In muddy waters

One of the reasons I love Bikram Yoga is that it’s simple for me as a student. No rocket science involved on my part. I only really have to remember two points throughout the class: to listen and to breathe. Actually, there’s another thing. I need to show up. That’s sometimes the hardest part.

I have to confess that for the past three weeks, I’ve been in muddy waters. I have not made it to class. Most weekdays, I’ve packed my yoga bag in my car. First I put the stuff in the boot. I conveniently forgot to drive to the studio after work. Then I started leaving the yoga gear on the front passenger seat next to me. As a reminder. It did not help. The same bag has been carried up and down the four flights of stairs at home about fifteen times. At least I’ve walked the stairs instead of taking the lift. Yes sure, I’ve been busy at work. We’ve had visitors from overseas. Traffic has been bad. Some days, I ate too much. Or I was hungry. I didn’t drink enough. I slept poorly. I was tired.I really had to call my sister. If it was not one thing, it was another. Merely lame excuses for skipping yoga.

On Saturday, I finally clocked in for the 10am Bikram class. The familiar heat hit me at the door. As soon as I laid down my mat and two towels on the studio floor, I realised how much I had missed it. The class started with a standing deep breathing exercise. The teacher’s gentle instruction reminded me to stay present, to be aware of every move, each inhalation and each exhalation. To synchronise them. I needed those words. My mind wanted to race ahead to the postures to come. Anticipating where I would suffer. Setting an expectation for my performance. She quickly guided me back and as we moved on, told me to let go of the previous posture and stand still. Always going back to the breath. In and out.

I felt the yoga practice in my body this morning. It was painful. Luckily, my mind remembered the experience, too. The muddy waters have turned crystal clear. And that’s why I made it back to the studio for a second class today.

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