It is a passion of mine.
I'm a young "yogi", still practicing & not quite as much of a regular as I'd like to be, but still, I loved hot yoga from the get-go and it's become my thing.
I got to yoga class not only for my body, but for my mind, and my heart.
Some of my friends think I'm crazy for bending & twisting in a hot and moderately humid room for
90-minutes at a time, sweating like a cold glass on a hot Summer day.
Despite that, I've gotten about a dozen of them to at least try a class with me.
I've had a few of them get just as hooked, and a few others try and kill me mid-class with hateful death glances under sweat drenched eyelashes.
Mel has avoided my invite to hot yoga for some time now, but this Sunday, on a whim, I asked her and she agreed to go. Can't lie, I was a little shocked that she agreed.
Her reaction in the past when I've asked her is "no way, no how, I'm just not ready for that."
Fair enough. However in the last few months, she's lost about 30 lbs with her strict diet and she had been practicing mat Pilates. I made it to a few classes with her and knew that she could probably hang in the heat of the Sunday "Mellow Flow" class.
One of my favorite teachers, Krista, teaches this class.
It's the "coolest" of the classes, with the temperature sitting at just about 87* & it's one of the grooviest of the classes, 'cause well Krista is a perfect combination of Goldie Hawn and Ethel Mertz.
Krista is hugs, smiles, and words of humor that bring ease and levity to practice.
Sunday morning class is about soft candlelight, community, and calm.
It's Sunday Morning Mellow Flow.
Each yoga class always comes with a mantra for the practice.
Sunday's mantra was a list:
1: Love - immense love
Krista added the 4th: Happy
The instruction was to have all these things for ourselves and for our practice during our 90 minute class.
As we sat down, both of us sore and stiff from the long week, me hurting from walking/running a 5K the night before and having not slept in 3 days, I could barely lie in shavasana (corpse pose) without wincing.
I couldn't even lie like a dead body without hurting!!!
Mel leaned over and whispered to me that the last time she tried yoga, she got kicked out for falling over.
I just looked at her like, "mmmmm-kay, oh please..."
I said "No one in this room will even blink twice if you fall over."
Krista reinforced it right at the beginning of class, she said:
don't be afraid to fall
(go ahead, read into it, don't be afraid to fall, physically, emotionally, just go with it!)
Upon hearing that I looked over with a glance that said: "Psssssst, Mel, don't be afraid to fall!"
Shortly after that, Mel did.
It was a short fall and as she looked over at me with her eyes enlarged like she had just committed a crime, I just smiled back like "atta girl, can't fall if you don't even try in the first place."
So we got into class, up dog, down dog, cobra, pigeon, lizard, child's pose...
We did something that doesn't have a name - it was: bend over, grab the backs of your ankles or your shins, let your head hang down heavy, and walk in a circle.
Yeah, picture twenty spandex clad, sweaty women laughing their asses off doing that.
Go ahead, pause reading this post for a second and do it yourself. I dare you!
There was also some kind of other twist, I don't know the name of it - it was a sideways bend with one arm snaked through your leg, the other arm looped over your back, grabbing for your hands to connect and hold on, & then finally turning your head up and look at the ceiling.
I did it the best I could, not quite with my hands touching, but close enough and I looked up at the ceiling.
It only took about three seconds before sweat rolled into my nostril and it was like when you suck water into your nose at the pool and you think you're gonna drown.
I thought I was gonna drown.
THERE IS NO DROWING IN HOT YOGA!!
Mel - she kept up with all of it, modified what she didn't know or couldn't get right away, but she kept up thoroughout, with the young yogis the old yogis, she did soo good for all 90 minutes without stopping!
As we laid in our last shavasana, Krista's voice floated over the soft music playing, reminding us to:
watch your breath
soften your thoughts
know that you're safe, "Mother Earth" is holding you
(I interpretted my own spiritual meaning).
Our final moments on the mat, we sat silently, legs crossed, hands to heart center, heads bowed:
bowed to ourselves, our practice, to dedicating our time spent to someone close to us:
I thought of all the people close to me and I prayed.
I prayed like I was an auctioneer. Just as fast as I could think of a name, I said a short prayer.
At the end of class, after the music was of and we were moving around, I looked at Mel, looking to see if she was going to need an IV or maybe a foam bat to hit me with but she needed neither.
She looked a little bit surprised that she made it through class, saying she had never sweat so much in her life but she liked it and even though she fell, she made it through the class like a champ.
Krista agreed. There were hugs. Sweaty hugs.
Mel kickin' some beginners hot yoga butt, made me think of one of my favorite sayings: