Summer time yoga practice is hard. Bikram yoga practice in the summer is especially hard. During the cold, dark and rainy months of the year I regularly practice 3-5 times a week, but in the summer because of child care obligations, other activities, and let's face it, laziness, I only practice once or twice a week. Yesterday, I practiced for the first time in 10 days! I'd been gone for a week with my family and, though I brought 8 mats in the car so the whole fandamily could get their yoga groove on, the bag didn't leave my trunk. As many of you know, a break that long makes for an almost inevitably difficult reentry yoga session. And mine was. Yesterday Penni (as usual) kicked my ass. This morning when I took Kristen's class, I felt stronger, but oh my aching muscles. Even my chin was sore from yesterday's practice.
This post-hiatus yoga discomfort is something I rarely experience during the non-summer months of the year. And though it's not pleasant--feeling nauseated, tight, weak, and slightly pathetic--it is informative. Yesterday I got my ass kicked, and today I could feel it ALL OVER. The physical sensations in my deltoids, my neck, my quads, were all reminders of what's happening in my body when I practice. And the mental rigor of doing my 90 minutes of Bikram is exponentially more difficult after a long break. Ninety minutes can feel like 90 years.
I take for granted when I practice very regularly how hard this yoga can be. Of course, like we all do, I have ass-kicking practices year round, but never like the summer. I can be really really hard on myself. I'm known as a bit of a perfectionist (See January 2012 Post "Welcome to the Revolution") so feeling like a loser is not something I do well with (who does?!), but this round of getting my ass kicked, I am taking it differently. Instead of spinning out about what a moron I am for not doing yoga on my vacation, I'm giving myself some props for practicing at all.
If you're out there, worried about your return to yoga, fear not. Yes, it's hard. You might have a wicked hard class, but then while you're bathing your sore muscles in Epsom salts, re-hydrating into the evening, preparing for your next class, you can relish in the greatness of your strength, determination, and struggle. You might have gotten your ass kicked in your yoga class, buy you, my friend, are an Ass-Kicker!