Monday, April 25, 2011

Heated Hot Yoga

Bikram yoga is yoga in a room at about 100 degrees. That's hot. So in comparison, 90 degrees should feel better. It doesn't really. It's still hot. So as D, AK, and I chose a space in the back of the yoga room for our hot yoga class, it felt good for maybe two minutes since we'd been waiting outside while the class before us was finishing up and the door was locked. But then, as we sat waiting, and waiting, and waiting even more, I found that I was sweating. I even took a sip of water. While all I was doing was sitting.

Class began late, much later than it should have. I can maybe understand five minutes late, but this was more than five minutes. If it were a private club where everyone were friends, that would be fine, but this was an open class at a business, and they should start on time. People have lives. Plus, I didn't want to be doing yoga into all hours of the night. However, it seems that the studio doesn't really care about clocks. The class before us ended late; that's why we were locked out. Maybe they're in a yoga time warp.

When class finally began, the instructor told us to lie down. Ahhh, lying down to start class again. This is something I can get used to.

What I couldn't get used to was the instructor wearing her hair down. It was making me hot just looking at her.

After lying down and breathing for a while, we did some arm and floor work. She was holding a lot of poses. This class was supposed to be a vinyasa class. (Actually, it was a power vinyasa and when we got there and looked it up to be sure, AK was like--what does that mean? and I was like--it means it's gonna be really hard). Last I checked, vinyasa is all about movement and flow. Instead, we were stuck in these positions, holding them and feeling them and breathing through them.

And sweating. We mustn't forget the sweating. Profuse sweating.

She kept saying that usually she does like 11 poses in 11 seconds but here she's feeling like holding and letting us feel the posture and the body and the breath. She kept saying she felt like doing something different and usually her classes are so much faster but now it was all about the holding. All that would make much more sense had we had her before as an instructor, but really, all she was doing was being a tease. Again, if this were a private class where we all knew each other and knew her style, we would feel the difference in her teaching style. But really, all it was for me was hearsay.

Then came the "feel bad about yourself" portion of the class, which was the majority of it. Her teaching style emerged as one-third motivational, one-third school yard taunting, and one-third bad parenting.

When D raised her hand to show that she was new to yoga, the instructor said she was in a perfect place to be modified. That happened maybe twice during the course of the class. Instead, the instructor teased the boys behind us, asking them what was going on back there, telling them they should calm down a bit, and then taunting them, saying the girls were doing much better than the boys. One of the guys kept asking the other, what'd she say about us? What'd she say? Either he had a hearing problem or he just wanted to call attention to the fact that the pretty girl was talking about them. In any case, it was slightly inappropriate.

I probably wouldn't have been bothered by it if I weren't bothered by other things. And there were so many other things, most of which had to do with her.

One thing that did not have to do with her was the sweating. The unbelievable sweating. The first time she told us to go into child's pose, I did so and sweat ran up my nose. Ever have sweat go UP your nose? It doesn't feel good.

It happened more than once.

The studio's website says that all classes are for all levels. That's a big lie. As I said, the instructor came over to D maybe twice. Beginners need more than that. Also, just announcing postures without showing them when you know there are a few new people in the room is not helpful.

Plus, doing the postures you like just to show off is not the way to instruct. Yes, it's great that you can get your ass up to the ceiling in crow. It's fantastic that you can flip right over into wheel. But it would be helpful if you show other moves that aren't as impressive.

The teaching became taunting during crow. It's balancing your knees and shins on the backs of your biceps while your hands are on the floor. It's not easy. As we were supposed to be in this posture, she admonished us that we needed to get into it. We had to do it. We should do it. Even for those doing it, they should do it the right way (that's when she showed off, er, I mean, showed us how). Everyone was in crow. Everyone. Everyone. She kept repeating it because some of us were not in crow because, quite frankly, it's difficult and some people can't fucking do it. When that portion was over, she sighed kind of loudly. I don't know if it was out of frustration about some of us not doing what she was instructing us to do or if it was because the room was hot. Very hot. Have I mentioned that?

That kind of pushing is for personal trainers, not yoginis. In yoga, you're supposed to listen to your body. Instead, she wanted us to listen to her.

I do need some pushing. When we were in side plank, she stood over me and repeated, look up. Look up. When I realized she was talking to me (it was sometimes hard to tell if she was talking to me or AK), I slowly moved my gaze to the side and then all the way up. She actually did say, good, when I did it.

Later on, when she was going into backbends, I did not feel like going into a backbend. I don't like dropping my head backwards. Plus, if you feel like your throat is closing when you drop your head back, you're not supposed to drop it back as far. Any yoga instructor--actually any human being who does not like the feeling of gasping for air--knows that. But instead, we got: stop drinking water...stop figeting...everyone is in back bend.

By the time savasana came around, my nose was filled with sweat and I was kind of in la la land, wondering if the instructor was wearing underwear. She had on tight pants but no VPL. It was fascinating.

See what happens when you're not allowed to drink water? You get a little nutty.

And now for "AK Did Not Like That Class." This was by far my favorite part of the evening. As we walked to the car and drove D to her place about a block away (she'd walked), AK listed every reason she did not like that class, most of which overlaps what I've said here. I agreed and agreed and agreed. She was like, I'm never taking her class again! I agreed!

When I got home, I had to peel my clothes off. It was gross. I took a long shower and drank more water. I'd had about four cups of water during and on the way home from class. I had two more before bed. As I started to doze off, I kept thinking about the story I read in a magazine about the woman in the sweat lodge who died several hours later. I started to freak out a little. I got up and drank more water. Then I went to bed again.

I woke up about an hour later, thinking I was dying. I had more water. Ugh. The class was late to begin with. Since it had started and ended even later because of delayed yoga time warp syndrome, I simply hadn't gotten enough water in before bedtime. It wasn't a good sleep.

So to finish my Groupon, I plan to go to all the non-heated classes and maybe a hot class in the morning so that I can drink gallons of water before going to bed. Then, when I win lotto, I'll open my own studio, and not taunt people as I teach.

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