This morning the alarm went off at 5:30. I kissed hubs goodbye as he lay snugly (and smugly when I think about it) in the quilt, pulled on my yoga kit, and half an hour later I stood on my mat staring at my reflection as I began the deep breathing that eases you into the class.
I am not going to lie. I don’t remember the last time I went. I have no excuse, no reason why the gap from the last class to this morning was so long. I do know, tomorrow morning when the alarm goes off again tomorrow morning at 5:30, it is going to hurt to get out of bed. There is nothing like looking at your shins, while pulling on your heels, while standing on your hands to make you think ‘Why am I doing this again?’ That is one of the first poses, as you move through the rest of them, your body is stretched, pulled and pushed in every direction. Your heart rate goes up, really high considering you are just holding a pose for 20 seconds, then again for 10 seconds. But when doing a deep back-bend, camel (taken to extreme by Bikram in this photo!), your heart is pounding in your ears.
You have to listen to what the teacher says, as they don’t often demonstrate the poses, they coach you through as you teach yourself, listening to the instructions. Although the teachers prowl round the class, correcting when they need to, but it is your body, so you work it. You know what you can do on the first pass of the pose, and then you try to push past that on the second pass. Working in the heat is hard work, but because you are warmer, it supports your muscles. Many people over-stretch when cold and cause agonising strains, the series of poses in this yoga are in an order to allow you to warm up your muscle groups, so when you get to the big full body stretches, you’re warmed up and raring to go. One of the hardest things to do is to remember to breathe just through your nose.
Getting up at 5:30 isn’t easy. It never will be easy, it is also something I thought I’d left behind me when I stopped commuting up to London every day. But, when I get home from work with a clear evening in front of me, it is all worth it. I’d rather get it over and done with than have to fret about finishing work on time, missing the traffic, finding a parking space and then what am I going to eat and so on. Apart from anything else, I sat at work all day with a clear head, feeling virtuous because I’d done it. I’d already done the hardest thing I’d do that day. Working your body in that heat, in that humidity is like checking in with yourself, and today. I did more than ok. I did good.