Wednesday, March 11, 2009

This is what I'm doing now

I took a hot yoga class today. Not quite as hot as bikram, but still, 95 degress is quite hot. When Yogasana, an Iyengar place, opened on my corner in Brooklyn a few years ago (replacing Mario's Deli, R.I.P.), I ended up going twice a week for awhile. I took half-day workshops and classes and for a few months I was even doing yoga every day at home, which was very unlike me.

This yoga is different. I went to my first class about six weeks ago and did not like it one bit. In Brooklyn we'd spend a great deal of time going over and over and over poses very carefully; we'd often do a half dozen poses in the 90 minutes. We'd spend a lot of time focusing on an obscure body part, like where your spine meets the back of your skull. Everything we did for the session was about that, in some way. Once we spent a half hour rolling a tennis ball under our feet.

This studio is not like that. This feels like a comparable class level, but it moves very fast -- high push-up, low push-up, updog, downdog, boom, boom, boom. The heat is intense. My shirt was soaking wet almost immediately. I'd stop a lot to wipe my face with the towel I'd brought, and chug some water. I couldn't keep up the pace, and I gather the issue with hot yoga -- with any yoga, really -- is that you can get hurt if you get your ego in the way. If you look at the people around you and start getting competitive you can push yourself too hard, and in the heat that can be dangerous.

Apparently the heat is good for injuries, however, so I went back today because my body had felt amazing the last time; my shoulder, which I injured last summer, felt like new. My chiropractor said, turn your head off and listen to your body. You have to try at least once more.

So I went. And while I don't feel as amazing as I did in January, I signed up for a 10-class card because I realized something important: When you live some place a long time, as I did in Brooklyn, for nearly 2 decades, you develop resources and routines and people and ways of doing things. And part of moving, I can see now, was to shake all that up. Today I found myself saying, thinking, Iyengar was good in Brooklyn, really good. But this is what I'm doing now.

This is what I'm doing now. This is how I'm living now. I felt a new level of acceptance for my not-so-new way of life. This is the yoga I am doing now. I am not taking class with my beloved Erin down the street. But just because it's not Erin doesn't mean there aren't things to learn here, and I'll be darned if I shut myself off from them just because it's different from what I know and have come to rely on.

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