Day 55

I discovered Bikram Yoga about two years ago: 90 minutes of rigidly held yoga poses done in a 102 degree room. With the door locked.

I kept at it. It’s probably what drove me to MyBigWalk — good Lord, anything to get me out of that hot room!  I’d say whenever I left the Bikram studio. It was So.Damn.Hot.In.There.

But I kept going back because that heat made me sweat out all kinds of impurities. Not to mention at least 10 pounds of stress and 5 pounds of water weight.

Yes, Dear Readers. I kept going back to Bikram to battle the midlife bloat. And it worked.

But today I got to the studio 3 minutes before the scheduled class…and the doors were locked. Bikram Choudhury, the creator of Bikram yoga, is a bit of a bully. So are a lot of his protegés. The door was locked, and I was locked out.

So I raced over to a new hot yoga studio about 10 minutes away — their class also started at the same time, but they waited for me! They kept the door open. They put out a mat for me. They welcomed me. They cranked up the heat (but not quite to 102). And they played contemporary music.

Most importantly, Seth the adorable instructor and owner of Garden State Yoga, talked about joy.

“I’m telling you to bend your knee and put your hand on the floor and hold your other arm in the air,” he said (approximately). “But if putting your hand on your hip and the other hand on her knee is what works for you, do that. If laying down in shavasana is what you need today, do that. It’s your practice. Do whatever you need. Find what works for you. It’s your joy.”

It’s your joy.

 It’s really thrilling to have walkers all across the country lacing up their sneakers and joining me. I honor your commitment, and welcome you along the journey.  Today, Lucky Lucy wrote to say she found two friends to join her in a pledge to walk 1,000 miles in 2010. Way to go, girls!

But for all of you walkers and would-be-walkers who’re trying to figure out how the heck you can fit another hour into your day — let alone another 1,000 miles into your year — remember what Seth said: It’s your practice. It’s your joy.  Walk when you can, where you can, with whomever you care to. Make your own rules. Be you. Bring yourself to the walk, and then thank yourself when you’re finished.

Come to think of it, that’s a pretty good way to live each day.

Today, I escaped the locked door yoga studio discovered a new place to be joyful. Tomorrow, I’m going to take my new pedometer out of the box and keep track of my steps for a day or two. But the minute it starts cramping my style it’s going back in the box where it can’t get in the way of my joy.