NotSoZen YogaJen

Archive for December 2010

For someone as addicted to yoga as I am, who craves it and goes into withdrawal when I don’t get it, I’ve encountered a lot of obstacles to making it to yoga class this fall.

First there was my pain the neck, which felt better only to then feel worse, plus a hamstring thing thrown into the tweaked-out mix.  But then I was starting to get back my regular Vinyasa yoga practice.  And last week I had a welcome dose of Bikram bliss.  With the cold weather and some difficult  issues to grapple with, I was feining for my next Bikram fix and couldn’t wait to hit that heated studio hard.  I envisioned going to several Bikram classes this week, and vaguely entertained a fantasy of working my way up to the Bikram 30 Day Challenge.  I imagined the bliss, balance, and much-needed tranquility that  it would bring to me and my life.

Then last Saturday, what I hit hard was my toe.  I wish I could stub my toe in delicate ways that involved temporary minor discomfort and hopping around for five minutes tops, and did not involve my foot swelling up and turning blue, but unfortunately this was not the case.  I knew that bruising was usually a sign of breakage, but I also knew that there’s really not much you can do for a broken toe.  However, I was still in pain and hobbling around on Monday, so I called my podiatrist just in case.  I described my foot to the receptionist and asked if I should come into the office, thinking that she would say it was no big deal and would heal on its own.  But she put me on hold to ask the doctor, and when she got back on the phone she said, “The doctor said to come in an hour!”  Yikes.

It turns out that my toe isn’t broken, but the soft tissue is injured.  It turns out that I can’t do yoga for at least two weeks.  And it turns out that I need better peripheral vision.

So two weeks without yoga.  (I’m already halfway through, but honestly, the detox isn’t going so well.  And anyway, it’s supposed to take 21 days to break a habit.  Not that I want to break my yoga habit altogether…)  Plus I am dealing with issues, anxiety, and self-diagnosed Seasonal Affective Disorder.  Which means that until December 26th when my yoga ban is lifted, I will have to find other ways to cope.  In my forced detox from yoga, I will have to go to yoga addict rehab.  And I don’t think Dr. Drew handles that, so I’m on my own.

Until I get out of yoga rehab, when I feel these uncomfortable or sad or anxious feelings, I can’t run to yoga class to make them go away.  I have to sit with them.  Yikes.  And find other ways to work through them.   Other practices that will bring me some form of bliss, balance, and much-needed tranquility.

I’m working on this.  But I have big dreams of going to a Bikram yoga class on New Year’s Eve and sweating into the new year.  I really hope my toe heals by then.

How do you feel when you can’t get to yoga class for whatever reason?  What are your other ways of coping with stress and cultivating calm?

I had a bad week last week.  Like, it was bad.  I was going through stuff.  And on top of that, I was getting hit with alternating waves of depression and anxiety.  All I wanted to do was have a nurturing, peaceful, quiet couple of days so I could deal with my stuff and heal.  I wanted to rest, relax, veg out watching DVDs, and be alone in the soothing sanctuary of my home.  But then, my plumbing started to fall apart.

Let me just say, that even when I have no stuff to deal with and I am calm and centered and at my very best, plumbing issues make me very anxious.  I find it extremely unsettling when foundational elements of life like plumbing aren’t functioning.  And then there’s my Post Traumatic Plumbing Stress Disorder.  Because this happened to my bathtub a few years ago, and the following year this happened to my toilet, and now every time there is the smallest sign of drain blockage or the first drip of a leak, I get flashbacks involving days of cleaning up black sludge, and am instantly filled with dread.

Last week I was not calm, centered, or at my very best when my bathroom sink clogged.  The plumber fixed it.  I cleaned up the black sludge that was left behind.  I felt drained, but also, some sense of relief.  Like, OK, this week is bad, my sink clogged, but I dealt with it and it’s over.

That night, I turned on my kitchen sink, and it was now clogged.  So the plumber came back.  I cleaned.  I felt stretched too thin, having stuff and clogged plumbing and black sludge to contend with all in the same week, but it was Friday.  This week really sucked, but it was behind me.  The weekend was here.  I could finally rest and relax, and get back to my regular routine on Monday.

On Sunday I went to a wonderful brunch with a good friend.  I came home feeling even more relieved.  Every thing was fixed.  No more clogs.  No more messes.  No more scheduling plumbers to fix pipes, and days lost to work being done in my apartment and cleaning up.  Ahhh….

And then I heard a loud hissing sound coming from my bathroom.  I went in to investigate the noise and saw that the heating pipe was leaking water and shooting out steam.

This.  Was too much to deal with in one week.  And like my plumbing, I fell apart.

On Monday I didn’t get back to my regular routine.  Plumbers were back at my apartment again, and they fixed the pipe.  Then I trudged to the grocery store for the third time to buy more cleaning supplies, feeling like I was trapped in a time warp of never-ending plumbing malfunctions and bathroom cleaning (and let me just say, that I don’t enjoy cleaning my bathroom even when I am calm, centered, and at my very best).  It was cold and dark and gray out, and I made my annual self-diagnosis of Seasonal Affective Disorder.  Things could not continue like this.  It was time for drastic measures.  It was time for yoga.  It was time for Bikram.

I’m a Vinyasa girl, but Bikram yoga got me through a hard time earlier this year and the way things felt like they were piling up on me, I was craving it again.  So on Tuesday night, I walked through the cold Brooklyn streets to the Bikram studio in my neighborhood.  I stepped into the hot, dark room.  I sweat, a lot, and I had a few moments of nausea.  But there’s something about Bikram that kicks my butt so hard it literally knocks all the thoughts out of my head.  Which is helpful, when the thoughts are of the everything-sucks-and-it-will-never-get-better-downward-spiral variety.

After class my face was bright red and my skin was glowing.  My mind was empty(ish) and clear.  I felt like my body was being flooded with waves of energy, hope, and optimism.  I sipped Vita Coco, and reveled in my Bikram bliss.  I slept better than I had all week, and the next morning I woke up feeling rested at last, and already craving my next Bikram fix.

I’m not ready to abandon Vinyasa, but I think I might become a seasonal Bikram yogini.  Because there’s nothing like Bikram to get me through a hard time, a bad week, fucked-up plumbing, and the long, cold, dark New York winter…