So it’s been hot. Insert understatement. From Victorians with their hottest January night on record and South Australians with their bushfires (although both capitals have been un-seasonally cool and wet too), while people in Perth have scorched much of the month. Sydney has sweltered. Brisbane has melted in the mugginess. (And scientists have found 2014 was the hottest year in more than a century – in Australia it was the third hottest year on record, while seven of our ten hottest years have all been within the last 13 years – don’t get me started on people who deny climate change)!
On the Gold Coast it’s been sultry, but with a breath of coastal breeze (ahh) – although it’s particularly hot and sweaty around here.
Not sultry between the sheets from anything going on between the sheets – it’s too hot for that (at least that’s one excuse).
I’m talking sweaty and stinky from hot yoga. I’m planning to do yoga every day in 2015 as a rule (even if just a few postures at home) – so that not doing yoga becomes an exception. I reckon this is a great way to look at changes you want to make, new habits you want to form. Have a default position but don’t be so inflexible you can’t veer from it.
But back to the hot and sweaty yoga – or more particularly, back to the laundry.
This is three days worth of stinky towels and sweat-soaked gear. So far I’ve managed 15 out of 19 days actually doing a class, so when it comes to the washing, it’s a case of rinse and repeat.
I’m in the rinse and repeat rhythm of hot yoga (if not washing) and in many ways it has become my comfort zone (as opposed to the laundry)!
We’re talking a yoga room heated at up to 39 degrees that gets humid normally, but when it’s stinking outside, steams up so much it’s tropical (in fact on really steamy days they don’t even bother with any heating, we get sticky enough just from the collective body temperature – gross, I know).
And by sticky I mean dripping in sweat – running in droplets down your nose, saturating your yoga gear and slicking your skin – I did mention it’s sort of gross.
But still I feel comfortable in the hot yoga room, or sort of.
It’s hard to be comfortable when saturated in sweat, perspiration stinging your eyes, but when you do find a familiar ease, you know you have arrived in a place you really need to be. In the hot yoga room, everything else melts away (pun intended) – thoughts, worries, judgment and you are left with just your sweaty self and your hot breath that takes your slicked body into and out of movement, sometimes without you even realising it.
I know regular runners get into that same sweet sweat zone – red and uncomfortable from pounding the pavement, but somehow they find calm and comfort too. My jogging memories were of just starting to reach that zone after a run of regular training before my feet and knees would play up so much that I couldn’t wrap my mind around the discomfort.
The thing is we have to get out of our comfort zone in order to find our comfort zone.
Change isn’t just about NOT doing the things you’ve always done (breaking those bad habits) but about doing NEW things. It’s MORE about doing new things.
Despite having practiced yoga, on and off and sometimes seriously for over 12 years, when I did my first hot yoga class just over 2 years ago I’m only slightly exaggerating when I say I thought I could have died. I didn’t, and as regular readers know, went on to complete yoga teacher training (channelling red for the first chakra below)!
We also do yin yoga (not in a hot room), and as I’ve mentioned before, this slow and restorative practice also puts you in an uncomfortable place –surrendering into postures for up to 10 minutes at a time. Each class is about finding a new comfort zone, slowly, patiently (and a little painfully).
We can get out of our comfort zone by jumping out of planes – I will do this one day – although I’ve already flown in army choppers for a formation landing, been up in a glider (with no engine) an ultra-light (with only one engine) as well as hot-air ballooning.
We can (and here’s a good use of the word should) do any number of things that bring challenge, excitement, fun, adventure and adrenalin into our lives.
But beyond bucket list experiences, we want to stretch into new comfort zones doing things that keep on counting – and this can be hard work, and yes, hot and sweaty.
Whether it’s a physical stretch (like yoga) or a mental stretch (also like yoga) the key to getting into the right kind of comfort zone is allowing yourself be uncomfortable first, just as getting yourself out of a ‘bad’ comfort zone (say sitting on the couch) also means being prepared to put up with discomfort.
In our air-conditioned lives we don’t do discomfort well – but maybe it’s time to get hot and sweaty.
PS – if you want to focus on good health, I have a new guided meditation for you (six minutes guided, four minutes independent). Meditating on what we want to achieve is a great place to start. Hope you like it.