I do this thing called Hot Yoga. Classic hot yoga consists of a series of 26 poses done in a room that is heated to about 105 degrees fahrenheit. It’s pretty brutal, I’m not gonna lie. I used to do it on a regular basis, but as it goes with life, things got busy, and I gradually stopped going. Back in August, I was doing some rearranging around my house, unpacking some books and putting up shelves. I did some heavy lifting, and in the process I did something to my neck. For months, I have not been able to turn my neck without pain. It would consistently wake me up in the middle of the night. Every time I would roll onto my back, I would awaken to a sharp pain in my neck. After 5 months of pain, I finally decided to go to a chiropractor. Thanks to an ad on Facebook of all places, I stumbled upon a good one, and the relief in just a week has been so wonderful.
As I started to get my neck taken care of, I thought it would be a good time to start going back to yoga as well. Yoga has so many benefits. It can help with sleep, digestion, boost your metabolism, increase flexibility, decrease stress…I could go on and on about the benefits. So I got my mat, my water bottle and my towel and headed out. I think going to Hot Yoga for the first time after over a year is somewhat akin to forgetting the pain of childbirth after a few years. If you remembered how painful it was, you would never do it again,. As I lay in that hot, hot room, I questioned my sanity. “Why am I voluntarily putting myself through this? It’s so bloody hot! I mean, I’m sweating just laying here waiting for class to start!” The class is divided into a 2 parts; a standing series and a floor series. I made it through the first couple of standing poses, and then started getting that fuzzy feeling you get when you feel like you are going to pass out. “I’ll just sit this next pose out”, I told myself, and slowly lowered myself down on my mat. Then I decided I would alternate and do one pose and sit one out. This last maybe 3 more poses. It didn’t take long before I was reduced to laying on my mat and my one and only goal became, “Just stay in the room”. It was a game of mental gymnastics at that point. Other people were leaving to get water or take a breather, and I wanted to call out, “Wait! Take me with you!” But I stayed in the room. When the others would leave, I would get a nice gust of breeze from the door opening and closing. “Oh sweet, sweet air! How I love thee. Let me count the ways.”
I started to do some negative self talk as I lay there on my mat. “I’ve been doing yoga off and on for years. I should be able to do this no sweat.” (See what I did there?) I was frustrated because I wanted to be doing the poses that I knew my body could do, and I was reduced to laying there staring at the ceiling. I stgarted to have a bit of a pity party as I thought, “This is just another thing I’m not doing right in my life.” Then that still, small voice said quietly, “Give yourself some Grace.” This is how life is. There are situations that feel brutal; when it feels like I’m being bombarded by all sorts of hot heat from all sides, and I’m reduced to just laying down and trusting God that He will not let me die. I have to just be still and stay in the room and count that as a victory. Other people may get to leave the room sooner than I do because they are on their own journey. We can reap the benefits of walking alongside each other though. We can give each other bursts of fresh, rejuvenating air when we need it most. I don’t think I mentioned the mental benefits of Hot Yoga, but yeah, it’s all about that too.