Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Being perfect: Update 1 - Perspiration and Inspiration

I just finished my second day of Hot Yoga with today being my first day of official Bikram Yoga. Here's the thing about hot yoga. It's hot. When they say hot, they mean hot. And if you think, "When I lie down it will be a little cooler" you would be wrong. Whoever came up with the scientific theory that heat rises clearly has never done Bikram yoga.

My first day was like baby Bikram. It was only an hour and was only in a 90-degree room. When I first walked into the studio I looked around and thought, "Yep, pudgiest person here." Then I stopped, looked in the mirror and thought, "I don't think that way anymore. That's Fred Jr. talking. My new perfect outlook doesn't care what anyone looks like in comparison to me, so knock it off!" And I did. The class was great. I felt good and was happy I had left Fred Jr. out in the lobby.

I walked into tonight's class a few minutes before it started and could tell there was an enormous difference between 90 and 105. That's right friends. If you are unfamiliar, Bikram yoga is done in a 105-degree room. I laid down on my mat to meditate before class started and was shocked at how very warm the floor felt against my arms. But - no problem! I've got this. My old mindset is gone, and quite frankly my main goal was to not die, so the bar was set pretty low. And then we began.

The teacher talks, but does not do the majority of the poses with you and so I became incredibly grateful and impressed by the people in front of me. They were sweaty little rock stars. And while it is perfectly fine to get an idea of the poses by watching others, the teacher really encourages you to look at yourself in the mirror. This was hard for me. I didn't want to stare at myself in the mirror for a whole class! Kristen has pointed out that I maybe have one full-length picture of me on Facebook and haven't owned a full-length mirror in 15 years. As if all of my friends don't see what I look like on a regular basis. Somehow, if I don't put it on Facebook, it isn't real. (Let's not discuss the psychological issues of me equating Facebook with reality - that will be for another day.) However, I don't think that way anymore and so I breathed in and out and sweated my way to appreciating how hard I was working. I love my new mindset. I think I even heard Fred Jr. leave the building.

The last 30 minutes were really hard. I was basically the human equivalent of an irrigation system - sending forth enough water that I worried the wood floor would sprout leaves. But, and here is the important part, I did it. I made it through all 90 minutes AND I did some version of all 26 poses. They may not have been pretty - but I was trying. At the end of class, the instructor, and several students came up and complimented me on how I did and encouraged me to come back. This is a big deal because, in order for them to share their kind words, I had to still be in the room. The 105-degree room. My former self would have quickly left at the end of class not just because of the heat, but because all of my insecurities would be at high-alert after bending and twisting and posing in a way that made it impossible to hide my physical flaws. And guess what? They couldn't care less what I looked like.

Self-pity is simply a tool that gets us focusing on ourselves and not looking out to see where we can help those around us. It stops us from sending forth love to everyone we come across. Self-pity is a dangerous mindset that blindfolds us from God's generous blessings, from our talents, and from opportunities to be more. I am disappointed at the amount of time I have invested in self-pity and am happy to know that I have left it behind. It is packed tightly in Fred Jr's suitcase and I will do everything I can to make sure it stays there. Like going to Bikram yoga again.