I do an 1 1/2 hour power 2 hot yoga class on Sunday mornings. I have attended this class regularly since January, but it still takes me right to the edge of what I can endure. Yesterday’s class was an interesting lesson for me. I went into the class physically prepared: hydrated, rested, not too sore from the sprints the day before, ad breakfast was on board, but not a recent memory. I should have had an easy go of it.
The mind said otherwise.
As I moved through the familiar vinyasas at the start of class, I could feel my breath hitch and stutter, my mind interpreting that as an indicator of panic. Here I was, on a familiar mat in a familiar room, and my body-mind was becoming convinced that I was in some sort of imminent danger. I began to feel light-headed as the breath deteriorated further; I was losing balance in simple poses. All signals were screaming, “Get out!”
I chose to acknowledge them and ignore them. Instead of leaving the sweltering confines of the practice room, I gently folded my body into child’s pose to rest. I laid there for several minutes while the class moved and grunted around me, continuing to press their bodies into position. I simply breathed. I had to work to tell my mind that it was okay to rest, acceptable to take a break and miss part of the class. I stayed there until my breath was smooth again and my heart beat was less evident against my ribcage. I stayed there until my mind shifted from fear to acceptance. From fight to relaxation. From flight to stillness.
When I pushed back up into down dog to continue the flow, I felt revitalized and refreshed, even as the sweat poured down my frame. I went on to have a wonderful practice, even moving further into difficult (for me anyway!) poses than I had in the past.
Know that your current situation and perspective is temporary. If you are unhappy with your current state, stay with it, but do not nurture it. Acknowledge it, but do not be consumed by it. Accept it, but do not run to it with open arms. Guide your mind to soften and remind your body to breathe. Shift will happen.