Class 8: And I Bawled My Eyes Out.

The last time I cried in Bikram class was the second Monday of Teacher Training.

It was 112 degrees in San Diego outside of the hot circus tent in which we practiced. Boss (Bikram - the man himself) insisted that the heat remain on inside the tent at full blast.

By Dandayamana-Janushirasana (Standing Head to Knee) pose, I was hallucinating. People had already started lying down and sitting out postures.  By Tuladanaasna (Balancing Stick), people started walking out of the tent. I was in the front row. My friend Jane was behind me and to my left as I looked in the mirror. The expressions on her face were painful. I couldn't stop staring at everyone's face in the mirror behind me.

I was hallucinating and absorbing the energy of all those around me. Not a good mix.

By the time we hit the floor and were in the Spine Strengthening Series, I was in "Waterfall Mode." I couldn't tell the difference between sweat and tears. I wanted to vomit. But I was also struggling to breathe. I laid out the rest of the postures, determined to never, ever leave the tent before Bikram himself did.

"You will lay your ass down and practice your Prana and shut your mind the hell up!" I screamed at myself internally.

Quieting your mind as junk is trying to release is the hardest thing in the world for me. Even harder than kicking out in Standing Head to Knee. And that shit is HARD!

When Bikram finished the class, he told us we were weak...  And something else. I don't remember. He walked out. Two of the guys near me - they were from Mexico - they reached over and poured their water on me.

It felt great. "But why are they doing it? Why aren't they preserving it for themselves?" I wondered. Water was "liquid gold" in every class. You didn't just give it away. Did I look that badly off? I was grateful.

Twenty minutes later, I was able to pick myself off and wobble out of the tent.  Yogis were lying everywhere on the pavement outside the tent. It looked like a war zone hospital scene. I just kept walking, and didn't stop till I reached my room.

Later in the evening, at lecture, Jane told me, "If you had left, Heather, I don't know what I would have done. Everyone else had left. But you just kept at it. And you looked like you were really struggling. Thank you for not leaving. It kept me going."

Apparently my energy was absorbed by others! Even through the tears and the "monkey mind!" It was a joyful thought for me... Even though the experience was wretched.

Like I said, I hadn't cried in a class since then.  Until today.

Today was my eight class of the Bikram Yoga 30-day Challenge I am doing this month. I was meant to be in the class tonight... But I didn't realize it till afterwards just how much I was destined to have the experience I did tonight.

I was planning on taking the 7':30pm class. I had flown to NYC for a meeting, and was due to fly back on the 5pm shuttle. Well, my meeting ended early, putting me at Laguardia two hours before my flight. I was able to get on a flight that put me in Boston in time to take the 6:30pm class. I went straight from the airport to the studio, having brought my clothes with me.

It was a rough class. Obviously... I mean, I cried. Not till we hit the floor.  But certainly as soon as we hit the floor. In Savasana. I felt panic and anxiety bubbling up. A tightness in my lungs. A burning in my nose and eyes - which happens when I cry (which isn't often). Sweat was rolling from my face, and I kept wiping it away. But very quickly it mixed with the tears. And because I didn't want anyone to know I was crying on my mat in the corner, I focused on keeping my face straight while the tears continued.

I jumped into the practice and did at least one set of every posture through the rest of class. At least, I think I did. The room wasn't hot. I mean, it was. But that wasn't what was forcing this reaction out of me. Not directly.

This was what I call "The Energy Release" in the practice. So many people, whatever kind of yoga they practice, experience it at some point. Part of the healing process for your body is "mental and emotional" healing. I haven't had a decent practice in nearly two years. I have not prioritized my mental or physical health since coming out of training. And it was coming out on the mat this evening, I was just hoping it wasn't being absorbed by anyone else.

As a teacher, though, if I had a student who was experiencing the same thing... I would tell them, "It's not your damn problem to worry about anyone else other than you in that room. You do whatever you have to do while still listening to my words."

I feel great, now that it's over. But it took till 10 minutes after class, when the room had cleared out, for me to get up and walk out. It was when I bounded down the stairs and peered into the smaller practice room that I realized that I was meant to be n the 6:30pm class, bawling my eyes out...

There was no 7:30pm class. The room was dark.

I looked at the schedule and realized that on Fridays, they don't have the later class. Had I not taken that earlier flight, and had I not forced myself to just go straight to the studio from the airport (and I was very close to bagging it all in, as I was operating from 4.5 hours of sleep from last night), I wouldn't have had the release.

I was supposed to have it. I was due a good cry.