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?