In an attempt to keep the promise that I made to my body of getting more fit and healthy this year, I signed up for some hot yoga classes. The thought of being placed in a room at over 100 degrees while doing yoga poses seemed like the perfect means of exercise for someone who wants to be fit without working TOO hard. It’s yoga, after all, right?
It’s supposed to relax you, stretch you out, and make you feel new. Well, ladies and gents, hot yoga is not easy and not for the faint-hearted. It’s a real workout that requires you to focus and be willing to push yourself. I have a newfound respect for people who have been practicing this form of exercise, because more than once I wanted to run out of that hot, sticky, muggy, sweaty room. Likely because instead of focusing, I was thinking about writing this article. Looking back though, it was totally worth it. Here are six thoughts that will inevitably cross your mind during a hot yoga class:
1. Damn, it’s hot.
The word hot is in the name, so you’d think I would’ve understood that going in. If 100 degrees doesn’t really sound like much, try being in a room surrounded by people, most of whom are also unprepared to handle high temperatures for a full hour. The added body heat is no joke, kids. With heaters built into the walls and not an open window in sight, there are moments when you actually feel like you’re going to die. The grim reaper literally comes to class and chills in the back. No, seriously. Death is very possible in hot yoga. The only thing actually keeping you somewhat calm is the fact that you’ve never heard of anyone dying during hot yoga.
Ok, clearly I’m exaggerating. The good thing is that the human body is resilient AF and helps you cool down. Sweat is your best friend during hot yoga. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT wipe it off. Mostly because your Instagram will be 10x cooler if you’re completely drenched. Which is after all, why we put ourselves through this in the first place.
2. I didn’t know I could sweat there.
During my first sesh of hot yoga, I found it fascinating that my forearms were drenched in sweat. Little pearls of perspiration had formed there and I couldn’t believe it! It was fun, but kind of awkward to see and feel sweat in places that I had never perspired in before. However, when these wonderful pearls of sweat start falling into your eyes, making your contacts slide to the back of your eyeball, you feel like you’re going to run out of the room screaming bloody murder. Sweat in your eye stings a lot, but the only thing that would sting worse is quitting after putting yourself through all that.
3. Did someone just fart?
In hot yoga there are moments when you bend in ways that can make your knees crack and your shoulders pop. Bodily sounds are just fine and a completely natural part of class. Some people grunt and groan or sigh heavily and some people just talk to themselves the entire time. Being in a room that hot, trying to balance on one foot while breathing deeply and fighting gravity to avoid the drops of sweat falling into your eyes can cause you to react in ways you hadn’t expected. Ok, I’ll just say it. A guy farted in the last class I went to and to be honest, I completely understood it. He probably bent in such a way that the little sucker had no choice to but to escape. I wasn’t angry at him. But I was angry at the seven other people who heard him fart and decided it was okay for them to fart. It’s going to happen. But just enjoy a good laugh, because after all, you paid for this.
4. Time has never moved so slowly.
At times during hot yoga, I’ve felt like I was in a vortex where time just doesn’t move. You feel like you’ve been holding the same pose for hours, when in fact only a mere 10 seconds have gone by. The first few sessions time does seem to stand still, but I can honestly say that the more you go, the more you know what to expect and learn how to cope. Each time at hot yoga will feel different, but your discipline will improve and you’ll learn not to pay attention to the minutes that seem to be multiplying instead of running out.
Wow, now I really don’t blame that guy for farting. He probably felt like he was holding it in for 12 hours.
5. Must. Drink. Water.
Hot yoga parches you. It lets you know if you’re hydrating properly. I’m not a huge fan of the flavorlessness of water, but it’s life when you’re in that sweltering room. Hot yoga has helped me appreciate water and pay more attention to my daily intake. I’m up to a gallon per day now and I’ve got to say that I feel really good taking in that much water. It’s nice going into another class and actually noticing improvements in my endurance.
6. Never forget to bring change of clothes.
The first time I went to hot yoga, I went with a group of friends. I had done my research as to what to expect from the class and everywhere it said I should bring an extra pair of, well, everything. Hot yoga really makes you sweat. To the point where your clothes will be drenched and you won’t be able to wear the same threads outside after class, unless you’re my friend, who I’ll call Kamira.
Kamira forgot to bring a change of clothes and was forced to go home in wet leggings and a soaked T-shirt in the middle of a frigid New York City night. Don’t forget a change of clothes m’ladies. Also, remember that you don’t want to sit in your sweaty clothes for too long, you can get gross fungal stuff in places that I’ll leave up to your imagination, but if you thought of the place I think you thought of, then yes. You can get a fungus THERE.
I know some of these might make you think twice about taking up hot yoga, but if you do decide on trying it you’ll see how much you truly benefit from this form of exercise. Hot yoga is tough, but it also teaches you to persevere and not just in physically demanding situations, but mentally as well. It has helped me with my concentration, my stress, and it has helped me make new friends. Give it a try! you won’t regret it. Or, you will and then you’ll send me hate mail.