Altho I have attended yoga classes before, at various times, a year in hot yoga as near to daily as could be managed still feels like a one-year anniversary kind of moment. I had a fine class with easy Sun Salutations, and in the class with me was my yoga-mate who used to intimidate me …
" /> Jason Holborn | Cybercarnet/Weblog - Hot Yoga, Year One: Athlete

Hot Yoga, Year One: Athlete

Altho I have attended yoga classes before, at various times, a year in hot yoga as near to daily as could be managed still feels like a one-year anniversary kind of moment. I had a fine class with easy Sun Salutations, and in the class with me was my yoga-mate who used to intimidate me so much with his easy breezy enjoyment and confident sense of fun in the yoga studio. Now, we are pals and he may yet even talk me into trying out Sally Pickering’s favorite board game, The SETTLERS OF CATAN. Our class today involved Wheel Pose, which I now aim to hold for twenty breaths. Usually, I can do it. A year ago, I didn’t ever consider that I might eventually one distant day do a Wheel Pose. It never occurred to me!

My LuluLemon® The Mat® is totally indispensable to me now! Today, I regret ever considering getting it as a one-year reward. It’s not a reward, it’s a tool. After only just a couple of months, the The Mat® may possibly be fully half responsible for my progress this year in the still-elusive Downward Dog. I did an okay Downward Dog today, and I actually don’t really mind one bit that I missed reaching my goal of perfecting that pose. I managed to learn to grow into the Wheel Pose, and the hitherto personally much-maligned Forward Seated Fold, and also the Plow Pose, which I loved doing as a kid and missed. Hello, Plow Pose! And so, having missed out on the gold star, I still managed to snag three silver ones (and actually, I personally prefer silver to gold by a large margin). If you count the Hurdler’s Stretch I did just within this last seven days, in which I surprised myself by touching my forehead to my knee, and then holding it for twenty breaths, that might make for a bronze star, too. 😉 (That said, I didn’t manage the same flexibility the next day.)

I suppose it is surprising to me that I might miss out on achieving something and yet end up gaining several other achievements instead, each of which are just “as good as” the original target. Tho it may not sound surprising to some, and tho I reckon it could be easily predicted in almost any venture, and tho it may be a pattern seen over and again in history, still I must say that this outcome intrigues me a lot this evening.

I am very pleased to go to hot yoga and I am really, utterly grateful to have Gyan Yoga in my life. Not everyone is a lucky enough cat to find themselves just a hop and skip and jump up the street from a top-notch yoga studio whose vibe really suits and contents the lucky cat in question. I am humbly thankful that I have gotten to be this lucky in this venture to commit to more yoga. I know that I could not have made it thru a year of regular, almost daily yoga classes if I didn’t live so close to a place which I strongly like. I like Gyan Yoga. I like the classes, I like the teachers, I like the atmosphere, I like the people. In the year I’ve attended Gyan, they have been made to move to a new location, and while I miss the old location, I have to say that Rishi and Rahul and Gourav have totally transformed their new long-term location into a really, really great place. The work they’ve put into it week by week by week has created a yoga studio that is in many ways now superior to their former location; it’s bigger, and fresher, and more finished, and it has better facilities. Yet it still has it’s ROCKY quality, too. It’s still the kind of place I can imagine Hilary Swank training inside, if MILLION DOLLAR BABY were a story about a yoga champ, instead. Thank you, gods, and luck, for locating me so close to the affordable and awesome and down-to-earth and addictive Gyan Yoga.

I don’t know if I have made great progress on finding an emotional or spiritual or psychological breath-thru. It’s difficult to say. I do think that I am emotionally (and perhaps spiritually and psychologically) more balanced living without sugar; tonite, I consider whether perhaps regular, frequent hot yoga over the last twelve months has contributed to an improved emotional stability. My female intuition whispers that it’s the elimination of (processed, refined) sugar, and that I haven’t really found or made or understood the kind of spiritual/emotional/pyschological development that people refer to when they talk about this kind of feeling-healing discovered thru yoga. Maybe in a year or in several years I’ll have something more to add. Many days I “like” to go to yoga, even if I have to “drag” myself there. Some days, I really really don’t want to. This winter, I couldn’t have continued my streak without my secret weapon. I would like to say that I could just get up and go year-round and look forward to doing so (like Sally Pickering, for example), however, it isn’t so. Some days I really do need a motivation to go or I just won’t. I don’t know why; I never felt that way about going swimming, or about rock climbing, or about dance class, and those were all the same exertion level and commitment. I guess that yoga brings out a trepidation or a fear or an unhappiness or an attachment in me, to some extent. I’m looking forward to having such a break-thru some day in hot yoga.

A bigger regret, absolutely, is putting off the purchase of a high-quality yoga mat. Honestly, I just didn’t get what a difference a hunk of industrial rubber can make. If you want to get into yoga, get a real mat. I didn’t save any money on the cheaper mat I picked up; I delayed investing in my progress. I might be doing a Downward Dog today if I’d only went for the The Mat® months earlier. The palm-and-sole-sticking Spider-Man quality the The Mat® (and, presumably, other similar-level brands) brings to your game is really worth having. I wouldn’t change this mat. I would buy it far sooner if I only could. You should, too! Do.

My realest regret is not starting hot yoga far, far sooner. The best time to plant a tree was twenty-five years ago; the next best time is today. Tho I may groan when faced with the hour to leave the house and pound the pavement up to Gyan Yoga, I still am glad to go and to have gone and to be going still. I am grateful to be able to attend these classes.

My confidence is up; I feel decent about my ability and progress this year, which I can feel in the poses and, too, see in the mirror.  In fact, one thing I have never mentioned in the last six or eight months is my (slight) dismay at discovering my ribcage is totally wonky and asymmetrical.  The left side juts out much more prominently than the right; I even notice now that I can see it when looking sideways at my right-hand profile in the mirror!  I admit, I do routinely wish in class that my ribcage was even; either flatter, like on the right, or equally jutting, as on the left.  Well, you can’t have it all.  At least I can do a half-decent Wheel Pose.

That yoga-mate who once intimidated me is now my pal.  I never thought he was “an intimidating jerk”; I was just totally alarmed by his great attitude of confidence and his ability is all.  I try to be welcoming and encouraging to new beginners, because I have really been there.  On some days, I still am there.  I will be there again in the future.

I’m struck, looking back at my first ever weblog entry about hot yoga, how little has changed, and how little I really have to say about doing hot yoga! Tho I’ve experienced changes, I see now, here, how so much of my first entry is more or less “the same”; I’ll continue to record anything important, however I won’t aim to write on the topic weekly. One item which stands out in these weblog entries is my decision (on day two) to bring water with me to the next class, contrasted with (months) later making such a big deal about what an Aztec warrior a hero I was for — whoa! — actually making it thru a class without water when I forgot my bottle! At the time, I honestly didn’t recall ever making it thru a hot yoga class without one before. Yet, I did — twice. So ultimately I’m glad I kept this record.

One small regret I have is losing my only funny weblog post on hot yoga, Hot Yoga, Week 25: Athlete, in which I relayed a conversation in the locker room with a fellow yoga jock, who was an approximately ten-year old boy, and ironically relayed my feelings on being an “athlete”. I did like that post!  I have no idea why it doesn’t appear on-line.  And today, I don’t actually feel that ironic about the idea that I’m an athlete, actually. I commit on a regular schedule, and try to eat and sleep geared to the chosen sport.

The Adventure continues.