Hot Yoga Session 19: Power of Positive Thinking

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!

Following one of the worst sessions ever (see Session 18), I decided to “double-up” on class today and took two sessions in a row. It wasn’t exactly planned, but the idea has in the back of my mind all week.

With a short 2-day trip to D.C. this weekend, I knew it would be difficult to meet my 30 days without falling behind on this commitment. And while this yoga thing is great, I’m not exactly enthusiastic about sacrificing time from my short vacation – which will be spent seeing friends, exhibits, and monuments in Washington DC – for the sake of meeting my ’30-days in a row’ goal.

So when my first practice today was filled with a multitude of distractions caused by neighboring yogis, I told myself I would at least consider taking a second class.

Normally this is a complete impossibility, totally unfathomable, and completely unreasonable to consider. People just don’t do that! Not regular people, anyway. And I am still very much a regular person. I have yet to consider a handstand is a realistic possibility. Balance on my hands with my feet just in the air.. with no one holding my feet?! No. I don’t do that.

In fact, I actively hold myself back. I tell myself I must first master the basics before I can go into anything that advanced. I don’t even give myself the option of considering it. I mean, sure, I’ll play around with the idea when the option is there, but it’s always – “later” or “today is not that day.”

But today was about reconciliation. That first practice wasn’t a “real” class because it was filled with bad juju and negative energy. And, besides, the second class is shorter.

So I gave it a try. I moved my mat to a different part of the room (a cooler part!), got myself a coconut water (electrolyte replacement is key here), and gave it a shot. I figured that even if I only did some of the moves, I could probably get through it, even if I couldn’t walk all weekend.

Molly & I with others in Namawanga, Kenya in 2007

My friend Molly happened to come to this class. As soon as I saw her it instantly elevated my mood. We chatted for a bit and I admitted how “crazy” I was for doing two classes in a row. When class started I began slowly, easing into each position. I made assumptions about how hard it would be. I warned myself that this could be a really bad idea. And I moved, each time, with no expectations. I was exploring, trying something new, and completely forgiving the limitations of my already sore muscles.

To my surprise, the class was actually not that hard. In fact, I really enjoyed it. I was able to bend deeper, to push myself farther, to really get into each pose far more than normal. Each time we moved into something that was challenging, I surprised myself with the ease in which I took it. And, by the end of class, I had reached total, complete bliss.

Photo from MLK Jr. Monument in Washington D.C.

So there you go. I guess it is possible to do nearly 3 hours of straight hot yoga and live to tell about it. And, even better, I have a renewed sense of possibility. Women in the career coaching business will tell you that women often discount themselves when they should be empowered. We assume we can’t make a big career move, can’t try out for the promotion, can’t go on that vacation, can’t have fun while we’re under deadline pressure. But the truth is, that the only person that is telling us that we can’t is ourselves.

And this is a good lesson to start thinking about what we can do. Explore possibilities. Try out something new. See what happens. It may not work out in your favor. Or it may be the best decision you ever made. You won’t know it until you try. And, that, my friends is what really counts in the end.

For more inspiration, read Tara Sophia Mohr’s 10 Rules for Brilliant Women.