The yoga racket

Last night, I made my (in)glorious return to the yoga studio. It had been over a year. After class, I emailed my friend Gesina: “I need a beer. That f*cking yoga nearly killed me.”

Zen, I am not. But since I never stretch and weight lifting bores me, I’m hoping to work on both flexibility and strength by attending this 75-minute Hot Vinyasa class a couple of times a week.

As I was sliding around on my drenched mat last night, hands and feet grasping for purchase, I thought, here is the problem with me and yoga: I’m a major¬†sweater. Add a heated room and it becomes downright dangerous. My down dog hovers precariously on the edge of a face plant; my triangle is moments away from a painful reintroduction to the forward splits, which I haven’t been able to do since the ballet lessons of my youth.

Maybe I need a better mat? Or to slather my hands and feet with glue beforehand?

Most frustrating about this is the fact that this doesn’t appear to be a problem for anyone else in the room.

Oh yes, I know, I’m not supposed to be comparing myself to others while practicing yoga. But I do. Like, before class, when everyone is setting up their mats and waiting for the teacher to arrive. Is it just me, or is that stretch of time super awkward? I never know what to do with myself. Some people are doing complicated vinyasas on their mats (which would make me feel stupid) and others are laying down (which would make me feel lazy). So I just sit there and watch other people and wonder if I’m the only one who is thinking, when is this damn thing going to start already?

But while it sucks that everyone else’s fingers lace neatly behind their backs while mine aren’t even close to touching, or that I have to build a mountain of blocks under my palm in order to coax myself into a proper side angle, what bugs me most is that I’m poring out enough sweat to swamp the room while everyone else looks bone dry.

At one point during yesterday’s class, I was so frustrated that I swore I wasn’t going to return, despite having just plunked down $35 for a new-student-special month of unlimited classes.

Ah, but yoga. It’s a racket, I swear! After an hour of sweaty suffering, you’re instructed to lay down. Close your eyes! Take a little catnap! Here, let me put a cool lavender towel over your eyes. Just listen to this soft music and empty your mind….

What was that about drowning in a pool of my own perspiration? I’ll be back tomorrow, yoga.

But first, I definitely need a beer.

31 Responses to The yoga racket

  1. One of my friends sent this to me and it made me laugh. I thought I would share!

    “Yoga Mat For Sale. Used Once.”

  2. Haha! Just a big “yes” to everything you wrote. I have to FORCE myself to get to a yoga class, dread it the entire time, watch the clock throughout class, and then lay down in savanashsanandaahadhieajf and I’m so happy and yoga-blissed out that I can’t wait for the next week. Weird.

    Also, the first time I took hot yoga I was a MESS. I was slipping everywhere, and when we had to do lunge/rotated side angle (whatever it’s called), I went to put my elbow on my leg in the twist, and was so sweaty that I actually collapsed. Like onto the ground. Doing a LUNGE. Of course no one noticed because they were all zenned out, but whatever. I did not feel graceful. Good for you for getting to class and thanks for making me laugh!

    • So there is NO CLOCK in the class room at this studio! It drives me nuts. I guess maybe I should take that as a cute that I need to chill out, but…argh.

      Sorry about your fall! I can totally see how it could happen though!

  3. I always had the same problem slipping all over my mat. I bought a cheap “yoga towel” from Target, problem solved! Yoga is so much more enjoyable when you are not worried about faceplanting during every downward dog. I think the towel was like $10, so worth it!

  4. Get yourself a yoga towel! It’s a towel that goes over your mat so you aren’t slipping and sliding all over the place. Total lifesaver. Yoga is way more fun when you aren’t spending the entire class holding on for dear life because your hands and feet are sliding all over the place.

  5. I really enjoy yoga, but I think hot yoga is a total gimmick. Rather than spending the hour thinking about my form or getting deeper into a pose, all I think about is *I’m hot*. I know you already paid for a month, but I’d recommend doing a non-hot Ashtanga or vinyasa yoga class. I think they end up being a way better work out than the hot classes.

    • I’ve done regular (non-heated) Vinyasa in the past and the sweating is a problem there too. Maybe I should try doing yoga in a walk in freezer? Haha.

  6. I have the same mat problem! I haven’t done yoga in over a year, but I’ll have to get the towel everyone is talking about. I just assumed I was sweatier and more digusting than everyone else in the class.

  7. i too am a sweaty beast, and am thirding the yoga mat towel! after my first hot yoga class (where i too slipped all over the place), i ran to lululemon and found one on sale (about $20 i think). they also have absorbent/non-slip yoga mats ($$$!) that i may invest in when i can commit to more yoga classes. for now, it’s once or twice a week, hoping that i can eventually touch my toes.

