Eighteen

August 25, 2008

I have eighteen days left here before I leave for Training.  18.  Not so many days now.  I’m doing OK.  I have good days and bad days.  My practice has settled back into a normal (more sane) pattern.  I’m appreciating my days off quite a bit as I know they are limited, and in a few weeks will be nearly nonesistent.  But there I am again, I cannot live in the future.  I only have right now.

My dialogue is going well.  I’m nearly finished wth Triangle.  My goal all along has been to have the entire Standing Series memorized before I leave.  It looks like this will be easily done.  Finding time to study is challenging with the kids, and normal life, and praciticing.  But I have been working out some new ways of studying and as long as I give it a little time each day, it’s going along just fine.

I think I’m ready.  I believe I am.  I’ll begin the process of packing soon.  I have a little more on my list to do and get before I fly away, but the major preparations are behind me.  Now it’s the details, the small items.  I also will soon begin the process of saying goodbyes, having lunches one more time with friends, and preparing my sweet family for my absence.  It’s almost surreal how this has all unfolded for me.  Just six short weeks ago, I sat with Jen and Arnie and made up my mind over a Greek salad that I could do this.  That dinner feels like it happened decades ago.  I don’t even feel like the same person.  The transformation has already begun.

It’s happening, so fast.  I want to remember it.  Even days like this, sitting on my couch with my dialgoue beside me.  I hear the dishwasher running and the kids playing upstairs.  I am still here, but already there.  I want to remember how this felt so that when I come back, or even halfway through Training, I can still feel this feeling.  I want to remember it.  Even if it’s just a little.

Eighteen days will turn into sixteen, then ten, then five, then I’ll be gone.  I’ll be in Acapulco.  I’ll be in the huge yoga room with Bikram teaching me.  I’ll be listening and learning and missing and hoping and thinking.

I just want to remember, because yesterday and tomorrow can never feel like today.

Namaste.

Day 74: 90 Done!

August 14, 2008

I am a day late getting this posted.  But yesterday was so, well… long that I went to bed early and decided to leave this blog until today.

I finished!!  I did it!  90 Bikram Yoga classes done!  I also, DID, actually do the 11 classes in five days that I talked about back on Friday.  And let me tell you, five straight days of doubles was something else.

This Challenge has been less about can I do it than the last one and more about how I do it.  In class I hear all the time stomach stomach stomach!!!!  But in my mind, I hear, attitude attitude attitude!!!!  In fact, the entire thing has been much more emotional than physical for me.  This is not to say I have not literally worked my ass off, but so much more of it has been internal.  I know I can do the yoga.  Clearly, I can do the yoga.  But the real question and yes, challenge, was – and still is – Can I do the yoga without complaining??  Can I do the yoga when my mind is screaming?  Can I do the yoga when I have a million things on my mind?  Can I let it go and do the class?  Can I release my control on stuff and do it?  Can I get through a class without whining about my back?  Can I choose to be thankful?  Can I do it with a smile?

Nobody’s perfect.

I’ve surely whined, complained, obsessed, and been far less than thankful.  You’ve seen it here on the blog.  But what I am taking away from this is where I am today.  Today am I closer to that ideal.  Today I am smiling, thankful, and resolved.  Today I am 90 classes stronger.

Daren asked me yesterday, Now what? Well, the truth is that nothing really changes.  I will, of course, keep going to class.  I will keep journaling here and chronicaling my journey through this yoga and Teacher Training.  I’ll sort of miss the countdown of classes, the feeling of pusing through, and the adrenaline of it all.  But even as bittersweet as that is, I look forward to giving my body a rest.  I need to learn Dialog, spend time with my family, and focus on the next month of my life here at home.  And yes, one month is all that I have left.

Last night as I was winding down my day, I became frustrated with something going on here at home and just lost my temper.  I got into the shower and let the hot water soak into my skin.  It was there that I craved my yoga mat.  I craved the space, the heat, the work.  Crazy, as I was literally exhausted.  But I recognized the yoga as my outlet.  It’s my solace and my release from the junk in life.  I take this as a sign of how far I have come.  Yoga is not a chore, it’s not a task to tick off of my list.  Yoga is a basic function of my day.  90 minutes on my mat.  Me and the mirror, the heat, and the postures.  That’s all I need.  And for that, I am truly thankful.

