The 90 Day Yoga Challenge

Written By Mira Saraf.

They say after doing Bikram Yoga for a little while you grow to love the heat. It's been a year and a half and I still don't love it. I don't love it the way I love warm melting chocolate, basking in sunlight or curling up with a book and a blanket with the sound of raindrops beating down my windowpanes.

Yoga Challenge

I don't crave it or think about the drops of perspiration oozing out of my skin as it heats beyond burning to something more akin to agony. In fact my last 90 days showed me my deepest struggle with my practice one with the most basic component of the yoga I love so much - the forty degree Celsius temperature.

It seemed bizarre to me that after so long I was still fighting it. When it's crowded my heart starts beating so hard that I feel it might pop out of my chest and smolder on the floor beside me. I was fighting to get through each class, pacing myself selecting "cooler" spots in the room, doing anything to avoid the oncoming of yoga anxiety, which usually significantly hindered my spine-strengthening series. Hopped up on Vita Coco coconut water (flavored because I dislike the taste of the fruit intensely) and water doused with Emergen-C super orange electrolyte packets I sol, diered through my challenge (the original sixty days) and then some.

Unlike the last time I did such a challenge, I had not started with any particular personal quest in mind, just a family wedding for which I wished to avoid looking gluttonous. However as time went on, it was obvious I was dealing with something in my subconscious. It was day 92 where insight finally came. On Day 92 my friend gave me a tarot reading.

I tend to be more superstitious than I would like to admit, but this was my first experience with fortune-telling with the exception of a shady woman in New York who told me someone whose name began with the letter "J" would have a big influence in my life (a fact so vague that number of situations could make it ring true), causing me to think twice when I meet anyone with that initial.

I won't bore you with the details - but the cards told me to that my mind and quest for control over everything I did was getting in the way of my progress. My reading warned that while I should continue to work as hard towards finding focus in my work life, I must let go and allow myself to succeed. I tend to over think things, which could do more harm than good.

Suddenly it all made sense: the heat, the intense anxiety that I never remembered having - it was all part of my need to control everything around me. When I started to panic, I would feel this aggression start to take over, aggression coming from basic fight or flight instinct.

They say what happens on your yoga mat is a reflection of what is going on in your outside life. I was not allowing my body to adjust to the heat or to learn to love it. I was seeking to maintain control, which inevitably resulted in me overheating and in many cases experiencing emotions so powerful that they brought me close to tears.

Today was day 94. Today was the day I started to let go, and allow the heat to become one with my body. If I can learn to let go of what's happening in my body, I should be able to do the same with my mind.

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