A few weeks ago, I drove to Virginia to attend my first hot yoga class in over a year! Wild, right? Prior to COVID-19, I would typically do yoga a handful of times during the month and there was definitely a couple of hard seasons where hot yoga was my salvation 5 times a week. After getting in 6o-minutes of stretching and sweating alongside – distant and masked – strangers, I was flooded with pure love and appreciation for the powerful, energetic union that is group fitness.
Although I’ve been happily enjoying my at-home workouts, I’m more than ready to jump back into classes and group exercising once they open back up. Though it felt amazing to be back on my mat, in a shared space with other people, it isn’t entirely back to how it once was. There’s still plenty of worry running through the mind, ‘Is this safe?’ ‘Should I be here at all?’, not to mention the physical and emotional distance between us. And those damn masks!
Do you know what I miss the most? That palpable energy that fills a dark and smelly spin class; the loud music that reverberates off the walls and then courses through your body like an electrical shock, propelling you to push harder. How everyone is climbing, bum in seat, eyes closed, legs pumping, sweat dripping – together. I miss that sacred, energetic connection that can only be summoned in numbers, in enraptured and overworked bodies that are moving on the same beat, sipping on the same breath.
I had a friend once compare hot yoga to a new age church of sorts; it’s nothing short of a spiritual experience, really. An hour inside a hot and humid box leaves you changed and connected to an elusive, collaborative energy that only you and 15+ strangers were privy to for a brief moment. And when you get to witness and participate in the union of flow where all bodies are in sync, beautifully moving together to the same united breath and rhythm – that’s pure magic. I believe that in those brief windows of time, we collectively summon and connect to something much bigger than ourselves.
I yearn for the day when I can walk into a yoga or cycle studio unmasked and abandon worry – and COVID – at the door. I can’t wait to be in that dark and smelly cramped room once again; bodies overflowing, sweat rolling, carefree – together.