Hot Yoga. What is all the fuss about?
It's been quite some time since my last update! It's getting closer to the big competition I'm aiming for in November - The Australian Salsa Solo. Training is going well, costumes are coming together, flights and accommodation are booked. Exciting, however I find I get quite stressed and end up exhausting myself around competition time so it was time to look at doing something relaxing..
Hot Yoga. Relaxing? You're kidding right? I'd heard a lot about Bikram and Hot Yoga through different friends (different styles of Yoga practiced in a room heated to mid to high 30’s which supposedly allows your body to sweat, open and transform). However amongst my friends there seemed to be a love/hate relationship going on with this practice - the struggle through class was ultimately rewarded with the immense lifted feeling and success of getting through the challenge. I'd been warned that it was physically and mentally demanding; that the most simple of yoga poses become difficult. Always one up for a challenge and the opportunity to try new things I decided I'd go along to a class.
I signed up for a class after work on Monday. 1 hour and 15 minutes locked in a room heated to the mid-30's. I struggle with sauna's - feeling claustrophobic isn't fun, but this studio was big and spacious and felt quite pleasant to walk into. The heat I would compare to arriving in humid Singapore off a flight from Melbourne! There were around 30 people in our class, our teacher was great, mixing humour through his calm words to keep the class uplifted and smiling. We began with 50 minutes worth of standing 'balancing poses' which I found quite achievable (albeit I wasn't doing like a master, but an enthusiastic amateur!) The main focus was always the breath - breathing through each pose into the next, trying to creating fluidity through the movements. Sometimes I found myself forgetting to breathe during the more difficult poses - this is something to work on next time. I can (and maybe you can too) really apply this breathing technique to my dancing - breathe, just breathe! My biggest problem within even the first 10 minutes of class was sweat! It teams off you and everyone around you! I found myself slipping on my yoga mat and started picturing myself face planting during one of these elegant upside down poses! Luckily I had been told to take a towel, which I quickly laid out on my mat. I also frequented my face towel I brought along too at the advice of my friends. The next 20 minutes was based on the floor, which to begin with I thought was easy until the teacher unleashed some nasty core burning poses, ouch! The final minutes were lying relaxed on our back (see there was relaxation in this story!) Time to absorb everything that you had just achieved, feeling the energy powering through every part of your body, letting the mind find its balance...
Overall now reflecting upon it, I really enjoyed it and think I'll be going back. I like these words I came across: Beauty is in Stillness and Yoga is practicing self love. Keeping focus is difficult, I got distracted by fixing my towel, getting frustrated falling out of a pose. Don't lose focus, stay calm, find the balance, trust and love your body. These things I can work on in Yoga, Dancing and in life generally!
Share your experience of Hot/Bikram style Yoga in our comments.