I took my second Hot Yoga class this morning. My first time was last Sunday so it had been one week. I got a serious headache a couple of hours after the first class and it happened again today. I drank more water afterwards this time, but it didn’t make a difference. I feel drained.
The class was pretty much exactly the same. Postures may’ve varied a bit towards the end, but all and all, even the dialogue was exactly the same. I guess there’s not much room for creativity in a hot yoga class. I practiced Ashtanga Yoga for a couple of years, three times a week at six in the morning. It was a warm class and we even ran some heaters to create more heat. But it was not 111 degrees like it was today! I will say, I like Ashtanga better. I feel like it’s more of a moving meditation than this hot yoga. I also remember feeling more focused and definitely more alive during that practice. I also feel like Ashtanga follows the Eight Limbs. I do not believe that hot yoga does. When the teacher says, “And push, and push and push and bend your back until it hurts,” I have a hard time believing that hot yoga is following the law of Ahimsa (non-violence).
I don’t believe yoga should hurt. I do believe it can be challenging but without dire pain. I do believe that practicing in a tropical atmosphere is a good idea. I also believe that if you are so incredibly warm, and you stretch your muscles beyond 25% or so of their resting length, there’s room for damage. I’ve practiced yoga for almost 10 years now. I didn’t push until it hurt today. I know my body and I did rest when I felt extremely overheated. What scares me is this. There’s a lot of folks doing hot yoga that’ve never taken a yoga class at all. I feel these are the people that will be competitive and that’s when injuries occur. I know, I’ve done that.
After the class I ran home and got cleaned up and met the girls that attended the class with me at Ocean Zen for lunch. I only wore mascara and a little eye shadow. My face was red for a couple of hours after the class, no makeup needed. My headache is gone now. And my achy back and sore foot feel good. Was it the yoga? Maybe. Will I go back? Yes, I will. I truly believe you need to try something several times before you decide if it’s working for you. I love yoga and though this hot yoga reminds me of the bikini boot camp they offer at the YMCA, it’s not. It’s yoga asana inasauna and I’ll continue to think of it in that way until I change my mind.