Think your workout makes you sweat? Try hot yoga at Moksha Yoga and you’ll sweat more during an hour-long class than a week of other workouts.
The small hot yoga studio on Waverley Street is tucked in the corner of a strip mall. Inside, it looks more like a high-end spa or hair salon than a gym. There’s a seating area with driftwood side tables near the entrance and a fireplace on the wall.
People are not chatty and friendly, but rather serious and maybe a bit stuck up as no one smiles or engages in small talk. It seems to be the place for the current and next crop of the Real Housewives of Linden Woods. The majority of the people there are thin, pretty women 20 to 30-years-old.
Most people come alone but a few come in pairs. They only speak to each other through whispers, body language or facial expressions.
The colours in the lobby are relaxing but the atmosphere is a bit chaotic. About 20 minutes before class, the yoga instructor is hurrying around the lobby and the line up to register is backed up about 15 people.
It is essentially a Lululemon fashion show in the studio. It’s obvious to pick out the newbies of the group before the class even starts just by a person’s appearance.
A few rookies bring in runners, when it’s best to do yoga barefoot. They also wear loose clothes, which are awkward when you’re doing weird poses. And they often wear cotton t-shirts with sleeves, which are way too warm and stuffy.
The standard look is a tight, high bun paired with a Spandex tank top and black, calf-length leggings.
When you walk into the studio it feels like you’re in Mexico – it’s humid and warm. As the class goes on, it feels like you’ve been on the beach all afternoon and getting desperate for some shade.
The room isn’t hot like a sauna – it’s more of a wet heat. The secretary says the room is about 40 degrees Celsius, but it seems to get warmer each minute. Perhaps it’s the heated cork floors or the vents blowing warm air.
A thin layer of sweat coats your entire body as you step into the hot room. That layer thickens and within five minutes feels like an oily lotion has been slathered over you.
People literally drip sweat off their bodies. The drenched towels littering the floor of the change room are not from showers. The mats are also sticky and glistening from sweat dripping from students.
It’s not that the workout is so strenuous that you’re sweating up a small pond, but it’s just the temperature. The most difficult part is when the class is expected to hold a plank position for a minute. Nearly everyone in the room drops their knees to the mat before the instructor calls for the next move.
The 9 p.m. Friday Karma class starts with a stern warning from the instructor, Ashley Bourgeois, about not leaving the classroom.
“No one should leave the room at all during this hour,” Bourgeois says.
She goes on about how people in her previous class took too many breaks and how that’s distracting to others.
The Karma classes cost $5 and the fee goes to a local charity.
“It’s going to the North End Women’s Shelter, or something with those words, but maybe not in that order,” Bourgeois says.
Average drop-in fees are $20 a person at Moksha Yoga and monthly memberships range from $105-$150 depending on the plan. So to test it out and go on a Karma night to save some cash.
Even though the Karma class is deemed good for beginners, it isn’t super easy to follow. The instructor doesn’t demonstrate the poses, she walks around the room and verbalizes the next pose. For anyone unfamiliar with what the cobra, happy baby or the warrior poses are, there is no clear guide. The rookies in the room peer around their bodies morphed into pretzels at others to ensure they’re getting the moves right.
The poses are relatively easy for someone who isn’t active or exceptionally flexible. The instructor goes through a series of poses that flow easily from one to the next. It’s like playing a game of Twister, but the spinner is choosing the specific spots for your hands and feet. If the class or the moves get overwhelming, it’s OK to relax on your mat.
It’s also important to bring lots of water. Many people have multiple water bottles along. If you don’t bring enough water, you might be one of the people complaining of a headache in the change room after the class.
If you want to heat up your workout, you may want to try hot yoga. Just be prepared to sweat it out.