Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hot times in California

So far, things are running smoothly for our transition to California. And Nathaniel and I have come to realize: when in California, do as Californians do.

There's something so wonderful being within walking distance of most places. We've fallen in love with Carlsbad, the ocean, The Village, and southern California in general. Yes, we realize there are some not-so-good things about the region, but thus far we're both happy.

As for me, well, I'm still reveling in the newness of this experience. Smelling dill and other herbs on my run with Roo, seeing the ocean every day, feeling the fog and mist rolling in, hearing the Pacific Coaster's horn as it rolls past the Village Station, and watching the hummingbirds fly from orange flower to purple flower in our back yard.

But last night was a first for me.

Yes, I know what dill smells like. And I've seen the ocean and felt its mist before. Train horns? Let's just say that my Dad is a train fanatic, and I'm all too familiar with trains and their bells and whistles. And hummingbirds; while I may see more out here than ever before, Nathaniel and I did have a hummingbird who would frequent our back deck in Pensacola.

Hot yoga is different.

For the first time last night, I spent a little over an hour (voluntarily!) sweating my guts out in a 107 degree room while attempting to hold various yoga poses without 1)laughing or 2)passing gas. Oh yea, and 3) passing out.

Did I mention that the temperature was 107 degrees?

It started with Charisa, who has been searching for a yoga studio for quite some time. Last week's session didn't go so well. Not for lack of trying, no - apparently the instructor held a grudge: their little group arrived a few minutes late and were reminded about it throughout the session. They were barked at when they went to get straps and blocks (take that any way you want - to me it sounded more like an S&M session than yoga). Suffice to say, they didn't return.

Fast forward one week. After running with Roo and meeting Charisa at Carlsbad High Masters, I was offered the opportunity to try Hot Yoga at a studio in Encinitas. It was close, it sounded interesting, and it promised meeting new people.

I like making friends...


Yoga isn't something I would normally do. For many reason's, the main one being I'm not all that flexible. Something about running for 10+ years. Oh yeah, that and I have a laughing problem. Once I start, I can't stop. And yoga doesn't seem condusive to laughter - at least not this kind of laughter.

A few other reasons? Um, I hate feet. And I hate bare feet. And a few years ago I was informed by one yoga instructor that, "people don't wear socks in yoga."


But in the effort to try new things, to do as Californian's do, and to make friends, I decided to give the Hot Yoga a try. Even though I hate feet, have a laughter problem, and am not flexible.

So we showed up, signed a waiver (because let's face it: practicing yoga in 107 degrees isn't for the faint of heart), and entered The Hot Room.

I knew I was in for it when people from the previous session were standing outside the studio, scantily clad in sports bras and shorts, and covered in what appeared to be water. It was sweat. And there was steam rising off their bodies.

But they all seemed happy and chipper, excited about their session.

Could it be all that bad?

Our little group of 4 walked in. The room was HOT. My first thought was, "I think this is what Kona feels like..." Keep in mind, I've never actually felt the Hawaii Ironman heat. But what else does a triathlete think when they walk into a really really really hot room?

Ah yes, you can take me away from racing for a year, but you can't take the triathlete out of me.

The room was packed. Wall-to-wall with yoga mats, and yoga people, all wearing yoga clothes. What are yoga clothes?

Glad you asked.

For girls: usually a sleeveless top with some sot of bra shelf built in and calf-length pants. Or really short shorts. For the guys? Most were not wearing a shirt. It was 107 degrees. Need I say more?

And then there I was. Mesh shorts, exposed feet, and (gulp) cotton triathlon shirt with a giant shark on the front. I convinced myself that I was normal: that just because I was the only girl without a tank top or bra top on, I would be okay.

I was so wrong.

We quickly started, holding various poses, relaxing, doing some deep breathing, and then contorting our bodies into positions I never though possible. Something about the heat enabled me to get my hands and palms all the way under my feet without bending my knees. My massage therapist back in Pensacola would be proud.

And then the sweating started. It wasn't bad at first, not too noticeable. Because every part our bodies was sweating; we all developed a sheen to our skin. But then, the drip sweating started. Beads of sweat ran down my forehead, oozed out of my pores, and down my back. My shirt felt sticky, heavy, and uncomfortable. My heart rate must have been well into zone 4, and yet I was standing perfectly still holding Warrior 3.

I peeked out of the corner of my eye. Everyone looked so calm, so relaxed; yet internally I was debating. Shirt on or shirt off?

