Tuesday, October 20, 2009

We are so much stronger than we give ourselves credit for

Today was 5:30 with Roberta. I texted Reggi and Andy in the afternoon. "Prepare to suffer". Tongue in cheek, joking around. We all know Roberta is tough, so we love to tease each other. Thirty minutes before class, Reggi and I are suited up , ready to go, chatting in the lobby. The doors open and the 3:30 class staggers out. The tile floor in the lobby quickly becomes a mess of puddles as yogis walk to the locker rooms, dripping wet. It is quiet. Reggi and I look at each other and we don't even need to say what we are both thinking...our standard "oh crap, it's going to be ugly". Reggi goes into the laundry room and grabs a mop to clean the floors. Front desk Patrick pipes up, "Reggi, what are you doing?". "helping." she says, grimly drying off the floors.
Ray, Reggi, Andy and I set up in our "usual" spots and break a sweat just putting our mats down. Class starts and it's a pretty good size crowd. We are all sweating during first breathing. Awkward series was brutal, we were held in second part forever second set. My legs were shaking like crazy, but I hung in there, trying to focus on breathing. By eagle I noticed my chest and face was beat red, sweat pouring off me like rain. By the time we got to balancing stick, there were downed yogi's taking a knee scattered throughout the class. I kept plugging away, red faced, trying to ignore the sounds of yoga carnage around me. Loud breathing, sighs, grunts, it was crazy! It was hot, humid, tough. By the time we got to triangle I was at the point where I needed to take a knee. I was unsteady on my feet, dizzy, losing focus, exhausted. I bent my knees, heading toward my mat when all of the sudden a voice said "don't bother Michelle. She'll just call you out. She'll say Michelle get back up , you can do this, don't give up" and you'll have to get up. So don't bother taking a knee. Instantly I sucked in some air, straightened back up and finished out the standing series to the best of my ability. The floor series didn't get any easier. Camel about ruined me for the rest of the class. She kept us in second set forever and I held it the whole time, seeing yogi's coming out early from the corner of my eye and hearing sounds of agony as they moaned and breathed loudly. But I held it, and when I came out, I clasped my hand over my mouth, sure I was going to throw up on my mat. I didn't throw up. I clumsily fashioned my body into a slow moving descent to savasana and just sucked it up. When the class was over, I lay there in amazement. Amazed that I didn't give up. Amazed that I pushed myself harder than normal. In that moment I loved Roberta for ignoring the whining and complaints that always ensue in the lobby afterwards. It falls on deaf ears. She stays true to her style of teaching. She doesn't waver, doesn't blink, doesn't change. And for that I am grateful. It's easy to become complacent. It's easy to take a knee when you are tired, not just in that room, but in life. So when somebody reminds you that you can in fact do it, whatever "it" may happen to be, that is a gift. We are so much stronger than we give ourselves credit for. I walked up to Roberta after class and said "hey, thank you. Thanks for keeping it real".
She rocks.


  1. What's all the more impressive is that YOU gave YOURSELF the mental pep talk, without Regina even needing to say a word.

    That, my dear, is what truly rocks.

  2. YES! We are stronger than we give ourselves credit for. Amazing what happens when you start giving yourself the full credit that you deserve, like you just did. :)

  3. To me the amazing thing is how many "forevers" can fit into a 90 minute class.

  4. Duffy~ I know, right? Probably only holding it for ten seconds longer than normal...but feels like forever when legs shaking like a leaf!

  5. Love, love, love your blog! I've read the entries going back to 2008. I started doing Bikram classes 72 days ago, and I've done 75 classes in that time (yes, I've done a bunch of doubles). I practice at Green Valley. I can relate to the stuff you blog about.

  6. Greg~ Welcome! I'm so glad you found us! I say us because listed below are other great Bikram yoga bloggers- check them out! 75 classes in 72 days and you are a "newbie". Impressive! I've been to the Green Valley studio and know the owner and many of the instructors. It's an awesome awesome studio. I encourage you to go take a class down at teacher training. I think you will really love it since you seem to be hooked already. :) Good luck with your practice and I hope to hear from you again!