Tag Archives: struggle

Hot Yoga: Just a Few Degrees Shy of Hell

Drip, drip, drip.

Drip, drip, drip…. drip, drip, drip.

That was not the sound of an aromatic morning cup of coffee gurgling. Neither was it the merry pitter patter of raindrops on the windowsill. Rather, it was the uncomfortably loud splatter of the sweat of the man next to me as it rained down on his yoga mat.

Cushioning me from the other side was the immense sprawl of a woman who failed to thoroughly cloth her girth. With the exception of her internal organs, I believe I could catch a glimpse of every part of her body. I don’t mean to be rude, but last time I checked, there IS enough polyester in the world to cover up one’s body. (Same admonition goes to you, Naked Bike Paraders.)

In addition to the audible and visual abominations, a third sense was besieged: my nose. I’ve never been an animal lover, so the irony that the studio smelled like a dank dog was not lost on me. Imagine wringing buckets of sweat from hundreds of toxic bodies, dumping it onto a carpet floor (really? carpet in a hot yoga studio?) and letting it fester in a 103 degree cauldron, day after day. This nauseating milieu was the environment in which we were supposed to ‘detox.’

Here in Portlandia, OR, we are inundated with water. Gray skies pour forth cat-and-dog rain (sometimes literally it seems, as the dog population in the city soon promises to outstrip the human) on a daily basis. With such a surplus of H20, you would imagine water conservation would not be an issue. Regardless, I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of guilt when basic human decency necessitated I wash my sweat-saturated yoga clothes and towel daily. Or perhaps it was in reality frustration over my dramatically-increased laundry bill that I cleverly dressed in a more laudable motive?

raining cats and dogs

Anyway – who has time for such introspection. Moving on.

Despite all these annoyances,  I still returned for more. At the conclusion of the hour and a half ordeal, a soggy sense of ineffable well-being radiated from the top of my head to the bottom of my toes. Yet the pleasure stemmed not exclusively from the physical sensation of happy muscles, but also from the immaterial triumph of struggling, skirmishing with the weaker – yet simultaneously stronger – forces of laziness and apathy, and conquering. We are holistic beings, and satisfactions that encompass all aspects of our personhood are far more poignant. Ice cream is delicious, but how much tastier after a 6-hour hike? A kiss is pleasant, but how much sweeter after waiting for so long?

Infinite beings of finite vessels as we tread this earth, we are capable of containing only so much feeling & awareness at any given moment. To make way for the keen joys of love, pleasure, wellness, etc., we must first sweep out the dust of selfishness, despair, laziness, greed and more. A clean house means the party is going to be that much more awesome!

So press on. Stretch. Struggle. Sweat. And rejoice!

And now for some quotes by some really smart guys validating points made by not-as-smart me:

The redeeming things are not happiness and pleasure but the deeper satisfactions that come out of struggle. ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.