Hot Yoga Session 14: Every Day is Different

This post is part of my January 2012 30 Days of Hot Yoga series. This month I’m taking on a personal challenge to complete 30 sessions of hot yoga at Baptiste Studios in 30 days in celebration of my 30th birthday. Wish me luck!

After 14 days I can say with confidence that every practice, every pose, is different. While there is routine to each day, I’m consistently surprised by the ease – or difficulty – when we move into new poses. Today, I had several surprises.

First, I couldn’t seem to get into downward dog. I could hold the pose and make corrections, but my ligaments were stiff and unforgiving. The only way I could achieve the correct posture in my back was to bend my knees.. something that I have never had to do before. This got me thinking that I might be pushing too hard. I felt awkward and out of sync. Maybe I needed to take it easy.

But when we moved into tree, I was surprised by the challenge. It was difficult to balance and focus on something that is normally easy. When I tried to look up in half moon, I fell over (thankfully not on my neighbor!). I couldn’t seem to spinal twist in chair or twisting triangle.

Normally this would be frustrating, but there were other moments of complete and utter harmony. My sun salutations were brilliant. I practiced getting up into handstand (though I think this is a long-term commitment). And I was able to set up for 4 wheel poses, though not the most eloquent versions I have ever done.

But then we went into crow pose. Now, generally when we go to this pose a few things cross my mind. First I hear the instruction I received sometime last year during a small class: start in squat, bend elbows, downward dog hands, knees in armpits, rock forward. I breathe. Then I hear our teacher say “trust yourself.” And I know that I already have the skill and strength to hold this pose, but what I lack is the confidence in myself to hold it. The confidence to trust that I will not fall forward and break my teeth.

Crane or Crow Pose, courtesy of TheGreenYogiMB

So the last thought I have is – I’ll give it a try. Just see what happens. And today, it happened. It really really happened. I held the pose, I trusted myself, and I stayed up there. I even considered how I could grow more – could I straighten my legs? maybe move into a headstand? I held it long enough to point my toes, breathe, and smile. I was radiant.

Each day, each practice, each pose offers possibility. Sometimes we surprise ourselves with grace. Sometimes we face challenges in the routine. Today I experienced both and I’m grateful for it.