Around the Mind and Body in 60 Days: The emotional highs and lows of week two ofthe Bikram 60-day Challenge
It’s like the lyrics in one of my favorite country songs, “The Bug” by Mary Chapin Carpenter. "Sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug."
And, like one of my favorite yoga quotes by Iyengar: "Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure that which cannot be cured."
Oh, how right you both are.
I skip (oversleep) the 9 a.m. at the studio closest to me, but I rally for the 10 a.m. at the next closest studio. It takes all my energy to get into the hot room, and 10 minutes in I wonder what in the world I’m doing in this room and in this challenge. By divine intervention, a gentleman in his 70s is situated in the row behind me. He embodies grace. He embodies determination. He is, on the hardest day so far, my savior.
So I would like to say to the gentleman, thank you for being there, sincerely. You rocked that class. Thank you for reminding me why I keep coming back. Thank you for showing me the glorious future, and that the turning of the calander page is not scary and certainly no excuse to be still or silent. Thank you.
Later on at Starbucks, I watch my coffee cup wobble in my unsteady hand. I burst into silent tears watching a video about a Chihuahua with only two hind legs who must bounce around like a kangaroo and use a man-made device to run around or even just walk normally. I cry not because the video is sad, but because the dog is so obviously happy despite everything.
Yoga teaches perspective and humility, among other things. Lesson learned. But the waterworks are my exit cue. I cut work at Starbucks short, make a nice big dinner, an even nicer and bigger amaretto sour and watch Pretty in Pink.
Saturday, how I adore thee. I blissfully do not set the alarm clock and head to a late morning class. If I haven’t said it before, I love every teacher I’ve had at Pure Bikram. This is one reason why:
Class is on the floor in Bow pose.
Teacher: "Now, the secret to this posture is to squeeze the crap out of your butt..."
"Wait. What I meant was…"
Too late. Class bubbles over with laughter and we giggle through the rest of class. Sometimes, laughter truly is the best medicine — or distraction, as it were. Just the kind of class I needed after yesterday’s butt-kicking.
That afternoon, I see The Iron Lady, starring Meryl Streep as Margret Thatcher. Talk about one tough broad. Margaret was the kind of woman that would have gone to the 6 a.m. class every day before work and done a double on Sundays. She was the physical manifestation of English bulldog determination and Bengal tiger strength. I realize tomorrow is my 10th straight day, which, in my medical world, is an accomplishment, and I start to see the faintest pinprick of light at the end of the tunnel. My fortune cookie at lunch says, "You will make many changes before happily settling." Yep, that sounds about right.
There’s a pile of dirty towels taking over a corner of my bedroom. I have taken the half dozen wine bottles out of the fridge to make room for Vitatmin waters. My second bathroom is strewn with drying yoga clothes and resembles a tiny locker room. My new afternoon ritual is double-fisting a milkshake and Vitamin water during my afternoon work session. I haven't touched a soda in almost three weeks. I've been a cliché before, but at least this is a healthy, emotionally stable one.
The night before, I decide I trust myself enough to an afternoon class after I get some work done in the morning. I don’t set the alarm, but wake up early. I’m beginning to think Bikram is a genius, or he’s pumping illegal feel-good narcotics into the hot room because something bizarre is happening:
Body: "Good morning! Time for yoga! And then we have work, and errands and laundry to do!"
Mind: "We’re going to an afternoon class today after we get some work done, remember?"
Body: "So..what...no morning yoga?"
Mind: "You want to go?"
Body: "Yoga! Yoga!"
Mind: "You are a freak."
Body: "I am. Check my medical files."
Class is so amazing that I seriously consider doing a double. But I’m only masochistic, not suicidal. I crank old school Prince on the way home, windows down, my soppy, wet hair blowing as I cruise Mopac, and I realize I am totally, completely yoga buzzed. And I like it.