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The Cold Truth About Hot Yoga

The sweat is dripping from my forehead right into my eyes. My shirt and pants are soaked and I feel like I might pass out or throw up or both. Focus on my breath. Focus on my breath. All I can focus on is how damn hot it is in this room. 105 degrees. But it feels much hotter. And it smells. Like body odor.

I can’t just walk out. That’s a big no-no. If you can’t stand the heat, the instructor here says, the last thing you want to do is get out of the kitchen. Stay in the kitchen. Lie down on your back. Hands by your side. Palms up. And breathe. For God’s sake, breathe.

I’m supposed to be thinking: “This is changing my life. This is making me present. This is what I need to calm my mind.”

I’m actually thinking: “Who’s picking up my child from camp? Don’t forget milk at the store. I wish I didn’t finish off that bottle of wine last night.”

But then again, I am new at this. I look at the women in the bikini bottoms with ripped abs and perfect form and think, “I gotta get there.”

But really, Bikram yoga teaches you that you don’t have to get anywhere other than where you are. It’s about *your* practice. It’s about realizing that no matter what’s happening around you, or how hot it is – you can control how you react to it. Breathe.

Today, I left Bikram yoga in a near coma. My mind shut down. I was completely in the moment. I even had to sit in my car for several minutes afterward because I was so relaxed – I couldn’t drive. I’ve never felt anything like it.

Bikram yoga is not pretty when you’re in the throes of it, and you may look like hell afterward – but what it does for your mind and your body is pretty amazing.