You’re Going to Live Through This

A student went to his meditation teacher and said, “My meditation is horrible! I feel so distracted, or my legs ache, or I’m constantly falling asleep. It’s just horrible!”



”It will pass,” the teacher said matter-of-factly.



A week later, the student came back to his teacher. “My meditation is wonderful! I feel so aware, so peaceful, so alive! It’s just wonderful!”



”It will pass,” the teacher replied matter-of-factly.

-Unknown

Things had been going so well. I had been practicing with the elites in the front row. I had started embracing the sweat. I had even been wearing my super tiny Bikram jungle get-up outside of the house, and nobody had arrested me for public indecency.

But then came Day 10.

For starters, I had procrastinated doing my laundry (which, with the pile of sweaty clothes I accumulate on a daily basis, requires doing every three days or so) and was forced to delve into my sister’s closet to find a pair of spandex shorts. The shorts that I grabbed were just a smidgen too small and created a most unbecoming layer of belly fat overhang that I was forced to stare at for the entirety of the 90 minute practice. So confidence wasn’t at an all-time high.

I hadn’t slept very well the night before. A lethal combination of M&Ms and Gossip Girl had kept me up far later than I had anticipated (I’m too addicted to be ashamed), and my alarm that morning had been greeted with a mumbled string of expletives. So energy levels weren’t exactly optimal either.

I guess it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that practice felt longer than usual, but it was more than just longer than usual. The class was endless. It’s possible that the room doubled as a wormhole and held us sweaty hostages for 3-4 years while normal time-goers only noticed the passing of an hour and a half. It’s also possible that the studio was actually an Inception-esque dream layer where five minutes in the outside world translated to an hour in the heated yoga room. There is just no way in hell that practice only lasted 90 minutes.

Every posture felt like a scene out of a sweaty nightmare. My thoughts were miserable and panicked, racing between get me the hell out of here and ohmygodI’mgonnathrowup. I tried to breathe and remember something a Bikram instructor had told my friend Meg during her first practice: “Good news, new students, no one has ever died doing Bikram yoga, so rest when you have to, but you’re going to live through this.”

After consistently reminding myself that puking in the studio was frowned upon, letting out several embarrassing groans, and successfully blinking sweat into my right eye, I collapsed into the practice’s final resting pose. I had survived the 90 minutes (or several years, depending on which of my theories you choose to believe) and did somehow manage to leave class feeling better than I had at the beginning. I could see more clearly, breathe more deeply. The lead in my limbs had turned to a relaxed tingle. Nausea had given way to serenity.

That Bikram is an evil genius.

So I guess it’s all part of the process. Some days will be glorious, some days will be miserable, all days will be unbelievably sweaty, but it’s all in the interest of making peace with yourself. My mom has always described yoga as the few precious hours a week she can truly focus, clear her mind of to-do lists and anxieties, and I’m finally starting to see what she means. There’s something spiritual to be found underneath all this sweat.

My mom, the experienced yogini herself, actually came to class with me quite a few times this week. We shared some sentimental moments. A few highlights:

  • She called me a “wuss” to peer pressure me into setting my mat up on the side of the studio closest to the heater. (It worked. We sweated like UFC fighters.)
  • I fell out of triangle pose and smacked into the side wall. The thwack of my flailing elbow making contact with plaster was graciously ignored by everyone but my mom, who laughed so hard I’m pretty sure she farted.
  • We practiced next to an impressively slim and gorgeous pregnant woman; she was far better at pregnant yoga than we are at normal yoga. My mom, who describes both of her pregnancies as the most swollen and miserable times of her life, compensated for her jealousy on the car ride home with a long list of things she could beat the beautiful pregnant woman at. (Bike race, heavy lifting competition, fight to the death, etc.)
  • We finished out the week with a glamorous post-practice photoshoot, the results of which you are welcome to admire below.

IMG_2683

Camel Pose, voted “Most Likely to Make You Wanna Vomit” in its high school yearbook.

IMG_2685

Floor Bow Pose: “Your butt should be a pillow for your head.” Gettin’ close.

IMG_2682

Shavasana, or Corpse Pose. Impeccable form.

IMG_2690

Setting up for Triangle Pose (I’m excited though I swear)

IMG_2691

Full expression of Triangle Pose, more commonly known by its street name:
yup, this is where I’m gonna die

IMG_2694

My forehead will, eventually, touch my toes. Or elephants will fly, either one.

My goal for week 3 is to start adding running workouts to my challenge schedule; as much as I love my heart for keeping me alive 90 sweaty minutes a day, I think it needs a little more exercise. And if there’s one thing I’m more impressively bad at than touching my toes, it’s running. So this should be interesting.

Until next Monday, my darling yogis and yoginis.

Namaste,
Hannah

11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Charlene
    Jun 17, 2013 @ 19:41:59

    Hannah, you are hilarious and brilliantly spot-on with every feeling that occurs in the hot room. I look forward to reading your blog every week. Good luck with the running.
    Charlene Hoyt
    (Dana Brook’s math teacher)

    Reply

  2. Marcia Imbrescia
    Jun 18, 2013 @ 01:32:22

    Hi Hannah, I’m enjoying your posts and they’ve motivated me to increase the frequency of my yoga practice – I’ll let you know when my forehead touches my toes. But, don’t hold your breath. Had dinner with Rina last night and she was still laughing about you falling out of triangle and into the wall, and she was still in awe of the tall, pregnant, yoga queen, but not a word about calling you a wuss. Are you sure you heard her correctly? She’s never called me a wuss, well, not that I can recall…. ok maybe that one time at the top of Triple Trouble……

    Reply

  3. Claudine
    Jun 18, 2013 @ 18:47:20

    Love the posts Hannah! You bring your readers right into the studio with you, sweat and all!

    Reply

  4. blissfulbikram
    Jun 23, 2013 @ 17:12:43

    I am about to start my first 30 day challenge July 1st! Your blog is inspiring and I really enjoy reading it!

    Reply

  5. teenieyogini
    Jun 23, 2013 @ 18:13:41

    This is hilarious! I just read it out loud to my brother, who has taken exactly one Bikram class, and we were both rolling on the floor.

    Reply

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