I just completed a 30-day hot yoga challenge. What I thought I’d feel at the end of it and what I actually felt like were totally different. I’ve practiced hot yoga for some time. I needed a mental, physical and spiritual “reset.” Taking a 90-minute class in a room that’s heated to over 100 degrees for 30 days in a row has got to trigger some change, right? It’s what I told myself anyway, because I’m a firm believer in happy endings. And while, at the end of Day 30 I felt rather “meh,” I realized that like so many things, the lessons learned happened on the journey.
Lesson 1: What I put in my body matters.
Water, water water. I actually have to stop typing for a second in order to take a big swig. Taking class every day has me drinking a ton of water. The heat had added to this. What I noticed around day 10 is that I crave more than I every have. Don’t get me wrong: I’ve always been a big water drinker. But now it seems my Klean Kanteen is attached to my palm.
Lesson 2: There is joy in the struggle.
It wasn’t all fun and reflection. At first, I felt this need to try and trick myself into thinking it was super every day. This was silly and unrealistic. It’s easy to love yourself when everything is going just the way you want. It’s easy to not love yourself when things go wrong. This was helpful on my 22nd day with a stomach bug. I felt like sloppy, gooey yogi, but it was okay.
Lesson 3: Challenge doesn’t mean competition.
The sickness mentioned in Lesson 2 didn’t make as much of an impact here as it should have. I should have stayed home. This was a mistake and defeated the point of the experience. I was competing with myself to get the challenge done, even though skipping would have been the decision that served me better. I may have learned this late, but then that’s better than never, right?
Lesson 4: It’s important to finish.
You have to imagine me whispering as I say this (because it’s a little hard to admit), but I think I didn’t want to take a day off when I was sick because I was afraid I wouldn’t finish. Momentum can be useful. Sometimes it’s easier to keep going. That said, I love the fact that I finished what I started.
Lesson 5: There is a mind/body connection.
I can make my body feel better if I start with my mind. Enough said.
Lesson 6: Remember what I learned.
I love yoga so much, because it has helped me deal with the Type A side of my personality. Maybe next time I’ll do a 30 day yoga experience rather than challenge. (See that, lesson 6 in action!).
This is me living yoga, and I love it. Namaste