I thought that taking a hot yin yoga class would be the next best thing to heaven. There is a hot yoga studio near me that is a real treat. They offer hot yin and I was really looking forward to taking it there. I have been practicing yin yoga for about 6 months and am seeing impressing results. How much better it would be if it were in a hot room so my muscles could stretch out, the ligaments could elongate and the rest of my connective tissue would respond by releasing into a heavenly gossamer strand of bliss. I was looking forward and shot out the door after dinner to the Hot Yoga Studio.
I was appropriately dressed, had my mat, extra towels for sweating, my water bottle was at the ready. Our instructor looked like he really knew what he was talking about. The photo of him doing the peacock in the lobby didn’t hurt his reputation. Tall, dark, and handsome….this was going to be rousing entertainment.
I entered the practice room and unrolled my mat. Cripes! I had forgotten how hot Hot Yoga is. Phew! I lay down on the mat and relaxed. I almost slipped into a deep snooze when the teacher came in and started the instructions in a soothing voice. This was going to be a piece of cake. I do pretty well in my cold room yin class and so this would take me for miles.
At first I noticed no change at all. We did a few preliminary poses which were familiar and not too taxing. It was pretty much the same thing. However, when we moved into more demanding poses, the oddest thing started to happen: it hurt. This was not just simple stretching and release pains, this was hard pain. I held the poses but it was obvious that the heat was making the exercise a lot tougher.
I can do the pigeon (aka swan) pose all day in the cold room yin yoga class I take. In the hot room, YEOUCH! Arggggh! I could not wait to get out of it. I swear it hurt 20% more than in a cold room. At first I thought that was my mind playing tricks on me. It can’t be that heat causes yin to be harder…but it did for me. The teacher came over and adjusted me I became an agent for agony. I waited for him to leave and untwisted myself into my customary simple swan. It hurt. I was puzzled as it always had a good feeling edge to it in the past. Not this time.
When we got around to doing the Frog I was in trouble and I didn’t even know it. This is the deep hip opening pose and it’s hard to do under the best of circumstances. I was pretty proud of my progress. In that hot room everything was working against me. My knees drove into the floor like a Catholic on unpadded kneelers on Good Friday (I DO know what that feels like). ARGGGGH! I quickly levitated myself onto my yoga mat for some relief. But now I was resting on my forearms which were on the floor and digging in profoundly, deeply, and paaaainfully. I was in agony. My front end and back end were being tortured simultaneously. I stood the pain for the supposed gain of release. Every time my hips released I was rewarded with a bit of skin being abraded from my knees because the sweat and stickiness of the mat were now working against me.
I sweat rivers. I shook. I figured that if I held it long enough I would release this pain and go into the bliss zone like I do in cold yin.
Not a chance.
Finally, we got to the resting phase of class where we all lay on our backs and relaxed. I fought hard to stay in one spot. I swear I wanted to leap up, grab all of my things and race out of that hell hole of a room, never to return. But I fought myself and stayed on my back until the teacher indicated we could leave.
I bet that hot yin effects everyone differently. Surely some people swear by it. We had a good teacher (his handsomeness notwithstanding), a clean and lovely environment, but it just hit me the very wrong way. Alas.
I have taken hot flow before and enjoyed it. Done that several times. But I must conclude that for me…yin is a dish best served cold.
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