Juice Fast Progress

Friday, April 28, 2006


With every up, there is a down. With every down, there is an up.

I was pretty crushed the other night. The feeling of separation from my New Zealand friends and especially Clodagh is wearing on me. The lack of sleep, the relentlessness of this process, the feeling of falling behind and falling behind. Eventually it just reaches a breaking point.

I felt like today was a bit of a breaking point for me, but not in any huge dramatic way - I just had so little energy I couldn't do anything. In class, I managed to attempt the poses, but the entire time I was just trying to find energy just to stay present. I kept falling asleep for 20 seconds in the floor series savasanas, and waking up abruptly everytime Emmy said, "Second Set" or "Sit-Up". This would be the perfect alarm clock for me - a recording of Emmy saying, "Sit Up".

There was a weird upside to all of this, though. Almost every day, I beat myself up constantly during yoga practice - I hate that I'm so weak in the poses, I hate that my hips are so tight, I'm so fixated on the place where my pose "sticks" on its way to the perfect expression. I know that the "secret" is that, no matter if I do this my whole life (or several lifetimes, if I start buying into THAT whole thing...), I'll still be hitting a sticking point in my yoga - it'll just move further and further in, but still be every bit as difficult, physically. But... just maybe, my mind will get calmer. I feel like that started to happen today, for a weird reason: I was too tired to think. My mind would start the usual, "Oh shit, Standing Head To Knee is coming soon, I fucking hate that posture, it kicks my ass" and just run out of gas as I stared blankly at somebody's water bottle. And class was calmer, less of a panic. I feel like this is my battle right now - or one of them - not the physical part, but letting the mental chatter pass me by.

Of course, reading over that, it all feels almost scripted - but, it's happening, so there you have it.

Dr. Lillian Glass, "Speech Pathologist to the Stars!" came and gave us a lecture yesterday, after our Anatomy/Physiology lecture with the very unusual Dr. T. Anyway, it was a very strange experience... it felt very distinctly like a "motivational speaker seminar" that business people pay lots of money for based on ads in the back of magazines that they give you on airplanes. She was very succinct and effective and did manage to unblock a few of the most challenged public speakers amongst us, and she had a few cool pieces of advice (my favorite was, "Be Interested, Not Interesting"), but...

My mother gave me a piece of advice when I was in high school that has stuck with me ever since then and feels like one of my most useful social tools - it goes, "Don't Take Advice From People Who Don't Have What You're Looking For". And applying that to this situation - while I enjoyed Dr. Glass's instruction on interpersonal communication - it seemed heartless and superficial on some level, and at the end of the day - I don't want to end up communicating the way Dr. Glass did to our class. She seemed uncompassionate and superficial - not entirely, she did smile very geniuinely at us, but it was bizarre to have what we're doing framed in terms of "selling" and "being a winner, not a loser". I am aware that these tools and mindsets help us achieve our larger goals of helping others and ourselves, but I didn't feel that conviction underneath it all. With Bikram, despite his grandstanding, I do genuinely sense a basic, fundamental desire to help people. And I just didn't feel the same compssion from the lovely speech pathologist. Still, I got up and made a stab at public speaking - expecting to be given a shopping list of things to fix, and instead being told, "Perfect. A+. No changes". Heh...

I was expecting this experience to be all about adding new abilities and new features to myself, and so far, it seems to have a LOT more to do with coming to accept and celebrate the abilities I already have. To stop being so critical of myself. In shorthand, I guess, to stop feeling revulsion when I see myself in the mirror. (Which, little by little, is starting to happen). I find it interesting that my entire assessment of my appearance, and subsequently self, is defined almost exclusively by the things I can pick out on myself that are undesireable. Instead of noticing that my shoulders are getting really rounded and defined, or that I'm smiling more often and easily, or that I'm not furrowed with frustration or anger really ever at all... I see my flabby stomach, or my chubby skin, or my messy hair, or whatever... Thank GOD this shit is changing, if only little by litte.

Dialogue delivery becomes more and more fun. The thought of returning to Wellington and forcing all of my friends and a few helpless strangers to kill themselves in a stupidly hot room tickles me. And - I love that if I screw up, or forget my dialog, it just means that they all have to hold the poses longer and have their muscles and minds scream at them while they shoot eye daggers at me. BWA HA HA HAHA HA!!!!!

Almost a third week down the drain. I feel weirdly torn - I'm anxious about the coming weeks and the challenges they'll contain, and I'm counting the seconds until I'm reunited with my friends, and yet.... this experience is so magical, so wonderful, so BIG - I never want it to end, in a way. I love that my life consists almost exclusively of getting my mind back in touch with my body and taking care of my health. Why did it take so long to get here?


