Hottie with a Sweaty Body: Hot Yoga Is Hell


Namaste/Love and Light/FML.

Yesterday was a very normal day for me. By that I mean I started it off with healthy-eating intentions and got completely derailed by 11am, as it always does. Frosted Mini Wheats spiraled into a red velvet cupcake in a sad amount of time. I tried to recover with a healthy lunch from Whole Foods, but again, my intentions of carrying out a kale salad and soup fell apart when I walked by a giant slice of cornbread. First of all, why do they even sell this? It’s not normal. But it is very delicious. Second of all, what kind of self-respecting professional woman walks to the checkout line with a half-pound chunk of cornbread? I have no shame. It’s fine. I love cornbread. Judge me. I’m already judging you. Unfortunately, the corn bread catalyzed a “there goes today” attitude and by 3pm I was 1.5 more cupcakes deep (or two if we apply the honesty policy).

At that point, I decided it was time to take charge of my life and rear-end and hastily signed up for a month-long unlimited yoga pass at a studio walking-distance from my house. I even reserved a spot at a 7:15pm class that same evening. The website had notes on studio etiquette and what to bring (a reusable water bottle, a mat, and two towels). You also have to arrive 15 minutes early to ensure you will have a space in the studio. Of course I sped home from work not leaving enough time to walk to the studio, quickly changed, grabbed a mat and one towel (seemed more reasonable than 2), and forgot my water at home. All in all, pretty status quo.

Problem #1 was that the studio is on one of the busiest streets in Los Angeles, and you cannot stop in the far right lane or use the parking meters till 7pm, the approximate time I must arrive and claim my spot in the studio lest I lose my space. All other street parking is permit only and I don’t have a permit so I hung out on a corner, ready to take a swift right turn at approximately 6:59pm to claim my spot right in front of the studio. Genius! When I went to execute this plan, it became clear that 52 people had my same brilliant idea and had already taken every meter on the block. These yogis are ruthless and tactful and clearly a step ahead of me. Panic ensued. This studio is so LA that they have valet, but based on principal I refuse to valet my car unless I’m under extreme hunger-related desperation and it is literally my only option. I circled around again, considered giving up (sign from the yogaverse!), but then I found a spot about a block away on the opposite side of the street, made an illegal U-turn and pulled in. I rushed out of my car with my belongings and fed every last quarter I had into the meter before reading the sign that you don’t have to pay these meters after 4pm. Excellent.

Dare I interrupt someone’s chakra flow with my impending death.

My next hurdle was that there was no time for me to walk to a crosswalk. As soon as I had my yoga mat under my arm, I felt a sudden and super unwarranted sense of self-importance and chose to walk through 6 highly-congested lanes of traffic to get into the studio.

Upon my arrival, a woman at the front desk asked me if I had ever been to hot yoga before. This is when s**t got real. I failed to realize that I had signed up for a HOT yoga class. I have never attended one and I had no intention of doing so. I don’t tolerate a lot of things well, one of them being excessive heat, and I certainly don’t pay money for that kind of torture. My concerns of sudden death were real, so I asked the woman what to do if I didn’t think I could make it through the entire class. Her response? “You should lie down on your mat and try to stay as still as possible.” As in, she would rather have me die alone on my yoga mat, sheathed in my own sweat, than have me so rudely interrupt a course by politely excusing myself during a possible heart attack. Dare I interrupt someone’s chakra flow with my impending death. Nevertheless, I had committed myself to face this journey. I set down my things in a very naked locker room and stepped into the studio. It was not just sort of hot, it was like sauna f**king hot, worse than Palm Springs, worse than Chicago in August, worse then hell itself;  these yoga people are actually trying to reach nirvana or die. As soon as I rolled my mat out and claimed my space, I immediately removed my shirt. There were all sorts of bodies there, so my cupcake-generated curves were in good company. The spacious studio was filled to sardine capacity by the time the class began, and by that time I was fully ready to leave.

Now, both the instructor and the music were radical. But you know what’s not radical? A 105-degree room filled with bodies in motion. Within three minutes the very limber and advanced-looking yogi man directly to my left looked like he had literally just ascended from the ocean. I was doing yoga next to Poseidon basically. This man was dripping in perspiration. I guess three minutes of heavy breathing really got him going, since that was all we had done up until that point. It took about 10 minutes until his sweat began to form a puddle next to his mat, and this puddle started creeping in my general direction. At this point I began thinking a lot about germs and the fact that I was stuck in the middle of a possible cesspool of illnesses. I knew at that moment this class could kill me in more ways than one.  Next to Poseidon was a remarkably furry man, particularly in the chest region.  When I became fixed in some sort of tilted position with my neck craned in his direction for about a minute, I spent every second of that minute watching a sweat waterfall cascade through his sprawling metropolis of chest fur and fly off his nips like some sort of coruscating man-fountain. By this I mean he looked like he was lactating uncontrollably.

I’m certain at least two people were having orgasmic experiences during the course of the class based on the endless and gratuitous verbally hyperbolic exhales they emitted. You have to literally give no sh**s whatsoever to make the kind of noises I heard that evening.  These are the kind of  noises that belong only A. in the bedroom,  or B. in the audience at an Oprah’s Favorite Things taping. I believe at least two other people were, like me, on the verge of passing away due to heat exhaustion based on their grunting and general inability to breathe in and out without making struggling noises.

This class went on for what felt like hours. When it finally ended I flew out of there sopping wet and in a state of mental disorientation. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not mad at yoga. I grew up dancing so yoga comes pretty naturally to me, and I have had more medical professionals recommend I take up this practice than I can count (anxiety, anyone?). I’m just simply incapable of focusing. I don’t understand meditation, channeling my thoughts, deep breathing, or anything that requires a modicum of patience. So the yoga struggle is more of a personal problem than anything else. And a heat problem. And a lack of hydration problem. I detest water. I have no idea how I even sweat because I live like a desert camel who loves dessert and consumes water only by accident if it happens to be part of another beverage I enjoy. I couldn’t spit on the street if you paid me. Nothing there. So it’s actually a miracle that I attended this class without drinking any water before, during, or after the class, and am alive to write about it.

Anyway, I was elated to make it back across all four lanes to my car alive. Just as I approached my vehicle, someone pulled up next to me and asked if I was leaving. I was holding my shirt, keys, phone, a heavy mat, MY ONE towel, tugging on the car door in a repeated/confused/half-naked manner. I WAS indeed leaving, but thanks to hot yoga, I did not know where my vehicle was. I’m not sure how I found my car or made it home without a DUI, but I did, and the first thing I did was go back to the studio website to confirm that not just the class I attended, but the entire studio, was hot yoga only. And I had no cupcakes to share the news with.

Then my boyfriend mysteriously missed my call and I texted him immediately, threatening to light him and the Staples Center on fire, assuming he avoided my call due to a sports-related telecast. Namaste/Love and Light/FML. Maybe next time I will learn how to read a website before throwing down a credit card, but I have my reasonable doubts.

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