Today marks 100 days of my consecutive, daily hot yoga practice and guess what? I’ve reached my goal before even getting here. I started with a 40 days yoga challenge and without hesitation I bumped it to 100. At this point of my life the number no longer matters, I could easily say 1000 days. I will be doing yoga forever. Here are some of the high points from this journey – enjoy it:
Lesson 1: Safety. What? The very first emotion experienced by me was safety. I’ve been training martial arts since I was 12 and I forgot how it feels to be “safe”. Yoga studio was a place where I’ve found peace – there were people around me (similar to dojo) but nobody was planning to kick me in the face or rip my arm out. This allowed me to relax and enjoy the experience.
Lesson 2: Yoga is not about the poses. I had this misconception that yoga is a fitness program where I would go through series of movements. Well… I did and there was more to it. The body is a metaphor of our life – I can treat it gently, with respect and love, or I can abuse it. At first I pushed myself beyond my own limit, then I realized that I’m missing the point.
Lesson 3: I thought that Yoga is not “manly” enough. Well, I was proven wrong within 5 minutes seeing all these happy women, some of them half of my size, holding poses with physical strength beyond my capability.
Lesson 4: Yoga practice is about me. All teachers were very clear about the class being a personal journey without forced comparison to others. Comparison leads to unhappiness.
Lesson 5: I became aware of the mental aspect of the practice. Going through the movements, focusing my efforts on improving the posture, paying attention to small details, alignment, listening to instructor’s voice, finding my own limit without causing pain, keeping the breath going, all of “that” shut off my internal dialog. It was like a time-out for my mind.
Lesson 6: Great friendship and supportive atmosphere at the studio. Some people come and go, some keep going in the same direction – feels great to be around them.
Lesson 7: It’s great for my body. It gently activated parts of my body I rarely used with twists and bends and stretches. It also strengthened my core – my lower back feels super strong now. My whole body feels more toned.
Lesson 8: Surprise! I like Yin Yoga! I didn’t like that much at first, slow classes where I had to hold poses for several minutes. What’s the point? Now Yin Yoga is my favourite class. I don’t feel rushed, I have enough time to settle in the pose, to stabilize my breathing and to relax. I found peace in my breath.
Lesson 9: Shavasna at the end of the class. I love it. The body is absorbing all the learnings and I find it much easier to calm my mind and meditate by finding and expanding the spaces between the thoughts. They still keep coming yet it feels easier to distance myself from them.
Lesson 10: The heat, after all it’s hot yoga. There is no better feeling than opening the door and stepping… inside…
Lesson 11: The beauty of yoga poses, not mine, not yet… hahahaha.. When I saw the poses presented by more advanced practitioners and instructors I was struck by the beauty of it. It’s like watching a ballet performance – it’s so light and graceful. It projects so much positive energy.
That’s all that is coming to my mind right now – a big thank you goes to all new friends supporting me along the way, to all teachers and to studio owners – Rosie and Jennifer. We are so blessed to have this great yoga studio in Bolton – you have exceeded my expectations, supported me in my growth and made this experience fun and profound. Keep up the great work. Thank you!
Tom Dywanski, “The Peaceful Warrior” & member at Healthletica