Friday, December 27, 2013

What You See Depends On Where You Stand

What You See Depends On Where You Stand  (Mark Reifkind)

This last year I've practically given up on my 8 year Bikram's Yoga practice.  In fact, last Friday, my first class since Nov. 29th, 4 days before I left for Israel (Dec 2) I had convinced myself that I just couldn't take it anymore and I would have to find a new style of yoga, or maybe no yoga at all. Maybe it was time to go back to a martial art, if I could find a morning class.

I just couldn't believe that a practice I once trained 6-7 times a week for years had been whittled down to barely two painful practices a week, and only because I forced myself to go.  My once strong and beautiful front row practice, had found it's way to a permanent back row position.  I can honestly say that in the first 6 years I had never ever left the room during class, or had I ever sat out a posture, any posture, ever, it was that hardcore part of my personality that just wouldn't allow it.

My practice came crashing down last March, after suffering a hamstring injury at my SFG Instructor Certification.  At first I blamed training and practicing with double 16kg's all weekend as the culprit, but once I got back to some sort of yoga practice I realized that it was the yoga, not the kettlebells that was to blame.  Well, I was the one to blame!  It was my own laziness to let my left leg/knee hyperextend in some of the strength/balancing postures that was at the root.  Once I figured it out it was fine in the fact that with this new awareness I could start to rebuild those postures in the correct way, and actually get stronger, which I did for a while.  It was during these months that I had to check my ego at the door and modify many of the postures I used to be able to demonstrate strongly.  Greatly scaling back, sometimes, many times, to simply standing, contracting, and practicing creating tension and strength in my hamstring and quads at the same time.

Simultaneously menopause hit me like a ton of bricks.  Having hot flashes in a 104 degree humid room for 90 minutes left me feeling bitter at teachers that ran class late for even one extra minute because they like listening to their own voice so much, but especially if it was due to holding us in postures longer than prescribed (can anybody say Tuladandasana?  Balancing stick posture above).  3-5 minutes past and I was in the back row ready to explode with anger.  I know, I know! It sounds so dramatic, but that's what it felt like.  Every class felt like an inferno and I was pissed as hell to feel as if I was being brought down by this ridiculousness.  It was just yoga for God's sake.

So, last Friday I had pretty much made up my mind to quit completely.  I couldn't remember the last time I actually enjoyed or felt satisfied with my practice which is why I had already given notice last month for my auto pay membership to stop (this Sunday is the last day).  For the first time in 8 years I will not own a yoga practice membership anywhere.

Mark to the rescue.

Mark and I were talking about my training, the whole of it.  Where it was going, what was missing, how I was feeling about it, and we were talking about diet too.  Since I had started facebooking and blogging my food journal and wanting to put it out there to others that awareness and taking responsibility was the first step in moving towards the things you want in life, especially if you are wanting any kind of change.

It was Mark that made the connection that my attitude towards my yoga practice was what the problem was.  I had blamed it for some of my limitations, then I started to resent it, instead of seeing it for all of the good that it brought me for so so many years.  Ah ha!  Focus on the good! Again I was reminded that there was good to focus on.  In fact looking over my training for the past 4-5 months some of what was missing was what I got out of yoga.  Duh.  I was too busy feeling defeated, and focused on my limitations. 

Personally I was mad that I couldn't express my best practice, but I was, it was just a different kind of best.  Consistency....remember?What you see depends on where you stand.  I'm familiar with this practice.  I'm good at this practice, even when I'm not "good".  Much of this practice suits me and the rest?  Well, I can't help the rest and those parts don't matter anyway.  

Oh, one more thing....

For some crazy ass reason while I was away in Israel my hot flashes practically disappeared.  I still get "warm", but nothing even close to what it was like in the last 10 months.  I haven't had to turn a fan on at night since I returned home.  So, with the internal inferno dialed down, spending an hour and a half practicing hot yoga has become bearable again! By letting the anger and blame go I've got a new attitude to see farther than I did before.  Wow, and I'm liking the view!


juicyjen said...

Ah Tracy. You took me to my first Bikram class and I fell in love with it too. I almost made it through a whole 30 day challenge a while back, but I stopped because of this and that. But I've always missed it and have a date to go with a friend this week!

Glad the menopause is calming and glad that you have such a great (and smart) man that helps you move forward and move through these sticky times. You are always so honest about where you are and encourage me and so many people with your honesty.

Thanks for being the beautiful you! <3

Hanneke said...

Anger issues oh my do I have them!!!!
As always love to read your blog. I have hormone related anger issues for about a year now. It's hard to admit it because I'm the kind of girl that never even had PMS. So I thought I would breeze through menopause without a lot of fuss.

Sometimes I think I am over it but then it hits me like crazy again. Same as night sweats, I had them bad a few months ago then I was good for a few months and now I have them back.

I guess it's just a day at a time. It's not easy for me but I know I be ok in the end. This is not fun though, not at all!!!

Hanneke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark Reifkind said...

so glad you re positioned you mindset for your yoga practice. You have such an amazing practice and have had such a long run I'd hate to see you give it up. But I don't want you to hate doing it either.
glad it's working out and I could help a bit.

Judy said...

I have found (10 years post total hysterectomy) that I only get hot flashes/warm flushes when I have eaten more refined sugar and carbs than I usual - which is practically any!Sugar and refined carbs are not my friend.

Tracy Reifkind said...


I've tried many other styles of yoga, and I think I just like the heat and the sweat! But the hot flashes just made it almost unbearable :(

Even though I've had a love/hate relationship with this yoga for many years it does in fact have more positives, which is why I've been doing it for 8 years!

It still would be a dream for me to design a similar practice, but cater to people wanting to learn the progressions of these postures to help them get to their ideal postures. Not the ideals of anybody else, especially practitioners that have never had the limitations of weight, age, flexibility, etc. But that's another story...

Tracy Reifkind said...


God I hear you! I'm so lucky I haven't gotten the night sweats more than once or twice, and I have no idea whether or not I'm just in "remission" right now, but I'm plowing ahead as fast as I can, crossing fingers it's over with, or at least enjoying the crap out of the relief!

The anger thing...

The only time I ever get angry is when I'm driving and when I'm in a Bikram's yoga class! There are only a handful of teachers that don't bug the heck out of me, but when I get a teacher that presses my buttons it takes so much for me to not just turn into a raving bitch! I've talked back underneath my breath, and I've also brought myself to crying from the insanity of the frustration over the irritation. It's nothing personal against some of the Instructors, but sometimes I really just wish they would shut up.

Oops....see there I go. I'm really only hurting myself! I've gotten better when I drive though! lol

Tracy Reifkind said...

My sweetie,

You helped a lot! Thanks you for saving me....again!

Tracy Reifkind said...


I haven't noticed any connection nutritionally, they seemed to be constant and on going day and night.

Thank you for commenting about your experience, as I'm sure it's a valid consideration and one I had not thought to explore :)