Eyes on Your Own Eyes
If you follow me on Instagram, then you know that I'm in the middle of a 7-day Bikram yoga challenge (and maybe longer, but baby steps first, friends.) Tonight I completed my fifth class. The last time I did this many Bikram yoga classes consecutively was pre-baby (and I did 30 days back then – you can read my journal here). But this is a whole new game. I can't let myself compare my progress to "those days." It's been two years since I've taken my yoga practice seriously – I've got a whole new body, new perspective on life, etc etc, so each time I step in the studio, I feel like I'm getting to know myself all over again.
I didn't want to write about writing this week. I was SO happy to discover that it was Open Topic week, and I could just share anything I wanted. But when I started typing a fun little post about Bikram yoga blah blah blah, all the sudden I found that it was pointing back to lessons about writing. So here it goes. Three things I've learned about my writing process from my Bikram yoga practice.
1. Eyes on my own eyes. In Bikram yoga, the studio is INCREDIBLY hot and each pose challenging. You must have an unblocked view of yourself in the mirror. Focus is important – Not just on posture, but on yourself. Eyes on your own eyes in the mirror, the instructors always say. It's easy to shift your gaze to what others are doing, and how well or poorly they're doing it. But that draws your energy away from yourself. Oftentimes, if I break concentration on my own posture, I fall out of it. I'm out of sync. Focusing on your own practice is an ongoing process. I've found that I'm getting better at this in my Bikram yoga practice. In my writing career, I'm trying to do the same – to not compare so-and-so's talent/awesome agent/book deal/huge bestseller journey to my journey. Eyes on my own eyes in the mirror, and in my life.
2. Part of the challenge is just showing up. The other night I shared a photo on Instagram of my 1 mile walk to the yoga studio in the pouring rain. I was feeling depressed that evening. My umbrella broke a prong, and it was like 8 o'clock at night, cold, wet.... The last thing I wanted to do was take a 90 minute strenuous yoga class, walk 1 mile home, take the dog out, shower, and then FINALLY relax at like 11pm. I was exhausted and just feeling crummy. But that's sometimes my writing life too, and maybe you can relate? Sometimes just showing up is the challenge. Once you're there – at the desk, butt in chair, or waiting patiently on your yoga mat for class to begin – you fall into a rhythm. You're glad you made it. It's starting to feel like a routine, and something about that feels safe, and inspiring, and good. Just showing up for the action was part of the challenge. And now that you're there, you can commit.
3. Every day is different. Bikram yoga is a series of 26 Hatha yoga postures and two Pranayama breathing techniques in a heated room for 90 minutes. For some, that may sound repetitive. Same postures and order, every single time? But truly, each class feels different. My body feels different. My depth in the posture may surprise me – Or my balance may be off one day, and spot-on the next. I'm listening to my body each time. In writing, it's often the same for me. Some days I lose my focus easily. Other days, I fall into my story and time slips by, and it feels like magic.
So that's what's going on with me this week :) I'm curious.... Have you ever tried Bikram yoga? Would you try it?