Well, not the whole day.  But it did set the tone for the day.

 

After hurting my shoulder in early April, I had not been back to hot yoga.  I had tried out a free yoga class at the gym, but had not been back to my studio, meaning a committed yoga studio that I pay membership fees for (they only do hot yoga – the Bikram offshoot that call themselves Moksha).

But I needed to go back.  I slept in too much to make the 8 am class, but I made it in for the 10 am class, a little nervous, but feeling very stubborn.  Showing up is most of the work already done, right?

The teacher and I were on a first name basis, so I discussed my shoulder and told her it was mostly ready to go.  I just might feel my way through the first few chaturanga’s, and downward dog might tire me out more than usual.  In my head I was also thinking it’s been almost 2 months!  I had best approach this with a good deal of humility and self-acceptance.

 

It was a 90 minute class, 40 degrees celsius, 40 postures, divided into roughly 2/3 standing series (lunges, squats, forward folds, back bends, balance work) and 1/3 floor series (back strength, ab work, hip openers, some last minute vinyasa flows, spinal twists).  The class had a good turnout for Saturday at 10 am, maybe 35 people in the room, at most 20% guys.  Guys seem to turn up more for the evening classes, they don’t dig getting up in the morning on weekends, haha!

It has been almost a year to the day that I first started practising yoga at this studio – I remember thinking a 90 minute class was the longest feeling class in the world!  I wondered how it would feel after the time off, the extended focus and physical commitment, the temperature, the sweat.

And believe me, I sweat.  I am not proud to say this, but people have wiped out and fallen on their butts walking through my pools of sweat before!  I saturate my shirt, the little silver microfibre thing they sell in the fancy stores?  I saturate the second shirt, if I am wearing one, I saturate the yoga towel I put over my rubber mat to keep from slipping… if there is ever a sweating contest at the studio, I have to like my chances.

 

And then I was lying there, on my mat, before class, in the heat, and all those thoughts melted away.  Like riding a bike, I recommitted to my focus, I started my ujjayi breath, and I forgot about the rest of my day.  There was just HERE, NOW.  I wasn’t even anxious for the class starting in the next 5 minutes, it didn’t feel like pre-class, I was already practising.  I didn’t care about what anyone else looked like (although I did notice some people looked pretty impressive).

I was respectful of myself, I held back when I wanted to observe my energy levels, and went back into it when I felt gathered.  And I thought my breath stayed quite steady, which is the foundation of your physical practice.  My flexibility was a little rusty, my pigeon, seated hero and my seated twist felt like they should have gone further.  I took a couple of breaks during the series of vinyasa flows we did, but squirted out a few more when the rest of the class was resting, so no fear just careful observation.

During the “thread the needle” stretch, I customarily do something I have heard called “dead pigeon” (don’t you love all the names?), but it felt a little too intense for me so I ended up going back to thread the needle, oh well.  Did I mention my legs got tired fast during the squats and lunges?  haha, I need to do more leg work, that made me sad.

I admit by the end, my shoulder was getting fairly tired, and it was starting to make me feel short-tempered, which was a correlation I didn’t recognize when I first sprained my shoulder.  When my shoulder gets tired, it leaves me cranky.  So I pulled back when I would feel irritated, and just observe it, usually in a seiza-style seated position.  I felt going into downward dog or child’s pose wouldn’t let me disengage and rest and observe my shoulder.

And my skin missed the sweat I think, because I was doing more than sweating… I was shedding.  I would look down at my towel, and there would be dead skin!  It was sloughing off my hands I think.  That sounds pretty gross, but it is what it is.  Try and think of it as shedding my old self, like a metamorphosis!  Transforming into a butterfly sounds better than dead skin on my towel, haha.  It was probably off the base of my fingers, I had built up some calluses there from the free weights.

 

I left the class feeling great, and kept that high all day.  I missed yoga a lot.  It feels good to be back.

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