Hot Yoga Session 1: Let’s see how this goes

This was originally posted on January 1, 2012 to document my 30 days of hot yoga. I was recently inspired to be more self-reflective after an entire season of illness (read more here and here). Doctor’s orders were simple: start taking care of yourself (again) or you’ll need surgery. Well, that’s all I needed to propel me into living a healthier, more personally sustainable life amidst balancing a busy career, volunteering, and a small baby.

Join me here, on Sundays, where I re-blog reflections from 30 days of hot yoga and hopefully inspire you to embrace change positively with passion and find opportunities for personal growth wherever you can find it.

Well that was different. In my first post I mentioned that there were two studios that I belonged to: one was easier and smelled nice and the other was much harder but the instruction was superior. I chose the hard one.

About the class

My first session was an intense 90-minute all-levels class. At the studio, sessions are either basics, all levels, or intermediate. Most all levels classes are 75 minutes in a 90+ degree room with 20 and 40 other people who look like they were born doing one-legged dogs and yoga handstands (see photo.. apparently people really are born doing yoga). Today, thankfully, the class was a handful of misfits (like me) that were exhausted, uncoordinated, mildly hungover, and painfully committed to making it through their first class of 2012- even if they mostly laid in child’s pose and were 3-moves behind in sun salutations. And we were.

On the Baptiste method

Born Yogis is a book about how babies are natural yogis

One of the things I like most about this studio is that, in addition to articulate, spot-on instruction, they have assistants that come around the room and gently guide you into the position you’re actually supposed to be in through a series of gentle hand movements on your respective parts. At first, this is awkward.. especially if you (like me) grew up in a family that never hugged. After several years of practice, however, my husband (Chris), his family, and a series of friends have  desensitized me to physical contact with others. And that, coupled with several years of occasionally assisted yoga, have not only made me comfortable with this concept, I welcome it. Except, of course, when I’m in the condition I was in today.

On the timing of a January 1st Hot Yoga Session

You may recall that January starts with a national holiday where the tradition is drink too much. Often we do this to compensate for the disappointment that nearly always comes from an unrealistic perception of how New Year’s Eve should be celebrated. When the night turns out to not meet those expectations, we compensate by eating, drinking, and dancing too much, usually waiting for the fun to start. It usually doesn’t. Knowing that I was planning to start the next day with an intense yoga session, however, I tempered my evening and paced myself.

Photo Courtesy of OhMyBikram Blog

But hot yoga isn’t just a workout – it’s a sweat out. And midway through class I smelled so profusely of liquor and fried food that I couldn’t stand myself (article on what your sweat taste says about your diet). Which certainly got me thinking of that saying “you are what you eat.” Apparently today I am a fried chicken finger and a stale cocktail. EW. And, of course, this class just happened to be assisted by a sweet older lady that had kind eyes and an encouraging smile. Every time the she came to assist my movements I was apprehensive – partially because I was starting to feel sick from dehydration and lack of sleep and partly because I was the smelly kid in class and I was confident she thought so too.

On pacing yourself

The class went on. I was able to keep up with class and pace myself without over-doing it. Pacing is important, because sports injuries – in the past – have been my only measure of level of effort. Knowing that I would be back tomorrow, and being kind to a tired, dreary body, allowed me to be kind to myself and keep expectations reasonable.

A real yogi would say that you should listen to how your body responds to where it is at that moment. A real yogi would also not view 30 as some sort of ultimate deadline for living a meaningful life. But I’m not a real yogi.. just a misfit working towards some goals I haven’t really been able to articulate yet. Maybe I’m more like a misfit in search of goals? We’ll see what tomorrow brings.