The day my yoga pants went to yoga class.

I love yoga. I mean, I’m not good at it or anything – I don’t know what I’m doing, or how to breathe, and it took me a year just to figure out what “cat cow” was…

But I love yoga. I love rolling out my little, pink yoga mat in the middle of my living room floor, and picking out a yoga video from my favorite yoga YouTube channel, and pretending that I’m confident and relaxed as I stumble (and sometimes fall down) through the twenty or thirty minute sequence of my favorite YouTube yoga instructor saying “just breathe”.

I love yoga, or whatever it is that I’m doing on my living room floor (mostly just trying to twist my body into weird shapes and pretend that it’s totes relaxing). It makes me feel good. But to say that I  actually “do yoga” feels a little bit like saying I’m a salsa dancer after taking a couple of Zumba classes. It’s just not the same. My yoga pants have spent more time grocery shopping and walking to 8 AM college classes than they have on yoga mats.

But we all have our “things”. Mine is pretending that I’m flexible and mildly coordinated.

So when the opportunity came up to attend “One week free” at a fancy yoga studio downtown, I was on board. Like buy-a-new-sports-bra and practice-my-tree-pose on board. I packed up my yoga mat, put on my “nice” yoga pants, and headed downtown like Elle Woods on her way to Harvard.

“You’re going to… a level three professional yoga class?”
“What? Like it’s hard?”

I marched into the yoga studio and asked the girl sitting behind the desk how to sign up. She asked me some basic questions about my background, my yoga experience (intermediate), and whether or not I needed to rent a mat or a towel. I proudly showed her my yoga mat and said, “Oh, I brought my own” with a flair that said ‘I do this all the time. I’m a yogi from way back‘.

She smiled and said, “Great! Did you need a towel?”

A towel? I thought. Why would I need a towel? I don’t even use a towel when I go to the gym… I just bask in my own sweat, apparently. But this place is supposed to be fancy. Maybe fancy people use towels.

So I said, “Oh, sure! I forgot mine.” And rented a towel for $3. Because apparently being fancy isn’t cheap.

“Oh!” she said suddenly, looking disapprovingly down at my feet. “We also ask that our members take their shoes off right away. Shoes are not allowed in the studio.” Then she pointed to one of those cubby/bookshelf things people buy at IKEA that was located next to the door. “You can leave your shoes over there.”

“Oh.” I said. “Right.” Because, yoga. I get it. You’re supposed to be barefoot, *technically*. But what about foot fungus? I’m a germaphobe. I don’t even like taking my flip flops off at the pool. Do I *have* to take off my shoes? Really?

I glanced down at the pile of flip flops in front of the IKEA cubby, then looked back at the girl behind the desk. She was waiting on me. Yep. I have to take off my shoes.

So I kicked off my tennis shoes… which I wore, to yoga class, instead of flip flops, because I didn’t think about the whole “barefoot” thing, since I typically do yoga in my socks in the living room. But, anyway. The more you know.

I followed the girl down the hall as she pointed out which rooms where which and told me that I would be in the first studio. “Great!” I said. “Thanks!” as I pushed open the door. And then the heat wave hit me.

I don’t know if you’ve ever stuck your head inside an oven, but I imagine it feels a bit like walking into a hot yoga class. It’s hot. Like steam room hot. Like Mexican desert hot. Like…

100 degrees to be exact. Literally. I read the thermostat, because I was kind of hoping they’d say “Oh, sorry! This class is being moved to studio two. The AC is broken in here. We clearly can’t do yoga in these conditions.”

JK. This is why it’s called Hot Yoga.

I’ll be fine, I told myself. I do YouTube yoga. Because that’s the same.

As the class filled up, I set up camp in the back of the room. I wondered if anyone had ever passed out from the heat, or knocked over one of the zillions of little candles that were set up on the floor around the room. Would they kick me out if I started a small fire? Could they ban me from other yoga studios? Why would they set candles on the floor of a fitness class?

Oh, they’re fake. Never mind, I get it. “Ambiance”. 

Eventually the instructor came in after the class had hit maximum capacity. She was tiny and blonde and said mostly words I’d heard before from YouTube videos. “Downward dog”, “Tree pose”, “Chaturanga” – I still had to look around the room to make sure I was doing them correctly, but at least the concepts weren’t totally lost on me.

I mostly looked over at the girl next to me and tried to copy her. She looked like she knew what she was doing. She probably comes to Yoga class all the time. She could do all of the moves without looking around the room first. At one point she even did a head stand, like it was no big deal. Like she does head stands all of the time. She probably walks around her kitchen doing head stands while she waits for the oven timer to ding.

