Fear Factors

As I shook a little pink Himalayan salt into my apple cider vinegar water yesterday morning I realized that I was actually feeling scared…“scared of going to a yoga class?” asked the pretty reasonable part of my brain…“YES! Quite!” answered the anxiety ridden portion of my amygdala. It is no secret to anyone who actually knows me that joining yoga after my 50th birthday has been one of the best things I have ever done for myself, but I generally take classes that are sort of slow and flow-y and stretch-y, but yesterday I had signed up for one called HOT POWER and I was nervous.

My body’s ability to sense even a half of degree of temperature change is fascinating science really, I literally can walk into my house and in less than a minute feel that my boyfriend has adjusted the thermostat, AND there I was, shaking some salt into my ice water with the advance knowledge that I was shortly going to walk into a room full of people that has the thermostat set to 90 degrees and then do power yoga. I was a little bit scared that I would not be able to keep up, and frankly was a lot of bit scared that I might faint!!!

Now, to be clear, I work outside quite a bit all summer…I have left landscaping jobs where my shorts are soaked as wet as a bathing suit, but that is just part of my job that is expected on a hot sunny day, but to purposefully, on my day off, go to a yoga studio knowing that I am going to be dripping with sweat had me thinking that perhaps I had recently lost a few marbles…However, I have been to this particular studio before, and when I have been in the foyer waiting for my “happy hips” class to begin, the kind of class that is slow and stretchy and mellow I suppose I could write, I have watched as the HOT POWER class ended, how every single person who poured out of the room was smiling, sweat pouring into all of their eyeballs and flinging off of their bodies, very wet with sweat from their heads to their toes, but smiling, wide smiles and joyful faces, every time I was there to witness the exit from the class, and so I often asked myself, how scary could it be if everybody leaves there smiling?? …but still I resisted trying something new…scared I would fall on my face doing some kind of balance pose on sweaty feet, scared I would fall on my face because my sweaty foot slipped, scared that because I would be “new,” everybody would notice if I could not do something they could do…fears, all of them silly, but fears nonetheless.

…AND so on Saturday morning when some people are still asleep, I was shaking pink salt into my Yeti with a slightly shaking hand preparing to do something that scared me. I have read quotes over the years that are supposed to be inspiring that say things like “do one thing a day that scares you” but they never inspire me, and instead make me quite rather appreciate my relatively boring life with very few experiences, activities, or events that could be described as frightening in any way whatsoever!! But, yesterday, I chose to do one thing that scared me…AND you know what?? it was FABULOUS!!! The girl to my left was half my size with the most toned arms I have ever seen, and the lady in front of me was able to bend and move her body like a baker twisting a hot Philly pretzel, and I still felt fabulous…I did not feel “less than” because I was not as limber, or feel “bad” because I have weight to lose, I felt so good because I was doing something new, for myself.

I don’t know if I have ever sweated quite so much in 75 minutes and I am 100% certain that my yoga mat has never been so wet, and my glasses were slipping off my face and the sweat was soaking through my headband and stinging my eyes, but I did not stop, I worked very hard to keep up with the teacher’s calls and I did not quit. My sports bra broke 15 minutes into class and still I kept on going, I was at that moment more “afraid” of stopping my momentum than I was of untamed titties! She called out what to do and I did it. She reminded us to come back to our breath and I did it. She said to do a standing split and then lift our arm and twist and I just did everything I was told and the enthusiasm I felt was odd and exciting, to be so hot and so sweaty, but so on fire!!! I felt like the best version of myself for those 75 minutes …AND if there is a real thing as a “runner’s high” which I have read about but never experienced, I got it, doing hot power yoga on a Saturday morning!! I drove home feeling a buzz, a zing, a pulse like a high I never had…it was euphoric. I liked the experience so much that I am going to do it again next week, and I am pretty sure the week after, and quite possibly, unless it’s a Saturday I have to work, from that day forward, forever, till death do us part. I suppose I might still feel a little hesitant and worried that I can’t keep up with the “regulars” if she starts calling out tricks, but it will be totally worth it, to feel again like I felt after class was over…no fear, no worries, just POWER. I felt strong, I felt confident, I felt fearless. “that’s hot!” and I think I got hooked after one dose!

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