Now I've been to a couple of 'normal" yoga classes before and loved it but knowing how much the summer heat throws me into fits of, what can only be described as pathetic childish tantrums of pointless rage, the thought voluntarily doing exercise in what can only be described as a sauna did not push my motivational buttons.
Couple this with the sight of young 20 some-things who glide past my work each afternoon on their way to said hot yoga class their $100 Lorna Jane emblazoned singlets clinging to their size 8-10 bodies , environmentally friendly Byron Bay yoga bags bouncing off their rock hard arses sipping on coconut water and you could say that it did not instil me with confidence.
THEN I discovered on YouTube YOGA WITH ADRIENE and I started doing yoga every morning and most afternoons in the seclusion of my sewing room with just my trusty lap top and Harvey my cat for company.
Unlike other yoga instructional videos I have watched, Adriene is freaking funny, easy to follow AND don't have the personality of a hippy cyborg. So impressed with her videos was I, that I even started getting up 45 minutes earlier in the morning because I felt so good afterwards.
2 weeks ago I was in the coffee shop next to my work and I noticed the two gals in front of me had yoga mats and were looking quite flushed. The thing was, they weren't like the Lorna Jane crowd, they looked.... well..... normal. I hesitantly approached them and blurted "Do you go to the hot yoga around the corner?". Big smiles filled their beet red sweaty faces "We sure do!!"
I then rather rapidly stammered "Oh I'd love to go but I'm just so self conscious, and so unfit and embarrassed and it is hot and what if I can't breathe and what if I can't do it. What if I panic and want to get out? Do they lock you in? I'm not a size 10. What if I look like an idiot."
These girls looked at me with warm smiles that said "Yep that used to be me" and then gushed
"You will feel amazing. You should just give it a go" "You can stop at any time" "Nobody judges you" "It's the best thing we ever did" "I've lost 10 kilos in 6 months" "You won't regret it"
"Just do it"
SO that afternoon I walked up the steps to the reception and signed up for the introductory offer.
The next afternoon I went armed with my Shannon Ponton Yoga mat from Kmart for $10, a towel, my 1.25 litre water bottle and a stomach full of nerves.
I entered the 30 degree room and lay down on my mat. Almost IMMEDIATELY my heart thought "What the fuck is this shit?" and started pounding like crazy! I focused on my breathing and found that after only about 5 minutes not only had I gotten used to the heat but it felt really good.
When the instructor came in I immediately went to him and blurted out all of my fears.
I'm unfit. I'm inflexible. What if the heat is too much? Can I leave the room? What if I can't do the moves?
He gave the that same serene warm smile that said "I remember when I first started"
He assured me that at any time I could leave the room. That every single person in the room will be completely focussed on themselves and their own breathing that they won't even be aware of anyone else in the class. That I should try each move but only do it to the best of my ability today.
If it all becomes too much just go into Child's Pose and if I want I can just stay in that pose the whole class or even lie on my back.
He seemed genuinely stoked that I was there & STARTING.
Sure enough, over the next hour I felt like I was as graceful as a water buffalo that had been stung by a wasp and had the flexibility of a plank of 2x4 and I sometimes felt like my heart was going to burst out of my chest it was struggling to pump blood around my clogged arteries BUT.....
about 3/4 of the way through ..... I FELT FUCKING INCREDIBLE. I felt cleansed and light.
The final 10 minutes was a meditation and was just heaven. I was lying there totally drenched in my own pouring stinky sweat but I didn't want to leave the room!
When it was all over the yogi (no not the bear) came up to me to see how I felt.
All I could say was "I'm so happy".
He gave me that smile again and said "Imagine how happy you will be if you keep going".
Beaming, I sprung down the steps and glided back to my car feeling wonderful.
"It bet I'm super red". I thought to myself so I adjusted my rear view mirror to take a look.
OK ... MENTAL NOTE.... DO NOT WEAR NON-WATERPROOF MASCARA TO HOT YOGA.
I looked like a blonde Alice Cooper!! and you know what?
I DIDN'T FUCKING CARE!
I have definitely found an activity that I love and can't wait to do more of....... At least that's what I thought until I went to a new class with a new yogi who didn't think 30 degrees was hot enough.... but that's for another blog post LOL