I was once what some might consider addicted to working out. My addiction grew to the point that I got certified to teach fitness classes, so I could get paid to work out.
Now, you may say, there are worse things to be addicted to. And you'd be right. But I would feel that anxiety creep in when I went too long between workouts. I would start to feel like I had to modify my already healthy diet--except for the chocolate--if I missed even one cardio day.
Enter Hot Yoga. I had always wanted to add yoga to my workout routine, but between teaching classes and my need for intense workouts, it never seemed to happen. Then I discovered hot yoga, and it was like the best of both worlds. I was covered in sweat. I was doing challenging poses--incorrectly--and it was hard.
So I want to mention now that I am an American, and I fall prey to certain " American" habits. What I mean is Americans, by and large, gravitate to a particular style of yoga classes: power yoga, Bikram yoga, buti yoga. All designed to make you sweat with little direction on proper alignment and form. We are "type A" badasses and we need to show the world that we are strong and fit and can do a handstand without any help, thank you very much. So, I very much fell into that category of type A personality.
I made it to as many hot yoga classes as I could and started to get the hang of the language and postures. The teacher was a good one, and I know hot yoga has its place in some people's practice and it makes sense for them. However, when I decided to get my 200-hour yoga certificate, everything changed for me.
I went into the training with all my preconceived notions of what yoga should be in my fitness routine. Of course my teacher gave us homework where we had to do the easiest routine ever every day. It was torture for me. It seemed like a waste of time and energy. I didn't even break a sweat.
But I kept with it and did what she instructed. We worked on breath and meditation. We did some chanting and bee breathing--where you hum together; it was amazing. And about half way through my study, I found that I actually felt more at ease, calmer, more forgiving of myself. Keep in mind, I had no idea that I even needed to feel more at ease, calmer, or more forgiving, it was a total shock.
And that's the moment when I gave up--for the most part--hot yoga. That's when I realized how powerful yoga is at its softest moments. I have taken a few power classes since this revelation, but for now, I am sticking with a nice mixed level flow or even a gentle yoga.
I still run. I still take challenging classes that make my muscles sore. I just don't stress over it. Yoga is my exercise of choice. It is where I find myself.