To Sweat or Not to Sweat: Hot Yoga

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It’s Saturday morning, your best friend calls you up and wakes up from your slumber and states, “Hey! Are you awake? I am thinking about hitting up a hot yoga class at noon, do you want to join me?”

Do you…

A: Instantly cringe and tell her she’s crazy while simultaneously hanging up and going back to sleep.

B: Laugh and tell her another time. Hey, it’s Saturday morning and you’ve had early wake up calls all week, you deserve to sleep in!

C: Say yes without realizing what you said agreed to and contemplate ways to tell her you can’t go anymore.

D: “Sure!” Then immediately jolt out of bed and begin your warm up stretches.

If you answered “Yes!” to A – C, then you are not alone and make up a surefire 80% of the population, who knew! With that being said, I figured why not try it out myself and see what all the hype is about, or lack thereof.

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Bikram Yoga, defined as a type of hatha yoga characterized by a set series of postures and breathing exercises, performed in a room heated to a very high temperature, popularly known as hot yoga. Let me break it down for you, basically you go inside a room and perform yoga poses directed by your instructor but perform them in 80 degree heat, no fresh air and no fans. Sounds like hell doesn’t it? Yoga is not for everyone and never mind the idea of practicing it in stiff heat, but there are NUMEROUS yogis out there who swear by its’ benefits and highly recommend the practice.
Benefits:

Detoxification

Elevates the heart rate (allowing the body to work harder)

Strength, Flexibility and Tone

Relaxes the body

Improves breathing

Focuses the mind

As you can see, it does the body good.

Let me bring you all back to last year, I went for the first time at a local yoga studio in Sacramento called Purely Hot Yoga, with Lily. As first timers, we did not know what to expect and were blown away by the entire experience. We were in the studio for a total of 80 minutes, surrounded by 25 people in one room, all facing a mirror and lounging on our yoga mats. We were instructed to bring plenty of water, our own yoga mat, loose attire, and a towel…because baby we were going to SWEAT.

Fast forward an hour and a half later, Lily and I had a difficult time distinguishing if we died and came back to life once we got a lick of fresh air, or if we truly and utterly hated it. I don’t want to lie to my readers and tell you all that it was the most amazing experience of my life and I am a changed person, blah, blah blah. That would be wrong.

What I will admit to you is that it was hard, long, and it was difficult to stay patient during the process. You sweat and in places you never thought you could sweat before. Beads of glistening sweat on your ankles, knees, wrists, and every other inch of your body. For moments at a time you do feel like you’re going to pass out but periodically, an employee opens the door a few inches to let some cool air through, (I have never loved a stranger more in my life). The air in the room is THICK and heavy as we all try to form our bodies into sun salutations.

Looked similar to this:

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The best thing Lily and I could do as we crawled (dramatic) out of the studio was laugh maniacally and shake our heads in disbelief.

But with all that being said… the experience was really not that bad.

The classes are built for all stages (beginner, intermediate, and advance), the instructors are friendly, helpful and the chillest yogis I have ever met. And finally, through all the literal sweat, tears, and hallucinations, you make it out alive and feel a moment of serenity. It has some strange way of relaxing you and making you feel light, even though you have produced enough sweat to fill an Olympic pool. As a newbie you cannot take this activity lightly, you need to be patient, clear your mind, and let loose…you’re not being tested on how well you twist your body.

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Below are my biggest tips to newbies that I wish I knew before:

Bring TONS of water, I am talking to 32oz Hydro Flasks

Bring TWO small towels, to lay down on the mat so you do not slip from your own sweat and another to wipe off the same sweat from your forehead.

Bring your own mat, they supply some for the forgetful yogis but it’s better to have your own.

Do not try to compete with those around you, work at your own steady pace to truly enjoy the experience.

Fast forward to now…

I have not been back since, but recently I have felt the urge to go back and give it another shot so my dearest cousin and I are giving it a shot together. She has never done it before and I have warned her of the experience but she hasn’t backed down yet. Perhaps this experience will be different for me, maybe I’ll make it a regular thing?

Stay Tuned. Sprightly readers!

 

 

 

 

Photo Credits: Bare Feet Power Yoga

Photo Credits: Pinterest

Photo Credits: Fat Girl Fit

 

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