Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Yoga Story

I love yoga.  I really never thought I'd say that about any exercise, but I really love it! I'm not great at it.  One look at me and you'll see it is not likely I'll do any advanced poses any time soon.  But I love the way yoga makes me feel.  I tend to carry a lot of stress in my neck and shoulders.  After an hour of yoga, that just disappears!  Yoga is challenging, but you get to work at your own pace and make any modifications needed based on your strength and flexibility. 

My first class I spent a lot of time in child's pose while everyone else was moving on.  It seemed strange at first, but with each class I've been able to do more and more.  I'm really proud of the progress I'm making.  Today I did half moon on my right side for the first time!  I still have a long way to go on the left side, but every class I take helps me get there. 

I do not love "hot yoga".  I tried that once, and it is not out of the realm of possibility that I might try it again in the future (with more preparation) , but the experience I had with it was not pleasant at all!  In 2011, I was working out regularly with a personal trainer. He had wanted me to try yoga, but I had refused on several occasions.  One day before a scheduled workout, he sent me a text that our workout would not be at our usual gym, but instead he would meet me at a yoga studio to do hot yoga.  I thought if I would just go I might like it, and if not at least he would get off my back about trying it.  Boy was I unprepared for the experience!  First of all, I was not near hydrated enough.. I had only had my morning coffee and one bottle of water that day.  Secondly, no one gave me any warning about how hot it was going to be, and what I should do in the class.  I really think they should have a "this is my first time at hot yoga" class so it's not so overwhelming!  And to top it all off, the people there were just weird.  They were just very hippy-trippy-granola types (I'm sure they were all very nice.. but it kinda creeped me out).  Now, imagine you're going to this place to meet your trainer, and he shows up late and they won't let him in.  So, there I am sweating my *$$ off, feeling light headed, and finding it hard to breathe (much less move) and there he is in the hallway looking in through a window on the door.  I was so miserable, but I figured I would keep trying, at least for a bit longer.  I think the instructor could sense my panic.  She encouraged me to just lie down on my mat and breathe.  I did that for what seemed like 7 hours, but was really only 7 minutes.  It was about 20 minutes into the hour-long class that I decided to flee.  I quietly got up and tried to gather my things.  The instructor stopped me and said (in a voice that came across as very creepy instead of soothing), "Toni, please don't leave... we love you.  Class, tell Toni we love her and we want her to stay." Then the class chimed in (in an even creepier cult like group voice), "Toni... we love you... please don't leave... we know you can do this."  It was all TOO bizarre, but I felt like I had to stay.  So I rolled my towel back out and just stayed there lying on my towel for the remainder of class.  Once class was over I couldn't get out of there fast enough.  Everyone was congratulating me for staying, and saying how proud they were of me.  Again it was probably very nice, but it came across as SO CREEPY!

I know someone will likely read this and say that not all hot yoga is like that and it really is a great way to do yoga.  To that person, I say "You may be right, but that has not been my experience".  Someday I may try it again.  Until then, I'll stick with sweating my *$$ off at plain old room temperature yoga!


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