I had a really hard time with motivation this morning. I could barely make it out of bed. I put my snooze on the alarm 3 times, just to be able to stay in bed half an hour longer. I tried to feel if maybe I was getting ill, sort of trying an excuse not to go to Yoga. Ok, my alarm was at 5:30 but still. I really had that morning demon in me with a 50% chance of going or not. I even went so far that I went on the studio website to cancel my class. Their website was down so this was it! I just had to go.
Part 1, Ashtanga Mysore Practice
Quickly, I got dressed and left the house. That’s the hardest part on one of those days. Then I actually quite enjoy the ride to the studio. It’s quiet, calm, not so many cars or people in this city of 24 million people. In the end, I’m really happy I went as it turned out that it became one of my best yoga days ever. I enjoy mornings at the studio as well, the receptionist recognises me now. It’s empty and I can take my time.
I got my favourite spot by the window and the sun was shining today. And so my Ashtanga MySore practice began. I told myself I should be kind to myself today as it had been so hard to make it until that point. Slowly, I became more energised and I had no more pain in my right wrist that I have been having for the last 2 weeks. I felt surprisingly strong and even practiced some easy jump backs.
It’s funny how something you really don’t like in the beginning of your journey turns into one of the most enjoyable. I now love doing Vinyasas (the flow back sequence you do after each side and postures in Ashtanga yoga). Yoga definitely changes your perspective on things, you think you know yourself but no. I used to think that it’s impossible to do 60 vinyasas through a whole class. Even 10 seemed to be a challenge. Well, the truth is that I really look forward to them now. It’s something I know and it’s neutralises the body, especially after a challenging pose. It resets you so you can focus on the next one.
I even started to remember some more words/half phrases in the opening chant! I start to get a hang of this. I really enjoy the dynamics of these MySore trainings with this teacher. It’s focused, disciplined but relaxed at the same time. He helped me bind in Marychiasana C and then D. It felt fantastic. How to feel so compact and stretch until the bone. I know, it sounds a bit morbid but it’s true. I must say I find almost greater joy doing these kind of poses than an handstand for example.
For certain postures you just need help. Otherwise there is no way you can put your body that way. At least not now. Happy about my morning I felt my day was accomplished and it wasn’t even 9 am.
Part 2, When Vinyasa became hotter than hot yoga
I was a bit tired towards the end of the morning but I don’t think it was because of yoga. I was in a generally good mood all day and still so happy I had gone in the morning despite the lack of motivation. We can always do more than we want or think we can do.
In the evening, I prepared myself for another 90 minutes class, Vinyasa Flow this time. It was in a new studio location, same school but a different studio. Here it’s much smaller, 18 mats could fit in the room vs. 60 the other day in the big studio. There wasn’t even 10 cm between the mats. I knew the teacher from before but I hadn’t trained with him here before in this setting.
When you are in a small studio like that, there is nowhere to escape. The teacher sees everything and you can’t cheat. The class started with 1 minute in plank and that kind of set the tone of the class. It was a different flow than I am used to. Less movement, more core strength, holding postures and alignment but very hard core.
It wasn’t long until I started to sweat from my legs! That’s how much we worked. It wasn’t a heated class, it just became so hot with a small room with 17 yogis sweating our pants off. The windows were completely steamed, think Titanic, yes. I could even feel my elbows sweat and I was sure I was completely red in my face. Funny enough I felt cool and calm on the inside.
Tonight, I was really happy I’ve done Bikram yoga before. I know how to breathe when it’s that hot to not get dizzy and there is a specific mindset to it. You just have to decide how to remain calm, no drama, no unnecessary movements either. Just stay with it.
I felt strong, full of breath, aligned and really surprised myself. This teacher is addicted to backbends so we practiced a lot of those. I know hot yoga sometimes have some bad publicity for your health but I’m convinced it’s good for you. I can just feel it’s doign amazing things with my body. If I have sore muscles, that goes away. Stiff neck? Try hot yoga. Even though this wasn’t hot yoga it was actually warmer than a hot yoga class.
I can feel how my body just relaxes and opens up of the heat. I can go deeper in postures and I’m not as scared to hurt myself. My wrist didn’t hurt and I just felt great. In such a challenge I can really feel I have two sides of my brain. On the one hand is the devil sitting there saying “you can’t do it”, “you will fall”, “it’s too hot”, “I feel dizzy”. On the other hand, there is another voice saying “You CAN do this”, “breathe”, “steady”, “more”, “go”. It’s really a war between these two brains and it’s up to you who wins and get to decide your practice. The practice becomes very pure, skinned and it’s very hard to think of anything else than your breath or balance.
I noticed many watched the clock out of suffering in some of the poses we did. I decided not to and just go with the flow. It was hard but I could do it, I felt strong and my breath was calm. After class, I felt like a newborn person. It was like I had a second chest of ribs now. That’s how much space it felt like I had created in this new body of mine.
I swear I felt at least 10 cm taller, more space between my bones and even my neck felt different. WOW, this is so cool. It was a great class and a good complement to the other Flow classes I’ve done recently. I will definitely come back. So never doubt yourself and your capacity. The hardest part is to get out of bed and step on the mat, then it’s just to Flow. Who knows what you will be able to achieve today, and which doors you will open up.