"The yoga mat is a good place to turn when talk therapy and antidepressants aren't enough." ~Amy Weintraub
I think I’ve mentioned that I love yoga and that I go to yoga all of the time and it’s all yoga, yoga, yoga. And now you’re probably like, “WE GET IT. YOU DO YOGA.” I love it. It makes me happy. While others are convinced that Bikram will kill them, I’m doing pranayama breathing like a boss, in the front row. Do I feel like I’m going to die? You betcha! But after a year of regular practice I am able to shrug off the feeling of my imminent death and planning my funeral because, let’s face it, I probably won’t die.
Now that I've gotten all cocky about my non-dying let me tell you about Wednesday.
Wednesday evening when I was late to yoga and ended up right next to the heater. Which, ok. Fine. That was my fault and it’s happened before and it just requires deeper breaths. There was a girl next to me who I think I had seen before but I didn’t give it much thought because while I was struggling with keeping myself upright in standing head to leg pose she was fine. A few moments later I found that breathing wasn’t really helping. I mean it was helping in that I was still alive but I was incredibly overwhelmed by the heat and the sweat and when Favorite Yoga Teacher gleefully shouted that it should “...feel like someone is strangling you”. I nodded because yup! I feel like I’m being strangled! Mission accomplished!
So, there I am, ready to pass out and thinking that this is it and that my parents were going to have to clean out my house and that I probably shouldn’t have put off changing the cat’s litter and whatever will they think of all of those wine bottles?! That is until the girl next to me. The one who had been fine just moments before turns to me and says, “I’m going to pass out”. And I’m like, wait. You can’t pass out because I was going to pass out and we both cannot pass out. She asks how many poses are left and I tell her that there is camel and rabbit and then a few twists and then breathing. That’s all. But she’s just staring at me, wide eyed and I am convinced that this chick is going to die. Which is sad but I really REALLY wanted to die, too.
Long story short: Neither of us died. Though after re-reading that entire story I’m assuming that now you’re thinking, “WE GET IT. YOU THOUGHT YOU WERE GOING TO DIE”.
On Friday, I attended Favorite Yoga Teacher’s birthday party and relayed this story to her to which she replied with a gentle head pat and kudos for being a good yogi. Moments later I was teeter-tottering into Tuladandasana while she fake yelled at me in her Bikram voice. Then we giggled over beers and she complimented me on my form.
Here’s the thing - I don’t *need* head pats or but like most people I enjoy being told that I am doing well in the moments when I feel that I failing spectacularly. Yoga is especially difficult for me: I never feel that I look great. I am certainly not the thinnest or most flexible in the room but I try like hell. I return day after day into that 105 degree room with it’s 40% humidity with girls who are donning bikinis while I want to cover up all of the parts of me that jiggle. I go back again and again because of Favorite Yoga Teacher. I haven’t been able to adequately describe the past two years except that it has brought up every part of myself that I absolutely dislike. I have found myself at the edge with my anxiety and wonder if I’m going to fall into the abyss of panic. Of course I have fallen a number of times but something about doing all of the yoga all of the time has moved me from constant WOE! to Alright. Ok. You won’t die. You’ll feel like it but you won’t. It’s all balance; yoga and going from massive anxiety to feeling like myself again and Favorite Yoga Teacher has been a huge part of that. She sees me at my sweatiest and most vulnerable with my cleavage and belly hanging out. I like her because when I’m feeling particularly terrible and uninterested in being in that room she doesn’t tell me what I’m doing wrong but always, always, what I’ve done right. The simplest thing for which I am so grateful.
Happy Birthday, Bethany. I’m happy to have met you and I am even happier that I haven’t died yet.