painting by Zoe Rose Wolf

During my yoga class yesterday, our teacher said something that pulled on my heartstrings and resonated to my core.

This is no ordinary yoga, hot nor otherwise. It’s Bikram, hot as shit, at 105°, 26 of the same exact poses, every time, no music and no conversing with your neighbor, no water until “party time” which the Bikram yoga instructors so affectionately call it. And at that moment, it is party time, believe me. All of the lights are on, and you are vulnerable. The balancing poses are in a mirror which took some getting used to. It’s different. When I talk about this practice, I hear a multitude of fears emerge. “I’m not flexible enough, I’m too fat, too embarrassed, don’t like to sweat, my body can’t regulate heat, my hair will frizz, I break out, there’re men in the class?!  Yes, men are joining the forces, especially in Bikram because it’s so challenging yet not as contorting as some of the other practices.

Half way through the class, while we are in one of 20 Savasanas,  Meagan shares, “I was invited to be interviewed for a piece in a magazine, and one of the questions posed, “what is the craziest thing you’ve ever seen in your class in all of your years of teaching?” I was waiting for some sort of comic relief. Instead, she pondered the question, she said, “and I tried to come up with something outrageous and realized one day, as I looked around the room at my students, “the struggle is so real,” She humbly observed the immense effort that her devoted students made and the great strides and improvements, many times against all odds, “the most outrageous thing to me, in spite of everything is,” and her voice wavers as she composes herself,  “is, simply, that you keep coming back! And you inspire me so. And thank you for inspiring me!”

That made me feel special. I welled up a bit, it happens sometimes. Feelings are evoked. This is what we mean about a practice “on or off the mat.” It’s not just in these rooms, no matter what style of yoga you practice, no matter what you do for work, in your family dynamics, striving to be the best friend, sister, brother, son, daughter, mother, father, boss, spouse, employer, employee, student, teacher, artist; whoever you are. We’re all the same. We keep showing up for ourselves, and the gifts flow. That’s the outrageous piece. We keep trying, no matter what, against all odds. Because we can.

That’s inspiring.

xo jac