Monday, April 12, 2010

Confession Time: On leaving the room

I've been thinking about asking y'all this question for a while now.


OK: Do you ever leave the room? In my last few of months of reading blogs, I noticed this isn't discussed much. I hope y'all are such rockstars that you just never leave. If that's the case, more power to you. I'm not asking for confessions--just curious about your thoughts on the matter, I guess.

So, I left the room tonight. I probably duck out once a month. Initially, I felt kinda bad about doing so. The teachers typically ask, "Are you OK? Try to stay in the room" as folks leave, and that's a deterrent that usually keeps me on the mat. Initially, in leaving, I felt like I was violating a code. I definitely didn't want to set a bad example and encourage others to go, nor did I want to set myself up for chronic spine-strengthening series-ditching. (I still don't want this, of course.)

But sometimes, you gotta go. I do, anyway. I can take the occasional bout of dizziness or nausea, but when I get the two combined and I feel overheated, I don't feel guilty about leaving anymore. And sometimes things just don't feel right. As my friend would say, "Fuck that noise."

Class today was hot. I figured I'd adapt, that the heat would get turned down eventually, but tonight's was a cooker. I was feeling "the triple exposure" in postures I don't ordinarily feel it, and even after the languid Wind-Removing pose, I felt pretty terrible. I bailed as people were setting up for Cobra. Looking at my tomato-red face in the bathroom, I knew I'd made the right decision. I was way overheated and shaky. I stood at the sink for a couple of minutes splashing water on my face until I felt normal and made it back for the second set of Locust. 

So here's the real confession: I'm glad I left the room! Really glad, in fact. I've pushed through the pain before in situations like that but then am so tired that I half-ass the rest of the postures. Leaving typically gives me a little burst of energy. Today, I received and really appreciated a new correction in Half-Tortoise--a physical adjustment, mind you, and in Spanish. (Wrists really straight means, uh, wrists really straight. Who knew? And Spanish corrections are way cooler.) 

Please understand I'm not criticizing the teachers and their training for encouraging students to stay in the room. It's a great standard. It would be incredibly distracting if class was a carousel of ups-and-downs, ins-and-outs. And I appreciate the instructors' desire to get me to push through the pain and stick to it. Goodness knows I need it. But sometimes, maybe progress is respecting your own limits and saying, "Not today." 

Pero... ¿que piensan ustedes? ¿What do you think? :-)


feral chick said...

You are absolutely right. What is the point of testing limits unless it is to find out where those limits are?

This sounds easy, but too many of us learn the limits by ending up in the hospital (physical or mental).

Forget stretching that tendon to the max. Forget pushing that muscle. The truly fine point is intuiting where to stop.

And that takes a lot more knowledge and finesse. . . .

thedancingj said...

Alrighty... I think I've only left the room once myself (not counting a couple times when I stepped out to help someone ELSE). That was the day when I went to the 7am class before I realized that I was actually super sick. I rocked one set of standing head to knee, then ran to the bathroom cause I thought I was gonna puke, went back in, tried the 2nd set of standing bow, then laid on my mat for like an hour. Epic.

But I WILL say that I totally bailed on 2nd set locust, all of full locust, and I think 1st set of bow earlier this week. VERY unusual for me. And then I rocked the last set of bow better than I've EVER done the posture, cause I was actually rested for once!! See? Some rules are meant to be broken.

And if you gotta go, you gotta go! That's your business. As a teacher, I don't actually give a shit, as long as you're doing whatever's best for YOU.

Mei said...

Pienso que tenemos aprender los limitos del cueropo humano. Si no lo puedes, no lo haces.

However in saying that, there are people who make it a habit to try to leave, look at the clock, etc.

[though I must admit, I left once cause my tampon leaked and I bled over my WHITE towel and in training I left the room a total of 8 times cause my face started going numb]

Michelle Marie said...

I've left once to deal with a tampon. I've left twice to pee. And, I left once during the very final savasanah when class was done to throw up. So, that is 4 times in 10 months of practice.

Each time I left the room the cold air completely shocked my body. I did not like it at all!!!!

However, you can't really get into your floor postures if you really truly have to pee or your tampon is coming out. So, I think I made the right choice each time.

I usually pee 2 times at the studio before class starts, so if I really need to pee again during class that badly, I will respect that.

There are a few older men at our studio that seem to leave almost every single class. They probably have prostate issues, I would guess. I give them a free pass.

I'm more of the stance that it is better to come to class, even if you are limited in what you can do, than to just skip class because you can't follow every rule.

I don't even care if someone lays on their mat for 90 minutes. At least they showed up. (I might have a different stance on all of this if I was teaching the class. These are my opinions as a student.)

