27 December 2011

Full Circle, Resolutions, and other Bullsh@t

From my first post, 01 JAN 2011:

 Hello, world! My name is Mark and I have decided to try my hand at blogging. The subject, for the most part, will be my experience of practicing Bikram yoga. For those who do not not know, it is commonly referred to as "Hot Yoga", since the 90 minute class is held in a 105-degree room. I have been practicing since April 2009, and have found wonderful benefit from it, which I will relate as I go forward. Hopefully I will have the willpower and desire to keep up with this -- I've never done this on a regular basis. I hope to be interesting enough to have you, my reader, to return, or to perhaps try Bikram. Unfortunately, as I write on New Year's Day, I am fighting my first ever case of pneumonia, which is going to set me back a bit. I'll write when I can and I hope you enjoy it! 

Indeed, it has been almost one full year since I started this little blogging experiment. For once, I actually had set a couple of goals for myself. I wanted to improve my practice. I wanted to learn more about the yoga itself. My stated goal was to attend 200 classes this year. I wanted to eat better, live better, and be healthier.

Well, so much for that.....

To be fair, there were some good (or great) moments. I was able to do Eagle properly for the first time. I got to take a class in a different city from a fantastic instructor. I overcame a panic attack. I even tried creative writing.

Mostly, though, there was a lot of struggling. One new instructor, then another. Got run over by the "yoga truck" more than once. Questioned my desire to continue. Beat myself up a lot, which I have always been very good at. Then, to top it off, the studio abruptly closed. Hopefully, it will reopen in mid-January. Still no word on whether or not we will keep our work-study positions. If not, my practice may be dormant for a very long time.... 

In November, after visiting the studio in Arlington for a one-off class, I wrote the following:

"...the longer class went on, the more I felt like I didn't belong. Not just that I didn't belong in that room, but that I had no business being there, doing yoga, at all. The yoga felt very foreign to me -- not just because I was extremely stiff and had no sort of strength or balance. I felt really weird just being there trying to do the postures -- worse even than during my very first class. I was completely uncomfortable and unnerved. As I lay on the floor, sitting out most of the floor series, I kept asking myself, "Why did I even come here? I'm just kidding myself... I'm really not cut out for this stuff. I could easily stop practicing and few if any would notice my departure. Why not just give this up? Face it, I could do this for the rest of my days and I doubt that I will ever really improve. I mean, really, two years of this and I still can't do Triangle? I still sit out postures? Why bother? I tried, and I failed. Move on."

As I type tonight, I feel pretty much the same way." 

Unfortunately, for the moment, that feeling still holds.
Now, as the calendar turns to 2012, I sit here with a nasty chest cold, and I am trying everything to avoid ending the year as it began -- with pneumonia. My diet is a wreck once more, and I'm still smoking. I have not progressed much, if at all.

Today, I got a catalog in the mail from a nutrition company. I started thinking once again about what I'm going to do in the new year to feel better, look better, etc. Another cleanse? Getting my diet back on track? FINALLY giving up the smokes? Getting back in the newly renovated hot room?

The resolutions haven't changed, because I haven't changed. 
Will I EVER change?

I see so many other people do so many things to improve themselves... and not only at the studio through yoga. Some have begun working toward a 5K, 10K, or marathon. Some have disciplined themselves in their diet, and have achieved results. Others have quit smoking, and stuck to it. 

Why is it that I cannot will not do these things? Why is it seemingly so easy for other people but next to impossible for me? I can see the writing on the wall... I will try to do better for a while, then I will get tired or discouraged and fall right back into the same old crap. 

Really, who wants to read about that?

I read so many blogs that are fun. Uplifting. Joyous. Yes, inspiring. 

This isn't one of them... at least right now.  
I am questioning how useful this blog has been. 



  1. I understand your frustration. You can and will change, and it will suddenly begin, although slow at first. It's one of those things we feel like we can completely control, but self-sabotage gets in the way. Even if you feel your blog shows that you are in the same place as last year, in the end it's all about reflection. If you are reflecting, then you are doing something at least -- you are thinking, assessing, and considering future prospects. Believe me, I don't write half of the negative things I have in my life, I guess I self-edit that way to spare myself and others. But, I do enjoy reading your blog, highs or lows. It's the journey, and I can see some of my struggles in your writing. The blog will only be as useful as your make it, but I will still be here to read!

    Keep on going -- the only way out is through :)


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  3. I second Lisa's comment above - you blog gives you a place to reflect, openly and I enjoy reading you blog b/c it seems quite honest/truthful, which is lacking in many aspects of modern life.

    Satya, truth, is the second of the Yamas.

    Maybe you'll come to discover that yoga asana isn't your yoga, maybe you will. More than anything it is about the process, discovery, about opening your mind to allow your greatest potential. What is right/ideal for one (or others) is not necessarily right/ideal for the self.

  4. I thank both of you for reading and for your thoughtful responses!

    @Lisa: I think I spend too much time reflecting/hoping/wishing instead of just trying to DO. It is often said that what happens on the mat is a reflection of your life... without a regular practice I feel "stuck"... as though I'm just existing.

    @Portside: I've not considered that yoga asana may not be my yoga. It is difficult for me to consider that... I took to Bikram so quickly and it has done me so much good... I want to discover more... even though I might not like what I find.

    Thanks again to you both for your thoughts! I appreciate them very much!!!

  5. thanks for the post. It got me thinking about my expectations from the practice and how they have changed. initially I was all about the physical challenge, then mental and I feel like its now asking me spiritual questions. I didn't expect any of these changes to happen - and for me it's important that I didn't. I have sought change in many different ways - and it came from the last place I expected - sweating on a mat. Perhaps it's just about committing to turning up and letting the magic happen?

  6. FLP: Thank you for stopping by! I got hooked on the yoga because of the physical nature of it... and because I lost a ton of weight in a short time. The vast majority of my entries deal with the physical challenges of the yoga. To consider the other aspects worries me a bit. I'm sure that I have a "screw loose brain" as Bikram says, and I tend to focus on one thing at a time. Let me get the postures down, then I can think about them...