When my friend Jane invited me to try a hot yoga class, I hesitated. I thought yoga was for ‘other’ peopleYou know, the ‘yogi’ kind who sits with her legs crossed in full lotus, inhaling incense and exhaling ‘ommmmms.’

I often passed our local yoga studio. Students emerged sipping coconut water and carrying yoga mats color coordinated with their outfits. I could practically see the wellness bursting from their pores.

I wanted that kind of harmony in my life, but I was intimidated by yoga divas. Here I was, a Starbucks-sipping mom whose toughest workout was doing five loads of laundry back-to-back. How could I compete with perfectly toned bodies that could stretch into pretzel-like poses I could achieve only by breaking bones?

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“Hot yoga will make your body feel so good you’ll crave it,” Jane promised.

Normally the only thing I crave is Pop-Tarts.

Motivated by Jane’s open mind and flat stomach, I caved.

The day before class, Jane texted me a list of instructions:

  1. Don’t eat for 2 hours beforehand.
  2. Hydrate.
  3. Bring a change of clothes.

I texted back: Are we going for yoga or a colonoscopy?

When we entered, the room was hot and humid—conditions that seemed more conducive to cultivating orchids than exercise. I padded barefoot across the bamboo floor and laid down my mat.

“Namaste.” The teacher bowed. I glanced nervously at Jane. She gave me a reassuring smile that said, ‘Go with the flow’ which, in hot yoga terms, means, ‘Get ready to sweat.’

Before long, I found myself breathing deeply and moving in a relaxing rhythm that gave me sudden insight into what Jane had meant. I also found myself standing in a pool of sweat—which bothered me, because it wasn’t mine.

I lifted my towel and something tumbled to the floor. To my horror, there lay my extra pair of panties, in all their white cotton glory, reflected in a wall mirror that spanned so far across the room I could make out distant galaxies. I shoved them under my waistband, hoping no one had noticed.

Fortunately, everyone was lost in pose, including the woman next to me handstanding on one finger. Nobody cared about my undies or whether I tumbled out of pose. Yoga was about expanding your boundaries—and mine were stretching to Canada.

An hour later, every muscle, joint and internal organ in my body had been downward dogged. I thought I’d have to crawl out on my hands and knees.

Still, I felt rejuvenated.

Hot yoga taught me to let go of tension, self-doubt and inhibitions.

Who knew that by letting go of my underwear, I’d find my inner yogi?