A few weeks ago, I realized this whole gym thing is not for me.
Like most people, I find cardio machines to be so boring and the more interesting classes are always at inconvenient times. I tried paying a personal trainer but she was pushy and forced me so past my comfort zone that I wrenched my shoulder and still cannot use it properly. But worst of all, no matter how much I stretched and took care of myself, I always left the gym exhausted, in pain and without any real relief of the emotional stress in my life.
I needed a change. I needed to find something that would heal me, inside and out. I needed Bikram yoga.
So, I canceled my gym membership and signed up for an introduction month at Bikram Yoga Portland, dedicating myself to going at least 5 times a week and documenting how I felt here for A Health Challenge. The change happened just in time: about three days into my journey I got horrible double bad news and Bikram yoga became both as my therapist and my personal trainer. By the end of 20 days, I felt better emotionally and physically than I had in over a year.
I’m a total convert.
While the bad news I got has me moving to my hometown for a bit, far away from any yoga studio more or less a Bikram one, I’ll always be grateful to the wonderful people at Bikram Yoga Portland who supported and nurtured me during one of the roughest months of my life. I hope I can be back to practice with my new friends again soon.
Here’s my journey:
Day 1: WOOT! Look at me go! I’m so going to feel better asap! 4:30pm class, 8pm passed out asleep.
Day 2: Woke up at 4am, might as well go to 5:30am class. Feelin’ dizzy, dehydrated, but enthusiastic.
Day 3: Back here again.
Day 4: Double bad news on the way to class. My brother’s cancer is back and D.E.’s uncle has died. Too sad to move. Going home to eat gelato instead.
Day 5: Wanna cry. Don’t. Just lay there most of class.
Day 6: Ugh. It’s hot. Camel, rabbit and any other pose named after an animal can wait until next class, today I’m gonna sit here and focus on not vomiting.
Day 7: Oops, wrong class time. Oh well, the sun’s out, gonna see what it’s like outdoors instead.
Day 8: FUCK THIS! It is really hot. I mean reeeeaaaaallllyyy hot in this room. I’m just going to lay here and weep.
Day 9: Halloween! I’m dressed like a pirate! OUCH metal earrings in a hot room = earlobe burns! It’s worth it though; I got a popsicle afterwards for dressing up. My friend K from San Francisco and her friend K are my guests today, so that’s fun. Also, it seems cooler in here today. I even tried to do camel pose and that pose sucks.
Day 10: My instructor is super super skinny and can do all the moves because her boobs and fat don’t get in the way like mine do. But she’s nice so I don’t hold it against her. Instead I try to do camel again. It still sucks.
Day 11: Best yoga yet. Maybe it’s because I had that one class where we were literally as hot as the sun, but I think it’s gotten cooler in here.
Day 12: OMG my instructor has a huge penis and I can see it through his tight spandex pants. So distracted by the penis, I forgot the pain and tried every pose.
Day 13: Same large penis instructing me. This time I’m less distracted so I notice how hot and tight I am and don’t quite get to every pose.
Day 14: Sleeping cuddled against D.E. and having sex in the morning did something to my back. I have to sit out most poses. Ouch.
Day 15: Back better, instructor hilarious. It’s the most packed, hottest class but I don’t care I’m still smiling from the instructor’s singing. Her brother died and yoga helped her through it. After class, I tell her about my brother’s cancer and Gramma’s death and how yoga is helping me through it. We bond. I find out camel opens up your heart, making it vulnerable. No wonder I hate it.
Day 16: Tight pants big penis instructor is back. I like his enthusiasm, very fast speaker, encourages me to dig harder and deeper into a pose, so I do. Even stay bent back for camel. Still not touching my ankles, though and still hate the pose.
Day 17: OUCH! My knee. Dammit. That hurt. Sitting the rest of class out.
Day 18: Fuck that I’m taking a day off.
Day 19: Community free class means the room is absolutely packed, so absolutely hot. I bring my friend Bridget. She’s better than me. I try not to hate her for it.
Day 20: The time has come for me to leave Portland and I’m so sad I can’t move. I just lay there in class and only stretch when I can. I try not to try. By the end of class, though, I accept that I can’t always control what’s going on with my family and life and just have to breathe through the fear and pain and do the best I can. I feel zen and at peace. I cry on my way home, but I know I’m going to be ok.