Every so often, I try to branch out. Put myself into situations to learn and grow. My personal practice has hit a plateau this summer while the professional aspect has begun to gain a foothold — I have been substitute teaching yoga for well over a year and have finally found a place where I will teach on a regular basis. (Yay, but that’s not my story here…) The time was right for a bit of exploration.
I’ve always enjoyed doing yoga in hot weather, but had never taken a “hot yoga” class. So, I signed up for a class at a local studio and attended this morning. It is a gorgeous studio, great location, affiliated with a popular “brand” of yoga and the employees and interns were friendly and helpful.
Obviously, I expected it to be hot, but this room was HOT. A stuffy, closed-up attic kind of hot, but with added humidity. I centered myself, sipped judiciously from my water bottle and prepared for class to begin. The cheerful instructor entered the room and introduced herself (and never stopped talking again until Savasana.) After a few of the modified Sun Salutations, I was mopping my face to keep the sweat from my eyes, but I was actually enjoying the brisk pace and the challenge. There were only a few asana that I found quite challenging (plank, chaturanga and up dog all with one leg tucked high in tree pose position!) but I felt good with the pace and my body felt as though it was responding well to the heat.
The class flew by, my towel and mat were sopping and before I knew it I was back in my car, gratefully blasting the air-conditioning and slugging back water. When I got home, I peeled off my clothes, threw them and my towels into the washer and stood under the water in the shower for a long time. I felt pleasantly tired, but intact and unharmed.
After my shower, I wiped steam from the mirror and looked at my face and realized that the skin around my eyes was dotted with tiny pinpoints of broken blood vessels. I freaked out. A frantic Google session provided good information about this (there are actually yoga forum threads about this situation) and that calmed me down some what. Apparently, I might have been holding my breath during some of the more challenging asana, causing the vessels to burst. I think I heard about this phenomenon on CSI once when a victim had been strangled. Yikes.
I had hoped to breathe new life into my yoga practice and got just what I was looking for. A strong signal to practice renewed compassion for myself, first and foremost.