The Saturday morning class at my local studio is one of my favourites – Hot Yoga. Any class that lets you stretch really effectively without having to go through a full-on cardio warmup first is a win in my book! I used to do Bikram at a studio in Perth, but I found the heat a bit ridiculous – Bikram is practised in a 40C room, so not only is it a lot to get used to mentally (your brain is screaming out, “Lie down! Stop exercising! What is wrong with you?”) but you are literally dripping with sweat, so any pose that requires you to hold onto another part of your body becomes a fun game of slip and slide.
Hot Yoga at my studio is practised in a heated room (about 30C, I think), so you still get the benefits of heat (allowing you to go deeper into stretches and whatnot) but it’s not as oppressive as Bikram. I went this morning after having a week off in Sydney and I’m definitely feeling the post-yoga glow. The ride home, despite being uphill, is always a bit nicer, and there’s no doubt that breakfast tastes better after a class (hot yoga pro-tip: eating beforehand will make backbends mega uncomfortable. Don’t eat for at least an hour before class, or take the lazy option and just roll out of bed and head straight there!).
I was expecting today’s class to be a bit more difficult, given that I’ve been away for a while. Surprisingly, my strength was okay (vinyasas, or the flowing movements between poses that are often push-up-like, ugh) are what usually give me the most trouble. My balance was shocking today, though. Ardha baddha padmottanasana is one of my favourite poses as there’s always a ‘next step’ to strive towards. I remember when I could barely stand up in half lotus without falling over, but eventually I got to the point where I could bind my arm around my back to hold onto my toes, and now I can usually go into the forward bend and touch the floor. Usually. Today as I attempted to fold over I was Wobbles McGee on my left leg, and when we repeated the pose on the right, I fell right out of the pose and landed most ungracefully on my derriere. And it was great. I love to fail. Before moving to Ballarat, I used to do impro with Just Improvise and one of the biggest lessons I learned there was to fail happily. If you’re failing at something, it means that you’re trying to do something that’s outside of your comfort zone – and that’s what will eventually make you better! So if you fail, it’s a good thing. It means you’re not content just to be ‘comfortable’; that you’re trying to learn something new or improve yourself in some way.
I’ve fallen out of yoga poses before – many times before! – and every time, the instructor has said how good it is not to be afraid to fall. You just pick yourself up and try again. I know that fear is still stopping me from kicking up to the wall in handstand (well, fear and my paltry upper body strength) but I’m getting there – I frequently fall out of bound headstand but it gets a little bit more stable every time. That’s what I love about yoga – there’s always something new to challenge you, not necessarily physically, but mentally as well.
Well, today’s post was a bit uncharacteristically philosophical! It’s okay, tomorrow I’ll be back with a new recipe… I’ve been experimenting with baked ricotta (in an attempt to recreate the most amazing sandwich I had in Sydney… oh my lawd). So if you’re freaked out by philosophising, we can just pretend this whole thing never happened.