Wednesday, August 31, 2011

HOT Yoga

I love evening classes. Being a freelance designer I don't have a drive home to separate my work-life from my home-life. I read somewhere that a 20 minute commute is the ideal time to make that healthy mental separation. The closest I have gotten is leaving my office, going to the kitchen for tea and, upon returning to the office, announcing that I am done with work; thinking this would work the same way half-court basketball does. Much like half-court basketball, I can never remember which side I am on and end up shooting for the wrong team; work creeping into my free-time and Zombies vs. Plants sneaking into my work-day.

Evening yoga gives me that mental break. Before yoga, my office is an office. After yoga, it can be a painting studio, game room or den. Yoga has the added advantages, when compared to a commute, of invigorating me, giving mental clarity and not encouraging me to scream and hold my middle finger up at people, just under the dash-board where nobody can see.

Sometimes my work-day runs late and I end up eating a light dinner the prescribed 3 hours before 8:30 class. This was the case recently. I made a light dinner of curry. I make my own, using spices I grind at the time of cooking, organic spinach, mushrooms and hot peppers. I have to be very careful when handling the peppers because I have dry skin (Eczema actually. Before yoga it was not unusual for the dry cracks in my hands & feet to bleed). The pepper oils easily seep into the cracks and burn painfully for hours. This time, I was good. I used gloves when cutting the chilies and scraped them neatly from the cutting board into the skillet rather than transferring them by hand.

That was then. Three hours later, in half-moon, my hands were starting to tingle. By awkward pose the tingling became a fire. My hands, from finger-tips to just below my wrists might as well have been dipped in lava. Evidently, when removing the gloves, I had not been careful not to touch the gloves. For hours the oils had been sitting dormant on my skin's surface but  as my pores opened to release sweat, the mistake was obvious. The painful lumps on the end of my arms were getting worse, turning into white-hot pokers I wanted to fling from my body.

The march of time stops for no yogi. Next up, eagle. Hands over head. Swing your right under left, twisting at the elbow and again at the wrist. You know those crazy/talented people who swing fire around their bodies on the end of long chains?

Yeah. That was exactly how I felt. The problem is that fire-dancers keep the fire pretty much away from their body. I was about to twist my swinging chains up and hold the ball of flames to my face. My fear resembled a bad trip, where a seemingly innocuous item (my hands) inspires such fear as to be paralyzing. My hands were a rabid axe-weilding bunny and I had to hold still and watch them come at me.

My Eagle Pose

The good news is, I made it through eagle; holding my hands as far from my face as my twisted arms would allow. In fact, I made it through the whole class. The fire started to subside around rabbit pose. I can't say I did a good job focusing on my breath, unless you count snorting heavily to force a breeze onto my hands, but hey, any class you stay in the room is a good class, right?

I still enjoy my evening classes, but am now very careful to plan my meals accordingly should I have to eat dinner beforehand. 


  1. Oh man, I've just discovered the joy of evening yoga to separate a freelancer's work and play. It changes everything! (Also, I feel quite European eating dinner at 9.) Superfun blog!

  2. After 5 years I am STILL finding little things that make big differences to a freelancer's quality of life, Whitney! Let me know if you have any tips for me! PS Thanks! I am SO glad you are enjoying the blog!

  3. LOL! i do this every single time i cut peppers (which is almost daily) and i still haven't learned to use gloves. you would think after my hands felt like melting, i'd learn my less. but no, not at all.

    one good thing from the wrath of burning hands is that it makes the rest of your body feel a bit cooler. and the room. it's the little things, lol.

  4. Little Piggy: Way to keep it positive! Spoken like a true yogi!

  5. Hey Kate! Amy (Feigley, we met at her wedding oh at at bikram that morning too :) suggested I follow your blog as a fellow yogini. Hope all is well and that your 365 in 365 is coming along! Namaste.

  6. Michelle!!! So glad to hear from you! I will be back in Detroit later this month. I'll let you know when so maybe we can take a class together (and maybe grab a drink)! Namaste, lady!

  7. I learned the firey wrath of capsaicin a few years ago when I was making pad thai. Raw peppers never affected me before but I also didn't make a habit of eating them to find out. My hands were on fire for hours and I had to fall asleep with ice packs wrapped around them just to take the edge off. I can't imagine doing yoga with my hands on fire! You have nerves of steel, I am thoroughly impressed.

  8. @ jenn p: Naw. Once you're in the room, what else are you gonna do? Roll with it, baby. You gotta' roll with it.