Thursday, March 21, 2013

OMG Hot! Don't Panic! (or do, but then stop)

The heat isn't a big deal...until it is. At first you notice your sweat has made its debut unusually early to the class. You return focus to your breath and keep going, maybe a little more cautiously. By the end of eagle pose hysteria has taken hold and you are absolutely positive that you can see your heart-beat in your chest. And your big toe. And the rest of the room. Oh, god! Your eyeballs are beating! You sit down.

Focusing on your breath becomes near impossible with all the heart-beating around the room but you try anyway. Then your impending death occurs to you and you start to question your life choices. Especially that one about going to Bikram Yoga. The rest of the class is spent laying on your back, with an internal monologue that could win a Oscar drowning out the teacher.

So when this spiral starts, don't panic. You have your towel safely beneath you.* Be aware that this is a common spiral and that this is why you are here. Some days you get to work your edge on the physical posture some days you get to work your edge on the mental posture. Congratulations, you are having a doozy of a day for mental improvement!

Some days your ability to focus is helped by the heat, some days, you are fighting it. That is okay. In fact, it's good. Liken this situation to any other stressful situation:
You get in a fight with someone very close to you. During the course of the fight, emotions run high, voices get raised. Eventually, you are seriously contemplating putting your fist through his or her jawbone. The rest of the room just falls away. You don't hear the argument anymore, what you hear is your internal monologue telling you what a horrible, spiteful, fool this other person is. 
Feels kinda similar to what you just felt in the room, doesn't it? It is. Your mind has gone waaaaay off track and is working against you. You need tools to steer it back on course, to slow it down and to make the escalation stop.

The controlled stress of the room puts you in a safe environment (nobody is judging you, trained experts are watching you, and there is an emergency phone, coconut water and air conditioning 5 feet away) where you can experience intense mental pressure and learn, safely, to work through it.

So when you start to spiral, take a breath and start talking yourself down from the spiral. With enough practice in the room you will get good at it out of the room. The DMV, fights with family, when the landlord neglects to mention that the fumes from the work he's doing to the first floor of your building on Christmas day will be so bad that you have to huddle under a pile of blankets on your couch with the windows open fearing for each dying braincell in your poor cat (maybe I could use a little more work myself), will get much easier to manage.

Not fair. You have a fur coat.

*42. If you don't get the joke by now, please get off the internet. I say that for your own protection. I am afraid 4chan may eat you alive.


  1. Great things to remember as I prep to get back into the torture chamber. Plus. it's ALWAYS good to know where your towel is...


    1. Welcome back to the hot room, Mark! Love the blog, as a fellow former smoker (three packs a day) congrats on your accomplishment!!! For me, the cravings only stopped when I found bikram yoga. Hope it makes your journey as painless as it did mine. :) Cheers, doll & keep on truckin'!