Death by Yoga?

Groupon can entice you to do a lot of things. They’re so cheap! You’re getting a steal! How could you not take advantage?

So its easy to justify trying things like Hot Yoga, when you get 5 classes for the price of 2. What a deal, right?

It certainly seemed like an irresistible deal to get a pack of 5 $5 classes when a single class costs $18 (or $15, if you got a 5-class pack outside of Groupon). The savings were huge! But if I went to one class and then broke into a sweat at the thought of going back, I would actually have spent $7 more than I would have paid to try it once.

For the record, I went twice, and therefore still saved $3, even if I didn’t use the full value of the promotion. Had I gotten the 5-class pack outside of Groupon, I probably could have gathered up the inner strength needed to go at least 4 times. But as things stood, I cut my losses and skipped out on a 3rd, 4th, or 5th round of torture.

I’m not telling anyone to definitely never ever try hot yoga (Bikram yoga, in the proper terms). I’m just putting out a comical warning. If you aren’t an experienced yogi, or into self-torture, maybe consider a few things.

Like the fact that it’s really hard to grab your leg and get it into position for a pose if both your hands and your leg are so slick you can’t get a decent grip. And how are you supposed call an activity “exercise” if you’re shaking so badly can’t even do simple stretches?

In case you’re still thinking, ‘gee Emily, hot yoga sounds really fun, why all the negativity?’, here’s a little sneak preview of what you could experience:

9:40 – My brother’s girlfriend and I enter the studio. It’s quiet and peaceful, with trickling water and soft music, the kind they play during a massage. I consider that I should have gotten a nice relaxing massage instead.

9:45 – Decide to use the bathroom first. Open the door to the women’s changing area/bathrooms to a lovely view of middle-aged boob. Decide I’ll sweat it all out anyways and quickly retreat to the cubbies.

9:50 – As I join the flow of students into the heated studio, I’m hit by a solid wall of hot, heavy air. It feels like a sauna, which isn’t actually that bad. But I don’t usually work out in the sauna. Or stay in for more than 10 minutes…

9:53 – I’ve followed the example set by other people and am lying on my mat on the floor, with a towel on top of the mat (won’t the towel be a hindrance to my balance later?). Its actually kind of relaxing. This isn’t so bad, right?

9:58 – By the time the room is full, the temperature must have gone up 10 degrees. Sweat is soaking into the back of my shirt.

10:00 – The instructor comes in and as I stand with the class I nearly fall back down. I was breathing fine on the floor, but once vertical, I’m already feeling light-headed. 90 minutes to go? The instructor calls out the beginners in the class (we were the only ones) and tells us to try not to drink water for the next 30ish mins, or until our bodies adjust to the heat. He also tells us that our goal as first-timers is to simply not leave the room, and that if we need to, just sit or lay down on our mats until we feel like we can rejoin the poses. I’m like, I’ve done yoga before, dude. I’m sure I’m capable of beginner level poses without have to flake out into child’s pose.

10:01 – He shuts the door and I instantly feel what little movement of air the room had dissipate. Crap.

10:03 – I’m instructed to do this weird duck-armed breathing exercise that largely involves throaty, panty exhales over and over and over…..How is it possible someone can already have eaten onions this morning? And why is this making me dizzy?

10:15 – We’re two easy poses in and my vision starts to fade into black patches and bright spots. I plop down hard onto my mat and wait for the ringing in my ears to subside and for my vision to come back. It takes 100% of my energy to keep breathing in and out, because I can’t get enough air with any of my inhalations.

10:16 – How much longer do I have to stay in this room?

10:18 – I’m up again, and things seem to be going okay. My body is not just sweaty – I’m slippery. I try to grab my ankle to hold it up high against my other thigh, but I can’t even get grip it without my hands slipping off. What kind of yoga is this?

10:19 – I’ve fumbled with the other leg when I feel faint again and hit the floor. No one else seems to be having the same problem, which is a mystery to me. Are they bionic? Do they have invisible oxygen tanks with them? If so, can they be less selfish and share with me already?

10:25 I rejoin the class in a standing position (feeling the head rush when my head gets up past waist level). Take 3?

10:29 – We’re bending over into my all-time favorite stretch — triangle pose — and I nearly topple over face first into the butt of the girl in front of me as I start to pass out again. I land safely without toppling our whole row like dominoes, but it was a close one. I watch the other people in their happy triangle poses enviously. How is this even exercise? I can’t do anything without going into a swoon. I’m like goddamn Scarlet O’Hara!

10:31 – Maybe I’ll just stay here on the floor for a bit. I’m clearly not ready to have the training wheels removed. I watch beads of sweat drip off my brother’s girlfriend’s elbow onto the floor. She’s never really done yoga, but somehow she’s still standing. I consider trying to get back on my feet, but my previous 3 plops back onto the floo stop me. That, and the lack of oxygen in the room.

10:35 – The instructor tells everyone to sit down. We’re graciously informed that we can now drink water, and I try not to gulp it. After all, I’ll just sweat it all back out.

10:38 – We’ve moved into seated poses, thank god. The air is less thick at and below waist level. I’ve realized why we lay the towels on the mats – its because we pool up so much sweat that without them, we could’ve lined them all up and played slip’n’slide 30 mins into the class.

10:50 – I’ve suddenly become not so bad at this hot yoga thing. I’m successfully doing basic exercises like sitting up and stretching forward over my leg without passing out.

11:04 – A stretch that involves reaching around and twisting my spine is literally making my arms shake with the effort. Somehow, I hold the post. Success! I can really see how this class will improve my athletic abilities.

11:23 – Somehow, the instructor is telling us to lay flat on our backs. I don’t know how, but somehow I made it through the class without dying. I feel the whoosh of air flowing back into the room when the door is opened. Bliss.

11:27 – The lavender ice-water towels we’re handed feels like an angel kissing my face.

11:30 – The instructor tells us we can lay still for as long we need before getting up. I only take as long as I needed to be sure I wouldn’t fall over if I stood up.

11:33 – Out in the fresh air, I feel exhilarated. That was fantastic! So refreshing!

11:45 – Still feeling wonderful. What was I thinking during the first half of the class? Those fainting spells must’ve been a fluke.

1:30 – I’ve cooled off, showered, and eaten, and and starting to feel relatively normal again. When should I go to class again? My gut sinks. Now that the high has worn off, I remember the heat, the dizziness, the lack of any real exercise during the class. It was a torture chamber. And I have to do it again?

1:31 – What was I thinking?!?


Gouponers, beware! You can’t say I didn’t warn you!

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