Hot Yoga Experience…Part II

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.

Tips for Creating New Workout Habits

Forming any new habit can be hard to stick to. The first week you may be revved up and hitting all your goals but shortly after this you may find yourself hitting a wall. The motivation wears out its welcome and find yourself going back to your old ways.

Forming any new habit can be hard to stick to. The first week you may be revved up and hitting all your goals but shortly after this you may find yourself hitting a wall.  The motivation wears out its welcome and find yourself going back to your old ways.

This seems especially true when it comes to working out.

Working out can be one of the top activities where you can find an excuse to get out of it. The excuses of not having enough time, not feeling like it, having an injury or headache, and so on. The only real reason why these excuses are coming up is because you allow it. If you really want to form a new habit you have to ignore the excuses in your head and just do it. (Just like the tennis shoe!)

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In order to create a new habit of working out, here are some suggestions that hopefully will help you out.

Tips for Creating a Lasting Habit

The first thing is to get real with yourself and set realistic goals that you know you can do. You don’t want to set your goal so high that it’s impossible to reach. It’s not fun and motivating to not reach a goal. Instead, make it a goal you know you will be able to easily handle.

In other words, if you haven’t been to the gym in over a year, what makes you think you can realistically show up there 5 days a week? Take it down a notch! Try to do about 3 times a week and if you show up on more days, then considered it a bonus and reward yourself for the bonus days! Shit, set your goal for 2 days but go 3 days and really reward yourself for doing that 3rd day!

Don’t do this on your first day back at the gym!

Which, this is a great transition to get to the fun part of setting up new habits. The rewards!

Our brains are wired to repeat actions that bring us pleasure and to avoid actions that we don’t necessary like to do.  That’s how every single human on this planet behaves. There’s no denying it, there’s no changing it. This is just how we are. So for that reason you need to find out what you can do to trick your brain into thinking that working out is a pleasurable experience.

In order to do this….you need to reward yourself. And don’t be stingy about it! In the beginning plan a reward for yourself  for every week you accomplish your work out goals.

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Some people like to create a calendar and mark off the days they did their workouts, with fun stickers. This allows you to visually track you getting closer to your goals and it makes them happy to see it. Once the week is over, now give yourself the reward.

Types of Rewards

This is the most important factor make your reward a non-food related item. And as the weeks keep growing, make the reward better.

So for example, for the first week reward yourself with a manicure or pedicure. Or hell, even just buy a new nail polish color that you love. The second week, reward yourself with a new water bottle or cup. Third week, get a new workout shirt. And the fourth week, treat yourself to a massage! I mean, if you did a month straight, that’s amazing!!! Reward yourself and keep it coming!

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After this first month, start it all over again for the next month. Over time, going to the gym and working out will become easier to do and at some point it will just become a habit. You’ll no longer think of excuses but instead find yourself easily heading to the gym, without much thought about it.

Make Your New Habit Fun

It’s also a good idea to do exercises that you love to do. Make it as pleasurable as you can. So, join a Zumba class if that makes you happy. Or a boxing class. Or walk on the treadmill if that’s your thing! In the beginning as your growing the habit, don’t worry about following a routine or doing a work out you “think” you should be doing. Instead do workouts that bring you the most joy and then reward yourself for it!

Can You Tell Whether a Person is Healthy or Not?

A lot of people assume that thinner and muscular people are on the top level of absolute health. But that’s not always accurate. People with what you may consider to have perfect bodies are not always the healthiest. In fact, skinny people can be just as unhealthy as overweight people.

When you hear the word, “healthy person” what do you picture?

A bodybuilder?

A perfectly fit person exercising at the gym barely breaking a sweat?

Anyone who you consider to be “skinny”?

fitness power man person
Is this bodybuilder really healthy? Or is he hopped up on the roids?! We don’t know…

A lot of people assume that thinner and muscular people are on the top level of absolute health. But that’s not always accurate. People with what you may consider to have perfect bodies are not always the healthiest. In fact, skinny people can be just as unhealthy as overweight people.

Therefore, your size and weight doesn’t matter. I’ll say it again. Your size and weight doesn’t matter.

woman holding white laptop between women
Your size and weight do not matter

If you survive on an unhealthy diet and don’t move around much….you’re going to become unhealthy, if you’re not already.

Those who exercise and eat healthy on a regular basis are likely going to be physically healthier than the rest.

So the first step to become healthy is to eat healthy foods and to get up and move around.

I know, it sounds easier said than done.  I completely understand.

But the hard core truth is that if you want to become healthier than that’s what needs to be done.

two woman doing exercise
Be the healthiest version of yourself that you can be

So next time you feel like playing the game of who’s healthy and who’s not…take a look at how often that person moves and what it is that they are eating. Those are the real qualities to look for whether a person is healthy or not.