Soft flute and clarinet music interspersed with birds chirping pipes into the warm moist room through speakers on the walls. A mix of six men and women dressed in form-fitting yoga tops and bottoms are already warming themselves on the black silica rock filling up about a quarter of the room.
Iyashi Bedrock Spa is the first Ganbanyoku (“rock bathing”) spa in North America and the only one in Canada according to the website. The room is kept at 42° to 44°C with humidity at about 60%. The black silica rock that forms the bedrock beds is said to heat the body from the inside out to help bathers detoxify through perspiration. Spa goers can simply rock bathe at Iyashi or attend one of eight yin yoga classes offered throughout the week. Unlike other hot yoga practices yin yoga consists mostly of sitting or lying poses where postures are held for several minutes in order to relax and loosen the connective tissues.
At Iyashi the yin yoga class is an hour long, preceded by 30 minutes of quiet meditation and warming of the body. It is during these 30 minutes that I struggle most to calm my mind and focus on the practice. At the New Year’s Eve class, I found myself preoccupied with what 2012 would bring. This will likely be the year that results in the most significant amount of change to my life in at least a decade. While I would love to be able to plan for it, I can’t plot out every step and I have to trust that I will make the best decisions possible as they present themselves.
In the meantime, what I can plan for is TRAVEL! The big trip this year will be France, yet to be determined what exactly that entails. I am also looking into Longboat Key, FL and San Francisco for extended long weekends, a couple of trips to the U.S. Northeast and one to the Canadian East Coast, likely Halifax. It should be a great year for travel writing and photography.
The yoga instructor brings me back to present, indicating that it is time to start class. I breathe deeply, let go of my travel plans temporarily, and sink into the first posture.