Monday, June 28, 2010

In which I am clearly not cut out for hot yoga.

On Saturday morning, I gleefully packed my yoga mat and some water and went on down to the Inner Harbor, where Charm City Yoga was offering a free outdoor seva class. Seva means “service,” and I think it is kind of the same thing as a mitzvah: Do something good. In this case, everyone who came to do yoga was asked to pay it forward in some way to a worthy cause. I liked this idea. I was optimistic that I would get a solid workout and feel spiritually awesome at the same time. Besides, two nice things had already happened: Next to us, a wedding party was preparing to depart on their day cruise, and a sweet girl had offered me her prepaid parking receipt, saving me $2. I was so shocked that I’m not even sure I thanked her properly. I knew it was going to be hot that day, but I had water and a towel and was feeling froggy, as my regular instructor likes to say.

Then it rapidly approached 90° at 9:00 a.m., and my ambitions turned into a miserable puddle of sweat and fervent prayers to remain upright. I was mildly nauseous and a little overwhelmed. Midway through, as we flowed into Warrior II (and I really like Warrior II, incidentally), I heard my body say very clearly, “Bitch, if you don’t take Child’s Pose right now, I am gonna render your stupid ass unconscious and then we’ll both have something to be embarrassed about.” I sank to my mat, feeling my sweaty forehead squish into the rubber, and tried to re-focus on my breath. This sucks, I thought. I will never ever be able to become a yoga teacher if I can’t handle practicing in the heat. When I finally stood up, the glaring brightness of the morning (and it was still morning, pathetically) clashed with the dizzy blackness in front of my eyes. I probably said “fuck” a time or two.

Of course, as fate would have it, the sky clouded over as soon as we finished with standing poses. Even with the clouds, I noticed something funny about doing sitting and lying poses outdoors: Your mat gets hot. I don’t know whether having a rubber mat is better or worse, but I was irrationally pissed at my Manduka eKo for having the gall to superheat when I was already struggling so hard. As we stretched out for Savasana, the fountain show at the nearby visitors’ center kicked off, complete with the bombastic strains of “Good Morning Baltimore” from Hairspray.

All of which is to say, I might be regretting the 5-class Bikram pass I bought for cheap off Groupon. Any takers?


  1. oh man.

    you know- the sun is a bit different of a heat than the heated room of a 'hot' yoga class- so I'd probably give it one more shot in studio.

    However- I gotta tell ya that you most certainly COULD cut it as a yoga teacher- just maybe heated yoga isn't your style. That's ok :)

    It's not mine either :)

  2. OMG I HATE hot yoga. Did it once, thought I would go blind with the sweat pouring into my eyes, stinging like shit. Could barely drive myself home!! Never again. My yoga should be calming and refreshing, not a strenuous fight against gravity AND vision.

  3. I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE hot yoga. Like madly, passionately, insanely LOVE. It really seems to do good things for my body. Having said that, I can only imagine that outdoor-summer-heat hot yoga might be a whole other animal. Glad you survived to tell the tale!

  4. Thanks, Eco! Coming from you, that means a lot. :)

  5. HAHAHAHA! This is awesome. Okay, not awesome that you didn't feel good, obviously that isn't cool. But awesome in that it cracked me up, like you always do!

    I've never tried hot yoga, I do not think I would ever be brave enough. For a born and bred Saudi girl I HATE the heat. Okay, I don't mind 80s/90s, that's good, but hotter than that and I'm miserable, and exercising in that heat would be pure hell. I like to excercise in the arctic chill, the colder the better!

  6. I have never understood hot yoga either! I sweat way too much and that can cause all sorts of complications too. Sure your muscles are loose but that doesn't help from sliding all over the place! Here in Austin in the summer we will have weeks where it is 110+ degrees and I always see people in the sauna at the gym which I also find perplexing.