Namaste

I’ll go ahead and spill it that I missed class today. I had a commitment this morning that threw me off kilter for getting in my usual Saturday yoga double-header. But all is well and I will get back on the mat tomorrow.

Yesterday I did go to class. I had Jessica and a tiiiny class – only SIX of us! I struggled more than I have in a while. But, of course left feeling better than when I started. Not surprising.

I say so often in my blog posts, “I am learning so much.” Or, “I have come so far.” It’s hard on days like yesterday to say those things. But really, it’s those hard classes that really do remind me how far I’ve come and how much I have learned – if for no other reason than the fact that they are so rare.

I feel a bit like someone going through intense rehab sometimes. I never want to take for granted the place I came from or the way my life has been transformed by my ongoing commitment to this practice. Teachers often say, the more you are hurting or the more sickness you have in your body – the more injuries you carry – the more yoga you need to do. I have taken this mindset very seriously in the past five or six months. I’ve literally spent a minimum of seven hours a week (most of the time much more) rehabilitating my body on my mat. I go and go and go and go. When I “started over” last Fall with this yoga, I was in dire need of a serious change. But it wasn’t until about March or April of this year that I finally said, “OK no turning back” and threw myself headlong into my practice. Maybe I knew back then in the Spring that once I did it, I was ruined forever. In so many ways, this yoga does ruin you. It ruins you for feeling average and ruins you for being sick. Once you experience health and vitality and radiant life inside of you, you really are ruined. Coupled with the way I’ve been eating, my body is completely transformed. Inside and out, bones to the skin, fingertips to the toes. I am a new Karen. I like it.

So, I never want to take that for granted. I never want to go back. Oh no, I never want to go back. I am free from pain, imbalances, depression, and so much more. I’m free, like someone let out of jail after years and years and years trapped inside of a life they didn’t want. The difference is that I was my own captor. I was the jailer and the prisoner. It wasn’t until I owned up to myself that I had the keys to open the door that I was able to move forward. It’s good to look back and remember from whence we came. It’s good to appreciate the amazing roads we travel that make us better. But it’s also good to remember that some of those roads should never be traveled again.

Namaste

I read yesterday in Michelle’s Challenge Blog something that made me really think. She opened one of her recent posts with the statement. Yoga fixes everything… if you let it. She’s right, really right. I know this to be true for myself in so many ways.

I’ve had a tumultuous week emotionally, dealing with a bunch of personal stuff that I won’t get into here. Thursday I stayed off the mat because I was trying to cope with something particularly painful, but looking back I should have gone. I don’t always want to get on the mat. The times that I fight it the most, those are the times I need it the most. It’s not the easy classes that change us. It’s not the mornings I wake up excited for yoga that carve out new territory for me emotionally and physically. It’s the ones where I feel like sleeping, staying in bed, and hiding out.

The truth for me is that this practice, in all its joys and pains, has completely changed me inside and out. This yoga has affected everything I do and the way I relate to the world. But I have to let it change me. I have to let it fix me. I’ve been good about getting on the mat even when I’m not excited about it. But now I have to remember that sometimes it’s not just getting on the mat, but letting. Letting the practice change me. Letting the heat and the work and the sweat clear things away. Letting those prayer beads of sweat work for me.

It’s interesting for me. I have never had any problem believing that Bikram Yoga heals the body. I’ve never had any problem believing the miracles that happen with chronic disease, health problems, illness, injuries. I’ve seen it. I’ve experienced it. In many ways, I have also always believed this yoga can fix emotional imbalances too. It cured my depression and has given me greater mental clarity than I have ever had. But it’s often harder for me to believe that this yoga can fix the pains of our life, stresses of relationships, and all the things we carry around day to day. Ultimately, it can and it does. I know this to be true today. It’s not always easy to stand there, 90 minutes of looking at yourself in your vulnerability, and understand the depth of change. But it’s happening. If we let it.

Today was my 40th class, taught by Arnie. It was awesome and I feel wonderful. 2/3rds of the way home. Advanced tomorrow. See you again soon.

Namaste.