Today I am excited about the beauty of getting completely, physically, tuckered out…red faced, sweaty and breathing loud.
Lol… I am talking about hot yoga people… sheesh (this is PG after all)!
This week I signed up for a first time only, one month unlimited pass at a local hot yoga studio. June 30th was my first class. After spending a lovely afternoon with my best friend and her new baby I was refreshed and determined to get to the 6:00pm hot yoga class. I manoeuvred my way through the ridiculous rush hour traffic to arrive by the skin of my teeth, sign the mandatory waiver form, change clothes with lightening speed, run into class, unroll my mat and throw myself down on my yoga mat to quickly centre myself before the class began. My observations unfolded as follows:
- ‘Holy crap this room is hot! Are we in a sauna?’.
- ‘We have barely begun and I am all red faced and sweating like crazy!’.
- ‘Why did I have to find a spot in front of the fat mirror? Damn! There is a mirror right beside me as well, really do not need that view today‘.
- ‘Wow, my left leg really does not appreciate that I am forcing it to balance my entire body weight today…hello peroneals, quadriceps and hamstrings, you need this.’
- Then there is the obligatory ‘Who is that super tall person? Oh yeah, right, that’s me…once again the tallest person in the room’.
- And after ‘Am loving how open my upper body feels, feeling the length of my spine, and that I am breathing more deeply…to be continued!’.
Why take hot yoga over ‘regular’ yoga (not in a hot room)? Though I am not a die hard student of yoga I have taken some classes over the years, purchasing some decent yoga videos to do at home when the funds are lacking or time is too short. What I love about yoga in general is that it focuses on the breath and the holding of a position – within your bodies ability. Yoga is a non-competitive activity (I have to keep reminding myself of that one) only requiring participants to work within their abilities and limits (which I find accelerates progress).
In our ever-busy lives we often forget about breathing…really, how many of you are consciously aware of how you breathe? Huh? Hmmmmm? Exactly – very few of us. For me, stress takes the breath right out of me. My shoulders sneak up to my shoulders, I get all hunched, and my breathing gets more and more shallow. Physiologically, this prevents the optimum intake of oxygen into our lungs, blood and ultimately to our brain – thus affecting how the amount of oxygen that is taken into our muscles and to the brain. In general – shallow breathing creates a less than optimum, inefficient state of body function (homeostasis).
Thankfully I had taken yoga before so the poses and movements we did in class that day were not entirely foreign, but I did notice that breathing deeply had become foreign to me. I couldn’t find that deep cleansing breath that is so needed, and appreciated, in yoga (and life). This resulted in my focus being external rather than directed internally.
But regular yoga focuses on breathing just as much, if not more than hot yoga…so again, why? why? WHY? At first glance it’s the hot room. It is truly like a sauna and you sweat your butt off. In the class I took the instructor was great, however I felt like the flow from one position to the next was different than what I have experienced in other yoga classes. It will be interesting to see if I miss this flow of movement after this introductory month. This probably relates back to my dance training, everything connects one to the next, a flow of movement.
The day after I am feeling a bit of soreness in my shoulders, thanks to the side plank pose…rrgh. And I am feeling it a bit in my back – but more so because my back tends to be a weak point for me in the first place.
Have scheduled my hot yoga into my handy dandy weekly planner, now let’s see if this month long commitment to myself can be kept! Stay tuned!