I suck at that.

How many times do we say that about things that we just haven’t given ourselves a chance to conquer?

If you’ve read this blog at any length, you probably know I love exercising. I love running. I love a good circuit training workout or spin class or personal training session.

But what do I not love? Anything that requires me to have good balance or coordination. Why? Because I suck at that.

I trip walking down the street. If I’m in a step aerobics class and the instructor says “go right” I go left and crash into the person next to me. If I’m supposed to be balancing, I’m more like wobbling. It’s why I didn’t stick with aerobics in college. It’s why the handful of times I’ve been to yoga I’ve left with the “I know that’s really good for me but wow I’m no good at that” attitude. Running makes one inflexible. And I am fairly certain I wasn’t flexible even before I ever started running.

But, I’ve been trying to introduce more balance (metaphorically) into my life. If I’m gonna run, I need to stretch. And strength train. And stuff. So when Stacey asked me if I’d try out hot yoga with her, I was all over that. She found a great Living Social deal to a yoga studio in SouthEnd.

If you know where I live and know where SouthEnd is, you know that it’s not convenient at all for me to go there. It’s a 45-minute drive from my house if traffic is on a good day. So that’s 1.5 hours round trip. I know, I know, it’s crazy. But Stacey lives on the other side of town from me, and I knew that if we wanted to work out together, meeting in the middle would be crucial. And I knew there was no way in heck I wanted to try hot yoga alone.

So, around the beginning of December, we showed up on a Saturday morning, not having any idea what to expect. Stacey had never done yoga before. I’d been to 3 or 4 yoga classes over the years and had done yoga as part of P90x and had tried one or two TV yoga workouts. But I was certainly no expert. Jeff reminded me of my fainting issue after I bought the deal, and I didn’t know if exercising in 102 degrees would make my swooning habit worse.

The yoga studio is quaint, small, cozy. I could tell immediately there was a great community feel to it. In fact, it was hard to tell who worked there and who was just a proud student, because everyone was so helpful. I got a tour from a girl who I’m pretty sure doesn’t work there, but she’s been to more than 100 classes since June.

Walking into the hot yoga room for the first time was a bit of a shock. It felt like a sauna. Dry heat just pumping out and with incense or something giving a spa-like aroma. It was really pleasant, actually, but we were supposed to do yoga in this? We were there early, so we followed suit and relaxed in Shavasana on our mats. I’m pretty sure I was breaking a sweat before class even began.

It probably goes without saying that it was extremely challenging. That something as “simple” as downward dog suddenly feels incredibly difficult when you’re trying to wipe sweat from your eyes and not faint. That even child’s pose is really hard when you can’t breathe. I did feel faint. I did have to stop doing the moves at a few points and just lay on my back, trying to breathe and hoping I wouldn’t make a fool of myself. But it wasn’t just me. Everyone there was facing their own personal challenges, even the ones that know what they’re doing.

And, 45 sweaty minutes later, we made it through, and I knew even that day that I was hooked. I couldn’t wait to come back.

Fast Forward a month or so, and last night I got this bracelet at the beginning of class last night:

Says "Arrichion hot yoga" on it.

It represents passing the first “level” or so – means I’ve made it through 10 classes. And something happened about two classes ago: I was able to make it through the entire class without feeling dizzy or faint. I was able to actually listen to the instructions that I was supposed to be inhaling on this move and pushing the stretch on that move. I am starting to have a little bit of understanding of what I’m doing. My arms are looking more toned. My legs feel stronger. I can do a backbend for a few seconds before I have to come out of it and I may have actually done crow for about half a second the other night (note, I said “may have.”)

I am addicted. Not just to hot yoga, but to Arrichion yoga studio. I cannot tell you how amazing the instructors are, the community there is. About 1,500 people bought the Living Social deal, and it’s probably very overwhelming for such a small place. But somehow, they are so professional, so helpful, always happy – and they’ve even learned my name. Out of 1,500 people, that’s pretty impressive.

I’m sad that my classes are more than halfway finished. I’m sad that we haven’t decided to sell our house and move to SouthEnd already – I’ve been wanting to live there for years, and if we actually lived where I want to live, I could walk to the studio. I want to find a way to keep going and I so wish I had an extra $90 a month to join (yes, it’s crazy expensive. But after trying it out, I understand exactly why people pay it. It’s not the yoga class you get at the gym, that’s for sure.) This I know: At some point, I will move to SouthEnd. And I will find that extra money to pay for the unlimited membership. And I will be there at least 5-6 days a week. It may not be for a few years when the housing market gets better and we can sell and blah, blah, blah, but it will happen.

But you know what the best part is? I don’t suck at yoga. Not anymore.