Unexpected Morning Wood
Clever tribe, today I came face to face with the apprehension some of you have shared with me regarding trying hot yoga for the first time. It was interesting for me as I learned a few things about myself. First, I’m not nearly as fit as I thought I was. Second, I abhor change.
This is how it went down. I approached Sunstone for the 9:30 a.m. class with barely enough time to get a spot only to find- much to my horror- a Wood class scheduled in place of the expected Fire. Now, let me give you some background so you understand fully how traumatic this moment was for me.
When I began my practice two years ago, it was by taking a 90-minute Fire class. I was immediately addicted to the heat and dove in head first. I made my daily pilgrimage to Sunstone to learn and begin strengthening my body after a serious abdominal surgery (and no it wasn’t a tummy tuck). Not so much a creature of habit (though I am) but one who doesn’t enjoy “messing with a good thing,” I attended only the Fire 90 class. So, one day, I was terrified to realize I was in a 60-minute Fire class. This is similar, though there are fewer postures that are held for longer periods of time.
My first impulse was to leave, as the thought of not knowing what I’m doing really stresses me out, but it was too late. Class had begun and I didn’t want to be rude.
As it turned out- the 60-minute Fire class was extremely physically challenging. Fantastic, because I was already feeling as if my body might be getting too used to the 90-minute class (which is not to intimate I had mastered even a single pose- I still haven’t). So, I enjoyed the 60-minute class a great deal and it’s added some flexibility to my day. If I’m running really tight one day- I fit in a 60-minute class at 6 a.m. and am energized for a long work day.
I did not acknowledge the prodding of the instructors and even the owners to try some other classes offered (Metal, Wood, Earth, Water and even the 84 Asanas). I had a logical and rational excuse- I’m in love with the heat. The difference in temperature is about eight degrees between fire and the other classes. I guess I had some type of fear my body wouldn’t respond without the HEAT. So, I have spent a fortune in gas avoiding these other classes and searching out Fire.
One of the most fantastic aspects of Sunstone Yoga is the sheer number of facilities in the metroplex. It’s almost impossible NOT to be able to make a class during my day (unless I’m being lazy and making up reasons not to go- luckily this is rare). So, I look up the class schedules and will go WAY out of my way to avoid the other classes- until today when my options were ZERO.
So, I approached the door and there was a schedule posted on the door. Normally, I don’t look at it, but the color green caught my eye. A sweat broke across my forehead when I saw the owner, Tanya Davis, looking at me square. She waved and gestured as if she needed to speak to me. I saw a conspiracy forming. I had no options other than to be rude or pretend I didn’t see her, which was a virtual impossibility given the fact our eyes were now locked. I eased the door open and gave an uneasy smile.
“You’re not leaving.” Tanya smiled and it was so nice to see her even though I wanted to run far and fast. I’d been out of class for THREE weeks with a respiratory infection. “I’ve been worried about you.”
“I’ve been really sick and I don’t think today is the day to try something new.”
“Oh, it’s the perfect time to try. You’ve been weak and now you can learn how to strengthen new areas of your body.”
“Well, I can move through fire without having to think too much about it- I’m probably not ready for this yet.”
“We recommend people start trying other classes after 10 Fire classes. You’ve done 150.Today’s the perfect day and Brit is a fantastic instructor.”
Then Brit became part of the conspiracy, smiling warmly, engaging me so it was impossible to leave.
“So, I’ll stay in the back.” I assumed.
“Actually, I’ve already set my mat up in front so if there is room near me- do that so you can watch me,” Brit reassured.
It is widely accepted the people who are new or inexperienced should stay in back so they can get a good visual of those more knowledgeable in the front. It’s difficult to do so while looking in the mirror because you are getting a “mirror image.”
I was horrified by a snarky comment by a woman who’d just finished the Fire class. “There are mirrors everywhere, you’re going to be seen whether you like it or not.” The reason I was so horrified is because snarky doesn’t exist at Sunstone- it was the first time I’d been subject to anything other than support and encouragement. She clearly is NOT Clever.Either way, it did increase my anxiety about looking stupid or clumsy. I trudged into class and lay down to enjoy the remnants of the Fire heat.
As soon as Brit entered, I was reassured. She conducted the class with authority and gave us a lot of cues and instruction. I watched closely and she kept an eye on me. I was likely the only person taking Wood for the first time and it was packed. With her eyes she noted my form and indicated small adjustments.
I realized immediately there were areas of my core I’d never known existed. I felt them being activated and it was wildly stimulating. The thought of having new areas to work overjoyed me. I do love a challenge and Wood is my new one. Regardless of the core strength I’ve gained during the past two years- knowing there is so much work yet to be done is highly motivating. In my mind’s eye, I see a fantastic bikini season coming my way (if I could just stop with the beer … wine … champagne … cupcakes … red meat …) oh (cheese … chips and salsa … Mexican food … pasta …)
Luckily, few of the postures were traditional yoga postures, so catching on was a snap. The instructions were easy to follow and required little in the way of preparation (heartbeat … ability to breathe …). Keeping my eye on Brit helped me to internalize subtle adjustments that made a huge difference in how deeply I felt the posture.
The last 30 minutes of the 90-minute class was a “workshop” during which the students were allowed to ask any questions they wanted. Brit, in keeping with the Sunstone method, was complimentary and encouraging. She remembered certain postures she wanted to go over with me and I left energized beyond words.
I had to eat some crow with Tanya because she’s been trying to gently push me to try new classes. The best thing I learned about myself today was that I have potential.
OK, I have some fantastic information coming your way next week Clever Girls- so tune in for ideas for amping your Guy’s Girl status.