Thursday, July 9, 2009

Old habits die hard

At first I didn't want to jinx anything, but it's been a couple of days so I can now officially report that I'm back to Bikram. And it feels great.

I started Bikram many years back for the same reason so many people decide to try it: the intro month was ridiculously cheap. I'd never attempted any form of exercise in my life, was in my late 20s, and had smoked for a decent portion of my adulthood. The first class nearly killed me and triggered a migraine that lasted 24 hours, but I wanted to get my money's worth so I went back for a second class. After one week, my heart condition had disappeared and I was sold.

At the time I had a full time job, so it was easy to slip into a membership package once my introductory month was up. My practice was diligent, the only week I missed being the one where my mentor, Sarah, passed away.

When I left my salaried job to pursue Paco Collars full time, I had to make a decision, so I decided to spend my unemployment checks on yoga. When that ran out, I started volunteering at the studio in exchange for classes. My practice was as an integral a part of me as my name, and I went to any length to continue it.

But then... well, life happened. After 4 years, I started to burn out. Working behind the scenes in the studio I witnessed all sorts of atrocities as it changed ownership, and the new regime sucked big time. I watched my friends go and new faces fill their places. People I'd introduced to the practice got on the fast track to become teachers, and suddenly I felt like my special little place wasn't so special anymore. I began to slack, and then disaster struck.

Two days after Christmas 2007, the electrical system on our house melted, which left me and Paco Collars homeless for a month while the landlords rewired the property. I stayed with Aaron in San Francisco (which was a great leap of faith in our then two-month old relationship) while Paco Collars operated out of a garage in a West Oakland cooperative household.

After that things just got even more jumbled. We rehabbed a toxic West Oakland warehouse into a decent studio and moved Paco Collars again. Paco blew both of his ACLs and had to go through surgery. I moved back into my house, found a new place to live with Dango, and then in a random turn of events, moved in with Aaron a month later when the cottage behind his house suddenly came up for rent. While all this moving was going on, I was fighting the battle to save Paco Collars as it was on the brink of failure (the year we'd spent trying to become a cooperative had resulted in leaving the company in serious debt and disarray).

At first I tried to maintain my practice, I even took the intro month at the Bikram studio closest to Aaron's house, but it just got lost in the shuffle. As I worked continuously both at work and at home, I promised myself I'd resume my practice once things settled down. But they didn't settle down.

Paco Collars began to heal and sales shot through the roof. Then the economy collapsed and we tried to stay afloat. Then the Christmas rush hit. Then we went on vacation to Mexico. Then there was a new puppy to consider. Then Paco died. Then we got a storefront.

In addition to the logistical reasons keeping me from practicing, I also had to consider my fears. I was totally out of shape, had put on a bit of relationship weight, and could barely touch my toes. Not to mention the social aspect of explaining to everyone where I'd been for so long just seemed overwhelming. This mindset was not exactly the best motivator.

But then last week something happened. Tim and I were poring over the soon-to-be-schedule since Paul was due to return from his month-long trip. I was complaining about my knee hurting, and saying I needed to go to yoga to fix it. I realized that, between the three of us, we have the store/company covered and there's no reason I can't leave for 3 hours every couple of days to take care of myself. So we made it official.

Now I'm back. The first class wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be, and I already made my peace with the owner. There are even fewer familiar faces, which is actually a good thing. Now that I'm anonymous again, it feels like it did when I first started. It's just me and the yoga, which is the way it should be.


Bennett Samuel Lin said...

Geez, I've learned more from this blog post about what you've been up to these past few years than from any conversation I've had with you during that time. But I suppose you could say the same about me.

ana poe said...

That's what blogs are for, Bennett, so people never have to talk on the phone anymore ;)