I have been practicing yoga for years and can do all the crazy breathing while ohm-ing in total Namaste-ness. My plank is intense and I can chat-ah-ranga from plank to up-dog to down-dog in the slow motion, deep breath that my instructors tell us to strive for.
However, my feathers and beak come out when it comes to venturing off the reservation from plain 'ole yoga. I go into a conniption when the sub-teacher puts Journey in the music mix instead of the chanting monks. Give me yoga pants for yoga and keep your hippie music for your car-ride home. We have breaths to breathe and ohms to chant along with the blind monks of Nova Scotia.
After years and years of hearing how amazing Hot Yoga is- I decided it was time to step up my yoga game. Yesterday, I ventured into the sauna class with my yoga pants... and, accidentally, made a new friend.
Rule 1 at Hot Yoga: Don't be friendly and try and make new friends. There are more granola eating hippies in attendance than plain Jane yoga.
Hippie One comes over to ask me a question because this is her first hot yoga class. I, mistakenly, tell Hippie One that this, too, is my first Hot Yoga class.
Rule 2 at Hot Yoga: Don't tell anyone that this is your first time.
"Oh, well-- since this is your first time, you're going to need plenty of water. Do you have plenty of water?" she asks.
Apparently, since this is her first time-- she's an expert.
"Yep- plenty of water."
"And towels. Where are your towels?" (please note the plural)
"I didn't get a towel, I didn't know I needed one."
Rule 3 at Hot Yoga: Do not admit that you do not know something.
"What do you mean you didn't know that you needed towels? Of course you need towels- this is HOT yoga."
Nice Non-Hippie Number Two turns to me and asks: "I heard you talking. I forgot to get one, would you like me to get your one?"
me: "Yes, please. Thank you."
Hippie One Kinobe: "TWO! She needs two towels and I need two towels. Thank you."
Hippie One Kinobe turns back to me and says: "You're going to need two towels. You're going to sweat a lot."
It is in this moment that I am ready for the class to start so Hippie One Ka-nippie could stop talking.
Quietly, I sit criss-cross-applecause (or half lotus... if you're talking yoga) and pretend to meditate.
The towels arrive. All four of them.
The hairy arm-pit instructor arrives with her braid trailing down her back.
My new BFF raises her hand and says, "Hi- we're both new to hot yoga," a gesture towards me as I clinch my fingers in meditative pause tighter, "Now, we both have plenty of water and two towels. Is there anything else we need before you begin?"
Deodorant? I think... but, keep my mouth and my eyes shut.
Class begins. I'm not going to lie- it was hot. It was about 70 degrees and rising with every breath and vinyasa. I sip my water and glide from position to pose and back to position, pretending that I am a professional.
A noise... an awkward sound, as if a cow is dying over my shoulder, catches my ear and I try my very best to ignore it. The cat wails of the monkey get louder and, without thinking, I glance over my shoulder to see what is causing the ruckus.
Rule 4 at Hot Yoga: Keep your eyes closed. Ain't nothing pretty about hot yoga and ain't nothing pretty about a naked man glistening as he finds his breath in downward facing dog.
Okay, let's be honest-- he wasn't naked. But, he might as well have been. He had on man-hot-yoga pants. What are those, you ask? Basically whitey-tighty-s that are made of spandex and probably cost about $75.
Attach "yoga" to any article of clothing and tack on $50.
As he pushes himself off the mat, I see his body glistening and his mouth grunting. It was so awful-- so amazingly awful-- I could not stop staring. As he pushed off, the sweat dripped and his chest hair clung in stickiness to his mat.
I fell from shock. Literally, my downward facing dog collapsed and I was on the floor.
A sip of water, a quick cough and I am back in the hot game.
But, like all good train wrecks-- you can't not watch. My eyes were glued on this body oil body of a sweating man... until I saw his partner.
She was clearly his partner because she-- just like he-- was scantily clad in her skivvies. Hot yoga pants (read: boy cut bikini bottom) and a sports bra were the only thing that separated me from her, ahem, privates.
Rule 5 at Hot Yoga: Less is not more... less is less.
As she grunted through her salutations, and made faces that should be saved for the bedroom, they got into a contest as to who could send their breath to the sky the loudest-- while still being the quietest.
"Ughhhhhhh" as she moved from one pose
"Grrrrrrrr" as he changed out of crouching dragon
"Ahhhhhhh" as she found ecstasy in hidden dog
"Ohhhhhh" as he moved into naked man running
"Errrrrrhhhhh" as she found herself again... and again.
It was all too much for me. Too, too much. Surely class had to almost over... I look at the clock and we have 45 minutes left.
Forget this. I pack my bag, namaste my new BFF- Hippie One Ka-nippie and peace out.
I'll keep my yoga at room temperature, thank you.