Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Hot mess

A lot has been written about torture in the last few years, thanks to Aru Ghraib and Guantanamo. Today I would like to talk about a different kind of torture: hot yoga. For those new to the concept, hot yoga is practiced in a room a few degrees warmer than the hottest ring of Hell. It involves finding inner peace and physical relaxation while your skin burns and melts off your body. Sound pleasant? It was great!

Those of you who know my laziness me well are probably wondering how I ended up with firsthand knowledge of hot yoga. (I myself still ponder it.) The blame rests several places, including on my depressing lack of baby-free outings and the extra poundage hovering around my midsection since said baby was pulled from it. That's why, in preschool last week, when one of the other moms mentioned that she was doing hot yoga at 8:15 pm on weeknights and would love company, I made a mental note to follow up with her. Although this would not be my ideal "mom's evening out" activity, it fit the criteria of allowing me to be social at a semi-convenient time for DH to stay home with the baby -- and yeah, I guess it would be good for me, too. She told me the name of the studio, and I set to searching the house for the yoga mat I got free with an active wear clothing purchase from Marshall Field's five years ago.

I checked the studio's web site for directions. Their site boasts, "We offer the most exciting, challenging, hardworking, effective yoga classes in the world." Questionable grammar aside (can a yoga class be hardworking?), imagine my delight at discovering that I live within driving distance of the most effective yoga class in the world. Because if I am going to expend any of my precious little energy for the purpose of physical fitness and emotional enlightenment, instead of watching Scrubs and eating ice cream like a reasonable human being would, the class better be the most effective. In the world.

I silently prayed that DH would be delayed in leaving work so I would miss the class, smugly confident that the odds were in my favor for that one. But alas, I saw his cell phone on our caller ID at 6 pm and knew me and my baby weight would be hauling ourselves to class. He arrived home, I put the baby to bed, and with nerves churning in my stomach, I resignedly left the house. I drove the insultingly low speed limit on the highway, which I usually reserve for occasions when I spot a cop, but I didn't want to get there early and wander around in confusion waiting for my friend.

I pulled into the parking lot, straight into God's cruel joke. The studio was nestled between a Cold Stone Creamery and a See's Candy shop. And what towered behind but a movie theater, playing "Twilight" nonetheless, which I had really wanted to see in the theater. *sigh* I called DH for some moral direction. "Do whatever will bring you home to me with a smile on your face," he advised. Note to self: don't call DH when in need of moral direction.

I spotted another preschool mom and her husband in the studio, thank goodness. I signed up at the reception desk (newbie special, 10 classes for $10) and sat nervously with them in the lobby. Our other friend arrived, and finally it was time to enter. My friends and I chatted about bed times and nap schedules as the room filled, occasionally shooting eye daggers when a skinny would enter sporting a toned tummy, tight shorts, and a sports bra. (Or maybe it was just me doing that.) Then the teacher introduced herself. She was probably 5 months pregnant but could still kick my butt six ways to Sunday. She laid the ground rules -- NO LEAVING THE ROOM before it's over, under penalty of death -- and we began.

Seeing as though I had never done so much as a downward facing dog in my entire life, it was hard for me to keep up with the poses. As soon as I figured one out, it was on to the next. (This is power yoga, too. Did I mention that? Which means none of that holding-a-position-for-two-minutes-while-the-ocean-waves-lap-calmly-in-the-background that you see on Sunday morning TV. This stuff is fast.) On top of being new to the yoga moves, I had never previously experienced the feeling that I was going to sweat all my organs out through my pores. Having heard that everyone drips sweat the entire time, I expected the room to be stinky. But either all my nose hairs got burned off or the heat vaporized the smell, because that was never a problem. I did the best I could, taking some time-outs periodically to rest and rehydrate. That being said, I dare say that I held my own with my two friends, who had gone to the class before. After it was over, they praised how well I kept up and expressed disbelief that I had never done yoga before. I thanked them and mumbled something about not being sure I was doing it correctly, but inside I was thinking, "BOO YAH!"

I drove home, feeling lightheaded and a bit nauseated. I'm sure there's a really good reason why people do this regularly. When I looked in the bathroom mirror, I half expected to have lost five pounds of water weight -- now that would be a reason to keep going. Of course I looked exactly the same as when I left. Bummer. I'm not sure how often I'll be able to attend the class, as DH is under a tight deadline and will probably be working past 8 pm through at least this week. Ice cream and Scrubs it is!

**I know I'm overdue to post an update and some pictures of my soon-to-be one year old (gasp). I'll try to do that later this week... it's a busy one!


Kristina P. said...

This reminds me. I need to spend my See's gift card!

lisawitt said...

I did hot bikram yoga back in my younger days!! i swear, it is great but i dont think i could convince myself to go back now, LOL! way to go for trying it out!! :)

So, ready for bean's big #1??

Soxy Deb said...

well i hope he gets home early every.single.day.
that's called just desserts - and there's no calories involved.


Jen said...

I'm impressed. Yoga is definitely not my thing. Actually anything involving coordination and exercise is not my thing.

bbrsbaby said...

I'm sweating just reading this post. Never in a million years could I do that, I hate to be hot, I'd be game for 'Antartic Yoga' though!! Good for you for getting out of the house!!

Michelle said...

Wow I am very impressed. I have never done yoga and I don't think you would catch me going to a yoga class let alone a high powered yoga class. I think it would be very funny for everyone else! Good for you!

Kristin said...

Hot Yoga…that is not the CJ I know. By the way I’m sooo jealous. I love Hot Yoga and the nearest studio is 28 miles in traffic…grrr…

Hollyween said...

I found your writing in this post extremely entertaining. Especially the part about eye daggers at the skinny b*tches who come in. That would have been me.

And you worked out with Suzy? Is she still skinny? Do tell.