Yoga has been a source of solace.
If I do not go every 2-3 days I can feel the tightness, in my limbs, in my jaw, in my balance. I need that sweat release of 105 degrees for 90 minutes. I am now so familiar with the sequence of 26 postures that I can sometimes let my mind wander. What do I need to process? What do I need to consider? The instructors would likely click their tongues and tell me to “bring myself back into the room” but it is a place to gather my thoughts while stretching my body.
And yet, for all of the accomplishments, there are the days that do not go well in the hot room.
Like the day that I noticed a woman practicing a completely modified sequence. Bikram yoga is fairly stringent on completing the postures as directed, so I wondered what she was up to. Then realized that she was pregnant: she was avoiding any pressure on her abdomen. I had to force myself to look away. I was resentful of her comfort with the risks of doing such a strenuous activity while in her first trimester. I could likely never bring myself to that level of ease again. Then she stopped coming. Likely the practice was too challenging as her baby grew.
Like the day that at the end of class, the instructor said “Let’s give a big congrats to so-and-so, here for her first class, just eight weeks postpartum!” No. I could not clap. I started crying instead. Sweat mixed with tears and thankfully the heat of the room hid the redness of my eyes.
Like today. Should have been an ordinary day. Instead, I was not hydrated enough, dizzy and nauseous, and frustrated with myself. As I took a break, lying in savasana, the instructor said that she’d had a bad day in the hot room recently, and cried throughout the practice, and that’s ok. That did it for me. I began to cry into the floor of the room. I wanted nothing more than to leave and to go home and crawl into a bawl. But I stayed. The practice was hard and I took a lot of breaks, but I stayed.
Late this afternoon, Ger and I took a walk. My yoga studio is challenging its members to take photos of poses around the western suburbs and post the photos to social media. So while out for a walk, in 90 degrees, I stopped for a pose. It was difficult. The ground was uneven, and I was wearing shoes instead of barefoot. But I managed to pull myself into eagle pose and hold steady for a few minutes.