Up until November my life was on a continuous loop that consisted of waking up, going to work, going to the bar, getting drunk, going home. Each morning I’d awake, aching but begin again. I began to look forward to two dollar draft beers and making small talk with the bartender. We would eventually become friendly enough that he took me under his wing as the girl to hang with. The good girl at the bar. I would request a Jack Daniel’s neat which he’d pour with a heavy hand. My life was fine as it was nothing more, nothing less. Just fine. Stagnant. Going nowhere except in circles.
In November I became bored. Other things were swirling about in my life and I needed to be more grounded and stable. Something more than the repetition of girl sits at bar, girl drinks IPA, girl goes to Dunkin’ Donuts for a midnight snack. I needed something that wouldn’t cause my liver to petrify. So, I began doing yoga.
Hot yoga to be precise. Inversions and triangles done in a 90 degree room. My first time in all I wanted was to get out. But it became easier with each time. As my body had become acclimated to the alcohol this was something new for it to get used to but, of course, something better. By the end of November I had replaced Favorite Bartender with Favorite Yoga Instructor. At Camp Mighty I put on my Life List ‘Practice yoga three times a week for one month’.
The practice took, well... practice and commitment. And I was a woman who had, up until recently, only been committed to getting to the bar before happy hour ended. But I did it. Three times a week, every week, for a month.
That was four months ago. I now go to yoga five to six times a week. Recently, Favorite Yoga Instructor (Bethany, if you live in the area and are curious) stopped me after a particularly grueling Bikram class. “I love watching you each day. I love seeing how far you’ve come. You are a pleasure to have in class.” I thanked her and drove home with a grin.
If you’ve ever done yoga, especially hot yoga, you’ll know that the up and downward dogs can be trying and being present on your mat at that time, can be difficult. It takes practice to not only be in the moment and actually, you know, PRACTICE, but especially to be still and keep thoughts of what is happening outside of that room at that time, at bay. In Bikram - in any form of yoga - savasana can be the hardest pose: laying still. No movement. No fidgeting. No worrying about bills, post deadlines, work deadlines, the asshole in front of you at Starbucks. Just stillness.
I am an anxious person. I fidget. I bite my nails. Since November I’ve all but stopped. I still have my moments and I still take Klonopin but I didn’t start yoga to cure my anxiety, I started to have time to myself. To be quiet. To get out of my head.
Yesterday I took a Bikram class and when I arrived home a box of bath products from Lush* had arrived. I am not a bath person. I mean, what are you supposed to do in there except sit. I like showers where there’s movement and stuff going on and it’s very in and out. No lolling about. But I figured that if I were going to take a bath I was going to do it right. I bought candles and US Weekly. I plopped in a bath melt and just sat. For 30 entire minutes (oh, yeah, I got into it) I relaxed. I did nothing. I was in the moment. I was still. It was good.
I think I’ll try it again tonight.