I took up yoga a little less than two years ago. I’d dabbled here or there, but seriously started my practice after discovering you could do yoga at 104 degrees. Some people might consider subjecting yourself to stifling heat as a tortuous affair, but for me? For me it’s bliss. I love the heat. Maybe the sensation of being warm and floating in liquid (read drenched in sweat) is reminiscent of the womb. Maybe I’ve got issues. Maybe.
Some people practice for spiritual reasons. Some for fitness. Some because it’s trendy. I do it for all of the above and because I’m a control freak. I can control my practice even if I can’t control anything else in my life. But mainly, I practice because yoga is a time to block out all the other noise and focus on building strength. Mental and physical strength.
Hot yoga isn’t easy. Sometimes it gets so hot I can barely breathe. Contorting my body backwards and forwards, I get nauseous. Some days I can’t make it all the way through and need to take a timeout in child’s pose for a few minutes – some days for the rest of class. The more I practice, the harder it gets and the harder I push myself. Some days I feel like I’m never going to be capable of splits and headstands and balancing only on an elbow — but then, there are days when I do this:
On these days, I feel I’m only beginning to learn what I’m capable of. I’ve been trying to master Crow for over a year. I thought it was a lost cause. I attended a special Crow University class – a whole hour dedicated to practicing Crow – and I couldn’t get into it for more than a fraction of a second. Maybe three weeks ago I finally managed to hold it for a second or two. Now, I can hold maybe 5-10 seconds. That’s exponential improvement right there.
I’m far from mastering, so far I’ve only managed. I won’t be satisfied until I can hold it the full minute, and I’m not even doing it entirely right yet, but that’s not the point. This was a lesson in not giving up. This was about discovering I can be strong. This was a lesson in the power of commitment and that the things we are most proud of don’t come easy, but instead take time and practice. These are lessons I can apply in every aspect of my life, and I see them illustrated in my practice. Not online, not in a book, not because my mom or best friend or sister said it was possible – but because I lived it. I did it.