November 17th, 2010

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Yoga Day Six Reflections - The Tantrum Effect

Today I had to pee during class. During the WHOLE CLASS. There is very little worse in this life, I believe, than going an entire 90 minute Bikram Yoga class while having to pee.

That may be an over-dramatic exaggeration. But I'm still batting the drama fairy, it would seem. Today was almost as awful as yesterday. My lower back, which has a curve in it, is aching like crazy from all of the stretching, compressing and extending I'm asking it to do. And my brain was like, "Oh my god, we've been working so HARD for five days, can't we just take a dang break today?"

But that would defeat the purpose of everything I've learned these past five days. All the pushing through and whatnot.

I feel like I've read this somewhere recently, I really want to say in Eat, Pray, Love: Your mind is like a child. It wants instant gratification. If you ignore a child who is begging you to buy them ice cream, what do they do? Do they shrug their shoulders and say, "Okay, you know better than I do, I'll go put this ice cream back and sit quietly while you finish the rest of your shopping"? Nopers. They throw a fucking tantrum. The more you ignore them, the louder they get. The goal of this is for you to get so fed up with their howling that you see the error of your ways and buy them the damn ice cream. Sticking it out through a child's tantrum is one of the toughest things to do, because you just want them to SHUT THE HELL UP AND LEAVE YOU ALONE, and if buying them ice cream THIS ONCE will do that, then okay, buy them the ice cream.

So you buy them the ice cream this once. What happens when they want ice cream again? Same thing. You say no, they throw a fit because they know, this works. Mom will cave if I scream loud enough.

Same thing with your mind. First it will ask nicely. "Hey, my arms sure hurt, if I try really hard in the next posture, can I sit this one out?" You tell your mind, gently but firmly, "No." The whining starts. "But WHYYYYYYYYYYYYY? I don't WANT to do this! This is HARD!" "Too bad. Do it anyway." "But you're not being FAIR!!! This isn't FAIR!!!" "Who said life is fair? Suck it up."

And then the bellowing begins. This is where my mind was today, in complete and total full-blown tantrum mode. I thought for sure the teacher and every single student in the room could hear my mind hollering and flailing, kicking me and biting my arm and pulling my hair. They were probably all thinking what an awful mother I am, letting my kid freak out like this and not doing anything about it. Add this tantrum mind to the fact that I had to friggen' PEE, and I am just grateful I made it through class.

I get the feeling this tantrum stage could last a few classes. I still gave in to it at times, but only for a few seconds, where before I would allow myself to sit out whole postures. I'm pushing through these classes and my mind and body can feel it.

But the good news is, this was day six, which means I'm 1/10th of the way through the challenge.