Excuse me, did you know it’s 90 degrees in here?

Or, that time I tried heated yoga.

Doing yoga is one of those things I aspire to do regularly and occasionally end up caught overestimating the frequency of my “practice,” along with reading the news, going on dates, and washing my bedding and/or hair. I’ve been slightly better about the yoga recently, though I can’t really say the same about the other activities.

There is a separate conversation about yoga to be had, and I continue to have a lot of feelings about being a part of it all, and becoming a stereotype, and see-through yoga pants, but there’s obviously a whole mess of my own shit to work through before I can write about that coherently. I’ll leave it for now by saying that it’s been helpful in my 2015 quest of “self care” in both a physical and mental sense, so we’re forging ahead, though, thoughtfully.

One thing to keep in mind is that I’m just sort of bad at yoga. I’m not terribly flexible, and I have short limbs and a long torso, so hooking my arms around my toes or legs or even each other is a structural challenge. Imagine a gummy bear trying to scratch its ears, and you’ve got the general picture. It’s all fine, and I am pretty over never being a willowy person, but this is what I’m working with.

I’m trying to be more open to new experiences, so I signed up for a heated yoga class in a little local studio. My primary reasons were, “Why not?” and that I found a deal. Also I was intrigued by the prospect of wearing shorts, which I enjoy but don’t do often. Seriously.

I got to the studio and was immediately very pleased. I really like being very warm, given that it’s not humid. The room had this big heater blasting hot, dry air, and I settled down basically right in front of it. I watched other people fill in, making rows with our yoga mats, and I thought, “Maybe this is how cookies feel in the oven,” not unhappily. I started sweating immediately.

The class began, and it became obvious that it was significantly more advanced than was appropriate. Again, this is all fine, because they usually give beginner versions of everything, so I just worked through those and watched people float and contort on command. Maybe it was being in the presence of these crazy poses, or maybe it was mild heat stroke, but it felt awesome. I felt strong and stretchy and, mentally, somewhere in between confident and just not caring. There were definitely moments of physical discomfort, but it felt like just a part of the whole experience. It almost seemed so preposterously difficult that I didn’t need to feel self-conscious about struggling. At some point I heard the very recognizable sound of skin slapping on hardwood — someone had lost traction and essentially slip-n-sled off their mat. It happens.

I’m as surprised as anyone that heated yoga gets rave reviews from me. I went back to make sure it wasn’t a fluke, and I still mostly enjoyed myself. I aspire to one day be able to hold a low plank, but for now I just lie on my belly during that pose, which I am pretty okay at.

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