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Be Sweaty, Be Smelly, Be Weepy

I LOVE THIS PLACE: Be Yoga. They have a HOT Yoga room, where you do Yoga in a sauna. After BE BASIC they place this lavender water soaked washcloth SO cold it has little ice crystals in it over your eyes, and TWICE it has felt SO good that I have silently wept into it. I come out smelling like a goat and my hair is wet through. I freaking LOVE it.

Five years ago, I theoretically hated Yoga.

But I am an endorphin junky with a bad back and a knee I blew out riding horses, so I tried it. Just regular non-hot yoga at first, and it was a REALLY good workout. I liked it fine, except for the five minutes at the end, where you are supposed to lie corpse-y and prayer breathing on your mat and empty your brain, which seemed INSANE to me. I would lie there churning and thinking, The EXERCISE PARTY is OVER. I HAVE THINGS TO DOOOOOO.

I remember reading that the five minute thing is VERY Western, and in Eastern practices it’s 20 or 30 minutes. I immediately thought, NO THANK YOU! I’m a thoroughly Western girl, with a typical amount of Western Depravity and the attention span of a — HEY! LOOK! SOMETHING SHINY! I am not going to spend any twenty minutes being one with the whatevers. I HAVE A TO DO LIST, PEOPLE.

So in OLD Yoga, I would lie on my mat, feeling like a rebel-toddler faking it through nap-time, and begin working on my grocery list (USEFUL USE OF FIVE MINUTES!) but it would go like this:

VIDALIAS, AVOCADO….I wonder if we need DISH WASHER CRAP, and we always need CAT FOOD so I should pre-emptively get it except I think I did that a bunch of times, so maybe we have 5 or 6 bags now stuffed under the sink in the basement which eventually they will eat it, but maybe with all that food stockpiled ANYWAY, now is the time to see if Scott can be talked into yet another kitten on the grounds that one cat is 4,000 years old and the other one sucks, and Jill had a good PRO CAT argument but I forgot it and after this I should call her but maybe she is still asleep if California is 3 hours different from me is it later now or earlier, right earlier because I always wake her up, and I can NEVER call Grace because Grace lives in New Zealand which means I will never remember if ti is midnight and for her I think it is already TOMORROW which is kind of a TOTAL non-YOGA thing, I mean she is living in the future not THE NOW, but if it was ME I would live in the PAST because then I would know all the Lyrics to Young AMERICAN instead of TAINTED LOVE, and CRAP I forgot all the stuff I put on my mental grocery list, but I know it had avocado on it maybe next time I could sneak a PEN in here and write my list ON MY HAND and I should go ask the google is there a rest pose where my hands are TUCKED into my body cavity so I could scribble with no one seeing me, and OH MY LORD, ONLY THIRTY SECONDS HAVE PASSED, I AM GOING TO DIE OF OLD AGE ON THIS MAT.

My brain, she don’t do empty. I think this is why I have so much trouble sleeping—I can’t get the machine to turn off. This would be GREAT if it was a BETTER brain and if I was using it to do USEFUL things, maybe plan an actual, viable path to world peace or to suss out all the hardest bits of chaos theory….But my brain is more like a hamster in a wheel; it can churn ENDLESSLY without ever getting to ANYTHING. Worse, much like the hamster, it is completely happy to do so.

CASE IN POINT: I just stopped writing this blog and stared into space for a good 10 seconds trying to understand why people always seem to want to put a P in the word. HAMPSTER? What’s THAT about? It is HAMSTER. If a picnic container and a rat had a baby, now THAT would be a HAMPSTER. And then I realized Young American had stopped playing in the background so I went to You Tube to replay the video and it had a bunch of SUGGESTED videos on the end screen and I started link hopping from Bowie to LIME IN THE COCNUT and WAYYYY beyond, until I got to THIS:

Yes. I followed videos until I landed on the ubiquitous DUCK SONG, and now it is half an hour later and I am wondering if ALL YOU TUBE videos eventually lead to the duck song because that thing has FIFTY SIX MILLION VIEWS and no redeeming qualities.

(Okay, FINE, I am being grumpy; it is cute. But I lost half an hour of my life getting to it, and it makes me INSANE that the animated duck has SONGBIRD FEET.)

Anyway I say all this to say, that yesterday I took a 75 minute HOT class at BE YOGA, not Pilates, not BE BASIC, but the one for people who are WAY better at Yoga than me, and at the end, I was SO WRUNG OUT, every piece of me in absolute trembling submission, and…

My brain stopped. Without me even noticing, that’s how stopped it was.

It just….stopped. Shhhh. Nothing. Just the hum of my body and a restful blankness. After a moment or two though, I NOTICED that my brain had stopped and instantly it churned to life and started thinking about how STOPPED it had been and trying to time out how LONG it had been stopped. I think was forty seconds? Maybe thirty? maybe fifty? No, likely forty—-CHURN CHURN CHURN business as usual. But…

It was one of the most beautiful forty seconds of my life. There. May. Be. Something. To. This.

