Mira is a student and journalist from Bikram Yoga Centre in Toronto. Here she writes about her struggles on Day 7 of her 60 Day Challenge… enjoy.
by Mira Saraf
It is sometime between the first savasana on the floor and the spine strengthening series that I feel the initial pangs of panic.
It is always the same.
Numbness teases my fingertips that have grown extremely icy in spite of the heat.
My heart starts to pound and I feel like laughing and crying simultaneously.
It is day seven of my 60-day challenge.
I have spent the day at the Distillery district on a class field trip, consumed two caffeinated beverages, a small (very small) sample of beer and brunch. Day seven will forever be the day that I wish that I had stayed back with my classmates to sample Mayan hot chocolate at the Soma Chocolatemaker than coming back up here to push my tired limbs in a room crammed with dripping strangers.
I start to breathe heavier, but become acutely aware that I may be distracting others around me so I try to keep it in. I always panic on this side of the room when it’s crowded. But I seem to forget this every class and put my mat down in the same spot.
As I pull my knee towards my chest I curse coffee, I curse alcohol, most of all I curse Eggs Benedict and stupid dehydrating hollandaise sauce.
I wonder why I thought this challenge was a good idea.
Then I quickly retract that thought.
This is progress, I tell myself, this is pushing myself to do something good for my mind and my body.
I stare pleadingly at the vents, praying for the click of the fan switch. As we move into spine strengthening, the air whirs to life, suddenly I feel invincible.
The air-conditioning is my rock, my prince charming, my knight in shining armor. It occurs to me that my dependence on the fan is slightly unhealthy, and I am a little relieved that nobody around me can read my random thoughts.
I sigh inside my head. I have so much to learn.
Cobra pose goes surprisingly well and I feel myself coaxing the fan to stay a little while. In spite of my mental murmurings the fan goes off half way through the next pose. My skin instantly heats to the point of burning but I am stronger now.
We are in fixed firm pose when I first feel the pinch on my shin. I examine it quickly as I come out of savasana and see the faint blue of a developing bruise. Where this came from I have no idea.
Isn’t yoga supposed to give you more balance? If so, then why do I continue to walk into hard objects without realizing. The bruise distracts me from the silence that is supposed to be in my mind.
I wonder briefly about dehydration and kidney stones.
A friend at work had kidney stones from too much yoga and not enough hydration. Could I have kidney stones? No bruises are something else, blood clots. Yes it’s true, I am in fact sitting here in the middle of half-tortoise diagnosing myself with blood clots.
“This is ridiculous,” I tell myself and try to silence my mind.
Finally, my efforts start to yield results. By camel my mind is calm and my body has accepted it’s fate. By the end of final savasana I dream of the electrolytes swishing down my parched mouth.
On the walk home it is cold, colder than it was earlier. The sun has set and I am heading home to Superbowl Sunday.
As I walk and the cold breath of winter clings to my legs below my tights, I realize that my muscles have softened and my body does not have carry that limp feeling of weakness I felt this morning.
My body is no longer fighting.
I realize that for once, my mind and body are one, in sync: pure, beautiful harmony.