yoga update: 35/60

Lest you think that I sail through every day completely blissed out and contented from doing all this yoga...Today was the complete opposite. I was cranky, irritable, tired, and frustrated at everyone and everything, including most especially myself. Yoga class itself was fine, perhaps the closest thing to a calm spot in this annoying day. But there too I had to struggle with my monkey brain.

I've talked to other people who have done or are doing a 60-day Bikram challenge, and just about everyone agrees that right now is the struggling part. The first 25, 28 days for me were easy -- I was a little tired around day 9 but soon picked up from that. My asanas were improving, my body was changing, my mind was clearer. The challenge experience was so obviously a great thing and the yoga itself wasn't hard. And then there was day 31. The most challenging class I've had in two years. One of the meditative things I like about this yoga is that it is the same sequence of poses and breathwork every day -- and yet, it is never the same. Just as two days, two minutes, two breaths are never identical. Learning to relax into the uncertainty, the differences, is part of the practice. Sure, your conscious mind is always trying to rationalize things: it's easy or hard today because of what I ate, how I slept, how humid the air is outside...all of these things are factors, but the basic truth of this practice (of all mediative practice?) is that life is change. And that we humans don't deal very well with change -- we want to cling to the things we love, and we want to avoid the things we fear. We only want the changes we think we can control. Ha! says the universe. That's not the Change plan you're signed up with.

On day 31, I felt sick right away, during the opening breathwork. Enough so that I had to sit down, for fear of vomiting (and since I was standing in the front row, that would have been especially awkward). I got through it, and got through the class -- I eased up on a couple of poses, and sat out a couple of repeated sets. I hadn't felt that sick in a really long time. But in this practice, we believe that dizziness or nausea is just part of the body's detoxification process. It simply means you have to slow down, tune in to what's going on. It always passes. To have that experience in class is very humbling -- it brings you right back to beginner's mind, to the best possible attitude of openness and learning. All students practice together, the experienced and the novices -- and again and again we are all in the position of being awkward, off-balance, uncomfortable. It's a good process.

I haven't felt that physically challenged since, although the past couple of days have been days of struggle. I'm a bit stiff in spots, a bit awkward as my hip continues to settle into a new, better alignment. But if anything, I'd say that this period of mental and physical challenge only refuels my commitment to the 60-day experience. This already has been one of the best experiences of my adult life -- and I'm only halfway there.