I was a mess. Fat. Unhappy. Fulfilled. Empty. Complete. Confused.
The day I found Bikram Yoga was like the best first date ever. If you haven't had your best first date ever... imagine one from a movie and take your expectations down a few notches. Back into the realm of possibility and human error.
- The possibilities are a tiny glimmer of optimism rising forth in your heart.
- The human error is just that. Ordinary feelings that sabotage an otherwise perfect day. In this case, the insecurities of being a first-timer in yoga class.
Here's how my first Bikram Yoga class unfolded.
1. There are people here in this yoga studio who embody peace and well-being. If I follow them home I will find kale and kombucha in the fridge.
2. These yogis seem at peace, and without judgment. I may see them as fat, thin, bendy or unbendy. They see themselves as a work in progress in the universe. How evolved!
3. I feel the quiet corners of my mind when I step into this beautiful space. A glimpse of bliss? Is this the goal of the meditation? Did I catch of glimmer of it after one second? Score!
1. In walks the local high school baseball team. The entire team. I'm not kidding. I was a hormonal six week postpartum mom with mom hips and belly goo. I did not want to be trapped in a hot room with a bunch of 18 year old boys, chuckling at the thought of YOGA. They were leering at the tiny girls in cheeky shorts and wondering why they agreed to this torture. (They weren't looking at self-conscious chunky old me! But having them in such close proximity during a tenderly emotional moment of my life is unthinkable.) Mentally: I can't escape fast enough. Physically: I've already agreed to try this. I'm not running away now.
2. There are three dozen people crammed in this little room. I can't see myself in the mirror. I'm too far back to see the teacher or anyone that knows what they're doing. I might as well leave.
3. It's effing hot here. It's summertime in the desert, hot. Remember when you were twelve and your best friend convinced you to lay out on her roof atop a carpet of tinfoil to get a quick tan? Oh yeah. You remember. It's THAT hot.
1. Nirvana. Is that possible?
2. Freedom from self. Is that possible?
3. Patience. Is that possible?
1. Jerk in front of me in the Lululemon mannequin sale won't stop giggling with her mat neighbor. I guess she has abundant free time away from the tiny human hurricanes. "Hey lady. I'm on borrowed time here! Some respect!"
2. Sweat. I knew it. The consequence of all this heat is stinky human sweat. Smelly armpit-in-your-face, sweat. I'm counting the moments until this ninety minutes of torture is over. There's no clock in this room! It's okay. I'll just count to 5400.
3. Exhaustion. I want to go on and finish this class, but I'm positively exhausted. Can I get a raincheck and grab a drink on my way home?
Once my first class was over, my world felt amazing. I heard those fateful words from the instructor... "See you tomorrow!" Every first-timer must think this is a joke. But you know what? I went back the next day. I hope you do too!
My practice continued on and off, which led me to my first-ever 30 Day Bikram Yoga Challenge this past February. Sometimes I get to class. Other times, like today... I have to settle for home hot yoga in the steam shower.