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I have to admit, I was skeptical. I thought I knew the kind of people that were really into yoga, and that kind of person is not me. They talk about energy and chi and buy granola in bulk. They listen to “world music” and quit their job to spend a summer in Thailand because, why not? There is nothing wrong with that type of person, but that’s not me. What could I get out of hot yoga?
I work as a computer analyst. Like so many other IT folks, years of constant typing and mouse movements in tiny cubicles have taken their toll. Specifically, I developed ulna tunnel syndrome in my left hand, which caused numbness and nerve pain in my wrist and hand during many activities. I went to a doctor about my issues, and was told to avoid motions that caused pain (Thanks, Groucho Marx). He also said that if the pain continued, he could perform surgery to alleviate the pressure on my ulna nerve. I went ahead and nope’d on out the door and never came back.
A few months later, I started to develop carpal tunnel syndrome in my right hand. Combined with the already existing ulna issues, it all was terribly painful and made sitting at my desk for any length of time pretty agonizing. I had my company buy the super-ridiculous ergonomic keyboard and mouse combination months back, but it really didn’t help all that much aside from making my desk look like the console of a spaceship.
Along with the repetitive stress injuries, I had also devolved into a sedentary lifestyle. This was fine in my twenties, back when I could consume an entire extra-large pizza and a case of dirt-cheap beer in a weekend and not gain an ounce of weight. However, at 30, that ridiculous metabolism decided to pull anchor; I started to develop quite the set of man boobs (read: moobs) and was working on a pretty sweet beer gut.
I was discussing my issues with a friend that was into hot yoga and she explained that there are postures specifically designed to target the wrists and arms to help and prevent ailments such as carpal tunnel. She said nothing about any moob reducing postures.
“Is there chanting,” I asked. “I don’t chant.”
“What? No,” my friend replied. “I don’t know what you think hot yoga is about, but you obviously have no clue.”
She was correct. After some convincing, she brought me out to your studio and I dropped $20 on ten classes. Within three sessions, the numb area on my left hand started to tingle for a few hours after each class. By my tenth class, the numbness was almost completely gone. Also, the carpal tunnel in my right hand had begun to noticeably subside.
Fast-forward four months later and the carpal and ulna tunnel issues are pretty much non-existent. Also, the moobs can no longer be classified as moobs and the gut has begun the long road to becoming abs. Aside from the physical improvements, I have also experienced mental benefits. I am able to focus at work for longer periods of time and situations which used to stress me out don’t seem nearly as taxing (I-40 during rush hour might still illicit three to five expletives, however).
An unexpected benefit from yoga is the much-needed disconnect I receive just by going. As a salaried employee, work is always a smartphone jiggle away and something that is constantly on my mind. During yoga, my phone can be vibrating away in the locker room and I would have no clue. At first this was maddening, but I have eventually been able to accept it and actually enjoy my time away from it. This was merely the first step. After a short while, I started to block out more and more of life’s little nuisances. The annoying director at work? Gone. School debt due? What’s school? Aliens could land on the White House lawn and I would have no idea until after kapalabhati breathing, and that’s just the way I like it. I’ve actually started craving yoga just to escape it all.
After seeing the impact that hot yoga has had on my life in such a small amount of time, I decided to sign up for a year’s worth of sessions. I continue to see improvements in myself and also recognize that I have a long way to go. Thank you, Hot Yoga of East Nashville. You’ve won a loyal customer and an avid promoter of the benefits that hot yoga can offer.