I Honestly Didn’t Know I Had Sweat Glands There.
Be in the moment. Be in the moment. Beinthemoment.
A single droplet of sweat carved a lazy trail from the top of my shoulder to the crook of my elbow, meandering across spring freckles and around fine hairs until it dropped unexpectedly, as though it felt close enough to the ground to just let go, and landed with a splat onto my purple yoga mat.
Miscalculated that one, didn’t you? I inwardly laughed at my sweat drop’s misfortune.
But soon another took its place, distracting me from The Moment as it emerged from my hairline and ran down my temple, more decisive than the last in its mission of suicide, and dropped from my jaw.
They felt like ants.
Ants creep me out. I’m pretty sure ants will be the next creature to take over the earth.
My mat was dotted with suicidal sweat drops.
How does one sanitize yoga mats? I wondered. I’m so glad I didn’t rent a mat. Then all I’d be able to think about is how many other people sweat on this mat before me. Can you catch anything from infected yoga mats? Tuberculosis? Meningitis? Crabs? That guy could be leaving crabs on his mat RIGHT NOW.
I glanced across the room at one of my über fit classmates demonstrating a perfect downward dog. Arms outstretched, back flexed, tailbone pointing skyward and shorts that crawled up into his crotch, hoping to escape the heat. Good luck with THAT, shorts.
BE IN THE MOMENT!
My sweat-slick palms slid slowly towards the head of my mat as I struggled to make my heels touch the floor and keep my butt in the air, envisioning my classmates’ internal struggles to keep from laughing when I inevitably face planted into a salty puddle of my own creation.
Hot yoga, it turns out, isn’t my thing.
My friend Alice had been trying to get me to go for months, as have many others, in a near futile attempt to convince me that it wasn’t “that” hot and the temperature is good for your muscles and flexibility. I eventually caved, refusing to be “that person” who insists I don’t like something before I’ve even tried it.
I have little respect for that person.
Prior to our class, the instructor tried to explain, “It’s not the same as hot heat,” and you know what? Someone told me the same thing about Arizona once, but 110-degrees Fahrenheit is still 110-degrees Fahrenheit — hot enough to melt a camera in your car. I would know. Dry heat is ALL LIES. And while I literally sweat it out in that hot box of a room, I tried not to think about my innards boiling like the guts of my camera or the sweat ants skiing from my waistband up my spine. But the truth is that I just can’t take the heat.
It’s not just uncomfortable — it makes me physically ill.
I’m never going to be one of those super pumped endorphineaholics who goes crazy for exercise. I’m just not. But there’s something about the morning after the morning after feeling of strength that keeps me searching for ways to have fun getting fit. (The first morning after is reserved for intense physical pain, by the way.) I have yet to find the “fun” part, but the results are worth the pain. Now that my body is stronger than it’s ever been, this feeling is something I don’t intend to lose.
Hot yoga, unfortunately, is just one of the many things at which I fail and have zero desire to improve.
And you know what?
At the end of the class, I collapsed on my back and waited for the instructor to drape a cool washcloth across my forehead — a desire that somehow outweighed the urge to escape the sauna into the air-conditioned hallway. After what felt like 8 years of resisting my impulse to run from the room, knowing hands finally pressed the damp cloth firmly where it hurt, and the pulsing behind my temples slowed back to even flow. The cloth covered my eyes and she gently, almost like I dreamt it, tapped the space between my eyebrows — the space yogis call my third eye — and I felt awash in calming peace.
Like almost any experience I force myself to endure but don’t thoroughly enjoy, I carried it out and found the worthwhile.
I’ll probably never go to a hot yoga class again. But that touch at the end?
It made it all worth it.
Crab scare and all.