So people on my social media keep asking me about trying hot yoga. You’d never expect that I’d be one of the first to give it a go, but yeah, it was me. I’ve only just started yoga, but I already ended up trying hot yoga!
Yesterday, I was up super early. I couldn’t sleep past 8am. After taking Zumba, Step, and shoulder therapy, on a whim, I decided to join my beautiful lady for Hot Yoga at “Yoga to the people” at 38th street.
I was quite anxious about how this experience was going to be for me. I was worried that I’d get a terrible headache, or that I’d be the worst person in there, or that I’d be looked at like some outsider, or that I’d face plant and wake up three weeks later or something. However, for the most part my fears and concerns were unfounded. The place was quite different than I expected, and the people minded their own business. I struck an immediate friendship with the instructor who also happens to teach at 24 Hour Fitness fitness. He was really cool, and we got along magnificently.
The temperature feels more like a sauna, as opposed to a steam room. You will definitely sweat, and you must bring a good amount of water, especially if you are a beginner. Yoga to the people can provide you a mat for a $2 fee, and they have water and coconut juice for sale. I believe the cost to enter was $7 provided that you had your own mat and stuff.
As we walked over there, I told my wife that it was not likely that I’d regularly commute to the city to try one Yoga class, however, this experience was good enough that I am likely to return to this again. The “type” of Yoga that this was is called “Vinyasa” yoga. Fortunately enough for me, the type of yoga that I take at the gym is very similar in flow. In fact, the flow of “plank, to up dog, then down dog” is the same exact flow that my instructor Jasmin Yu does every single week. So this made my transition into this hot yoga not so bad.
My wife was worried about me, but I felt great doing it. I sweat a lot, and I ran out of water by the end, but I felt more comfortable doing this yoga than any of the others I’ve taken. That’s probably due to a combination of things though. For one, it is said that the heat relaxes your muscles, ligaments and tendons, making it easier for you to stretch into the positions. On the other hand, this instructor’s build was very similar to my own, and he said that his yoga style is based more on strength and core, rather than flexibility training. He’s working on that path, “use your strength to find your flexibility.” We spent a good deal of time trying to analyze what his teacher meant by that. In any case, the fact that his style is more in line with my own abilities may have factored into it. Finally, since I have been taking yoga for about a month now, I was a bit more comfortable with the movements. And of course, I’m a strong, dedicated, unwavering SOB, and you know I wasn’t going to quit unless I dropped unconscious.
Prior to attending, I continued to drink a lot of water. During I drank water, and after I had some coconut water. I felt just fine before, during and after. I really enjoyed this and I do plan to do it again. Although, next time, instead of a small bottle, I might bring along a gallon of water. Those of you who have trained with me know that I sweat like a madman, but even if I jumped in a pool, I don’t know that I’d drip as much water as I did here.
Everyone is different, so I cannot say whether you will enjoy or survive this type of training. We all tolerate heat, sweating, etc differently. And I will say that by the end of the day I did have a headache. But here’s the thing though, I can’t say if it was the hot yoga, or the food we ate afterwords. My wife really wanted Korean bbq, and I’ve been avoiding this food for months. Last time I ate Korean bbq, I had a really nasty headache. So, it is possible that the food was the cause of my headache, and not the hot yoga. I didn’t want to do two possible headache causing tasks, because then I couldn’t determine what truly caused it, but the lady wanted it, and I just kept my mouth shut and went along. Yesterday was a great day together for us, and I wanted her to eat what she wanted, even if that meant getting a headache.
My only advice to you, is hydrate before, during and after the training. If at any point you feel faint or dizzy, lay down, or step outside the hot area for a few moments. Listen to your body. I was perfectly fine in there, I think, but we are all different, and this can be a dangerous practice for people with medical problems. Also, my instructor Cheryl cautioned that really flexible people should be careful as the heat may make the joints too loose. For me this was not a problem, because I’m super tight everywhere, but it’s something to note.
I’d say give it a go, but do so with great caution. You will be doing strenuous exercise in a heated room, about 100 degrees or so. Just be aware of that and listen to your body.
The opinions and views expressed are solely those of the author.
Also published on Medium.