Yesterday marked day 10 of my 30-day Bikram yoga challenge. The room swelled with heat. It felt hot like it had never been hotter before, and I knew this practice would push me deeper into each pose. I felt vital—uncompromised. I scored a position in the back, a new perspective from my usual spot (second row East side of the room). Compassion filled my my heart and pumped through my blood. When class began I filled my lungs past 6 seconds. Their capacity was the largest in Seattle. I inhaled every bit of oxygen in the room. My mind expanded into its own universe. Everything melted away, my elbows extended to the sky. The ceiling disappeared. They stretched so high into the atmosphere they weren’t elbows anymore. They were Everests. I exhaled and hung my head all the way back until I could see my own dry heels—mere foothills of my true height. I deeply exhaled exaggerating my mouth and pushing in my stomach to release the stale air burrowed in my chest. I was me. I wasn’t me. The neutral expression on my face slowly revealed the upturned corners of my mouth into a faint smile of joy!
At least that’s how I imagined it until some yogini-girl readjusted her mat, completely blocking my view.
It was the exact moment before we began the first exercise. It’s not like she couldn’t already see herself in the mirror. In fact, we were perfectly staggered and sharing the mirror. But she chose to reveal her full reflection thus concealing mine. It seemed intentional. I tried looking at my own gaze in the mirror—perfect, compassionate, nonjudgmental me. Only selfish yogini-girl’s eyes reflected back—two dark pits of oblivion.
Inhale (Bitch). Exhale (Seriously). Inhale (I would never do that). Exhale (If people were just a little more aware of other people). Inhale (I’ve got to let this go). Exhale (Fuck that, I’m irritated). Inhale (We aren’t even in our first pose). Exhale (I’m not benefitting from this). Inhale (I didn’t benefit from not having wine and cheese when I wanted during meditation so I can dwell on this. I’m allowed). Exhale (Amy, you’re obsessing). Inhale (Amy, you’re talking in third-person to yourself in your mind). Exhale (I’m definitely blogging about this). Inhale (What if the girl knows me and reads this?). Exhale (I want her to read this). Inhale (Judging). Exhale (So what, people judge—we judge). Inhale ( ). Exhale ( ). Inhale (I’m finally letting go). Exhale (Nope).
That, and other things, happened for about 90 minutes in the death-defying torture box.
Sometimes Day 10 is a top of the mountain kind of day. And sometimes it's a fuck yoga give me a medium rare cheeseburger with a full plate of fries kind of day. So what? Either way Day 10 is Day 10.