As it turns out, the hot yoga studio offers a ‘deal’ to first-timers: one class for $16. Or two classes for $25. Which translates into a ‘savings’ of $3.50 per class.
Or, if viewed another way: spending $9 more than you need to. Which is, in retrospect, how I should have viewed it. I should have said, ‘no, I don’t think two classes in desert-like temps are a good idea.’
Instead I found myself rolling up my [untrendy] mat, donning my [non Lululemon] black pants and t-shirt and filling my two water bottles; trying to psych myself up for 75 more minutes of exercise in what amounts to…Texas.
I holed up in the coffee shop two doors down with my equally excited friend, wondering if pre-hot yoga lattes were in our best interest.
‘Have you been looking forward to this?’ she asked. ‘No, I’ve been dreading it all week,’ I replied. ‘You?’ ‘Dreading it.’
We watched faithful regulars carry their mats under their arms, heading for class fifteen, twenty minutes….early. Not us, we sat in our seats, clutching our mugs until the last possible minute. As if we were trying to delay being shipped off to war. Which, come to think of it, Afghanistan is probably about as hot as that studio.
Three minutes before class began, we summoned our tattered collective courage, ejected ourselves from the coffee shop seats and headed next door. As soon as I entered the room, I wanted to leave. There was a reason I’d dreaded that second class all week: it’s hotter than Hades in there.
A different instructor was leading the class; reading from some prepared script about our energy and who knows what else while I lay on my back pretending I wasn’t about to suffocate.
Two minutes after class started, I had a couple of realizations: (1) I was not going to survive the class and (2) the heat felt worse than it did the previous week.
Apparently, the Thursday class was called Traditional Hot Yoga. The second class, unbeknownst to me, was called Baptiste Power Vinyasa which is just another way of saying ‘really hard yoga poses done very quickly so you feel like you’re going to fall over and die.’
Instead of breathing and relaxing and finding my whatever, all I could think was: when is this going to be over?!
While I was doing my best not to collapse in a sweaty heap, I looked around for kindred spirits – people who looked like they might pass out at any second. There were three or four women lying on their mats, not doing the poses. ‘They even look like they’re in shape,’ I thought to myself as I collapsed on my pink mat; burying my face in my towel, trying to summon the will to get up. Again.
Finally, the abs-of-steel instructor uttered those blessed words: ‘I’ll be right back with your lemongrass towels,’ and we were permitted to stop twisting ourselves into pretzel-like shapes. Two seconds after that wondrous icy towel was placed in my hand, it was no longer icy. It was hot. Because I was hot. My water bottle was hot. My mat was hot.
‘Feel free to stay as long as you need to,’ our fearless leader encouraged. Not me, I stumbled out of that sauna into the women’s room. [Just as soon as my legs would support me.] My friend greeted me with a stunned look, ‘they all say it was much hotter in there than normal,’ she conveyed the post-class consensus.
A sopping wet twentysomething, who I recognized from the previous class, agreed. ‘That was definitely hotter than normal.’ I asked how often she did yoga. ‘Well, I’m not working right now so I pretty much come every day.’ Oh. ‘But don’t come here hungover,’ she warned, ‘I did that once and I had to leave because I almost threw up.’
I spent the rest of the day in a pathetic state, finally going to bed at 9.30pm. The professor shook his head at my pitiful state: ‘wow, that yoga really invigorated you.’ ‘Yeah,’ I groaned, imagining alternative slogans for the studio: ‘If you want to feel worse, more exhausted, than you currently do, try our ultra-hot yoga classes.’
You’ll spend the day alternately sweating and having chills. Your ankles will be wobbly as you scour the aisles of Community Natural looking for kombucha and find yourself having the following conversation:
[Wobbly mother of three] ‘Do you sell kombucha.’
[Pierced employee] ‘Yes, what kind are you looking for?’
[Mother] ‘Um, I don’t even know what it is. It’s really more of a joke-present for my friend.’
[Pierced employee not seeing the obvious humor of kombucha] ‘Well, we have the tea leaves here and there are prepared drinks in the coolers.’
So I purchased two ‘energy’ drinks. And when I got home, I shook my glass bottle of red liquid and poured some in a cup for myself and for each of the boys, who were just dying to try the ‘spicy’ drink. Suddenly I sensed the presence of something slimy in my mouth. I spit the strange-tasting beverage all over the kitchen countertops in full view of all my boy-children.
‘Did you just barf?’ the Gort asked, semi-astonished.
‘No, there was something slimy in there, it was disgusting,’ I replied. Unrestrained.
I read the label on the back of the bottle. ‘Do not shake’ it warned, without explanation.