My First Hot Yoga Class

February 25, 2011

It’s the end of February and my winter depression is in full swing. There’s nothing quite like continuous frigid commutes morning, noon, and night to really put a damper on your will to live.

Since a tropical trip is out of the question, I decided that a hot yoga class would be the perfect way to get myself out of my cold-weather slump.

I mean, if I can’t be on a beach in the Caribbean, the next best thing is to be in a small, hot, dark room with strangers, sweating my ass off and getting stuck in impossible, limb-breaking positions, right?

I put the word out that I wanted to try a class, and a good friend of mine recommended a place. It’s a drop-in, $10 per class place– no commitment, just bring yourself, water, a towel, a mat, and money.

The website said all levels were welcome, so I figured I would be ok. I mean, I know the general terms of yoga poses, so how bad could I be?

Note to self: Knowing yoga poses does not make them easier. It also does not make you lithe, flexible, or able to do a headstand. I will remember this next class.

Anyway, I decided to try the 5:45 Hip Hop Yoga class.

Class Description: “A Vinyasa Yoga class set to a pumpin’ and jammin’ Hip Hop Music playlist. Be prepared to open your body and to be inspired from HEAD TO BIG TOE.”

I wanted to be inspired from my head to big toes!

I showed up to class in my best organic, biodegradable yoga pants, new mat slung over my shoulder and water bottle in hand.

I guess I was a little slow getting into the studio because by the time I did, every spot was taken except for the one in the very center at the front.

Another note to self: Next time, bust your way in there first so you can find a spot in the darkest corner in the back. Throw elbows if need be. Just get to a corner!

Not to be deterred, I set up my mat, sat down and looked around.

What I saw was disheartening and a little frightening.

One girl was stretching. And by stretching, I mean she had her leg so far up over her head, I’m inclined to think it was a prosthetic and she was just playing a sick joke on all of us.

And let’s not forget the girl quietly waiting in the corner for class to start. While I was sitting on my mat, she was chillen…in a headstand.

Alrighty.

Class starts. The beginning wasn’t so bad. We sat cross-legged, stretched our necks, and focused on our breathing.

So far so good.

Then we go into downward dog.

Yes, I know this pose. Yes, I’ve done it.

No, I have not done it for 5 minutes straight.

I immediately thought I was going to die.

…and that’s when I started sweating.

For the next hour and a half, I was put through one of the most rigorous workouts of my life.

To any of you who go to the gym, lift weights, have muscle, can run over 4 miles, can swing a 28 kg kettlebell, and think you are in shape…take one of these classes.

45 minutes in, I was sweating so much that even the bottoms of my feet were slippery. So much so that I had trouble doing “warrior pose” for fear of sliding right off my mat and into a giant, defeated heap.

My favorite line of the night was when we were in some sort of wide-leg pose, bending at the hips so our hands touched (or, in my case, dangled listlessly a few inches above) the floor, and the instructor said:

“Now, let your knees fall onto your elbows and just flow right into your tripod, feet in the air.”

Um, what? You want me to balance my knees on my elbows and support my entire body upside down on my hands?

Needless to say, I didn’t do that. The only other one who didn’t do that was the lone guy in the class, who’s bulky frame had about as much flexibility as a rock.

How encouraging.

The final sign that I am in no way up to par with my yoga skills was when everyone else was “relaxing” in the “wheel” position and I was huddled on my mat in child’s pose, gasping for breath (or should I say “focusing” on my “breathing”).

In summary…

Was it hard? Yes.

Was it uncomfortable? Holy shit, yes.

Was everyone super nice, non-judgmental, and understanding? Yes.

Do I think it’s something everybody should do? Absolutely, 100% yes.

Last night was a giant wake-up call. I need to do more yoga.

I’m going again next Wednesday.

Progress, Not Perfection

September 30, 2009

People often times ask me where I turn to for exercise and health advice. The fitness field is ALWAYS evolving, and if you don’t stay on top of your game, it’s easy to fall behind.

If you direct your eyes to the right of the screen, scroll down a little, and look under the “Healthy Living Advice” section, you’ll see a link called Progress, Not Perfection. This, my readers, is a blog that is bookmarked on my computer. I read it almost everyday, and get super excited when I see a new post.

Not only is the blogger one of the freaking awesome trainers at Punch Gym, where I dutifully go 3-4 times a week to get my butt pummeled by kettlebells, but she is also a former co-worker of mine. I’ve seen her in action, people, and take it from me, this is a blog you want to follow (along with mine, of course!)

My goal is to be able to do this:

Yeah, she's nuts!

Yeah, she's nuts!

It runs the gamut…exercise tips, nutrition tips, yummy (and healthy) recipes, holistic living…

Check it out. Read it. Bookmark it. You’ll love it.