Today I (accidentally) made great progress in my yogic practice.
I attended my first level 2/3 hot yoga class. I also attempted my first headstand and didn’t die! Considering I intend to (eventually) pursue yoga teacher-training, I think this is a giant leap in the right direction. To be fair, I didn’t exactly attend this class on purpose…
Yesterday I attended (what I considered) a difficult class after 5 days without practicing asanas (poses) at all. I woke up this morning feeling like I’d been hit by a truck, so I decided to go to the relax and restore Yin class today instead of a more challenging one. Of course, my groggy morning translated to a slow day of plodding through menial tasks and chores which led me to (naturally) get behind in my work. Consequently, I was running late to yoga after arriving to (and leaving from) a meeting behind schedule, and I didn’t make it on time for the class.
Not wanting to leave without my daily dose of yoga, I decided to stay for the last class of the day – starting 15 minutes later than the other class. It didn’t register with me until after we’d begun meditation that this was a level 2/3 class.
And let me tell you, it is amazing what your body is capable of, even when it is most exhausted! Don’t get me wrong, this class was tough, and my tired muscles suffered. After I got through it, though, I realized that perhaps I’d previously been too easy on myself. Here was the push that I needed to help me grow stronger in my practice.
My struggle today – in class and outside of it – was more mental than anything. During the day I allowed myself to sink into a lazy automation instead of gearing up to accomplish something great, and in my practice, I was terrified that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the other students in a level 2/3 class. Luckily, I was proven wrong by an accident.
I’ve been told that the best way to improve at something is to practice with those who are more accomplished than yourself. I am confident now in the truth of those words. Had I not pushed myself (even by accident!), I would never have known what I was truly capable of.
Now, I plan to amp up my goals. For the next few weeks, I’m going to attend at least one level 2/3 class per week, in addition to 3-4 other classes (schedule permitting).
At the beginning of another class, our instructor suggested a few ways to live a yogic lifestyle off the mat. She mentioned swapping to energy-efficient light bulbs and conserving water. “We are so lucky to have the technology available to us to take long hot showers and baths, but maybe occasionally – even just once a month – you could cut off the water and bathe like they do in India, with just a bucket and a sponge.” A few people in the class chuckled uncomfortably, and I shifted a little on my mat. I have never been good at quick showers! So here is another goal : limiting my shower time to 10 minutes.
My third goal is to go to bed at a more regular, early time and to wake up at a more regular, early time. I’m going to say 11:00PM and 7:30AM.
I’m going to conclude this post with a couple of links that were shared with me today and that I believe are particularly relevant. Namaste.