Four to five times a week, I force myself to do the hardest thing.
I push myself out of my comfortable little nest of computer, writing, creating, and communicating, and insert myself firmly into the physical world.
This is not natural for me.
I am a cerebral type. I prefer thoughts and ideas to the physical. I find most material needs — food, sleep, showering, etc. — to be more of a nuisance than a pleasure (okay, except for food. I really like food). If I could be like “IT” in “A Wrinkle In Time,” just a disembodied brain, I think I might be quite happy. Or at least as happy as a disembodied brain could be.
But I’m not. I’m a corporeal person, like it or not. And I have to force myself into that body.
I am not a person of moderate steps. I’m black and white. So I run half-marathons, I walk 60 miles, and I do Bikram yoga.
If you’re not familiar with Bikram, it’s a hatha (breath) based discipline developed by Bikram Choudhury. It includes a series of 26 poses completed in 90 minutes, and (here’s the hard part), it is done in a studio heated to 105 degrees.
Yes, 105 degrees.
That is hot.
And I love it.
I sweat something like four pounds of water weight. I leave feeling absolutely wrung out, stretched to the limits of my capabilities. Because the same 26 postures are done in every class, anywhere in the world, it is predictable and I can track my progress.
And yoga is all about progress. Not the achievement, but the act of achieving. Not the end goal, but the process of becoming.
Not natural for me, but oh so important to learn.
So Bikram challenges me mentally, spiritually (be here now!), emotionally, and physically. And even though I know how good it is for me I have to make myself go. After all, 90 minutes of intense effort is no easy feat, either in terms of actual performance or in terms of finding time in my already-packed schedule.
But I’m not here for the easy path.
I’m here to do the hardest thing. And then to do it again and again and again.
What’s your hardest thing?
Image used with permission of OpeningMinds/Flickr