I never used to think of yoga as much of a workout. As one who usually sticks with running and weight lifting as her main form of exercise, I was unaware of the new world of yoga. I considered it more of a stretching class and I always thought, “How good of a workout can that be?”
While visiting an old college roommate, she mentioned she had been taking hot yoga and raved about how great she felt. This intrigued me a little, as I do like to try new things, even if I am unsure about them. I agreed to try a class with her; plus, the first one was free (bonus)!
The morning of class we went to the yoga studio, which was not at all what I am used to. Where were all the treadmills? No weights or machines? No TVs or music playing? What are these weird mats and towels with little beads on the bottom (a yogi towel, which is essential to hot yoga) Needless to say, I was a little out of my element.
I grabbed my “rented” yoga mat and yogi towel (first timers get to borrow a mat for free) and I noticed I stood out more from the rest. I was in loose-fitting, cotton Capri pants and a large T-shirt, while others wore yoga pants and tank-tops. Also, they all had their own yoga mats.
I began to feel a little intimated and, just then, a “regular” pointed me out and said, “You must be new! Is this your first time here? You know you’re going to get mighty hot in those clothes.”
Why thanks, stranger, for pointing that out. Ugh, my nerves skyrocketed! What was I doing? I never attempted a yoga move before in my life. And hot, humid temperatures and I are not friends. But before I could make a mad dash for the exit, we were led into the room, which was more than 100 degrees, to begin class. There was no going back at this point; I just had to try to get through this class without looking too much like a fool. Or so I hoped …
First, we laid our mats down. Of course, I laid mine upside down and the person next to me flipped it right side up. Oh well, no harm done, I thought. But then I managed to knock down my water bottle, along with five others, causing a loud ruckus. Great start so far, just great.
Finally, class began and shifted my focus to what I was to do rather than my nerves. I stopped many times to watch others when I was unsure what pose to do next. The instructor was very helpful and guided my body into the correct position rather than singling me out. I did struggle (a lot). I found I wasn’t as strong as I imagined. I thought I would be fine, because I am fairly fit. However, I couldn’t hold a simple pose for longer than a couple of minutes. Yoga is definitely not just stretching.
After a while, my legs were shaking and my arms were burning, and don’t forget about being in a 100-degree room. I was soaked in sweat from head to toe. After the 90-minute class, I was spent, but felt great. I got a fantastic workout, my skin glowed, and I felt more energized than when I first came in. I left feeling very good about my decision to try hot yoga and not allow my insecurities take over. Sure, there were times I made a fool of myself, but an expert in anything was a beginner at some point.
Today, I have been incorporating yoga into my normal exercise routine. Although I am no expert, I absolutely love it. If you have wanted to try a new workout or exercise class, or add more activity to your life, my advice is to do it.
Do you have any fun or funny stories from trying a new class or workout? Share in the comments section below.