Juice Fast Progress

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Operation Successful. Patient Dead.

What on earth have I chosen to do. What on earth have I chosen to do.

Today was the apocalypse.

I don't have time to write a great deal because we didn't get out of our last lecture with Bikram until 11:30 pm. We left the apartments at 7:30 am. There were three hour long breaks during the day. The rest was machine gun fire.

At one point, after they CARRIED the second person out of the room, Bikram looked around the room at all the people lying on the floor instead of staying in the poses and noted that it looked like a Vietnam battlefield. One of my roommates, Am, lost consciousness and was unable to move for about 20 minutes. Radical electrolyte depletion.

Because I have to be somewhat brief, I'll try to stick to the most poignant elements of the day. First of all, I had class this morning with Emmy Cleaves, who is somewhere between 80 and 90, a concentration camp survivor, and though wonderful, a SERIOUS hardass. She noted with disgust that our class was "pathetic". She did provide a staggering amount of information in the class, though - I felt like I was beginning again for the first time with all the new information. She's been teaching Bikram's Yoga classes for 33 years.

The other reason I felt like a beginner again today was that I got my ASS KICKED, surgically removed, and handed to me. Rodney Leonard Stubbs (achewood reference..) may as well have been there. I was on the floor or checked out 60% of the time. I was fighting for breath, fighting not to pass out, stunned and overwhelmed by the heat, and just beaten, beaten, beaten. And then the second class came and I struggled to stay conscious as yogis collapsed around me. It SUCKED.

But - a few things happened during all of this that made me tangibly aware of what's happening to me, how I'm changing, and how wonderful this all is in the end. The hotter the fire, the sharper the sword. After the first class, as lay on the floor barely able to get up from savasana, a nagging voice appeared in my head and said, "you're not going to make it through this. This isn't for you, you're not a physical person". And I immediately was reminded - hey - this was EXACTLY what my very first class at Anika's studio was like. I felt exactly the same way - performed just as poorly (relatively speaking) and felt just as overwhelmed... and I knew then that I would make it through this, because I made it through that same despair the last time, and with way more against me. And I realized vividly... the fact that I began my yoga journey from a place of weakness and inability - something I had been ashamed of because I wanted to be good at it right away - is the greatest gift I could have received. Because now I know how much stronger I can be than the voices in my head tell me, I have PROOF.

And the second revelation of the day - one that brought clearly home how quickly this environment is reshaping me... At the beginning of each of the savasanas in the second class of the day - the heat of the room was destroying me - my hands, arms and feet were stinging from the heat, and the fight-or-flight mechanism in my head was SCREAMING at me, GET OUT OF THE ROOM. People were leaving quite a bit, everybody was low-key, there's no ego... but Craig, the head of teacher training, said something about being able to look yourself in the eye and truly say "I needed to leave" vs. "I wanted to leave" and the strength we would gain from knowing we never left the room during all of teacher training. Craig also told us that the number one thing we could do is train ourselves to respond to panic by making a conscious effort to breath slowly into the stomach - not the chest - and give ourselves the gift of breath. So when the screaming voice was telling me to leave - I yelled back (in my head) NO. One time, I actually got up and started to leave and then came back. And I made it to the end. It did not get easier - but now I KNOW, I absolutely KNOW that I can defy the negative impulses - and if those are removed of their power - they'll lose strength, fast. Can you imagine what stillness of mind would be like if the negative voices were quieted to a murmur, or gone entirely, and if we had the ability to tell them NO?

And the weight... is falling off me like I have the flu. It's nuts. Last - but not least - I performed "Half Moon Pose" (Ardha Chandrasana) in front of Bikram today (as did many other people). I have to go faster, and I started off without all of my confidence but found it as I went. My next one will be stronger.

Pictures soon... I have taken a few, but cannot find the cord to attach the camera to the computer. D'oh!!!


allen said...

The "First 15 minutes of Saving Private Ryan" factor in this post is increased dramatically by having Clodagh read it out loud, as she did to Joe and Kris and I last night before a viewing of "Be Cool" ("Twinkle twinkle, baby. Twinkle twinkle.").

After rereading it myself this morning, I found myself thinking for the first time "Fuck, what has my friend gotten himself into?" in a worrisome sort of way. It just means we're all gonna root for you that much harder over here though, little bear.

There is no lack of largesse in the En Zed for Totally Horvathian Endeavors.

Taisuke said...

damn son, that is some hardcore awakening type shit you are spitting! it does sound pretty hard, but you have the right mental perspective to take the experience and turn it into something that will transform you into voltron! or is that lifetron??? imho i feel like yoga is so much more of a mental game than a physical one... once you can conquer the mental, the physical will follow.

what are the things that make the classes so much harder than what we do here? i guess the length of the class and the spartan teachers is probably a big factor.... is it a lot hotter as well? i'm curious.

the parallel between the way you felt in your first class in welly and the way you feel now is so right on. you are going to take your practice to the next level with this! brenda and i are eagerly awaiting your next installment.... this blog is turning into something better than achewood (no, really).

Joe Ardent said...

Though perhaps it is now not neccessary, you could always ask yourself, when confronted with the panic, "Would BATMAN leave the room?" And of course you'd say, "NO! Batman would inhale a plant extract that induces paralyzing terror, and work through it to get close enough to Liam Nissan to DECAPITATE his ass!" Man, Batman is awesome.

Joe Ardent said...

Oh, yeah, Clodagh's dramatic reading was also awesome.

Anika said...

you're a star. i'm inspired reading your note, brings back all those sweaty memories. just remember "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger". the hardest part as you've discoverd is getting your mind out of the way, you've got the strength and the heart and you'll be a fantastic teacher.

we're all thinking of you at the studio.