And So It Begins!

Yesterday started out so awful, I wasn’t sure the weekend would recover. I missed my first flight and had to scramble to change my ticket so I could make it up here for the retreat. It worked out, but by the time I landed in Canada I was stressed, exhausted, starving (airlines aren’t very gluten free friendly) and in desperate tears. Thankfully, my retreat roommate and ride pulled up just as I was leaving the airport, and we stopped at Starbucks for Pumpkin Spice lattes and some snacks to tide us over for the drive up to the resort.

This resort “Private Guest House” is amazing. It’s three floors, the living room has glass garage style doors that open up to the huge deck. We did restorative yoga last night under the stars on the deck, after which we had dessert and I promptly crashed. 

This morning, we woke up to coffee brewing and a nice wake-up yoga class, then breakfast (BACON!) and now free time for a few hours. I noticed a few things, though, and I know if I don’t write about them, I’ll lose them. I’ve already lost a few.

Last night, toward the end of the restorative yoga class, I noticed that with every exhalation, my brain/head felt very full, uncomfortably so. I had had a headache since I woke up, but this was a very strange discomfort. It didn’t matter what position I was in. I don’t know what that signifies or not, but I want to remember that discomfort because it was fascinating.

This morning, in hatha yoga class, we were told to NOT go as deep as possible into poses, to back off a little and find comfort. I noticed several times that it was difficult for me to back off. I learned a few things to note about the shape of poses, and got some better work in because of it – that was awesome. Especially the part about tipping the pelvis into the ground during cobra pose.

The point of this retreat is to embrace the principles of Health At Every Size. I don’t much about that philosophy yet, but I’m learning, and I know logically that it is a very good thing. I bought the book, and I’m working on embracing the emotional aspect of it as well. 

Everyone has been very accommodating for my food allergies as well, and I am so grateful that we can be here, where people are accepting of each other and excited to have fun and really enjoy the food and the yoga and the companionship. I think later, we might indulge in some mini golf or swimming, and it all sounds really amazing. 

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some unplugged free time to go enjoy…

Nerves and Anticipation

Tomorrow – or, more precisely, in about 7 hours – I am leaving my home for the weekend. I’m flying to Canada, where I will spend 48 hours or so at a retreat. This retreat is not only going to be seriously amazing, but it might help me with some of the negative emotions I’ve been struggling with lately about my own body image and unhealthiness.

I am blinking back tears as I write this post. I have found myself in tears several times since I found out I was going. I’m not spending a dime to get myself there (except for maybe breakfast in the airport in the morning) because someone out there loves me so much she decided to send me. This person is insanely awesome in her own right, but I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to fully express the gratitude I feel for her.

My tears tonight are a combination of nerves and anticipation. I really feel good about going, but I am scared. I have always been afraid of meeting new people and “not living up to their expectations” as though they have expectations of me. This returns to my self judgmental nature, of course, and I worry that I’ll do something to embarrass myself or cause people to either take too much notice of me. In my head, if someone takes too much notice of me that means they will make fun of me. Generally, my self deprecating humor is there in order to make fun of myself before others have the chance. Go figure. I am an in-person introvert (I’ll bare my soul in writing, but that’s about it) and I’m pretty grateful that there won’t be too many people at the retreat so I can likely find some alone time.

My tears are also of relief. I have been busting my ass for weeks at work, trying to accomplish a project before this Saturday’s deadline. The project sort of fell into my lap, and no one wanted to take it from that place, so I wrangled the people together and did it. Not only did we finish the project before I left for the day, but the tying up of loose ends won’t take hardly any effort tomorrow. I am so relieved that I can go on this mini-vacation without that worry over my head…

I am feeling pretty disjointed and rambly as I wait for dinner to be ready and then head to bed for a few hours’ sleep. I don’t know whether my exhaustion is going to kick in hard and I’ll pass out until I’m woken, or if it will turn into the old Disneyland commercial where no one can sleep. My plan is to bring my laptop and blog, but not spend too much time goofing off online because it will be good to unplug for a weekend. Hopefully, this retreat leads to some really awesome positive stuff for me!

Judgmental Much?

I am a horribly judgmental person. It’s awful, really. And I don’t know whether it’s better or worse that my judgment is usually directed inward. Probably neither.

In yoga class tonight, I was so grateful to have a teacher back that has been gone for about a month due to scheduling conflicts. I love all the teachers’ styles at the studio, but what I really love the most is having the variety throughout my week. It’s nice to have her back. Despite that, though, I found myself silently cursing my failing body throughout the entire class. The. Entire. Class. Every new pose, I found something to judge negatively about myself. Every time we brought one leg between our hands and I had to waddle my way into it, I was ashamed of myself. Every time I couldn’t hold a pose because my body refused, I wanted to run away and hide my face. I thought more than once about an amazing retreat I’m attending this weekend thanks to the generosity of an amazing person, and I wondered whether I was making a mistake in going.

Now, let me give you some background so you can see how ridiculous I’m being right now:

This yoga retreat I’m going to? It’s not your typical yoga retreat. It’s a Body Positivity yoga retreat. Where, to be perfectly blunt and probably overly critical of myself, FAT PEOPLE CAN GO DO YOGA. Yes, I said it. It’s yoga and a pep talk all rolled into one seriously awesome retreat on the shores of a gorgeous lake in Canada. And here I am in yoga class, thinking I’m too fat to go to the retreat. The retreat that I wouldn’t be able to afford on my own for at least a few years, but am able to go to because someone loves me and is proud of what I’m doing to get healthy. The retreat I got a new passport for. The retreat where people are going to be like me. Not [slender, perfect, beautiful, insert an adjective that is the opposite of how I’d describe myself here] people that I compare myself to. People who have the same issues with their belly getting in the way of a good twist. People who might have the same issue with having to choose whether to keep both hips on the floor for a seated pose, or to lift one hip up to allow the foot to reach the floor. And I’m freaked out about going because I have judged myself so harshly today that I think even this wonderful retreat is going to be too hard for me.

I have said before that this journey isn’t going to be all epiphanies and wonder. This is one of those days where I’m stuck. I know logically that I’m being ridiculous, but I can’t stop seeing every flaw of my body and curse it for betraying me, curse it for being so weak and flabby and gross and why the hell would anyone ever want to see me naked? Oh yeah, my head’s pulling out all the stops tonight, and we have forgone the pity party for a particularly self flagellating brain loathing party. Fun, huh?