New year feels

Well, I finally did it: I joined a bikram studio in Utah. I don’t know why it took me 6 months but I made it to my mat four times last week, which is more than I can say since this summer in Asheville.

Bikram, 90-minutes of 105 degree yoga, is “One of the most intense forms of body shaping…and is taught in 1,600 studios worldwide.” It’s the same order of 26 postures anywhere you go, which is a bit of a comfort for someone like me who gets anxious when I don’t know what to expect. As much as the workout is always the same, my body never is. The first class is always hard adjusting back to the heat and humidity, especially during winter in Utah, so I went back the next day and it wasn’t my lungs that were hurting; my shoulder started popping halfway out of socket every time I put my arms over my head. Ouch.

I took it easy on the third day and by the fourth day, my shoulder was stronger and no longer my biggest worry. Now, it’s all about finding a moment of stillness in every posture. I’ve had three instructors at the studio, all women, so far, and the room is usually packed with at least 30 others of all ages, shapes and sizes. One of the instructors must have sensed I was new because she came over during one of the postures and helped stretch me a little deeper:

It was the floor bow pose, which is one of those postures that makes you feel open and vulnerable. Then she told the class, “You might want to push a little harder if you’re not feeling anything.” She reminded us that every day, you learn something, and it might be something new or it might be the same thing over and over again; you will leave old aches and find new ones, and tomorrow is an accumulation of today. She left us with this quote:

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” – St. Francis of Assisi

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