Sunday, July 26, 2009

Back on the road - Home is where the YOGA is!

Seems I got to have a change of scene,
Cause every night I have the strangest dreams...

Got restless this week and drove down to LA on a whim on Friday.  The one great joy of being a grad student in summer; I have to put in all my research hours, but it doesn't exactly matter when I do it.  I wasn't in lab or on a big deadline this week, so when I got stir-crazy, I just hit the road!

I have to say, it is amazing the difference that a year (or 11 months) makes.  I just remember that the first time I went to Bikram headquarters in LA, at the end of last August, I found it to be such an unfriendly place.  I didn't know anyone, no one talked to me, none of the teachers seemed to care who I was, I was scared to talk to the "famous" people... it was depressing!

And now it is SO different for me.  Totally relaxed, comfortable, easy, flexible.  I know half the desk people.  We have long conversations about our careers (engineers unite!) and their pets (very photogenic puppy named Eggroll).  I always know someone in class.  I don't even get down there that often, but people remember me and are always like "oh yay, you are here!!"  The teacher at 9am on Friday (who I hadn't seen in months and months) got up on the podium, glanced around, and said "Hey J!!!  Wow, what's up?  How long are you here for?!"  He then kicked my butt in class, but was super cool about it when I went DOWN - "Don't worry J, it's just the headquarters, there's crazy mojo here."  My LA buddies pester me for my phone number in the locker room and offer me couches to sleep on anytime I want.  I practiced Emmy's advanced at noon, and the class was hopping, maybe 25 people, and the energy was awesome, tons of real pros, from senior teachers to a 12 year old kid, lots of hard work, lots of joking around with people, lots of friendly familiar faces.  I pretty much chilled out by the door and did my thing, and my postures went a lot better than I expected, which was a bonus.  A couple of the guys taught me these hilarious "Indian push-ups" after class and I am still sore two days later.  I thanked Emmy on the way out and chatted a bit with Craig and Juan in the parking lot.  I felt like I was back home, for some reason.  Got caught in traffic on the way back up (Friday afternoon in July, duh), spent half the day driving, and it was TOTALLY worth it.

I love, love, LOVE the Bikram community.  Seriously.  These are my PEOPLE.  (And all of you guys, my lovely readers, those of you who I saw in class for years, who I talked with online for months, or who I have never even met or spoken with - you are all included in this, of course.)  And you have to understand... I am not spectacularly outgoing in other settings.  I stay home with my roommates on the weekend and make avocado-kale salad for dinner and watch So You Think You Can Dance and Harry Potter movies.  I am not really that cool.  But with the yoga people, at the yoga studios, I'm kinda different.  I'm an extrovert, I get to know everyone, I find out about everything that's going on... I get IN there.  At advanced seminar, my roommate said, "holy SHIT you've moved fast out here... everyone I've said your name to already knows you!"  I really enjoy being like this!  It is a very unexpected side effect, but I've been seeing it for a long time, and I like it a lot.

Back in town now, things are a lot more chill, not so many excited yogis rolling around as there are in LA, but I've been finding them.  Been getting to know new people, and been discovering new sides to people I already knew.  Spent the morning at the studio today, signing in classes, practiced at 10am, talked shop (and politics JUST a bit) with a couple teachers, then hung out with a friend and went through advanced series.  It was nice.  I looked at apartments yesterday, getting ready to settle in for the next year.  This can be a home, too.  I feel like a snail; I just carry my yoga practice around on my back, in my spine really, and I can be at home anywhere I land.


hannahjustbreathe said...

Your yoga practice does become kind of like home, doesn't it?? I've often thought that when I'm on my mat---like being there, in that space, toes and heels touching, breath relaxed, I feel like I'm safe. Like I'm home.

bikramyogachick said...

Yes! "these are my people". Your post resonates in my soul. When I went to redondo beach for a week and practiced at that studio everyday I was the same way! Getting to know the teachers, the students, totally relaxed, easy, comfortable, flexible.
Ohhh! I love it!
Here's a good one for us: "HOME IS WHERE THE MAT IS".

thedancingj said...

Totally. I just figured out that I have practiced at 17 different Bikram studios in the last couple years... classes with 300+ people, classes with 3 people, east coast, west coast, and everywhere in between... and you know, when you close your eyes in final savasana, they all feel the same. When I was moving out west and I was really homesick, I took at class in Vegas (I think at your studio, Michelle!) and at the end I laid down and felt like I was back home in Boston, and it was like I was really being there, like I was staying in one place while everything else came to me, like I could be everywhere at once. Cool.