Saturday, February 20, 2010

Lose the self, find the Self.

So, I begin with a warning. There will be no pseudo-intellectual discoursing, no fun insights, no uplifting message in this post. If you want that, scroll down to some of my previous posts. :-)

There will, however, be some bitching.

Still with me? Good.

I've been feeling quite discouraged about my yoga practice lately. I mentioned a few weeks ago that I'd had to start a new medication. I've never had to take daily medication before, and the whole thing has thrown me for a loop. While it's awesome to know I'm not going to literally stroke out anytime soon, the side effects of the meds show up in the hot room. On a daily basis. Not so awesome.

When I started the meds and found myself sitting out four or five postures per class, I cultivated my inner cheerleader, who said kind things like, "it's all good--it's just a temporary setback. You are still doing yoga, you are still getting benefits, and this is an opportunity to improve!" That cheerleader did a great job for a while, but I think she got winded. Or maybe she got distracted by the captain of the football team. Whatever it is, I haven't heard from her lately.

There has been progress, but I admit to getting frustrated that it hasn't been unfolding in a perfectly forward motion. It's more like trying to swim beyond the waves--you make some progress, and a huge wave comes and knocks you back. Overall, you gain, but it is easy to lose yourself in the moments where you're being pushed backwards.

OK, I guess I have had an insight this week. I always strive to not compare myself to the other students. Usually, that's no problem. If I happen to fall out of a pose early and see Sarah executing the perfect Standing Bow, I think, "You go, girl. Rock out." No envy, just inspiration. But if I'm comparing myself now to myself two months ago, the ego is still getting the better of me. That lower-case "self" is still dictating how I should feel about myself. Really, it doesn't matter if I used to be able to do a class without skipping postures. Like Bikram says, what matters is that you give 110%. What matters is that you try the right way.

Despite the fact that I had to sit out a set of triangle, separate-leg-head-to-knee, and separate-leg-stretching, I know I was trying the right way, and trying 110%. Even amidst the churning emotional sea in my head, I had a sweet moment. During Standing Bow, one of my nemesis poses, I got into it really deeply. And there the posture was: kicking leg perfectly in line with the standing leg, body down, stretching forward like there was no tomorrow. Maybe my inner cheerleader did revive herself for a couple of seconds, 'cause I heard someone go, "Wow. That is beautiful." Grateful for the signs of progress, wherever they crop up.

Ahh, feels good to complain a little. I guess I am hesitant to appear like I'm being too whiny--too much complaining and I feel a little self-indulgent. Plus, when you write something down, it becomes permanent and empowered. I don't want to empower the bad stuff :-) But we all struggle the same way. Without sharing our struggles, how can we connect deeply to others? Our endeavors bind us, even as they humble us and seem to hold us back.

On another note, my studio owner kindly offered a free kids' class today, and I brought my eight year-old cousin. To my surprise, it was taught by current national champion Joseph Encinia. My cousin and I had such a great time. Joseph demo'd his signature poses before we started to inspire us all. He also talked briefly about his health issues and how yoga helped heal him. Best of all, at the end of class, he had each of the kids come up and demo their favorite pose. What a great move.

I don't typically talk about my teachers, but Joseph is so well-known in the Bikram community I just had to mention his class. Most Bikramites have seen videos of him practicing, so y'all know how glorious his postures are. But he has the biggest, most humble, and now very healthy heart, and he just shines as he's teaching. I feel very fortunate to be able to practice with him!


hannahjustbreathe said...

Ohhh, to see a bunch of kids rolling around on mats and trying Bikram yoga! What a sight! And what an awesome idea.

bikramyogachick said...

Oh, what a great idea, having Joseph teach a kids class! How inspiring!
Even though your inner cheerleader was temporarily distracted by the captain of the football team (can you blame her?) it's nice to know she's still there...sighing at the beauty as you are kicking and stretching.....

poeticalsurfer said...

I"m glad to hear you little cousin enjoyed herself - she, and you, are going to remember that forever! Maybe she's a future Joesph...?