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I texted my husband yesterday: “Going to Glowga.  Costume theme: naughty or nice.” His response: “Please choose nice, honey.”

His text made me lol simply because I know that he still finds it slightly shocking what we Bikram yogis wear to class anyway, even without a racy theme. Yet, what he may not fully understand is the fact that if you wear normal exercise clothes to a Bikram class, you may learn the true and unpleasant meaning of the idiom “sweatpants.” The fact of the matter is: survival sometimes depends on wearing as little as possible. It’s literally a sauna in there. But the fun is just around the corner. Especially with Glowga, I’ve just discovered!

glowgaWhat in the world is Glowga? I thought I had a vague idea of what it might be before last night.

Turns out, I was completely naïve about this unique Asheville subculture. Glowga surpassed my wildest expectations. Truly. I have not smiled so much since the Beck concert last spring, or seen so many glowing works of art and body parts moving through space to a spectacular soundtrack, for that matter. And should I really have expected anything less when we are talking about the efforts of the dynamic team at Hot Yoga Asheville?

Now it is cliché, I have to exclaim once again: “ Only in Asheville…” 

If your image of a modern yogi is that of a slightly arrogant, curry-smelling, self-serious new ager in long, black leggings and an air of superior, mystic knowledge, prepare to be completely disillusioned. Hot Yoga Asheville has reinvented the Bikram Method for certain nights, and from time to time offers this thrilling and hilarious version, where participants come in crazy costume, brandish glow sticks around wrists and waists, and move to grooves from James Brown to Elvis, to Adam Sandler’s Hanukkah song. I chose to go “nice,” as my husband requested, and I must admit I did feel nice. The room was not as hot as usual, so my elf slippers were fairly comfortable, and my newly died ginger hair fit right into the holiday theme, braids glistening in the black light like dewy poinsettias. However, when they called out the “nice elves” for the costume contest, I was one of two and won second place. No hard feelings harbored, however, because I knew she was way nicer than me. Just look at the picture for proof. That’s once nice elf.

On the other hand, the room oozed with self-declared “naughty elves.” Strange slay bells rang from wrists as bending silhouettes of glowing elves came in and out of focus. And then there was the holiday centerpiece: Ross. In the spirit of Scooby Doo, “Holy half moon pose!” That guy in the neon, leopard print shorts and the Santa hat with a strobe ball dangling on the end, maybe should consider patenting this sort of class. He was magnificent. The play list was sublime, and the instruction was… just the right balance of naughty and nice.  Ross kept us laughing through our theatrical camel and triangle poses. We were like a throng of yogi elves and reindeer who had suddenly been transported to a San Francisco nightclub. Never change, Hot Yoga Asheville.

If Glowga was a black market drug, I might have to break the law.

gloga-2Though nervous beforehand that I might be too prissy to enjoy such close proximity with so many gyrating, sweating homo sapiens in the dark, I surprised myself by basking in a sort of euphoria through much of the class. Highlights for me may have been the moment when I stretched into standing bow while James Brown screamed that he loved me. Also, the Savasana at the end, set to the ever-languid sound of Ella Fitzgerald, held me in a happy trance. Believe it or not, I was in tremendous hip pain throughout the entire class from my chronic laboral joint tear. Yet, strangely, I breathed and smiled. Crazy, really. When I surfaced from my dark, sweaty poses, glowing arms moved like jellyfish around me, to the grooves of Madonna, Buddy Holly, Pat Beneatar, hip hop remixes of Brenda Lee… all I could do was laugh, sweat, smile, stretch, and breathe. This is the most fun I’ve had in ages. And I still respect myself this morning.

Rave yoga-style for a great cause.

Hot Yoga Asheville schedules Glowga sessions every so often as fund raisers for various causes. So far, the studio has raised money for Brother Wolf, Breast Cancer awareness, Manna Food Bank, and this one is for Sleep Tight Kids, which provides newly purchased nighttime-related items to children in desperate situations. So far, Hot Yoga Asheville has raised over $2000 in donations for these causes through Glowga.

Visit Hot Yoga Ashville to find out about the next Glowga night! January 9th raising money for Homeward Bound with a New Years Gratitude theme!