One of the things that characterises Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is how it create a deeply cleansing heat the purifies the body. As we fold, twist and balance our way through the challenging Asanas (postures) of the series, using deep Ujjayi Pranayama, we create a powerful internal fire that raises the core temperature of the body. The result is that we start to feel VERY HOT…
This method of yoga practice is specifically designed to move your body in such a way that internal heat burns through physical blockages, purifying the system from emotional and environmental toxicity accumulated from the past.
If we are lucky enough to be able to practice in a specifically designed yoga studio (where climactic conditions can be regulated to maintain the intensity of this purifying heat) we will also sweat, and probably sweat quite a lot!
However, I've noticed that here in the UK some yoga students have a real dislike for getting hot and sweaty in class. In fact on more than one occasion I've even been asked to open a window mid-class because people are feeling 'uncomfortable'.
On many levels I can understand this, but sometimes I feel like suggesting these students go and practice in INDIA (yes, that's where yoga came from!).
Even at 7am in the morning in India it is IMPOSSIBLE to get past the first Sun Salutation before being drenched in sweat. And by the end of the session the puddle on your mat you've been slowly marinating in has started escaping down the studio floor in what threatens to turn into a mini sweat river!
Of course most of the time I don't say this and instead I bite my tongue, smile and try to be as understanding as possible…
I still however, won’t open a window! So, yes, sweating in a yoga class is a GOOD thing, try not to be scared of it!
The truth is that intensity and heat of this practice tends to hold a magnifying glass over our personality traits, showing the areas of our deepest self that have remained hidden from view, masked through constant distraction or avoided by habitual behaviour patterns.
An effective yoga practice will create a powerful mirror for all of our 'stuff'. The reflection in this mirror is often not an easy one to accept, and escaping seems like a much easier option. Sometimes this reflection manifests as the extreme dislike of hot, sweaty and 'uncomfortable' yoga.
This, however, is a sure sign that the yoga practice is actually WORKING, and that you are close to something magical.
Years of being 'baked in the fire of practice' burns away the limiting and erroneous aspects of the ego in an intense process of personal and physical metamorphosis. The rewards awaiting the brave and dedicated few who survive this difficult journey are the immortal gifts of personal liberation and self-realisation.
So, hang in there guys, especially if you don't like the heat!
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