Saturday at 7:30AM was our first group meditation. Kind of like dick, waking up that early to sit and think about nothing isn’t for everyone so whoever wanted to go gathered and we headed to the beach. Meditation is a confusing thing to folks – I’ve been in classes where people raise their hands to ask how you correctly do it, when the whole point is you just kind of do it and there is no right or wrong way. James was leading and he made the analogy of viewing our mind as a “guest house.” It may have been part of a Rumi poem – as the likelihood of hearing that, Jeff Foster, or Lao Tzu in any yoga setting is likely. I enjoyed the comparison – letting it all pass through, exist for a moment & leave. When I meditate I like when my mind wanders, and if it pops up – I’ll spend 30 minutes contently wondering why if pizza is round it comes in a square box. However, I was not prepared for what meditation conjured that morning: my period.
If you’re a woman you know the feeling – you could be giving an important presentation, riding your bike with sunshine on your face, or sitting on a beach meditating. It’s like an internal bell dings and you feel your uterine lining loosen. If you’re a male reading this and I lost you – come back! That’s as far as we’re going! Anyways, I spent twenty incredibly peaceful minutes envisioning which farmacia I would go buy tampons at. In an ironic turn of events, I did start my cycle, but not until the next day. So basically I just meditated on menstruation for no reason, and then shared that with an uncomfortable amount of people as we ascertained from this trip that I can’t stop being me even when I try. Next up was smoothies & coffee, followed by Power Yoga before brunch. If you know me, you know how I feel about Power Yoga but I had committed to go “balls to the wall” on my first day & experience it all.
The first thing that happened when I walked in was my #1 blog fan, Chris, calling me out as I unrolled my mat. “Power Yoga? Bold move Alligator Penis!” Well, there it was. A few curious eyes who definitely weren’t familiar with my writing looked at me with raised brows. Since I’d already talked about my menses meditation and now was being called phallic animal names, I knew I was cementing my place in the group as a weirdo. The second thing that happened was that I didn’t hate it. I spend an exorbitant amount of time giving Katie shit for only teaching classes with the word “Power” in them, and it was quite defeating to realize they weren’t terrible. I shifted my animosity towards Katie, because how dare she make me understand how strong and capable I am? Seriously, what a bitch. The studio we practiced in was beautiful, an open-aired room where the sounds of birds filtered in from the surrounding treetops. The bird songs seemed like a soundtrack rather than being real, a thought I shared with Celeste. “I also guess I’ve also never been to a yoga class where the instructor played animal noises but maybe that’s a thing?” “I once went to a class where they played whale songs for an hour,” she replied, “It was…different.” I made a mental note of that teachers name with the intention to take her classes never.
I spent the day on the beach and actually made some friends. Socialization was initially the hardest hurdle, although I got over it quickly. It truly felt like spiritual adult summer camp and I didn’t want to be the odd shaman out. I was floored by the variety of people on the retreat – there was everyone from the girl trying to get the perfect Instagram shot, to a badass mother-daughter duo. Eve, the daughter, had MS and one of the most positive dispositions I’ve ever come across. Her Mother Sheila, was in her 70’s, and slayed every class. There had been a lot of buzz the previous night at dinner, that if you swam in the ocean your skin would fall off and you’d die. Okay, that’s a lie – but it felt that dramatic based off the way the two girls sat across from me were talking about it. But I figured if I spent the whole week worrying about what was going to make me puke & shit, it’d be a pretty lame ass vacation. So I swam.
Later that night I prepared myself for dinner. My friends were in a villa across the way and earlier I had discovered that we could see into one another’s windows, catcalling my friends husband as he slathered sunscreen on his chest. It felt like it was taking a long time and there was a Restore Class I wanted to go to at 8PM, so I hollered over to check-in. “Sorry!” Crime yelled, “Katie choked on a pill she was swallowing so we’re running behind.” “No worries!” I replied. So I waited. And I waited, and I waited. Probably twenty minutes went by when I came to the conclusion that maybe Katie was sick, or her friends had already gone and I’d missed them. So with only a general knowledge of the direction the town was in, I set off on my own.
If you know me IRL, you probably know about “The Sapula Sense of Direction” (aka the lack thereof) It was a brave move going alone, with my non-functioning phone (which only worked on Wifi there) and even though there were several restaurants close to the hotel I decided Mexico Tanya was different, she was courageous and cool and did Power Yoga so she could go further. It started off fine – I walked into town and chuckled to myself when I saw a sign advertising an event called “Miss Gay Sayulita.” The rest of it was in Spanish so I didn’t know what it actually was but I wanted to say: “It’s me! I’m already here, you don’t need to hold a contest!” Before long I realized I had no idea where I was, and felt a bit panicked. I imagined the embarrassing moment I’d have to walk into a shop and ask in broken Spanish if they had Wifi or could call me a cab to drive me back to Hotelito Los Sueños which was likely 0.2 miles from where I was. You can imagine my relief when I ran into Celeste and her friend Swan (a person, not the waterfowl) and they mentioned they were headed back. I tried to look casual as I joined them, but they could probably smell my fear.
Within moments of beginning our trek back, we turned a corner and ran smack into the very friends I thought had abandoned me. “WHERE THE FUCK DID YOU GO!? WE WERE LOOKING EVERYWHERE FOR YOU!” I bumbled some sort of explanation and they endearingly rolled their eyes and grabbed my arm when I told them my train of events. “Well come on,” Andrea said, “We’re here now.” With that I was whisked into the night where we had a wonderful meal and I drank a tray of tequila. Spoiler alert: We didn’t make it to Restore Yoga that night. In fact, I missed every class that was soft, slow, or otherwise my jam. You know what I didn’t miss? A single Power Class.
I’m not sure what the learning moment is here, or that there has to be one. Sometimes life isn’t a lesson, it’s just stories we are privileged enough to live. However if you want me to tie this up nicely I’ll offer you a few alternate endings:
- Maybe sometimes you have to get lost to be found (this is the only insightful one)
- When your girlfriend tells you to figure out how to make your cell phone work before you go, don’t say “I’ll figure it out when I get there!” Maps and directions may be important in a foreign country
- Yoga teachers, they’re just like you! I remember when I first started practicing I was always intimidated of my instructors – I put them on a pedestal of being these enlightened, untouchable, evolved humans who have never known a bad day. But wouldn’t you know, somewhere there’s one just gagging on an aspirin because she doesn’t like swallowing pills either. People are people no matter what they do. Never be afraid to establish a connection with someone. And lastly:
- If you’re even thinking of bringing your Diva Cup on vacation, just do it. At the very least it will save you a few pesos and twenty minutes of meditation. Namaste.