Why did it take me so long to try hot yoga? I know one reason was because someone told me that you need to be careful that you don't stretch beyond your range of motion and cause injury. The other is because I'm not very good at it and I sweat bucket loads at the best of times.
As for the first reason, I should have questioned that further. Triathletes/runners are notorious for having tight muscles and not being very flexible. Most of our training is done in a forward motion and we don't vary from that much, even when doing warm-up exercises. Let's not even discuss how often we like to stretch and how good we are at it. Using the added warmth of the class to help you get deeper into a stretch can only be a benefit.
So after checking my ego at the door, I signed up for a monthly introductory offer from a Moksha Yoga studio close to home.
I nearly walked out of the first class within minutes of lying down. The heat made me claustrophobic; I was sweating profusely, and the class hadn't even started. What's that clicking sound? I thought people weren't supposed to wear shoes or flip flops in the studio? So I look. It's their feet sticking to the floor as they walk past. How can I relax with that? I took a few calming breaths and stuck it out for the remainder of the class. One lesson learned: Use the extra towel to wipe down my legs so that I can do tree pose, eagle pose, etc., so I don't slide off myself. Use the same towel to wipe down my hands so that I can link my fingers together around my legs. I survived the first class. I even tried another one the next day. It was very calming and relaxing.
A couple of days later, I went again. I was looking forward to another peaceful, sweat-filled class after a run that was hillier than expected. I showered first despite my husband saying: "But you're going to sweat again!" Umm, yeah, I sweat a lot when I run, too. I don't know anybody at yoga and they don't have to like me, but they don't have to hate me, either.
So, I'm looking forward to a class that will warm up my muscles after a cold, wet run. I've set up my mat and towels on the floor and I'm in sivasana, breathing deeply and peacefully, letting my body sink into the mat and releasing all tension from my mind and body as I wait patiently for the soothing tones of the instructor to begin the class. As I enjoy the sedative music, unexpectedly, I hear, "GOOD MORNING, EVERYBODY!" What the hell? This is not what I was expecting. Turns out this class was a little more aggressive and a little more hip? than the others. The music was more bluesy/soul/Doobie Brother-ish than the traditional kind. Either this all threw me for a loop, or I've been doing things all wrong all week, but I got corrected -- a lot -- in my poses in this class. Crap, is it raining in here? Jesus, no, that's just me and there is a torrential downpour happening on my body. Even the final sivasana couldn't stop the stream.
But you know what, I loved every minute of it! And if it keeps me away from going to my massage therapist and the known torture sure to be had from him, I'm going to keep up with this new challenge.