People from my inner circle already know. I have a slight obsessive personality. If I want something I’ll move heaven and earth to get it. I’ll make a flight request to go and get it, drive by 16 different stores if I have to and worst case, if I can’t find it, I’ll just have it made. As long as there are no animal or human sacrifices and morals and values are being obtained I’ll just call it ‘being determined’. This obsessiveness or determination doesn’t only apply to getting that perfect coat or bag but can be found in many aspects of my life. It can also be found in my gym life. I often have ‘mental’ competitions with my fellow gym members, you know, like not pausing the treadmill until the person next to you does. And: ‘oh that chick is (dead)lifting 65 pounds? Than I’ll do 85 pounds!’ She won’t know that after that I’ll be unable to sit for 6 days anyway. I like pushing my own boundaries. Why do ordinary fitness when there’s cross fit, boot camp or obstacle runs? Why use a generic jump rope when you can use one with weights in the grip? And why do normal yin yang yoga when you can do it in a 100 degrees heated studio? Well, I’ll tell you all about this
near death experience or as they call it, hot yoga. Namaste.
When it comes to yoga I’m not really a newbie. I’ve tried everything from Hatha yoga, power yoga to Chinese Qigong yoga. The combination of fitness and yoga works perfect for me. Fitness makes your body strong and yoga keeps your mind sane (prevents me from hurting any passengers) elongates your muscles and makes you super lean. But of course, it was getting to ‘normal’ so it was time for me to try a new form of yoga.
About two years ago I had my first hot yoga experience. I tried it out during a layover in Singapore. I figured as nobody knows me there there won’t be any awkward half naked run ins. I didn’t really know what to expect the only thing I knew was that there were 26 yoga poses to be done within 90 minutes in a 100 degrees heated studio. Bring.it.on.
Wearing nothing but a pair of hot pants a crop top and a bottle of water I was ready to face this hot yoga challenge. However, the moment I entered the studio I felt a little underdressed because all the other students looked more Amish than ready for a hot yoga class, being covered from top to bottom. Which I totally understood afterwards because some of the poses where a wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen. But anyway, back the class. The studio had a pleasant temperature, smelled of lavender and had a peaceful vibe. Some people were stretching, others were in Savasana (the corps pose, my favorite, check number 14 above) relaxing. Once the not so unattractive Ozzie teacher arrived wearing just long shorts the class was ready to begin.
During the 90 minute class you’ll not only do breathing exercises but also a lot stretching and pure muscle strength exercises. Because of the high temperature you’re less prone to injuries and it’s easier to adapt the somewhat Cirq du Soleil-ish postures. But hot yoga is not popular with everyone. It is not for the faint hearted. Physically you have to be in very good shape because people tend to pass out during class due to the heath or de-hydration.
Ten minutes into my first ever hot yoga class I thought: ‘OMG, I’m gonna die right here in Singapore!’ This was some heavy stuff. I was sweating profoundly and I thought I was going to break all my limbs. I mean, putting your left foot on your right thigh and the bending your knee whilst standing on your tip toes!? But how?? And that’s when the whole determination/competition thing kicks in, never give up! And the chick standing next to me was also a newbie so of course I had to compete with her (without her even knowing). I survived my first class and many classes followed during my trips to ‘Singa’.
After not visiting for two years I finally returned to Singapore last month. But I brought my mom on the trip and we wanted to see as much of the city as possible, so no hot yoga. Last week I was back again and so it was time to hit the studio! Sounds silly but I was sort of nervous to attend the class, not totally surprising as I knew what I was in for..near death. I was wearing a long top and pants and guess what, I ended up being the overdressed Amish one. All the ladies where wearing the skimpiest tops and bottoms. Oh well. Despite my occasional yoga class I was quite rusty and had a little trouble with some of the poses. But after surviving the class I felt like a new person.
In spite of the wonderful feeling afterwards I’m not sure if I will keep on practicing hot yoga. I’ll spare you the ‘after’ picture but my face was purple, my eyes bloodshot and I was light headed. Maybe it was because it’s been a long time since the last hot yoga class or maybe this type of yoga is just too extreme. So for now I’ll stick to yin yang yoga and one-sided deadlift competitions at the gym.