I think I am in a rare group – I am completely ambivalent about hot yoga. It seems like there are two camps – those that love it, and those that think it is one of the levels of hell in Dante’s Inferno, (the level for those especially bendy.)
I don’t mind the heat as much as I thought I would. It’s over 95 degrees in there and they really work you. (This is not the soft-voice-pose-and-hold yoga that I took 10 years ago.) The sweat pours off you in buckets making the matt so slick it’s hard to even hold a downward facing dog without ending up on your face. When we are done, we all look like we just got out of the pool – our hair is soaked, our yoga clothes are dripping and beads of sweat cover our arms. It sounds fairly gross, but it isn’t. Everyone is in the same damp, drippy, humid boat.
Yoga is hard for me. I am definitely not bendy. For forty years I lived completely in my head, it’s only in the last year I have even attempted anything physical. I don’t know my body. What I do know is that I am stiff. I can hold a plank like anyone’s business, but when it comes to tying up in a pretzel knot, my limbs resist. The heat helps with that, of course, but there is only so much it can do. (Seriously, I struggle with siting flat on the floor with my legs straight out in front of me. As for being able to touch my toes… not happening.)
There is, however, a release in being really bad at something. The fact that my triangle looks more like an octagon doesn’t bother me. There is no competition, and if there was, I know where I’d rank. I am totally okay with that. That doesn’t mean I don’t try, I try really hard. But the beauty of being at the bottom is that there is so much room for improvement. If I can get “my sit bones a little higher” or “turn my heart in” a bit more, I’m happy.
What I love about yoga is being with my sister. We crack jokes beforehand and afterwards when she gives me a ride home. (I walk there, but there is no way Ms. Drippy Mc Dripperson is going to walk her sweaty butt home.) We text about it during the week. We’ve had 3 classes so far, and we were both sad when we realized our Groupon only had 2 more classes left on it. (We’ve already talked about finding another studio offering a beginner’s special – this place is too expensive for regular practice.)
If my sister wasn’t going with me, or I didn’t have a good deal through Groupon – would I go? Probably not. I like learning the yoga, but there are a lot of other options, even right in my neighborhood, that are more in my price range. The heat doesn’t bother me, but I’m not in love with it either. So, we’ll finish up these two next classes over the next two weeks and then see what other fitness adventure we can explore!
Photo credit: GoToVan on flickr