Hot Yoga: Is It Worth Sweating Over?

Hot Yoga. 60-90 minutes of yoga in a heated 42 degree Celsius room. Not for the faint-hearted. Only the strong survives this human-baking routine. A year ago, I was an addict.

I once heard that horses sweat, men perspire and women glow. If this is true, then we are all stallions because the only thing glowing in this room is the furnace.

From having a continuous flow of salty sweat sting my eyes and line my lips, trying to hold my pose on a sweat-soaked and slippery mat, to discovering parts of my body that I did not even know could sweat (elbows, ankles, back of knees, toes etc)…I loved every minute. The best part was that it did not take long before I could twist like a human pretzel and stretch like a rubber band.

The shower after a hot yoga class is particularly pleasurable. The sensation of stepping under a cool rush of fresh water pouring over my warm skin is…lack of a better word, intoxicating.

But, twelve months ago, I stopped my hot yoga practice due to work commitments. Big mistake!

Just last week, I found a hot yoga studio in town with a one-week trial at a promotional price I simply could not refuse. So, I decided to kickstart my hot yoga practice again.

The studio was nice. The teacher was great. The only thing that was not good – was me. Ten minutes into the class, a wave of nausea came over me, and like a bad house guest that does not know when to leave, it stayed the entire hour. I was feeling terribly sick. I wanted to faint. I wanted to throw up. I think I could have easily done both – if I wasn’t so busy praying to God not to let me embarrass myself in front of the other twenty women in the room.

The only trouble with hot yoga is that they normally don’t allow you to leave the room in the midst of the session. So all you can do is sit or lay down on your mat, while everyone else around you continues on with the blooming yoga poses. For someone who is not a ‘quitter’, this is just not a good enough option!

Finally!! The last pose of the session – Corpse Pose (for non-yogis, corpse pose is laying on your back, closing your eyes and mediating, or some say ‘sleeping’).

I was in this pose for…I don’t know how long. When I finally peeled open my salt-crusted eyelids, everyone had left. The room was empty, the lights were out, and an old lady with a mop and pail next to me shooing me off the mat.

I got up grudgingly, staggered to collect my things and headed for the nearest McDonald’s. My knees were weak and I was struggling to concentrate. I needed a Coke badly because I sensed my blood sugar level had gone to hell.

I wonder what happened to my heat tolerance. I used to be so good at this. Maybe it is like drinking alcohol (as so I am told). I have to slowly build it back up again.

Well, I have the next 6 days of classes to attend and decide.

And for those who have asked, the hot yoga studio I attended for the above, is Hom Yoga Studio, Singapore.

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