The first week of May is already coming to a close and I am still plugging away at Ashtanga. I realized that I only lifted weights twice in the month of April. This week I went to the gym once for some cardio and that’s it. Very, very strange. My body is definitely changing. People keep saying that I look taller, which is odd. My smallest pants are looser. The lovely Indian lady who threads my eyebrows grabbed my face yesterday and said, “Your face so skinny! Losing so much weight! What you doing?”. We ended up having a whole yoga and vegetarian food conversation. Stuff is moving around and I am having weird surges of emotion on the mat. I am surprised, pleased, freaked out and sore as f@%k. Metta meditation seems to not only be happening after practice, but is also happening all day long. I find myself spontaneously “metta-ing” at people in my office, people in traffic, animals…it’s odd. I am also more accepting of the fact that I am still grieving and I’m feeling more connected with the anger and other uncomfortable emotions that I have roiling around inside of me. I don’t get this whole yoga thing at all, and it’s OK. Thanks to Ashtanga, I’m a neophyte and I like being a Yoga Newcomer all over again.
I’ve been reading a lot of other yoga blogs lately. I came across an interesting post the other day that was critiquing the “Hallmark Card” positivity of some of my fellow bloggers as well as the tendency to blog about how hard it is to get on the mat and actually practice. It seems there’s a whole school of Hamlet Hallmark Yoga Bloggers that I am utterly unaware of—talking lots about yoga but not doing it. There’s a whole lot of doing going on in my world. Sometimes it’s pathetic, sad, klutzy, lurching “doing” but I’m doing, dammit. Sometimes it sounds like there’s a herd of stampeding elephants in my yoga room, but luckily no one is watching.
As far as Hallmark-isms, I am probably the last person to be espousing any sort of forced positivity. If I’m positive, happy, or blissed out on any given day, I fucking take that shit and run with it. And if I am not, then I’m not. This week is the 15 year anniversary of my abuela’s death and the one year anniversary of my Dad’s death. I’ve been crying a lot lately and wanting to put my fist through a wall and that’s how it is sometimes. To deny this is futile. I’m human. People who want me to sugar coat my grief and anger are not people I need to hang with, period. That doesn’t mean I am going to actually put my fist through a wall anytime soon, but sometimes the most appropriate outlet for my emotions is the yoga mat. I ran from this when I started doing yoga years ago. I will never forget the day that I first had a full-on meltdown on my yoga mat. I had just finished a class with my first “hatha yoga” teacher, Michelle, back in Florida. We were in child’s pose and all of a sudden I was sobbing hysterically, my skin was crawling and I started hyperventilating. I had to get up and leave the room. I was scared to practice again after that! That was the tipping point for me where yoga stopped feeling blissful and started feeling scary. My practice started getting patchy after that, and the meltdowns started happening more and more on the mat. The only time they didn’t happen was in Bikram class, so I started exclusively doing Bikram until I got into my bike accident and stopped doing anything at all.
The one thing I am NOT doing right now is going to take an actual led Ashtanga class. I am scared shitless, and keep telling myself all kinds of stories about how hard and humiliating and awful it will be. WTF, man? There are some challenges here, but the most serious challenge is between my ears. Fear and Loathing in my cranium, for reals, son. Yeah, so there are only a few led classes in town and they all seem to be at times when I am at work. I could use my Bikram two month pass (*shudder*) or try another style, but I am utterly uninterested in that. I am instead considering changing my work schedule so that I can attend the one class I found that is a “Short Forms” class. Shit is getting serious when I start thinking about changing my work schedule!