I am not having a good day. My stomach started to feel strange just after lunch and now ten minutes into the class I realize that this might be the longest class of my life. I hardly have any energy and even the most basic poses are difficult to hold. There is always the option of just lying down on the mat until I feel better I tell myself. “No way, you won’t give in, never!” I hear back. Wow, who is that?
I was discussing this very fact with a couple of the other students in the studio just yesterday. Why won’t we lie down when we need to, why do we insist on pushing through? Mostly ego and pride we decided if I remember correctly.
As I struggle through one of the harder warrior poses, I begin to look at the issue closely. Because I am doing the 30 day challenge, I don’t want to just give up and lie down with the excuse that I’m sick. I somehow feel like this is cheating. Is it? How sick am I? How sick do you need to be to consider it not cheating? Yes, I certainly have less energy than normal and am slightly nauseous but I am still able to keep up with the rest of the class.
I find it quite fascinating to listen to this internal battle going on in my mind. I know that in yoga, you should really try to focus your mind only on your body and breath but today I feel like an exception is justifiable. It feels like a scientific experiment or perhaps a mini war of my internal worlds going on.
My ego loves to take advantage of the fact I feel sick and use it as an excuse to do as little as possible. I am aware of it’s tricks. “Perhaps you should leave”, it says, “you are so sick poor baby.” “No!”, my (other more rational) self says, “you’re not that sick, just a bit of an upset stomach, you can always lie down if it gets worse.” “What?” the ego cries in alarm, “lie down? Never, how embarrassing that would be!” It’s like I’m watching a movie inside my head. Since I can’t seem to get into the yoga today anyway, I mentally sit back and enjoy the show. Interestingly enough, my ego would rather I admit defeat by leaving the room entirely but never by lying down. That would be like announcing to everyone else in the room that I cannot handle the class today. Is how I look to others more important than my health?
“This heat cannot be good for you if you are sick, maybe it will make you sicker” continues the ego, determined to win the battle and escape. “Ignore the heat and concentrate on your breath like you always do dear” says my more reasonable self. Interestingly enough, I notice that I can now feel my heartbeat in my stomach as that is where the problem is. It seems to be getting louder. In the end, I ignore both voices in my head and compromise. I lie down for the last couple of poses so I don’t risk throwing up on my mat. I think that would be a definite embarrassment…