Tried It, And This Happened: Aspiring Yogi Does Hot Yoga For The First Time
As a full-time 9-5er (which often ends up looking more like 7-7-er it’s fine), happily living the city life and as a result spending upwards of fourteen hours or longer out of the house, you may safely categorize me as a “busy” person. And thusly and therefore, when I do finally get to deny certain obligations outside of earning my living and remain in my dwelling place of choice, you may often find me buried in my Sherpa blanket, surrounded by food packaging of varying sorts, a haphazardly strewn book, a dead laptop (with its charger mate justtt out of reach), and an exhaustion so dire and drastic that I wonder with equal parts bafflement and terror how I’ll muster the energy to face the outside world once again.
But at times I find myself catching a second wind, and the adventurous element of my personality takes the wheel. Yes, not only am I ready to emerge from my tower of bedding, stuffed animals, and electronic paraphernalia...I may even do something crazy, something unprecedented.
And so it was with this spike of gusto in my belly that I agreed to join a friend for a hot yoga class. I was visiting him in Brooklyn, and I thought what better way to fit into such a hip and happening town than to merge among its indigenous natives and assume their level of “cool” by engaging in a trendy activity. Hot yoga seemed to fit the bill perfectly. So off I went to one of those spotless prom and prop studios somewhere in the posh-y neighborhood of Williamsburg and noted with relief that my first class would be free.
The class started normally enough, beginning in Child’s Pose (yayyy). The instructor was helpful and informative, and not too touchy on her pose corrections, which I’m not crazy about, personally, so this was another welcome relief.
But then came the element we all showed up for: the heat. For years, since college, curiosity had pricked away at me to try it, but the same factor that makes it so popular was exactly why I had been hesitant to try it. I’m not an enormous fan of passing out (if you think about it, anything happening in the best case scenario that turns out to be embarrassing, worst case I end up feeling sick and need a recovery period before I can stand up and function as a human again, I’ll be giving a hard pass.) That’s what was to be expected from voluntarily spending an hour sweating your soul out in a room with other questionably sane health and fitness nuts, yes?
But alas, because I trusted my friend’s opinion of it (which was high) and I’m the type to say yes to most things if I’m convinced that it’s “good for me,” I did it. And you know what? The heat was bearable. In fact, it felt almost exactly the same as an outdoor yoga class I’d attended in the dead heat of summer, where even at 8am the temp quickly climbed up to the 90s. I seemed to sweat just as much in both.
My advice: pace yourself. It’s easy to carry on as you normally would in any other yoga class, especially if you practice frequently, but I definitely had to slow down after a number of times moving through vinyasa flows too fast for the heat and feeling faint as a result. (I retreated many times back into child’s pose.) As any kind yoga teacher will remind you, everyone’s pace and practice is unique, so find a speed that you’re comfortable with so you don’t faint.
Personally, I don’t feel the need to do it on the reg. Here’s why: there are other ways to flush toxins out of your body (massage, anyone?) and losing water weight means nothing to me, because guess what I’m gaining all back once I down a litre of fluids that I just sweat out from my pits and tits?
It was cool. Only not. Not cool temperature-wise, anyway...but cool as a new thing to try.
What’s your experience with hot yoga been? Leave your opinions in the comments below.
Cover image via kore by kelly