I've done enough crying this year. I still cry too often. Earlier this year I was lucky enough to spend time sitting on the beach, under the big moon, the smell of salt air filling my senses. All the crying purges the pain inside me. The ocean soothes me. I was still missing the sweat though.
It's been a tough haul this past year getting myself back together. Baby steps forward and then a bump back. Just recently my body began shouting at me that it was time to get moving again. I actually forgot how much I enjoyed a good sweaty workout. iPod in, heart pumping, breathing heavy - it's good for me. It feels right.
I remember a couple years ago a friend saying to me he noticed that when I was exercising more I was definitely happier and had less bouts of depression. Yes, that whole exercise as a mood lifter thing is true. I've also noticed that when I'm exercising more I get more creative and have the urge to write again. It's pretty common for me to write out a blog post in my head while I'm breathing and sweating.
My baby steps to creating a new, happier post-divorce life had conquered my fear of returning to the gym, but now it was time to get serious and get back on the mat. I actually had intended to go to hot yoga last week, but a bout of sun poisoning from falling asleep in the pool had me confined to bed all weekend covered in aloe and watching marathons of The Newsroom on HBO. (Yes, I actually fell asleep in the pool long enough to be sunburned so bad I got sun poisoning. However, in my defense, sleep is sometimes still illusive and that 1 1/2 hours in the pool was the best sleep I've had in a long time. So, skin cancer risks aside, it was worth it).
I was honestly nervous about going to class today. Much of my strength is gone. My flexibility and my stamina have also gone into hiding. It's only temporary I know. But, still, I miss it. I checked the class schedule a few times and gave repeated reminders to my kids that I was going out for the afternoon and no you can't go with me.
After the tuna fish before hot yoga incident of a few years ago you'd think I'd know better than to eat a Lenny's Italian sub for lunch, but no, I actually did it anyway. I did have enough sense to drink plenty of water before class though.
And why do I always decide my body needs hot yoga in the middle of a Southern summer heat wave? A high of 95 degrees outside, with heat indexes easily reaching 100, and I decide it's perfect to spend an hour and a half in a 90 degree room.
My plan to just take it easy and accept what I was able to do quickly went out the window when we began class in padmasana (lotus pose). My hips used to do this and they will do it again today! And they did! Admittedly I had to rest my head on a block instead of the floor as we folded forward but, ahhhh, there's that deep hip opening.
Actually, the physical practice went much better than I expected. Yes I was dripping sweat like a hooker in church, but so was everyone. My body acclimated quickly to the heat and soon found that yoga groove I've missed for too long. My body had been hinting at some imbalances in my body lately and they were obvious today, perhaps to no one else but definitely to me. My left knee is still a little weak from last years surgery so that made balance poses a bit more challenging.
But the part of today's class I'm most proud of is that I got my mind to quiet. My mind is never quiet. Ever. It's constantly reviewing my financial worries, concerns about my future, worries about my kids. But today, for just a brief bit, it quieted. My body sweated and my brain relaxed.
Tonight I'm exhausted. Not really physically, more so emotionally. I didn't cry during class, but I know that some energy that had been blocked was released. I know the sweat purged some negativity I had been holding on to.
I know in order to reclaim my life I had to get back on the mat. It feels good, really good, to have taken that sweaty step back to finding me again.