One of the nice things about moving to a new city is that you can try out a lot of yoga studios for super cheap. Most studios offer some kind of new student special — e.g., $20 for 10 days of yoga, $49 for a month unlimited, etc. I recently did a week-long trial at a studio in Bucktown called Om on the Range. (Sadly, they just announced that they’ll be closing their doors permanently at the end of December, but they do have a second studio in Lakeview which remains open.)
Normally, I am not a big fan of hot yoga, but I decided to give this place a shot because it’s so close to my apartment. The first class was a bit intense for me in terms of the temperature (mid-90’s) and added humidity. But perhaps the biggest surprise for me was what happened at the end of the class. After the teacher and students chanted “Om,” they then broke out into cheers and clapping! This brought a smile to my face, and probably a look of total bewilderment.
What’s this clapping about? For some reason, it immediately reminded me of a phenomenon in the late 90’s on airplanes — upon touchdown, all the people in the main cabin would start cheering and clapping (I think somewhat mockingly) that the plane had landed successfully. This was during a time when there were a bunch of tragic plane crashes, like the ValueJet crash in the Florida Everglades, so nervous travelers basically let out a collective sigh of relief every time the plane made it safely to its destination.
Now I don’t want to suggest in any way that hot yoga is analogous to a plane wreck. But I can’t help but wonder why this post-yoga-class clapping is something I’ve never encountered before. Is it that people in hot yoga classes are just so relieved they made it to the end? Is this clapping something peculiar to Baptiste studios? Is it part of the culture of hot yoga? Or maybe it’s just something unique to this one studio?
Someone, please shed some light on this mystery!