I watched a video on MSNBC about why yoga (all yoga) is dangerous yesterday. On Sunday the husband of a colleague died while running on the treadmill at the gym. He was 50 and in great shape. I wonder if he could have died doing hot yoga. Or plain yoga. I wonder if there will be videos about why running is dangerous for you too.  I am sure there already are. Lots of things are dangerous for you. Iron Man plays rugby, that’s plenty dangerous.

To be fair, I did dislocate my shoulder doing a ‘yogaish’ move in May (dive bomber pushups – so sort of ‘downdogish’).  But again, that has little to do with the move and mostly to do with my joints and their endless issues.

I love hot yoga. It’s interesting because I don’t love regular yoga, or at least I didn’t before. I might love it more now but really, my heart lies with hot yoga. Let me tell you a little bit about why.

STRESS RELIEF

I don’t think I am that high strung but apparently, according to some people (I am looking at you Scott and Iron Man) I can be a little intense at times. I don’t always deal with stress well, I can get overwhelmed when there is a lot going on in my life and I don’t take time to just let go and unwind.  Hot yoga is perfect for me in that regard. I will be honest and say that I still have a hard time ‘leaving all my problems at the door or on the floor’ but I am working on it. I try to focus just on the poses and the breathing but it isn’t easy.

I still leave each class feeling better than when I came in.  I feel filled and freed and clean – yes, even though I am dripping with sweat.

EXERCISE

The only people who think hot yoga is easy are the people who haven’t done it before. It isn’t easy, it is never easy. You can always take the pose somewhere else, you can always challenge yourself. My body has changed a lot because of my practice.  I haven’t dropped huge pounds but my body looks and feels stronger. Remember, I dislocated my shoulder about 8 months ago and at the time I pretty much couldn’t imagine doing anything for at least a year – that’s how long it took me to recover completely from my first dislocation. This time around it took me maybe 3 months and then I started hot yoga and I can honestly say that there are very few actions that I do where I am aware of my shoulder being weak. I am so much more aware of how my muscles work together and my back is lightyears stronger.

My balance has improved drastically and flexibility has increased.  I am much more aware of my imbalances in terms of each of these: I can balance much better on my right side than my left, my quads are WAY tighter than my hamstrings, I am much more flexible in forward bending moves than backwards bending moves.  I feel like I know my body better.

Oh, and it’s great cardio. You wouldn’t think that it could be, but a power flow class combined with 40+degrees…yeah, you sweat a lot and your heart rate is up there.

SPIRITUALITY

This is an interesting one because yoga is primarily based in the Buddhist faith. And I am Christian. And yet, these two do not feel at odds to me. I have started doing some research (and by started I mean barely) on the two topics and how they mesh (and don’t mesh) but for now I feel like yoga is helping my spirituality. I feel like it is a sort of prayer time for me. I am sure to some that will sound heretical but for me it works. It is meditative. It is centering. It helps me to focus on what matters. It reminds me of Covey’s ‘Big Rocks’ video.  It makes me remember the ‘big rocks’ and not focus too much on the ‘small pebbles’. God is one of those ‘big rocks’…so for me, it helps in my faith.

MARRIAGE

I do hot yoga with Iron Man. It’s time we ‘spend together’.  I mean, we don’t talk while we do it, we don’t touch while we do, and we only occasionally look at each other while we do it. But it is something we share, a common experience. And we do talk about hot yoga a lot, about what we find difficult, what we are working on. I love it that he goes with me. I love it that he is enjoying it.

HUMOUR

Um, this video is all I have to say about humour and yoga: shityogissay.  If you can’t laugh at yourself who can you laugh at?

Namaste!

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