Getting in shape

I want to get back to yoga.

I really do.

Yet, here I am… Not yoga-ing.

I can’t say why… I have a mat, the clothes for it and even a membership to a bikram center. But I never go.

Even though I think I want to go.

What happened, you may ask? Let me give you a bit of a back story.

I started doing bikram yoga in January of 2016. But in April of the same year, I fell ill, stopped going and asked the center for a suspension. In June 2018, I felt better and thought I was ready to go back so I asked for my subscription to be renewed. Weeks got by, then months, then… Yeah, you guessed it. A year later, I still haven’t set foot in that place.

In all honesty, I’m wondering if I chose bikram for the right reasons and, mostly, if it’s why I can’t seem to find the will to go back to a class. If I remember correctly, in the beginning of 2016, I had hit a new high weight-wise. I had tried the paleo lifestyle in 2015 and it had helped with some of my health issues, but I wasn’t able to maintain it long term because I felt deprived, mostly while traveling or during social events. After I caved and let my cravings get the better of me, I inevitably gained some pounds back and was feeling worse than before. Come January 2016, where I decided to try the Whole 30 program – which is even stricter than paleo. Weird, I know. But that’s the thing, I was feeling great. Like never before. Sure, I was eating the same thing over and over again – which got real boring, real fast – but my digestive system felt wonderful, I had less bloating, lost weight rather quickly and didn’t have any food cravings. It was during that month that I decided to join a bikram center, after having talked about it with a colleague who had a lot of experience with this type of yoga and who loved it.

It was challenging, but I persevered since I was pretty convinced that it was the combination of the diet and yoga that made me feel that great. For 6 weeks straight, I was feeling good physically, but mentally, things were getting harder and harder. The world around me was slowly collapsing, stress was adding up, I tried and tried to stay strong for others but at some point, I started to recognize all too well the symptoms of depression. I didn’t want to be depressed again (I’d fought so hard to beat the first one, years before), so I tried my best to act like everything was fine. But was it enough? No.

Of course not.

Sometimes, your body forces you to see things you try so hard to hide.

So, instead of going to yoga class, I stayed in bed. Instead of eating fruits and veggies, I ate potato chips and cookies. I gained weight, lost my motivation and guilt me into thinking I didn’t have the willpower it took to feel well and continue what was going so well for me, not that long before.

But it’s over now. I feel better. I’m in a place where I’m trying to retrain my brain into understanding that a new lifestyle isn’t necessarily a punishment. That we can still enjoy things while living differently than before. I’m taking small steps – sometimes way smaller than I would like – and often take steps back, but I try.

See, I started to eat better about a month ago and I’m putting less pressure on myself this time around. I see how my body feels and I adjust. I think it’s going well, for the most parts.

So, this is where yoga comes in. It would make sense to go back to classes at this moment of my life. In fact, it’s probably the perfect moment to go back. I have the time for it and I already spent the money. I just have to convince myself that no one will care that I gained weight or that I haven’t been there in a while. The first one would be the hardest. I know it. Because once I go over my fear of going back, I’m pretty sure that the apprehension will disappear.

There’s a class tomorrow. Let’s cross our fingers that I go.

Life’s jitters

It’s funny how fear work. One day you’re full of ideas, you’re dreaming about experiencing different things, you crave a new life… The next day, you start making excuses, you think you’re protecting yourself from the unknown; you even try to convince yourself of how bad these ideas were in the first place. But the thing is… It’s probably fear slowly creeping in.

I know fear.

Fear has been one of my best friends in the past 10 years or so. It accompanied me every day of every week, always by my side, never too far from my mind.

By choosing fear instead of action, I thought I was protecting myself from all the potential pain that could come my way. I built the highest walls around me and focused even more on others so that I could forget about my own needs and desires. It became a habit of mine.

But now, looking back at my behavior, I’m starting to realize that not making the things I really wanted to do or not trying new experiences because I was too afraid, was way more hurtful than actually doing those things. At that time, I thought I was becoming more independent and stronger, when in fact, I was becoming more and more isolated; trying harder and harder to fit into a mold I pertinently knew wasn’t meant for me.

Honestly, for most of my life, I felt like a square trying to fit in a society of circles. I just felt different. Like I wasn’t meant for the day to day life that most people wanted to get. And in the past years, I tried… I really tried to transform myself into a circle. But all I managed to do is become a squircle. An unhappy squircle, might I add.

So, these days, I’m trying to break up with fear, but it’s not an easy task. Fear is clingy, you know? It kind of depends on me to live, so it wants to stay close. That’s why I’m taking it slow. It’s not like it arrived in my life all at once, so I won’t try to get rid of it too quickly. I’ll try to show it how more confident I’m becoming; how I don’t let it rule my life anymore. And I guess, soon enough, it will understand that it’s no longer needed here.

It’s time for fear to give way to happiness.