I walk timidly into the hot yoga room, searching for an inconspicuous spot in the back. I roll down my mat, spread out my towel and look around.
My peers for this evening are doing Olympic stretches, preparing themselves for some kind of battle. Why are you all stretching? Isn’t yoga basically one big stretch fest?
Our instructor walks in and leads us through some basic poses. Okay, I can do this. This doesn’t feel like 105 degrees at all! I breathe through the exercises, letting the dark room consume me.
Fast forward 10 minutes and my organs are ON FIRE. WHY DID I LET THE ROOM CONSUME ME?! I steady myself. Nhi, you can do this. Breathe.
The instructor leads us to through some ridiculous pose that I call the Kill Me Now. Kill Me Now involves some kind of lunge maneuver which can then be manipulated into poses your body hasn’t experienced since before birth.
Anyway, Kill Me Now is a toughy for me. I have scoliosis and a lot of double joints, so poses generally don’t look as straight on me as they do on other people. Take Yogi in Training in the front row, for example. She’s blonde, tan, sculpted and probably does fitness commercials on the side. She hasn’t had a problem with a single pose yet, and I instantly hate her.
Yoga teacher comes over to fix my Kill Me Now. She’s instructing in the semi-darkness, and I am trying to adjust my awkward body to her liking. When I finally get it right, she comments to the class, “Well… Now that you’ve all been in that position for 5 minutes…” Aca-scuse me?
Listen here, lady. Not all of us have the body of a 13-year-old gymnast. As I continue curse her under my breath, I hear a tiny fart escape from my neighbor to the left.
My body begins to do things against my will. For example, I’m rolling my eyes at every ridiculous pose she suggests. She wants me to put my foot where? My hand where? My tush where? No. I’m shaking uncontrollably, and I may or may not be experiencing my first seizure.
“You don’t have to shake all over the place,” she jeers in my direction. “You can cheat on the tough poses.” Thanks for the late news flash. Even though I’m pretty sure my cells are starting to light themselves on fire one by one, I resolve to make it through the entire class just to piss off my instructor.
I continue to neglect most of the standing poses, sinking into child’s pose every time I feel dizzy. Whatever. My neighbor to the right has given up on life altogether, lying spread-eagle just staring at the ceiling. At least I’m not that girl.
“I don’t hear anyone breathing,” the instructor calls out. Oh, really? Maybe because it’s hard to breathe when it’s approximately 165 degrees.
A little more than halfway through the lesson, everything is spinning and I am practically drowning myself in water to stay awake and alert. Right on cue, my neighbor to the left releases another lovely fart during a John Mayer ballad, and I nearly faint.
This is what Hell must be like. Satan probably conducts mandatory hot yoga sessions after forcing the sinful masses to eat burritos.
At this point, I black out for a good 15 minutes. I black in to find myself on my back, ankles in my hands, rocking from side to side, my babymaker in the air for all to see.
We move on to the stretch/flexibility portion of the class, which I conquer like the Asian contortionist that I am. Even Yogi in Training is jealous. Okay, only a little bit.
My insides are burning at a good 200 degrees, and I am praying–with each prayer pose–that the end is quite near. I have visions of myself melting Alex Mack-style and sneakily oozing past the doorway.
“Are there any other poses you would like to do today?” my instructor asks the class. I glance around. If anyone even dares I will strangle them with the tiny bit of strength I have left. My inner Buddhist tuts at me. Who knew yoga could make you so angry?
The instructor leads us through some “relaxing” closing exercises, and she suggests that we feel ourselves melt into our mats. I am trying to stay calm, but my neighbor to the left is breathing so hard that it makes my lungs hurt.
As the lights flicker back on, I book it out of there as fast as my Jell-O legs can muster.
So how did my first hot yoga experience go, you ask? Namaste not so much.