As I slipped my sandals back on and walked out into the chilly November air to my car I felt the most relaxed, I’ve ever felt. The bun on the top of my head had toppled over to the left side and that strands of hair where sticking out everywhere.
But I didn’t care.
I walked slowly, like a zombie, because I didn’t want to move too fast and not feel this sense of calm anymore. I sat in my car for a few minutes, unable to move. I needed to soak in it a little more.
Sitting there, I literally had no thoughts. My brain had finally calmed down and for the first time, was completely silent.
I didn’t have to actively focus on my breath or remind myself to not think. I was just, calm.
“What happened to you?” my boyfriend asked I walked through the front door with my disheveled hair.
“I’m chill” I replied as I breezed on by him.
For the reminder of the day, I stayed relaxed, but it was wearing off as time went by.
Once I realized this, I picked up my phone and looked for the next available hot yoga session.
For me, I’ve discovered that since hot yoga makes me feel so good, it’s important that I schedule it into my routine. During this hard time I’m facing, it’s important that I make healthy decisions on how to stay mentally and physically strong during this period. And hot yoga is just the thing I need.
With my bare feet I took my first step onto the wooden floor. The smell of moist cedar and a warm humid air filled my lungs surrounding my body.
The room was dimly lit with white led candles flickering along the walls of the room. The instructor’s mat was in the front center of the class.
Other students were spread out along their mats to the left and right of the room, leaving one big open gap right in the middle. As I unrolled my mat into this empty space in the middle of the room I found myself to be glad that at least I made it in time.
I sat cross legged on my mat and began to do some neck stretches and focusing on my breath. I was here.
And there was nothing left for me to think about.
I felt my shoulders relax the more breathes I took.
I reminded myself to drop the ego and enjoy this.
The universe was telling me to be here…and for the first time since walking in through that door, I finally felt calm.
The class started. Calming music played while we slowly moved and held our different poses. The instructor walked amidst the students with reassuring affirmations that we were “beautiful and strong”.
“Surrender to the pose.”
“Just let it go and breathe.”
“Holding the pose and being still is just as important as the movement.”
Throughout my time in class I didn’t once feel like I was about to “die” from the heat.
Honestly, there were times I felt uncomfortable but then other times I felt comforted by it. Like a warm blanket in the middle of the night switching between hot and cold.
And when it was uncomfortable, it still wasn’t unbearable. In fact, it was a good challenge.
I found this yoga practice to be a metaphor for everything I’m going through and for life in general.
There are easy and challenging poses. During the more challenging and intense poses, a part of me wanted to give up and fall back into the beginning pose. Like, when you’re having a rough day and you really want to just go crawl in bed and let the day pass you by.
But I toughed it out and stayed with the pose. Thanks to the helpful guiding words of the instructor I was able to quiet the mind and breathe through it. The more I relaxed and let go, the more I would find myself being able to go deeper into the stretch.
It’s a testament for how strong you really are, physically and mentally.
It was a beautiful experience.
Another turning point was when I was standing in a side bend. My right leg was bent and was holding the majority of my body weight.
I could feel the strength in me.
I felt my right foot firmly planted on the warm ground. And as the instructor said, “the earth is here to always hold you. No matter what, she always has you.” I felt for the first time, that I was grounded. I got it. I got what it meant to actually feel grounded. I breathed it out and finally let go.
The class ended in shavasana pose, where you lie on the ground with your palm facing up for a few minutes.
The instructor came to each of us separately and put a cool wet washcloth along our necks and then over our eyes. “You’re strong and you’re beautiful. Welcome back.” He whispered in my ear.
While I have good moments and tough moments all within a day, I’ve relied heavily on just trusting my instincts and focusing on my breaths at moments of frustration. But, a few weeks ago I discovered a healthy outlet that is so beneficial if you’re going through some hard times.
Here’s the first part out of three, of my story about Hot Yoga…
On a cloudy Sunday morning I was at home, in my office, sitting crosslegged on the floor. Earbuds in, listening to a 45 minute guided meditation about how to connect with my spirit guides.
I felt like I was completely hypnotized. My imagination ran wild and I envisioned three spirit guides plus a coyote.
Okay, I know that this might make me sound crazy. Trust me, a few years ago I would’ve thought this would be all nonsense or a really active imagination.
