I don't know if I've ever had a love-hate relationship quite as volatile as the one I have with the heat. Right now, I'm thinking that the heat is simultaneously the cause of and solution to the misery so often felt in the yoga room.
I went to class last night with something weighing pretty heavily on my mind. I'd had a rough day, and my mind was so preoccupied with what happened I was beginning to doubt my ability to make it through the class. I just felt like I was drowning in emotions. Once again, though, I was remindedof how needed this yoga is in my life right now.
As class began, two thoughts were jockeying for position in my head. One was about what happened during the day, and the other was about the heat. "Jesus Christ, it's hot," I usually think to myself as I walk into the room. I've found that the more obsessive my thinking, the harder a time I have surrendering to the heat. Normally, I let go of the "it's hot! Life is hard! Poor me!" thinking pretty quickly. But probably because of what was going on in my head yesterday, I was having a hard time accepting I was about to be turned into a hot, sweaty mess.
Have y'all noticed a connection between the relationship to the heat and what's happening in life? Is it just me? After a class like that, I'm thinking that the heat is this perfect symbol of what happens inside as we practice. We go into the class thinking, "Jesus Christ, it's hot." (OK, I won't put words in your mouth. I do ;-) We almost want to cling to that thought, to hold onto the day's problems, to not surrender to the sweat that's beginning to pour out of the body. It's the same thing that we do in life. There's the present moment, but it's so easy to get caught up in problems and drama that have no relevance to what's going on.
Thank goodness for the postures, the teacher, and the heat! They beat us back into the now. You don't survive otherwise. Hard as we may try to stop it from coming, the sweat starts pouring out, and in proportion as we surrender to the act of letting go, the outside problems drop away. Even if it's only for moments at a time, the problems fade.
I couldn't believe how much my mood changed during that yoga class. I walked in not knowing if I'd be able to stay in the room, I was so upset from what had happened that day. But once I let go, such a tremendous set of peace settled in. My practice, body, and mind were so calm and steady. I can't begin to express how grateful I felt when I realized, as I came out of Camel pose, that at least 45 minutes had passed without thinking about what was going on that day.
The challenges are still there. Jesus himself would probably say, "What the hell? It's hot." But look what we can let go of!
Wouldn't you know? I felt like today's class was cold. Now that's fodder for another post...