I am not sure if you have ever tried hot yoga, or ever even wanted to. But its not for the faint of heart. I’ve been wanting to write about it for a while, but have struggled to verbalize what it fully means and can offer.
“Yoga is the journey to the self, through the self, to the self.” -the Bhagavad Gita.
My instructor recently explained it this way.
Imagine you have a big bowl of water in your house. Every morning you add a drop of blue food colouring to it. You continue on like this for several months, one drop a day. Then you look at the owl, its still water, but maybe it has a slight blue hue in the right light. Every day, until a year hits, you add another drop of blue food colouring. You look at the bowl again. The water has now turned blue.
This is what your yoga practice is like. Every day you show up. Every day, you make small changes, adjustments or intentions that build on each other and grow you. When I started hot yoga, I was definatly on a journey. I’d had so many losses in my life, I was struggling to know my true self. Cory seemed lost in the midst of much grief.
In her book Daring Greatly, Brene Brown calls it “showing up”. She describes the three elements that are required to truly know the self and to share the self. Courage. Compassion. Connection. Every day I practiced, was simply an opportunity for me to offer who I was at that particular moment. It takes courage to face me, to face a new practice, to face all the emotions and thoughts that come up. It takes compassion to accept who I am on any given day and to not assign labels or categorize as good or bad. And it takes connection to share space with every one in the room, offering a calm presence and energizing breath.
Perhaps the most profound aspect of hot yoga is that no matter how I present to the class, how difficult it may seem, what thoughts or emotions run through me…
I can always change my attitude and my behaviour.
Lets repeat that again. I, meaning Cory, can always change my attitude and my behaviour. Woah. wait. What?!? This means that no matter what the circumstances are, who said what to me, and how I am feeling, I have the power to change my situation, one thought at a time. This is huge. I mean. I have gone through some crazy times. Some hopeless, hurtful and very painfull times. Sometimes I have wondered where all nice people are at. Or why does my body hate me. Or what am I supposed to do with this situation? How am I supposed to move forward when it seems like all my decisions are made for me?
I have a tendency to be all or nothing. In or out. I tend to judge all my feelings and situations as either good and bad. Something I have recently been working on is not judging, or assigning a category but simply experiencing and being aware.
“Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day.” Sara Lazar PH.D
Staying in that very humid room, with the heat bearing down on me, many times I have gotten angry, or teary or felt my mind crying out in frustration that I want to go. Instead of fleeing and giving in to the thoughts, I breath. I say to myself it will be ok. And I practice being present and being aware of the thoughts and emotions and offering space and time before judging them or accepting them as truth.
“so every time you have an energy that needs to be transformed, like jealousy or fear, do something to care for this energy, for this negative energy. If you do not want this energy to destroy you. Touch the seed of mindfulness…” Thich Nhat Hanh
Sometimes I can be really quick to believe everything I think, hear from others or experience. TO further the track of being mindful, and changing thoughts and behaviours, this article from Marc and Angel HackLife, challenges some of my common misconceptions. I suggest you read it to and see if any of these beliefs have a foothold in your life. 15 Powerful Beliefs to Free you from Negativity
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