway, but they are both strong people and excellent parents, and I know that they will come out of this on top. That doesn't, however, make the long road ahead of them any easier.

I went into my practice this morning with them on my mind, as they set out on the road to a specialized children's hospital that can help them with their particular issue. It was an extremely emotionally charged practice for me, as I could not separate mind from body and could not stop thinking about them and all they are going through. Within the first five minutes, I had decided that I would dedicate whatever yoga practice I did this week to them, hoping that the positive, healing energy I received I could put back out into the universe to help them on this journey. Within 10, I had vowed to practice every day until they get to take their little boy home again. (As of right now, the doctors are predicting that he should be stable enough to return home on Friday or Saturday. Fingers crossed!)

I was on the verge of tears for most of the class... it was possible the most challenging class I've ever had emotionally. And yet, something else, more interesting, happened. The more energy and healing I felt from the yoga, the more I tried to push it out there for them to pick up on. And the easier my practice became. Poses that are normally physically (hello, triangle!) or mentally (I'm looking at you, camel) challenging to me felt easy, and good. The harder I worked for them, the more benefits I seemed to get back in my practice.

So this week (and beyond, if necessary) I will be in the hot room, practicing in solidarity with my friends and their little boy, every day. You may not know them, and this post might be cryptic at best as to their circumstances, but I would ask that you take a part of your daily ritual to communicate with the universe on their behalf. I don't care if you prefer yoga, prayer, meditation, silence, or healing rituals to do so, just please, put a little thought out there for them and I am sure that it will come back to you ten-fold, like it did for me.

Thank you/Namaste!