Although I’ve been practising hatha yoga for a few years, my relationship just got serious.
I’ve committed to one month of unlimited hot yoga. I’ve already started sweating just thinking about the commitment this represents (and potential wasted dollars if I don’t follow through). Pressure cooker!
In order to take full advantage of this membership, I’ve decided to pre-register to a few classes this week. There’s nothing like putting something in your schedule in order to carve out time to get it done. I’m also writing about it because, well, if you put it out there, people will ask you. I’ve decided that when it comes to my physical health, just as with other aspects of my well-being, it’s time to take mindful action.
For some, a team sport would be the best choice for exercise and present awareness. For an introvert like me, yoga is the best group-activity-that-does-not-require-socializing-or-competition. Essentially, it meets my needs for stillness, body awareness and self-care. My other discipline, dance, fulfills a completely different emotional and social need. Right now, my life needs a bit of dance and a LOT of yoga.
My first experience with hot room was an adaptation. The room was full of alone-together people. In that regard, I fit right in! The heat was another story. As I lay in savasana, waiting for my quirky zen instructor (picture a hipster buddha with a kind smile and a laughing voice), I felt my face tingle as though I was on the beach. Except the beach was less like warm sand and a lot like my hard, damp bathroom floor. I was sweating. It was going to be a long class. It turned out the pace of yin suited me perfectly. It’s a good thing because all my focus was on regulating my body temperature and listening to my body, in order to ensure I was not overdoing it.
Another observation was that I was the curviest person there and my dance fit days were a distant memory. I could compare myself or I could turn my gaze inward. I chose to be there for myself and leave judgment. What? I couldn’t bend this way anymore? Hmm. Oh wait, what is happening? I was learning about my today-limits. I was leaning about my today-best. I was learning to relax into poses in a way that was different from other yin classes. I learned to recenter myself and take the inventory of my own journey.
I’ve heard so much about the benefits of hot yoga, but I think that with any physical activity, fitness or meditation, personal experience is the surest way to *knowing* yourself. You may think about an experience, you may have read the figures and studies, but what is it like for you? Present awareness is key.
I’ll be posting updates on my journey, as I learn about my body and about the practice.
How will you challenge your mind-body-heart? What will you commit to for your well-being?