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.