Hot yoga

Ah Groupon, you with your siren songs of cheap deals. Because of you I finally tried this hot yoga thing. Or as real yogis call it, Bikram Yoga.

I must admit I was very tentative at first. Sweating profusely isn’t exactly my idea of a good time. But so many friends and acquaintances claim to enjoy it so I took the mantra I give to my daughters and applied it to myself: just try it at least once and give it a chance. Or try it 8 times, since I have this newbie pass for the month for unlimited visits.

I could get used to the sweating, and I enjoyed the challenge of achieving the positioning of the poses, but it’s just too much commitment in both time and laundry. For a 90 min class, I have to leave 30 min beforehand to get there on time, and take 30 afterwards to recover in the room, shower, and make it home. That’s 2.5 hrs every time I go. Then there are the 2 towels used each class, and I only have one pair of shorts appropriate for hot yoga. Laundry!

Things I learned/other thoughts:

  • The studio i went to, Bikram Yoga East York, was very nice, and the instructors I had were great. They were attentive, gave good instructions, and were positive. Very welcoming. And the space was clean, modern and inviting, with nice clean showers and change rooms. Though it did have that hint of BO smell in places, that is understandable knowing it’s a hot yoga place.
  • My first class, the instructor told me my goal was to just “stay in the room the whole time” to get used to the heat. Even if it just meant laying there. Yeah, that just gave me a vote of confidence in whether I would enjoy this!
  • Same instructor told me after the class that if I have a headache it’s because I am needing electrolytes. Drinking pickle juice is apparently a great way to replenish electrolytes. But so is Gatorade.
  • My heart was pounding soon after the class started, even though the poses are relatively “easy”. Cardio workout without doing cardio! It’s a weird feeling. And then my head was pounding for hours afterwards.
  • I nearly fainted at the end of class by getting up from the prone position too quickly. Lesson learned, my blood pressure goes out of whack, I need to take my time!
  • One towel is for putting on top of the yoga mat to absorb the sweat. Believe me, it is necessary. That thing is soaked at the end of the class. So. Much. Sweat. (one particular woman wrings out her towel onto the studio floor at the end of class—gross)
  • While I don’t mind the sweating, I can’t say that I enjoy the sweating. I don’t really get the feeling the toxins are being sweated out of me…what am i supposed to feel? I just feel slippery.
  • It was kind of neat seeing the beads of sweat forming from where the sweat glands are arranged on my skin, before the beads run together and drip off onto the towel. (so much sweat)
  • It’s a great way to warm up the body if you’re feeling chilled from the winter weather.
  • I’ve been doing Bikram yoga. My friend F told me there is another form of hot yoga, called Moksha yoga? She likes Moksha better as she finds it less “militant” than Bikram. (Interesting juxtaposition, “militant” and “yoga”.)

As my monthly pass is ending in a few days, I decided to go one more time. My husband, T, decided to join me and “brace the crucible that is hot yoga”. His review? “I feel like a sweaty gumby.” Would he do it again? “Probably not,” as he heads for a nap.

Final verdict? I likely will go back occasionally for the heat and the stretching, but as a regular form of exercise I just don’t enjoy it as much as my barre classes. And if I’m going to make exercise a habit, I’d say I’ll be more successful picking something I enjoy.