My First Experience With Hot Yoga

I have always considered yoga to be some frantic cult on the fringes of culture that a special elite went to to process their emotions and deep breathing exercises while they meditated on a positive invisible force that helps them get through the stresses of life. So when my wife began going to hot yoga, I must admit I was a little concerned that she might begin to foster a liking towards a eastern religious thought and attempt to create a synthesis with her faith in Christ.

Boy was I wrong!

We weren’t able to spend Valentine’s Day together so as I was away, she asked me when I got back if I wanted to do something fun or do something low key. I decided to step out of my lazy box and do something fun. Little did I know she would be taking me to hot yoga. When I got home, I noticed she laid out clothes for me to put on, stack of towels and rags, and her plea for me to bring lots of water. I knew where we were going and I was nervous but excited at the same time.

When we arrived, we signed in and walked into the room where they had the temperature at 105 degrees, a little cooler than normal I was told. There were just a few rules they had: 1) No phones, 2) No shoes, 3) No negativity. Carrie laid out our mats and and we sat talking. Well she attempted to answer my many questions as we prepared to experience an hour of poses that would stretch and work every inch of my body and contort it in ways I never thought I could bend.

The instructor was highly positive and made sure to tell us not to be concerned that we can’t do the things some others can do. We are at the place we need to be and eventually we can work into the more advanced poses. We started out with a breathing technique called the Breathing Dragon where we took a deep breath with our hands in a fist to our chin. We turned our faces upwards and exhaled and done this for five minutes to get the blood pumping and preparing for our workout.

From this point, I can’t quite articulate exactly what happened but what I did learn was this.

  1. Most of the poses were easy because I unknowingly do a modified version of them at home everyday when I work out. I also have done modified versions of them when I played baseball or wrestled.
  2. Yoga has it’s own language and unless you know how to understand it, you will be questioning everything and watching everyone else to see exactly how to do the poses or you’ll stay in a position too long. Very embarrassing when you realize you’re not keeping up. It also interrupts the flow but Carrie says after a few visits, you’ll begin to realize what’s coming next because each pose is set up for the next pose.
  3. At one point when we were doing the Chair pose, she said that we would hold it for twenty seconds. Under my breathe, I said, “No way.” She quickly corrected me saying there would be no negativity in the room. I love the power of positive thinking and yoga encourages that.
  4. I was not spiritually wigged out because everything the instructor told us, I could attach scripture to it and make my yoga experience a very faith filled hour.
  5. Yoga is a lot about breathing right and focusing on muscle tension to maximize your body’s health. These breathing techniques are very beneficial for stressful life situations as well as outdoor activities. I really enjoyed learning how to control my breathing.
  6. My wife is a boss and I was so impressed to watch her. I highly appreciated her instructing me when I was doing it wrong and hope she wasn’t too embarrassed to bring her unskilled non-yoga shorts wearing husband.
  7. I’ve always been competitive in everything I do and there were some very athletic buff guys in class. I didn’t want to take off my shirt to boast in my belly fat during class but I realized they had nothing on me when it came to moving into position and balancing. Take that tough guy who benches 400 pounds. I can do the Lizard pose with no effort.
  8. I’m sure yoga has a bad connotation to some such as me B.Y. (before yoga) but hot yoga was very challenging, rewarding, conducive to my training, and confirming my body is still in decent shape because I could do 90% of the poses.
  9. Yoga is a thousand times awesome when combined with 90’s alternative such as but not limited too Weezer, Nirvana, Rob Zombie and Metallica and an Oasis/GreenDay mash up. I loved the soundtrack to my first yoga experience.

I was beginning to wonder when the hour was going to be over. It felt like it went on for a very long time. When we finished, she had us all lay down on the mat and relax and cool down. She brought us a wet cold rag that I put over my faced and concentrated my breathing to slow down my heart rate and wiggle our toes and fingers. The cool down process she had us do is very similar to other cool downs I have done so this was not different for me either.

Walking away, I was surprised that I was not proselytized to an eastern cultic religion. I felt very in tune with my Heavenly Father (when I wasn’t concentrating on my breathing or keeping from falling over on the girl beside me trying to do the Reverse Warrior pose). Carrie told me all the instructors are similar to the one I had so there is no indoctrinating of weird mystic thoughts, just very encouraging words.

I thoroughly enjoyed my hot yoga experience and believe it could help me stretch my ankles, strengthen my quads, tighten my torso and keep me balanced for my hiking trips that I love to go on.

I think it’s a great exercise regimen. Already planning my return visit.


About Kevin Riner
child of grace, worshiper of Jesus, husband, father, Pastor of Village Church, author of Faith Debugged

3 Responses to My First Experience With Hot Yoga

  1. victoria says:

    I am so glad your first class was amazing, it was a breath of fresh air to have your wife and yourself in class that afternoon! Yoga simply allows one to relax, while working on one’s self, body, mind and any and everything else one can find to allow to come full circle or to allow to let go inside the hot room. I am looking forward to many more classes with Carrie and yourself!! I hope that when your unit comes in they get the same wonderful experience yinz have had!! Namaste’

    • Kevin Riner says:

      Victoria, you were awesome and I really enjoyed your class. You made it feel comfortable and I didn’t feel the pressure to perform as other were. The positive encouragement and your knowledge and ability is definitely worthy emulating. I was not sure what to expect but I’m glad my wife took me. I think we connected in a new way as well, another thing that my wife and I can do together. I hope to be in another one of your classes again. BTW, awesome playlist!!!

  2. Pingback: Land Between the Lakes – North/South Trail – 2014 Hike – Preparation | Faith Deblistered

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