Friday, March 18, 2011

Hot yoga sucks. Mostly.

For the benefit of my Iranian friend (who is probably really a computerized search engine), I will tell you that I am not fat. I will, with equal honesty, tell you that I am not skinny. All the willowy, tall genes went to my 5'9" sister. All the "athletic" genes went to 5'3" (if I stand up tall) me. It's as if the second X chromosome and the Y chromosome were arguing about which one of them got to pair up with the initial X chromosome and they just gave up and said, "Okay, we'll go halvsies." I really do tend to build muscle. It's hard to stand next to my sister and not feel like I totally illustrate the word "fireplug."

That's the first point. The second point is that chapter IV, subsection III of my midlife crisis involves the fact that I fully expect my metabolism to come to a loud, screeching halt at any single second now that I have passed my 40th birthday.

So, put the points together, and you'll understand that I feel the immediate need to get to nothing but skin and bones now to give myself a little ten-pound wiggle room when my metabolism goes postal on me. And you'll also understand that I had to try something completely new to wrest those ten pounds away from my truck-driver thighs.

Hence the reason I was in a 104 degree room, with 100 percent humidity, trying desperately to balance on the tippy toes of one foot while wrapping the other foot around the other leg and "gently tucking" my toes behind my calf and THEN bringing my hands up into a prayer position. Seriously? That doesn't even look normal when yoga teachers do it. This very Zen teacher was spouting crap like, "Breathe in happiness and sunshine and breathe out worry and stress." And meanwhile, all I could think of whether I was breathing in OR out was, "We're going to get a parking ticket. We're going to get a parking ticket."

The worst thing I did was tell her my name. I should have given her an alias so it wasn't quite so humiliating when she would say, "Oh, Julie, let me correct that pose." "No, Julie, you need to bend backwards enough that you can SEE the wall behind you." Yeah? Well, I have a herniated disc. And a bad knee. And a total aversion to being told to contort myself into a pretzel when the teller is so calm and rational, like she's asking me to pick up some milk for her at the store.

Probably the low point came when she said, "Do not wipe the sweat from your face. As you are inverted, allow the sweat to drip back into your nose and give yourself a sinus rinse." Ewwww. That's disgusting. I'd hire a maid service to come clean my sinuses before I want my own sweat doing the job. And, not to be defensive, but I never thought I had particularly dirty sinuses anyway.

But, darn it, I'll go back.


I weighed five pounds less after the class than before the class. And yes, I know, it was water weight, because I sweated my ass off for 90 minutes, and I know it came back on when I hydrated the way I was supposed to. But I did, very quickly, run and try on my skinny jeans, and they felt wonderful. So at the end of the day, I'm as shallow as the shallowest among us...I'll subject myself to the discomfort, the wacko imagery, the clean sinuses and the post-class splitting headache just to able to prance around in my room for ten minutes wearing a really, really small size.


  1. You lose 5 pounds and I am eating like I am going to the electric chair!!!!! This hot yoga is gonna result in my packing on the pounds. Instead of replacing lost electrolytes with water I am hydrating with wine every night!!! Did you happen to notice me LMAO of during the pranayama breathing exercise at the end? If I would have hear her telling you about the netty pot, I would have lost it in class! That is hysterical!!! How come she doesn't talk to me? Am I not worth it?!?!? Lost cause!!!

  2. I regularly do hot yoga and I think it's the best thing that's ever happened to me, I'm going to be a yoga instructor in a few years and it's helped with my dancing. I lost 5 pounds, not in water weight, the first time I started a year ago. I'm also very short at 5'2'' and I'm pretty healthy. You probably don't want me telling you what to do, but you can't do yoga with such a cynical attitude. I suggest you stop doing it and find another workout that you enjoy. Except for the sweat/sinus part (I've never heard a teacher say that) the rest seemed like a pretty normal yoga class. Also, if the pose is uncomfortable or you have an injury tell the teacher and they should back off.

  3. I have to say, I'd have to be pretty significantly intoxicated to exercise all bendy-like in a 100-degree-plus heated room. And that would defeat the purpose. God love you for trying it and not for losing your composure with the sweat/sinus comment. And fwiw, I think you look great. :)