This past weekend, I attended my first hot yoga class.
Despite the fact that Yoga is so hot right now, I’ve never really gotten into it. When it comes to exercise, I’m a complete cradle-to-grave treadmill enthusiast. (And by “enthusiast”, I mean I hate it marginally less than every other form of physical activity). I like running because it’s intense, high impact, and I can zone out for 30 minutes without having to listen to an annoying instructor.
Lately, however, my patience with the dreadmill has been waning. The whole Watching The Food Network on closed caption and trying not to look at the anorexic b*tch to my right, lest she give me a complex routine was starting to get old- real fast. I needed to make a change before I turned the treadmill emergency cord into a weapon of self-harm.
Also, if the paragraph above didn’t adequately convey this, I could use a little more zen in my life.
So I asked a friend of mine who is a regular Yogi if I could attend a class with her. She was all for it, and suggested a Saturday morning hot hatha yoga class for beginners.
Hatha what now?
“Hot Hatha Yoga is a challenging series of hot yoga postures and breathing exercises conducted in a heated room to systematically warm, stretch and strengthen the major muscle groups……All internal organs and glands are stimulated, balancing the body’s natural chemical and hormonal levels.”
Kinda sounded like new age mumbo jumbo to me, but I agreed to give it a go.
I woke up Saturday morning immediately regretting my decision. I had been out late the night before, overindulging in way too much prosecco, mini cupcakes, and cheese. Oh God the cheese.
The last thing I wanted to do was contort my body into pretzel-like positions in front of total strangers. But I had
to blog about it committed to my friend, so I peeled my ass out of bed and got ready.
I knew I was in trouble the second I walked into the room. Not only was it approximately 40 degrees celsius in there, it was also filled with hard-bodied, lululemon clad 20-somethings. I shot my friend a look that said “I THOUGHT YOU SAID BEGINNERS, B*TCH??” before finding a spot to lay down my mat.
While we waited for the class to start, I gave myself a little pep talk. You are a runner. You exercise on the reg. You got this.
I tried to take my mind off the stifling heat by focusing on the indie slow jams drifting over the speakers and imagining I was on a relaxing tropical vacation. With 25 other ripped, beautiful strangers. Wait, wasn’t this a reality show?
Before I had a chance to consider it, the class started. Almost immediately, I began to sweat. And I’m not talking a little bit of “healthy glow” – I’m talking a full on, tomato-face, soaked clothing, worst fever you’ve ever had type situation.
It was less “Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon”:
More “Whitney Houston meets that Pilot from Airplane”:
Since I could literally reach out and touch the people to my north, south, east and west, I started feeling really self-conscious about my sweat situation. I was sure the hot Australian guy to my left (note: I have no reason to believe he was Australian, other than his tanned skin and tighter than regulation t-shirt) could definitely smell the booze and Gouda fumes wafting off me like a nuclear cloud.
I tried to forget about it and focus on my poses. Which was no small feat, because as I quickly discovered, Yoga is HARD, yo. Not even 5 minutes in my calves were barking, my arms aching, the inside of my tank top becoming my own personal version of Niagra Falls.
No matter how hard I tried to keep up with the rest of the class, I was always at least a half-step behind. I’d descend into downward-dog a second too late, and end up fielding flying arms and legs like a real-life game of Mortal Combat.
…..Oh and there’s also the fact that I have no balance whatsoever. I have known this about myself since I was 10, and careened into a tree during my first skiing lesson. Apparently I thought Yoga would be different? I thought wrong.
I spent 80% of the poses feeling like Lucille 2 during a particularly bad bout of Vertigo.
I blame it on an undiagnosed inner ear problem.
Mercifully, the last 10 minutes of the class involved laying on the mat doing some light relaxation and breathing exercises. Minimal chance of embarrassing and/or hurting myself –> This, I could do.
When it was over, I felt exhausted, but also exhilarated. I was proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone. Plus, sweating that much is sort of an intoxicating feeling. Like some ancient form of blood-letting, where all of the demons, toxins and mini cupcakes are cleansed from your body forever. Sweat-letting. Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?