A first-timer’s experience with hot yoga. (guest post)

You all know I love me some hot yoga up in here — but I know it can be intimidating for those of you who have never tried it. So rather then me trying to convince ya’ll to go for it, I thought I’d ask a friend to share her experience.

Wanna hear? Here it goes…

Hi everyone!  I’m Kelly and I blog over at Kelly Is Losing Weight.  A few of you may know me already.  When Jen asked me to write a guest post about my first ever hot yoga experience, which was on last week, I jumped at the opportunity.  So here goes.

My initial doubts and fears:

  • I hesitated initially because I really believed I would walk in there and people would start judging me right away.  I knew that if I ever wanted to try this or anything new, for that matter, I just had to shake it off and do it.  And NOT care about what anyone was thinking.  I just needed to focus on me and only me.
  • I’ve only done yoga a few times in college, and hadn’t done it since, so I knew I wouldn’t be able to perform a lot of the poses as expertly as others.  Again, my focus needed to be on me.

Anticipation Leading Up to Arriving at the Studio:

  • All day, I felt nervous and excited at the same time.  I actually had butterflies in my stomach.  I really, really wanted to try this, because something told me I would love it.
  • I got to the studio about 15 minutes before the session, since everything I read online told me to do so before your first session.  Joe, the instructor, had me fill out an information sheet.  (Did I mention he was cute?  Added bonus!)  He walked me through the session.  26 poses in 90 minutes, 2 breathing exercises, and about 4 water breaks, with the room being heated to 104° F.  He told me specifically:  “The hardest part is actually STAYING in the room.  If you can do that, you’ll be fine.”  He told me to go on in, set up my mat and just wait for the session to begin.

The Class:

  • I was surprised by the different types of people who were in the studio already.  Men & women, of all different ages and different levels of fitness.  The front wall of the studio was made up entirely of mirrors, ditto the wall to my right.  And the room was dimly lit – and it was HOT.  The dim lights put me at ease and made me feel calmer almost instantly.  I also started sweating almost instantly as well. Within five minutes, I’m not even kidding.  It was a good idea to get to the studio early to allow my body to acclimate to the heat.  Really glad I did that.
  • When the class started, everyone concentrated on themselves.  Read:  No one was looking at me!  I can’t tell you how relieved that made me feel. I was not the only first timer there.  He told us to look at the more advanced students in the front of the studio when and if we needed to, but more importantly, to pay attention to our own forms in the mirror.
  • There were quite a few poses I was not able to perform.  I could not intertwine my right elbow over my left in the tree pose, and vice versa. I also could not perform the bow pose entirely, where you are flat on your stomach and you grab the outside of your ankles.  Laying flat on my stomach and lifting my head and legs up was fine, but I’m just not flexible enough to grab my ankles – yet.  Hopefully with practice and in good time, that will follow.
  • Joe the instructor saw me struggling, and he leaned down and whispered to me:  “Think you can do it?”  I shook my head no.  He whispered to me again: “Not even if I help you out a little?”  I looked at him, and whispered “No.” I turned my head away, and he moved on.  That annoyed me somewhat.  I understand he is there to help, but I really just wanted to learn on my own.  And be left alone.  I was already pushing myself out of my comfort zone by just being there, since I am NOT a gym person.  (I work out at home.)  My body has certain limitations, which I force myself to accept – for now.  I think I may be in the minority on this one, but that’s just how I felt.

My Final Analysis:

  • I LOVED IT.  I CAN’T WAIT TO GO BACK.  Annoying (but cute) instructor and all!
  • Yes, I was drenched in sweat, I think even my eyeballs were sweating, but I felt like such a warrior afterwards!
  • I will go back this weekend.
  • I will make hot yoga an active part of my life from now on.  In fact, I’m thinking of doing it as a cross training thing in addition to my regular workouts.
  • This proved that I can do anything – at any size, at any fitness level, as long as I grit it out and stick to it.

