Yes! I'm back. Yesterday, I did my first yoga class in over a week. Last week, I was sailing around Alaska, indulging my every whim, and forgetting my every responsibility. Taking a yoga class the day after I arrived home was a nice way to get back to reality.
Yesterday's was a pretty hot, crowded class (my studio tends to be hotter than the ones I've visited, and this was hot even for them), and I had my regular, very tough teacher. Despite the heat, what was hard about the class had nothing to do with the environment or my body. I actually felt fine, physically, other than being a little tight in the hamstrings and hips and noticing an extra pound or two clinging to my stomach.
But despite my body being OK, I was just... complain-ey.
Every instruction, every correction, every slight twinge of discomfort made me want to run out of the room. Or at least whine. "Uhhh, it's hot," the spoiled brat in my brain would say. "Uhh, I can feel my legs in Awkward. Maybe I should sit it out!" Normally, such strong thoughts of leaving rarely cross my mind--I'm used to practicing in a fair amount of discomfort. But a week on vacation had put my mind in spoiled brat mode. I'd spent over seven days doing exactly what I wanted when I wanted, being entertained by marvellous sites and engaging in stimulating conversations with my travel partner and new friends. My expectations for what a day was supposed to be like were altered--a "normal" day where you get to enjoy a balance between fun and not-so-fun activities like work and chores was transformed into this week-long indulgent bonanza, where I was allowed to expect anything I wanted to come my way (except, apparently, good vegetarian food. But that's a whole other topic!).
Then, back to reality, back to yoga. My mind was clinging to cruise mode. Admittedly, class was miserable, and I sat down a couple of times during standing series. But noticing my clinginess and then working to let it go really helped, and I finished the class strongly.
I'm thinkin' this is a more dramatic example of what we do all the time. We cling to what someone said to us at work, and we envision the epic comeback while in Standing Bow. We don't get enough sleep, so we go through a class telling ourselves to take it easy because we aren't rested enough. It's all clinging. That takes us away from the moment. Let's dump that stuff like we would a clingy girlfriend or boyfriend!
On another note, I'm sure many of you have seen this pretty cool interview with Rachel Kaplan, a Bikram Yoga Manhattan instructor. What stands out to me about her interview is what she says about the yoga's effect on the mind (about 7:00 minutes into it):
"We're all raised a certain way; we're all wired a certain way. Bikram kind of re-wires you. . . it was this amazing transformation. I'm getting to know who Rachel is, not who I always thought I was in the world."
I guess we're all on a similar path of self-discovery, and part of traveling that path is learning not to cling to the world's expectations of you. I can't help but think that yoga--among other things--helps achieve that. To re-wiring!