A couple months ago, I got it in my head that I wanted to do hot yoga. I told my husband; he thought I was insane. I looked to my sister for support; her eyes just got very large and she carefully went silent. Huh. This was going to have to be one of those Meredith-is-crazy kind of situations.
And I did my research. I became convinced that yoga would help me, specifically that done in a heated studio. When my muscles are warm, I get all wonderfully loosey-goosey, everything stretches out and things don’t hurt so much. After reading up, I was sure yoga would help me become leaner, tone my muscles, and most importantly, reduce my pain.
I found local Bikram Yoga studio (Bikram Yoga is a type of hot yoga, if you are unfamiliar) and contacted the owner of Bikram Yoga of Exton, Kristin Sapp, “Are you willing to put up with my ineptness? I have never done yoga in my life, and will probably fall on the floor–A LOT.”
Kristin, as it turns out, is lovely. More than lovely, she is kind and encouraging, and welcomed me with open arms. She reassured me that beginners are always welcome in her studio and that no experience is necessary.
Okay, then. It was time to roll with this!
I decided on the 5:30am session. Because I am insane. Also, because, of course, otherwise squeezing exercise into a day with young kids can be a bit of a challenge…
I slept in my yoga outfit to cut one step out of my morning prep and also to increase likelihood I would actually scoot my butt out the door on time. Yoga mat, towel and water bottle in hand, I headed off.
Having no clue what to expect, I was delighted to find that Kristin was as friendly in person as she had seemed, and I love that she patiently explained each step–from where to put my shoes to where to lay out my mat.
I was pretty sure the room would be filled with young moms who would judge me for my less-than-perfectionism. I was wrong. The other students were…normal people. Albeit far more fit and less likely to repetively topple to the floor than me, they were men and women of all ages and stages. No one laughed or pointed fingers, and afterwards, I got loads of congrats for finishing my first class. Aw, I know!
Yes, the studio was quite hot.
The poses and stretches? Hard. Very hard.
Afterwards, I didn’t feel awesome. Kristin explained that it can take your body a while to adjust and start to benefit and feel great.
My muscles hurt the next day.
But…but…when I called my sister that night and she asked me how it went, I told her that even if for some reason I repeated the experience (I would and I did), I had just done one of the most boss things in my life.
I dragged myself out of bed at 4:45am, drove across town, walked into a class of people I had never met, stripped down to minimal clothing, and pushed my body through some of the hardest exercises I have ever done for 90 minutes in 104 degree heat. And I didn’t die.
This is what was boss.
This is why I am proud of myself.
And this is why I went back. Because I can, and it will help me. It’s been a week now, and I can’t say what a delight it is to hold my neck up high and turn it without wincing in pain. For me, this is nothing short of phenomenal.
Loads of other weird things are happening too. I felt leg muscles in the shower this morning. I was pretty bouncy with energy a few mornings. And perhaps most unexpected, the other day I found myself actually listening to a song in the van–you know, actually listening to the song without going over the store list in the back of my mind. They say yoga helps with mental clarity. I just never imagined that it actually would.
I also never imagined that I’d actually get myself to a class in the first place, moreover enjoy it. But hey, as Kristin told me before I first met her, it’s all about keeping an open mind. Sometimes you might just surprise yourself.
Tremendous thanks to Bikram Yoga of Exton for providing me with class time and instruction so I can pursue this journey to wellness, and for being such a welcoming place to do it! All of the staff have been incredible supportive and encouraging, and I am eager for continued change and growth.
Readers, I look forward to checking back in with you and updating you on my progress.
Namaste and thanks for always allowing me to be a work in progress!
Image credit: depositphotos.com, ID:23104456, copyright:Wavebreakmedia
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