The other day, I decided to try hot yoga. Why? Two very important reasons:
- Yoga clothes are really cute, and I couldn’t justify another Spiritual Gangster purchase without doing something Spiritual or Gangstery. I don’t know how many former financial services executive mom gangsters you know, but it seemed spiritual was the better way to go.
- I’m guilty of being a fitness trend follower. I felt a little out of it sitting at Raw Juce listening to everyone discuss their “practice,” when the only thing I was practicing was how quickly I could down my raw oatmeal cookies.
So off I went to my local yoga studio with a new pink yoga mat, and a matching towel, all happy and excited, and then…
My phone! No one told us (me and my phone) that we were going to be separated for over an hour. We’re both (ok at least one of us) having serious separation anxiety. But, hey, I’m committed, so I check in and walk into the room:
They weren’t kidding about the hot. The room is really hot. Not snuggly warm…hot!!! I look around to see if other people look concerned. They all look blissfully relaxed (unless they’ve passed out?). Me, I’m running a quick check in my head of the signs of a heart attack, and really, really wishing I had my phone handy, in case I need to dial 911!
I’m not a quitter, so I unroll my mat (which is already feeling kind of damp), lie down and hope for the best.
Then class begins. We start out by setting an intention. Oh!!! I got this!!! My intention? To not die.
On to our first child’s pose. This is the pose that you can revert to at any time in your practice, if it all gets to feel too much for you. I better get familiar with this one, because I think I’ll be using it a lot.
This is when I conclude that I have a problem. Clearly, my body must have a different bone structure than everyone else’s. While they all look comfy cozy, I’m in agony, with my butt hovering somewhere above my legs and my shoulders sticking up in the air. (Don’t know if you can picture it, but it isn’t pretty.)
The instructor comes by to whisper to me in a very soothing tone not to worry and that what we can’t do today may come tomorrow. I’m about to say, “If I live so long,” but I’m in too much pain to really make conversation.
On to our first Chattaranga, where we “meet in downward dog,” another resting position. I’m sure it is very restful if your feet actually touch the floor. Mine don’t!
By this time, I am already drenched in sweat. Like drenched. Like dripping. Apparently so is everyone else. I learn this after hearing a drip, drip, drip. I think it’s coming from the ceiling, but it turns out it’s coming from the guy on my right whose armpits appear to be raining onto his yoga mat! I subtly slide my mat over to the left.
On to Tree pose. Time for my left sweaty foot to make contact with my right sweaty leg. After a back injury, I don’t have great single leg balance in the best of circumstances, and being drenched head to toe isn’t really improving things. But suddenly, in a moment of yogic clarity (or possibly the early signs of heat stroke), I really believe I can do this, and I actually do. OK, not for very long, but there is that amazing moment when I’m actually in the pose, and it feels great.
And then, everything changes. I suddenly find the heat to be exhilarating not exhausting. I stop noticing everything going on around me, and I focus on myself. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suddenly transformed into a budding yoga star, but suddenly, it all makes sense to me. And when we end class by honoring and thanking our bodies, I realize it’s been a really long time since I’ve done anything to my body other than criticize it for various lumps, bumps and bulges, both real and imagined. I begin to see how yoga can be a powerful road to improving confidence and feeling strong and in control, and in a nanosecond; I know I’m hooked!
So, hot yoga, thank you! I now have yoga on the brain, and I can’t wait for my next class tomorrow morning (and for my Cacao Protein Crunch Bowl immediately after thanks to my pals at Raw Juce).
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To learn more about Raw Juce go to www.rawjuce.com.