Yoga has saved me time and time again over the years. In 2010, I went to my first yoga class that happened to be hot yoga. I was newly sober at the time and was very focused on being healthy. A friend coaxed me into meeting her there and I was so nervous. Anything new always causes me stress because of my social anxiety.
I check in at the front desk and am looking around for my friend, who is not in the lobby, so I decided to just enter the hot yoga room. Immediately I am sweating and unsure of what to do. I follow what everyone else seems to be doing, how to place your mat, water, and towels. I had no idea I should have a special yoga towel, so here I am with an oversized beach towel that completely covers my mat.
Sitting on my stupid beach towel, I feel so dumb and out of place. My negative inner monolog won’t shut up. “Where is my friend”, “Should I just leave?” “What if I faint or pass out from the heat?” and this is followed by my comforting voice “You can’t leave now and everything will be ok”
Of course, my friend never shows but the class starts and I am committed because if you have been to hot yoga, they rarely let you leave before the class is over. Your body needs to adapt to the heat. Leaving when you are overheated into a cold room can be a shock to the system. Sometimes you can also feel hotter, so instead you are instructed to just lay down in savasana (corpse pose lying on your back) or go into child's pose.
The class was so intense and basically finished me. Nausea came over me and a few times I was too dizzy to even stand up anymore. Child’s pose was so much easier, you did nothing. Up again I went because I wasn’t going to be “that” girl that sleeps during class. I am way too proud for that. I finished the class and then came savasana where you are completely still and meditate. I could barely move anyway so this was really easy for me!!
When I leave, start my car and drive away, this rush comes over me. My endorphins are flying, I am smiling and singing along to the radio. This is IT! Then, four days a week was my jam…
Until, breast cancer hit and alcohol came back into my life.
The next few years consisted of quite a few hungover yoga experiences. Why would I go hungover? Well, my yoga friends could know nothing about this!! More bouts of sobriety followed by some drinking and the insanity continued.
I was tricking myself into thinking that if I worked out, ate healthy, worked and did all the mom things, that everything was just fine. It didn’t matter if I was moody or spent days on the couch, because I did ALL of those things! Looking back, it was just a meaningless existence.
Thankfully a year ago, I had a moment where I just knew I was done drinking and I had to change. Adulting was necessary!! Come on now, I am 43 years old. I can’t morph back into a 25 year olds body like I desperately wanted.
Yoga now clears my mind and it is a hell of a lot easier! I am present and not waiting for the class to be over. My body loves me and I feel that euphoria when I leave class. The endorphins are flowing. A morning routine leads me to a spiritual, peaceful place and I am in love!
The things I learned from sobriety and yoga:
- Alcohol and yoga do not mix.
- It is a toxin that messes with your natural state of homeostasis which causes a practice that is out of alignment.
- Alcohol does not align with a natural, clean and spiritual path.
- Alcohol hinders your ability to really connect with yourself on the mat
- Meditate. Think of nothing, blackness. This works so much better than numbing with alcohol.
- For complete and utter peace, I need sobriety, yoga and a healthy eating habit.