If the title of this post sounds negative, it’s not. But holy blazing hell, hot yoga is a whole new exercise in crazy.
I think I liked it. But if you asked me halfway in, I probably would’ve said it was torture.
I went to Yoga to the People, whose slogan “All Bodies Rise” appealed to me. I’m here to tell you I did indeed manage to peel myself off the floor after 90 minutes in the 105-108 degree studio. At some point I mused that my body might rise like a resurrection of the dead when they roused me from a faint. Or be lifted and hauled out on a gurney.
Allegedly we went through over 26 poses, but every time I tried to keep track, my mind was useless mush. However, I was able to do all the poses, save the “full expression” of a few of the more advanced poses. Basically, there are a few poses that I’m not yet flexible enough to do, mostly thanks to tight runner’s hamstrings. What was interesting to me (when I had the wherewithal to wonder at how strong my body has become to keep up with what I’m pretty sure were all significantly younger students) was that I was able to do some of the binds that have eluded me thus far at home where the highest studio temperature was 95.
Although the studio’s website says all levels are welcome to the class, this was not a class I’d recommend to beginners. If this had been my first yoga experience, I’d not been likely to repeat. I probably would’ve passed out about 10 minutes in. I’m not quite sold on the idea that above 100 degrees is more beneficial, especially since I think more strength poses (as opposed to stretching) would be hard to maintain for long in the heat. I also wish there had been a bit more upper body strength work, but that’s not part of this sort of yoga practice.
My heart rate really accelerated even in poses that I normally don’t struggle with. Trust me, standing on one foot in Dandayamana Janushirasana (standing head to knee pose), trying to get my raised leg straight and nose to the vicinity of my knee was nerve-wracking. And not particularly elegant in my case.
Regardless of how wrung dry I felt by the end of class, there was a very real calm and elation afterwards as I stepped out into the city’s relative cool air.
Just so you know, I am writing this post while waiting for my steak dinner at an Argentinian steak house. I changed my clothes but didn’t shower. If I’d showered, I probably wouldn’t have made it to dinner. Since I am doing a running tour at 6:45am tomorrow, I need to be sure I eat tonight.
I hope I don’t smell too bad. I made the effort of peeling off my sweaty yoga clothes before I left. I had planned eating at the hotel restaurant, but it was closed and doing a lame buffet in the bar. I’m disappointed in my hotel this trip.
James, the instructor, said something towards the end of class that resonated with me. He said that each small decision and change towards the better we make adds up to something greater. I’m paraphrasing because, again, yoga-steamed brain like mush.
All in all, glad I went. The class was a steal at only $9, including mat rental. I brought my own hot yoga towel for over the borrowed mat. If you’re even slightly germophobic, I’d recommend the same.
So, thanks to James & Yoga to the People for a great, if challenging, experience.