A friend of mine recently dropped 20 pounds doing hot yoga. So I thought, why not. What do I have to lose? 20 pounds? Count me in!
We waited in line for 45 minutes to ensure a spot for our yoga mat in the steamy studio. I imagined myself perfectly steady in my Scorpion pose, tiny beads of sweat glistening on my forehead, at peace with myself and my body and the world.
Instead, once inside, I found myself stretching and deep-breathing with 30 of my new best friends, the temperature pushing 110 degrees Fahrenheit, and rivers of sweat gushing from every pore in my body. The “guide” (that’s what they call the instructor who tells you what to do, but doesn’t actually do it herself) encouraged us to let go of our stress and focus only on our breathing. This was difficult because I was sure everyone could hear my breathing, and also I can SEE MYSELF IN THE MIRROR (and um, did she just touch my hips??!?).
At every new pose attempt I would catch my own gaze and struggle against the internal giggle, as if someone had just reminded me of a great inside joke. I’d look up and see the sweat pouring down limbs and want to exclaim, “This is crazy! I didn’t know I could sweat so much!” But, as our guide had reminded us, there was no talking allowed in the sacred room where we do our practice. (Apparently yoga is a practice, not simply a workout.) At first, I was determined to finish the 80 minutes strong; to pause only for the occasional sip of water and dab my perspiring brow. However, about half way through I stopped caring entirely. I took off my drenched shirt, gulped down water, and got real comfy in child’s pose. (That’s the one where you don’t have to actually exert energy.)
Situated between my yoga-experienced-dropped-20-
pounds-doing-this friend, my never-done-yoga-in-her-life roommate, and a mirror running from floor to ceiling, wall to wall, I wondered why in the heck I’d decided this was a good idea. Oh, let’s go do our workout IN A SAUNA! Brilliant. Next time let’s try Hot Jazzercise! Stay right here while I go hide ice packs in my yoga pants.
I have to admit, afterwards I felt amazing—mostly because I’d tried something new, powered through, and I wasn’t nearly as terrible as I expected I’d be. I also have a newfound respect for yoga-ites everywhere. Seriously.