Monday, August 4, 2008

i definitely don't sell cheesecake

I had every intention, when I started this blog, to post regularly. Perhaps every day, even. I often start journaling projects (or whatever you'd call 'em) and I start with gusto... only to find the energy fizzling out. That's not so much the case with this, but for whatever reason I didn't have the urge to sit and write for the past few days. I did want to keep a log of sorts of each class I teach, but sometimes trying to find something different to write about challenges me.

It's been almost nine months since I completed my teacher training. Acknowledging the time now makes me think I'm going through some kind of labor, hence my unsettled feeling and my physical discomfort. Ha. The last few days have me questioning why I chose to teach yoga, especially why I chose to teach Bikram yoga.

I had tried several different styles of yoga during my whole yoga discovery process. It's humorous to me to even try to define the styles, since it's all just riffs off hatha yoga anyway. Needless to say I tried playing all the riffs: ashtanga, kundalini, kripalu, vinyasa. Once I started to enjoy the process and the practice of yoga, of course I started to geek out. That's what I do: I get really into something and it consumes me. (This explains how I managed to survive in the bicycle world for well over a decade.) In the course of all that geeking out I learned about Bikram Choudhury, about his style of hatha yoga, about his highly unconventional guru ways. I couldn't hang with what I'd learned. I mean, here's this Indian dude who comes to the States and wants to copyright yoga? What the fuck? It made no sense to me, especially since I have no love for copyrights and that brand of capitalism.

No matter. I find myself at a Bikram studio when I move to Oregon. I had visited another yoga studio, and found myself very turned off by the overly woo-woo dynamic there. I definitely dig the spiritual aspect of yoga, and after spending several years trying to sort out my Buddhist practice, I understand creating a space for meditation. But for me there's a line between sacred space and honky woo-woo bullshit. (Right now I don't know if I have it in me to explain.) The Bikram studio just happens to be a block away from my new home, so I say what the hell? and I try it.

I saw normal people practicing hot yoga in a funky old house. I could dig that. I didn't have to prove myself there. I just had to show up and practice. And it happens that the 26 postures Bikram dialed in for his beginning series are just the right combination of simple but not easy. Again: I just had to show up and practice.

So, I did. After a while my resistance melted, and I found I could use these 90-minute practices to save myself. Literally. I didn't have to worry about the teacher springing handstands on me out of nowhere. (I definitely don't have it in me to rehash how building bike frames jacked up my wrists enough to mess with any serious hand or arm balances in practice.) Every class was just about the same, and all I had to do was show up and practice. As unholy as Bikram the man presents himself, crazily enough he created a beginning series that reeks an awful lot of meditation. Just come to the cushion and sit. Just come to the mat and practice.

I figured: if this simple-but-not-easy series could save a wretch like me, couldn't it work wonders for folks who aren't so terribly fucked up? And could it be possible that a fuck-up like me could help these folks? If I could be saved, really... who else could benefit? It also made sense for me to become a teacher since I now lived in a small town, with few Bikram teachers and few distractions for my city-girl self. So why the hell not?

Now, it doesn't seem so simple anymore. But maybe that's just the nine-month gestation talking.

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