We interrupt this normally scheduled blog for a special new bulletin from Meg....
Hot Yoga: a dissenting opinion.
Amanda asked me to go under cover into the world of Bikram Yoga--affectionately called "Hot Yoga" by many of the Institutees. I am perhaps, not the best choice, since the two categories of people who make me nost nervous are Hippies and Fitness Professionals. Before I launch my commentary, allow me to say, in sort of excuse, that there are a lot of women I admire and respect deeply for whom Hot Yoga is an enjoyable passtime and valuable workout. I, in no way, mean to disparage, discount, or ignore their experience. I applaud their constitutional fortitude and ability to put mind over matter (for "matter" read: "searing pain." )
First of all, let me say that heat is not actually the main problem in Hot Yoga. And when a room heated to 110 degrees is not your main problem, sister, you've got PROBLEMS. The instructor bounds into the room--a man that struck me as the result of mating Moby and a Drill Instructor. The class began, and oh, how I longed for the gentle ministrations of Bob as the Instructor barked orders in a half-aspirated voice, encouraging us to lock our knees, suck in our stomachs, and hold tight, hold tight. I found it hard to hold tight to my legs while drenched in sweat.
And about the sweat: there is sexy sweat, and then there's just plain gross hog sweat. In hot yoga, you must embrace the latter. The Instructor takes us through a series of poses with names that sound just lovely until he gives you the English translation: "The Drowning Squirrel" or "The Widow's Displaysia." Of course, I soon learned that these were not the poses I needed to fear; it's the one with the names like "spring bunny" that are the worst. There was only one pose I was truly proficient at: "Corpse Pose." And oh, how fitting, as I lay on the mat, longing for the sweet release of death to resuce me from another set of poses.
I've done Yoga before, and really like the connection of mind, body, breath and spirit. I like the feeling of centeredness and peace. In hot Yoga, I knew no peace, and my inner monologue would have made a dockworker blush. Meanwhile, the Instructor is telling us to put our eyebrows on our toes, and open like a flower. Those of you who are so inclined can no imagine the tape in my head at that moment. Upon polling my fellow attendees, I learned that constant angry swearing is in fact, quite common and seems almost and expected part of the activity.
And so in closing, I doff my hat to the strong, beautiful women who go to and love Hot Yoga. For me, as long as there are passages of Shakespeare I have not read, as long as there are woods to explore and nice clean elliptical machines at the gym, I do not have time for another Hot Yoga session. Those that love it often say "It's like going through a war, but once you're done you feel great." I guess I prefer peace.
For a dissenting opinion, talk to Jessica, Kim, Sharon, Sandy, Stephanie, or Emily. At least I've got Mel on my side.