Daily lesson from March 9, 2013 (Teach the teacher):
“I sweat too much!” “It’s too HOT in here!” “God I love the heat…”
Since adding a few warm/hot (anywhere from 90 to 100 degrees, and whether it’s ‘warm’ vs. ‘too damn hot!’ is hugely debatable, as I’m quickly discovering from my students) yoga classes to my schedule, the feedback is pouring in – literally and figuratively. And it’s all over the temperature gauge, from “awesome!” to “this sucks!”
Interesting how heated (sorry, can’t resist the puns here) students get over the hot yoga topic. In one corner we have the ‘bring it on!’ yogis, and in the other, the ‘crank the fan and open the back door already!’ group.
With ample reminders at the beginning and throughout class to take breaks where needed, honor your own practice and steer clear of comparisons or self-recrimination, I’ve been able to find a happy medium for both groups, but have arrived at some interesting observations in the process. Here they are, with a few tips that might help you out:
1. sweat = exposure. I’ve noticed that some students feel very self-conscious about sweating profusely in the company of others. Especially women. Came into class with straight hair? If you’re like me, it will be wilder than little orphan Annie before the hour is out. Makeup? Just don’t do it. Mascara has no place in the heated yoga room. But those students who’ve been practicing in the heat regularly are over the whole ‘I look a mess!’ thought process, because, frankly, no one is lookin’ at you, and they’re all drenching too.
2. sweat = fear. Some folks newer to yoga, or heated yoga, have never truly sweat. I’m not talking about the beads of perspiration on the brow after a little jog, but a full-blown sweat. To experience the body maxing out its cooling mechanism can be a little freaky at first, but when you really think about it, WOW. My body can really cool itself down! What a powerful machine it is. But I get it. It takes time to recognize that sweating bullets isn’t a sign of near-death, with or without the gun. It’s a detoxification process. And remember that even if it ain’t pretty on the outside, it’s gorgeous on the inside.
3. sweat = better gulp down more water. Eight glasses a day? If you’re practicing hot yoga regularly, more like 18. Shortchange it and you’ll see stars before you make back up to tadasana (mountain pose, aka simply standing on two feet). And if your iPhone Starbucks app is getting more use than the phone itself, you need to gulp down even more H2O (and call your mother once in a while already). Caffeine and booze rob the body of water.
4. sweat = surrender. About 10 or 15 minutes in, the magic begins. That cement-like crescent moon at room temperature all of a sudden grew 2-3 inches deeper. Whoa, my hips move! you might marvel. Yep, the heat will help loosen muscle tissue, but do be ultra-mindful and move slowly with deep Ujayi breath.
So dear students, don’t ditch the heat just yet. Pack a towel (or 10), giant water bottle, and give it whirl. Because SWEAT = POWER.
Namaste and see you in class 🙂