Marika Malaea

faithful marauder + fake royal

The Hot Bitch

with 14 comments

It’s important to know from the beginning that I lived to tell this tale – despite a well-timed panic attack, partial-brain aneurysm, and almost drowning in my own perspiration.  This is a story about Hot Yoga, the only extreme sport I’ve ever participated in.

Yes, I said ‘extreme.’ I had an acquaintance – ever the egotistical male – who would always laugh at yoga: ‘Oh, yoooga! Yeah dude, stretching is really HARD.’ Then he’d high-five another meathead, pump some iron, and go home to make sweet love to his girlfriend for seven long minutes. His gym routine was really helping the relationship, and by that I mean the relationship between his girlfriend and her secret vibrator. Yoga probably could have saved their sex life.   But he never would have made it through a hot yoga class,  NO. WAY. Too much ego, and not enough understanding of what it’s about.  Not that I knew what I was doing,  I just knew I couldn’t die in a yoga studio.  Comedy is fine; tragicomedy is not.

A text to my mother:

Snotty:  Survived hot yoga.  Barely.  Made it through 3/4 of the poses.  Again, barely.

Snotty:  Justin and Kristi did better, but were proud I didn’t die.

Bikram yoga  is the kind of exercise that begs to be made fun of, even though it’s harder than fuck to do.  There’s all kinds of technical stuff that doesn’t really matter  – 26 poses that are all meaningful in some way, two cult-like breathing exercises, the scandal surrounding Bikram himself – but the most relevant information can be boiled down to three main things:

1.  The room temperature is jacked up to 105 degrees – to recreate the suffocating heat in India – and you’re heavily encouraged to stay in the room, no matter what.  Your lungs could be exploding out of your overheated butthole, and you’ll still get The Look from people if you leave to clean it up.

2.  It’s ninety minutes long.  Do you know what I can do in 90 minutes?  Write a blog post.  Bake cupcakes. Commit fraud.  Knock boots. My taxes.  90-minutes was a long time to sweat my balls off, although the Esq came away from the experience with his berries still intact.

3.  If you feel like you’re going to die – WELL – you might.  But if you can get through it without being a pussy and perishing, it’s totally worth it.  I engaged in enough mental one-upping without pushing myself too hard, so I held my own much better than, say, John Goodman or this unfortunate hot mess.

105 degrees feels much hotter when there are 55 other sweaty mouth-breathers in the room with you; I was amazed at the variety of people – diversity, for a change! – breathing like fiery dragons and making my life a living Hell.  I used to hear about hot yoga from Seattle’s shallow “hot moms”:  bored, anorexic women on year-round diets, raising bratty children with au pairs and ignoring their husbands who live at the office.  They fill their days with shopping, pills, charity work, and showing off their considerable assets, which have usually been enhanced by Seattle’s premier plastic surgeon on Capitol Hill.

These women jumped on the Richard Simmons bandwagon back in the day; they loved Susan Powter and all she represented; they bought all of the Tae Bo tapes. Then they got ‘serious’ and signed up for Pilates and yoga classes: if Jennifer Aniston could do it, they could, too. There’s no exercise too trendy, no diet fad too shady – they will try it all, especially after it’s featured on Oprah. Jim Carrey follows the Zone Diet? Teri Hatcher does strip-tease aerobics? SIGN ME UP. It was only a matter of time before hot yoga became the next guru-approved, Westernized trend.

I walked into the studio and immediately smelled the rotting stench of my inevitable failure; I think the girl next to me could smell it, too. She and her half-naked, bitchy teenage friends gave me a look that screamed ‘no way are we saving this old lady when she kicks the yoga bucket.’ That’s when I decided to GIVE IT MY ALL, GO FOR THE GOLD, and SLASH THEIR TIRES IN THE PARKING LOT LATER ON.

It was hard. Correction: it was really fucking hard. I sweat buckets when I’m SLEEPING, which isn’t exactly exercise, so what hope did I have?  During the 26 poses, I was perspiring in places that are normally gland-free: my eyelashes were sweating, my hangnails were sweating – MY SPLIT ENDS WERE SWEATING.  I probably dropped 20 pounds of sweat and 40 pounds of dignity in those 90-minutes. And in case you were wondering, ninety minutes in a human soup sauna feels like eight hours of burning, or, four days in a concentration camp for hippies.

