It has been several months since I have practiced yoga and even longer since I practiced regularly. Tonight I am taking a class at CorePower Yoga on Broadway. When I walk into the studio, I am instantly hit with oppressive heat and humidity. “Wait. This is a heated yoga class?”, I ask myself and after deciding to stay and brave the heat proceed to find some floor space just big enough for my two foot by six foot mat in the already full room. The only other time I have been in a heated yoga class was several years ago and I barely survived the class. The room for that class was heated to a wimpy 80 degrees while this class will be 92 degrees. The hardwood floor in the studio combined with my thinner-than-average yoga mat make me acutely aware of my broken tailbone when I am sitting and the hours I spent dancing in high-heel shoes over the weekend when I’m standing.
I am already sweating at the start of the class from my two-mile bike ride and it only gets worse. The heat and humidity are supposed to be cleansing for the body but they just make feel agitated. As we flow through our sun salutations I am sweating to the point that sweat is dripping from my body onto my mat. This makes my mat slippery and the positions hard to hold. Miraculously I had a handkerchief in my backpack that proves to be an effective sweat rag to mop up my drippy face. I am not alone. Everyone seems to be struggling and can not wait for the “core” portion of the class where we get to lay on the floor and focus on our core muscles (and simultaneously get a small break).
I try to keep my eyes on my own mat as I have been told to do over and over again in previous classes but I can not help but judge the other people in the room and know they are judging me too. I am the largest person in the room but it is obvious to me that I am also one of the most flexible and strongest too. There are just a handful of men out of the 30 or so students taking the class and every one of them is shirtless. I like inventing stories about the other students. Every studio has a different personality and the feeling I get from this one is corporate, rich and white. I wonder if I will be asked to leave since I am not wearing the latest apparel.
The woman on the mat next to mine keeps staring and smiling throughout the class. It is not until the end of the class that she finally talks to me and reminds me how we know each other. We met a few weeks ago while I was apartment hunting and she was one of my potential new roommates. We deem each other new found “yoga buddies” and I leave wondering who I’ll bump into next while humming “It’s a small world after all”.