Finding your heartbeat through Hot Yoga
I still remember that feeling after a hot Bikram class. Almost a little dizzy, calm, empty, and then I would go outside making clouds with my breath. It was like taking the first breath of my life into my lungs. Such a wonderful feeling. Still warm, maybe sweaty again, maybe I would turn up to work looking all red in the face but it didn’t really matter.
Then it was just a matter of time how long I could keep that sensation throughout the day. The addiction that kicked in. Towards the afternoon, I would look at the schedule to see who was teaching the following morning because I wanted more of that “high”. I had that pattern in London for almost a year. Practicing 5–6 days a week. Some nakedness in the bright fluorescent lights, squeezed people on lines, sweating side by side.
The teacher with a military voice guiding us through the sequences. It actually sounds quite horrible but it’s not. One thing I really liked was in those postures like the dancing shiva (picture). The heart starts to beat fast. The mind is on the edge to panic because we don’t hear or feel our hearts beat that often. Only when we run, when we have fear, escaping from something, as a mechanism of the body to protect itself and be on the alert. Just that in this case, it’s caused by me.
The feeling of how after the pose, resisting the urge of moving but just standing still. Listen to the heartbeat and my mind to take a decision to be calm. To breath as little as possible and with no effort to not “blow” up the sensations even more. Just calm it down. The feeling of the sweat drops falling down my body, looking forward and just being.
Maybe a bit extreme, but I think the heat puts us in that “survival instinct” mode and we can access those sensations easier. What’s maybe an easy pose becomes hard when it’s 40 degrees. Maybe hot yoga is less popular in hot countries. I also had that feeling of all the stress going away from all the people in the form of sweat.
London is such a busy stressful city. Being in a room with 30–40 overworked stressed people on a Friday night is powerful. You can feel in the air all the tension that is being worked through and then ends up on the floor. Sometimes I miss that. In most of the Yoga I practice now I don’t really feel much of the presence of other students, not in the same way at least. Or maybe I haven’t had the right experience yet.
Originally published at shivasdance.com on January 29, 2016.