Yesterday evening was my fifth day of bikram. And I wasn’t there. Well, at least mentally I wasn’t. I went inside the studio with a lot on my mind and was unable to let any of it go throughout the full 90 minutes. I did the moves that I could almost in a robot-like fashion, and I held on to my worries and thoughts like they were my last breath.
Half Moon Pose had me looking around the room sideways, I avoided looking at myself like the plague. I just couldn’t stand seeing the thickness of me, and the wobbly bits just above my thighs like mean little trolls who never let go. And so I forced myself to look at everyone else but me. I felt comforted by the sight of other unfit people struggling. I took comfort in their torment, even though their torment was also mine.
By Standing Bow Pose I was not only frustrated that I kept falling out of it(which ALWAYS happens..) but I kept staring that the ever-present heat rash on my arms. “It’s getting worse”, I thought. “Is this constant heat even good for me? I’m giving up tomorrow. I’m giving this up for good. This can’t be good for me!”. I thought this angrily as I kept scratching. I should probably mention that I’m still scratching as I’m writing this.
And then the weather outside got angry too, as it started raining furiously against the studio windows. I noticed everyone’s heads turned thirstily in the same direction, we were all secretly wishing we could do this in the cold rain instead. I started imagining that the hot trickles of sweat running down my face and chest were, actually, cold drops of rain. That helped me stay away from the water bottle for a while but by Triangle Pose the exhaustion caught up with me again, and I had to sit one of them out.
When we finally got to the floor, I wanted to stay in Savasana for the rest of the class. Every push-up or leg-lift seemed like a gargantuan task as I felt like my limbs were weighing a million pounds. Not only that but I couldn’t get my hair to stay up in a bun like it should, and it kept sticking to my face and shoulders. And that made me itch more. And fidget more. And fuss more. Complete stillness was definitely not an option. What was going on? I honestly don’t know. All I can tell you is that I hated my body and my body hated back last night. If one could still have an archenemy these days, my body was it.
And then, towards the end of the class, in the Head to Knee and Stretching pose, I noticed it. A great big rip in my pants, on the inside of my left thigh was staring back at me. “Good God, have I had this all along?” , I kept panicking. In my mind I was sure everyone had noticed it since the beginning, because, you know, that’s what people do in bikram class! They analyze each others’ fabric flaws! That was it, the cherry on top that pushed my mind into a full-blown panic attack…
Thankfully, by that time I had reached the last breathing exercise, which brought my anxiety to a lower level. I calmed down but was also hit by a wave of disappointment when realizing I hadn’t actually done my class for the day because I wasn’t there. My neurotic twin sister was. The one who worries about calories and other people’s opinions, about the perfect body according to mindless magazines and empty hollywood stars. The one who thinks isn’t pretty or smart or confident; or caring or lovable or in any way tolerable. A depressed shadow in the back of my mind who I thought died with high-school!
I need to take control of my mind again in class six.