This morning I took my first hot yoga class in…
[momentary pause while I try to calculate how long it’s actually been. Ok, make that a long pause, because I got my B.A. in English, and it’s not like I’m actually good at math.]
…holy mackeral. Two years. It’s been about 24 months since I took a hot yoga class. Back then, I was still in college. Back then, I was still straightening my hair. Back then, I was still a naive little child-woman who thought she’d get a full time job straight out of school, that paying bills would be a piece of cake, and that dating after college would be a grand adventure.
Chipmunks ain’t got nothin’ on those cheeks.
(So far, I’m 1 for 3 on that. And since I have to work part time at Starbucks and break out in a cold sweat when people mention “student loans,” I’ll let you figure out which one I got right.)
Two years…Yeah, that could explain a lot.
Anyway, back to yoga. After two years, it was an interesting reintroduction to studio practice. Challenging in some ways, and almost natural in others. Weird, but mostly a good weird (like a lot of things have been lately).
In case you’re thinking about trying yoga, or if you’ve been there/done that/want to commiserate…here’s a play-by-play.
04:30 – Wake up. Check phone, see time…still have 30 minutes until I need to get up, but I’m feeling almost wide awake. Checking my new messages doesn’t help me get back to sleep, just FYI.
05:00 – Oh hey, I actually did fall back asleep. Get up, change into yoga-y clothes, pat myself on the back for remembering to shave my legs and give myself a pedicure the day before.
05:15 – Brush teeth, braid hair, try to avoid eye contact with myself in the mirror. A naked face this early in the morning is something else…praying they dim the lights in yoga class.
05:35 – Arrive with 10 minutes to spare. I sign a waiver, present my free pass, and am instructed to turn my phone all the way off and leave my sandals in the lobby. Hear deep breathing coming from behind the door to the main studio. Someone needs to get homeboy an oxygen tank before he starts asphyxiating.
05:45 – Set up my mat towards the back, as close as possible to the window. Observe the interesting variety of granola-types, suburban moms, and random middle aged men…and the Buddha statues and elephant paintings (or maybe that’s a Hindu deity? I couldn’t tell you one way or another), which are in a little cluster up front. This naturally inspires an internal debate over whether I’ll be able to pull off the crop top + harem pants combo this summer. (My love handles vote “NO.”)
05:47 – The teacher starts class by saying he knows there is one new person in the class, and asks who that is. I raise my hand sheepishly, like I’m a Portland native admitting to driving a Dodge Ram. Thankfully, the teacher comes over to welcome me and is super hospitable. This is what they call “good vibes,” right?
05:50 – Class starts. It’s warm in the studio but not hot, I’m feeling somewhat confident, and my deodorant seems to be working. Yasss.
06:00 – Things start picking up…and heating up. I’m feeling toasty, but enjoying the class. Practicing yoga at home has definitely been a game changer.
06:15 – OMG. Between the vinyasa-ing and endless Warrior II/Cresent Lunge flows, I warmed up. And so did all 40 other folks in class. By now it’s hot and it’s humid as all get out. I may as well be doing downward-dog in the bayous of Louisiana.
06:17 – Nearly kick the girl next to me during transitions. I probably should have hired a lawyer before trying something that requires so much coordination and athleticism, both of which I clearly lack.
06:20 – Panicking. It’s so dang humid. My lungs feel claustrophobic. Wonder if this is a symptom of asthma? Maybe that doctor I saw in high school was right when he said I had exercise-induced asthma. If I shimmy across the room and slide out right now, will anyone notice??
06:22 – Look around and realize everyone else is sweating like a mofo, too, and feel a lot better about myself. Try not to think about how I’m breathing in the sweat of everyone else in the room. And why didn’t I bring a water bottle???
06:25 – The teacher guy tells us to hit it in child’s pose for a minute. Hell yeah, buddy. I can rock child’s pose like nobody’s business. Also, a good chance to practice breathing without wheezing.
06:30 – Back on our feet doing some Utkatasana (chair pose) and thanks to my massive legs, I can do this portion without wanting to die. Which, judging by the sound of my classmates’ heavy breathing, is exactly what they want to do right now.
06:32 – Seriously, what’s with the breathing? I know that yoga’s about “finding your breath” (um hi, it’s in my lungs, where I like it) and weird stuff like that…but do yall have to be so loud about it? It’s like taking a class with Sandra Bullock’s character from Gravity.
06:37 – Ok, now even my shins are sweating. It’s like once I decided I was going to embrace the heat (rather than army-crawl out the back door, which is a very legitimate option I’d been considering 25 minutes ago), my body decided to cope by trying to make me look like Britney in her “Slave 4 U” video. Except unlike Britney Spears circa 2001, this is not at all sexy and I have way less backup dancers.
06:38 – Realize I do have something on old-school-Britney…I can sing badly without autotune. Suck it, Brit-brit.
06:40 – Realize that mentally competing with Britney Spears is not only pathetic, but probably the opposite of what you’re supposed to do in yoga class.
06:42 – The lights are now completely off, and we’re all supposed to be in frog pose. Naturally, I have to have the teacher come show me how this amphibian-inspired contortion works. He’s all up in my personal bubble, and I’m basically sitting on my neighbor’s mat (because nearly giving her a roundhouse to the spleen wasn’t enough) so he won’t end up in my lap.
06:43 – Frog pose is…weird. And in this case, not good weird. Like “50 Shades” weird, which is about all I can say about this because my relatives read this blog. But suffice to say, it’s probably worse for my poor neighbor, who’s got a lovely view of my bum. (Definitely rethinking the little shorts I wore to class. Thank God the lights are off.)
06:48 – We’re thankfully finished with froggy time, and now we’re savasana-ing ourselves silly. The assisting teacher comes over with some lavender-scented lotion/goo and starts massaging my temples. I’d forgotten about this end-of-class ritual, but I’m all about it. Normally I’m not big on strangers touching me, but you get a free pass to get up in my bubble space anytime you bring smelly-good-stuff. Namaste indeed….Namastay-right-here-and-enjoy-the-free-massage.
06:50 – At last, this shindig is done. We sit up and do one final “ommm” (well, they do. The mouth-breathing is weird enough for me.). Wonder if they would have let me take the class if they knew I’m a practicing conservative. Oh well, doesn’t matter – time to blow this popsicle stand.
06:52 – To my surprise, neighbor girl starts chatting with me as we’re rolling up our mats. Glad she’s not holding frog pose against me. And look at me, making new friends before 07:00! For us introverts, that’s an achievement.
07:00 – Arrive at Starbucks to return someone else’s apron that I accidentally took home…and to grab a quad espresso on ice. (Thanks James and Lex!) Because you have to hydrate after yoga class, you know?
07:10 – Get home, dump some protein powder and almond milk into my espresso, and drink my protein shake like the yoga-doing lady-bro that I apparently am. Sure, it’s got enough caffeine to put down a small horse, but I can handle it. After all, I just survived hot yoga.
And there you have it. More details than you ever wanted to know about what goes down in hot yoga. I probably won’t get a membership at the studio (I just checked and the pricing doesn’t really jive with the whole student-loans-and-being-poor-and-possibly-having-more-student-loans-after-grad-school thing), but I could see myself dropping in once in awhile when I need a good stretch/mental challenge.
At the very least, I’ll keep wearing yoga pants. Those suckers get me.
Your turn to share!
Best, worst, or most memorable hot yoga experience?
Anyone else get nostalgic when you think about pre-2007 Britney?