In 2014 before I made a big move to another state to pursue a PhD I decided to go for a visit a couple months prior to the official move. I did the interview virtually and thought it would be good to see the campus and new city in person before I moved. When I landed at the airport, I felt immediate sadness and tried to find the sparks of joy that *should* accompany an exciting move. I got to the hotel and had a full on anxiety attack and second guessed all decisions I ever made in my life. I knew right away that I should check out the nearest yoga studio. Wait…hold on.
I had no idea I signed up for a hot yoga class until I got there and wondered what was up with the weird heat I felt coming from the the other room as I changed in the nearby bathroom. I walked into the room and almost fainted. I also felt a wave of shame (as if I needed more emotional distress). I told the teacher that I did not realize it was a hot yoga class and she was quite nice about it. She reassured me I could sneak out of the room if I needed to take a break or drink water. I managed to stay for the whole class and I left feeling like I had left all my emotional burdens in the heat of the room.
On my way back to the hotel I thought about how different I felt and how my perspective shifted just from that one class. I sent the yoga teacher an email to let her know how much I appreciated her kindness and that I planned to make that studio my yoga “home” when I moved (and I did!)
The next day I had a campus tour and a few other places to check out and I woke up with a different (positive) attitude and felt reassured that as much as it was a scary thing to make a big change, I was worthy of advancing my education and all other good things. So, I got dressed in my favorite comfy clothes (leggings!) and enjoyed the sunny (ridiculously HOT) day!
I still think about my first hot yoga experience and here are some things I always remember:
- when you feel down and discouraged, reach out to the things and people that you know will uplift you
- I went to the class with one expectation (I wanted to release stress) and left with a perspective shift, improved move, and a yoga home!
- While I thought I was unprepared for a hot yoga class (okay, I was unprepared because I showed up in a long sleeved top!) I realized that it was not about what I wore, it was about my mindset
- My mat is a place where I can fully surrender. I can let things go, I can release suffering, and I can turn my focus inward. It’s the “me-time” that I always need
- Sometimes, the most unexpected things can bring you joy – be open to new experiences
After I graduated and moved (again) I found another yoga studio (not hot yoga) and practiced there at least once a week on and off. One night (in the first week of January, 2020) I decided to try out hot yoga again (it was also in a moment of distress and I learned of a new studio that opened near my home and it was …hot yoga!). I got into a nice routine and also tried out another studio and thought I found the perfect place to practice near my home until COVID had other plans for humans. Oh well….
Have you been to a hot yoga class?
With deep gratitude,