Monday, May 24, 2010

birthday yoga!

I have to admit that I am not the biggest fan of "hot" yoga. I've tried it, but don't practice that way on a regular basis. And it has nothing to do with the yoga itself... it's just a matter of personal preference. I LOVE yoga outdoors, and if indoors, I usually prefer a room with comfortable, just-right HVAC.

But on this day, the day of my birth, I decided, why not do something different and go to a hot yoga class? And in perfect timing, I received an email from this studio, which entitled me to a free yoga class during my birthday week! The class description stated that the room would be warmed to 85 degrees. Ok, not bad... at least it wasn't a feverish temperature. So off I went, wearing the most sweat-absorbing, moisture-wicking workout top I own. Having been to this studio before,  I knew how hot it could be. So I also brought a sweat-absorbing towel and a big bottle of water to be as ready as I could for buckets of sweat.

It turned out to be a great class! The instructor led us through multiple vinyasa sequences and warrior poses/variations and balancing sequences, in a room that felt much warmer than 85 degrees (considering the full yoga room, body heat from what seemed like 30 people, each one practicing the ujjayi breath). The instructor made us work, stretch, and sweat, but also made us laugh.

There's something so primal, so cleansing, so life-affirming, about movement and breath and sweating from every single pore of my body. About getting out of my head and into my heart. I welcomed every sweaty vinyasa as a chance to celebrate life, to challenge myself while exercising patience and awareness of what my body needed and felt. Aaaahhhh... the joys of truly being in my body, moving, and feeling every movement. Each time I moved from a standing forward fold to sweep my arms up to the side and overhead to mountain pose, it was like scooping up all this wonderful energy. I couldn't help but smile in extended side angle, feeling the deliciousness of the stretch, and in dancer pose, feeling grounded yet light. I bowed into humble warrior pose with gratitude. Each lion's breath in upward dog and fish pose was so life-force-giving. Just as my mother and father gave their own life force to me on this very day years ago.

So on that note I say THANKS... for this day, for the gift of breath and movement, and to all those who gave meaning and life to my days.

Today's meditation: "May every breath I take be a prayer." (How very fitting for a birthday meditation!)

Thank you, A., for the pretty birthday flowers!

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1 comment:

jindi said...

Modern yoga retreat is said to have begun by the young Swami Vivekananda from India made a deep impression on the American he introduced to. Yoga masters began to travel to the west, attracting attention and followers. In the 1920's, Hatha Yoga was strongly promoted in India with the life long work of T. Krishnamacharya . Krishnamacharya traveled through India giving demonstrations of yoga poses and opened the first Hatha Yoga School.

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