My Failure to Attain Inner Peace During Hot Yoga

My Failure to Attain Inner Peace During Hot Yoga

Entering the Studio…

“Welcome, everyone! I’m Josh, your instructor. Please take a moment to embrace this space. This is your space. Come into it, and reflect on the peace it brings you.”

It kind of smells like cedar in here, and the warm color scheme reminds me of my favorite Indian restaurants. Dear God, it feels like a sauna. Maybe we could crack a window…

“Alright, let’s begin with some kinetics to warm up!”(Josh hops up and down on the balls of his feet, then wanders to the thermostat on the wall. A toasty, hissing sound descends from the ceiling).

Well I’m already pretty warm…wait…did you just turn up the temperature?!  I think all of our gyrating bodies have enough room-heating potential without the use of a thermostat. How many of us are crammed in here, anyway? What kind of fire escape hazard is this?

15 minutes in…

Keep listening to your body! Breathe! Inhale. Exhale. Breathe! Inhale. Exhale. You’re doing great!

You can’t pull the wool over my eyes, Josh. This is the kind of pacifying encouragement nurses offer women in un-drugged labor. What kind of hell are you coaxing me into? Seriously, can we crack a window in this heat coffin?!

“Continue to embrace the heat! Let your muscles loosen as your heart rate climbs!”

I’m growing suspect of all this mandated “embracing” …and the pounding in my ears. Where am I? Is that my reflection bobbing up and down in this mass of flushed bodies?  What the hell are my arms doing?

“Now find high plank pose! Chaturanga! Upward dog, into downward dog. Drive the heels into your mat!”

Why am I always standing when everyone’s on the floor?! And how did my mat get so slippery? If I slide forward and collide with the girl in front of me one more time, I’m going to find the fetal pose.

40 minutes in…

“You’re doing great! Let’s return to our mats and visit some restorative poses. Keep. Breathing. Inhale. Exhale…”

Looks like I’m the only person here who can’t reach her toes. Fantastic. My neighbor Gumby the Masochist isn’t doing me any favors. It’s just so HOT in here…What am I doing? No! Stop! You can’t peel off any more clothes, Katya…

“Now we’ll revisit chaturanga/warrior pose sequences. Inhale! Exhale!”


Final 20 minutes…

“And return to the mat. When your body feels ready, lift to shoulder stand and retreat to plow pose…”

My body will be ready for that when it’s cold and dead, and right now it’s only one of the two.

“Let your feet fall behind your head. Feel the stretch in your lower back.”

Open…window…so hot…whose feet are these?

“Embrace your limits. Embrace this time you’ve taken for yourself!”

When I was a little girl…in the summertime…I dared myself to sit in mom’s oven-hot mini van…. watched a Hershey bar melt on the dashboard…

“And return to seated pose. Palms to the Third Eye. The teacher in me bows to the teacher in you. ”

Don’t patronize me, Josh…I trusted you and your peace sign tattoos…lies…


Does this mean it’s over?! I’ll Namaste to that! We can go home! I can go home! When I can move my legs…after I sleep for a moment in the darkness closing in…only a moment…Nama…ste…

– Katya Karaz

Photo by Ron Sombilon Gallery (Creative Commons)