Surviving Bikram yoga: Days 12-14

I’ve been really bad about posting updates- sorry!  I’ve been under the weather for the past few days and blogging has been on the back burner.

The last three yoga classes have been interesting.  I think I’ve run the gamut on the full range of class experiences.

Saturday morning, I got up bright and early for the 8am class.  This class was my ADHD class.  I couldn’t focus.  Even with Aimee teaching.  There were quite a few new people who were talking while people were waiting for class to start, which is a big no-no.  Once you are in the room, that’s it.  No talking.  You are there in the dark, readying yourself for the 90 minutes of hell and centering your mind.  I started off distracted and it went downhill.  I was in postures, looking around the room, thinking of what people were wearing and how much my leg hurt.  It was bad.

The next class was the “my body let me down” class.  No matter what I did, I couldn’t get into postures.  I was fully focused and trying hard, but my body was saying, lady please.  No mas.  This was also the night that I was really starting to not feel really great and I think that it showed on the mat.  I made the mistake of going to class not feeling well and learned my lesson.  I had a raging migraine the entire class.  It was horrible.  After class, Aimee complimented me on some of my efforts and I told her that I had a migraine all day.  She said that she could never do a class in that condition and I agreed it wasn’t smart on my part.  She asked if I got migraines a lot and I said that I don’t, but I get really bad headaches when it rains and my allergies are bad.  Somehow, the conversation turned to managing headaches and I told her that I’m finding now if I eat something I am allergic to, I get extremely bad headaches.  Not the same day always, but sometimes for days after.  She also has casein allergies like I do, as well as gluten.  I asked her if she recommended the juicing after class, explaining my idea for yoga night juice dinners.  She said it was a great idea and also said that I could try having a small amount (like 4 ounces) of juice 30 minutes before class.  I may try that if I have any leftovers.

Tonight, I went to class because I was really starting to feel better.  Pong was teaching and it was really sweaty in the room.  I had great postures during class, struggling in many, but found a greater sense of stretch than before.  In one posture, Camel, I actually got my hands back and my head down.  It looks like this:

Ustrasana-Camel-Pose

This is one of those difficult postures.  Camel pose, or Ustrasana, is an emotional posture.  This is because you are opening up your chest and it’s completely unprotected.  The posture starts with you sitting up on your knees at the front of the mat.  Then, you put your hands on your lower back and push your hips forward.  After that, you are supposed to tilt your head back and stay there for a second, breathing steadily.  This is when shit gets real. They says it’s normal to feel weird in this posture because right at this moment, stuff starts happening.  You may get angry.  Sad.  Fearful.  Terrified. Panicked.  Nauseated.  The key is to calm down and be still.  Breathing through it.  Then, if you can get a grip, you slowly put one hand on one foot and the other hand on the other foot and lean back like you see in the photo here.

Benefits of the posture include:

  • Compresses spine, relieving back problems
  • Opens rib cage, lungs and digestive system
  • Stimulates the nervous system
  • Great for the lungs and many bronchial problems
  • Strengthens back and shoulder muscles
  • Improves flexion of the neck
  • Stretches the throat
  • Flushes blood through the kidneys
  • Helps eliminate toxins

I’ve also heard this this posture is called an emotional explosion.  I can believe it.  In every class, I have been terrified in this posture.  Dizzy.  Downright panicking.  It’s been maddening.   I have hated myself intensely and wanted to cry in defeat.  Today though, I pushed.  I took a deep breath and focused on Pong’s instructions.  I accepted the emotions and then slowly put my hands back and down.  I felt jubilant all of a sudden when I realized what I had done.  And then, almost as quickly, I snapped back and got scared.  I popped up so quick I bet Pong thought I was about to throw up.  Apparently, people can also experience giddiness in this posture.  It will probably be awhile until I do that, but I’m at least grateful that I’m starting to let go of some fear.

As I was laying on the floor in between the first and second set of this posture, I realized that I haven’t had an urge to cry like I did when I started back with hot yoga in January.  Perhaps I am working through some deep seeded issues with my body.  Perhaps I am mentally stronger.  Who knows!

One thing that has been good for me is sticking through each class and at least attempting postures.  Almost every class has a new person who tries to run out.  Although I know we all start somewhere, it’s encouraging for this neuromuscular- challenged girl to be doing at least better than one person in the room.  I know it’s petty, but if you go back to my blog a year ago, I could barely do anything at the gym compared to everyone else.  It was terribly depressing to walk into a place with fit people day in and day out and to struggle when your body isn’t following your brain.  Now, I am asking my body to do things and it’s complying.  It’s not perfect, but there is something happening.  So each class, my confidence grows as I attempt new things.  Like today, all I focused on in the standing leg to knee posture was my left leg.  I didn’t try to push out my right leg.  I just wanted to stand on the left leg with my right foot in my hands, without moving my left leg.  I lifted up my kneecap, tightened my struggling quadricep, and focused.  I dripped sweat.  I wiggled around as my leg released and tightened up again.  My grip loosened and I stared at myself.  For one minute, that’s all I did.  And for me, that is major.  I am learning how to lift up my kneecap so I can see the dimple above it.  That is how I know my muscle is engaging.

Cori would be proud.

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