Hot, hot, HOT yoga


The RA suppressed athlete in me has been morbidly fascinated with Bikram yoga for quite awhile. I’ve read a fair amount that says its good for RA patients. I’ve also read that it isn’t so I checked with my doctor beforehand.

I’ve done a ton of crazy workouts in my life…boot camps, running repeated wind sprints, kick boxing. I like doing things that challenge me, things that other people think are slightly nuts, and oftentimes things I think I can’t do myself.

Especially since being diagnosed, seeing that I’m stronger than I thought I was is an accomplishment.

But y’all…I’m not hot yoga strong. Yet.

I’ve done a lot of yoga in my day- faster flow classes, deep stretch and restorative, and even one time with a yoga wall. Yoga walls are fun but the inner super klutz in me worried I’d screw it up and accidentally hang myself.

To prepare, I read the how to get ready for your first class. And in true AJ fashion, I proceeded to completely disregard with the whole ‘whatever, I do this all the time’ attitude that usually yields disastrous results.

WHEN will I learn that every time I think that, I need to immediately FREEZE, hold statue still and immediately stop doing what I’m about to do? Or not do in this case.

Step one: hydrate well before class. Oh yeah. I was WELL hydrated. I had like five cups of coffee. Hydration= check.

Step two: eat a good meal several hours before class. Well, who needs food when your body is running so smoothly on all of that glorious caffeine? I am a lean, mean caffeinated machine! I did supplement with some Jolly Ranchers…but only the blue and red ones that aren’t watermelon.

I met my friend and together we walked into the studio. They gave us some sort of new student speech but I was distracted by the super hot guy who is very much my type checking in. How YOU doin? I’m about to dominate this class and you will be so impressed that of course you can have my number.

Walking into the actual room was my first clue that I may be in for a rough time. The classroom was already at the requisite 105 degrees. Yep, you read that right. 105. Balmy. But it was made better when hot guy walked in shirtless.

We began with deep breathing exercises. It was so hot that I was lightheaded and nauseous after the second set. A quick glance over at my friend still hanging strong and I knew that I couldn’t let her beat me! And I had to stay strong for hot guy.

More poses. The dude two rows in front of me is literally slinging sweat like a faucet. He is also wearing nothing but very short boxer briefs. Who does a yoga class in nothing but their skivvies?

Five minutes later, I understand the skivvies. I am a modest gal and I really think everyone would’ve understood if I suddenly ripped off all my clothes. I really wanted to. It was effing miserable. But I also would like the option of returning to that studio and didnt want hot guy to see that I need to lose 10 pounds so I did not become the naked newbie at hot yoga class.

Several more poses and I notice that there are ceiling fans in the room. That’s just a tease. They were on, sure, but they were not moving any cool air. They were, however, moving air full of everyone’s stank. STANK.

The instructor said at some point that if we were new and not feeling great, we could ‘take a knee.’ I didn’t take a knee; I took two buttcheeks. On the floor. I also took a wall. Let me paint the picture for you: I was not just sitting and dripping sweat on my mat. I was sitting propped against the back wall TRYING NOT TO DIE. For real. Living another hour was suddenly more important than impressing hot guy.

I sat there, soaking wet and breathing in hot stank, until they moved to the floor. I joined back in and spent quite awhile examining my feet. Did you know that your toes can sweat actual beads of sweat? They totally can! Also, sweat infused with mascara is quite painful on the eyes.

My friend and I literally sat there, occasionally looking at each other to communicate WTF! OMG! We should’ve just gotten drinks after work.

We were so miserable that we didn’t even giggle when the dude in front of us started farting. Nope. We were just thankful for air movement.

We finished the class and I quickly got in my car so that hot guy wouldn’t see that all my mascara has left streaks down my whole face. Have you seen vampires cry blood on True Blood? Yep. Now picture that on me in black. I also knew that my hair was saturated soaking wet like I’d gotten out of the shower and that the substance making it so wet was my own filth. Nope, he didn’t need to see that either.

The poses themselves were nothing new to me but the heat was crazy. I was nervous because heat can make me nauseous which did happen but I didn’t throw up. I will admit that the heat made moving into poses much easier on my joints. I will also admit that I’m still feeling those benefits today.

I’m afraid I may have to go back. Next time: more hydration, less clothing.

9 responses »

  1. Awesome!! My sister told me about the farting and stench so I just couldn’t go there. You have so eloquently affirmed that and I am appreciative. Sticking to PT for now. Thanks for sharing!!

  2. Every detail about your hot yoga experience is accurate, hilariously accurate. At least in my experience this past week, as a newbie to hot yoga. And yet, as grueling as it’s been, I can’t keep myself from going back. After the sweat and tears, there’s elation, and all the cool air you want… until next class. Thanks for describing the experience to a T. There’s a hot yogi in all of us newbies waiting to blossom.

  3. Sounds like my worst nightmare – but I’m really glad it seems to have eased the joints a bit! (And Aahna, there is NOT a hot yogi in me waiting to blossom – I’m pretty sure of it!)

  4. I have tried over and over to do all different types of Yoga and find that holding poses, even for a short time, is far too painful….I admire that you are able to do it!

  5. I just found your blog. I was laughing out loud as I read. A friend of mine has been trying to convince me to try bikram yoga as she’s convinced it will help my RA, but I’m really worried about the heat too. You get nauseous, I get light-headed. Guess there’s only one way to find out.

  6. Just happened upon ur blog! Lovin it! I too have RA and just recently started Bikram Yoga…I’ve been trying decide if this is a good thing or not so good. Anyhoo…what I have read of ur blogs really hit home for me! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Yoga is quite different from other workouts. The more you try to force a position, the harder and more painful it is. I like yoga because it teaches the importance of balance…

  8. Hi there,

    I enjoyed reading your writings. As a yogi with long practice in hot yoga, I am beginning to wonder if hot yoga is beginning to be more harmful and beneficial. Recently, I have experienced more joint pains after hot yoga. These symptoms usually come next day. Do you still believe hot yoga is good for RA patients? I also need to confirm my suspicions that I have RA.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s