I wake to the sound of birds or frogs (I never was great with my nature sounds) and clouds drifting by (I know my clouds) and I’m exhausted having slept maybe four hours but I don’t have time to think about this since I need to be dressed and ready for the silent morning walk in ten minutes.
The walk is lead by the assistant I will refer to as Arrogant with Issues and he’s being trailed by this too perky total suck-up and every time Arrogant with Issues puts his finger to his lips to remind us not to talk or waves us along she does the same thing and there’s something a little too coiffed, too I’m-ready-for-my-close-up about this is woman. *
Back in the plastic bubble. Have I described the plastic bubble?. If not, it’s a large room lined with layers and layers of thick plastic to keep the internal heat at 90 degrees at all times and this is where we spend most of our time. We meet in the chairs up front to set our intention for our breakthrough for the week and then we are asked to “share” our intention with a small group. A little aside: They keep encouraging us to drink plenty of fluids but every time someone gets up to pee the assistants make a stern face as if they’re disappointed we can’t control our bladders. And I’m thinking this whole thing is crazy and flakey and I’d rather be drinking coffee and peeing when I want to and heading to the beach and honestly, I’m really only here for the workout and I have no intention of sharing that I want a breakthrough in not worrying about my risk of recurrence. A worry that lives very actively in the back of my brain and the one area of my life that feels beyond my control. But I will not share this with the group because first of all I am so not buying into all this New Agey psychological crap and I never mentioned the breast cancer on my application and I had already decided I wouldn’t tell anyone about my scare or the surgery or that in the back of my brain right next to that near-constant fear is the hope that I can detoxify my body once and for all so thoroughly that I will never have to worry about my breasts, my cells, my health again. Ever. But I don’t say any of that to my small group. I say some obscure thing about trusting my body and letting go of old stories (“old stories” is one of those New Age phrases Baron uses often) that hold me back.
Next Baron asks people to share their commitments with the whole group and this tiny guy in a Speedo raises his hand with an “Eww! Eww!” straight out of grade school and grabs the microphone and says, “Hi,” in this oddly booming voice with a trace of Woody Allen thrown in as if he’s performing a nightclub act in Vegas, and he stares over the group and then he says, “Wow,” and then “Hey.” And he’s pacing and forth and saying how thrilled he is to be here in the bubble and how yoga transformed his life and how he wants a have a breakthrough in leading others and if anyone needs to share anything with him this week that would be fine and that he’s already shared his passion for yoga with millions of people. Millions of people? What is he talking about? I look over at Baron to see if he thinks this guy is as crazy as I do but Baron just smiles and says, “Thank you.” And “Who else wants to share?”
Next thing I know we’re on our mats two sweaty hours into our four hour morning practice and we’re in Warrior II (this is a sun salutation where your front leg is facing forward and bent to or towards a ninety degree angle and your back leg is straight at the back of your mat with your toes angled slightly forward and your arms are shoulder height open wide and your entire body is facing the side while you gaze over your front index finger). We’ve been holding this so long that my entire body is trembling and I feel sweat dripping off my ears and I’m thinking this is too painful (not painful in an I’ve injured myself way) but too difficult, too demanding, too much and all I can think is, when it will it end, will it ever end and is that what I fear most… that the pain will never end?
And just when I think Baron is going to say release he goes into a little lecture about how the further apart your legs are the freer you feel but that might throw off your balance and so the key to this pose is to find the balance between freedom and stability and as he says this I spread my legs further even as my thighs burn like they have never burned before and I feel myself choking up a bit and think perhaps this is my biggest fear, my fear of being free, of being everything I want to be and perhaps that’s why I’m here in a place that’s thrown me out of my comfort zone, out of my element and why I sink down further, nearly parallel to the floor and vow to push myself beyond my edge beyond that safe and stable place because what’s the point in holding back now and I feel the pain and the fear wash over me.
*The woman I discovered when I got back home was a TV Bachelorette a few seasons back.