Ahhh- Hot Yoga!
I remember the first time I practiced Hot Yoga (aka Bikram Yoga) I entered the room- excited to stretch my body in a different way, thinking "I got this" - as I typically practice yoga at least once a week. Being that it wasn't vigorous I figured it would be easy- well, it's not as it seems.
** Disclaimer: Hot Yoga is very very different than regular yoga, as it is comprised of a set of 26 yoga poses, each which is performed twice in a single 90 minute class, but the kicker is... the room in which you are practicing is moisture-filleds and set to105 degrees.
A 60 year old, petite, irish women in stellar shape greeted the class and introduced herself as the yoga instructor- she stated to the class, in her irish brogue, that the real challenge of the class will be just to stay in the room. She said that we will go through all of the posturers, but to stay present and simply stay in the room will be the real challenge. This stood out for me because at the time I had no clue of what she could possibly be talking about.. "of course I am going to stay in the room" I thought-"why ever would I want to leave". And then we began....
I felt the first beads of sweat form within the first ten minutes- not too bad- umm- did I mention that the first 10 minutes are just spent doing pranayama breathing??? So yep- at this point I am only breathing and I can feel the sweat start to trickle down my forehead.
20 minutes into class- My tye-dye tank top is sticking to my skin- "I. need. to. take. it. off. now!!!!" I made no qualms about it and promptly remove my tank top reveling my wet sports bra- I am now looking enviously at the men in the class because they get to be topless- so not fair.
30 minutes into class- I am glistening! I can now feel my heart thump in my chest and I am now officially sweating in places that I didn't even know existed, let alone, that i didn't know are possible to sweat from. Seriously- did you know that you could sweat from your eye balls?!?
45 minutes into class- It happens. I am now fighting with myself to stay in the room. Almost every part of my being wants to get off my mat and leave that 105 degree room- get air, cool down, anything to relieve how I am feeling at the moment. And then I realize- I am totally in the moment - fighting with myself to stay present and in the room- ahhh- this is what she was talking about. The next 15 minutes is a mental struggle, all I can think about is how nice it would be to leave the room. I could easily convince myself, as well as, justify stepping out, but deep down I knew I wasn't going to die or pass out- that it this feeling was only temporary, I can get past it. So as my mind and body fought over what I should do- I decided to stay.
I think life is a lot like that. We enter situations thinking they are going to be one way and often we find they are another. Then you realize that the real challenge is just to stay present -in the moment- to let yourself simply acknowledge how you are feeling and accept it. That at certain times it may seem difficult to stay in the room, you may even want run away, but you stay... because you know on the other side you might just find something worthwhile ~ that the reward is so much bigger.
P.S. Every time I go to Hot Yoga- it's always a different experience which is why I love it so much- some days I find it less complicated than others. You never quite feel like you conquer it, no matter how many times you practice it, but the best part by far, for me is stepping in a cold shower right after- my hot body just melts under the water, my mind is so clear and I feel so relaxed and pure and accomplished - that's the part that is truely addicting -that is what keeps me coming back .
It just feels so good.