Day 1 – A very sweaty fear

5 Feb

So, my very first fear to overcome was a hot yoga class. For those who are not familiar with hot yoga, it is basically a series of yoga poses in a sauna. Okay, not exactly in a sauna, but close. They heat up the studio to about 37 degrees Celsius, which I equated to a hot summer day in Vegas. Except, they also blast the humidity, making it feel more like running through Manhattan in August…pretty sticky.

My first issue with hot yoga was the fear of heat stoke or heat exhaustion. I can barely handle a sauna. My heart begins to race within a minute, at which point I never know whether I’m actually too hot or if I’m having a panic attack. My second issue was the fear of passing out. I remember my first few classes of Ashtanga yoga, I would feel dizzy upon the first few standing poses. How would I feel doing those same poses in a heated torture chamber?

I mentally prepared myself beforehand, and did a whole lot of research to get an idea of what to expect. Erica and I planned on the 8pm class at Moksha Yoga in Maple, which just opened up about a month ago in my area. They have a special going on for newcomers; one month of unlimited hot yoga for $40. So we figured we’d sign up for the month, and hope for the best.

We got there about half an hour early, to give ourselves time to fill out the waiver (basically stating that they are not responsible if we sweat to death – no biggie), and buy our packages. This is when we realized that unlike yoga at the gym, yoga studios are pretty strict when it comes to etiquette. They have their own set of rules set in place to keep the energy flowing in the room, and to not detract from the peaceful vibe. For starters, you cannot speak the moment you enter the studio. I don’t like being told not to speak, especially when Er and I find it pretty hard to be in the same room together and not say a word to each other. You are also discouraged from leaving the room at any time, and your goal for the first class is just to stay in the room, even if you have to lie down the entire class. My problem with this is that I could have easily just died from dehydration right there on my mat but no one would know because no one was allowed to speak. But, I put these thoughts aside and embraced the culture.

We entered the studio about 15 minutes early and took Savasana pose (lying down on your back), and I found myself  not minding the heat as much as I thought I would. It was kinda like lying on the beach, minus the tan. I thought to myself “This isn’t bad at all, I can totally do this”. Until the instructor came in and it was time to actually move. For the first few poses, I did feel dizzy, no doubt about it. And we all began to sweat instantly. But with self-talk, deep breathing, and more self-talk, I got through those difficult first 10 minutes and then really began to enjoy it. I was slightly reserved in terms of the poses – I didn’t go as deep as I normally would in regular yoga, but at least I tried. In fact, I actually attempted each pose, without the need to lie down at any point. It was definitely hot, and extremely sweaty in there. But it was bearable. When the hour was over, Erica and I quietly high-fived eachother and I couldn’t believe we had actually completed the entire class. Go us.

One of the highlights was during the final Savasana, when the instructor told us to remember that “every accomplishment begins with the decision to try”, and I couldn’t agree more. I am so happy I did the class and even happier I finished it – and I felt amazing afterwards. I will definitely be going back this weekend for a second class, and hopefully, I’ll incorporate it into my routine of being a completely sedentary couch potato.

Onto the next.

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One day, one fear

4 Feb

I’ve been planning on starting a blog for a while now. I’ve always used writing as an outlet for me; I was THAT kid who always kept a diary, a journal, even a notebook (a for real, 3-dimensional physical notebook – gasp!). But a blog seemed trickier. Did I want people to read it? Did I want it to be private? In real life, I’m an open book (I warn you and appoligize in advance, puns are my weekness). I tell everyone everything about myself. Maybe a little too much. But nonetheless, I’m pretty transparent when it comes to my personal life, and not much embarasses me. So why was I so weary about writing a blog? Was I scared that I had nothing interesting to say? Maybe.

Then, the other day, I was talking to my life-long best friend Erica about trying hot yoga. What the hell does hot yoga have to do with starting a blog? Absolutely nothing. But basically, for months, I’ve been wanting to try hot yoga but was too scared to actually do it. I have this fear of overheating. I have a fear of passing out in front of people. I also have a fear of all things irrational. In fact, I’m probably one of the most anxious people out there. At least, among my circle of friends and family. I’ve struggled with anxiety for most of my life, and have tried to find natural, therapuetic ways to cure me of this ‘condition’. So doing something like hot yoga would certainly help my anxiety, but getting around the anxiety to actually try it was standing in the way. Like a giant, mental cache 22, if you will.

But as I reluctantly searched online for yoga studios in my area, a little voice wispered in my ear. It said, “Do one thing every day that scares you”. It was a quote I had read once, years ago, on one of those Lululemon bags and it kinda stuck with me. I hadn’t really thought about it since the day Erica and I were skiing with our hubbies at Blue Mountain, and accidentally ended up on a black diamond hill. I seriously considered walking down the hill sideways to avoid killing myself. But then, that same voice told me to go for it. It told me that I knew how to ski, and I would be fine. And sure enough, I was.

So, I thought to myself, if this simple quote (which I later learned was spoken by Eleanor Roosevelt) can have such an impact on my daily actions, why don’t I use it more often? And thus, the idea for this blog was born. Do one thing every day that scares you. Seems simple enough, right? Well, not so much, when the very things that scare us can paralyze us, keep us from acheiving more and many times stop us from moving forward. So here I am, pledging to myself (and I suppose whoever else stumbles upon this), that I will do one thing, be it big or small, that scares the crap out of me. I will try to post every day to report my ‘brave efforts’, but even when I don’t, I will make it my mission to overcome my anxieties, one fear at a time. And I will start with my report on hot yoga…

The bag that will change my life (hopefully)