Hot Yoga and Me, Love it/Hate it?

Written by Cathy Geier.

24 hot yoga classes in 83 days! That's my latest yoga excursion! Today and tomorrow I will add 2 more classes for 26 in 85!

rabbit pose

What happened? Nothing special. I liked doing yoga in a very hot studio a few years ago when the Fremont Bikram studio was near my apartment and I attended a 10 session series and more. I loved the feeling after the classes. My lifestyle and personal philosophy about teaching and motivation was different than that espoused at that studio. Life continued.

This past winter I finally found an excellent gym which has good yoga, NIA, SuperSculpt, Lap Swims, Kickboxing, Spinning and much more. It cost 40.00 a month. Reasonable even for one with minimal work. I got into it! One little Wonder Woman kick in kickboxing and dancing with more jumps! I had a hurt foot! What does Wonder Woman do? Sure thing - ice, elevation, rest.. for 2 or 3 days and back to everything!

The foot rebelled! I called ILoveHotYoga to check on their introductory special. Yes, it's still going on. The rest is history of my spring! This is a lovely, very popular studio a half block from Greenlake. Parking is easy- they have a place downstairs! There are many different instructors and styles--- NO plain old Bikram verbatim. WHEW! (Article about instructor preparation forthcoming.) When this trial ended I decided to try Hauteyoga because of a Yelp friend's recommendation. What a surprise! I am in lower Wallingford and getting to Queen Anne is much faster than braving and waiting 2 very slow/busy traffic lights to get to Greenlake. I used their trial package. Now I have another special.

I feel so blessed. My foot healed weeks ago. I decided to see these packages through and have returned to dance as well. I will admit that part way into this sojourn I read an article by Krysta Gibbs in The New Spirit Journal reminding us to do something spiritual and/or new long enough to allow it to make changes in our lives. Thanks, Krysta!

Now, the love/almost hate part! It's hot. I love that. I can not do the poses as well as when I was 10 years younger. I taste humility, acceptance, self-judgment. I feel improvements. I taste self-pride, acceptance. I wobble and sweat; trying to balance as long as very young women who could be my grand-daughters. I try harder. I wobble more. My ankles fatigue faster in the long holds- no surprise they did when I was in my 30's. I see my grey hair in the mirror and a couple (12 or so) extra pounds. Acceptance, self-judgment, appreciation, sweat, love, frustration.. all of this at once.

I am always allowed to lie down to rest. Other students lie down or take breaks when needed with NO retribution or fear. We get back up and in unison arms rise, hips swivel, knees bend and the series continues. In the hour and a half classes sometimes by the time we get to tree pose after several leg strength poses I do my tree poses lying down - you can still hold a position and contractions! I love this so much! I love the poses, the group, the instructors, the benefits. I am currently in a short term fairly stressful job- hot yoga melts this stress away. I have no time to think about work when I am dripping sweat, opening my heart contracting legs, back, core and preparing for a challenging and nurturing pose. I am in the pose and the breathing.

Hauteyoga's instructors are so well- trained. I hear words roll into the room which I recall from Bob Smith, my first yoga instructor from the 70's in Seattle. (Bob owns The Hatha Yoga Studio in UW area.) The years I studied with him and Shannon and the many retreats with them lay a foundation of careful attention to anatomy and progression. I hear words flow which I recall from Shiva Rea to open my heart again and again. Ginger and Sean from Hauteyoga insert very careful technical reminders about necks, contractions, safety, personal care in their classes.

How might I almost hate the hot yoga? Sometimes I am gripped by self-judgment because I have to touch the wall to get a grip on my right leg to do my old favorite - dancer pose! Why can't I just do this pose with no help as I did for so many years? SSometimes the words, "I can't..." roll up into my thoughts more near the end of a session when faced with doing a pose which I used to master looking like any Yoga Journal model.. Sometimes I am exhausted. Sometimes I wish I were better at every pose. When I get home and my sweaty clothes and towel line up with those from the day before and I might be having guests, I have to think about this! The heat is so intense sometimes with the poses and trying.

This is a personal blog to share thoughts and self- reflection. In this writing I have discovered some of my own truth. For now, I shall leave this as it is and Soleil and I may discuss it.

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