I just want to thank Jen for allowing me to borrow her platform.  Thanks Jen!

Now I want to hear from YOU — have you ever tried hot yoga? What are your thoughts?

Comments

  1. This is so timely for me! I met someone this weekend who works for an express hot yoga studio (45 minute classes). She gave my info to the owner to see if I could get a free week and I got the email this morning for a free week or unlimited classes in a month for $69. I’m hesitant! In fact just asked on my FB page if anyone had ever done it. I may have to give it a try now!

  2. I just wrote a post yesterday about how I really, really want to try out hot yoga! I’m not really scared of making a fool out of myself but I am scared of feeling lighted or sick from the heat! I can’t wait to try, I need a new exercise style/hobby in my life 🙂

  3. I am a CorePower nut, and I used to do Bikram. I LOVE the Hot Power Fusion classes, but I have to drink at least one extra nalgene-bottle’s worth of water on the days that I go. Otherwise I get a killer headache that just won’t quit. Another intimmidating but life changing CorePower yoga class is the Yoga Scultp. You life freeweights while moving through a yoga flow—it is INTENSE but you will feel high as a kite afterward. Few things make me feel stronger and healthier than a good scultp class.

  4. Just few quick side notes from a yoga teacher.
    1) not all studios have mirrors. Ask before you go. Especially if you prefer, like me, not to have to deal with seeing yourself in the mirror.
    2) one yoga “commendment” is non-judging. If you are going into a studio, no one will judge you and will just be thrilled to share the system we love so much with you no matter where you are!
    3) Let the instructor know you are new. We started teaching because we what to share the practice with others! We will help, it is what we love to do!
    4) Child’s pose (ask if you don’t know) is always a perfectly great place to rest if you need it! Somedays we all need it more than other days.
    5) Yoga is not a competitive sport, another “commandment” is non-harming. That means to others and yourself. Only do what you can, be kind to yourself!

  5. So…Kelly (a close friend of mine…yes, I’m bragging) decided to try Bikram yoga so I decided to try it too…on the same day. We did it over a thousand miles apart, but I’m so glad I did it.
    By pushing herself outside of her comfort zone, Kelly reminded me to push myself out of mine as well.
    She summed it up so well too…Awesome post Kelly and Jen…!

  6. Staci Johnson says:

    I LOVE Bikram Yoga, I try to go three to four times a week, it is very calming for the mind. Always remember to breathe through your nose, always!

  7. I’ve been practicing Bikram for almost a year now. This is a great article, especially for those who haven’t done it before.

    A tip though – let the instructors help you! A year into my practice and my instructors are still pointing out little tips and tweaks that help me get further into the pose when I didn’t think I could. Just last night my instructor pushed me further into spine twisting pose and it was amazing the change that was made, a full year after I started the practice! I never thought I would get past where I was.

    But good on you for giving it a try and keep going back. It really is life-changing!

  8. Love vinyasa (flow) yoga! Right now I’m going to CorePower (bought the Groupon a few weeks ago for a month membership) as much as possible. i prefer c2, but i did the 75 minute Sculpt on saturday morning, and my muscles still hurt. it’s definitely one of the sweatiest workouts in town! I recommend it to everyone! all studios let you do the first week for free to try it out. my studio closer to home is LifeCore in North Oaks; there’s also Heat Yoga in Blaine (which is more like bikram).

  9. I have never tried hot yoga, but I heard a piece on it on Fresh Air on NPR last week. It said that there are some dangers that some people may not be aware of. No reason to not do it, but just be aware that in the heat we can easily trick our body into thinking it is more flexible than it actually is. Try not to push yourself to hard when you are first starting because continuous over stretching can damage the padding in our joints. Don’t worry about what others are thinking (because they aren’t thinking about you!) and just listen to your body!

  10. Exactly I do agree with Megan that our body is less flexible in fresh air than when in heat. Now I know the whole point why i feel strained trying the same poses at home. It is a nice post overall.

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