This morning, I had the rare opportunity to attend a yoga class. I'd found a new studio within 3 miles of my house. Better yet, its schedule fit mine - not too early, not too late - unlike my old standby studio.
I prepped my toddler for my departure, and recruited her dad to watch her. I left the house, found my way to the class on time and eagerly signed in. Then I dashed into the studio and froze.
Moist heat was being pumped into the studio, sticking to my clothes and mat. It hadn't even occurred to me to check if this was a heated yoga studio.
As someone with mild asthma, and a history of getting winded during hot desert hikes, I've avoided hot yoga like the plague.
I circled back to the front desk to ask some basic questions - Will my cell phone get screwed up if I keep it in the studio with me? No. How hot does it get? 95 degrees. Wow.
Having conquered the major challenges of getting leave of my child and getting to the studio on time, I felt like there was no turning back.
Yes, I could ask for a refund and leave, but I really wanted to do yoga. So I resigned myself to my fate. The receptionist took pity on me and threw me a towel. I doubled back and grabbed my water bottle from the car.
As the class got started I was seething with anger. How could they do this to me? My mind kept re-telling the story of my asthma and heat intolerance, and as I tuned in I got madder and madder. I exited the studio several times to catch my breath. Each time the teacher turned up the heat, my anger would renew itself.
As I continued to practice, my anger leading my thoughts, I soon had a eureka: being angry is not solving anything. While it may seem that the solution to a bad situation is to resist it, to keep its undesirable qualities away from us, it became clear that the only thing I could control in that room was me.
Soon the anger gave way, and I felt a wave of sadness. Was I mourning the loss of the yoga class I'd envisioned, or some earlier loss that anger had been masking? Likely a combination of both. I stayed present to what came up, and soon the emotions and mental chatter passed.
The heat became my new norm, and I took the hot yoga class slower than I might otherwise, skipping postures I knew would make me lightheaded. But I made it through.
And as class ended, lying there on my mat, I felt like I'd climbed a mountain. I'd faced down a challenge - physical but even more so mental and emotional - and I'd overcome.
And now, knowing that hot yoga is within the realm of what's possible for me, I just might try that Bikram studio down the street.