An hour after Bikram yoga was done, I will still sweating, red-faced and wobbly.
And completely blissed out.
Today’s class was one of the hardest I’ve ever done. Admittedly, it’s been nearly 2 months since my last visit, so that certainly doesn’t help the situation, but I had to do something I’ve never done in class: leave the room.
If you’ve ever been unlucky enough to express any interest at all in yoga in front of me, I’ve no doubt proselytized the glory of Bikram. I probably told you the heat isn’t that bad. That it’s not only the physical component, but the mental exercise as well. That all the poses are beginner poses that can be stepped up as you improve. That, at the end of class, the feeling of peace and tranquility that overtakes you makes all that heat worth it, and the only focus in your first class should be to just stay in the room. Just. Stay. In. The. Room.
And today, I left the room.
Every Friday, I receive a “Note of Grit & Grace” in my inbox. The writer, who also happens to be a personal friend, shares her life in real time and the lessons she learns. This week’s email focused on how hard it is to be a beginner. (Sidenote: she also hosts an AMAZING podcast that I am obsessed with. Definitely worth checking it if you’re into that sort of thing.)
I thought of her email as I reflected on today’s yoga practice and I realized something: I’m a beginner again. I have retained the knowledge of my physical pursuits, but the body cannot respond in the way it used to.
It’s hard to begin again. To remember what you used to be able to do and to instead, accept a new reality. It doesn’t mean I’ll never be where I was again, it just means I need to rebuild what was lost while my body was busy fighting a bigger foe than fat. (*cough* fuck cancer *cough)
Today, I left the room. And that’s okay. I showed up. I did my best.
I’m a beginner again. And that’s okay too. You have to start somewhere, and I’m starting here, with the words from Nicole’s email to remind me:
“I will become the person I want to be – one tiny, scary step at a time, with the goal of being a little better than the day before.”
– Nicole Antoinette
Randomly related sidenote: If you want to nerd out on hyperthermic conditioning (the benefit of heat in exercise) check out this video from Dr. Rhonda Patrick.