I told her what was happening.
I'm a person who likes to project a certain image. I like to seem cheerful, easygoing, and when someone I trust gives me a direction (i.e., "Lock the standing knee!!"), I try to do it. I tend to do it in all walks of life, and it shows up in the hot room too.
Lately, though, it hasn't been quite so easy to be obliging. The yoga teachers say, get up and do the pose. They tell us to kick harder. They tell us to stay in the room. I want desperately to oblige, but some days I just can't do it.
I finally talked to my studio owner. I told her I had a lot going on in my life right now, and that I've been carrying my anxious burden into the yoga room. It was hard, telling her that. She's a steely, tough woman herself, and she doesn't invite a lot of that touchy-feely stuff. But I'm so glad I opened up.
"I can get really, really anxious," I told her.
"I know!" she responded. I was kinda surprised. I thought I hid it well. I forgot that the hot room strips away all guises. I ended up telling her some of what I was going through, and that I was so anxious some days I didn't think Bikram yoga would be good for me. Hearing her respond kindly was enough to make me realize it was good for me.
She reassured me that it was OK if I left. Interestingly, she understood that in some situations (not just extreme physical conditions) it might even be in my best interest to leave the room, especially since it isn't a chronic thing and is tied to what tends to be going on in my life. I walked away thinking progress would happen at its own rate.
So, I opened up. And I'm glad I did. The next two classes I had were amazing. Not even tempted to leave the room, not even tempted to skip a posture. Opening up to my studio owner and saying, "Hey, I'm uncertain and unsure that this is right for me" was just the move I needed to make.
I think that underneath the hard-core boot-campy talk that some teachers tend to bring to the classroom, this is a pretty compassionate practice. And if you don't believe it, ask your teacher!