Have you ever put on workout clothes in the morning with every intention to work out only to find yourself at the end of the day, drinking that glass of wine, having earned none of those extra calories? Us, too. It’s easy to get caught up in the madness of the day with work, errands, family, and social obligations. With all that is going on, fitness gets put on the back burner regardless of good intentions. Then there’s the thought of entering a gym alone, overwhelmed by the aggressive weight lifting, doing your best to stay on that treadmill for more than 20 minutes – well, it’s enough to keep you from even wanting to try.
So, have you ever considered hot yoga? The class is consistent. You practice the same 26 poses in a heated room for 60-90 minutes. You walk in knowing exactly what to expect and walk out drenched in sweat feeling the happy glow of accomplishment. Unlike other yoga practices, hot yoga gives you the sense that you’re achieving your fitness goals faster. The heat gets your heart rate up quickly; you feel your muscles loosening with each passing minute, and the alarming amount of sweat coming off your body makes you feel like you really did some work. Here are a few things you can expect to experience in terms of benefits, regardless of your fitness level, by going to hot yoga regularly:
Glowing euphoria post class? Check. Due to the heat, the increase in blood flow throughout the body gives you a boost from the inside out. When we are warm, the rapid blood circulation not only runs through the muscles and ligaments to help with stretching and increasing your flexibility, the heat and steam/sweat hydrates your skin giving it that moist and healthy glow. Just be sure not to push yourself too far, injuries are common in hot yoga because the heat can make you accidentally go beyond your body’s natural limits.
After class, you might feel like you’re walking a bit taller or that your spine is straighter. By doing the same poses each class, your practice becomes methodical. You can really see improvements in your endurance and balance. Practicing balance is as much a mental game as it is physical. When you push yourself in both areas, those intentions and focus go beyond class and into your daily life. You’ll find yourself feeling more stable and able to manage your stress more effectively.
Yoga teaches you to be aware, be conscious, and be present. And, let’s be honest, there’s nothing like attempting to do Eagle pose in a 105 degree room, squeezing every limb and crevice you can think of to not end up crumpled on the person’s mat next to you to make you feel aware, conscious and present of everything happening in your body. But, in all seriousness, when you’re in the room, you let go of your daily to-do’s, the challenging boss who stresses you out and how you’ve gone over your budget this month on home décor. You are there. And have to put all your focus on the breath in your lungs and the strength in your limbs. You simplify to the necessities, not thinking about what happened or what you have to do. You can just be and it’s refreshing.
No matter how good or bad you think you are at yoga, there are always varying levels of expertise. Each class offers a diverse environment with people from all walks of life doing the same thing you are doing. It’s great to look around a room and see you’re not the only one seeking health, solace, serenity, or a good challenge. Pushing yourself alongside others is a very easy way to meet someone outside your general circle of friends. Opening your heart and mind to the possibility of a new friendship, even if just in the context of yoga camaraderie, you’re sure to find the bond of a yoga community is real and can offer added value to your practice.
So, did we convince you? Do you feel like trying hot yoga is worth the hot mess you’ll look like after class? We hope so. And if not, you’re still in luck! The Tree of Life Wellness Center offers much more than just hot yoga. From Gentle/Restorative yoga, prenatal and postnatal yoga, to pilates or barre classes, you’ll be hard-pressed not to find something that works for you. Specialty classes for those with existing health issues are available periodically as well. Additionally, lifestyle counseling is available with Life Coach Dr. Cameron Brown for those looking to improve their overall quality of life. May your chakra/spirit/heart/sports bra guide you to finding the best class for your fitness journey. Sign up today and namaste, people!