As my 1 hour hot yoga class was winding down, I was singing along in my head as Coldplay filled the room. “Nobody said it was easy. No one ever said it would be so hard”. I was completely soaking wet from head to toe and my body was aching and exhausted. I thought there was about an 80% chance that I would vomit in my shoes. But at the same time, I felt totally amazing. In touch with my body, in tune with my own thoughts. I felt bendy and warm. And although hot yoga definitely isn’t easy, it’s still one of my favourite things in the world. With the right dedication and passion, you could be as passionate about yoga as I am and you too could have a yoga class. It’s so easy to learn more about yoga, especially if you are interested in the idea of teaching yoga yourself.
I took a six month break from yoga due to a hectic schedule and general lack of commitment. A couple of weeks ago I went back and about 30 minutes in I had to crawl into child’s pose and meditate on not vomiting and/or dying. It was a major adjustment. I’d forgotten how physically and mentally challenging yoga is – not to mention exercising in a room heated to 45 degrees.
But after my first class, I couldn’t stop thinking about going back. By the end of my second class back, I’d managed to finish the sequence without taking an extended break or vomiting. I’ve been easing back into my yoga groove and I couldn’t be happier about it.
Vinyasa in a hot room is different to Bikram. People always say “oh do you do Bikram”, but Vinyasa is a different style. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about the two different practises:
“Bikram Yoga is a system of yoga that Bikram Choudhury synthesized from traditional hatha yoga techniques and popularized beginning in the early 1970s. All Bikram Yoga Beginning Series classes run for 90 minutes and consist of the same series of 26 postures, including two breathing exercises. Bikram Yoga is ideally practiced in a room heated to 40 °C (104 °F) with a humidity of 40%. All official Bikram classes are taught by Bikram-certified teachers, who have completed nine weeks of training endorsed by Choudhury. Bikram-certified teachers are taught a standardized dialogue to run the class, but are encouraged to develop their teaching skills the longer they teach. This results in varying deliveries and distinct teaching styles.”
“Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, usually referred to simply as Ashtanga yoga, is a style of yoga codified and popularized by K. Pattabhi Jois and is often promoted as a modern-day form of classical Indian yoga. Jois began his yoga studies in 1927 at the age of 12, and by 1948 had established the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute for teaching the specific yoga practice known as Ashtanga (Sanskrit for “eight-limbed”) Yoga. Ashtanga Yoga is named after the eight limbs of yoga mentioned in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. “Power yoga” and “vinyasa yoga” are generic terms that may refer to any type of vigorous yoga exercise derived from Ashtanga yoga.”
Here are five reasons why I really love hot yoga.
1. It’s the ultimate “me” time
I find it really hard to make excuses to take time out for myself. I’m basically always working, since I do so much stuff for my blog when I’m not working on my clients. I pretty much always have my phone with me and I am constantly taking pictures, making little videos, sharing things on social media. But when I’m doing yoga, I’m just doing yoga. It’s my time.
2. It’s a form of meditation
I don’t know about you, but I find meditating really difficult. My mind is always running and when I have a moment to rest I normally fall asleep. Because of the level of physical demand, I basically can’t think about anything else when I’m practising yoga. All I can do is try to breathe and not fall over.
3. It’s great exercise
A doctor once told me that I should try “exercise for the body” since yoga is “exercise for the mind”. My response was “have you tried yoga?”. I practice Vinyasa or Yoga Flow in a room that reaches up to 45 degrees Celsius and I can assure you, it is exercise for the body. I have never been in better shape than when I was practising yoga daily. It helps to tone muscle and burn fat and it works out your organs too. Check out this Instagram account to see just how strong yogis can be.
4. It eliminates toxins
I’m not a very sweaty person. I’ll maybe glow a little after a run. But hot yoga is something else. I mean, I basically become a different person. A person who is very very wet from head to toe. I know it sounds gross, but it’s so good for you to sweat out the stuff that your body retains. The room is hot and every pose sends my heart racing and I end up sweating out all the wine I’ve no doubt been drinking.
5. It forces me to think about what I’m eating
You may know that I am a big fan of food. I could easily eat a big buffet breakfast, followed by a 3 course lunch, followed by a 3 course dinner. With wine. But then I certainly won’t be able to go to a yoga class. In fact, on days when I know I’m going to yoga, I generally like to eat as light as possible. It’s really hard and gross trying to bend over and put your hands flat on the ground when you’ve had a big lunch. It forces me to drink more water, drink more veggie juice and keep meals light. And don’t even talk to me about eating anything with garlic in it…don’t want to know.
If you’re thinking about trying hot yoga, all I have to say is DO IT. The benefits are endless and once you get through the first class, it only gets better. I practise at YogaZone in Cape Town and I really like the studio. The teachers are nice and the vibe is positive and good.
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