Mondays, I usually go to hot yoga class. I used to attend a heated yoga flow later in the afternoon, but my toddler, “Biddi” insisted on moving her nap time to right in the middle of my class when she consolidated to one-nap-a-day!
The heated class is nice because it’s about 80 degrees and I don’t need to spend 10 minutes warming up my muscles, I just arrive 5 minutes early, take a seated position, and by the time class begins I am ready to go. The mild heat is wonderful on freezing midwestern winter days, especially because I don’t get the chills when I leave the studio and go back outside like with a super-hot yoga practice.
Biddi’s nap shift actually worked out really well, because after about a year of heated yoga, my core had 100% recovered from pregnancy and I felt up to a new challenge. My former class was amazing with lots of Vinyasa and a chance to practice inversions and attempt crow pose each week. I got the full wheel pose and gained confidence with some fun poses that were new to me, like dolphin pose, my weird new favorite!
The new class has more chair pose, camel pose, but fewer inversions. It is a nice change and I find it more introspective and inspiring. In the past, I would typically set my intention at the start of class along the lines of opening my heart or finding my voice. Recently I have switched it up and I have been focused on living a healthy lifestyle. I find that taking time to focus my efforts and energy on Mondays sets the tone for a very positive week.
In terms of my yoga practice, I try to push myself out of my comfort zone without being reckless. I am flexible for whatever reason, so in the hot room it’s tempting to push too far and risk injury. I always have to remind myself to stay engaged and strong, rather than absent-mindedly relying on stretchiness to complete a posture without actually doing yoga.
My slow-but-steady mindset has paid off in a very rewarding way–I did a tripod headstand this week for the first time ever and it was the coolest thing. I was terrified and asked the instructor to help. She didn’t act as a spotter or guide me by picking my legs up, like I pretty much expected. Instead she stood beside me and walked me through the steps. I did not get my legs extended vertically, because I was a scared and my abs just aren’t there yet, but it was a really solid first try. So basically for a year and a half I have been envious of everyone in class who can do that pose and I did it. I love surprising myself! It’s like when my husband cracks me up with some hysterical anecdote I have never heard before. Like, “Yes! After all these years we can still learn something new about each other!”
As I feel myself aging and turning into an old fuddy-duddy, I have expanded the idea of pushing myself out of my comfort zone without being reckless beyond the yoga studio. In the picture above, for example, when my husband finally convinced me to put Biddi in a kid’s seat on the back of his bicycle last summer. I was freaked out. She loved it and it opened up our days in summer so we can do more things on the weekends with Biddi’s mobility, since she is now independent of a carseat or stroller, weather permitting.
In the interest of making healthy choices and living a healthy lifestyle, I usually leave the gym and immediately head to the supermarket to load up on produce. On days that I rush home to put Biddi in to nap, I inevitably end up eating something frozen or from a can. I can justify it by saying it was reduced sodium or vegetarian but I don’t think it lives up to the mantra of living a healthy lifestyle. Biddi has been my inspiration: rediscovering actual food was a direct result of making her baby food. I had to start making an effort to care for myself after years of flying on auto-pilot, because I realized that my example is more impactful and long-lasting than just feeding her pureed cauliflower.