January 11, 2014

Hot Yoga, Inc.

I decided to tackle a different yoga studio, Hot Yoga, Inc., which is within walking distance from my apartment.  I really enjoyed my time at Get Zen Yoga, and I was really missing it, so I figured why not?

They have a deal going on that's 10 classes for $10, so I figured even if I hated it, it would be money well spent. Today was Hatha, which really isn't my favorite, but I had mentally prepared myself to just get through it and try and enjoy the class.

Class #1: It was an odd experience. I walked into the studio and wasn't greeted warmly - it was almost with, dare I say it, annoyance? - and hastily shuffled through the sign-up process on the iPad they had set up. UP being the operative word - it was standing upright, not flat on the table. The iPad was really annoying - I would rather type in my information on a keyboard than chicken-peck my way through typing all my info, all on a surface that was standing upright, no less! Ugh.

After I signed in, I had to ask where the changing rooms were and where I could put my stuff. The guy was like, "oh yeah... it's around the corner..." Idk y'all it was just super unfriendly and unwelcoming. But I brushed it aside and figured the dude was in a funk or something. I changed, and then went into the hot room.

OH dear lord. It was so SO SOOOO hot. Get Zen Yoga must be operating at lower temperatures, because Hot Yoga Inc felt just like The Yoga Element (formerly Bikram Yoga Bellevue) did. I felt like I almost couldn't breathe, it was so intense. And the floor was this weird texture, that absorbed the heat - so it got so hot that as I was walking on it, I was almost uncomfortable - it felt like hot coals. Like, what. Who does that. Ow.

The hot room was enormous, which was great - lots of room to spread out. But, once the teacher started talking, it was so echo-y in the room that it was sometimes hard to understand him. Fortunately I was in the center so I was near him most of the time, but still, it was distracting.

Hatha sucks, end of story. I had to sit down several times because of the heat, and I felt shaky at the end, even though I had drunk plenty of water.

When class ended, I got out of there as quickly as possible. They had benches outside, which was nice, so I went in my yoga clothes to sit outside to try and calm down. I looked down and saw that the surface of my skin was literally steaming. Steaming!

Class #2: I walked in and after I wrote down my name and phone number, and then told them my phone number (annoying - at Get Zen you just type it in), I was immediately held to the desk by the girl sitting behind it trying to upsell me. I swear she threw like 17 different figures in my face... so much information for someone who's trying to like, relax enough to endure the 132834 degree temperature room. I kept trying to inch away and say "Good to know!" but she just kept talking. She asked me how yesterday's session went, and I just said, "Hot." and she said, "Yeah?? Challenging, right?" with this smile that made me just want to smack her in the face.

So annoying - I hate it when people try to upsell me. If your product is good enough, I'll ask about it, you know?? (I know it's their job. I've worked in a job where it was my job to upsell, so I understand. I still don't like it.)

It was a little more tolerable today than it was yesterday, but still really hot. Today was Power, which I think I just enjoy better than Hatha/Bikram. However, for the poses that required to put your foot somewhat off the mat, I couldn't - my feet were BURNING anytime they were off the mat. At one point, even my towel was too hot and I had to sprinkle some of my much-needed water on it. Like, what the hell?

There was a lady next to me who was just doing her own damn thing. Bird of Paradise when we were in Child's Pose, doing an arm balance while we were in Crescent Lunge... like, what? And then she left early. And was talking to the front desk for a loonngg time afterward. I think she didn't feel well or something, and I kind of wanted to be like, well duh, you didn't listen to the teacher at all and just had your own little class there, didn't cha?

Class #3: I decided to give myself a rest day. I had a lot of errands to run today and I really wanted to get the class out of the way, so I bit the bullet and woke up at 5:20 to go to the 6am Power class. The fact that it was Power really motivated me to go, because I just like Power better.

I'm not sure if it was because everyone is half asleep or the types of people that teach/come to class are different, but this was a much better class. When I walked in, the instructor said hello and after I told him my phone number, he said my name and then told me to have a great class. My kind of guy! During class, he seemed to know what he was doing (though he messed up and forgot one thing on the left side of one of the asanas - so minor, though) and was loud enough so I could hear him. The music was the back-beat of all my favorite songs - Coldplay, Lana Del Ray, you name it. So I just sung along in my head and it made the time pass much faster.

I still had to sit down a bunch of times and I still think the heat is a bit too much and they would do well to turn it down. But I had a much more positive experience today than I had the previous two classes. I went outside again to sit down, except this time I didn't put my shoes on before I left - YIKES concrete is cold when it's 40 degrees! Such a difference between feeling like I'm walking on coals to feeling like I'm walking on ice! My poor, poor feet.

Two dudes absolutely wiped (sorry, dudes)- can you see the steam coming off the guy closest to me?
Wasn't completely miserable, so this was the most subtle silly face I could muster
Dark as night at 7am
Class #4: Soooooo so much better than previous experiences. Took 4 days off. The annoying front desk girl greeted me again, this time only with questions of how my classes were going. (What does she expect me to say?) But other than that, the environment was great. I really like this teacher - she taught the noon Power class I took on Day 2. This was the 9:30 Hatha (Bikram) class, and I didn't have to sit down during any of it! I was so proud of myself, and I felt really strong.

Day #5: Took 2 days off. As soon as I walked into this 10:00 Saturday Power class, I knew I would hate it - the whole studio was permeated with the stank of 1000 sweaty bros who hadn't showered in years. The whole. studio. Oh my god, it was SUCH a bad smell I wondered if I could endure it for a whole hour. The actual hot room wasn't much better - seriously, a bunch of dudes (because only a guy could emit that kind of smell) must have worked for a week on the farm and not taken a shower and then did Hot Yoga. SO. So. bad.

The class itself was okay - I had to sit down a few times, but it wasn't as positive as class #4. I was happy when it was over.

I'm halfway through my classes, so I've paid $2 for each class and I kind of feel okay with that. I really really don't like this studio. I have until Jan 10th to take 5 more classes if I really want to, but I feel like I won't.

Day #6: Well, after two and a half weeks of a break from this studio, and gorging myself on every Christmas dessert there was, I returned. I went back to my very last eligible class on my very last day just so I could do a little more than 5 classes. When I came in, I asked if tomorrow (the 9th) would be my last day, or if January 10th would be my last day, since I had started December 10th. I was told that it wasn't "a month" of classes, but 30 days of classes - and since December has 31 days, today (the 8th) was actually my last class. OH DARN.

I went in, and it was still just as hot as it had been, but thankfully it didn't stink to high heaven. This was a power class, and I had taken the teacher before, so I was ready to just sweat it out. It was a pretty good class - lots of hamstring stretches and different arm balances that I had never tried before. It was challenging and I didn't have to sit down, which I was very proud of! I even stayed up all the way for the forearm plank hold for 1 minute.

I was proud of myself and recognized that I had gotten stronger, but ultimately I decided that the studio was just not right for me. More negative thoughts entered my mind than positive and that's not what I'm after.

I forgot to mention that during the 30 days, they called me 3 separate times to try and get me on as a member. Annoying.

Well, hopefully someone looking up reviews for Hot Yoga Inc will read these and realize that the Bellevue location is really really REALLY hot and is kind of just unpleasant in general. Onto the next yoga studio!

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