Practicing in the Heat

"Therefore, we are led to the conclusion that growth in the spiritual life (and this is surprising to capitalists) takes place not by acquisition of something new. It isn't like the acquisition of new information, which some call "spiritual capitalism." In reality our growth is hidden. It is accomplished by the release of our current defense postures, by the letting go of fear and our attachment to self-image. Thus, we grow by subtraction much more than by addition. It's not a matter of more and better information. The wisdom traditions say that information itself is not the key." Richard Rohr, Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer Chapter Four: Cleansing the Lens, pages 120-121.

Hot Yoga 101: Liz Fuller, Solfull Yoga Studio, Monroe, NY:

This was a workshop I took yesterday on how to practice in the heat. Solfull Yoga has installed infrared heating panels and is offering several classes a week in the 'warmth' and 'heat' of these new installations.

Liz spoke about the physical benefits of practicing in the heat, other benefits of practicing in the heat, and how to practice in the heat. One of the 'other' benefits was finding peace of mind in the heat. She spoke of knowing your limits, of letting your breath guide you, of remembering that you can not be too careful.

I had a slight flu or cold coming on. It’s been bothering me for several days. I found, during the asana (movement) part of the workshop, I took child’s pose quite a bit. It helped that I was in the back of the room, and that she had created a safe space where we were encouraged to take child’s pose as needed. It was humbling to sit in the heat and not run away, to choose to rest instead. I think it could really help the practice off the mat, of staying put in hot situations, and not trying to do more, but pulling back instead, observing, and letting the moment pass.

Liz talked about the importance of staying in the this moment, right now, in the heat, to recognize when you have lost your breath and need to pull back. With that in mind, the hot yoga practice was as uplifting as any other one where the teacher encourages slow steady breaths and  listening to the body for cues.

I couldn’t have agreed with her more when she said “My teachings are suggestions. Your body is the true guide.”

And hopefully I’ll be able to stand hot summers better in the future, if I keep practicing “in the heat”.