"Oh no," you say. "It's one of those posts about yoga."
Yes it is, but I promise if you bear with me I'll reward you with a kitten video or something at the end.
So I've been doing Bikram yoga now for just over two and a half years which in itself is pretty remarkable seeing as I only really planned on doing it for a month or so to sort out my neck after that ditzy girl went all smashy-smashy with her car into the back of my car. In that time I've had yoga highs and yoga lows; no two classes are ever the same, and my practice is constantly evolving.
By far my greatest yoga achievement was when I did a 30 day challenge back in 2010; it was epic, and in preparation for writing this post I've just read back through what I wrote back then (I blogged the whole thing like a complete loon). If you want to relive it, start here, although I apologise in advance for the horrific spelling in places as the 30 days progress. Clearly 30 days of yoga took their toll in ways that were not readily apparent to me at the time.
Anyway, since then I've continued to toil away with my regular practice, popping into the hot box around four times a week. I've thought about doing another 30 day challenge, but last year was just a weird old time with the incredibly busy first half of the year followed by the whole job imploding thing so I never got around to it. And to be honest, I was kind of thinking of new challenges. Some people at the studio have done 101 day challenges but, y'know, you say that to me and I'm like all kinds of WTF?!
So that left two options:
• A double class (i.e. doing one class immediately after another)
• A stupidly early class
Now, the idea of a double is interesting because, y'know, three hours of yoga would practically make you superhuman. On a purely practical level, though, it's quite difficult to work out exactly when you're up for the challenge as you can walk into a class thinking you're going to have an awesome time and then 10 minutes later just die on your mat. Tragically, the few times where I've actually thought I could quite happily do a double have conveniently coincided with occasions where I've got other plans such as meeting someone for coffee straight after class. Shame that.
So that left me with the early morning thing.
Anyone who has seen me early in the morning knows that I barely function at the best of times, let alone having to do a strenuous yoga class; I'm basically like a heavily-tranquillised sloth until around 10am or until I eat something that's packed full of sugar. I still find it quite remarkable that I manage to haul myself out of bed for a nine o'clock class on a Saturday morning. That being the case, a stupidly early class obviously presented me with a what I would call A WORTHY CHALLENGE.
The stupidly early classes at the Chiswick studio are 6:30 in the morning. You might be forgiven for thinking that's not really too bad until you realise that I've got a half hour drive to get there, so basically I have to get up at five to eat and drink something, manage to get dressed without putting my shorts on my head backwards in an adorably dazed fashion, and get over to West London's finest yoga studio for some stretchy stretchy. All in all a terrifying prospect. And yet one I let myself get talked into because I am a SHEEP.
And so last Monday I did my first stupidly early class and it was … well, just brilliant thankyouverymuch. Maybe my expectations were set ridiculously low, but I ended up having a brilliant class (although I'll admit I was a little tighter in the old hammies than I usually am, which is saying something). By the time we finished at eight I felt properly energised, and even by the time I picked up a coffee, narrowly avoided an encounter with a former colleague and got stuck in some traffic I was still home and at my desk ready for the day by just after 10.
Eager to see if last week's amazing experience was just some sort of incredibly cruel trick the universe had decided to play on me I resolved to give another stupidly early Monday morning class a whirl today. Perhaps out of sheer excitement I actually woke up a little before three and didn't really get back to sleep properly, yet I had another awesome class. As a result I'm coming to the slightly terrifying conclusion that 6:30am might just be a good time for me.
And I won't lie to you: I do feel incredibly smug afterwards.
Now, well done for making it through. Here's the kittens I promised you.