But after months of practicing mediation I hit this weird place where I could feel myself going deeper and not overthinking things. So, when this happened, (even though I know it might sounds crazy,) I decided e to accept it and take it for what I feel it was.
When I came out of the mediation, I immediately had one of the strongest urges to go to a hot yoga class.
Hot yoga is something that I’ve always heard of, always wanted to try…but was always hesitant about.
I would hear people say, “It feels like you’re going to DIE! But then afterwards….you’ll love it!”
The part, “feels like you’re going to DIE” is the part that made me hesitate to commit to a class. I didn’t want to be that sweaty girl who ran out of the class because I couldn’t handle the heat.
Years before, I had been to a few yoga classes. I know, it’s a chill environment but I’ve never been in a situation where I would feel like I would die.
So, I’ve always been curious…but honestly never felt I would actually do it….until this day.
As I was still sitting on the floor of my office, and the urge to go to hot yoga entered my brain. The vision of the road side sign of “$5 Yoga Class! Sunday Morning!” popped into my head. I saw this sign about 2 weeks ago, as we were leaving the neighborhood pizza joint.
“It was nearby…maybe they still have that $5 class going on!” I thought as I picked up my phone to google it.
Cooper Moon Yoga Studio appeared in the search results. I clicked on it, went to the calendar and the $5 class was over.
But… low and behold a hot yoga class was starting in 20 minutes!
I didn’t give myself time to talk my way out of it. I didn’t care about the price, I didn’t care about what it would be like. Instead, I just cared on making the class on time.
I frantically dug around my dresser drawers for workout clothes to put on. I grabbed my old and worn orange yoga mat from my office, slipped on my sandals and went out the door.
5 minutes later, I was in the parking lot, with my car idling. My anxiety was beginning to rise to the surface. My heart was loudly pounding, vibrating throughout my chest and beating in my ears.
I had 10 minutes. So I decided to spend one of those minutes calming my body down.
I relaxed my shoulders and breathed.
In and out.
I tried to not think about anything other than the feeling in my chest and making it slow down. After the minute, I was still felt anxious…but not as bad as before.
“Don’t think about it. Just do it.” I thought to myself as I pulled myself up out of my car. “Just breathe and relax” I thought again as I walked towards the front door of Cooper Moon Yoga Studio.
You know you might have a huge anxiety problem, when you have to calm yourself down to walk into a yoga studio, right?
Behind the counter,stood a smiling woman and a smooth skinned square jawline man, who looked like he was the yoga instructor. After pleasant greetings, I found myself admittedly blurting out, “I haven’t been to a yoga in years!”
They welcomed me back and Tina, the woman behind the cash register (who I would later find out was the owner) gave me a towel and explained to cover my mat with it, so I don’t slide from the sweat dripping.
And with that, I put my shoes up on the shelf next to the yoga room, slid open the heavy wooden door to the hot room and stepped in.
Since the introduction of smart phones and social media the desire to be perfect has increased in our culture. While it’s a positive to set goals and aim high, it can turn negative if you begin to feel contradictory emotions while on the journey to achieve the end goal.
It boils down to adaptability and positive self-talk.
For example, if a non-perfectionist makes a mistake, they
can feel let down but also recognize that mistakes are normal and are willing
to use it as a learning tool. In other words, they do not self-depreciate themselves
when a mistake is made.
On the other side, a perfectionist will feel like a failure and frustrated by a mistake. Or they may be so scared to actually make a mistake that don’t even take action. This causes this type of person to become vulnerable to mental conditions such as depression, anxiety, frustration and other negative disorders.
Signs of Perfectionist
Fearing you’ll be judged for imperfections
Unwilling to make mistakes
Lack of self-care, due to overworking
Actions resulting in bad quality of life.
Break big goals into smaller goals
Start with a small goal such as, organizing your closet. Instead of giving it 100% do it at about 80% and experiment with accepting it.
Be kind to yourself.
Seek professional help
So remember, it’s not perfect to be perfect. We all make mistakes which are necessary for learning and growing. Life’s a journey and while you cannot control obstacles in your path you can choose how to handle them.
Do you want to handle your thoughts poorly or do want to
handle them positively?