Taisuke said...
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Taisuke said...

wow... that whole thing about "sticking" at a particular point in the poses is so right on. you expressed it so well... and that the mind gets calmer is so true.

i had this experience a few weeks ago in one of eric's classes. we were doing the pose right before triangle - the one where you cup your heels and pull yourself down toward the floor.

its usually a tough one for me. i felt like my forehead just stayed in the same place no matter how hard i pulled. eventually i sort of gave up and started trying to focus less on how frustrating it was and just not worrying about trying to do it as perfectly.

then one day in this class, i suddenly found my forehead very close to the ground, and seconds later it actually made contact with the towel!

the thing i took away from that experience was that even though you feel like you might have hit a plateau and nothing is happening, it most definitely is. little by little, your mind and body are changing, and one day you get to see the results of your efforts. and its so cool when you do!

keep on bending!!

Christopher Horvath said...

By the way, Taisuke - you won't get to chicken out of Fixed Firm pose very much longer... tee hee...

My forehead is still a mile from the floor in standing separate leg stretching... (Dandayamana Biphaktapada Poshimotthanasana) (totally guessing on the spelling). I can't wait until my "forehead day".

shelley said...

Was a bit concerned when I found no diary entry yesterday as I really wanted to know how you got on. Pleased to see you're back on track.
As a fellow 8 o'clocker I am following your progress and am blown away by your commitment and dedication.
Perhaps I should go out in sympathy I thought after your comments the other day and at least do the 30 day challenge.....then I came to my senses and thought better of it. Why not just wait for Chris to discover his Everest or what it is like to plummet the depths of the Niagara Falls and then he can share all his newfound inner peace, strength, wisdom (and everthing else he discovers on his journey) with us and challenge us in a way that will come from so deep within that only he will know what it took to get there.
Roll on your first class Chris, we're waiting for you. You can do it!!!!!

allen said...

I sorta came out of the gates hard charging my second Birkam class...I have great balance but itsy bitsy strength and flexibility. So I thought I was all rock star when I could pull off Toe Stand...balancing bits like that come fairly easily for me. The class after that I started to notice my legs feeling really, REALLY sore afterwards. When I started paying closer attention, I noticed all the "locked leg" stuff...so many of these poses are about being able to extend your legs fully and lock your knee, and I wasn't doing that at all, so my thighs were just getting raped during class from standing with bent knees. The pose you and T are talking about, I can't for the life of me even straighten my legs. It dawned on me that this was my everest for this stuff...getting bendy enough to be able to lock my knees off for everything, because I'm so damn tall and lanky that it's pretty hard for me. Last class I was at, there was another tall skinny feller who noted to me after class that he was happy to see someone else who couldn't even straighten their legs, and I was happy to hear someone else found the same thing difficult that I found difficult. It's that Zach Braff Garden State factor...where you discover someone else is struggling with the same thing you're struggling with and you suddenly feel not so alone in it.

So while you and Taisuke are touching your foreheads to the ground in Aasdfjlkh Nja;fkldj OJAOSIDJ pose, I'll still be in the back of the class concentrating and thinking to myself "don't worry if you can't even bend over. Just lock that fucking knee. That's all you gotta do for now."

"and if you can't do that, run over and shove Taisuke as hard as you can, then bolt, giggling maniacally the entire time."

allen said...

Oh also, Anika said something during my last class that I really dug...she commented that 'a millimeter is a really long way in Bikram yoga".

I've got, like, at least a good 50 cm to play with.

Taisuke said...

i love it when you talk dirty, allen.

shelley said...

At the beach......
I am mesmerised by watching and listening to the sounds of the waves.
I can see wetsuit clad bodies bobbing in the sea ...waiting.....waiting for the perfect wave.
And when it does come we wait to see the perfect ride......
We are still waiting......but one thing is sure they always get up and go again.
Keep surfing......

Neekeela said...

I love that my life consists almost exclusively of getting my mind back in touch with my body and taking care of my health. Why did it take so long to get here?

Cause now is the perfect time to do it. It took you the exact right amount of time to get 'here.' I feel that way too sometimes, but from swimming and running and dialoguing with myself about losing weight. It's a challenge not to look in the mirror at my naked body and see the whole picture. Instead, I focus on my swollen looking tummy, my flabby breasts (courtesy of the 70 pound weight loss) the stretch marks, the cottage cheese uppser thighs. But, I have so much more that is beautiful and when I look at the full picture of my nakedness with the knowledge that I am the most fit and in touch with my body as I've ever been, it gives me hope.