Have you ever done something that you knew was going to suck but you did it anyway? That made you suffer but you go back day after day? That makes you feel like you’re becoming Zach from The Try Guys while you do it, but then you come out looking like fucking Eugene?!
This is hot yoga and I am a yoga masochist.
I started going to yoga when I was in middle school per the request of my mother who didn’t want to do it alone. The tiny studio in the corner of the crappy gym was not exact a selling point to a 12 year old, particularly one who was blooming into her teen angst early, but I did love the exercise. It was calming and everyone was fairly intense about not being too close together so you always had room to move, and fall in my case.
Throughout the next 15 years, I would continue my on-again, off-again affair with yoga, from skipping it every day that I could in high school (asking an anti-social 18 year old to do yoga at 8am every morning just won’t work out for anyone), to trying hot yoga for the first time while trying to past the lonely nights when my husband worked until 1am. I constantly fell out of love with yoga, but I have always come back to it, time after time.
When I decided to start my journey of changing my life and myself, I knew that I wanted to go back to hot yoga and really dedicate to it. Having had so many injuries to my back, ankles, and shoulders, I knew the heat would be like pouring unicorn blood on my joints and perhaps keep me going back over and over. I ended up trying a studio near my work and after getting past the first few classes and feeling absolutely horrible, the endorphins kicked in and I was able to appreciate much more than just the workout that I was getting.
My teachers don’t just lead us through moves and positions, but teach us so much more. They discuss respecting ourselves and doing yoga with an intent, whatever that may be. That the energy we put into our practice can also be energy we put towards other things and have the same positive feeling and results. That we can learn to love and take care of ourselves so that we can love and help take care of others.
As someone who never learned growing up how to be emotionally supportive of myself, learning these practices now is teaching me to be better and care about myself more. I don’t think I would be trying as hard as I am to make my life better if these ideas hadn’t been presented to me. It has given me the tools to love myself and be proud of myself now, as well as who I will become in the future.