The trick is:  take breaks. I did 3/4 of the poses, and when I couldn’t bend into a goddamn pretzel, I would sit on the mat and practice my breathing, as a lot of people did.  It’s difficult to breathe in a sauna, especially if you’re heat-claustrophobic like me; I don’t like breathing in warm or hot air – it feels like I’m not breathing, and then I go straight into Panic Attack Central.  Hot yoga was a great opportunity for me to practice meditating, work on my breathing, and detox a billion toxins in my body that could only be blamed on the weekend before.  It was as much a mind exercise as it was a physical challenge for my body.

If you have heart problems, heat problems, or any shred of sanity, you’ll skip Bikram yoga.  But if you’re up for a good challenge, check.  it.  out.  I am a giant, sweaty wildebeest who belongs in a sunny field filled with potato chips and cheese, and I survived.  If John Goodman can do it, so can you!

That being said, I think I’ll stick to extreme cupcake-eating.  I’ll be an Olympian in no time.

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Written by sn0tteh

February 6, 2009 at 8:36 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

14 Responses

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  1. Thankfully, I have asthma (actually, exercise-induced asthma!) and literally cannot breathe in saunas. And I’m round with child. And I have a phobia of other peoples’ bodily fluids. True story.

    p.s. #13 would be my favorite too.

  2. I have asthma, too, and the phobia – but I’m also very competitive. And the girls next to me were beetches.

    sn0tteh

    February 6, 2009 at 9:20 PM

  3. I’m totally impressed that you got 3/4 of the way through. Doubt that I’d be able to get that far! I’m at work, and I really should be working, and am still having a heck of a time suppressing the laughter.

    Thank you for your visit today and the very kind words. I shall be back. =)

    Toni

    February 6, 2009 at 9:41 PM

  4. I’ve been doing strong bones yoga the past couple weeks, on a comfortable 33 rpm, and I’m loving it (and I’ll like it more when I perfect standing on one foot).

    I have some mixed feelings about Bikram, tho’… even beyond the link provided. Trying to copyright the series is ridiculous and a little underhanded. I think I already passed judgment when they opened one in my neighborhood.

    They moved into a coffin-shaped, cinderblock enclosed, abandoned feed and seed store. I remember going there for plant food or fertilizer and being nauseated at the chemical inhale when I was a kid…and I can’t believe a coat of paint is all the present protection among the unnatural heat, rapid breathing and the walls’ carcinogenic legacy.

    MarkThrust

    February 6, 2009 at 9:44 PM

  5. I’ve been wanting to try this for a long time with KJ. Next time take me. I’m willing to take on the challenge even if I may die. LOL.

    Joanna

    February 6, 2009 at 10:23 PM

  6. Ditto! I liked your photos a lot. Thanks for coming by 🙂

    sn0tteh

    February 6, 2009 at 10:36 PM

  7. Mark Thrust, eh? 🙂 I did the hot yoga, and then three days later we went to a Hatha yoga class. Gurl, that shit was so much easier – like smoking crack, only free ’cause my mom was paying for it.

    I probably wouldn’t want to do any kind of yoga in an old feed store, either.

    sn0tteh

    February 6, 2009 at 10:39 PM

  8. Joanna, you won’t die – you’ll just *feel* like you’re dying for 90 minutes, maybe another hour after that. 🙂 I’ll go again for sure! What an awesome detox. It’s a good ass-kicking, in my opinion.

    sn0tteh

    February 6, 2009 at 10:41 PM

  9. Marika, it sounds like you made it through better than I did- my Bikram experience was completed by me throwing up in their toilet closet after class.

    Monique

    February 7, 2009 at 12:15 AM

  10. I went with KJ once upon a time and I made it all the way through and felt AMAZING afterwards. We were starving though so we went out for Mexican food. Kinda defeats the purpose I suppose.

    Buttercup

    February 7, 2009 at 12:50 AM

  11. That’s how I felt at the very end, though! A lot of people did, it’s not just you!

    sn0tteh

    February 7, 2009 at 1:18 AM

  12. I felt like Rocky afterwards. I felt like hobbling through the streets and singing showtunes with great joy. But we had a smoothie instead of Mexican – that would have killed me.

    sn0tteh

    February 7, 2009 at 1:19 AM

  13. i have a question, i put you up as one of the blogs I follow, but your post don’t show in my blogger dashboard. ??

    hot yoga, I always wated to take a class but i can’t I would die for real, to much streching, and my heart goes out to ya, I can’t even have more then 2 people in my room, imgine a whole sweaty army of smelling women, phew.
    If I even feel like losing fat, I” go with a more traditional method, LIPO.

    franco

    February 7, 2009 at 5:16 AM

  14. LOL@LIPO… my blog is WordPress now, does that make a difference?

    sn0tteh

    February 7, 2009 at 6:45 AM


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