A few years ago, if you asked me what I liked to do in my free time, I would have answered unequivocally… hot yoga. More importantly, Bikram hot yoga. After years of caring about what people thought of me, what I thought about myself, and wondering what I was going to do with my life, I thought that I needed a break and a little clarity. Some stillness.
I hadn’t ever heard of Bikram before. I don’t think I really cared what kind of yoga it was…I bought a coupon online to HOT YOGA and decided to go the next day. It had an impact on me. At first, it was small. I was trying to get in shape. I thought about how my body should look and tried to make it look and feel okay. But then it started to do something else.
So let’s fast forward to now. Until last week, it had been 18 months since I practiced yoga. When I first got pregnant, my morning sickness was keeping me from being able to survive the heat and humidity. Then, when I finally crawled off the bathroom floor at about 16 weeks, I got used to not doing hot yoga and walked instead. Then my baby came, and I didn’t have the time.
Between working full-time, mommying, and all of the other stuff that we have to do to survive, I lost track of myself and what I needed. I was getting worn out. I started to notice that I was carrying my stress in my jaw. I would wake up with a soreness and a clicking in my jaw and think “well that’s new” but not do anything about it. Then I was realizing that I was getting way more headaches than a normal person is supposed to get. I wasn’t sleeping, but who does? In short, I was feeling old and tired.
I needed a break. I needed some help. But not in the way that most mom’s do. I didn’t want to sit and watch tv, I didn’t want to drink a bottle of wine. I wanted time in a hot yoga studio to breathe. Am I a cliché? I don’t even know…But last week, I went in…
It was hard. My body had turned soft, just like my heart when I met my little girl. It was still strong, but not the same kind. I knew what was in store, and I survived the 90 minutes.
It wasn’t pretty. But it helped me. The next day, I felt sore. But I felt stronger. Then I went again a few days later. I did a little better. It’s amazing what muscle memory can do! And I kid-not, my jaw began to reset. I started to relax. I was able to feel my emotions, in fact, I felt a desire to burst into tears after one of the poses. My emotions, my stress, and my pains were all hanging out, just under the surface and waiting to burst out. 18 months of fear, of joy, of wonder, of everything, was just trying to come out. I started to feel like myself again.
This might sound bogus. This might sound new-agey. I know, I used to think that it sounded a bit crunchy too, but I am so grateful now that I know how to regain my strength. I know how to remember myself. I know how to feel the tough stuff in a good environment. WHAT A REVELATION. It’s not about body. At least not how it looks. It’s about how I deal. How I thrive in my body.
You know where you can find me when I am not changing diapers or dropping baby off for work or at work. I’ll be sweating in the studio, praying with gratitude for the life I have, the body I am in, and the ability to appreciate it in the stillness.