I will never forget the sixth day of my 30 day Bikram yoga challenge. I felt a release in my back. A pain that I did not even know it was possible to exist without evaporated. I’ve had neck pain for a decade, and I am a little young for that.
The emotional release that came along with this physical relief of pain, tightness and tension was dramatic. I called my husband laughing and crying. I floated, not walked. I played the violin. “It sounds effortless, happy, fluid.” Nate reported. I cried tears of happiness while I played. I expressed myself, something I’ve struggled to do with the violin for years.
I did doubles sometimes (two 90 minute classes in one day) – the best of all. The second class was always euphoric. I ate and slept less those days. I didn’t need much of either. I drank a lot of coconut water though. Unwanted flab melted way, and so did the pain of painful memories, tension and false expectations of myself. While friends thought I lost weight, I actually gained through muscle.
On the last day of 30 my day challenge, I mourned. I didn’t want life to change.
I floundered for a few weeks after that. How often is one allowed to go to Bikram yoga? Isn’t that kind of time commitment irresponsible? Twice should be good for a responsible adult, right? I tried other yoga forms at home in the meantime. All good, but none so therapeutic. Pain crept back into my muscles, joints, tendons, mind. My work hours, the ones for the very job I said I had to do less yoga for, receded like a puddle on a sunny day. Last week I petered out at 20 hours, and pain plagued 10 of those hours. My going to yoga guilt was not working, for myself or anyone else in my life.
I don’t care how much responsibility I have, I said. I’m going to yoga. Today I finished my fourth class this week. I still have time for a fifth. I worked 38 hours this week at my desk, coding and designing, each day getting better, more creative, more productive. Happier. I hadn’t played the violin in a week, knowing how the old frustration might be there. It wasn’t today. The beauty I found in it on the sixth day of my Bikram yoga challenge was back.
I have never been to another hot yoga class. Chances are they would vary in effectiveness by how much they are like or unlike Bikram yoga. But since heat is a necessary part of therapy, I’m not parting with it, or a grueling 20 some postures, anytime soon.
I have found the key to everything else I love.