I needed tonight’s class like a losing team needs a win.
For starters, my stomach held itself in check. (We’ll get more into this later.)
Secondly, my favorite, favorite teacher was on the podium. And she remembered my name. And she complimented/called me out on two poses and, best of all, helped fine-tune my form by holding my hips down in half-tortoise.
Thirdly, the heat and humidity warmed me just right, just to the point of pure sweat but not to the point of total collapse. I left well-rinsed and red-faced but not stumbling and weak, worried of heat stroke.
Fourthly (is there such a thing as fourthly?), I walked to class beneath a summer-blue sky, and ohhhhh, I needed that burst of color above me considering the days upon days of rain and clouds we’ve had here in Boston these last few weeks. Yes, weeks. I might as well move to Seattle.
And, last but not least, after a steady string of mediocre to outright bad classes in which I pushed through solely by tapping into my deepest reserves of determination, I cannot tell you how refreshing it was to feel like me again, to recognize my body, to concentrate on actually perfecting postures not just attempting to stay in them, to see my green eyes staring back at me clearly, not cloudy with dehydration, exhaustion, or pain.
Yes, my friends. I needed, and my yoga delivered.
Don’t get me wrong—I am a big believer in the notion that the hard classes give us the greatest lessons and, perhaps, the greatest rewards. After all, don’t we learn more through struggling and overcoming than through coasting? Still. We all deserve a break sometime. A good, solid, satisfying, relaxing, generous class that helps remind us why we love this yoga in the first place.
Lately, I’ll admit, my feet have dragged the whole way to the studio. I am absolutely amazed I’ve made it to as many classes as I have these last few weeks, considering how lousy and unmotivated I’ve felt. And although my pride is keeping me from asking my teachers any questions, we’ve finally reached a point in which my impatience and frustration just may win. You see, about those stomach issues…
One of my favorite bloggers, Miss Live It, Love It, writes a “TMI Thursday” post each week. It isn’t Thursday, and what I’m about to get into isn’t nearly as graphic as some of the stories she shares (each anecdote is hilarious, I promise!), but, well, anything involving bodily functions usually makes people at least grimace. That said, this blog is mostly about yoga, and what I’m struggling with is a yoga issue, and you readers are mostly yogis, so…
I’ve been burping a lot in class.
And by a lot, I mean….uh, a lot. And we’re talking startingly loud, from-the-bottom-of-my-belly, almost painful burps. WTF?!
No matter what I eat during the day, no matter how much or how little water I drink prior to class, I can feel these guttural bursts of air coming on within a minute into pranayama breathing. And they last the entire 90 minutes, from standing series to spine-strengthening series to final savasana. And, yes, I’m in agony the entire time. Because I am either A. trying to suppress said burps; B. letting them rip (mouth closed, of course) as quickly and quietly as possible and hoping no one hears me; C. attempting unsuccessfully to breathe through the air bubbles; D. counting the seconds until class ends; or E. hoping to God for a miracle to cure me instantaneously.
It’s been a rough go of it, friends. And I’m not entirely sure what to do.
Now, I know a consistent Bikram yoga class helps with all systems in your body, including digestion. I understand that all of the compression postures in Bikram yoga are bound to be loosening up all sorts of gunk and junk in my stomach, intestines, colon, and beyond. But…I’ve been practicing this yoga for nearly three years now. I eat fairly healthy foods, don’t consume much meat or dairy (minus some milk in my morning coffee and Greek yogurt at lunch). I don’t drink soda or any other carbonated beverages throughout the day. And I’ve never experienced in-class burps like this.
So, tonight, as an experiment, I went the entire class without water. And this trick definitely helped. Makes sense—by not drinking water, I’m not tasking my body with additional digestion, and I’m not taking in extra air by sipping and swallowing. My worry, though, is that I won’t be able to go every single class sans water. Or, maybe I could? I usually only drink one to three times during class any way. But, what about those days I’m not as hydrated or the room is particularly hot?
I know none of you are doctors (or…are you?), and I’m not necessarily asking for medicinal advice or expertise. But, I am curious to know if any of my fellow yogis (or any of my fellow general-interest readers!) suffer from this bizarre in-class burping ailment, too. Reassure me and let me know I’m not alone in this.
Or, perhaps I am.
And that’s just fine as well.
Because, really, we’re all alone in our journeys (and in our joy and pain). Whether we’re burping or not.