I haven't done hot yoga in almost three years.
In my head, I kept thinking two years but now realize that we are rapidly approaching three years since that fateful day in mid-March 2020 when everything shut down. And I'd been somewhat lax in my yoga practice in the months leading up to that date.
I first began hot yoga a few weeks after Iris died in early 2016. There is a small studio near my house and I'd always been intrigued by the idea of hot yoga.
The intense heat was punishing. A ninety-minute class in 105-degree room. But I was so angry after losing my babies that I welcomed the punishment. It was cathartic. The dripping sweat would mix with my tears in the middle of class and no one would notice.
I went to yoga at least three times per week. Then I became pregnant with Autumn in late 2016 and had to stop my practice. Hot yoga was too risky and I wasn't taking any chances. After she was born, it was hard to resume. First I was breastfeeding (hot rooms and leaky boobs were not a good combo) and then it was just harder to carve out time for myself. I had three kids and a newborn. It was always on my calendar but I never seemed to make it to class.
Then the pandemic. We all know what happened there. Honestly, I'm surprised that my little yoga studio survived, though I noticed that there are fewer teachers and a more limited schedule now.
I started to think about yoga recently. And finally made the commitment (and 90 minutes is a big commitment) to go. I remembered everything I needed: a giant water bottle, my special hot yoga mat, a towel to wipe my face, a hairband. I started hydrating more than an hour before class.
As I put my belongings in the changing room, I saw the studio owner. I could see her concentrating looking at me. "You probably don't remember me," I said.
"I remember your face," she replied. I gave her my name and she broke into a big smile. Told me that she was glad to see me again.
I was worried about the class but, as it turns out, I was able to fall back into my practice. The studio does an identical sequence of postures during each class, so I knew what to expect. I could tell that I'd lost some flexibility, but not as bad as I imagined. And I knew not to push myself: I took breaks when needed, lying on the floor in savasana.
It feels good to take care of myself again.