Wednesday, August 19, 2015

I Did Hot Yoga With 98 Degrees & It Was The Stuff Of Teenage Dream



Full disclosure: I'm no stranger to hot yoga with celebrities. Once upon a time — during another life in Los Angeles — I regularly practiced with a certain Hunger Games actress. Turns out, exercising as though your body is made of hot taffy is more tolerable when there is star presence to distract you. Which is why, when the opportunity to take a heated class with the two most famous members of 98 Degrees presented itself, my motivation to get back on the hot yoga horse was renewed. Also, I am a sucker for puns, and this experience was rife with them, obviously. A 98°F (and rising) room with 98 Degrees? Color me sold.

So, early on a muggy Tuesday morning, I dragged my spandex-clad body to the Flatiron district of NYC, with the goal of sweating somewhere near the Lachey brothers. It's pertinent to mention that this experience was part of Budweiser's #UpForWhatever campaign. Yep, the same one that spawned the controversial "remove 'no' from your vocabulary" hashtag. For that reason, the studio was bathed in the cobalt blue of Bud Light, pretty much from floor to ceiling.

Subsequently, I am now the proud(ish) owner of a heavily ad-laden yoga mat, which has definitely elicited some weird looks from fellow practitioners in other studios. To this I say: Whatever dudes. A free mat is a free mat, even if yoga and beer don't really belong in the same 103°F room.


Along with a host of other media folks hoping to get a glimpse of their high school heartthrobs, I crouched on the floor in a creaky childs pose, wondering why class hadn't kicked off yet and when the guys would make their debut. We were coached by the Bud folks to keep our foreheads on the sticky PVC surface, like a grown-up game of Heads Up, Seven Up. Suddenly, the room became very still, save for the clicking of ankles. We sat up, and there they were: Nick and Drew, looking every bit like the boy band fantasy of my tweenage mind. Except for the Budweiser T-shirts. Those were not part of the fantasy. Let's be honest: The hope was that this would be a slightly more shirtless experience.

Things got sort of weird after that. We were being filmed by a camera crew, which was not something I had anticipated, or I would have worn fancier Lululemon gear instead of boring black leggings. Apparently our shock and awe of seeing the guys was not significant enough during their first romp through the room. We returned to child's pose and reacted to their presence a second time for the cameras. I'd give the authenticity rating of that moment a seven, at best.

Next, the guys led us through a series of postures, modifying the names to be more Budweiser-centric. For those of you out there unfamiliar with hot yoga, it can basically be summed up thusly: 26 poses, done twice, in the heat. We did more like six postures, done mostly twice, in uncomfortable warmth that I don't think was quite 98°F.

Instead of calling poses by their normal names (example: chair pose), though, the brothers called out things like "reaching-for-the-last-Bud-Light-in-the-fridge" pose, and "all-my-friends-have-FOMO" pose. I don't remember the rest; I may have purposely blocked out the new monikers. I did, however, check with my friends: They do experience FOMO every so often, including when I am doing hot yoga with 98 Degrees.

Other highlights from the 30-odd-minute session included: Nick saying every six minutes that he had never done hot yoga before, the actual instructor assuring him that he was doing just fine, and, on a personal note, pulling an unknown muscle in my right shoulder during standing bow pose, which was probably called "I-drank-15-Bud-Lights-and-I-can-still-balance-on-one-leg" pose. At the end of the shortened series, somebody brought out a cooler of Bud Light. It was just past 8:30 a.m. I reached for my coconut water, feeling a little as though I had not earned it, and the guys stood by the door smiling million-watt smiles and holding bright-blue beer bottles as we fled toward the changing rooms.

About an hour later, I had a chance to catch up with the Lacheys, who are just as sweet, delightful, and toothsome in person as anyone could hope. Nick is slightly more dreamboat-esque than Drew, but at 41 and 38, respectively, they could both pretty much pass for the age they were at the height of their careers. We spoke for fewer than 10 minutes, which was not enough time to trick them into saying there was another, more preferable way to get sweaty so early in the morning, theoretically involving sheets.

Nick did, however, admit that he'd been hearing a lot of puns since kicking off this #UpForWhatever journey, and that the name of their band luckily had some staying power. It could be worse, he told me, laughing. "We could have named it skunk piss."

I'll just leave you to ponder that one. Namaste, folks.