Adventures in Yoga | Hot Yoga

So as I've continued my yoga adventure, I decided to try "hot yoga." The thing with 'hot yoga' is that you practice in a studio where the temp is between 95 and 105 degrees.  My understanding is that the heat is supposed to warm your muscles making it easier to stretch and that the sweat is detoxifying.

I was a little nervous because any time I asked about "hot yoga" to people who have been practicing yoga in a different discipline for awhile, I got mixed responses and always a hesitation before answering.  Even Yoga Journal--a publication I really enjoy--has an articled called Yoga's Bad Boy about Bikram Choudhury--the man who started hot yoga. So, as you might imagine, I was a little nervous about it. (Mostly that someone else would get their sweat on me...eeew.)

My adventure began when my home studio had to cancel early AM classes because Craig-the-Yoga-Artist moved away and Florida is too long of a drive for an AM commute. Heather-the-Hippie-Chick helped me design a home practice, but I found I really missed the energy of having a teacher and other students. Sooooo...I started looking at alternate studios in a radius where I could pull off drivetime, an hour class, and making it to work on time.  I only found one...and it is a hot yoga studio.  A Living Social coupon sealed the deal on a test drive.

The instructor warned me at the outset that I would feel dizzy or even sick during the first few classes and should drop into child's pose when that happened.  (She was right.)  Here are some other things I wish I'd been told at the outset:

1. Drink a lot of water about 45 minutes BEFORE class. And count on doubling your fluid intake on a day when you take a class.

2. A yoga towel to lay on your mat is standard equipment. (And they are expensive.)  If not, you will slip making even easy poses threatening.

3. The detox thing isn't just physical, it is emotional too.  (I had to Google to find this out, but apparently when you first start practicing, any emotional tension being held in your muscles gets released and you can expect bursts of anger or tears.) 

4. Add an electrolyte supplement to your vitamin regime. I like Trace Minerals - 40 000 Volts which you add to water or juice creating your own Gatorade without the dyes or sugar.

Though the experience has been very different to the studio I love, I'm committed to finishing my 20-class test drive and then will make a decision from there.  There is a lot to like about the studio:  class schedule, easy check-in with a barcode on my keyring, unlimited monthly pricing, location, instructors who seem to genuinely care...if only they would drop the temp about 20 degrees...

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Maira Gall