What was that about focus? Well, this day was hotter than the day before, and the teacher, Derek Staranowski was one I hadn’t taken before. I let myself be burdened with distractions, most too petty to discuss here, and if anything is stealing your peace or draining your focus, whether you think it’s good or bad, it’s unnecessary, and destroys your yoga. Lately, I’ve been pretty good at destroying my own yoga, and on this day, a bonafide triple-digit temperature day, I ruined my own practice.
What I’m about to explain to you is a recipe for yoga disaster: I woke up in a poor mood, tired, and unhappy about the rest of my day after yoga. I rushed down a coconut water and had to hurry to make my bus. I got almost no regular water until I was at the studio but I’d worked up a pretty decent sweat. Then the feeling that I’d forgotten something at home materialized (literally) when I realized that I didn’t bring a new set of clothes. The twenty minutes before class were spent working hard to wash out the wet, bagged and positively funky getup from the previous day’s class. Then I couldn’t decide on how strong I was feeling, and if it was a front, middle, or back row sort of day. I decided to choose the front row and took my spot between two young ladies. I left the room so I wouldn’t be completely drenched at the start of class and returned to find my mat right next to some big hairy dude who’d squeezed in between me and the young woman on my left (if you practice Bikram Yoga regularly, you know that if you’re not comfortable with the person on your left, you should change your spot). Now, I know that this yoga is about releasing mental blocks, but I’m not one for huge guys in my mirror space (fat men in the hot room are also notorious heavy breathers, and that sort of thing from your neighbor can be quite annoying). I far more enjoy a smiling, pretty face on either side of me. I’ve still got too much western heterosexual in me, and maybe a little Benny Hill. All of this was a recipe for disaster, not because any of these things or people were out to ruin my class, but more because I allowed them the ability to do so.
So I had a bad class, not because it was hot, not because there was a sweaty, hairy man breathing on me after the first of each posture in the floor series, not because of the new teacher and new teaching style. It was because I set myself up for a bad class. My standing series was satisfactory, using muscle memory and overall strength, and my floor series was poor, mainly because I hadn’t applied any focus during the standing series. I usually leave these classes where I struggle and sit out postures thinking that I need to better condition my body, but after hours of contemplation and removal from the extreme heat, I surmise that it’s all about focus. Really, nothing should negatively or positively impact my yoga, no matter the type. My inability to mark feelings, reactions, expectations, and mental comforts as extras in life has carried over into to yoga, and only a big bowl of focus will help me overcome it.