Several years ago, in an attempt to become more physically fit, I signed up for a series of yoga classes at a newly-opened yoga studio. A friend had recommend the “hot yoga” class, on the grounds that heat makes your body more limber. I figured I could use all the help I could get, so I started with that class.
The first thing I noticed was that it was called “hot yoga” and not “warm yoga” or “sort of hot yoga” for a reason: at over 100 degrees, that studio was indeed hot. But I soon got used to the temperature and did my best to attempt all the poses as the class progressed. I thought I did pretty well for a newbie, until I got home and suddenly felt as if I had been hit by a freight train. I’m not ashamed to say that after I showered, I crawled right back into bed and stayed there for two hours, after which I walked funny for the rest of the day. Eventually, my body adapted to the movements and I began to enjoy the class.
The problems began when lots of other people also began to enjoy the class, and more and more people crowded into the room with each session. Personally, I don’t sweat much anymore, but I soon discovered that lots of other people do, especially when doing an hour and a half yoga class in a hundred-degree room. And when the sweating person is just inches away from you, there is a very real possibility that you are going to put your hand down in a puddle of someone else’s sweat the next time you do a floor pose. So that was the end of my time in the hot yoga class.
I tried another, shorter, class in a room with normal temperatures, but the teacher moved us through the poses too quickly for me, and I kept hurting my lower back as I tried to keep up. Finally, I just quit going altogether and looked for other ways to keep fit and try to reduce the size of my chubby thighs.
Still, I missed yoga. During the time I practiced it, I did notice that my core muscles were stronger and my balance was better than it had been in a long time, and I really missed the time at the end of the class when we just stretched out on our mats in a darkened room and relaxed. Like most people, I spend very little time “just being” and I need that. So I was very happy when I discovered that another friend had become a certified yoga teacher and was going to teach a beginner’s class at the local YMCA at a time that worked for my schedule.
I’ve only gone twice so far, but I already love it. The room isn’t hot (if anything, it’s too cool, but I can live with that), and my friend takes us slowly and gently through basic yoga moves. I am a little sore, here and there, after the classes, but it’s the good kind of sore that lets me know I am using muscles in ways I don’t usually use them. I only wish that I hadn’t waited so long to find a yoga class that fits my body (old and a bit flabby) and my physical abilities (flexible, but klutzy). The the important thing is that I have found my way back to yoga, and this time, I’m staying.