As planned, I attended my second hot yoga class of the week last night. Again, happy to report that I am not suffering any ill effects of frequent practice. I was concerned that I would be overstretching, but no, in fact I feel fabulous. My back, which has been crunched up all week into a ridiculous mess of knots, is starting to loosen up as of yesterday. Today I feel pretty good. It’s not crunching at all.
Class last night was with a different instructor that I normally see. Cheryl is a pixie of a lady with tattoos all over and a sassy attitude. She is definitely different than my beloved Sandra, who reminds me not to judge and to send the rays of my heart forward. When I practiced at this studio before, I would alternate between the two. I like Cheryl because she makes physical corrections to poses and is a stickler for alignment. I welcome her appearing out of nowhere when I am in a pose to poke at my back, move my heel, or gently encourage me to twist even further than I thought was physically possible. It’s a Type A dream.
Anyway, when I arrived at class last night, Cheryl had decided that we would all face our mats into the center of the room, rather than facing the mirrors. She decided that this would be good for us to stop looking at ourselves in the mirror. Only problem is that we were now facing each other. It truly forced us all to focus on something besides a face. I picked a guy’s tattooed shoulder to focus on across from me.
The room was amazingly hot (such a relief after being in the cold all day in my office) and I decided that I REALLY needed to wash my Yoga Toes mat towel. I’ve been slacking on that and of course, as soon as I walked in the room, set up, and sat, I started to think about laundry. But I digress.
We chanted and set our intentions, then got straight to it. Cheryl is a flow instructor and you really have to pay attention to what she is saying. We did several down dogs, planks, back and forth- which was a good warmup from the normal sun salutations. Then, things started to get pretty sweaty. Thankful for my new yellow headband, I followed along and surprised myself by some good hip loosening. My left hip is still really tight in some poses. I’m sure time will fix that, but I tell you what- it REALLY hurt in some of the triangle poses when I creased or leaned forward. I would stop, rub my hip, and reset. I was determined.
Then, shit got real. She started doing some binding poses with balance options at the end. I love a good binding pose, but those balancing poses are still in my ‘Uhhhh, are you sure about that” status. I started going into the pose, when listened while she explained how to do the bind. I went into the bind with ease. Then, she said, step forward on your leg. I just sat there. I literally thought, there is no way in hell I can do this. I’m not strong enough. I’m too accident prone. This woman has so many tattoos, the ink is seeping into her brain and we get the resulting crazy.
As I sat/squatted/hovered in my bind, she lurked up behind me and whispered, “stop thinking about it, for crying out loud!”. I blinked. She stood in front of me and said, stop. thinking. just. do.
So I did. I stopped. I whispered, I trust you. And I very, very, very slowly picked one leg up and shifted my weight. I started back down, and she appeared again. Stop thinking about it and stay there. Okay, okay. I leaned forward, picked my little toes up and hovered, sweating, binded up with my arms all over, shoulders pulling my chest open to the sky, and waited. I didn’t fall. I just hovered, foot low to the ground. I stopped thinking about it, for crying out loud. I got over myself and just did it. Granted, I wasn’t spectacular like the shoulder tattoo guy across from me who had somehow figured out how to grab his big toe during this whole pretzel fest and was doing something I had never seen before, but I was doing it. Doing something. Doing more.
As we ended the class, Cheryl led us in a final chant and at the end, exclaimed “jaya!”. That means victory in Sanskrit. And at that moment, I felt victorious. Victory, indeed.