However, the people that bring in small water bottles on purpose, so they can leave and refill during class get on my nerves because the cold air comes into the room when they open the door and effects my muscles. But, then again, I usually put my mat back by the door, so I could stop doing that.

Overall, though, I don't care if people leave the room. I would not want anyone judging me if I left the room, so I try to not judge others. If I am doing my practice well, I am usually so focused on me & the dialogue I do not notice what others are doing anyway.

ariella said...

I made it through training without leaving the room - meaning there were times when I was crying on my mat. In real life, I don't leave - but I'm not a nazi about it. Certainly in my classes I have very few times when people leave the room - usually beginners. I am not strict. I feel that if I teach a compelling class, they'll not want to leave! And I agree COMPLETELY that I do not want to be judged thus I try not to judge others. Taking care of oneself when hot overheated and shaky is a necessity. No one is going to come up to me and say hey you need to leave - it's something you must take responsibility for in your own practice.

Lady J said...

I have never left the room but the class I wrote about on April 3rd I certainly could have. It was brutal and I was shaky for at least an hour after.
I agree that it is definitely your practice and you need to do what's best for you but try not to make it a habit because otherwise you rely on those moments. Just like if you drink water at a certain time during every class.

cirita said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cirita said...

hahaha Elisa / Mei, asi que hablan español, que sorpresa más grata :)

In regards to leaving the room, I've never done it before. I've been in the hot room with fever, cold, chills, a fracture ankle, terrible cramps, sinus infection ...I even puked in my mouth a couple of time but I didn't leave the room. No period / tampon episodes for me yet. Leaving those for TT one day!! Anyway, staying in the room it's my mantra. But I agree with everyone here. It's all about knowing your boundaries. There is actually nothing wrong @ leaving the room as long as you don't make it a habit, as long as you are being honest with yourself. I can't stand those students that leave in the middle of the class to refill their water bottles, same reason as Michelle posted, or the ones that just want to take a break and leave just before triangle and come back in the middle of tree pose. Aghghgh

Yolk E said...

Wow, I am moved by the replies. I am seeing a similar theme in your responses: I personally don't leave, but it's OK if others do so long as it's for a good reason and not chronic.

A couple of things... the heat at my studio tends to fluctuate a fair bit. Before the temp was covered up, I'd seen the heat at 117. To me, this totally warrants leaving if needed. I don't want to say much more about this issue--I love the studio and I doubt it gets that hot often, but that level of heat is generally considered TOO high. I think listening to the body trumps trying to attain some external goal, every time.

Mei y Cirita: tenemos que empezar un blog en espanol :-)

Ariella: people don't leave your class? That's great! What discipline and motivation you must foster. In my studio, it's a little more chronic--usually 2-3 students in a class of 20 will step out. It's more rare if no one leaves.

Gracias, como siempre, por tus responses. :-)

hannahjustbreathe said...

I've only left the room once, and, go figure, it was during the one class that I took with Juliana when she was here in December!! The class being taught by the great Diane Ducharme! And it was after the first set of camel, of all poses!! Ahhhh, the shame... (And, yes, it was a tampon-related issue.)

For me, I really would rather fight it out on my mat---sit down, lay down, collect myself, rein in my breathing, whatever. And I think after four years of doing that, I've proven to myself that I really CAN tough it out, whatever "it" is.

That said---I whole-heartedly agree with "To each her own." You do what you gotta do.

Rebecca Raye said...

Great topic and one I needed to learn more about. It's very rare for anyone to leave the room at my practice studio. I did once to pee and only because I wasn't goint to make it through floor poses if I didn't.

I've always taken days off for my period, but now realize this is too much and I've started this week to practice with it. I don't like it, but I don't like much for those few days any way! I won't feel bad if I have an "issue" though seeing how common it is to leave the room to address "fixing" things.

Yolk E said...

Thanks so much for your comment, Rebecca. I definitely don't think there's any reason to feel bad for leaving to "fix" something ;-) Bodies do funny things that require attention!

bikramyogachick said...

I do everything humanly possible to stay in the room. That being said, I've left three times in my three year yoga career. All three times for ahem, bodily functions. :)

waylon said...

I never, ever leave the room. One time I came into class late and not dehydrated well enough and experienced major, insane vertigo. I layed in Shavasana for the last hour of the class. I was so dizzy but no way was I leaving the room. Ironically, it was so hot in that class the TEACHER had to leave to room. Another teacher who was taking class had to take over. True story.

But leaving the room is not an option for me. There is a voice in my head, the ego, that Iago-like used to tell me to leave the room, that is was too hot, too hard etc. Buy stifling that voice and powering through is the whole reason I do Bikram. Mostly that voice shuts up about leaving the room. Now I have to get it to shut up about how bad my triangle is!