Dear men. I love that more and more of you come to hot yoga classes. You do good things to the the energy in a hot room full of yoginis. And you’ll do good things to yourself.
I’m glad you’ve realised that yoga is not ‘just for girls’. It can be quite challenging. Especially if your hamstrings are as tight as a drum or you find it difficult to just be present with your body. But there’s room for you too, new hot yogi man, and here’s a few things I’d like you to know to make your first encounter with hot yoga an enjoyable one.
Welcome to the Hot Room
Yes, the room is hot. It’s 38 degrees Celsius. That’ll make your body bendy as a cooked noodle. It’ll feel humid too, and as the air in the room comes from the air outside, the weather (and the number of students) will decide the humidity. Expect to sweat more on rainy days.
As it’s hot and humid you’ll sweat. A lot. Probably more that women, so make sure you bring a towel. The sweat will cool your body down so you don’t have to wipe it off. You could wipe it off the floor afterwards as a courtesy to the next student and the staff if you wish.
You don’t have to wear a shirt, if you’d rather not, but please do wear shorts that cover your bits. Even though white is said to reflect your aura better in yoga, it’s a no go in the hot room. Unless you’re looking for miss wet t-shirt kind of action and for that I’ll recommend you go elsewhere.
I know it’s in your nature and that you do it in the gym, but please don’t compete. You’re new in the game so you’ll never win. And yoga is about accepting what is. And right now you’re a rookie. That means that you might not be able to touch your toes without bending your knees. So bend your knees. Don’t do your back in.
Breaks are OK
In the beginning of class I’ll introduce child’s pose or balasana, as it’s called in Sanskrit. I’ll also tell you that you can use this posture if it all gets a little too much. I’ve never seen a man in child’s pose, though. I’ve seen you stand hunched over with your arms out to the sides trying to balance while you breathe heavily or even moan. This is a sign that you ought to be in child’s pose. Actually moaning will only occur quite a few minutes after you should have taken child’s pose.
If you can’t breathe you’ve gone too far. Back out of the position until you can breathe nice and slow again (remember child’s pose? It’s also good for getting the breathing going again). Sometimes I’ll remind you to breathe. This is not because I think you’re so stupid that you don’t know. It’s because people sometimes actually do forget, and as I want you to enjoy your first hot class as much as possible I don’t want you to get dizzy.
Try Not To Care
Yes, there are many people in the room, there are mirrors, and you might feel a little exposed in your shorts.Try not to care. Everybody else is too busy trying to remember to breathe, to keep their legs straight and their bum tucked in to notice how your Trikonasana looks. In yoga we try to practice Pratyahara, which means to withdraw from the senses. We even have gaze points for our eyes (Dhristi) to stop them from landing on your Trikonasana. And we’ve all been new.
I Might Correct You
Yes, I might tell you to bend your legs or square your hips. That’s my job. I’m here to pass the ancient tradition of yoga on to you without you hurting yourself. And as you’re new I’ll keep an extra eye on you. I’ll only do this to make sure you’re alright. I’m not doing it to pick on you.
Sometimes we speak Sanskrit in yoga. This is not to confuse you. It’s just that all the yoga positions have Sanskrit names and some of us teachers love to use them. Others will use the ‘animal-names’ and call it cobra instead of Bhujangasana. We’ll also show you the position and tell you how to get into it, so don’t worry.
When you’ve made it through to the relaxation - or Shavasana as we call it, you might feel a little weak. I understand that. But try to really feel your body now. Maybe you’ll feel your heart rate a little more or maybe you’ll feel a tingling sensation in your body. Maybe you’ll feel restless as I’ll keep you in Shavasana for a while before we all get up and leave. Again I don’t do this to bother you. Shavasana is where all the positions and all the hard work sinks into the body. So see if you can just lie here and be present without doing anything. Just for a little while.
Good job. You made it through your first hot yoga class. Make sure you drink a lot of water today, come see me after class if you have questions. It’s now up to you if today’s experience is something you laugh about with your friends and never attempted again or if it is to become a new routine that might change your life... I hope you come back. Next time will be so much easier.
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