Yesterday I decided that since singing has been out due to my "death" cold-cough and it was so terribly muggy and misty outside that some "hot yoga" at Breathing Space would be in order. Trying new yoga styles has been my personal goal for the past few months and my first "hot yoga" class I tried a few months back wasn't a huge success. Briefly, it was at the Moksha studio and I found it too quiet and too hot and I was nervous I'd overstretch. After living in a semi-desert for two years I had a moment of: right I DON'T like 40 degree (c) heat! (*seriously, Okanaganites were JOGGING in that weather!!) There's a pretty good discussion on my post if you'd like to read more about that experience. (if you are reading this on a non-blogger site, come on over to get the non-stolen version- ecoyogini.blogspot.com).
Breathing Space studio also offers a "hot yoga" class, in the style of Baron Baptiste. The class isn't as hot (less energy and more "eco" friendly!), the instructor is phenomenal and there is no "quiet" rule so I can feel free to be less serious and laugh (which happens a lot when I practice...quietly of course). I've gone once before, stayed next to the door in case I wasn't feeling well and it went much better!
Yesterday was my second "hot yoga" class at Breathing Space and there were only six of us in the class... so beautiful. While sitting and trying to prepare my UBER tight hamstrings for their yoga-nightmare (lol), the lady next to me asked the instructor if she could buy a new mat after class. Hers was dirty and she just wanted to... "throw it out"....GASP. I waited for Sherry to offer alternative suggestions for this yogini's mat... you know, like "well you don't HAVE to throw it out". Nothing. Oh my goodness, I can't just let this go! But I don't want to sound CRAZY. Like the type A eco-warrior that I am!!
I am proud to say that I didn't harass the poor woman. I told her something that Mekare said in her comment on my "yoga mat rubber edition" post: that the discoloration (ahem-dirt) and wear were indications of her love for yoga and her dedicated practice... and therefore beautiful. (I felt very zen in that one tiny moment). It didn't work. We talked about how much I loved my rubber mat as it was super sticky and I "casually" mentioned that she could use her mat for gardening. THEN she came up with making small mats for her school classroom all.by.herself. Followed by a mention of how she could do this with all her mats (all???) at home. I resisted sharing more information on yoga mats and landfills and left it at that.
The practice itself was great, Sherry is an awesome, open and fun instructor and it was interesting to see how some asanas are finally becoming "easy". The yogi/ni's in the class reminded me of Flo's post that commented on the Western Yoga-body "ideal". As if the skinnier you are the "better" yogi/ni or more healthy you are. My body is a nice example of how this 'ideal' is flawed: I'm not a big person but I'm not naturally bendy at all and I'm also not very strong. Andrew has taught me a lot about how to accept your own body's "versions" of a posture as ideal (his arms are shorter than his legs, so reaching his toes at all has less to do with tight hamstrings but a physical impossibility).
While my legs were trembling trying to find the strength to hold warrior II (after a ridiculous amount of standing postures), the lady next to me who was a few decades older held them with ease. I also noticed a woman who was tall and had a strong frame with a... belly!! When I snuck a little peak during a forward bend she was being asked to take a shorter stance to actually get SOME sort of stretch as her head was on the floor. During the yogi-leg lower (30 degrees, hold two breaths...ack!) the instructor asked her (after I had given up on the last round) if she was even shaking... nope! Such a beautiful example of how strength and grace has nothing to do with how we look.
I left that class feeling wonderful, sweaty (I had even spilled a bunch of water on my mat...oops!) and happy. Two years ago, a class like that where most of the postures would be challenging, surrounded by yogi/ni's that were obviously stronger and more flexible than myself AND a hot class would have left me feeling insecure and stressed. What has changed? I have accepted that I will have to work harder to achieve the small steps of strength and flexibility that others seem to do naturally, that my yoga isn't about achieving an asana-externally imposed "ideal" but about helping my body and soul to be strong... and that the instructor was loving, supportive and kind. Sherry even commented on how a year ago I wouldn't even attempt shoulderstand (I despise inversions) and how far I've come. It was nice to have that acknowledgement from someone who easily does standing splits. :)
Happy Independance Day to all my American Yogi/ni's and many Blessings!