a lesson

Last night I went to my second Bikram class.  When I took the class last week for the first time, I focused on making sure I was attempting the postures correctly and strived to stay in the class for all 90 minutes.  I left the class feeling good and strong – restored and relaxed both mentally and physically.  I think I operated mostly on the surface level of things last week though because yesterday was a very different experience for me.

Bikram is intense.  The way I felt when I was in there last night scared me yet comforted me at the same time.  The teacher guided – really instructed – us to stretch ourselves physically beyond our natural comfort zone (“bone to skin”).  I listened and I went to my edges.  This in turn had me stretching my heart and my soul into corners of my self that I do not visit very often.  Areas emotionally and spiritually that are filled with cobwebs and heartache.  To be in that room in 108 degrees of sweltering heat, eyes wide open, muscles flexing, bones twisting – I was stretching and pushing and finally – letting go.  Exhaling.  Healing.  Tears mixing with sweat.  Getting rid of toxins on every level.  I felt so vulnerable at times, so scared.  What if it hurts?  What if I fall?

It is good to hurt because I will heal.  It is good to fall because I will get back up.
The teacher tells me to look in the mirror – to look myself straight in the eyes and to concentrate.  I do this every day, but this is different.  I am looking inward through the reflection in my eyes.  This is not comfortable for me.  I focus and I wobble and I balance.  That is me, my body.  Those are my tears.  I am a fighter.  I push myself to my limits frequently.  I am not good at letting go.  This is where I am presently, learning to let go.

I am a “Type A” personality, dubbed affectionately by my loved ones as “control freak.”  I am a list maker, a schedule enforcer, a creature of habit and patterns.  I love the plans and schedules involved in training for a race.  The strategy required for a marathon excites me.  I’m not so good at letting go.  I recognize this and want to be better at it.

This morning I went to the track at 5:30 to do some speed work in the dark.  I was wearing my head lamp but did not look at my watch to check my pace.  I pushed myself on the straight-aways and rounded the corners at a relaxed pace for 5 miles.  Lap after lap after lap, I fell into a rhythm.  I found myself thinking a lot about balance: between pushing myself and letting go, between giving and taking.  What I realized is that there will be no healing, no growth, without balance.  I can push all I want but I will not get anywhere unless I learn to let go.

3 thoughts on “a lesson

  1. Throw me into the “Type A” category too! There are so many aspects of yoga that can make you stretch physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Thanks for the reminder that us “Type A” people probably need that more often in our lives!

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