I tried hot yoga for the first time this week. It wasn’t the “official” hot yoga – Bikram yoga—but since it was held in a 94 degree room, I’d say it was hot enough. The class was called hot flow yoga and it focused on alignment of movement and breath.
I’d wanted to try hot yoga (hereinafter referred to as sauna yoga) since some of my friends told me about it, and I read about it in the local newspaper, and since I took a Hatha yoga class where the room was so cold, we had to drape our jackets over us for the few minutes at the end of class meant for laying down and relaxing. Shivering is not very relaxing.
Although the snowbank at the end of my driveway is four feet high, the snow is melty and crusty, and cross-country ski season is ending. So I am looking for something to see me through until biking season. I suppose a person could start biking now, but they would have a wet and muddy line up their butt and back to show for it.
The class was held downtown in a brick-lined basement. The entrance was either through the restaurant above or through a road that services the backsides of businesses that line the main street. In the shadow of a street overpass, it was the kind of place where you expect tattoos to spontaneously ink onto your skin; gritty, at least by Minnesota standards.
I went with a friend and her daughter. Since we were some of the last to arrive, of course, the only spots left to unroll our mats were in the first row, right in front of the mirrors. Not a good place for an introvert, but what could I do?
I could sweat and contort, that’s what I could do! This class was more intense than the Hatha session I had attended, and my legs were shaking by the half-hour point. Because I was in front of the instructor, I got the benefit of more of her hands-on direction than others. Or maybe it was because I was messing up more (grin). When her attention was elsewhere, I confess to cheating on a few poses – resting my arms on my legs when they were supposed to be free-floating. But hey, I’m not used to sauna yoga! Ever the sweetheart, my friend accused me of not breaking a sweat, but my T-shirt was soaked by the end of the hour.
I suspect I’ll get the hang of it in a couple more sessions. I definitely think I will continue. Although I can’t see doing sauna yoga in summer, I can see the lure during winter. But ask me again tomorrow, once any stiffness settles in.