Meanwhile, I was wondering if anyone had ever fallen over on their mat because it got so slippery from all of the sweating. I’d never sweat so much in my entire life. Now I know what the towel was for.

Eventually, an hour later, the class was over. I didn’t die. I didn’t pass out. I didn’t knock over any of the fake candles. And I could actually see sweat stains on my yoga pants. My legs were sweating. I didn’t even know that was a thing.

This is great, I thought to myself. I should be this sweaty after EVERY workout.

That’s how they get you. They make you sweat. Because whoever said yoga wasn’t a workout has clearly never done it in a room that’s 100 degrees.

Have any of you ever tried a hot yoga class before? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!
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22 Comments

  1. That was great! I laughed along as I read, it reminded me of my first yoga experience, which was also in a hot studio [to which I became promptly addicted and attended 3 times a week!]. Sadly I’ve not kept up with it but you may have inspired to start up again when I finish travelling! Excellent post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. i enjoyed reading your post. you have done well to try a class and get all rhat sweat going. my intro to yoga started in a studio then i practiced on my own following tim senesi, also a youtube teacher. who is yours? i think what is important is that we pracrice yoga and make an effort to get fit regardless where we do it. but still great job out there! are you coming back regularly?

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  3. Very cute! I am always taking new and different classes and sometimes feel the same way, what do I do and how do I do it. Ya, been there! Love that yoga matt, good reason to get out of your house to show everyone the yoga fashionista. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. WOW you and I had very similar experiences in hot yoga class. Although at the start I felt alienated after going to classes for a month, the sweat, the atmosphere and the mastery of the poses in high heat actually feel relaxing to me.
    And yes! No matter how mild the poses are it always feels like a workout each time!
    I hope you continue your yoga journey.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I remember my first hot yoga class being a similar experience to yours! I felt like I was going to die the whole time, didn’t quite understand the lingo, and felt pretty lost. I ended up patiently sticking with it, and now several years later, I am a teacher myself!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I chuckled several times as I read this. Personally I love hot yoga. I love the challenge that the heat creates but I agree it can be pretty intense. Keep practicing and drinking lots of water. After a while the heat is comforting, especially in the cold of winter

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Years ago I went to a hot yoga class, and my experience was the same. I don’t get the attraction at ALL – WAY too hot. But since the start of this year I’ve been practicing with an online teacher, Brett Larkin, and the journey has been amazing. I simply feel so much better afterwards, though I often have to drag myself onto the mat.
    Enjoyed your writing very much – thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This really resonates with me, as the owner of a pink yoga mat and many, many yoga pants that rarely go beyond Target or the grocery store. But I recently went to my first in-public yoga class, and at first it was terrifying. However, I started out with gentle, restorative yoga which is done is a dark, cool, quiet room, and everything is tranquil and smells like lavender and the teacher practically whispers soothing instructions and also shows you how to modify the poses if they’re too hard (which, for me, they were, because I can’t wrap my leg around my head). And at the end, the teacher plays a triangle over your head and says words of encouragement and then hands out mantra cards and fluffy pens like the ones in Clueless so you can right down your intentions or whatever. It’s amazing. I might even go back sometime, although I also prefer the privacy of my own living room and YouTube (and my cats’ constant interruptions). Anyway, I love your blog! Thanks for sharing your experience!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Haha this made me laugh out loud. I love it and can absolutely relate. Oh my goodness my first Hot Yoga class I was thinking to myself “Am I the only one with sweaty shins? I can’t be? Am I? I can’t breath. I am dying” then it ended and I was like “I love this. This was the best thing that ever happened to me” Haha how quickly we forget.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Great post! You had me chuckling. Thanks for sharing that; I don’t feel so klutzy anymore. Kidding! I’m that person, too, who does yoga but doesn’t. I haven’t tried hot yoga and probably won’t but I love yoga. I must just find the time.. excuses, I know. Lol!

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  11. Hi / you have nice humor
    But after a year of regular classes (after a few years with videos)
    I must tell you that you are missing out if you wear socks – even at home – there are times when you grip the floor and lift your toes to make sure you have alignemnet with both feet (warrior 1 – 2) and as you advance you’ll see
    Also – for me – going to classes helped me practice longer and it has been key- our hot yoga is 105 and last I heard – head stands prohibited (along with wheel) and crow simply does not work because if your arms are sweaty (and as you note – hot yoga = sweat)
    Anyhow – again – I like your humor and as you “practice” yoga remember you do what is available to you and it is awesome when the core gets the benefit

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  12. This was such a great post! It was funny and mirrored the way I felt after my first hot yoga class. I swear in places I didn’t know you could sweat. I have not been in a few months but this might be my motivation to go back!

    Like

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