I came home last night from my cousin’s funeral to discover that the temperature in the house was 83F (it is now up to 86F). The air conditioning system, which had been serviced last week, is now not working at all. The repair person is not scheduled to return until Friday afternoon, and the forecast is for blazing heat. I have two choices: (1) I can get into a dither about whether the work last week in fact broke the system and get stuck in suffering from the heat; (2) I can be grateful that I have electricity, which is giving me ice and fans. I can wear comfortable clothing, eat lightly, and do yoga practices suitable for the heat.
I am choosing the latter (I am not long from the period of years when being too hot on an irregular, but consistent basis is both inevitable and beyond my control, so this will be good practice). I may not be able to control the heat, but I can, to some degree, control my reaction. Part of controlling the reaction is just accepting the situation with equanimity and grace, so that my mind and emotions do not get heated. One of the reasons we do strenuous and challenging poses on the mat is so that we can get progressively more skilled at feeling comfortable with where we are, even when mind and body are taken out of our comfort zone by forces beyond our control.
By keeping my reaction cool, I actually physically am noticing the heat less. As I will not be able to cool off much after practice, I will be choosing practices that are still and inward and take advantage of how warm are my muscles, rather than engaging in exertion that will make it hard for me to get cool afterward. Balanced and cooling breathing practices, meditating on stillness, and sweet hip openers and forward bends are definitely in the picture.