“The yoga mat is a good place to turn when talk therapy and antidepressants aren’t enough.”
I went back to Bikram yoga this morning, after a 6 month hiatus. I’ve been doing Ashtanga yoga twice a week so I thought I’d be fine…
As soon as we started, everything hurt…my shoulders were hurting during the opening breathing series and I couldn’t stop yawning. I always think I’m breaking some yoga rule by not following the breathing but for some reason, my body always wants to yawn during the breathing series…I guess I’ll never be a perfect yogi 🙂
The yawning subsided just in time for me to feel the pain in my body, the sides of my body were aching as we bent from side to side, my back did not want to arch back and bending forward felt like I was going to break in two… all signs that this was going to be a long, painful class. So, accepting that I have to give my body time to get back into Bikram yoga, I started:
- concentrating on my breath – your breath is the body’s internal furnace, it stretches and contracts the body and brings energy to the body…all things which sound wonderful…and breathing was one of the only things that didn’t hurt this morning.
- on staying still in between postures – the hardest thing to do in yoga is to stay still and let your body be…it’s during the stillness that the body benefits from the previous posture and in our culture, being still is the hardest thing to do. We’re so busy and always on the go that our natural reaction is to move. We adjust our clothes, wipe the sweat from our eyes, fix our hair…you name it. Instead, we should be still, letting our body heal and strengthen.
- I tried to at least hold and stay in the postures the whole time – which wasn’t easy. There were many times when I was hopping, wobbling and having to pull back to stay on my feet.
Most of the postures I was able to hold, and I didn’t have to take a break at all, but I could definitely feel my body was struggling. My stomach wasn’t happy with the food in my stomach (a sign that I need to eat better) and I wasn’t able to go as deep as I used to into any of the postures. Some of the postures felt agonizing, my legs barely raised off the floor in Locust, my knees and ankles almost fell off my body in Fixed Firm Pose and I almost threw up during Camel. If you aren’t sure what these mean, go to my post describing the Bikram sequence.
I was impressed by the fact that I didn’t need to drink as much water as I usually do and while I was sweating, my towel was pretty dry, so I was able to grab and hold my feet for a change. I was glad when the class was over and didn’t stop sweating for half the day!
So clearly, I need to start getting back into it…and hopefully I can walk tomorrow!