The room was warm to walk into, but air was still flowing as people came or went back out to grab blocks or use the bathroom. But once the doors closed, the room heated quickly. The room was full. Mats stacked against mats; we were practically shoulder to shoulder. And I started sweating with the first downward dog.
Hot yoga was always one of those workouts. You know. The ones that you hear about and never try. The workouts you think are a little too crazy, and I’ll just stick to my interval running, thanks anyway. But it came up over drinks at girls night, and having friends to go with made the class a little more approachable, accessible. I knew I was in good company when I put down my mat next to Amy, and if I slipped and fell on my face, well it would make a good story for the next girls night.
It wasn’t log into the workout before my muscles were shaking, my hand slipping on my mat. I found myself cursing the fact that I finished half my bottle of water on my drive over. And I found myself thankful for waiting to eat my breakfast and wondering if I would keep up, if I could make it through. Every inch of my body was wet. The instructor told me to hold on to the outside of my shins, and my hands slipped off. My fingers couldn’t stay clasped behind my back. Sweat dripped into my eyes.
But at one point, I was on my shoulders, hips up off the floor, legs and toes stretched to the ceiling (excuse me, I don’t know any of the proper pose names) and I found myself wondering something more. That was I realized that this pose was just one in a string of poses I’d completed. It was a pose I never thought I’d get into, never thought I’d reach. And there I was in a room full of mostly strangers and I was pushing myself farther and harder to do things I wouldn’t otherwise do. I’m sure it wasn’t pretty (especially the next moment when the instructor told me to lower my knees to the floor above my shoulders), but it felt good. I was so so hot. And I was working so so hard. But I was also able to push myself farther into each pose. What exhilaration!
I’m not writing this out to brag that I was able to (almost) get my knees on the floor by my ears but more because if there ever was a workout that could detoxify and reinvigorate, it’s hot yoga. And that’s really part of the goal in each workout–to clean your body through sweating, really really sweating. So you move faster through the poses that you would in a typical yoga class, and you sweat so much more.
When class ended, I stepped outside with my girlfriends. The morning was cool, which felt amazing. My shirt was soaked through. My hair looked like I had just stepped out of the shower. My fingers were even pruned. But I didn’t feel drained, or tired even. I was energized, ready to take on what was next.
So what is next for me? I have another date with hot yoga Tuesday evening. Quite honestly, I can’t wait.