Saturday, May 6, 2017

Things To Consider If You Want To Try Hot Yoga

As a part of my health track, I decided to try hot yoga. I have always liked doing yoga in my room with Yoga With Adriene videos, but I needed to step it up. A friend of mine has been helping me out with my healthy activity, and she was considering getting a membership to a local hot yoga studio. I had my hesitations. For one, my body doesn’t handle heat very well. I’m very susceptible to heat exhaustion, and I wasn’t sure if my ability was up to snuff. I tried it, loved it, and I got my own membership. These are my suggestions for anyone considering hot yoga.

1.       Try it first.
Like I said, I had hesitations about getting into hot yoga. Most workout places give potential members a chance to try it before they commit. I went with my friend and got a free class. I wanted to see if it was going to be too hot and if I could keep up with an actual class. Whatever your reason is, try a free class out first, and don’t feel obligated to buy a membership if you don’t like it.

2.       Bring a towel and LOTS of water.
I cannot stress this enough. I’m not super into this, so I don’t have that micro-something towel that every serious yogi seems to have. A small cotton hand towel has done me wonders. I always bring a towel because there is nothing worse than getting sweat in your eye. It also gives you a chance to step away from an exercise if need be. Also, make sure you bring water. I almost passed out a couple weeks ago because I was dehydrated.

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3.       Consider mirrors.
When you’re scoping out yoga studios, it’s important to consider mirrors. It seems so small, but it makes a big difference to me. I typically go to the studio that’s close to my house, and it’s big with huge mirrors on two sides of the walls. When I’m in that studio, I tend to feel more self-conscious and also judgemental of other people. That is a major faux-pas in yoga! The smaller studio does not have mirrors, so I find myself focusing on myself more. Yoga should be judgement-free, so do what you need to do to make that happen.

4.       Find a class you like.
If you do decide to get a membership, great! Try out as many classes as you like and pick one that makes you feel really good. I, personally, love a yang/yin class. The first half is tough and works you hard while the other half focuses on deep muscle stretching and relaxation. It’s the best of both worlds. I’m not a fan of power flow which is one long and tough sweat session. You may also find teachers you like in the process.

5.       Days will differ.
Just like any other workout, some days will be better than others. One day, you might be killing it with all the planking and take minimal breaks. The day after, you might need some extra time in child’s pose. Sometimes, you may feel like pushing it. Sometimes, you may need to stick to a simpler version of poses. All the instructors I have had been supportive of your ability and needs. Everyone is different, and you don’t need to catch up with the person next to you. If you find yourself getting frustrated, one of the things that helps me is knowing that your mind wants to give up before your body does. When I’m feeling disappointed in my efforts, this thought pushes me to go beyond my mindset.
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6.       Mantras are important.
Yoga has a distinctive spiritual element to it, but that’s not a prerequisite. However, I like setting mantras. Most of my instructors invite their students to set a mantra or intention for their practice. Personally, I love it. This doesn’t have to be intense or serious. My favourites in the past have been “I will return” and “I can do it.” I like having mantras because it starts your practice off in the right spot. I also come back to it when I have moments of frustration.

Overall, I have loved my experience with hot yoga. I find it to be emotional sometimes (I’ve cried twice during the final relaxation pose). Unfortunately, my membership will be expiring soon. I still plan on doing the $5 community classes when I can (another option if you don’t want to commit), but I think I’ll get an actual gym membership for the summer since I need the 24 hour flexibility with work. My final note is on the one thing everyone fears –farting in class. Have I done it? No. But, my body, WITHOUT fail will ALWAYS become gassy right before a class starts. I think half of my workout comes from holding it in. And that is okay, my friends.



-Daniella