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Friday, October 23, 2009

The Price of Saying Never or Going Beyond Self Imposed Limits

A coincidence challenges my prejudice against heated yoga. I take on the challenge and only afterwards I realize, how limiting the dislike had been, almost like a weight had been lifted. The thought, we set our limits way before the true limits, comes to mind. I am left with a feeling of relief and am scouting which other confining limits I can eliminate.

This is an ever so small event that it is easy to oversee and miss to appreciate and learn from it. I signed up for a trial week with Corepower Yoga. Knowing that they offer a lot of heated Yoga, I was careful to stay clear of the classes called "heated", "hot" and the like. It takes always a certain amount of willpower to walk into a new place and do a new class. Yogamat in hand I walked up to the receptionist and learned that the class I came for (Yoga Sculpt) was a heated yoga class and that handweights were part of the routine (Uff). Immediately I repeated a mantra I would keep telling people when the topic came to Yoga and my regular practice: "never heated yoga!!" I don´t do well with heat and tend to get the dizzies, sudden weakness, cold shudders, etc. Since I was already there I decided to give it a try and that I could still leave if I needed to do so (but Yoga etiquette would not be pleased about that). I entered the room and put my mat down on one of the last empty spots, next to one of the few men in class. We started chatting and he told me that this was their hardest class at Corepower Yoga. Oh Dear, now I really thought that I was in trouble! I had not been in a guided yoga class in a long time and had just been doing my own thing at home, usually not pushing myself as hard as Yoga instructors do. On top of that the scene around me proved what that man had just said: people had put towels on their mats in order to catch their sweat AND sprayed the towels so they would keep them as cool as possible. They all looked so fit! Now I felt a slight panic inside myself. I decided to keep my own cool and be open for the new experience. I felt the warmth of the room on my skin and noticed how nice and cozy it felt. I got my water bottle and filled it up. This I knew was going to give me energy when I needed it during the class. Was I going to be able to make it with the weights and all? This was so different from the Yoga I had been taught over years in Europe. I have never had water during class (in the Indian tradition you must not have water an hour before or after Yoga practice, not even think about bringing a bottle into class!) and certainly no weights (too body centered, Yoga is not about looks, didn´t you know?!). Of course the heat was knew as well for me - and much feared to be honest.

The class began, I did fine. I remember wondering, when the merciless drill would begin, but it did not come. It was intense, yes, but I had had much harder from my teacher-guru Shandor, who was known to single handedly throw people out of the class if they were not trying seriously enough. The man next to me was going through the hell he had predicted. He just was not all that fit, maybe in his mid 40ies. I looked around. Amongst the some 25 women was only one other woman than myself who was not in her early twenties. Maybe this men came for the view and was willing to be in pain for it :-). I was so glad I had taken the challenge and had stayed open to the experience. I had been so prejudiced against heated Yoga that I would never have tried it "voluntarily". Now, I might do it again - or not. But I know that I have one limitation less in my head and THAT was so worth it! So, what other things are there that I keep myself left out from because of prejudices that have no particular reason? It feels so much better to not always wince at the word BIKRAM Yoga or heated Yoga anymore but to feel proud, feel like the world is my playground and not a dangerous place to be. Amazing, what one ever so tiny incidence can change: My life quality.

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