An admitted shoe geek waxes philosophical about running, triathlon, and life in general.
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Friday, December 16, 2011

Hot, sweaty, and estrogen-challenged -- Hot Yoga

I'll start by saying that I've done yoga before. Quite a bit, actually. But... I've never done a class. Yup, self-taught, from books and videos. Most of my yoga has been done in silence and with no witnesses. And it's been a while since I did it with any regularity.

My wife found a coupon for "30 days for $10" at Hot Yoga at The Edge near South Hill Mall in Puyallup, WA. This facility used to be a Bally Total Fitness before it went under (and I used to have a membership there so I could use the pool). Now it's a training center with a room for hot yoga.

We were going to go on Wednesday, but a hob-nobbing opportunity for Lucky Cause Sports came up, which netted us a free dinner, so we rescheduled.

I looked at their website, and was a little perplexed. They offered two types of sessions -- 90 minute hatha, and 60 minute "fusion". I thought "hatha" was the basic form of yoga from which all the others spring, and hot yoga is Bikram.However, this is not the case . "Fusion" is a more vigorous, more strenuous workout, but shorter.

We went for the 4:30 hour-long session of fusion yoga, arriving about 45 minutes before the class so we could sign our lives away and agree to not blame them if we keeled over. We were told we could go in the room and get set up first, which we did.

Now "hot" really is HOT. The room temperature is kept in a range of 98-105 degrees, and then they add steam. We were in the room for a while before class started, and I was just laying there, "letting the warmth soak into my muscles." Yeah, right. I was trying not to break into a sweat before we started.

The instructor came in and said, "All right you guys... Well, guys and ladies." It was then that I realized I was the only "guys" in the room. Guys, listen up: that may sound like a "target rich environment", but please, this is NOT the place. Really. Trust me on this. You'll thank me later.

We started with some basic mountain pose, then swiftly moved on to sun salutations (a little different than I learned, but they do vary). My wife, who had never done any yoga before, was a little lost. There was no real "instruction" in this class, you were just expected to watch and try.

Very quickly I was sweating. Most people who read my blatherings are runners of some sort, I would guess, and we know we're conditioned to sweat. It just happens as a byproduct of exercise, right? Well, I think I was the only one in the room with a constant "drip, drip" going on. Punctuated with occasional streams. Downward-facing dog was transitioning into full-extension push-ups as my hands and feet slowly slid on my sweat-slicked mat. I had to stop fairly often to try to dry them off. Note to self -- bring a bigger towel next time.

Check that. Bring two.

I did most of the routine, and what I found was that I was having to increase the rate of my breathing to keep up with the pace of the movements. For those who don't know, the breathing and the movements go together -- inhale when the movement opens the chest and abdomen, exhale when they're contracting. I think I would have liked a slower pace better.

At the end of the hour, we quietly shuffled out of the room. I lugged my now-five-pound towel... When we went outside, what had been "brrrr..." when we got there became "this feels nice" on the way out.

We went home and had dinner. And by 7:30 we were both ready to knock off for the night.

This morning... Yeah, I'm sore. I expected that. And dehydrated. I expected that too. Leaning over to grab the dogs' bowls this morning was an exercise in pain management. And I want a tall cold drink. And another.

Will I go again? Sure, I've got another 29 days paid already...

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