Hot Confession

Posted: October 9, 2011 in Yoga

I have a real hot confession to make; and not the explicit Penthouse Letters kind of confessional although it may tend to be a bit “juicy” (right, Andrea?).  Okay, here it is:  I actually missed  hot yoga.  Yeah.  I know, right?

After the Cancun 70.3 event, I thought to myself, “Thank Christ, that’s over!  No more heat training”.  And that meant no more going back into the ‘sweat factory’ at my yoga studio either.  Yay!  Now, don’t get me wrong, I didn’t plan on giving up yoga altogether, mind you, but rather refocus on the slower, more methodical Hatha style of yoga more for its restorative properties and benefits; a chance to heal and recuperate my sore and ailing muscles prior to beginning my new training schedule next month.  But, as things usually do with me, this didn’t exactly go as planned.

I agreed to attend one more hot yoga class yesterday in order to help celebrate one of our instructors birthday.  She had advertised that she planned to set the entire class to music spanning from her forty years of existence on this planet and, happening to belong to that particular age bracket myself, I thought ‘sure, why not?’  Hell, it might even be fun…even if it meant getting sweaty one last time.  And it was.  But while doing so, I also figured out something else about hot yoga that I hadn’t considered before; a real ‘break through’ you might even say.

Originally, I made all those hot yoga classes a part of my training strategy as a means of dealing with heat and humidity.  And it worked too!  There were always the additional benefits of added core conditioning, muscle strengthening, improved flexibility, etcetera and so forth as well but, mostly, it was the whole learning to breathe in the extreme conditions which ultimately served me well under the hot Central American sun.  But while I reminisced through my way through an early, mid and soon-to-be-coming late life crisis in the class – all set to a soundtrack of Kool & the Gang, AC/DC, Abba, Sarah McLaughlin, and ‘Stompin’ Tom – it just clicked:  hot yoga is the ultimate confidence builder.

Besides all the physical benefits I’ve gone over with you before, hot yoga also conditions that little part of your mind that starts to think “Holy shit!  Time to pack it in, dude!”  even though you’re not even half way finished yet.  It’s that same switch in the brain that’s thrown around the 18k mark of my long run, or after I pass the 75k mark on the bike or even 1200k into any of my open water swims.  It’s where the activity stops being such a physical test so much as it does to that of a mental one.  It’s that precise point in any endurance sport where doubt begins to creep in and it becomes something, well, more.

Hot yoga is endurance training for the mind.  I see that now.  So where I had initially planned to sit out the hot yoga sessions going forward, I think I’m now going to stick with them at least once or twice a week along with the other classes (and weights) in order to make sure that I continue to manage this ‘quit switch’ that I described…even disable it altogether if possible.  I may never be the fastest, strongest or most talented person in the field, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to be among the first (if any) to quit.  When it comes to being able to push and keep going, I want to be among the top performers.

Ironman is a competition of perseverance if anything else; a war of attrition if you will.  And, hopefully, hot yoga will keep me able to push beyond that comfort barrier and keep my shit together when the going gets tough.  And Lord knows that’s going to come in handy come Ironman Wales next year.

  1. Andrea says:

    Awesome! Juicy it is.

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