Monday, December 17, 2012

Timely and Informative

So many are going through so much with the Newtown Tragedy still in the hearts and on the minds of our nation and the world. I am not here to discuss and debate gun control, although I believe in sane gun laws (in the state of NV, if legislation passes requiring pseudophedrine to be dispensed by prescription only, it will be easier to legally purchase a rifle then it will be to purchase Sufafed) I am not even going to talk about how, yet again, our countries lack of mental health services has failed another disturbed individual.

To catch you up on the last few months of my life would be difficult given my only thinly veiled attempts at hiding my real identity. If you know me in real life you know how mental illness and substance use/misuse/abuse have been affecting our family. During this time we have also dealt with tragedy of losing two friends to suicide. I have strong feelings about mental health care but no more answers then anyone else. I am also not willing to use the Newtown tragedy and the loss of so many precious lives to drive readers to my little blog.

What I want to talk about is the worst gift you can ever give to the mother of a young child and how ultimately that gift changed my life at its very core.

When my little one turned a whole year old, we had a party for family and friends. It was monster themed, my sister made the cake and my little one ran around in a tutu. A friend of ours gave me the gift of a month at a local hot yoga studio. First, I had never ever heard of hot yoga or Bikram yoga. Second, giving any woman, especially a new mother, the gift of a workout or workout equipment is usually interpreted as meaning that the giver believes the giftee is fat and needs to lose weight because everyone is sick of looking at the giftee's jiggly belly and flat, saggy butt (at least this is how I initially interpreted this gift, after faking pleasure at receiving it of course) did I mention that the giver is single? Cause shockingly, he totally is (maybe because he makes a habit of giving workouts as gifts) joking (kind of) in the sake of honesty I have to say that the giver is a sweet guy, who gave me this gift because Michael and I rock climb and he had found that hot or Bikram yoga helped him with his flexibility, recovery and strength in regards to his climbs. None the less he is single and if you are living in Afghanistan and looking to meet a guy let me know, I could set you up (long distance wing-womaning, I should totally get props for that one)

I attended my first Bikram yoga class at Bikram Yoga Summerlin that next week. The first week was pure torture. I was sick, very sick, I hurt all over. I was sore and I didn't want to go back. I was experiencing a health crisis, but I also really believed that I needed to make some changes so I trudged onward. The studio was amazing, warm not in the physical sense, it was HOT in the physical sense (Bikram
Yoga is practiced in a 105 degree room with 40% humidity) beautiful; artwork, couches, paintings, gorgeous lithe men and women walking around barely clothed like super attractive cats wearing less then bathing suits. There was love and immediately my cynical side started to look for flaws.

I attended classes 12 times in my first month. At the end of my gift month I knew I wanted to continue with this practice, although I still had times of loathing it deeply. I was mistrustful of Bikram as an individual, I had read some disturbing stories on the Internet about militant instructors and injuries caused by the encouragement to push yourself further, I read about sloppy postures never being corrected, I read about heat exhaustion, dehydration and what ultimately always is a major complaint is Bikram Choudhury's financial success and the disagreement about how he runs the studios bearing his name. But after my first week I started leaving classes feeling renewed, like a dirty sponge wrung out, everything dirty and messed up was left in the sweat on my towels, my clothes and the studio floor. I continued to go semi regularly until the beginning of October.

In October my studio had a 30 classes in 30 days challenge. After practicing for for around 4 months I was seeing my body change and thought I would attempt the challenge. Michael and I talked about how I would fit in the various classes, who would watch the kids while I was attempting this and what I would need to achieve this. I read inspirational blogs of people attempting 30 and 60 day challenges, I followed people on Instagram who were regularly practicing or attending the Fall 2012 Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in Los Angeles. I was pumped, I was set and I started. 30 days to change your body, 60 days to change your life.

I failed. 5 days into the challenge I became dehydrated, I then fell while carrying the baby and sprained my wrist. Lastly, and most emotionally taxing, Michael and I dealt with the tragedy of losing a close friend; an amazing person, a wonderful musician, a talented artist and tattoo artist, a wise, hilarious guy with a goofy, dry sense of humor.

I failed completely and my shame and pride kept me out of the studio for almost 2 months. During my recent trip to visit Bean and her little Beanstalk, I started having dreams about my studio and my instructors. I missed them, I actually missed the hot, torture box. When I came home I drug my jet lagged butt to class. I had thrown my back out on my trip, it hurt to lay down, it hurt to breathe, it hurt to carry and run through Houston International airport with carry on luggage, wearing a 20 pound, 18 month old. That first class was painful and healing. My second was better and full of light and love, which was a blessing because of the events our nation went through on Friday. My vibrant instructor Lacey told us to hug someone important to us that day, full of doubt and wondering if she would think I was weird I hugged her as I left, she had no idea how important to me she has become.

So it is with renewed faith I start my Bikram practice again. I am less cynical but I will always struggle to quiet my monkey mind who wants to compare and pick apart my fellow classmates for being better, more attractive, thinner, more flexible, stronger or wearing nicer workout clothes then me.

I will still question Bikram as a man but I have never blindly followed anyone or anything. I don't believe "Doubting" Thomas was a bad thing (another post for another day) I am finding inspiration from the people around me and working on radical self love and acceptance.

"You’re never too old, never too bad, never too late and never too sick to start from the scratch once again." -Bikram Choudhury