Saturday, July 16, 2011

This is Why I'm Hot.

For the past few months, I've been making a concentrated effort to get into shape. This is for a variety of reasons, but specifically, the fact that it's summer, and that means bathing suits, I'm in a wedding in August, and I don't want to be "The Fat One" (I'm "The Black One"), and also because up until recently, I was dating a guy with 8-pack abs, and I have weird competitive issues.

Anyway, my diet and exercise plan was a mixed bag of elliptical workouts, beach walks, zumba, spinning, and limiting myself to only one helping of pasta at dinner as opposed to my usual three. I had some 'slip ups' (also known as cheese steaks and birthday cakes), but for the most part, it was going really well. To top it all off, I started getting into yoga. Initially I was reluctant about the whole yoga scene; the breathing and poses, and odd names (dead bug?) seemed a little weird, and I wasn't sure I was cut out for it, but the more classes I went to, the stronger and more refreshed I felt at the end of every session.

A few weeks ago, I was hanging out with my friend Sarah D., and she invited me to attend a free yoga class that she was teaching in Malibu. She said it was Vinyasa Flow Yoga, and I'd done that before, so I figured I'd go right after work and check it out since I would be in Malibu anyway. A quick note about this particular girl friend: she is a yoga master. In addition to being really fun and nice, she is a gorgeous human. She's my 'thinspiration'. Sometimes I tell myself  "Don't you want to look like Sarah? Good, then put down the cookie."

And she can do this. Whilst standing on a cliff. 

Thursday morning, I threw yoga clothes in my car and headed to work. On my way there, I passed the yoga studio, and saw a big sign that said "HOT YOGA". Hmmm, I thought. I'd never done hot yoga before. I'd heard of it. It brought to mind images of sweaty heathens, hallucinations and the word "bikram". Not my scene. When I got to work, I texted Sarah.

Me: Hey. Is this class bikram yoga?
S.D.: No, its Vinyasa Flow.
Me: Oh, phew. okay, I passed a the sign on my way to work that said "HOT YOGA" and it made me nervous.
S.D.: Oh, no it's not bikram. You'll be fine.
Me: Great, see you at 5:30!

I proceeded to go about my day as planned, and ate Jack in the Box for lunch because I figured I could cancel it out later at yoga and eat a salad for dinner. When I arrived at the studio, it was crowded with girls in tiny spandex shorts and sports bras. I was wearing a cotton tank top and yoga pants. It struck me as odd that everyone was wearing shorts, but I dismissed it as a Malibu thing. I quickly made my way to Sarah, signed up for the class and went inside the yoga studio, where I was greeted with a surprise:

It was 105 degrees in there. This is not an exaggeration.

I reminded myself that Sarah had assured me that this was not Bikram yoga, and that I'd be fine. Sarah started the class by telling us how glad she was that we came, and that we  should be proud of ourselves for making time to do a little self-roasting take care of our bodies. She also said that we should listen to our bodies and that if anytime we got uncomfortable, we could always "go back into child's pose and rest" (that's yogi-speak for curl up in the fetal position and moan quietly).

The first three quarters of the class went great. It was hot, I mean really hot, but I felt myself moving smoothly through the poses, and I felt really stable and warmed up. Around an hour into the class I started to feel like I was a little past "warmed up" and I started to feel "well done". I noticed that I was probably the sweatiest girl in the class (everyone else wore shorts. duh), and there were points where I got a tad light headed. I pushed through though,  and found myself chanting the mantra "Don't pass out, you'll look like an idiot, Don't pass out, you'll look like an idiot." Surprisingly, that turned out to be great motivation. I finished up the class, struggling, but proud of myself for sticking it out.

I felt awesome. and accomplished. Like a million bucks. I got in my car and drove home.

Five minutes later, I experienced what I can only describe as the most God-awful hangover of my life. I was still sweaty, and shaking, and had a headache that felt like a midget with a tiny hammer was building a house inside my brain. It was terrible. I got home and stripped off my clothes and laid on my floor in Savasana pose (that's yogi-speak for "playing dead").

After a few minutes, I crawled to my phone and texted Sarah D. 

Me: Hey! LOVED class today! Is it normal to feel a little sick after this type of yoga?
S.D.: Hi! Well, not really, but maybe if you didn't drink enough water. 
Me: Huh, maybe that's it. I don't feel so hot. I might just have the flu. 

Sarah, sweet as can be, expressed her concern, and said I should continue to drink water, and to let her know if I didn't feel better soon. 

The next day, I dragged myself into work, feeling like 10 pesos. I sat at my desk and found the following  guidelines online for the class I had just taken:  

Wear something light weight: a tank top and shorts.*as opposed to pants. Duh.

Drink enough water throughout the day before you arrive at class. *This probably means more than 2 cups. And probably even more if you drink coffee by the gallon. 

Try to avoid eating anything for 3 hours before class. **JBox at 3PM was clearly a poor choice. 

The added warmth protects you from injury, builds stamina and burns twice as many calories as regular yoga. *which is why this class is 10 degrees hotter than normal hot yoga. 

Just be sure to drink water: adequate hydration is important. ***I am an absolute fool. 

 Somehow, I got it into my head that the word "Bikram" was synonymous with "Hot Yoga". It's not. Bikram is just one kind of Hot Yoga. Fun Fact. I basically dehydrated myself to the point of being a human prune. Not Smart. Having said all of that, I actually really enjoyed the class itself, and feel like it's a great way to spice up your regular workouts, and I have gone to more hot yoga classes since my near melting experience. It's an acquired taste, but with correct prep, you feel awesome afterward, and I can totally understand how some people do it every day. 

If you're interested, check out Malibu Sun Yoga. They're great, they have student rates, and really patient and helpful teachers. I highly recommend it. If you go, tell Sarah D. I said hi!