Last night was a bit of an adventure - an interesting tutorial on having a new body and what (not) to do with it.
Our Friday evening class was very intense. It was taught by Jason Winn, who is a bit of a "Yoga Superstar", to the extent that there are such things. Here's a bit about him: Jason Winn . Jason is a drill sergeant. He began the class by lining everyone up to exactly their toes behind the blue lines on the floor, and then toured every line of the floor aligning every person who was out of line by even half an inch. He then informed us that nobody leaves the room, period. His demeanor was extremely serious, almost humorless, though not entirely, and his central focus was discipline. He held the poses for exactly 60, or 30, or 20, or 10 seconds, on the clock, depending on the pose. He insisted that we not fall out of the poses, and, for the most part, we didn't. I held my foot out in Standing Head To Knee for the entire pose, not one fall. (My standing leg wobbled a bit at the end, though... I can't lie). This seemed epic to me. Something about Jason's unrelenting precision dragged more out of me than I could have consciously delivered on my own, I really like that. But the result of all of this is that I pretty much extracted exactly the maximum amount I could have given. This is important for what follows.
Normally, we have an hour dinner break after the evening yoga class, before returning for posture clinic from 8pm to 11pm. However, as we finished class Jason informed us that we were done for the evening and could go home. I'm certain this was in no way related to it being Cinco de Mayo and the instructors wanting to go out for the night. Definitely not. The cheer that arose from the yogis was deafening. Really astounding. So, of course, we drove home... without getting dinner. I really wanted to go get Mexican food to celebrate the holiday that I know nothing about, but nobody wanted to join me. I can't drive, so I decided to walk to Universal Studios City Walk, which is about a 40 minute walk. By the time I had arrived at the City Walk, it was 9:30 pm. I had not eaten anything since lunch at 11:30am, and had gone through a pretty intense yoga class and a bunch of posture clinic and other draining stuff. I put my name on the list, was told there was a 1hr wait, and I took my seat outside to do some quaiity "attempting to meditate while people watching". I'm such a dork. At about 10pm I noticed myself feeling distinctly unusual - colors and sounds intensifying, dizzyness, a feeling of separateness from my body.
I finally got seated at about 10:30, and was immediately brought out a basket of chips with a little bowl of salsa. Clearly delirious by this time, I requested a "spicy" salsa. When it arrived, it was a little bowl of blood red viscous sauce, almost paste, just FILLED with seeds. I proceeded to wolf the entire basket of chips and the bowl of extra spicy salsa down in about 10, 15 minutes. Again, not firing on all cylinders here. No less than five minutes after beginning this feat of stupidity, my entire body was flushed with chills and I began vibrating, a LOT, in every muscle. And I couldn't stop it! My whole body was shaking like crazy, I broke the chips as I picked them up, spilled water, and was shaking so hard that the table of people next to me were, with the most charming display of tact and subtlety, pointing at me and remarking to themselves. I didn't quite hallucinate, but the room got hazy and weird and sounds became a little distorted. Sadly, my spirit guide (voiced by Johnny Cash) did not appear. Still, I feel I have gained a greater understanding of the mysterious Guatemalan Instanity Peppers. When my food arrived (enough food to feed a family, no wonder Americans are gaining weight), I was so freaked out that I figured I'd eat as much as I could to diminish the reaction. This worked slightly, but I was still really shaky when I left.
This morning's subsequent yoga class was an adventure unto itself. Good GOD. Can you imagine rolling all your weight onto your belly and maintaining nearly full lungs while your stomach and intestines are stuffed with too much food, lined with liquid fire? It was not one of my more impressive classes. I'm stunned that I survived it without vomiting or shooting flames out of my clenched buttocks.
I'm gradually becoming aware that my body is different, and needs different foods. I ate a burger today and it just didn't feel right. The first few bites were somewhat satisfying, but then it just became a heavy, greasy chore. It's weird. The old cravings are coming apart, but the only new cravings I have are for watermelon and chai. I'm finally starting to change shape - now that just a little is happening, I feel like I can stop worrying about it, since it was really not important. Still, I can't avoid vanity entirely, and maybe don't even want to; today while shopping on Melrose I tried on a pair of pants that fit without me sucking my stomach in - a tiny bit snug, but still wearable. They were a size 34, which I haven't worn since I was 17. I was stunned. Of course, I bought the 36 in the end, but STILL!!!! Whoo HOO!!!!
As my anxieties about whether or not I'll survive yoga camp subside, they're gradually being replaced (or revealing) a new set of concerns that I don't need. How am I going to maintain this commitment to health when I return to my life, without completely throwing my job and possessions away? I'm certain it's possible, but how can I approach my old job and tell them that I only have 40 hours a week, maximum, to give, and that I'm not willing to sacrifice my health any longer, under any circumstances? This will be the biggest challenge of them all, I think.