Sense is the song you sing out into the world, and the song the world sings back to you: The 5 Day Hot Yoga Challenge

Take it to the next level, they said.  It’ll be a detox they said.  You’ll feel great they said.  Oh man.  If only I had known.

Here’s a run down of mind and body over the course of my 5 Day Hot Yoga Challenge, and of course, a special shout out to Hot Flow Yoga Rivierenbuurt

Day 1
The Class:
Ok, I totally have this.  Look at me flow. I am a sweating a little but I am all over this.  Oh wait.  What? Ab sequence? Uh. <Insert expletive here>. Ok.  So that hurt, but no worries.  I just have room to grow.

The rest of the day I felt pretty good, despite my body forcing me into a short nap. I had a great coaching with my amazing guru who helped me define an action plan for my next career move, and generally speaking, I was riding a pretty good natural high. When the girls got home we danced around the kitchen and baked some paleo cinnamon rolls for breakfast the next morning.  And that, my friends, is where it goes to hell in a hand basket, much like my ab sequence.

The rest of the evening is a wash of screaming, whining, “I don’t like it” and every other kid-ism that  a 3 and 4 year old could muster to grate on my nerves. By the end of the evening, after a fair amount of yelling on my end, swearing under my breath, and a text to my bestie that read something along the lines of “want to buy a 4 year old? Cheap”, hugs and kisses were administered and I wearily made my way downstairs to bask in the silence.

Day 2
The Class:
OMG how are we only 10 minutes in? I am going to die. My muscles are shaking and if I have to do one more chaturanga I am literally going to fall flat on my face. *face plant*  Oh look, there is a little river on my mat. Oh, never mind, that is just my sweat.

After that, the afternoon was a blur: half day of school, lunch, parent/teacher conference, dance drop off, errands, dance pick up, snack, day care pick up and parent/teacher conference #2.  Somewhere after snack and before daycare pick up, my oldest decided to begin a tantrum of EPIC proportions.  My mother would call this karma.

Me: M, come on let’s go get your sister
M: But I am huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuungryyyyyyyyyyyy
Me: I know.  I packed you a sandwich for dinner! Egg salad.
M: Nooooooooo! The eeeegs *breath* will *breath* fall *breath* out!
Me: (evaluates probability of tantrum escalating and the clock) Ok, here.  Take a couple crackers. You can eat the sandwich when we get to the classroom.
M: (with a sly look on her face) B doesn’t have any crackers.
Me: M, you need to finish your cracker before we pick up B.
M: (showing me her pristine cracker upon arriving to pick up B) Look, I have still have a cracker.
Me: Ok, then you need to share it with your sister.

Well, I am sure you can imagine how the rest went down.  If not, The Exorcist should give you a pretty good idea. On the bright side, I had zero fear that people wouldn’t hear us approaching on the bike.

Day 3
The Class:
Ok, we are working on form today.  I can do this.  Nope.  No, I can’t.  My arms are still jelly and I can't hold myself up. Great. Ok. Why do I suck at this?  I should be better at this after months of yoga.

That afternoon I didn't want to do anything but hole myself up in my room.  Usually l love picking the girls up or surprising them when they get home from school.  Instead, I sent Julie and hid in my room, pretending that I wasn't home.  I wanted to build some interfaces and embed my blog on my website, but instead turned on the Gilmore Girls and laid there half comatose. Finally, I rallied myself and wrote half a blog entry. I felt even worse when the girls’ dad called from Singapore.
By the end of the evening I was just done. Stick a fork in me. Done.

Day 4
Full disclosure: At this point, the only reason that I have decided to continue this charade is for the sake of my blog, because honestly, a 3 day challenge? 

The Class:
My mantra for the class is pretty much “I accept (that I have to be here for the sake of my blog)”.  I half heartedly try the un-modified poses, but lets face it, my arms are weak, I feel like a total sham of a yogi. Somehow, miraculously, I made it through the class without too much modification, and I am rather pleased with myself that I made it through the class.

The rest of the day was awesome.  I decided that I wouldn't make the same mistake I made on Day 4 and headed straight to the Coffee Company to get some work done.  A linked blog and a blog post later, and I am en route for a mid-day cinema date with my Pookie (sometimes pet names look so much more ridiculous than they sound). In the middle of the movie I felt so good and so grateful that I almost started crying, but by the time we had finished our double dinner date that evening, I felt like the most epic failure at life that ever walked the face of the earth.
How did I go from finishing my Master’s in Opera Performance in Paris and having so many opportunities at my fingertips to an abusive marriage with two kids (before I was ready) to working a corporate job, the one thing I swore I would never do, with little to no direction in life?  I know I believe that I am in control of my future, but how am I supposed to get out of this one?  I am a single mom, working a job that doesn’t fit me.  I am exhausted, drawn thin and financially speaking, I am far from where I want to be.

Day 5
The Class:
Today I am going embrace where I am on the journey and where I am in my practice. No beating myself up, as long as I show up and do what I can. Check it out! I can already make it through the Ab sequence without stopping. One very small step in the name of fitness, one huge step for me.

That class, and all of the other classes leading up to that, made me realise that it didn’t really matter what my choices were up to that point; it didn’t matter whether they were good or bad because there was nothing I could do to change any of those actions.  What matters now is how I accept my journey and the integrity I have moving forward. 
The rest of the weekend was amazing. For the first time in a long time the girls and I actually felt like a family and I truly enjoyed just hanging out with them. There was no whining to speak of and the few tantrums that I got from B, because she is 3.5, after all, were just kinda like eh, no biggie.

So, I have decided that (hot) yoga is totally worth it.  Aside from the endorphins and feeling like all the icky stuff is leaving your body, I feel like it is kinda life personified and stuck into an hour long class.
For me, the Big 5 are:

  1. Comparing yourself to someone else while you are in Warrior 3 is ensuring you will fall flat on your face.
  2. Transitions will make or break your flow.
  3. Sometimes you have to quit muscling through and relax to figure out what it is all about.
  4. You have more strength than you think.
  5. Breathe. 


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