A year ago today, I took my first Bikram yoga class.
|June 2013 (Disney World! During George's nap time, of course)|
What started as a supplement to my running (and my doctor's suggestion to sloooow dooooown) has turned into a passion I had forgotten existed in my being. Not since ballet have I felt such joy in the craft and the practice. Yoga isn't about being perfect or being flexible--it's about the journey. And I love, love, love that. I craved that without even knowing it. And I finally found something to work towards again that is a never-ending endeavor to improve my body and spirit in one place.
I know, it sounds a little kooky (I can almost see my mother's questioning head shakes as I am typing this) and I'm okay with that. I don't even fully understand why I love it so much. In fact, I am always hesitant to recommend Bikram yoga to anyone I don't know well because I don't want them to hate me. It's hard--the hardest thing I have ever done. This includes dancing four acts of Swan Lake, swimming 10,000 meters a day, and running six marathons. It might include childbirth, except that's probably a good comparison to the pleasure and pain involved (and the amazing ability of the mind to completely forget the pain in light of the sheer joy you have following both).
Not a class goes by that I don't want to leave the room or sit out of a posture. And I've certainly been guilty of doing both. But in the yoga studio, there is no judgment--not from the teacher, not from the students, and (hardest of all for me to grasp) no judgment of yourself. You take each class as they come--the good and the bad. And one day you realize that the bad classes are actually the good classes; that with the struggle comes the strength and the breakthroughs.
Yoga is incredibly humbling. You wouldn't believe what some of the professionals can do with their supple, strong, and tiny bodies. Effortlessly, modestly they practice postures day in and day out not because it's their job (most yogis don't get paid to do any of this), but because they love it, too. Discipline, drive, internal motivation, and incredible mental strength that reminds me of trained Navy Seals.
While I still am an imperfect mother and wife in countless ways, yoga has certainly made me a more patient person in general (no joke. Just ask George who tests that theory on an hourly basis). I also realize that my newfound hobby is just that--a hobby and a luxury. And I am so very thankful to Will for letting me pursue my passion that brings no tangible income to the family. I have to believe that one day, in some way, I can create a sustainable lifestyle with this wonderful practice. But if not, I know I will always have my yoga family and the craft itself to fall back on.
“You're never too old, you're never too bad, you're never too sick, and it's never too late to do yoga, and start from scratch once again!”
-- Bikram Choudhury
Happy Monday, everyone!