Hot Yoga Drop Out

I did something last week for the first time ever.

I walked out of a hot yoga class.

I seriously thought I was going to die from spontaneous human combustion. It was the hottest hot yoga pseudo Bikram class I have ever taken. I may have been able to suffer through in the dead of winter – but July when it’s 85+ out- no way, no can do.  I have taken this particular class before  (not the teacher). It’s a spin off of a hot 26 with some surya namaskara flow and a bunch of ardha chandrasana variations. 26 still postures in a 100+ room is ok for me…add the vinyasa and I seriously thought I was going to die.   Maybe I was just having a bad day? I did everything I was supposed to do in a Bikram class to persevere. Balasana. Savasana. Water. Balasana. Savasana. Rinse. Repeat. As my head throbbed in savasana, I looked at the clock and realized I was only 30 minutes in – there were 60 more to go…. at that point, I quietly folded my yoga mat and towel and whispered to the teacher “it’s just too hot for me today.”

I wasn’t the first student to exit the yoga room that night.  The thought of laying on my mat in misery was not an option. I needed to listen to my body and not struggle with my ego in the battle of should I stay or should I go now? I felt totally confident in my decision. As the door to the yoga room closed I heard the teacher say something about me leaving and the rest of the class laughing. I didn’t regret for a second feeling the cool 85 degree fresh air on my skin and while I don’t know exactly what was said,  the laughter left me with demoralizing pangs of defeat.  If it had been my first experience at that studio, or with yoga, it would have been my last.

The beautiful thing about yoga is that there is a style and variation for everyone.

I only know this because I have studied yoga for years and I am an advocate of  its diversity. A new student wouldn’t know this. My experience last week reinforced what I already knew about my own yoga practice. Hot yoga really isn’t my bag. But the lesson here isn’t about whether or not I can handle a vinyasa class in a 100 degree room. It was a reminder for me as a teacher. As teachers, we need to be gentle with every student. We need to be mindful without judgment.  As teachers and studio owners we need to ensure that every student’s experience is positive. If a student leaves, it is our responsibility to check on them or at least follow up.  Students should never be singled out, objectified or the butt of a teacher’s joke. Our job as yoga teachers isn’t only to instruct and to keep students safe.

Our job as a yoga teacher is to guide students to fall in love with yoga, and that begins with kindness.  <~~Tweet it.

3 responses to “Hot Yoga Drop Out”

  1. wow, i also do
    not like hot vinyasa myself, but that sounds so wrong laughing. You made very good points. Thanks

  2. Thanks for reading, Dawn 🙂

  3. Hi, Ive been a lurker around your blog for a few months. I love this article and your entire site! Looking forward to reading more!

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