Camels and Rabbits and Om My!

Did you pick up on what the post is about passed on the title? Camel and rabbit are two yoga postures and om, ॐ,  explained extremely simplistically, is a Hindu mantra. Over the years I have dabbled at different kinds of yoga but my favourite has always been hot yoga. Yoga can be pretty tough and the addition of heat can make it unbearable to some but I love it.

When you open the door of a heated yoga studio you can feel the warmth immediately. It’s like a really warm summer day. As the class begins and the pranayama deep breathing starts the warmth of the room feels comfortable, like you’re embraced in it. As the class moves through the standing series you feel your heart rate increase in certain postures. I never notice exactly when the sweat begins but I can feel it when it starts to roll down my skin and drip on to my towel covered mat. It isn’t until the class transitions to the floor series that the sweat can irritate me. Before you lift going into bhujangasana, cobra pose, the sweat sees its best opportunity to become bothersome and roll in thick lines in to your eyes. It’s common to hear the instructor to tell students to leave the sweat. It’s your body’s way of cooling itself from the heat but it’s sometimes hard to get your mind to stop yelling, “Wipe it off! Your towel is right there. That’s what it’s there for. Use it and make me, this little voice in your head, go away!” Or something like that. I don’t think that I’m the only person in the world who has an inner yoga voice. By the time you’ve reached this point in class you are going between shavasana and postures laying on your mat or sitting up so the towel, which not everyone uses but I can’t live without, absorbs sweat from default contact. And I’m totally soaked by now. Completely, totally, thouroughly covered in sweat. I don’t think that there is any place on my body that has escaped the sweat.

My inner yoga voice attempts to talk to me almost the entire class. Sometimes it’s positive like, “You can do this. You did this last week. Go deeper this week.” Sometimes it’s negative with, “You did this last class so why can’t you do it this class?” And as much as I try to focus on my own practice, and I am 99.9% not the only person to do this, I sometimes glimpse at other people and what they are doing. I know it’s all about me and my practice but the person beside you is totally nailing a pose it’s hard not to look. So, sometimes I look. Maybe one day I will be so advanced in my practice that I will be able to just look at myself in the mirror (assuming there isn’t a mirror hog in front of me. You know who you are.) and just focus on my breath and the pose. Until then, my yoga voice can be a bit of a pain in the ass. It’s all about acknowledging she’s there and telling her that she needs to layoff for the rest of class so that my mind can have a bit of a break. Does anyone else have a yoga voice that pops up during certain postures or points in the class?  I would be remiss not to mention the #2 comment my yoga voice makes which is, “Water!” Hot yoga etiquette dictates that you must refrain from drinking water until the instructor gives you the ok in the first part of the class and after that it’s up to you to decide when you need it in between postures. Lately I haven’t been consuming as much water as I used to during class. I’m not sure why, it might be that I am better hydrated before class or maybe I’ve just quelled my inner yoga voice on the water front.

By the time ardha-matsyendrasana starts you will either think, “Wow, how did I just survive this?” or, “It’s over already?” My practice is far from perfect. Tree pose, tadasana, is my nemesis. I have extremely tight hips and I know that it will take a LOT of practice, years, to master this pose. But until that happens, I will continue to make teeny-weeny progress. Which is (note to self: repeat this thought) ok.

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