Saturday, April 6, 2013

Holy Hot Yoga

Have you ever used a groupon? About two years ago, Tim ended up with a Groupon gift certificate at the family Christmas swap. I had viewed Groupon from afar but I didn't really get them or know what they were all about. So, once we got the gift certificate I signed up and started getting the daily deal emails. After buying the first one I was hooked!

Fast forward two years and I found a Groupon for a local yoga place. In my never ending struggle to get in shape with some form of exercise that doesn't feel like pure torture, I decided to try something new - hot flow yoga.

Now, I've done yoga before but I've had issues with it. During my first attempt at yoga, I was Old Stressed Out Kelly. My friend Ann and I went to the first class and sat in the back. We had no idea what we were doing and we wanted to observe. The room was dim, filled with peaceful music, and the patchulli immediatley burned my nose hairs. The class was filled with lots of time to find your center, empty your mind of your troubles, and focus on your breath. I spent the entire time wishing the instructor would cut the crap and move on with things. When class ended, Ann said "This isn't for you. You can't relax." Then we went and got a glass of wine.

I did keep going back til the end of the session but I never could relax....until we capped off the night with our signature glass of wine. I would spend every class thinking of all the things I could be doing instead. I left every week feeling more stressed than when I got there.

I tried a different yoga class with my friend Cori last winter. Again, it was supposed to be relaxing. It was at 7:00 at night in a dim room, filled with alot of Ohhms and time to relax your mind. Although I was actually to relax at time, it still wasn't the work out I was hoping for.

My friend Denise lost a ton of weight over the last year and looks fantastic. I asked her how she did it and she said "Eating healthier and flow yoga." I was intrigued. Enter flow yoga. Correction...enter hot flow yoga...and a Groupon. For $49 I could take 10 yoga classes that were normally $149. A $100 savings and classes that equate to $4.90 each? Uhm okay, I'll give it a whirl.

Unfortunately, Denise has a back injury and couldn't go with me so I was on my own. She gave me advice and said "Take the mildly heated class the first time around, drinks lots of water during the day before you go, and get there early so you can find a spot in the back." I got there 15 minutes early like she advised and was able to secure the last spot in the back. It was definitely hot in there but bearable. Unfortunately, I drank so much water that day I couldn't stop going to the bathroom and had to hit the loo right before we started. I was afraid I'd have to run out during the class if I didn't.

I immediately observed women who knew what they were doing. They were putting towels over their mats and spraying them with....water, maybe...from some squirt bottle in the back of the room. I had no idea why. They told us to bring a towel...I brought a little hand towel to dab my slightly moist forehead. I didn't realize the towel was supposed to be a large one for your mat. How was I supposed to know?!

When I signed up, I saw that my instructor's name was Ester. I expected an older, gray haired lady who was really "centered" and "connected to the earth". Turns out Ester was about 25 with a kick ass body...who was ready to kick our asses with yoga.

The class is 75 minutes long and it goes by pretty fast...until you get to the ab workout and then time seems to stand still. This was a fundamentals class so they broke the poses down so you could learn them better. The class was a mix of new people and others who had some mad skills, in my book. The lady in front of me balanced her legs on the back of her arms and did some crazy hand stand. I was just trying to not fall over and figure out what the gorilla pose was. In the end though, I was hooked.

As soon as I got home I went online to sign up for my next class. Unfortunately, the schedule for that class doesn't really align with someone that works. There were no fundamentals classes at night or on the weekends, and they were all fully heated. I saw that Ester was teaching a fully heated regular class so I signed up for it. She had made it a point that classes were for everyone, regardless of your level. So, off I went today with my little hand towel and bottle of water.

I arrived 15 minutes early and already the back of the class was taken. Damn! I have no idea what I'm doing and I like to observe to figure out how to do the poses. I took my place in the middle of the room and prayed that someone would end up in front of me. The minute I stepped into the class I almost passed out from the heat. Holy Hot Yoga! It was 90 degrees! I had images of myself passing out in the middle of Downward Dog. Crap!

And there was everyone spraying down their towels again while I had my little hand towel next to me. I made a mental note to email Denise and ask her what was going on. I also realized that I needed a headband. I think I was the only one without one. Fast forward 40 minutes and my hair looked like a wet bees nest wrapped around my head. There were times I couldn't even see through it but I didn't have time to wipe it out of my eyes. And when I slipped off my sweaty mat trying to do some crazy twist, I realized the importance of the towel...to absorb your sweat and prevent you from falling all over the place.

I was so sweaty when I left that it looked like I had just gotten out of the shower. Turns out getting into the shower was harder than I thought it was going to be. Nothing like trying to wrestle with tight workout clothes that are glued to your body with sweat. I almost had to call Mimi in to pull my tank top off.

I am still worried about passing out in the heat, and now I need to find a yoga towel but I survived hot flow yoga, got a great workout, and actually want to go back. I finally found the right kind of yoga for me!