I remember my first hot yoga class the way that someone who is an ex-smoker remembers their first cigarette. Since I am also the latter I know of what I speak.
My local studio offers both heated and non-heated classes. The teachers are really solid (and I don’t just say that because I now teach there- which is just SO cool to type) and the place has a great vibe. It’s intimate, friendly and the heated classes get nice and hot. A few years ago I took my first hot class.
Sure I’d done yoga before- but a hot class seemed like an extra juicy piece of fun.
Here’s what happened:
- It was hot
- I was sweating through my skin.
- I was sweating from the palms of my hand
- I was sweating from my eyebrows
- I was sweating behind my ears.
- I was annoyed about having to stay still in between poses
- I was annoyed that I was told when I could drink water- I mean it’s my freaking water…
- I was sweating so much that I didn’t know I could sweat this much.
- I was aggravated and tired
And then two hours later- I was reborn.
I couldn’t wait to do it again. Those of you who have been bitten by the heat bug are pickin’ up what I’m puttin down.
So I kept going back. The classes I took were Bikram inspired classes. Sure the poses were challenging, but I fell in love with the heat.
The ‘feel so hot’ you see stars kind of heat.
Yeah sure, I know it’s not okay. But the feeling you get working out in heat is better than…is better that anything I can conjure.
It’s like you are wringing out your body. Squeezing those toxins and leaving them on your towel. A few hours later- a high sets in.
You can take on the world. Seriously.
I had to know- could a studio get even hotter?
I trekked into the city and took a Yoga to the People class. Word on the street was that these classes got hot- like Africa hot. I was down baby. Down and ready.
I put down my mat in the back- I broke into a sweat just laying the mat down.
Holy Savanasa Batman!
I thought I was going to die. This was the middle of hell during a heat wave kind of hot.
Soaked through my clothes within the 10 minutes. I glanced at the thermostat- it read 110.
I. Was. Home.
I was sure my butt was cooking from the inside out. After class, people would slice pieces of Oneika rump roast.
My towel was so soaked, I had to wring it out.
Sweat was flinging off bodies as we moved from pose to pose. It would be gross if I wasn’t flinging sweat on the chick next to me but she was so sweaty and focused on herself in the mirror she didn’t notice.
Did I mention that 70 people are in the class? Yeah- so there’s also body heat. I hung out in the back row and observed the scantily clad people and couldn’t wait until I felt that bad and bold. Could. Not. Wait.
I’m not here to talk about Bikram or the classes- that’s another post. (We can get into about Bikram and his attitude, yada yada. But yoga is about non-judgement, so keep an open mind. S’all I’m sayin’)
I have my own problems with some of the poses and the dialogue. I don’t think yoga should hurt. Bikram yoga plays to Type A people who have feelings of insecuirty and superiority.
Which makes them unbearable people to be sure- but for 90 minutes they are broken down into a puddle of mush crying for their mommies promising to be good boy/girl. Which is funny as hell.
Not that I know anyone like that….
If you haven’t read Hellbent, pick it up- it’s a great read for non-yoga and yoga junkies alike. It is a memoir about one’s man’s journey down the ‘Bikram rabbit-hole’.
Though it’s supposed to read like a cautionary tale- heat addicts be warned. It only makes you want to drop the book- pack your bag, energy powder, frozen water bottle, two towels and a change of clothes. I am twitching writing this- giddy with the excitement that happens when you walk into the hot and slightly smelly room and place down your mat. You look at the mirror. Sit cross-legged and smile.
Bring. It. On.
This is yoga. And sometimes it’s gotta be really hot.