Yoga As a Puddle

I have avoided attending a yoga class for a very long time because of my hyperhidrosis (HH). I worry about sweating all over the yoga mat and leaving puddles on the floor. I also worry about doing positions like downward dog and sliding out of them since my hands are sweaty and have no traction.

My Life as a Puddle

Two weeks ago, I forced myself to do yoga in the park and gave my hyperhidrosis the middle finger. I’m tired of being held back by my excessive sweating disorder.

I went to the store and bought a yoga mat, and in the same section of the store I found some yoga socks. They are cut to wrap around each toe, just like gloves are cut to fit around each finger. The bottoms of the socks have sticky, grippy, rubbery material on them to stick to the yoga mat.

With these two items, I felt better prepared to face my fear of exercising in public doing an activity that most people do barefoot.

I tried not to think about my sweating as I sat cross-legged on my mat, waiting for the instructor to start. The park where the class is offered is really pretty. The grass was in great shape, there are water features and fountains that give off great sounds, and there was a gentle breeze blowing the entire time I was there.

I noticed my feet were feeling kind of hot in my fancy yoga socks, so I decided to be daring. I took them off! I felt instantly cooler when I did, despite the fact that my glistening was now on display.

Your pain, your anxiety, is your baby. You have to take care of it. You have to go back to yourself, recognize the suffering in you, embrace the suffering, and you get a relief. And if you continue your practice of mindfulness and concentration, you understand the roots, the nature of that ill-being, and you know the way to transform it.

~ Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh

Getting Past My Condition

So that’s what I tried to do. My anxiety, my pain over having hyperhidrosis, is not an anxiety disorder. I am not getting myself worked up over a little thing.

I am not sweating because I am nervous. I am nervous because I am sweating. There is a difference, and many people do not understand this.

I closed my eyes, focused on my breathing, and let the instructor’s voice mingle with the running water next to me as she instructed us to relax and open our hearts and minds to the next hour. Before I got into the next yoga position, I opened my eyes, looked down at my glistening feet, and gave them a gentle pat. An It’s going to be okay pat. And you know what? It WAS okay.

After that self-reassurance, I went through the rest of the class not putting my focus on my sweating. I was able to transcend my absolutely annoying, socially debilitating, painfully drippy existence for one hour to embrace some peace.

Thank God there was a breeze blowing that morning. It was my saving grace.

Success Despite Puddles

I did not sweat during yoga except for the first five minutes or so. When it was over, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to cry or stand up and re-enact the Rocky Balboa movie scene when Sylvester Stallone reaches the top of the staircase in Philadelphia.

When I left the park, I seriously felt like hugging complete strangers and telling them what I had just accomplished. This was a huge deal for me, and you can do the same thing for yourself. You never know until you try.

When you understand your own suffering, compassion arises, and you know how to transform your own suffering. And with that, you can help other people do the same. Peace begins with yourself. Understanding and compassion begins with yourself.

~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Making My Mess My Message

Little by little, drop by drop, I can transform my suffering into something with purpose. #hyperhidrosis

Tomorrow’s a new day. I’ll be at the park doing yoga. What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

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