Friday, June 4, 2010
The 20th Day of 20 Days of Hot Yoga!
My 20 days of Bikram Hot Yoga are complete.
I did 20 sessions in 25 days and this is my 20th blog post.
The class this morning was great. Not nearly as hot as the class last night. When I was done, I felt totally normal. Not dizzy or light headed.
I am not even close to mastering anything about this yoga. I have a long way to go. I guess that's why I like it. Because it's not easy. Even after 20 sessions, I still can't balance through a pose for a whole minute. I'm not even close to being stretchy, but I'm more flexible than I was 20 days ago.
I am certainly stronger from top to toes. And I've lost some fat. Not lots, but I didn't have lots to lose to start with. I've lost about 5 pounds even though I've gained a lot of muscle.
Am I a changed person? Yes. I have a new experience of "calm" that allows me to be more present in my life. I get that the notion of "presence" is a "new age hippie" sort of thing, but think about it. How often are you suddenly brought out of your head and into the moment by a horn honking or a brightly colored flower? How much time do we spend on auto-pilot? Making coffee, taking a shower, going to work, blah, blah, blah.
It occurs to me as an absolute miracle that instead of just ignoring the cat when she meows good morning, I would choose to pick her up and pet her, feel her fur, put my ear on her back and listen to her purr. Just for a moment.
I'm not present all the time. I'm not sure we can be. But we can choose to break up the routine of our lives by paying attention to the details that make it beautiful daily. There is so much to notice. And yoga and the presence that it brings me is a vehicle to do that noticing. It makes my life more joyful. And that's a good thing. After all, as far as I know, we are only here once. I'm choosing to enjoy it.
And, breathing! I breath deeply more than I ever have. It feels good. Paying attention to your breath is another way to bring yourself into the present moment. Not really doing anything different, but just choosing to feel the air go in and out. Try it. If you really pay attention, you can feel the cool air go way down in your lungs.
I encourage you, if you haven't tried yoga, to give it a shot. Or, if you have tried it, I encourage you to try it again with the idea of the "long-term now" in mind. In other words, seeing your "practice" as something that serves and will serve you, both in the moment and for years to come. You don't even have to attend a class. There are great videos available. I've written about some of them in an earlier blog called "It Does a Body Good".
I have the short evening yoga routine on the Yogaworks Beginners AM/PM DVD memorized. I do it most nights right before bed. It takes maybe 10 or 12 minutes and I sleep really well. Even on nights when I have a big event or important meeting the next day. It was a huge revelation for me to discover that I could have some control over my quality of sleep. What a god-send!
Of course, attending a class is great. There are like-minded people there to meet. You can ask questions of the instructors and other students, and there is a group energy that is inspiring that just can't be generated at home. Unless you invite the neighbors over, of course. Now there's an idea. Neighborhood yoga parties. . .
If you want to try Bikram Yoga at the Seacliff studio, your first class is free. Tell them I inspired you and I get a free class, too.