Thursday, May 14, 2009

The body never lies...

I don't usually talk about my specific personal experiences from classes here (which is deliberate, by the way), but I had an interesting one last night that reminded me of an important truth about Bikram yoga: the body never lies.

First, I have to admit to what I consider two of my biggest flaws: I am a workaholic AND a procrastinator!  This will be my downfall someday, but I usually just work with it.  I think I pulled my first all-nighter at the tender ago of about 13 and didn't think it was really a big deal.  When I was an undergraduate, the all-nighter was more or less a monthly ritual.  I never thought that this was ideal, but I thought I pulled it off ok.

But whoaaa, boy, once I started doing yoga, I quickly found out otherwise.  Because your mind will lie to you day in and day out, but your body never lies, especially in that hot room.  Nothing but honestly there, nothing but you and your sweat and your body, telling its own story.

I bring this up because, yes, I ended up with way too much work piled up on me this week and ended up staying up from 9am Monday until 11pm Wednesday, with no yoga on Tuesday.  There was no napping except for one accidental 15-minute one during the weekly nitrides seminar. (I woke up to the sound of clapping at the end to read the final PowerPoint slide that said "thank you for (hopefully) not falling asleep!" My bad.)  And there was way, WAY too much caffeine.

And I honestly would not have realized just how unhappy my body was about this if I hadn't taken the 6:30pm class on Wednesday evening.

I was basically tighter than I've been in the last two years, without exaggeration.  Also my balance was shot (which was no surprise), and things actually HURT!  All those moments in the dialogue when they say "your bad is going to hurt like hell, don't be scared" or "your elbows might hurt like hell"... oh my gosh, they're not kidding!  I honestly had forgotten how true those lines are because my body usually doesn't hurt at all.  Sometimes I do get really sore, but never stiff to the extent that it feels like things are gonna start breaking.  So you know, that was actually a good experience for me!  I went through the class with this scientific detached interest in my body, noticing "oh wow, that kills my elbow" or "sheesh, when did my feet get so far away?"  I think that's good.  Relatively speaking, I have a pretty "easy" body and practicing usually feels challenging, but great, so this was one of those days when I kept thinking, "oh man, is this what other people feel like in class all the time??"  It gave me so much respect for the level of difficulty that can exist within this simple class, and the pure torture that it must present to the people who are really injured, stiff or out of shape.

I'm probably preaching to the choir here, but just so you guys know, this Bikram yoga shit is hard!  You just have to give respect to everyone in that room.

The coda to this story is that when I practiced again tonight, everything was about 90% of the way back to normal, but hopefully I have learned a little lesson from this.  You can lie to yourself anywhere you want out in your day-to-day life, but in yoga, forget about it!  But that doesn't mean you shouldn't GO to yoga.  Go to class, go to class, go to class no matter what, and find out the truth about the state of your body, even when it's not pretty.  Especially then!  You'll get nothing but truth, and that's a powerful and awesome thing.


Anonymous said...

This post really affected me- thanks, yogini.

Ellen in Hawaii said...

Thank you for posting this. So simple but SO true - the body never lies. And each 90 min session brings out the current truth you're living for you to address and change if necessary. It's different every time, because you are different every time. That's why I love it. ;))

Duffy Pratt said...

OK, maybe the body never lies, but there have been times when I've felt like its speaking a foreign language.

The Missus said...

So true... the body never does lie. I had a shit class today... And it's because I drank coffee an hour before class. I was in so much acid reflux pain.

It is time to give up the coffee all together. The body is telling me it is not good.

thedancingj said...

Thanks for the replies, everyone! I'm so happy that you were all able to relate to this. I love how we all have such intensely personal experiences in yoga, but there is still SO MUCH that we share.

Sara said...