as i mentioned in my last post, i made my triumphant return to hot yoga this week. and by triumphant, i mean awkward, sweaty and not very graceful return.
i used to be an avid hot yoga fan when i lived in florida. i went at least once a week to this cute little studio in delray beach where the vibe was do what you can and be happy with yourself. and against most odds, i did and i was. in fact, i actually got kind of good. i could do standing head to knee in a 105 degree room without falling over. which let me tell you, is a BIG FUCKING DEAL. plus, i found this like weird, inner spirituality whatever thing, which is so not normally my style. seriously. my religious views on Facebook? "clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose."
so when i moved to nyc almost 3.5 years ago, i was eager to find a studio so i could continue to find my weekly release. however, i found NOTHING i liked. i go to hot yoga to find peace while getting fit, but i like the option to swig water if i feel like i'm going to pass out. call me old fashioned. i got flat out yelled at in one class, which definitely did not help me harness my inner chi. it left a bad taste in my mouth and i hadn't returned since. but lately i've been missing it.
when i saw a gilt city deal for two months of unlimited hot yoga right before i was heading into 3 days of pure debauchery at governor's ball, i immediately went to the yelp reviews for the studio to see if it would be a little more "hippie-like" of a studio so that i could take full advantage. luckily all the reviews seemed positive and mentioned how it was a great place for beginners to get used to bikram, which is exactly what i needed. combined with the fact that it's only a couple blocks up the street from my office, there was no way i was turning this deal down.
on wednesday i packed up my yogi towel, mat and sweat-proof clothes into my boys don't like funny girls tote and headed to work to proceed to drink about a gallon and a half of water. because if there is one thing you must do before going to hot yoga, it's HYDRATE. seriously, you're going to sweat out half your body weight. get some water up in that bitch. i planned to go to the 8pm class since i had read that the 6pm post work class can get really busy, and i figured some space for my first time back on the mat would be a good idea.
i arrived early to check in and sign my life away (if you die, you can't sue the studio. fun fact) and got ready to sweat my metaphorical balls off. the staff was nice enough to tell me a good spot for an almost beginner like me that would be near a window, which is not as warm as the center of the room, and mentioned that they are not yoga nazis and encourage people to hydrate if they need to.
i set up my mat and got down to shavasana (yep, had to google how to spell it), which i forgot how much i loved. any exercise that encourages you to lay on a mat with your wrists up and toes pointed out is okay by me. after 15 minutes of relaxing, class got going. there were actually a lot of beginners in my class and the teacher made sure to welcome us all and let us know our goal today was to acclimate to the heat and not leave the room. as for poses, do what you can, but don't worry about not being the best. drink water if you need to. lay down if you're over heated. just listen to your body. basically, everything i wanted to hear. love.
i wish i could say that full on muscle memory took over and i killed the class, but that would be a bold face lie. i struggled with a lot of poses that used to be easy for me (i.e. standing head to knee and rabbit pose) and couldn't even get my foot into my hands like i used to for some other poses. but it wasn't a total failure. i can still do triangle pose with the best of them. and while i did need to drink water often, i only laid down once when the heat got to be a bit much, which i think is totally a success considering the first time i ever did bikram i spent half the class laying on the ground. and no - i'm not just talking about the 13 poses you do on the floor. another perk of this studio? they have a beautiful outdoor space that they open up for students after class to cool down and enjoy the fresh air.
all in all, i consider it a successful first venture back into the world of bikram. i'm getting ready to head to my next class soon and can't wait until i'm back to my former one-legged standing status.