Or so the sign told me, Saturday morning...
There I was, in Seattle, staying with friends. One of them had signed up for ten tryout sessions of hot yoga. Another friend of ours has been loving hot yoga in Spokane, so I said what the heck, I'll give it a try. It can't be worse than regular yoga. Can it?
I've always hated yoga. I know a lot of people who love it, and feel like they can disappear into it. Apparently I need more activity to disappear in to that sort of zen state. Like soccer. When I play soccer, I don't remember the game afterwards. I'm just gone, in the moment. Yoga, though - between the challenging poses and the lack of movement overall, I find I spend the time annoyed and preoccupied with my when-I-get-out-of-here to-do list.
But hot yoga is supposed to change all that. It works by pouring hot air/steam into the room where you do yoga moves with the lights dimmed. The heat is supposed to "detoxify" - their word, not mine. Sort of like a sauna.
Our first venture into hot yoga land was Saturday morning. The place itself is called "I Love Hot Yoga." Apparently even this less-than-subliminal message couldn't make that sentence true for me, because I hated it. I hated it the whole time. There was nothing different about this kind of yoga! I sweated slightly, but only slightly. I watched the clock like it was an egg timer. Every three minutes, I would check to see how much closer we were to the end of the 90-minute session. Yes, I was stuck for not just 60 but 90 minutes! And then there was the yoga itself. The actual moves were pretty advanced. And there were all these hot yoga experts surrounding me - women who looked like they have loved hot yoga for a while now. Which is great for them, but made me feel like a blob. And then, while I'm stronger than most, I also am less flexible, usually. I have a very straight back, so that even if I am a little flexible, I don't look like I am. This back is prone to injuries, in fact, because of that lack of flexibility. So I had to contend with that, especially for the first half of the time, when we did all stand-up moves. So not only did I not have the pretzel flexibility, but I had to wonder if my back would go out while I did different poses. Oh, and the instructor, who was perfectly pleasant, and said "namaste" a lot - well, I just didn't believe her. If, in fact, she wished me "namaste," why in the world did she want me to feel like an unsuccessful, half-pretzel idiot?
So, I was done. Finished with hot yoga. Never to attend again.
Until my friend said, why don't we go one more time, in the morning? And, doesn't it make you feel better during the day?
Mostly she wanted the company.
But I acquiesced. I had paid for it already, since I had also bought the 10 introductory sessions, as it was cheaper than two sessions. So we went again on Sunday morning.
I looked around for our instructor. She wasn't there. Instead there was this tall, young man sitting at the front of the room. Turned out, he was our instructor. Oh great, I thought. He was so young. So flexible. This would not be a pretty picture. Even his name sounded painful. Lance.
Except that... he was so amazing. I can't even explain it. For the first time ever, I loved yoga. And I loved hot yoga! Just as they had said I would. I forgot to look at the clock. When I did look, it was 45 minutes into the session. It had felt like ten. I don't know what it is that Lance did differently, but it worked. I was even dripping sweat! Even though the workout was technically lighter than it had been the day before, and almost no standing poses. I just zoned into the experience. I disappeared, like I do when I play soccer. Well, this is why people love yoga, I thought. I finally can see it! And - I believed him. He was so centered, it centered me.
And then, as Sunday progressed, I realized that my thoughts were clear. I have pretty clear thoughts anyway. But not compared to this. It was like the hot yoga had quieted down my mind.
I'm thinking of adopting this guy and bringing him to Spokane. In the meantime, though, I'm planning my next trip to Seattle. I have eight more hot yoga sessions to spend!