What I don’t know is what brought you to your first Bikram yoga class, and when was it?
I had my daughter, Sophie, in July, 2001, and around the December-holiday time, my older sister came to visit me in California. She got together with her friends and attended a hot yoga class in Costa Mesa, and I met them for lunch afterwards, baby in tow. Sitting across from me at the table, my sister and her friends looked like they had been hit by an Arrowhead truck, drenched and dripping and excitedly going on and on about how amazing they felt after this yoga class.
Now, these gals do triathlons for fun (ewwww), so I was intrigued by something that wiped them out. But the studio was not close to my house, and they said the class was ninety minutes long. I thought that as much as I was dying to get my body in shape, I commuted and worked long hours, and I did not want to leave Sophie for the two to three hours it would take to drive, sweat, drive, and clean up. (Note: this is the thinking of a first-time mom. Fast forward four years to the birth of my son Quinn, and if someone offered to watch him, I had no problem disappearing for a few hours. 😉
Back in the spring of 2002, I was starting to entertain the idea of some Eve time, and what do you know, a Bikram studio opened up in Long Beach in February. I did my mom/cow duty that afternoon, left the cutie with my awesome husband, and headed to my first class in March 2002.
That’s awesome. I can picture you sitting there and I see your reaction during lunch with your sister. So grateful you found our studio. How would you now describe your experience with the practice?
To know me is to know that I change things all the time: jobs, degrees, addresses. Six to twelve months is long term for me. So how can I explain that I have been doing these same 26 postures for 15 years, longer than any job I’ve held, longer than I was married, and almost 1/3 of my life? It is the most remarkable thing that, for 90 minutes in a row, my hamster mind is in the room, on the mat, focused on the woman in the mirror (preferably the skinny mirror on the right).
I used to do sitting meditation, which was very healing, and now this yoga is my meditation. I’ve tried other flavors of yoga, and I have come to know the type of yoga that works for me, and it is not flow yoga, as I’m still figuring out downward dog while looking under my arm pit and realizing the teacher has moved on to something totally different. Nope, not for me. What works for me is holding the same postures in the same sequence every time. This allows my mind to stay with my body, to not be distracted or frustrated, to not miss how the events of my life spell themselves out in my practice.
Now I picture you looking up your armpits in downward dog. (Oh, my visual imagination.)
So Eve, you are an amazing business professional and a single mother to two children. (And you also talk about space and rockets and my head spins wondering how people build and figure out that stuff.) Do you have any insight you can share on how you make time for your self-care?
Self-care. Yikes! I am the poster child of what NOT to do. I guess what I manage to do that’s good for myself is I don’t makes rules and resolutions anymore. I don’t diet anymore. I don’t own a bathroom scale anymore. I do what feels right for me in the moment, and try not to allow lots of moments to get unconsciously strung together, like going to bed angry with someone, or inhaling an entire bag of chips while working on my laptop. I try not to let a week go by without making it to yoga, and I try not to beat myself up when it happens. And sometimes, working long hours is me taking care of myself as I love what I do and I’m somewhat of a perfectionist. Other times, I set everything aside and watch trash TV with my cuties. I love to laugh with them. I would say you have let go of all the lists, the shoulds, and you found what works to help you support and take care of Eve.
In exploring more about your work environment, how does your practice support you professionally, spiritually, and emotionally?I work some pretty crazy hours, and I would not survive if I did not have this practice. One nutty job back in 2009 had me on travel all the time, and I did not come to yoga for 6 months (Saudi Arabia is a bit behind the curve in opening a Bikram studio). I almost landed in the hospital, having heart palpitations after excessive caffeine, minimal sleep, and 90-hour weeks for about 9 months. I walked out of that job on a Saturday evening, leaving laptop and badge behind. I showed up to yoga on Monday morning, cringed at what I saw in the mirror…and began again. It has been a dance between this yoga and me, getting separated for a time by life’s curve balls, but always managing to find each other again. We have seen each other through pregnancy and nursing, marriage and divorce, multiple job and boyfriend changes, fasting and cleansing of all sorts, gaining and losing the same ten to fifteen pounds over and over again, and still, we are right for each other.
I seriously love that. With what you said, I can hear your “why” and why you keep coming back.
Initially, when I first started, it was all about perfecting the postures. I loved figuring out the engineering that went into each posture and the sequence of the postures, and learning the “why” of all that. After so many years of doing Bikram, I have been able to evolve and adapt my practice to how my life unfolds. It seems to easily grow and change with me, keeping my body as young as my mind still feels. I’ve been to Bikram studios in other cities, and in Boston the teacher asked each of us why we were there, and I said “this yoga de-ages me.” I’m 51, my body is in better shape than before I took up this practice, and I do not see an end to it.
What’s something we don’t know about you?
Maybe that inside I am still the shy overweight nerdy girl from high school? That I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane . . . twice? That I use profanity freely every day while commuting? I can’t imagine an f-bomb coming out of your mouth at all. . . . Oh, wait, I just heard it!
Eve, have you experienced any moments of enlightenment in class where perhaps you learned a lesson?
(For the general public I realize how woo-woo this might sound.)
Hmmm. . . . moments of enlightenment in class. I would have to say that fifteen years of exerting myself in a hot and, sometimes, stinky room, in close proximity to numerous fellow mammals, has occasionally brought up moments of annoyance at the habits of others.
Yet, when I do my “inside” work, and write about these things in my journal—yes, I keep a journal and you can add that to my self-care wins—I always, always find the places where I do the same annoying things, perhaps in other ways and in other settings, but still, the same annoying things. And, if I dig further, I see the truth behind my own annoying habits (the “why” of them), and I experience compassion for myself, which opens to compassion for others and a re-framing of their annoying habits. And other times, no matter how centered this yoga makes you feel, ya’ just wanna smack someone. Am I right? I can check in with that annoyance and then let it go much faster! And then I head to class!