1. Prepare yourself both mentally and physically. If you’re like me, you will become so paranoid about possibly fainting in class that you will drink approximately seven water bottles before you go to bed the night before. You might also find yourself saying things like “I AM SO EXCITED!” and “I REALLY LOVE YOGA” because if you say it enough, the class won’t be as hard — or so you think.
2. Show up for class and immediately feel intimidated. The heaters are running. You’re sweating before you even start moving. What have you gotten yourself into? It is probably about 9,000 degrees in this little room and OH MY GOD THERE ARE SO MANY PEOPLE HERE.
3. Calm yourself down. Mind over matter, baby. The instructor starts to lead you through some breathing. Easy enough, until you remember that the air you are breathing feels like breathing in fire. How do actual fire-breathers do it?
4. Then, to authenticate the feeling of being in Hell, your instructor starts asking you to hold all of these poses. You’re sweating profusely, wishing you were anywhere but in that room. Isn’t yoga about relaxing? What is this?
5. Just when you think that it can’t get worse, your sweat starts getting into your eyes. It burns. People start peeling off layers of clothing. The girl next to you looks like some kind of yoga goddess emerging from a lotus flower as she flies through these difficult poses. You’re uncomfortable.
6. Your muscles start to fatigue and you are wondering what new hell your instructor is going to bring you. You want me to put my leg where? But you do it anyway because for some reason, everyone else in the class knows how to do these poses with relative ease. It’s like yoga-peer pressure.
7. At this point, your body is screaming for water because you have officially sweat out the seven water bottles that you consumed that night before. You take a drink break, which is really just a chance to realize that a drink is not going to save you now.
8. Slip in your own sweat. This is inevitable. You’re going to do it.
9. Finally, after a few more ridiculous moves that are fit for someone in a traveling carnival, you are told to lay down, relax, and reflect. Reflect? Reflect on what?! How exhausted I am? How gross I feel?
10. While you “reflect,” the instructor walks around and gives you a cold lavender towel and tells you to “use it in any way that is right for you.” You plop that baby right down on your forehead and you feel like the entire workout was some dream. It’s like they give you those towels so you come back from purgatory. (And I swear, I really only continue to go for those lavender towels.)
11. When your instructor says “Namaste,” you may not know exactly what that means, but you feel like saying it to everyone. You’re actually relaxed, you feel great, and you’ve had the work out of your life. Now, hit the showers because you smell.