A post from one of the women we support about her experience of hot yoga as recommended in her 1-2-1 support session:
Dedication: to all of the never-ever-give-up people who love and hold me throughout my journey.
My experiences of twenty consecutive daily ninety minute yoga workout sessions inside a rather warm room.
How did I get here? As FaceBook-World says, “Born.” I’m married with three grown-up children. I had worked for many years as a childcare professional followed by seven years in an extremely sedentary office admin job before redundancy in April this year. I have chronic low-back injury pain which was initially treated with caudal epidural steroid injections and strong analgesic meds. I now base pain management on holistic and complementary therapeutic practices including acupuncture, Tai Chi, TENS machine, Reiki, mind-emotions-spirit-body visualisations, nutrition and learning with an open mind and heart. It was a combination of thinking about learning yoga, experiencing a sizzling hot summertime in December when visiting my son on the other side of the world and the synchronicity of the very supportive woman at SARSAS saying, “Have you thought about yoga?”
Twenty things I’ve learnt:
- Water. The phrases, “drink more water” and “stay hydrated,” have been scorched into my brain. I’ve developed an admiration, appreciation and thankfulness for this essential element not only for drinking but also for washing.
- Electrolytes are important too. Sweat and tears contain salts.
- Breathing. That’s a mighty deep, deep breath!
- To practice listening to my body. Sometimes various parts of my physical body are extremely vocal. Ouch! Other parts have deeper and more subtle messages.
- There is a fine balance between pacing, testing new boundaries and pushing to find new abilities.
- Hot. “Is it hot in here? Or is it me?” One person’s hot is another person’s warm.
- Pain. I often wonder if it’s the actual pain or the fear of pain that holds me back from moving forwards.
- Falling and looking back, way back helps me to value my capacity for going forward.
- Group energy. Having compassion to receive energy and share my own energy with the group creates a powerful support.
- Muscles have names, such as “trapezius.” I should have paid more attention in anatomy class so I know what to look for in the mirror.
- Breathing. My stomach muscles have spoken.
- This explains a lot. When I “pull a funny face” which is almost constantly it relays messages to my brain which then activates a mind state. For example, smiling sets off ‘Happy Mind.’
- Stay humble. There were a couple of times when I found it difficult not to shout out, “Woo. Hoo!” as I successfully balanced on one leg or stretched my knee flat on the floor. These became inner-“Yesss!” moments.
- Stretching, compressing and neutral but the greatest of these is neutral and for me, the most difficult of all postures.
- One of my favourite quotes said by one of the wonderfully motivational yoga instructors in a cool, Spanish accent, “It is normal to feel weird and weird to feel normal.”
- Another, said by another instructor is, “Never, ever give up.”
- It’s important to pay attention to how I get myself into situations and unwind from them with dignity and grace in the correct and strong way.
- In my mind, my forehead is touching my toes and my knees are locked. The power of visualisation.
- I am learning to thank myself for allowing my body to do what it is naturally wired up to do and that is to recover and heal.