• Deborah

Less-Than-Zen Reflections on My First Hot-Yoga Class


Since the stress of balancing a family & a career isn’t going away any time soon, I’m incorporating [all and any] stress-management techniques into my life. Yesterday, it was Bikram hot yoga*.

Here’s how it went:

1.) It’s hot like Las Vegas in March, which means it’s manageable for the first 60 minutes (or the equivalent of how long it takes to walk from Treasure Island to the Luxor, stopping to see a water fountain show & throw $20 into a “this feels lucky” slot machine). The last 30 minutes… constant, angry negotiation with myself (just like the second 24 hours in Vegas). The Yoga instructor (and my friend, who convinced me to try it) set one simple task — to stay in the 105 degree room for the class’ duration. Fine. Check. Done. I am 7 pounds lighter due to sweat loss. That never happens in Vegas.

2.) The 26 poses aren’t so terrible. They’re a mixture of stretches from PE gym class, 12th grade ballet and Cirque de soleil. And if you follow the recommendations and don’t eat for up to 2 hours before class, you won’t fart. Phew, right? ‘Cause I was worried about that. And trust me, if I’d had that tomato & avocado omelette I so badly wanted, everyone would have known about it. Can’t believe I just wrote that, right? Just trying to keep it real and loose. Like my spine after the camel pose.

3.) Oh, that floor. That floor is crazy stinky. Like, in a way no one can ever be prepared for. The room smells less-than-fresh (as a 104+ degree room with sweating bodies has a tendency to do) but wow, that floor… a whole other zip code of odor. I’m guessing that bamboo-fiber rug retains foot-sweat better than your grandmother’s sofa. Your towel-covered mat becomes your little island in the middle of a shark-infested sea. Don’t touch the carpet, you repeat in your head. You’ll get a foot fungus, for sure. Your chant is calming and helps you “be in the moment.”

4.) Get a pedicure. You reach for your feet, you grab your feet, you touch your nose to your feet. Splurge on the spa pedi. Not even an elightened yogi could endure staring at sock fuzz under his big toe for 90 minutes. No toe-picking allowed in class.

5.) Hot yoga gives you an inordinate, non-coffee-induced energy high. Or so Bikram says on his website. I returned home, booted up my computer and fell asleep sitting in my chair. Couldn’t read an email. Couldn’t focus a thought. Couldn’t even focus my eyes. Ended up sleeping for an hour, my head thrown back in the swan pose, drool running down the side of my neck. Woke up, drank a cup of strong tea, ate half-a-bag of tortilla chips & a strawberry popsicle and stumbled through the rest of the day in a non-drunken haze. So much relaxation, not even my typical “To Do List” could stop it.

I’m guessing it works. Other than the stress of not accomplishing what I needed to accomplish while I was taking my nap, it was a calmer day.

I’m going back tomorrow. Just don’t expect me to answer any emails afterward. I’ll be much too relaxed to work.

*Wine not included