If you had told me last year that I would willingly enter a 100° room and stand on my head, I would have laughed loudly and ungraciously at your expense.
But the joke would have been on me, because, surprise—I am in love with hot yoga.
In fact, as of today, I have taken 47 classes in the last 90 days.
It all started with a quiz I took from the Chopra Institute to determine my ayurvedic type. Turns out I am Kapha-Pitta, and when I looked up recommended exercises for my type, hot yoga was among them.
Hmmm…I pondered how this was possible, since I will take ice over fire any day. I’m always warm, my body temp runs hot, and what I hate more than anything else about the other types of exercise I’ve tried is how HOT I get.
So voluntarily raising my body temp PLUS working out? Sounds like a horrible idea.
Then a brand new studio opened in my ‘hood. Spectra Yoga is everything I could wish for in a studio; the teachers are knowledgeable, kind and helpful, genuinely invested in your practice, and the facility is clean and light and has a totally welcoming vibe.
So I took my free week, and I tiptoed into it. I went to a regular class first, no heat. Okay, I’ve done that before, no biggie.
Then the first time I went to a heated class, I freaked. I got there early and the room already felt stifling to me. I sensed a little seed of panic starting to worm its way up through my gut. What if I melted into a puddle? Or passed out? Or burst into flames? I took a place by the door just in case.
But the strangest thing happened, and it was none of those feared outcomes. Instead, I lost myself for that hour. I forgot what time it was, how hard it was, or how much I was sweating. I was just in it. For 60 short minutes, I lost track of all the thousands of little things that were running around my mind like an untrained puppy.
By the time shavasana rolled around at the end of class, I was hooked.
So I came back the next day. And the next. And when Spectra ran a Summer Challenge, I signed up.
And that’s how I made it to 47 classes in 90 days.
I didn’t win the Challenge. Not even CLOSE! But I was so happy this morning when I made my little X on the leaderboard and realized that more days than not this summer, I’ve been on my mat.
And I’ve discovered that no matter what class I take, whether it’s a vinyasa flow, hot yoga, or yin class, I almost always walk out feeling calm, happy, and ready to face whatever is coming up next in my day.
I’ve learned that the bliss of shavasana, that little bit of complete rest at the end, can stay with me.
I hesitantly confessed to my dear friend, yoga teacher Natalie Moser who shares her insight through her amazing blog PranAbundance, that I wasn’t doing shavasana right.
I felt kind of ashamed to tell her that I wasn’t really letting go of all my thoughts in those few blissful moments of silence. I swear, it’s actually when I get some of my best ideas. Anything I was struggling with before class, or a decision that needs to be made…the answer will inevitably come to me in those silent moments of clarity.
And then I run out of class and make notes on my phone so I don’t forget these sparkling ideas that bloom up during yoga. Natalie assured me I am not committing a yogic sin, so I feel better about that part.
I’ve been playing around with yoga for the last 20 years. I even remember buying my first Rodney Yee video, when I was too shy to go to a class and wanted to learn in private. But this is the first time I’ve ever really felt connected to the practice, and it’s really resonating with me.
And as a freelance consultant, my yoga class is often the only time I speak to or see other humans during my work day. I look forward to the interactions and conversations with my teachers and fellow students.
So I’m going to keep going. Tomorrow, and probably the day after too. I’m going to keep sweating and sighing and stretching and reaching for my edge.
And I think the most important thing I’ve learned in trying hot yoga is this: don’t knock it until you try it.
It’s good to shake things up once in awhile. And to move outside of my comfort zone. After all, that was my intention when I started this new journey.
Next up on my list to try: Aerial Yoga. Wish me luck. 🙂
P.S. There are some great articles out there about why shavasana matters, and the benefits of hot yoga. If you’d rather do your yoga at home (where you can control the temperature!) check out two of my fave online programs: doyouyoga and yogaglo. That’s how I found my way back to the mat!
You should also check out the wonderful musings of one of my favorite teachers at Spectra, Colleen Hieber. She puts it all together: mind, body and spirit.