I am all about trying new fitness or sports activities within reason. And I don't just mean lawn darts, beer pong or bowling. I mean real fitness challenges. So when a running friend, B.o.B., was talking after a group run about doing "Hot Yoga", it perked my interest. She claimed that others from the running group, including guys, had already participated. Knowing who they were I figured why not give it a try. I did a pilates class some time ago and heard Yoga was easier. I can already touch my toes. What could be so hard about some slow stretching while humming.
I asked many questions the closer I got to class. Do I have to wear those pants? If I can wear shorts should they at least be knee length. Should I stretch a little before the class so I don't look like a rookie? Would Chipotle be okay for lunch the day of class? How hot is hot yoga? Will I be the only dude? Not that that would be a deal breaker or anything. Just wondering my ratio. Is there some type of beginner's curve? All I was told was to not be late. So I showed up a half hour early. I called B.o.b. to see if it was okay to take a nap while I waited. She discouraged this. So many rules. Not sure if they are her rules or yoga rules.
Asana Yoga of Brandon was going to be my sweat box for the evening. For at least 90 minutes according to their web site. The studio was inside a small strip store building. I was glad to see it was not part of a bigger gym chain. I still found myself parking in the rear though. Once inside the studio I was impressed. Wood floors. Soothing decor. A water fountain. An awesome smell. And an emergency exit.
B.o.b. checked me in as a new student and used one of her free sessions for me. I had to sign a waiver and provide some basic information. While I did this B.o.b. set me up in the corner and kind of out of the way. Not sure if that was good or bad. It was close to the emergency exit so I did not complain. One of the students asked if we were using straps tonight. Straps? Yoga? I visualized me not being able to do the "Walking Dog Climbing Cat" pose and then being strapped up until the pose was completed. I was assured I would not be strapped to anything. Relief.
I sat down on my mat and towel. I noticed there was a burlap looking type blanket folded next to my space. Others had the same type of blanket. This must be used during the "Bucking Donkey" pose. Great. This should be a show.
I was expecting my instructor to be an old skinny bald man wearing a diaper. This was not the case at all. A young woman named Alissa. She seemed very relaxed and encouraging. But what did I know, could have been a ploy until we got started. I mean, she did unplug the water fountain.
The music started and here we go. Sitting up straight. Eyes closed and relaxed breathing. I at least was not the only guy there. A middle school boy was with his mother.
I can't tell you everything we did. I did the best I could. Some of the moves and poses were pretty hard. I was able to stay in the "Downward Dog" pretty good. That "Warrior's" pose was kicking my butt. My favorite was the "Baby" position which was just sitting on your knees and leaning over. We should have done more of this. The instructor did tell us that if we needed to take breaks we could. I did not want to do this. I was trying to hang in there. There was some plank move we did that had us in a push up position and then turned our body to the side and lift up one arm towards the ceiling. My stability arm started shaking like spaghetti. I often looked around and compared myself to others. I wasn't doing that bad. Hopefully there was no wagering.
There was a time when we were lying on our backs and the lights started to dim. I thought, either I am blacking out or she's dimming the lights. I dare not say anything out loud. I saw the instructor walk by so I just started to laugh. There were many times that I laughed at myself and at what I was seeing in front of me. I was very careful to keep all comments to myself. I did not want to get kicked out on the first go.
I did sweat a good bit. The class was tougher than I thought it would be. The instructor was very helpful and only had to reposition me once. Not to say that I was doing everything right. She just needed to spend time with the other students. I will definitely go back and give this another try. Namaste.