Sometimes when I arrive to book club and Janice asks me why my casual daywear is soaked in my own sweat, I show her my actual yoga clothes, soaking through the bottom of my purse. She says something like, “Hot yoga seems difficult,” and I scoff.
You’ve got to be kidding me. That was not hot yoga. No yoga is hot enough to consider it “hot yoga.”
I practice yoga regularly. Sometimes I sweat, get lightheaded, go unconscious, puke, go vegan, get medical treatment, ignore doctors, sign myself out of the hospital and return for the 7pm class. But I would never dare call that “hot yoga.” If it were really hot yoga, there is no way I would make it to that second class.
I’ve attended hundreds of classes seeking a light practice to prepare me for the real demands of hot yoga. But I have yet to find an actual hot yoga class anywhere near me. The classes out there advertising themselves as hot yoga just seem so mild. I even asked my Ayahuasca ceremony shaman if she knew any good spots as we shared peyote in her sweat lodge, and even she was stumped.
We proceeded to pour more water the rocks, take several hallucinogens, and vomit for nine hours in a small tent, which is also not hot yoga.
I can feel Shanti opening the doors when the humidity gets to be too much for her. Shanti, it is not 115 degrees in here. Why are you trying to cheat us of the full experience? I am doing yoga now but this is definitely not hot yoga. Not really.
When I was young I traveled deep into India, and eventually found a portal that appeared to go to the core of the Earth. So, I put on my Bikram shorts and went to work. I made it through all 26 poses as the other journeyers began to boil beside me. It was amazing. It was then that I learned that if you’re not approaching 212 degrees, you’re not really living. You’re not really doing hot yoga. If you had visited the core of the Earth, you’d have a better idea of what purification really feels like. This is hot yoga.
Most people just can’t handle the heat because they can’t handle anything at all. My sad cousin Amie thought the Vinyasa class we took was “hot.” I reminded her it was just the humidity and she would be “fine.” She had a heart attack, but I believe she’s in a better place now, where she’s learning what hot yoga really means.
I left the class that day wishing Amie could have truly experienced hot yoga before her time on earth had passed. That was not hot yoga.