  8. I am such a sweater too. It’s the worst. And I am always slipping all over my mat, and thinking “why do they get to push from plank right into downdog without readjusting? What’s wrong with me?!??” But I had an instructor tell me once that if you sweat a lot, it’s actually a sign that you are in great shape because it’s your body’s way of efficiently cooling you down. So there’s that. In the meantime, if you find a solution to the slip’n’slide situation, please share!

    • I like that theory. In any case, it’s gotta be good training for running outdoors in the summer, right?

  9. Yes, you really need a yoga towel. Maybe two if you sweat as much as me.

  10. Ha! I have to agree with you. I WANT to like yoga, I know I NEED it, but it’s so hard to make myself go. It’s slow and boring. I always feel better afterward, but…….

    I’ve never tried hot yoga. Maybe regular would be better for you?

  11. Yea. I totally was/am like that with yoga. I’ve gotten better, but sometimes I like to pretend that I am doing myself a favor by choosing to run 10 miles instead of 7 and not go to yoga (“It’ll take less time” “I won’t have to change clothes” “I won’t humiliate myself” etc) BUT. In class a few weeks ago, this total bad ass girl – the kind decked out in lululemon who you can see her arm muscles when she’s just sitting there and can twist her body into all sorts of crazy positions while I’m still trying to figure out which the left side of my body is just totally fell on her face in a downward facing dog. And then she started crying and freaking out. So I told her about all of the millions of times I’ve humiliated myself in yoga (I’m pretty sure she was sick of the stories after like 1, but whatever) and then she was like “wait, you’re always so composed and focused in class I’m so envious” and I was like wow no ones ever called me composed ever but thanks and that’s a good reminder that people think you’re a rock star even when you don’t know your right from your left.

  12. I can really tell how much I drank the night before during my AM hot yoga classes! I sweat like crazy usually too. I have a yogitoes towel that I put down over my map & I also bring a hand towel, so I’m constantly toweling off and wiping myself down during class- you aren’t alone :)

  13. The sweating is why I’ve never done hot yoga. That and my overwhelming fear of stifling heat and humidity. I don’t even go INTO a sauna, much less exercise in one. I do sweat plenty in regular yoga, and the yoga towel is probably an excellent idea, but don’t be like me and put the sticky “dots” UP instead of DOWN unless you want to rip all the skin off your palms.

  14. Yeah, no, yoga’s not for me, either. Although, I’ve done and liked Jillian Michaels’ Yoga Meltdown. I’m sure that actual yoga practitioners would snub their noses at it, but that’s cool.

  15. I’m a major sweater too! I never do hot yoga (I’ve heard people say its actually bad for you because you risk stretching your ligaments excessively when they are overheated ) but I sweat plenty just doing regular yoga. I usually do videos at home so I can towel off all the time. I just bought a pair of yoga grippy socks to try but now I want one of these towels everyone is talking about.

  16. I love yoga and do an intense vinyasa yoga regularly – it’s a great compliment to running. =)

    Try a better mat (mine cost $60 I think) and a yoga mat towel. And fuck it, nobody said exercise was supposed to be pretty!

    • “nobody said exercise was supposed to be pretty!”

      So true! They should just take the mirrors away altogether.

  17. I used to be pretty good at yoga a few years ago, but now I’m as stiff as a board. My hips won’t go anywhere. Plus, I dunno, I just find it kind of boring now.

    One of my coaches has us do “roga” (yoga for runners) after our long runs, and I like it. The sessions aren’t that long (like 10-15 min), and I feel like the postures really help me as a runner.

  18. This is great and you are definitely not the only one who feels that way!

  19. I want to like yoga because I feel like it’s something I should be able to do because I was a dancer and am flexible (because I’m a slut), but I’m terrible at it and it hurts my back. I’m not a sweaty person so at least I have that going for me.

  20. This totally resonated with me. Try as I might, I just don’t love yoga. The flow of the class is always awkward and I get far too wound up to do anything but fake relaxation at the end. I don’t do Zen.

  21. The right instructor in yoga can make all the difference! I also don’t buy hot yoga, if you’re warmed up enough you’ll get just as good of a stretch! I’m sure if you find a cooler class with an instructor you like, it’ll be that much better. $35 for a month is a steal!

  22. Anyone who says that they don’t check out/compare themselves to other people before a yoga class starts is either one of two things:

    1) a liar
    2) blind

    The end.

  23. Gah. I’ve been wanting to try yoga for a while (I’m the most inflexible person ever- much to MrC’s disappointment!) but living in the boonies leaves my options pretty limited.

    Just found your blog and I’m glad b/c I definitely need some funny workout motivation!!

  24. I suck at yoga too. The only reason I do it, is because it forces me to stretch. Another thing I suck at.

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