Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Spine-strengthening series.

There's a period at the end of this title because that's how I feel about spine-strengthening series. I have so much hate towards it that I don't even feel like completing the thought. It's a set of four postures that I literally dread every time I go to Bikram.

I hate it so much because it hurts so bad. Which is apparently proof that I need it the most, but whatever. All I know is that when my first sweet savasana is over, I've got fifteen minutes of suffering ahead of me.

Spine-strengthening series is supposed to hurt. It's suppose to work every part of your spine, making you stronger and releasing toxins. It starts with cobra, moves on to locust, then full locust, then finishes with bow pose, which works every segment of your spine. I hate spine-strengthening series because it's the only segment of Bikram that is ALWAYS difficult for me. It really never feels easier.

Inevitably, I always end up sitting out at least one set of one of the postures. Typically, it's locust, because my arms being under my body is super uncomfortable. Today, however, I challenged myself to complete the entire series.

It wasn't easy; I cringed a lot and I forgot to keep my breath steady, but I finished the entire series without sitting out any of the postures. It still hurt, and I was still really happy when it was done, but I completed it, and sometimes that's the most important part.

I often find myself reflecting on Bikram as mirroring life. Over the last week, I've had a lot of tough classes, including a few where it was an accomplishment just to stay in the room for the entire ninety minutes. In fact, one class, I felt like I was going to be sick from about twenty minutes in onward. I must have looked crazy miserable, because the teacher came up to let me know that I "didn't have to be a hero" and that I could leave the room if I wanted to.

Life doesn't work like that.

Life is full of challenges, hard times, whatever, all of which are a heck of a lot more difficult than 90 minutes in the hot room. And you know what? You can't just quit. You can't just say "you know what, I don't feel like it today." You stick it out, you ride out the lows, and you get yourself back to the highs. Slowly, maybe cringing, but you get yourself out of the ruts that life throws at you.

And just like in spine-strengthening (which I still hate), you stick it out and it makes you stronger.


  1. It's good to challenge yourself and not give up, but you also have to know your limits. Sometimes the hardest thing is knowing when to decide not to do something you know is too much. On a recent trip to Moab with other cancer survivors, we had 3 days of climbing and hiking before an all day hike. One of the girls, who had been struggling but pushing herself and doing great, had a long talk with one of our guides the night before. She decided to sit this one out, that her body just wasn't strong enough, and that's okay. Everyone was supportive and thought she made the right decision, and we took her with us in our hearts.

    1. Kim, I was so excited to see that you are reading my blog! I liked reading this, because I always get so frustrated after spine-strengthening series because I almost always have to sit out a part. I definitely have to remember that sometimes it's better to listen to my body and just go at my own pace.