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Knowing and pushing your limits in the new year

January 1, 2012

During my last hot yoga class of the year with Kate Evans I hit my limit. After working a 10-hour day with little food and rest, I decided to take her 90 minute Hot Yoga class at YYF.

As a regular practitioner, I was accustomed to Kate’s disclaimer at the beginning of class that anyone who felt tired or overwhelmed during the class is welcomed and encouraged to stand out of posture or even lie down in savasana. I can admit here that I have almost never taken this advice, and was strangely (and wrongly) proud of that fact.

During the course of the standing series, I realized that my head was beginning to hurt and the room was starting to spin. As I stood out of tree pose, I worried whether the others in the room were judging my failure to complete the posture. After a moment of entertaining these thoughts, I remembered that I was in that room to accept myself, and that judgment of self or others is the exact opposite of what I should be doing.

“Just breathe. Honor your body. Right now it is telling you to take a break.”

I lay down on my mat and focussed on my breathing.

After a few minutes in savasana, my symptoms weren’t improving. After drinking almost an entire bottle of water, I realized that my body just couldn’t finish the class that day. For the first time since I became a serious practitioner, I left class. After grabbing some food to raise my blood sugar, my symptoms subsided and all that was left was the memory of the experience and a determination to learn something from it.

The incident taught me most of all to accept my body’s limitations. Our teachers constantly tells us to push ourselves to our edge but not past it, and we must also adapt to what our bodies tell us each day. Accepting our edge without judgment or worry can be almost impossible, something I struggle with every day.

After that experience, I have given my practice a focus for the new year.I challenge you to ask yourself these questions:

“Am I respecting my body and my level of spiritual growth?”

“How do I respect the limitations of my body while expanding the limits of my mind and spirit to feed my soul?”

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