Thursday, June 24, 2010

Hot Yoga: Sweat Bath of the Ages

I did hot yoga yesterday. I was effing drenched in ways and places I never knew was possible.

So I get there 20 minutes early, thinking I should sign up, change, stretch, blah blah blah. First step into the studio I was hit by a wave of humidity. The working conditions of the reception area struck me as a type of hell. But I was determined.

So I change and go into the classroom 10 minutes early and holy Christ on a bike, it was even hotter. I suddenly question my decision and kick myself for coming so early because now I'm stuck in this room longer than I have to be.

There's this guy in there about 60 years old with a body that looks like it means some lean angry business. You know when you see a young beefcake and he kind of looks bloated and puffed up? Like if he stops working out for a week he'll deflate? These muscles on this older guy were mature looking, the kind you can only imagine from long-term constant reliable use. These muscles were a lifetime in the making. He was bald, topless and looked like he'll probably live another 40 years.

So eventually others file in and the instructor arrives and points out I'm a newcomer and that I should just try to stay in the room, if I can manage it. So I'm thinking WTF and then she tells me I might get faint or nauseous. Well fuck.

So we do these deep breath stretches, and I don't who who else is aware of this, but breathing in humid hot air is a damn chore. It's hard, man. Like I could not do it. This is just the initial breathing, too. I had trouble with the breathing part.

So I'm looking over at the older guy, who resembles a more badass version of Mr. Clean, and he's already beading up a sweaty storm. I'm definitely damp and clammy at this point, but this guy's really melting like a snowman.

After several poses, I want a drink of water and I'm told I'm not allowed yet. No, we have to finish this one pose before we drink anything. Well.

So around the hour mark (and this is a 90-minute class) we finally get to sit down. I am soaking in my own juices. My hair looks like it is trying to abandon ship and each strand is every woman for herself. I look down at my legs and not only do they remind me of under ripe strawberries, but I can actually see water seeping out of the pores. I feel the unsettling sensation of water dripping all over my body without having had any water poured on me. I look over at Mr. Clean and a steady stream of sweat is literally trickling onto his towel.

During various poses sweat dribbles into my mouth and up my nose. My clothes are wet and heavy. And finally with 15 minutes to go I allow myself to collapse, where I lay on the ground and just ride the rest of the class out.

Leaving the class into the slightly less humid reception room was refreshing, peeling off my sopping clothes was a relief, the shower felt incredible. When I finally left the studio I couldn't even handle how good I felt. And suddenly the whole hot yoga thing made sense. You don't go for the actual yoga, you go for how you feel afterward.

In my still clammy and sweaty glory men were checking me out en route home, I slept like a baby at a reasonable hour and got up feeling refreshed at a normal time. The Dude told me I was glowing today.

So frig. Do I, as an adult, take up a hellish activity for the benefits? Or do I quit after one class and feel guilty every time I walk past the studio on the way for ice cream?

Time will tell, I suppose.


Alek said...

You had me at "holy Christ on a bike". XD

I could never do this. I start trickling sweat out of everything at about 26 degrees. If I tried hot yoga, I'd likely drown myself and the four people standing closest to me. It'd be a terrible way to go.

I'm wondering, though, how hellish was it? Because, if it's a tolerable hellish, it sounds like the benefits were well worth it. I mean, for one thing, it really fixed your sleep, no?

Jendra Berri said...

It was hell. Humid, hot and unrelenting. I was dying to be done. But I'm going again, so I guess the benefits really do outweigh the bad.

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