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Hey, What’s The Deal With Hot Yoga?

Hey, What’s The Deal With Hot Yoga?

I do not like hot yoga.

I could’ve said this with total confidence without ever actually going to a hot yoga class. However, my aversion for this activity has a new weight to it that comes only from personal experience. I went to hot yoga recently, and judge me if you will, but PEER PRESSURE IS REAL Y’ALL.

“You might like it, Elizabeth.”

“It’s calming, Elizabeth.”

“It releases toxins, Elizabeth.”

“You’re 24, Elizabeth; try new things.”

Let me tell you something—I did not like it. I was not calm as evidenced by the fact that I texted my mother immediately following in all caps, and I believe next time I’ll keep my toxins, thank you very much.

My friends and I arrived and paid our $10 for the class plus another $6 for a mat that had been used by a number of other people who had made the terrible mistake of not bringing their own.  The instructor behind the counter greeted us with a rehearsed smile and enthusiastically asked if we were first-timers. He had all the excitement and voice inflection of a camp counselor, and I was immediately overwhelmed by the urge to blurt out all of my thoughts and opinions about yoga just to dampen his spirit. I didn’t, but discovered later that it wouldn’t have mattered, because he was an actual yoga robot who had no feelings, only an infuriating battery life.

I did open my mouth to say something quippy and sarcastic, but judged immediately that Camp Counselor Jerry here was not playing about the hot yoga business. With a smile and a serious tone of voice that gave me a feeling similar to the one I get when I see trailers for documentary style horror films, he informed us that nothing goes into the room with us except our water and our $6 piece of foam, and we were not allowed to leave the room once we entered it as the change in temperature would be a shock to our systems.

So would a heat stroke, Camp Counselor Jerry. Did that ever occur to you?

After signing away our rights to air-conditioning and {probably} contractually agreeing to not tell anyone ever about the hot yoga robot technology they were obviously using, we were given our $6 piece of trash and sent into the room.

As soon as I crossed the threshold, the heat came over and sat right on my chest, and my brain warned me for the billionth time that this was not my scene.  

Yea, well it’s too late, Brain. We can’t leave. We’re trapped in here for the next hour. Probably forever. Thanks for nothing.

However, as I scanned the already pretty crowded room, I began to calm down slightly. With the exception of a few folks sitting up and stretching, everyone was sprawled out on their mats, eyes closed, silent.

Great, I thought. I’ve been waiting for an adult version of naptime since kindergarten. I could get on board with this.

I spun out my $6 rolled up garbage mat and followed suit.

If I had been given another ten minutes, I would’ve slept through the entire class and might have enjoyed it more. Alas, that destiny was not to be.

Just as my mind began to wind down, the door opened and in walks that dumb hot yoga robot, Camp Counselor Jerry. He rudely turned off the wonderful flute-y music that sounded like it came from fairies who live under a waterfall in Sweden and began to instruct us.

We began with a breathing routine—have you ever seen the movie I Am Legend? Will Smith and his dog (RIP) stumble upon the zombie infected people all huddled in the back of a warehouse, sleeping. He heard them breathing before he rounded the corner to see them standing in their weird undead sleep circle.

That’s the scene I thought of when Camp Counselor Jerry first asked the class to exhale.

For the next hour Robot Jerry talked nonstop. If he took a breath during the class, I certainly didn’t hear it. Another reason to believe he had a fully charged battery and a skillfully hidden on/off switch.

“Pull the top of your head towards the ground as you lift your hips toward the ceiling and really engage your core while maintaining a regular and balanced breathing rhythm. Really challenge yourself to lift your leg as high as it can go and….”

SHUT UP, ROBOT JERRY.

It didn’t take long for me to be sweating actual buckets of water. My muscles shook and my mind raced trying to follow the instructions bouncing around the room at lightning speed. Lift what? Pull what? Move what? Listen, Camp Counselor Jerry. Either you want me to lift my leg or stretch my arm. I can’t do both at one time. Which will it be?

After about 45 minutes, I was sure that I had been in the room for four hours and would actually die if Camp Counselor Jerry told me to lift or pull or stretch anything else. I couldn’t tell what I hated more: this stupid class, the zombie breathers who seemed to be enjoying themselves, or the sound of Robot Jerry’s voice.

Mercifully, the class ended. The hot yoga robot handed out cool towels, told us we could stay in the room as long as we liked, and thanked us for coming. He made a small bow before his closing line: “The light inside of me recognizes the light inside of you.”

Well, guess what, Camp Counselor Jerry? My light DOES NOT acknowledge your light. In fact, my light is pretty ticked at your light right now.

I grabbed my stuff, dumped my $6 sweat trap in the basket, marched right past the rack of $45 yoga pants, and left the hot yoga world in the rearview mirror of my life. Thanks for the memories, guys, but I don’t believe that’s for me. My toxins and I will take our business elsewhere.

 

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