Sustain.Body

Hot Yoga Session 3: Process a Liter of Water in just 75 Minutes

Session 1: The (Post-Hangover) Test-Run

This post is part of my January 2012 30 Days of Hot Yoga series. This month I’m taking on a personal challenge to complete 30 sessions of hot yoga at Baptiste Studios in 30 days in celebration of my 30th birthday. Wish me luck!

Have you ever tried to process a liter of water in 75 minutes? It’s possible. And I did it on Day 3 of hot yoga.

Today I started at a disadvantage: I was dehydrated (though I didn’t know it), I was exhausted from travel, and I was nursing a bit of a hangover following a celebration with friends that went a little late last night. So, 60 minutes into class today, I was staring at the empty water bottle, as if to will it full again.

It was definitely empty.

And it remained empty through the entire class because I couldn’t leave. I was in the FLOW. Each posture was a small movement towards the next. It was blissful. It was blissful AND I was fairly confident that any sudden movement would cause me to get sick, or twist an ankle.

Trapped on my mat, I worked through it, knowing that every motion, every breath, brought me that much closer to shavasana (and the end of class). And I kept repeating ‘flow. flow like water. flow’ in my mind. Which, again, brings me back to the empty water bottle.

Did I mention I was thirsty?

I diverted my eyes away from the bottle to focus on something else. And that something happened to be the new location of my water: a puddle as long as my mat and as wide as my torso. My shirt soaked through. The drips were still dripping.

And all I could think was – I want that back!

But upon further examination, I wondered: was I sweating through my feet?! and How did this mat get so wet?? And while we’re on the subject, why do we sweat anyway?

Amazing how long your mind can wander when you need to lose track of the task at hand: working hard on the mat.

Or how quickly we can pick of that thought trail when a false move, an unsteady placement of hands or feet, reminds you of that time you slipped on ice recently. You think about that for a while and how you can feel it – days later – right here on your mat. And you appreciate your body for healing itself. Or at least that’s what you’re thinking of when you slip on your sweat puddle and – once again – are reminded about how thirsty you really are.

Note to self: Next time bring towel and two water bottles.

Well, I made it through class. And I was able to do more than the day before and concentrate more than the day before and feel more comfortable in myself than the day before. So I treated myself to some coconut water – two, actually – and brought my now-hydrated self home with a sense of awakening, a sense of purpose, as if I’m starting to get into this thing. And I think I like it.

My lesson from today’s practice is to have the resources you need to get through class: it’s one thing to show up, mat in hand. You also need be prepared for the task at hand. For the hard work. Reaching your potential is far more attainable if you have the tools you need to be successful – and a hand towel and full liter of water is a good place to start.

(Article on 10 things to know about Bikram yoga)