Events: My First Hot Yoga Class

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The first thing I can tell you about yesterday is that I saw other naked adult women for the first time. So that happened.

Blame it on the fact that I've never had a gym membership or been a fashion model. It seems like changing rooms/backstage dressing areas provide ample opportunities to see other folks in the buff, and since those aren't places I've ever been, yesterday represented a first. I purchased a Groupon deal (a few months back) that would allow me ten 90-minute sessions of hot yoga, and with my blessed day off from work, I ventured forth to see how my body would like it and if I would, in fact, DIE as a result of excessive sweating and excessive stretching. Walking into the changing room pre-class, I was met with about five women in various states of undress, recovering from the class they'd just finished. I registered their nudity in my head -- "Oh, they are naked" -- and proceeded without concern. Being a self-analytic, self-reflective person means constantly evaluating your emotions and reactions, deciding if you like them and if they make sense. I was pleased to note that I didn't feel weird at all. I could notice these women without staring, and noticing their breasts or the tattoos on their bums didn't feel any different than noticing someone's nail polish. Next thought: when I'm done with my class, will I be naked in front of strangers too? Will I do that? Will I feel comfortable enough? Should I aspire to be that comfortable? Et cetera. Self-analyzing is a chore sometimes.

Despite what I've led you to believe so far, the main focus of my class was not sitting in this locker room and ruminating on the female form. No, I came to get my yoga on. Yoga is a now-and-then thing for me, something I enjoy but have never made into a serious practice. This particular form of yoga, hot yoga, is different from anything I've done, and the difference is summed up in that word: hot. HOT. In explaining the heat to Craig, I mis-estimated that the room was 90 degrees. No no, it was 105 degrees (just checked the website), and with 40% humidity. I wish I could capitalize letters to put the emphasis on that. It was sweltering. Just sitting in that room took it out of me. And then I had to stand like a very flexible flamingo in said heat, trying to maintain balance against forces that would have me faint and fall.

And oh, the sweat. I have never in my life sweat so much, not even close. My skin was positively slimy from head to toe, as if I'd been slathered in olive oil, and little streams of sweat were coming off the ends of my hair. My fancy new yoga pants looked like they'd been dipped top-first in a bucket of water before I put them on.

The only difficult thing was not collapsing, which might sound like a joke, but I mean that sincerely. I thought that the HOT YOGA thing would be tough because of the yoga, but it was actually tough because of the hot. I didn't find the poses that difficult, nor was I intimidated by the stamina it took to hold them. But I had to rest on my back about five or six times, trying to recover from the lightheaded, I'm-gonna-puke feeling brought on by the temperature.

In all this, I noticed little things about my body. The edges of my lips would tingle during each rest. When I lie down, my right foot rolls out and opens up more than my left, like my left foot is repelled by the ground while my right foot is like, "Meh, whatever." There's a tendon in my right foot that gets really tight, as do my shoulders. My arms are very long.

The thing that's remained on my mind since yesterday's class is a quote that was posted throughout the studio, an old proverb.

Be humble, for you are made of dung. Be noble, for you are made of stars.

And for those of you who wondered, this body, made of dung and stars, did indeed go naked in the dressing room when she changed from yoga gear into a t-shirt and jeans.


  1. Sara, I LOVED this post! You are not only a very talented writer, but your insights and self reflection are refreshing. Glad you shared!

  2. I think I'm still trying to wrap my mind around two things: 1) you had never seen a naked adult woman before and 2) that people VOLUNTARILY do hot yoga. Perhaps I'm influenced by the fact that I'm very sensitive to heat and today was 80 degrees and I thought I was going to die by the end of a couple of errands with the youngun. I barely moved for about two hours after that little adventure. Plus I'm a sweater. I took dance all growing up (hence, I've seen a lot of naked women/teens and I've been naked myself on the side of a stage) and people used to comment on how crazy sweaty I always was. While I'm certain hot yoga isn't my thing, I totally enjoyed this little journey with you.

  3. One major advantage you can get from hot yoga is detoxification. Excessive sweating is believed to help wash out toxins from the skin. Plus, the heat allows you to safely go deep into different yoga postures. Hot yoga also helps the body relax, improves breathing, and allows for better mental concentration.

    - Cooper Heyes


site design by designer blogs with floral elements by createthecut