This is an area that I plan to research further, the connection between Bikram and emotion is very real and appears to be largely connected to back bends and compression of the nervous system (don’t quote me on that). I have very briefly touched on the notion that it was the avoidance of heartache that nudged me into the need to find a new focus (as if there weren’t enough to keep me occupied anyway) that was purely for myself, my own well being. Usually this would be running, but running can be isolated and exhausting, neither of which I was looking for.
In many ways Bikram can be isolating, you can quite easily attend a session barely muttering a word to anyone – but there is definitely something in the unity and joint struggle that brings about a deep satisfaction of socialisation. I had been pre-warend about the Camel pose, apparently if you hold any emotional baggage as a beginner this is near impossible to execute. I was holding plenty, at the time it was unshared and I needed a way to manage that. Sure enough, there was no way in hell I was going backwards into Camel. But it wasn’t just that, throughout my first session I experienced deep waves of unexpected emotion that came without thought or warning – intense as they were they passed until I lay exhausted but a little bit healed at the end of the first session. And the influx of information gave my mind something to occupy itself with. As the day went on thoughts crept back into my mind but after the third day of continued practice most of the emotion had faded, interrupted by the occasional text or e-mail that took my mind back off track on the odd occasion. With a little out of session guidance I could also go into Camel pose – I’d wanted to tell the whole room that day! Best of all, things were clear.
I don’t know that the emotional waves were all linked to the situation at hand, as I said they were mostly without thought but there was no denying the pressures of the real world, combined with some disappointing developments in the workplace out of anyones’ control. But with a clear head I could finally make the decision to confide in someone who would tell me all the things I didn’t want but needed to hear. Like they say, a problem shared is a problem halved. It’s not too often I’m in these situations but when I am, they hit hard.
Another unforeseen side effect added to this – as people around me saw time dedicated to this new interest, suddenly they too wanted some of my time – schedules were built around me that put my interests at the centre – my world was back to full capacity and I actually had the time to deal with it. Or at least make more practical decisions around how best to utilise annual leave and actually start to take the study and volunteer leave I have been entitled to but never actually taken… and the stress levels are almost concerningly low.
I still get the occasional bout of emotion during a session and if I take a later lesson sometimes before. This is particularly frustrating as it can impact my session – so I’ve learned that although I perform a little better in the evenings (and sleep with surreal satisfaction) that I MUST attend the mornings to compress and release whichever of those glands are releasing the endorphins, preventing what I can only describe as withdrawal symptoms.
Today was an example of this, I attempted a journey and reached the station to find I’d left my Oyster card, Cash and Bank card at home. There was no way I could travel. By the time I managed the journey for a later session, knowing I’d lost precious time and would face a rush hour journey home I got to Embankment and wondered what the point was, why I was putting myself through this with the thoughts migrating to my fledgling music business, love and family life… fortunately I reached St James, into the sanctity of the Studios and was reaching, breathing and stretching out of the clutter that creates negative emotions. There were things I didn’t do as well as yesterday, but with acceptance I worked my ass off and came out feeling fantastic.
The journey home was fantastic, I met another Yogi, I spoke to the landlady at the pub hosting our first gig night who in turn introduced me to our sound tech and FINALLY got the posters up. Now, I just need to start putting words to paper for my dissertation and intend to reach tomorrows session at 8am with a spring in my step… we’ll see!