I spent an hour last night in a 90 degree room, sweat pouring down my face and arms, into my eyes and ears. Hot yoga is a strange obsession but it’s mine.
The instructor was a youngish girl, with muscular legs and an old-timey mermaid tattoo on the small of her back. She gave us all a pep talk at the beginning of class, and it reminded me why I love this practice.
Two statements, One question:
We get what we deserve in life.
Successful people believe they deserve success.
Are we doing everything we can to get those things we deserve?
I know her words were primarily to motivate us during the 923759 vinyasas and low boat poses she had us do – because yes, we deserve those six-pack abs! yes, we deserve that amazing body!
But for me, it was a reminder to push. To find my edge and go beyond it. Because while everyone’s version of success may be different, we’re all entitled to it.
We just have to work for it.
(Video: Briohny Smyth and this video will forever be my yoga inspiration)
Savasana, or corpse pose, is the final resting pose in just about any yoga class. The yogis will tell you that it’s a time for your body to integrate and absorb everything you’ve just practiced. You let go of the breath you’ve tried to control during the class, and focus instead on mind control.
During savasana, you practice mindfulness. Being mindful of everything you’re experiencing through your five senses. Being fully present and focused on the moment as its happening. When you’re being mindful it’s harder to think ahead to what you will be dashing off to in the next five minutes. The dinner that needs to be cooked. The fight with your mom. The work to be done.
Mindfulness is hard.
I once read that the fastest way to get someone to imagine a red polar bear riding a bicycle is to tell them not to imagine a red polar bear riding a bicycle. I think the same thing happens when the willowy yoga instructor (they’re all willowy, though, aren’t they?) tells the class to clear our minds.
I take a deep inhale in and every good and bad thought rushes in. Some days I find God lying there on my mat and other days I have only unanswered questions. Most days, my mind wanders and tumbles down ten different rabbit holes.
A few days ago I had a new instructor. She told us to focus on the rise and fall of our bellies as we lied there in dead man’s pose. I felt the skin and muscles stretch and relax to accommodate my breaths, and I melted into this quiet place inside of me I hadn’t revisited in a long time.
Sometimes our anxious minds need a break from ourselves.
Namaste and happy Friyay.
(Photo: via the great gemma carroll)