It’s no secret that I really don’t like yoga. I am not seeking a spiritual experience when I work out and all that stuff is a real turn off to me. However, it’s been a cold and stressful winter and when a friend asked if I wanted to join her for hot yoga, I figured I’d give it a try. After all, the worst that could happen was that I’d be hanging out in a very hot room for 90 minutes, and I could live with that given the frigid temperatures recently. I’d heard that hot yoga was really strenuous and difficult and I like a challenge, so I was game.

I couldn’t find the damn place because in Durango everyone figures that everyone else knows where everything is, so I was a few minutes late. So I knew I’d have to weather the withering stares of the yoga aficionados and kind of expected some bitchiness from the instructor. The instructor was welcoming, though, so I didn’t care much about the snarky looks people gave. No one bothered to move their yoga mats around to make room so I got stuck in the corner under the stereo, having to do the yoga poses around the dangling cords, so later on in the class I prankishly paid back by moving my mat to the front of the room beside the instructor, so that everyone would have to do yoga with me staring back at them. heh. Maybe next time they’ll be more accommodating.

The yoga itself was all right. Not nearly as challenging as I thought it would be. Yoga poses are no match for all the strength training I’ve done in my life. The flexibility was a problem for this muscle-bound meathead, but that’s to be expected. Some of the poses and transitions were pretty appalling from a joint-sensitive point of view, and I don’t really get that. A lot of that stuff is just flat bad for your joints. Many other poses were just joint bending rather than muscle stretching, which I think just promotes laxity in joints; not a good thing. I took it upon myself to skip those parts, and I wish I’d skipped the thing where you bring your arm across your chest and lay on it – that one did my shoulders in for a few days and can’t possibly be good for the joint. Now that I’m thinking about it, maybe it’s no surprise that I’m now laid up with a pulled shoulder from ice climbing; something that has never happened to me before. I’ve always been able to rely on my strength; pulling up on my ice tools and feeling pain rip through the muscle girdle around my scapula was unexpected. I would not be one bit surprised if that stupid pose contributed to me laying here typing this post while surrounded by ice packs.

Most of the class was fun, and the sweating was just awesome in mid-winter. That’s pretty much the reason I bought a punch card; I could just sit at the back of the room and be happy, but then I’d probably look around more and I’m not sure I can recommend looking around during a yoga class – during the handstands I caught a glimpse of a male class member that I really am trying hard to unremember. Wear supportive underwear, guys…please?

I did feel good afterwards so I’ll be going back this week, but I’ll be more careful about poses that I think are suspect. Yes, I’m a tad type A so even yoga is a competitive sport to me (“my face is more serene than yours!”), but I can recognize when I’m getting too much. Hopefully I’ll have another instructor who doesn’t mind variations. So, yoga: the second-to-latest new thing I’m trying lately. The very latest thing was leashless ice climbing, which is way cooler than yoga. But at least I can justify the hot room thing now.