Sunday, June 6, 2010

Out of My Comfort Zone

(In the class I took yesterday, sweat would be dripping off each of these fingertips!)

Yesterday I took a Baptist Power Yoga class. A friend had been wanting to try this particular studio, and I was going to see my Dad which is nearby, so we decided to go together.

I had taken a Baptiste Power Yoga class at a yoga conference a few years ago and new it would be challenging but given my recent regularity with vinyasa and Jivamukti I knew I would be able to handle it. Plus I'm very much in tune with my body and when it's time to rest, I rest regardless.

So, the one thing I forgot was that Baptiste Power Yoga classes are done in a room heated to 95 degrees. At the conference in the ballroom that was pretty much impossible, it was warm but not hot. Not like the sauna that I stepped into yesterday morning. Yes, sauna. That made me remember to run out to my car and get the towel I brought. We were sweating just sitting there. And I've sweat just sitting in some yoga classes before, when it's just hot outside and there's a lot of people but this was not by default but purposefully. At this point I was wondering how I was going to make it through the next 90 minutes. It was hard to breath it was so hot. So we get started, straight into down dog. And go from there.

The poses and flow weren't anything different than I'm used to but the heat, OMG. So in true yoga fashion I had to detach from those sensations. That's called Pratyahara. Detach from outward sensations and go inward.
It worked for the most part but then there was the sweat. I'm all about a good sweat but when you are drenched, water dripping off you onto your mat, clothes saturated, I felt like that was diminishing my practice. Slipping and having to wipe my hands became a distraction. That said, it kept me in the present moment. And that's a huge part of the practice.

Anyway, I got through about 45 to 50 minutes of the 90 without having to rest a lot. I felt dizzy a few times, so I started to back off. With an hour done and 30 minutes left, I muddled through, resting in child's pose or corpse pose for a few minutes and then coming back for some deep stretching.
By this time I would say at least a third of the people were doing the same. Some more than others.

When we were finished the teacher asked how many of us wanted to bolt halfway into the class. I and a few others raised our hands. Hey just speaking my truth here:) Part of me did want to bolt but the other part of me knew I could do it. Her response was "But you didn't." That's right we didn't. We persevered. But why? Why did we persevere and stay in that stinking hot room, drenched head to toe?

Well, the feeling after it was all over was awesome. My body felt detoxed. My back which is usually stiff throughout class wasn't at all, before or after. My mind was clear. I felt like I burnt all kinds of shit out, physical, mental and emotional. Bad karma melted off. It pushed me out of my comfort zone and when that happens we really have no choice but to grow somehow. And it's all about growth.

Will I go back? No, because it just isn't convenient. If it was convenient I might add this style to my practice. As hard and challenging as it was and as soaking wet as I was, that feeling afterwards just kicks ass. But I almost always get that kick ass feeling after a good yoga practice. And, I prefer more spirituality thrown into the mix. And a much longer svasana:)

So how can I continue to step out of my comfort zone? To reach my edge, acknowledge it and then move past it? To continue to get that kind of growth? Well there are a few ways. For my home practice I can certainly take it up a notch. No need to be all pansy about it just because I'm at home. And for the Jivamukti class I take it's time to not back off for some things but forge ahead. If I can make it through what I did yesterday, I can make it through anything.

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