I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve found myself homesick for a lot of things since moving to the Philippines. Netflix, bathrooms with toilet paper, and speedy internet, to name a few stupid, privileged examples.
But one thing I’ve truly, truly missed is going to the gym.
Cue the eye-rolls, am I right? But, really, cut me a break. Going to the gym or newest fitness studio in DC was a huge part of my weekly routine before I decided to up and move to another country. And while my yoga mat and exercise apps often get the job done here, I miss the group workout setting. A lot.
So maybe that’s why I made the loopy decision to not only go to a hot yoga class, but go to a hot yoga class for the first time in my life—in the Philippines. Where temperatures have barely fluctuated from a steady 85 degrees and it’s hardly rained a drop since January. Y’all should know, too, that I have this history of almost passing out if I’m in a hot, sunny, and humid environment.
Yeah, this all makes sense.
After hearing and reading good things about Yoga Plus, I hopped on two buses from Sucat to Fort Bonifacio—without getting lost!—and took the elevator to the studio on the 11th floor of Fort Legend Towers.
I was the first one there and being new, they took a picture of me at check-in and gave me a quick and helpful tutorial on what to expect in a hot yoga class (Lie down or go into child’s pose whenever you feel lightheaded or dizzy. Avoid drinking water for the first 20 minutes of class. Breathe only through your nostrils.).
I chose a mat at the back of the class that wasn’t directly underneath a heating panel. (Huge perk of Yoga Plus: They provide Manduka mats, towels, and alkaline water at no extra cost.) The studio space is just gorgeous, with floor-to-ceiling windows that offer panoramic views of the city. The flooring padded, too, which makes it a lot more comfortable than your average, hardwood floors.
After writing my intention (“Breathe”) on one of the pebbles that line the windows, I sat on my mat to get accustomed to the heat. (Also tried not to panic when I realized the class hadn’t even started and I was already sweating.)
The instructor for the one-hour Power Hour lunchtime class was Mae, who waltzed in saying, “Okay let’s do this.” The Power Hour class is a mix of Yoga Plus’s Hot A and Hot B classes performed at a quicker pace. Mae took us through your typical yoga poses, which thanks to the heat I was able to perform much more easily. After what couldn’t have been more than five minutes, tons of sweat droplets had formed on my legs.
Reminding myself to just breathe, I was seriously surprised that at no point did I have to lie down or stop due to dizziness. Great success! The breathing and constant hydration the day before was absolutely crucial.
As we neared the end of the class Mae began opening windows around the room one by one, slowly releasing just a bit of heat here and there. She left the room as we lay in corpse pose, and I marveled at how disgustingly sweaty I was. However, I felt euphoric. It could have been that I was back in a group workout setting again, or maybe it was the accomplishment of trying a new workout I’ve long refused to try without dying.
My only regret of the day? Not bringing a full set of clothes to change into afterwards. I sincerely apologize to whomever had to sit next to me on the bus ride back home.
Yoga Plus. 700 pesos for a drop-in class.