Saturday, July 7, 2012

Day 7 - Introspective

Merriam-Webster defines introspective as "to engage in an examination of one's thought process and sensory experience."  For those of you who have done any form of yoga you probably know that it can be a very introspective experience.  My instructors call our 90 minute long, 26 poses a 'moving meditation'.  We breath only through our nose in a very controlled manner.  This way of breathing in itself is a powerful method to bring our attention inward.  
Southern Arizona Skies

We are also encouraged to maintain eye contact with ourselves in the mirror.  This has only become easier for me in the past day or two.  I HATE looking in the mirror at myself.  Just as I hate being on the other side of a camera.  Probably like a lot of women out there, I focus on the negative...the fat rolls, the disappearing eyes, the one leg that is longer than the other, etc.  And being in a room heated anywhere from 105 to 110 degrees does not a pretty girl make!  My face becomes a frightening shade of crimson, I can see sweat literally dripping from my nose and elbows, my hair...well, my hair is a bird's nest of crooked, sweaty bobby pins.  Not exactly a time I want to be gazing upon my reflection!  However, at the insistence of my instructors, I am learning to focus solely on myself; to stop glancing around the room; to stop worrying about what people are thinking about me; to shut out what is going on around me, and to come into my own body, mind, and soul.  

Cattedrale di Santa Maria - Siena, Italy

Thus, over the course of these past 7 days I have become introspective not only during Bikram, but also in my everyday life. 
Butterfly on Dais
It just so happens that during this time of examining my thoughts and feelings, I come upon the 5 year anniversary of my dad's death.  7/7/07.  Lost to COPD brought on by smoking.  Lost after a double lung transplant.  Take those words and think on them for a moment:  Double.  Lung.  Transplant.  He was so afraid to have that surgery.  Refused to at the start.  But as his breathing worsened, and he got that phone call, he knew it was his only option.  He never left the hospital.  I meditate on that as I'm sweating through my 90 minute introspective yoga class.  I meditate on the good times we had.  I examine my feelings of guilt for moving across the country against his wishes as he struggled with this life/death decision.  

St. Frances - Assisi, Italy
I am grateful for these past 7 days.  Do I LOVE Bikram yoga?  Not like I love a good bottle of Kim Crawford Unoaked Chardonnay (3 more weeks, Kim!).  But I do love the feeling of accomplishment; the self-awareness; the alone time with me and my thoughts; the feeling after class of having sweat out not only toxins, but also negativity; the feeling of oneness with my body.  I feel more a part of my own body than I ever have.  Does that make sense to anyone besides me?  I feel the changes; I feel new muscles; I feel old muscles coming alive, stretching, awakening.  And it's only been 7 days!  As difficult as this challenge is, I'm still looking forward to what the next 3 weeks may bring!  Thank you for sharing my journey.  I miss you Dad.  XoXoXo

 Yoga is the perfect vehicle for change of yourself. First by creating a strong and powerful body and mind. It is a starting point from which you can begin to realize your human spirit.
— Bikram Choudhury

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