Let me just tell you, last night's hot yoga class was INCREDIBLE.
I had always wanted to try yoga, but I was also always afraid. For years that fear- of humiliation, of weakness, of being too this or too that- ruled my world. I just couldn't do it. I couldn't walk into a class of people who had studied the art of yoga and had these beautiful, long, fluid bodies and work amongst them with my frumpy, chubby body flopping around while I pretended to be one of them... It just wasn't happening. It didn't matter what reality was, I told myself I wasn't welcome and couldn't do it.
One of my biggest growths as a person since last April when I really starting training, caring for my mind and body, and losing weight has been my conquering of my own fear. As my mindset has changed, I've learned that it's okay to get outside of your comfort zone and to try new things- even if you look stupid. And you know what? Sometimes... you don't. Sometimes you don't look stupid at all! Sometimes you're great and you feel like you're EXACTLY where you need to be...
Walking into hot yoga, the first thing you're struck with is the temperature of the room. It's about 95-105 degrees and 30-40% humidity. It's made to be that hot to warm your muscles and to help you expel the impurities in your skin and muscles. It's sort of like working out in a sauna. The thing that's surprising, is that you get used to it. Is it warm? Definitely! But is it uncomfortable? Definitely not.
I took a spot smack dab in the middle of the room. Luckily for me, an acquaintance of mine was there, and although I don't know her well, I was tickled to see a friendly face that I was fond of. (To be honest, she was a big part of my motivation for going to the class. She has a youthful glow to her skin that is hard to match and she's definitely fit! I want that too!) My spot was next to hers. I was able to borrow a mat from the yoga studio (although a friend sent hers along with me just in case.) Five minutes later, I was laid out flat on the floor, settled in, and ready to get started...
Why the middle of the room? I don't know I guess. Because I was new. Because I wanted to be front and center because I had NO idea what I was doing. Because they immediately started moving their mats to make way for me, so I figured it was probably a sign from the universe... Plus, everyone there most likely knew I was new, or would know it when they realized I didn't know "how" yoga worked or what to do.
What I loved about this class is that although I was definitely a beginner, I was never ever made to feel like it. Our instructor, Mickaela, was extremely thorough in explaining what yoga was and how it worked. She made you FEEL like it was just you and her working together- even in a room full of people. One of the most powerful things she said was that it didn't matter what the person next to you was doing. Everyone was at their own pace. And everyone spending time with and on themselves was important. Love that!
We went through breathing correctly first, because let's be honest, in a 105 degree room doing any kind of exercise at all, you are going to have to learn how to breathe properly. (I don't have it mastered by any stretch of the imagination, but I'll keep working on it.) When it came to the instruction on movement, she made each position very smooth and explained how to perform each one, in depth, as we went along. Then she came around the room, and if we were not centered correctly or she could improve our posture to help us get the most out of our pose, she would show us how. There was one move, the chattarunga, that I could NOT get the handle of. It's basically a slow reverse push-up. For whatever reason, I kept coming down super fast and kind of clunky. Mickaela actually got down on the floor and very quietly showed me how to turn my elbow in and do it correctly instead. It was nice to have that! At no point did I ever feel singled out or silly. In fact, I felt welcomed, comfortable, and like one of the group. (And did I mention that everyone is very gracious and kind and friendly? They are!) Oh----and did I mention that I did every pose that everyone else did? Boom! I CAN do it! Sometimes you just need to get out of your mind and out of your own way....
Frequently Asked Questions:
Was it a butt-kicking?
I sweat LIKE A PIG, people! You do anything in that kind of heat and you'd be sweaty too! But it wasn't hard to the point that somebody new couldn't do it. You definitely work, but you're not going to keel over from exhaustion either.
Was I sore last night? Nope. FELT AMAZING, actually! I was calm, collected, and felt awesome.
Was I sore today? Yep. Sure am. But is it the good kind of hurt that makes you feel like you've actually done something good for yourself? You bet!
Would I do it again? I'm planning to add it into my training one day a week! THAT IS HOW MUCH I LOVED IT! (And I slept like a baby last night!)
Did anyone fart? (Question submitted from the peanut gallery, ie: my son Cole) No. Sorry to let you down, buddy. But even if they did, it happens. And when it happens, it will probably stink. I know you're happy about that...
The biggest bonus of the night? My skin looked FABulous when I left!
All in all, hot yoga was a huge success, and in my opinion, we're lucky to have this new studio opening up in our area. As a disclaimer, I did not pay for last night's session. However, these opinions are 100% mine and I'm not even sure the instructors know I write this little blog. (If they do, HI GUYS!) The good news? You won't pay for YOUR first session either! They offer it free to new yoggies!)
If you're in Calumet County, maybe you'll join me sometime soon? And if you're like I was and have never tried it and are trying desperately to get off the fence, just DO IT. You'll be glad you did... Plus, it's cold outside, but it's nice and warm in there! Bonus!
Off to work on my standing tree pose...