And it was hell. Moments after walking in, I had a feeling this would be one of “if it’s not a good time, it’s a good story” moments. I’d signed up for this Power Flow session through my Class Pass app because I had a few extra credits but not enough to take another beloved Barre class. Hey, I wanted to put my money and time to good use.
Alas, the description said be prepared to sweat, but a more accurate blurb would’ve said “be prepared for your body to produce a light rain of sweat.” As I stepped into the room, I noticed the thermostat to be over 90 degrees, which mirrored the Dallas heat on the other side of the door. Flagging down someone who looked to be an instructor, I asked if it would be this warm for the next class. Obviously, that was a dumb question to ask because the answer was along the lines of yeah, pretty much, it’ll be great. Yeah right.
But I’d already driven there, and hey, maybe I would end up liking it. I found a spot in the back corner, and several minutes later, a woman put her mat next to mine. “How long have you been coming here?” I asked her. “Oh, awhile.” I could tell she was trying to be humble.
She kindly offered me her extra towel. “You’re going to need it,” she said, and if only I knew what I had willingly signed up for, I might’ve bolted for the door. I sat crisscrossed on my red mat, and the floor instantly made my body temperature rise. A jar of used matches, probably for incense, sat on the windowsill overlooking the busy downtown Dallas street.
My eyes panned around the room only to find half the women only in sports bras and men topless. Let’s just say my hand-me-down college shirt, scrunchie and monogrammed Camelbak didn’t really match the vibe of these health nut yogis. My thoughts started with I’m going to do this, it can’t be that bad, and quickly shifted to please just don’t faint in front of all these strangers and get dragged out of here.
I promised myself Chick-fil-A if I made it through the class. People started doing handstands, and my sweat started pooling on the mat. I dug my face into the blue sweat towel and prayed it would end soon.
I’d like to add a disclaimer that I work out regularly and enjoy it. I’ve done yoga before and also liked it. Even when it’s tough or I don’t feel like it, I usually am proud of what I accomplished. Not so with this hot yoga class. My water ran out, and I panicked a bit. I’d never been in a situation where I thought I might faint if I touch my toes for a moment longer. It felt like swimming in a fishbowl of mud — a smothering and trapping sensation.
When class finally came to an end (late, might I add), the lady next to me asked how I liked it. How do I say that the entire class I was daydreaming about a #6 from Chick-fil-A and promising myself that I would never do this again, like ever? I came up with a BS response that, at least, didn’t say that I planned to never step back in this studio again.
I lurched out into the cool lobby and darted for the water cooler with, you guessed it, lukewarm water. Not even bothering to put my feet back into my Nikes, I trudged out to my car in my makeshift clogs and plopped my entirely damp body into my car. I might have just returned from the high dive after a fully clothed canon ball, but you couldn’t have spotted a difference.
As much as I hated this experience, I’m glad I endured. Throughout the class, our instructor would tell us, “yoga is hard, but hey, life is hard.” Her point being that yoga teaches us how to handle tough situations and sit through the pain. Even though I don’t think I need to take another hot yoga class to learn this lesson, I admire the sentiment and thought behind it. That class was 60 minutes of sweaty discomfort and a mild heat stroke, but you know, what? I finished it. I tried something new, I didn’t like it, and that’s okay.
This summer has been wave after wave of “newness.” I moved to a city I’d never been to, I started a new job, I joined a new church, I made new friends, I tried new restaurants. New, new, new. And if I’m being honest with you, I’m kind of over it. I want to underscore the rich adventures and incredible things I’ve done this summer: I learned so much from my job, made some sweet friends, explored some cool spots. While I’ll look back on this summer fondly, it also was really hard.
These past three months have been a wakeup call to this thing called, ahem, adulthood. Ever heard of it? I’ve been in school virtually my entire life, and I’m about to be done — as in no more tests, quizzes or homework. That part, along with a paycheck, is phenomenal. But no school also means not living within a mile radius of all your best friends, not constantly making new friends, not being able to nap at 2 p.m., not having as much excitement on a daily basis. And it’s a tough pill to swallow.
I had to face my loneliness head on this summer. Sure, I found some fun pals to grab coffee with here and there, but for the most part, it was me, myself, and I. Companionship is something everyone is longing for, but letting that knot of loneliness that gives me a lump in my throat is no way to live.
And this summer I had to own up to that. I could not and would not sulk in my loneliness. Been there, done that, don’t recommend it. My new strategies included being proactively and aggressively so. I slid into the DMs of a gal who recently graduated from my school whom I’d never met. (Hey, Liz!) My friend from back home said she had a friend from high school in Dallas, and I asked her for her number. (Hey, Sarah!) Hoping to network, I scoured LinkedIn for any grads of my soon-to-be alma mater in the area and was able to meet up with another magazine professional. (Hey, Meghan!)
Long story short, this summer wasn’t easy. There were a lot of hard parts, FaceTime calls and homesickness. But you know what? Just like that horrible-no-good yoga class, I did it. It was hard but came with its sweet moments and rewards. I look at confidence and identity in a much different way and feel stronger to face this next season of my life. Let’s do this thing, just as long as it doesn’t include a hot yoga class.