Because the studio had just offered a Living Social deal to their establishment (a steal at ten classes for $39), the place was packed. We were there 20 minutes early but we had to ask people to scoot over so we could squeeze our mats in and still had to sit across the room from each other. I talked to the girl next to me who was a member and knew all about the place. I told her I'd done four yoga classes ever and had never done hot yoga and she told me not to be afraid to sit down if I needed to. I appreciated it but I didn't plan on sitting down. I was glad to see that people were wearing normal yoga clothes. I wondered if anyone would be in booty shorts and/or sports bras, and a small part of me hoped they would so that I could wear the same next time. Here's what I wore.
The instructor, Amberlyn, came in and had us all lie down on our mats. She was talking about ethical dilemmas and letting things in your life out. It made me think this class was going to be more of a spiritual journey than a workout and I started to long for the ballroom at Stroga. She had us sit up and do some heavy breathing exercises which were really hard and actually awesome. Then it was time to Ohm. Normally I play along and Ohm with the crowd but don't really see the point in what I'm doing. This instructor knew that there were a lot of new students in the class so she did a good job of talking us through everything. She said "For those of you who haven't Ohmed before, don't worry, you're not joining a cult" and explained that Ohm is just a word to represent all of the things in our life that are so complex that we have no words for them. It can represent the divine, the beauty in nature, or simply the peace within oneself. More importantly, though, she told us how to Ohm. I had no idea that it was an exercise in breathing, that there is a particular "o" shape to make with your mouth at the beginning, that you shouldn't stop making the sound until the very last ounce of oxygen has been exhaled from your lungs. I really appreciated the explanation.
|This is Sarah. Ohming.|
Through it all, I sweat uncontrollably. At the end of class, when we were back in spirituality mode, Amberlyn said something like "Try to find how this has changed you on a deeper and more subtle level than the sweat on your body." Sorry friend, but all I was looking for was a good sweat and that, the ability to sweat and to do all of these great things with my body, that is what I'm ohming for.
This experience was different but I thoroughly enjoyed it. And my back is kind of sore today. As this is a Vinyasa studio, I am still interested to try Bikram but, for now, I am really excited for 9 more classes like this. If you haven't done so already, and you like to sweat, I advise you to try hot yoga. It is very refreshing and challenging and maybe it will change you in a more deep or subtle way than it did me. Namaste.
I'm curious: Have you ever done hot yoga? Was it Bikram? How did it make you feel?