It might be that the real reason I show up for my Bikram yoga classes has to do with the doors.
I lock my knee in Standing Bow with one eye on the door. I teeter in Triangle, feeling an itch of tension for the portal through which I entered. When I lean back, way back, go back more, fall back in a standing back bend, the glass sliders behind me get my best bedroom eyes.
When I should be zeroing in on my left knee in the mirror, I’m instead dealing with target fixation—yearning for the teacher to open a door and release into the room a rush of cool air from the lobby or courtyard. (Oh yes, folks, my Bikram studio looks out onto a lush courtyard, one with bunnies and quail. When we do sasanagasana we push ourselves to impress the real rabbits peering through the windows. Your jealousy is warranted.)
So okay, obsessing over the doors might be a wimpy way to practice Bikram yoga, but when that brief chill surges across me . . . Oh, my! It’s a very—hmmm, how should I say it?—special feeling; a whole-body tremble I can only describe as a doorgasm.
But lately teachers have been leading us on, denying their group of students this singular, seductive pleasure. While hollering, “Chest down, leg up, chest down, leg up, chest down, leg up,” the teacher meanders toward the door. The implication penetrating our already weak yoga brains seems clear: “Give me more and I’ll give you a mind-blowing release.” So we do it. We push our hips up, hips up, hips up in Rabbit, we thrust harder in Camel, just begging for that release. And then, once we’ve given our all and collapsed into savasana, panting, pleading, and eager, the teacher walks back to the podium, leaving the door shut, her tease having had its desired effect.
Some days it comes down to timing. I get it into my head that whenever that one girl up front kneels down out of fatigue, the teacher is suddenly compelled to open a door, giving me what I want. So as my chest heaves and the sweat courses down my body, I glare fire at the girl, willing her to descend to the mat, signaling to the teacher that it’s time for our gratification. And when that girl up front doesn’t do what I want, when she is the barrier to the suggested thrill that got me into the room, the frustration’s almost too much to bear.
However, maybe the teacher walks over to the door so as not to block a student’s view of the mirror. And maybe it’s just coincidence that the teacher opens the door when the bendy girl gives into exhaustion. I very well may be over-thinking this—as women can be inclined to do when it comes to achieving that wily climax.
Megan Romo gave up a few weeks into yoga teacher training when she realized that she’s too selfish to focus on anyone else’s practice but her own. She’s not ashamed of that anymore. Instead she likes to call it a honed self awareness born of years on the mat. Presently in the throes of an MFA in creative nonfiction, Megan’s decided now’s not the time to kick the diet soda habit. Follow Megan’s whatnot on her blog and keep up on her graphic art on Facebook.