15 February 2016

Getting The Poison Out

Hello, all! 

No yoga posts since Nov 30. I think this past holiday season was the most difficult in my life so far. There simply seemed no end of trials, stresses, and illnesses. As December progressed, it seemed each day was harder than the last. The only celebrations we had were Christmas lunch with my Dad and sisters, then hosting a small lunch a couple days later. On New Years Eve the house was dark by 10:00. The entire month I felt more listless, sick, and depressed. January was much the same. Go to work, come home, sleep (or try to sleep-- insomnia was a major player. The ONLY thing I looked forward to each morning was my stop for donuts, burrito, and coffee. Every morning I plunked down $7.72 for a few minutes of joy. Lunch consisted of MickeyD's or tacos. It caught up with me quickly. I've no idea what I weigh now and frankly, I don't want to know.

Over those two months, I made it to a grand total of 16 classes. I think I completed two of them. Most often I left at or before Savasana, usually just before or after Standing Bow. Three or four times I left after Eagle. 


Basically, I had gotten so tight I could barely lift my arms. In Half Moon even the slightest bend in either direction brought pain. Awkward Pose was a complete failure: no strength or balance at all. I would simply take a knee and gasp for air. Eagle is usually a pose I take great pride in as I have come so far in that pose. Now I couldn't even come close to getting one arm under the other. It was as though my shoulders were being pinned while trying to get my arms in position. Some nights I couldn't even clasp my hands together, let alone try to get them into prayer position. That would be about the time I would give in and leave. I felt it was better for me to depart rather than be a distraction to those around me. 

So for two months, that was the drill. Go to class infrequently, fail miserably, become intimidated by the beautiful, happy men and women around me, lament my place in the room (and the world), and run away. I had accumulated so much poison from bad food, bad mood, bad everything that I was shutting down. 

The nadir came a week ago Sunday. Super Bowl Sunday. I had to work but I would be home in time for the game. Put the pork roast in the oven to slow cook for pulled pork that night. I was already fighting a head cold but I felt ok. Stopped at the donut shop for the requisite hit of fat, sugar, and caffeine, and rolled into work. About 30 minutes in, I started to feel really bad. Dizzy, headache, stomachache, the works. Left work after two hours, came home and was sick all day, all night, and most of Monday. Slept intermittently. If I wasn't coughing up crap from my lungs, I was... you know. 
I've never felt so bad or had both respiratory and digestive issues at once. It felt like my body had finally said, "That's it. We need urgent repairs. Too much poison. Time to purge. We are shutting down. Deal with it."

So I did. By Tuesday I could eat again but I knew it was time to correct some of these issues. With Lent beginning last week, I decided to try and do without fast food or caffeine for the 40 days. So far the fast food part (including the donut shop) has been easy, but the caffeine part has been more difficult. I've broken down two of the last three days for coffee. 

After ten days away from the room, I got back in last Wednesday. To say I was apprehensive would be an understatement. 

It was good. Shockingly good. 

First, I could actually breathe deeply! I mean a FULL, six second inhale. My lungs felt so much better. I think my lungs have entered another phase of recovery (May will mark two years without a smoke!) and I had to get rid of more junk from the lower part of my lungs. 

Second, side bends did not hurt. My Half Moon felt so good again! Plus, I wasn't gasping for air in the back bend portion of the pose. I was slightly shocked at how good it felt. I still fell out of Awkward but it still felt easier. In Eagle, not only did I clasp my hands (and attempt prayer position) bit I was able to hook my foot on both sides! Yeah, me!

Third, I made it all the way through class. My floor poses are in a world of hurt right now. Long way to go but it felt much better. 

After class, the instructor stopped me while I was cleaning mats. I think it was her first time to teach at our studio but she and her beau have been practicing at the studio for a while and she had seen me abandon class more than once. 

"That is the best class I have seen you take since I've been here. Great job!" She gave me a high five. 

"Thank you.", I said. "It's been rough. I think I just had to get the poison out."

She smiled. "No better place to do it."

No, indeed. 

Two nights later I was back in the room. This time I attempted every posture. I have so far to return to the form I had, but that's ok. There is still some more poison to purge. It just takes time. 
I lost my faith in myself and my life. I'm reclaiming myself. I can do this. 



  1. what an awesome post and I mean the WHOLE post. I think you've captured the struggle in words, and make us all realize that if we leave the practice it will be there for us when we are ready to return. It's a humbling, maddening process, but so worthwhile. I've been on my own journey of not maintaining my intense practice due to a host of issues, and giving myself permission to not be a high-functioning Bikram practitioner. Just showing up is my goal lately, and that's OK. Thanks for your honesty and TRUTH.

  2. Thank you for your kind comments. It helps to know that my words connect and help someone. Peace.