I'm not the kind of girl who likes to sweat. In the few times in my life I've ventured into a sauna, my mind always goes to the same dark scenario: I'm sitting inside with my eyes closed. Suddenly, my evil nemesis locks me inside. But wait, it gets worse! She turns up the heat...again...and again until I can no longer breathe. I take my towel, wrap it around my hand, and try to break out the glass. But I can't! It's too thick....and I'm trapped inside. I just know some cute firefighter is going to find my naked body.
Let's just say I've never lasted too long in the sauna.
I've been thinking about trying hot yoga since I moved to Chicago 2 1/2 years ago, but I always worried about the same kind of scenario. Only instead of getting locked inside the room, it's more a fear of vomiting projectile Chipolte all over the people in front of me, or passing out and wetting myself simultaneously.
Two years ago I bought a Groupon for a month of unlimited yoga, hoping since I spent $59 on a unemployed budget, I would force myself to go. A year came and went, and still I didn't use the Groupon. I told friends, "I'm just so scared!" Even though they assured me I'd be fine, I still didn't have the guts.
Fast forward to January 2012. I decided to make a New Year's resolution of trying things that scare me. You know the usuals: commuting in Chicago traffic, eating Thai food and parallel parking (still working on that one). But in the back of my mind I knew I was missing one thing: trying hot yoga.
So I found a yoga studio near my apartment in the Gold Coast and started doing their basic yoga classes. Then I moved up the ladder to harder and harder classes until I was finally ready for a Hot Power Fusion class. (Or was I?)
When I walked in, the heat hit me like Ike Turner. I looked around the room, and saw several men in shorts with no shirts on. Only they weren't Tim Tebow look-a-likes, they were guys with flabby chests and snow white skin. Ew. The girls were all pretty buff and in cute yoga gear, and I found myself being glad for a candlelight class so they couldn't see my look of fear and cheap Kohl's workout outfit. As I sat down on my already sweaty mat, I thought, 'I don't know if I can do this.'
Class started with the flabby guy in front of me dripping sweat immediately. Really? We'd only gotten into child's pose. Gross. We then moved into one pose after another, and I tried to take deep breaths, but there was nothing to breathe. Just the smell of sweat, body odor, and wait, is that garlic?
When we started doing the yoga equivalent of crunches, I got the giggles because of the men making moaning/sex sounds. Are they enjoying this that much? Later as I bent over, I had to admire myself because I'd never actually seen my ankles sweat before. Cool.
We continued sweating and moaning for the next sixty minutes until phew...it was over. I rewarded myself with a 3 Musketeers, 7-up and Mega Millions lottery ticket. (I must have been high from the post-workout buzz, because I'm pretty sure I promised the cashier at the Food Mart that I'd give him money if I won.)
All-in-all, hot yoga was gross, but man did I feel good about myself. I'd feel even better if I win $540 million.