If you know me, you know that I never take my shirt off. Something about being slightly more well-endowed than the "typical" female triathlete + always being self conscious of my stomach = shirt on, permanently. It doesn't seem to matter how much I work out, how well I eat, my stomach always retains that little bit of body fat. Or a lot, depending on where I'm at in my season.

But the room was so hot, and the instructor's words at the beginning of class, "we don't judge..." loomed in my overly hot ears. And before I knew it, my shirt was off. Grey sports bra, white stomach, odd tan lines in the back, and blue mesh shorts.

Hello World! Look at me! Here I am!

The rest of the session was spent trying to not slip off my mat while holding my poses. At this point, I couldn't stop sweating and my rented mat became akin to a slip in slide. For the record, I loved slip in slide as a kid.

Not so appropriate when holding downward dog and watching your feet slowly slip backwards towards your unassuming neighbor behind.

But we survived. We made it. And I'm sure that I lost about 5 pounds of fluid. The instructor was awesome, and our group has already made plans to go back next Monday. I may go again over the weekend - but we'll see.

That's what this experience is all about. Trying new things, finding yourself all over again, and discovering new parts about yourself that you never though possible. Yoga was great. And the really neat thing? I've been in California for less than a week. I wonder what's next...


Molly said...

Ha! I'm a lifelong Californian and you tried hot yoga before me :) I can totally picture slipping right off the mat though. Great job trying something new!

Roo said...

Remember when we were running and you made me promise not to pass out on you? I'm not sure if I'd be able to keep that promise in a room that hot!

Charisa said...

You did awesome! I just kept trying not to laugh because I'm sure I looked completely hilarious every time I looked over at you :)

Maijaleena said...

I love hot yoga classes! I'm glad you had fun and were able to feel comfortable taking your shirt off!

cat. said...

slip and slide!!!!! hahaha. that would totally be me.

stay true to your mesh shorts, girl!


Pedergraham said...

Sounds like things are going great. Yahoo!

Shan said...

Bikram is AWESOME! Except when you feel dizzy afterwards... ;)

Looking forward to the ride this weekend - yay!

Train-This said...

way to go sister, you need a yoga tote, to cover the mat. And some lululemon!

Ryan said...

Get Nate in there and then I want his account of it.

Oh, and can I have some pics of the Homeland?

Pensacola still blows by the way!

Kim said...

Ha! Love it! I did that for the first time last winter when it was FREEEZZIINNGG here and it was a bizillion degrees in the place. I loved it though. I didn't have the clothes either, but I don't really care. Good for you taking off your shirt! No judging!! Way to integrate!!

rocketpants said...

Welcome to the area! Hot yoga can be an adventure! I always worry i'm going to over stretch my un-bendable body...and sometimes it does happen in those hot rooms, but it does help those of us who aren't the most flexible too.

BreeWee said...

Oh man, you, Roo, Charisa, all together! TOO Much fun, I am so happy about your move and finding them! Wish I was in that yoga class with you guys!

Wes said...

I didn't think triathletes wore cotton anymore to do ANYTHING :-) But yes, sounds like you did us all proud!! 5 lbs of sweat and all

Toni said...

I too tried hot yoga for the first time last week. I had never done yoga before. It was so awesome I am going back tomorrow. By the way, I enjoy your blog!

Steve Stenzel said...

That sounds like hell! But yet, I want to try it!

The part about passing gas sold it for me...


beth said...

Just wanted to say hi! and welcome to SD! I live in carlsbad too :)
shannon invited me on a ride w/ you guys, but i'm away for the weekend...but let's do something soon!
hope you're adjusting well- let me know if you need any good restaurant/shopping recommendations! talk to you soon, beth

Jennifer Cunnane said...

I am jealous, I will move in and be your cleaning lady! Never tried the hot yoga but I know of gnarly men who played Div 1 and pro football and swear by it as a tough workout. Glad you found the Brandy Chastain spirit in you! :-)

Bob Mitera said...

Hi Marit -

I'd like to try hot yoga too. There is a place not too far from work that has it...I may give it a shot.

Laura said...

Marit! I get in laughing fits too - so much that I forget to breathe. Mostly when I'm with my best friends from 6th grade, but it tends to happen at unassuming times too.

So glad you posted about hot yoga. I'm going to try it when I get back from Thanksgiving. A friend of mine is an instructor and her studio offers a month of classes for $29. Good to hear about it from a beginners perspective!

Ordinarylife said...

I also HATE feet!!! And have also recently tried Yoga. We don't have Hot Yoga though. Maybe if we had my husband would not have fallen asleep in the last class.