Sweat. verb. To perspire; the body’s natural reaction to heat, exercise, or occasionally embarrassment. I am naturally gifted at this.
New Year’s resolutions are dangerous.
As we swung into January, my life was (is) in a state of flux. What else is new. Casting a vision for the whole entire year felt lofty, since I don’t know exactly what I’ll be doing in two weeks, much less six months. So I decided to take it one month at a time. A few goals, manageable ones, that would inspire me to live my best life now [insert air quotes], to do the things I’m always meaning to do but never actually get around to doing.
I was realistic in January, I thought. My goals were:
- Go to CorePower yoga at least once using free one-month pass
- Try one new recipe
- Go out for coffee with a friend
- Finish an online art class I’ve had access to for a loooong time
- Watch the BBC Pride & Prejudice
I was making progress and thinking sweet thoughts about my brilliant strategy. I’d tried not one, but two new recipes within the span of a week, I had a coffee date scheduled, and I’d taken two relaxing beginner yoga classes before the month was half over. Not too shabby, right?
And then I got cocky.
I decided that beginner yoga was nice and all, but I was ready for a challenge.
So one day after work, I shimmied on my leggings and headed for Yoga Sculpt class. The class description cheerily claimed that we would “boost metabolism and build lean muscle” as we “move to upbeat tracks.” We would combine yoga moves with cardio and strength-training to “intensify each pose.” I’m kind of an athlete, I thought, and I don’t suck that bad at yoga. What could go wrong?
A heck of a lot, it turns out.
Bad sign number one: I walked in five minutes before class starts, and the room was full. I was forced to awkwardly scootch between two mats. On one was a shirtless guy who responded cheerily when I asked if there was room for me. On the other was a girl who brought her boyfriend and stared at me silently. How cozy. I hoped I didn’t smell weird.
Bad sign number two: it was killer hot. All of 95º. This is not hyperbole. I was already feeling sticky, and all I’d done was grab weights (yep, weights were involved) and sit down on my mat.
Things did not improve when the instructor came in to actually start the class. She was short, tattooed, and looked like she should be bench pressing rather than sun salutating. She turned on the playlist, which she claimed was inspired by David Bowie and space, and began shouting instructions over the blasting space jams. “Give me 8!” she’d say, “And count. LOUDER!” “How are you feeling?” she’d holler, and the scary yoga girls in Lululemon sports bras would whoop. I might have grunted. By our second down dog, I was already shiny. It was not the glisten of endorphins. It was sweat.
We lunged and squatted and pressed. My high-to-low plank sucked compared to the girl next to me, whose boyfriend ought to have been impressed by her push-up form. We did jumping jacks and high kicks. After too many leg lifts, I tried to “Pulse! Pulse! Out and hooooold!” I thought my glutes might rupture.
In retrospect, this hour of my life is mostly a humid, sweaty blur. I may have blocked it out. This is what I do remember thinking:
- This is my sister’s exact version of hell. Working out with scary fit people in a hot room while an intimidating woman yells at you.
- I might pass out. I think I need to sit down. What would happen if I fainted? Would that guy catch me? Gross. No one should touch me when I’m this sweaty.
- In high school didn’t we stop having practice in the gym if it got this hot? Didn’t our coaches say it was actually dangerous?
- Ah ha. That’s why people have towels on their mats. Because if you don’t, you slide all over your own sweat when you try to lunge. Lovely.
- This hand towel is not cutting it. I should have brought a beach towel.
- If she tells me to hold it up! one more time, I’m going to swear.
- I am choosing to laugh about this. I am choosing to laugh about this. I am choosing to laugh about this.
Eventually, finally, we ended in savasanah. Normally, lying on my back, I feel peace as my breath travels deep. Here, I felt sweat dripping down my face into my ears. When it was over, I peeled myself off my mat. I tossed on my jacket on the way out the door, and it instantly stuck to me. When I took it off in the car, it released such a cloud of heat that I steamed up the car windows.
This was not what I anticipated from my New Year’s resolution.
Basically, nothing is what I anticipate anymore. Life keeps teaching me that I have zero control over anything, except how I respond to what I’m given. So I’m choosing to view this interlude as an experience (admittedly one that is more entertaining in retrospect).
May 2016 find me responding to further challenges with an intact sense of humor and the knowledge that any and all suckiness can’t last forever. Here’s to a little sweat and a whole lot of adventure.