Bikram Yoga: Candlelit

It’s getting darker and darker, I can feel SADness coming on!

This time of the year is one where I’d prefer to hibernate – wake up later, go to bed earlier, you know, along with the sun.  But what happens on a foggy day when you don’t see any sun?

Like now?  It’s been rainy, gloomy and foggy for the last 5 days and counting and I’ve already started getting snappy (yesterday)!!  God bless Tony for putting up with me… if it stays like this for months, you’ll see two very unhappy campers!

It’s getting hard to make myself go to yoga now too, I didn’t end up going yesterday.  It’s just not fun trudging in the dark, gloomy, wet foggy mist, being sweaty and hot from the walk, and having wet clothes from both sweat and mist!  THEN having to put those clothes back on after hot stinky yoga and having to trudge back again for another 30 mins in the mist only this time, it’s even darker!

I’m beginning to think that London is a little rest stop for clouds when they’ve gotten tired of hanging out in the sky.  They really do like to drop down low and sit around for days and London is just ever so hospitable to them.  C’mon clouds!  Party’s over… move on!  Go back to Scotland and bother Nessie!

So back to yoga.  It’s supposed to help to regulate your circadian rhythms and certain postures encourage your body to release endorphins.  I sure hope it’s true.  We’ll find out this winter that’s for sure!  I didn’t go to yoga yesterday and you see where that got me!  Just ask Tony! 😉

There is however a silver lining on going to yoga on a gloomy cloudy day.  On Fridays, we get candlelit yoga!  We attended a “candlelit” yoga in the summer and the sun was out shining and bright and I have to say, we thought nothing of it but now, we’ve attended a couple candlelit yoga sessions when it actually is dark and they’re nice 🙂

They turn off all the lights, light candles along the edges of the room but that’s as far as they go.  There are no roses or bubble baths and they don’t play Barry White tunes ha ha!

It’s a very different type of yoga because unless you’re at the front, you can’t really see everything you do in the mirror (this is the case for me all the time as there’s always a much bigger/taller person in front of me but that’s beside the point).

You end up relying much more on your own internal feeling of each posture.  I found it harder to balance (how do you balance when you can’t really see the “spot” you’re focussing on?)  “Focus your eyes on your knee” has no meaning when you can’t see your knee.  Once you lose all references you use sight for, you end up feeling your way through class.  That’s pretty much my entire standing series!

Until I did the candlelit class in the dark I didn’t even realise how much where my eyes focussed impacted on my practice!  Until I did a candlelit class I didn’t know how much I was burning a hole into the mirror with my laser beam focus!!

I now realise when I can see myself, I watch every muscle twitch, I watch my rib cage expand, I watch my stomach contract, I watch my sweat drop off my fingers, I look at and criticise my misaligned hips and shoulders, I look at how wet my clothes are, I look over at the beads of sweat forming on Tony’s shoulders, I look at EVERYTHING!

But in candlelit yoga… I see nothing and I like it.  I can’t criticise what I look like in the mirror, it’s harder to get distracted by what other people are doing  because I can’t really see them and I really end up focussing and meditating.

It’s a really good class to also be able to hone in on little tweaks like What does lowering one hip feel like?  What does rolling my shoulder in feel like?  Which muscles am I stretching?  Which muscles am I contracting?  Where am I putting my weight… forward, back or only one foot?

I must admit  doing standing bow pulling pose in the dim light does my head in!  I kick up, kick back, focussing my eyes on the mirror (umm… no just somewhere in front of me… ok, maybe just the tips of my fingers – Do you know how hard it is to balance when your fingers move around when you’re stretching them forward?  OK they’re not waving about crazily but still, if my fingers aren’t still and they’re my focus point, I’m not still)

“point your fingers directly in between your eyes in the mirror” ummm…. no… just somewhere forward…

“you should see your feet coming up out the top of your head”… umm… nope don’t see anything, in fact, I don’t even know how high my foot’s gone…

“bring your body down, leg up, body down, leg up…. ”  yup I am I am… so am I doing well or not?  Am I doing it properly or not?   Has my hip rolled too high or not? Is my leg locked or not?  Did I kick high?? Tell me I kicked high!!

“you should be able to see your right shoulder disappearing in one line behind your left shoulder…”  umm nope I have no idea because I CAN’T SEE… arghh!!

At the end of the day, it’s teaching me to trust that I’ve done it right, to feel my way through postures to know I’ve done them right and to acknowledge that I’ve done my best in that moment.

Who knows, maybe I do better postures in the dark because I’m not stopping myself at where I think should be my maximum…

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