2:32 pm – I Google “hot yoga” and browse through the search results. I conclude that Jill is either (a) inviting me to a Bikram yoga class where the room is heated to 105 degrees with 40% humidity or (b) really kinky.
2:33 pm – I reply back – “sure, sounds relaxing” – without really knowing what I’m agreeing to. By noting that I associate “yoga” with “relaxation,” I hope to come across as an Alpha Male who thinks that anything other that bench-pressing slabs of cement is a relaxation session, as opposed to a work out.
2:34 pm – Regret sets in.
6:14 pm – I show up at the studio and am greeted by a friendly receptionist. Actually, I’m greeted by a receptionist who looks friendly. While entering my registration information, any perceived friendliness melts away. The following dialogue takes place:
Receptionist: What level are you: beginner, intermediate, or advanced?
Me: Is there a category below beginner?
Receptionist: Do you at least know how to do downward dog?
Me: I’m sorry, what’d you call me?
6:18 pm – Jill and I find a “premium” space on the floor to lay our mats down: second row from the front, dead center. Jill justifies the “premium” adjective by telling me, “Now you’ll be able to look around the class and easily observe what you’re supposed to be doing.”
6:20 pm – I begin to sweat. Profusely. Further regret sets in.
6:22 pm – Our instructor enters the studio and says the following: “Tonight’s class is going to be full, so we need everyone to move their mats up and in. There only needs to be three inches between you and your neighbor.”
6:24 pm – I glance around the room and size up my competition. There’s about a four-to-one girl to guy ratio. I can do this, I think to myself, I am a MAN. I then notice the girl directly in front of me bend at the waist and rest her head on the back of her knees. Umm…all right, then. It’s settled. I’m officially about to get worked.
6:26 pm – My claustrophobic tendencies activate. I can’t stop thinking about the fact that when I lay down there will be eight people within a half-a-foot of me.
6:28 pm – I massage the back of my neck and am aware that it’s already covered with a sheen of sweat. I’m also aware that class hasn’t started yet.
6:30 pm – Our instructor re-enters the room and introduces herself as “Kitty.” Naturally I wonder if she’s also a stripper.
6:31 pm – Kitty informs us that our goal for today’s class is “to move oxygenated blood to every part of our body.” Internally I commit to a more modest goal: survival.
6:34 pm – I finish off my bottle of Ice Mountain water. I had hoped that my water supply would last me an hour. Turns out I came up short by fifty-six minutes. Oops.
6:35 pm – I’m pleasantly surprised by my ability to keep up with all of the intricate stretches and poses.
6:36 pm – Kitty – aka Queen Dream Crusher – slaps me back into reality. “Now that we’re loosened up, let’s begin class.”
6:38 pm – While performing my first downward dog, I glance up and notice that the girl in front of me’s badonkadonk is approximately eight inches from my face. Given the fact that I haven’t yet even offered to buy her a drink, this seems like a serious breach of her privacy. I quickly close my eyes.
6:39 pm – As soon as I open my eyes back up, I’m blinded by the salty sweat that had trickled down my eyelids while I was trying to be respectful. I vow not to close my eyes again – even if it means feeling like a Peeping Tom.
6:42 pm – I squint at myself in the mirror and notice that my cotton light-gray tank top has turned the color of wet charcoal. Upon further inspection, I also notice that my tank top has somehow also turned into a youth size medium sports bra.
6:46 pm – Kitty directs us into a pose that requires you to balance on your right foot while simultaneously extending your left foot towards the ceiling. I’m about halfway through the move when my right foot slips on the standing pool of sweat that has formed on my mat and sends me stumbling toward Ms. Badonkadonk’s crotch, which now looks like an open scissors standing on one of its blades. By the grace of Bikram Choudhury himself, I somehow manage to regain my balance before initiating a “reverse baby delivery.”
6:51 pm – I’m cognizant of the fact that I’m sweating more than I’ve ever sweat in my entire life. Imagine sitting in a sauna wearing thermal socks, snowpants, and a North Face parka. Under a spotlight. With a blow dryer in your face. Now times that by infinity.
6:59 pm – As we near the halfway point, Kitty blesses us with this pearl: “Relax your knees; let them drop through the floor.” It takes all of my willpower not to mutter back: “Hey Kit Kat, what should we do if we CAN’T FEEL OUR F’ING LEGS?”
7:02 pm – We’re in the middle of about eight consecutive “rotations” that all end in a downward dog, so every thirty seconds or so I find myself in a close enough proximity to compare notes with Ms. Badonkadonk’s gynecologist. It doesn’t help that she’s wearing what appears to be the lower half of a wet suit. At one point I think I actually catch a glimpse of one of her ovaries. Hmmm…is this why Jill described this as a “premium” spot?
7:04 pm – Kitty is relentless. She next instructs us to: “Place your palms and forearms flat on the mat, bend your elbows, and lift your torso and legs up into the air into a tripod position.” Why stop there? Why not also direct us to do a handstand using only our left pinky?
7:08 pm – If only I had enough energy left to speak, I would be able to offer the guy directly behind me $20 for the rest of his bottle of Evian.
7:11 pm – “All right, class, now it’s time for some ab work. Let’s begin with our extended bicycle kicks.” Trust me, Kitty Kitty Bang Bang, that if I could extend and kick anything right now, it’d be you.
7:13 pm – Lying on my back, I’ve just been encouraged to put my hands under my hips and extend my feet into the air. Miraculously, my body responds and my legs shoot up like a stalk of bamboo. My initial joy lasts for three or four seconds, which is when the sweat starts pouring down from my kneecaps and landing on my face. It takes me a while to decide if being showered by my own patella sweat is gross or refreshing. I ultimately settle on gross.
7:18 pm – In the history of poor casting decisions, the decision to name our instructor “Kitty” has to go down as the greatest misnomer of all time. Kitty!?!?! No, I don’t think so. Try Wolverine. Or Saddam.
7:25 pm – Oh, to have the strength to speak! I could then proclaim my willingness to give one of my neighbors $50 for a sip of water. For a bottle of Gatorade, you could take your pick of my internal organs.
7:26 pm – Darkness. Literally and figuratively. Kitty lowers the lights to “help with the unwinding process” and I pass out to help with my dehydration.
7:31 pm – I awake to the voice of Jill asking me what I thought of hot yoga. “Not bad,” I lie. “Not much of a work out, but it’s always good to get in some light stretching.”