I’ve dabbled in and out of Hot Yoga so many times over the past several years that I guess you could call me a “wannabe yogi”.
Unfortunately the membership at these hot yoga studios is enough to make even me (the most frivolous money-waster you could imagine) cringe. Seriously, what the heck? I guess it’s all those crazy energy bills that they must have to pay to heat the studio to 50 degrees Celsius and keep it there all day every day, but still. I thought yogis were supposed to be low maintenance, chill, inexpensive???
ANYWAYS, all that to say that about a week ago I scored a Groupon for a hot yoga studio in our area: 20 classes for 40 dollars. Now that’s what I’m talking about! This studio is the fifth one in the area that I’ve tried out on one of these introductory offers, and I was eager to check it out and see how it stacked up against the others that I’ve been to.
On Sunday night, after a totally disastrous attempt at cooking pulled pork in the slow cooker (I bought the wrong cut of meat and ended up cooking the crap out of a ham in the slow cooker for 7 hours before trying to “pull” it….#pulledporkfail), I headed out to give the 8pm Yin/Yang class a try. Whatever pulled pork, I don’t need you anyways.
This yoga studio is in a really interesting part of town. There are some really gourgeous old buildings and lots of really cute little shops with lots of character. Everything was closed on the street except for the yoga studio which was lit up like a candle because the walls exposed to the street were nearly floor to ceiling windows. It was very cool.
As soon as I walked through the door, I kind of smiled to myself because every single hot yoga studio I’ve been in as a lot of the same qualities about it.
#1 – You always have to take off your shoes immediately upon entering (and I mean immediately), or risk a very reproachful look from the yogi at the front desk
#2 – Every single one has the identical smell to it. I spent a good solid 10 minutes of the yoga class trying to put my finger on what that smell is, and I’ve still got nothing. I can try to describe it to you as an earthy, woody smell, kind of musky and herby. (Is herby a word?). It might be some kind of incense that they all burn, or maybe in a less idyllic vision it’s just all the sweat from 30 people doing yoga in a 50 degrees Celsius room with wooden floors, but anyways, it’s totally a Hallmark of all hot yoga studios I’ve been to.
#3 – There’s always kind of a strange looking Buddha statue of some sort. This particular one was wearing a very nice decorative headdress.
Once I had gotten myself registered and ready to go, I went into the studio to lie down on my back like a corpse and chill for a bit before class started. Or as the yogis call it “Savasana”.
Although I’m really, really no good at it (nearly 10 years of high impact , plyometric fitness classes have not been kind to any of my joints or my flexibility), I love going to yoga classes and trying out different yoga studios for so many reasons. One of the biggest reasons is that I love getting the opportunity to see inside a different world of fitness.
I’m fascinated by the world of yoga, because it stands in such stark contrast to the loud, bustling, noisy world of fitness that I call home. I love to look around at the people that come to class, and I love to guess at who is there trying out a class for a workout or something new to add on to their fitness routine like I am, and who really lives and breathes the stuff the way that I do with Les Mills. You can usually tell, not by a person’s yoga ability or how they look or what they’re wearing, but by their whole demeanour, body language and how comfortable and at home they are in the studio. I find it really interesting.
We had two instructors, one very nice man and one very sweet woman with a French accent and the longest legs I’ve ever seen who was wearing very cool zebra print yoga tights. I could so NOT have rocked those tights.
As promised, the first half of the class was a little more athletic with more movement, and the second half of the class was more restorative and we got to hold poses for a little longer. I kind of struggled with both halves of the class to be honest (especially with some soreness in my shoulders while holding Downward Dog), but I definitely enjoyed the second half of the class more than the first.
In the second half of the class, the woman with the zebra pants asked us to try to do a “shoulder stand” where you kind of prop yourself up on your elbows and support your lower back with your hands so that your shoulders are the only part of your body really touching the ground (apart from your head and elbows of course, because I don’t think that would really be possible unless you were decapitated).
At first I failed miserably at the shoulder stand, but the instructor actually came over and helped me to get it at least kind of right, which I really appreciated. Once she was done helping me, she went back to her own mat and proceeded to do a headstand and split her legs so that her toes actually touched the ground on each side of her body. I think I actually stopped even trying to do my lame little shoulder stand and just watched her. It was absolutely incredible what she was able to do with her body.
We finished with about 10 minutes of Savasana, which I just loved, and then just like that we were back into the chilly world and I was sprinting and shrieking across the road back to the car in my flip flops because it had turned into a torrential downpour rainstorm while we were peacefully doing our thing in the yoga studio.
Back to reality eh? 🙂
I’m planning to go back to the yoga studio this weekend for another class in some sort of effort to get myself on the injury prevention train BEFORE I even start to really train for my marathon.
I hope you all have a great weekend planned, I’m headed to see the new Hunger Games movie tonight and then to the States for some Christmas shopping on Sunday!
Before you leave today, I implore you; you must read this article about Surviving Whole Foods. It’s got to be the funniest thing I’ve read like….ever.