17 comments to Be Sweaty, Be Smelly, Be Weepy

  • My yoga classes always ended with 15 minutes in “Shavasana” which I am sure I spelled way wrong. It was my favorite part. Sometimes, tears came unbidden once my body was still. I should still be doing Yoga. I do miss it.

  • Shelley

    Congrats on 40 seconds of done-ness. So now in order to sleep at night all you have to do is exercise in a sauna first. Do you leave hot yoga feeling like overcooked pasta? How long does it take to stand up straight again? Did you lose 5 lbs of water weight? Ooh maybe that’s how I’ll lose 5 pounds in 3 weeks. I would love yoga if not for the talking. Now hot pilates needs to be invented.

  • BE YOGA HAS HOT PILATES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  • Your brain writes WAY awesome stories peopled with WAY awesome characters. DON’T STOP!

  • Phyllis

    In the martial arts/tai chi/chi gong arena, which is where I play, it’s generally known as “monkey mind” (as in do you ever notice how monkeys are ALWAYS moving/busy/doing somethinganything? yeah, that).

    it’s hard, and many of us struggle with it for years until we find, like you have, what works for us to shut.it.down.

    Congrats on finding what works for you.

  • Savasana was always my favourite part of yoga, but as for the rest, my Tree kept falling and my Crow nosedived every time. I found dance-type exercise far more rewarding, although the post-endorphin sleepies didn’t do my work much good in the afternoon. The only problem is, the endorphins got harder to come by as I got fitter.

  • Elizabeth

    At least you aren’t having panic attacks in Shavansana. My first yoga class ever. Took years to go back, but I did.

  • Hmmm I should do some yoga. I’m definitely not up to hot yoga, though. Bare basics over here 😛

  • Metacognitivethougts

    This is the second random duck song that has been presented to me this week. The first was this http://youtu.be/0LEYwoooVfw. Which is much more earwormy.

  • jeanette

    ACK! That duck song had NO redeeming value except to re-implant in my brain another song you once posted also containing the phrase “the very next day”. All together now……………”Aaand the cat came baaack the very next day!”

    On another completely unrelated topic, I wanted to tell you I was struggling with a character for quite a while. Finally I asked myself WWJJDWH? (What Would Joshilyn Jackson Do With Her?) Problem solved! Thanks!

  • Brigitte

    I’ve always considered that to be MULTIPLE hamsters, each on their own wheel (one for groceries, one for the cats, one for an upcoming doctor appointment, etc.) all going simultaneously. Though I find Zoloft has slowed them down for the first time in my life ever. Yay!

  • Carrie (in MN)

    This is a bit of an intrusive question and you don’t have to answer if you don’t want to – can you still your brain in prayer? I ask because I have the same phenomenon of “monkey brain” (thanks Phyllis, that’s the perfect description) except I can quiet it in a specific sort of inner focus that I associate with prayer. Sometimes, though, I can’t get to the inner focus until I’ve gone through the more rote sort of prayer. I don’t mean this to come off as more-spiritual-than-thou – believe me, it ain’t true!

    p.s. did you ever read Linda at All and Sundry’s less poetic description of hot yoga – I’ll see if I can find a link.

  • I have shut my brain off once for a full half hour. It was through the miracle of pharmaceuticals but nonetheless…

    I had those handy Norplant birth control rods in my arm for five years and LOVED it. No pill, no crazy hormones. But at the end of the five years, I had to have the nasty things taken out. Long story short, they attached to nerves like barb wire through cotton batting and it took two surgeries and a nasty reaction to pain killers to get them all out. For the second surgery, the nice doctor gave me ONE pill of Valium.

    And I will never be able to take another one again because I LOVED that feeling SO much that I would pop them like Skittles every day of my life. It was like a miracle. Silence and no voices and certainly not 42 voices, which is exactly how many whiny, taskmasters I have living in my head.

    It was bliss. And a one-time deal.

  • So I like my yoga regular. . .I like my yoga PERIOD. . .and I am having NO YOGA, DANGIT. My yoga gal closed shop last spring, and my heart? It was broken. BROKEN I tell ya.

  • I’ve just learned how to pronounce Givenchy and now I have stopped, lost more than 10 seconds of my life, trying to determine whether I’ve been saying hamster or hampster. A person ought to know…

  • Myra

    Completely off this topic, but I wanted to say, “Thank you” for recommending “A Good Hard Look” by Ann Napolitano. What a great read and a great way to waste my Labor Day weekend while it rains outside.

    As for yoga – not to be had here in Birmingham without an expensive gym membership. The “$10-a-month-no-contract-yes-we’re-nuts!” gyms just don’t provide classes. Big bummer. So, while I love you dearly, I am insanely jealous of your yoga time!