Sweat and tears

I did it! I went to my yoga class.

In fact, I went to three yoga classes since my last post. Isn’t it great?

Let’s do a happy dance to celebrate.

I’m pretty proud of myself. I woke up early on my day off, drove 35 minutes to get to the studio, got there, got dressed up and stayed there the whole time. But boy oh boy was it a challenge. Both physically and mentally.

I honestly thought that the first class would be like the first one I did back in 2016. Wow was I wrong. I put on about 20 pounds since then and let me tell you, those – plus all the others – were not happy to be there.

To be fair, I wasn’t a master yogi in 2016 either. But at least I could do half a pose and pretend like I wasn’t suffering through the whole thing. But now?

The only pose I managed to do entirely was the savasana.

It wasn’t good and it made me upset. There were times where I wanted to cry, and times where I reprimanded myself for not being able to do what I was able to do not so long ago. I was having a whole discussion with myself, while being frustrated with my incapability to perform as I thought I would, which made the whole thing worse. I was going from: “you can do this/do your best” to “stupid ?!%*@#?* pose/leg/arm – how come I can’t do it anymore?!”.

Plus, I was sweating profusely – way more than what I remembered. I was sweating so much I felt like a snowman in the middle of July. Was it because of the weight gain? Was it because the class is given at a temperature that makes you feel like you’re a piece of bread grilling in a toaster? Or was it because I was dressed like the equivalent of a bear trying to go unnoticed in a room full of Sphynx cats? I guess it’s because of all of that. But since I’m nowhere near ready to show my legs in public, I continued to sweat in my full-length cotton pants and supposedly breathable bra and tank top.

So, for an hour and a half, I sweated, I swore internally and then I sweated some more.

Make you want to try bikram yoga now, huh?

Nah, but seriously, this whole process made me realize how much I put pressure on myself. Pressure to perform, pressure to be perfect and to be exactly where I used to be, instead of accepting where I am now and progress from there.

Sure, I knew this tendency of mine, but it’s in these occasions that it really shows itself more clearly to me. And I need to let go. I need to learn how to breathe and just be in these moments, instead of seeing them as a competition with myself. So I guess these yoga classes will not only allow me to work on my body but on my soul too – which is great.

Now, let’s do a savasana. We earned it.

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.