Losing The Punishment — But Keeping My Figure.

posted in: Day In The Life, Story, Tips 3
"And lift! And lift!"
“And lift! And lift!”

On and off (mostly on) for three years or so, I was a Bikram yogini. Bikram yoga is the hottest of the so-called “hot yoga” practices. The room is heated to 105 degrees. For 90-straight minutes you stand in very little clothing in front of full-length mirrors with the rest of the class. The twenty-one poses in the practice are always the same. And it’s as hard as it sounds, which means that it feels fantastic. Exercise is like that: the tougher the better — at least when it’s over.

But I got a little too into Bikram. The practice is advertised (!) as being most effective when it’s done daily; I jumped onboard with the fervor of a new cult recruit. I would frequently take two classes in one day. Two classes a day! Once, just to prove I could — I’m hesitant to admit this — I did three. Three Bikram yoga classes in a single day. But why?

Subconsciously or consciously, I thought Bikram yoga could fix me, cure me, make me acceptable as a person. Acceptable to whom, I do not know. I spent much of my twenties, I see now, concerned about everything that I felt was wrong with me. I don’t do that anymore. There’s plenty wrong and I haven’t given up aspiring to be more happy, more helpful, etc., but rather than seeing myself as a damaged, cute-but-junky heap in need of major renovations, I simply make tweaks and modifications to a person that I actually like pretty well. Dammit, I’m not broken. You’re not either. That’s the key to the lock.

Bikram drifted away, eventually. At some point, there came some peace; I needed it less. But to tell the truth, there was also a traumatic event that helped me let go: my ostomy bag leaked in class. Oh, yes. Yes, it did. If you’d like to live a nightmare, I recommend that one. The combination of feeling like I didn’t have to kill myself in class everyday and the desire to actually die when that happened put me off my yoga.

To keep my figure these days, I do dance aerobics because I love to dance. I mean I love to dance, though I’m hopeless in classes. In classes, I have two left feet. My dancing is best when I’m at a club or in my living room. Even in the construction, my condo becomes my dance floor. I put on legwarmers and short-shorts and pull my hair into a ponytail and hop around like a bunny rabbit, leaping and twirling and whipping my hair all around.

When I’m dancing, it’s fun. It’s not punishment. It’s not obligatory. I don’t do it three times in one day for 90-minutes a pop. Dancing like this comes from a place of spontaneous joy: it doesn’t work, otherwise. I sweat, I keep my figure, I smile. And I hope the neighbors in the mid-rise building across the street can see me. I do better with an audience. Always have.

3 Responses

  1. Mary Ann
    | Reply

    Don’t you wonder why it takes some of us so long to find the key to the lock?

  2. Christa Quilts
    | Reply

    The picture cracks me up! I tried hot yoga once and thought it was pretty rad. Yes, rad 🙂

  3. Karen
    | Reply

    I love to dance, too. It’s sooo exhilarating! I’ve got that “do it perfectly right” gene and there are no mistakes in just dancing around. I’m 65 and have finally reconnected with my adolescent self who danced in the basement to Westside Story and Bye Bye Birdie. Let’s dance!

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