Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Some Like it Hot!

As I mentioned in my last blog, I am traveling with my hubby on a business trip in Michigan. Since he was here last week and knew I would be coming along this week, he spied out areas that he thought would be of interest to me. I think that was very thoughtful of him. He also made sure to get a hotel room that had a kitchen so that I could cook since he knows how important eating clean and healthy is for me.

Last night we visited the Sumits Yoga Studio so I could get a visitors pass. They were running a great introductory deal. $20 for two weeks unlimited classes!!!! Their regular rate is $16 per class for drop ins. Even though I only planned to attend two classes, the pass was a better deal. When I walked into the studio I was right away hit by a wall of heat. Yesterday was a warm day here in Michigan. Hot and sunny. But this hot was different, much different. The studio is heated for hot yoga classes. They teach different styles of yoga at different temperatures. The lowest heat a class is taught at is 99 degrees. I was wearing a pair of running shorts, flip flops, a sports bra and a tee shirt and knew I was overdressed for the heat in that room. So, the night before the class I was to attend I bought a couple things from their studio. They were skimpier than anything I ever workout in, but yoga practice is not about vanity and a heated 90 minute practice was not going to leave anyone looking like fitness model ready for a photo shoot. I was, however, looking forward to the beautiful yoga afterglow. That is a kind of beauty that no other workout can replicate.

Peak at my yoga clothes for this morning. This color does make me smile.

I made sure I drank plenty of water starting the night before the class. The morning of the class, this morning, I got up early, chopped up a gala apples, tossed in a handful of seeds and nuts, and three tablespoons of greek yogurt. I really wanted eggs this morning, but thought those might be difficult to keep down if I got nauseated by the heat.

I put on my new yoga outfit, put my hair up in a ponytail, slid on my flip flops and a sundress and headed to class early as I had agreed to do as a first timer to the class. I am glad I got there as early as I did. I was the first student there. I got to meet the instructor before anyone else got there. She set my mat up closest to the door so that I would get a burst of cooler air every now and then when the room got too hot and she would push the door open for just a minute.

As the time drew near for the class to start, the room really filled up! There had to be 20 - 25 people in the class. We each had our traditional yoga mat, with a yoga towel/mat over it to catch all the perspiration. So necessary, otherwise I would have slid right off the mat!

In yoga practice, you fix your eyes and your attention on you, your journey, your movement, your mat, your breath, your focus. This isn't a time to compare or size up or compete in any way. This is a journey of discovery, learning how your body moves and responds. Learning to celebrate your abilities and embrace your limitations. I have learned a lot in a single yoga session many times in my life.

Before class started, I noticed the other students as they came in. Some older, some younger, some taller, some shorter, some more fit, others not so much. Once class starts, all I notice is my body and how it moves. It is feeling strong, balanced, confident. It is leaner than it once was. I have more definition in my shoulders, those muscles aren't just shapely, they are strong as we lower down into chaturanga, push up into upward facing dog and press back into downward facing dog.

In the last 30 minutes of class, every inch of my body is so saturated with sweat that my arms and legs just glide into positions. For a moment the vision of a 'greased pig' crosses my mind. Not is a derogatory way. I just felt like I could slide like butter off the mat and slide into any position. The towel below me has puddles on it, it is saturated it has lost it's ability to absorb any more. We turn over onto our backs at the end of our flows and prepare for either bridge or wheel. I have not done wheel since I was in high school, before I even knew what it was called or what yoga was. I play it safe and go into bridge. Then the instructor (Carolyn) says "Explore if this might be the day to press yourself into wheel. Even if the crown of your head needs to stay in contact with your mat." Without a thought, I press my palms up by my ears and my hips up towards the ceiling. I straighten both my arms and my legs as I arch my back and walk my hands and heels in closer together. This could be a moment of tears. In my mind I hear myself say "look at YOU girl! you go! You just did something you didn't even know you could still do." This is my moment of discovery on the mat for this session. I am reminded AGAIN, to never underestimate myself.

Several times during the class, as we transitioned from a head down pose to a standing pose, I would have to take an extra pausing breath to give my blood pressure time to stabilize. Since I had such high blood pressure for such a long time, vaso restriction does not happen quickly for me. If I were to push my body to move without listening to this need for a pause, I could potentially pass out and with the room heat at 115 degrees that was a total possibility.

I love the class! I cannot wait to go back tomorrow and Friday!!!! It is kind of a good thing I don't live here, I would be yoga poor! LOL! I will be looking for similar experiences as I travel this summer and in my area. I had already made the commitment to myself that I would do yoga three times a week for the next two months. I am looking forward to exploring and learning through this time.

Sweaty Smiling Carolyns after 90 minutes of yoga bliss!!!!

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