Sweat…sweaty…sweatiness…bathed in sweat.
That pretty much sums up Hot Yoga for me…literally dripping with sweat within the first 15 minutes. It – is – absolutely- fabulous. One of the things I miss about ballet training is the feeling of complete, utter, physical exhaustion and being completely drenched in sweat. Hot yoga completely fills that void.
Much has changed since the last entry on my yoga experience. As of today I have attended 9 classes with varying instructors, each experience/practice becoming more challenging than the last. The first class things felt a bit familiar but my body felt like a giant knot. After the third class I felt strength increasing in my arms, shoulders and back. The fourth class – felt like I got my yoga groove back! In that past few years I’ve developed minor knee pains the creep in from time to time, so doing things like the elliptical trainer, running, and grande plié [like a deep knee bend – but balletically] really do not make my knees happy anymore. After 9 classes – essentially no knee pain. Whoo hoo!
Physically I have noticed that my skin has changed (they say that sweating out the toxins improves your skin). After all those downward dogs (especially in the 90 min. classes) my upper back feels stronger and I am less slouchy in my posture overall (very bad habit of mine – too much computer work). On the days I take class (and following night) I sleep like a baby and feel great the next morning. For the past week I have had a bit of a cold and have kept going to classes, having a good sweat really helped to kick the fever out and is helping to keep the ‘muck’ moving (hence not settling into my chest or sinuses, yay!).
One of my challenges has been letting go of my ‘ballet brain’ and the expectation to do everything perfectly. Competitiveness is part of that creature as well so there has also been the issue of doing poses better than the person/s next to me. Only recently have I felt that I have been able to let these habits go and focus on what my body needs, to focus internally. Finding that place I am able to sense where adjustments need to be made and an openness to suggestions made by the instructors as well. Plagued with body image issues (all that dancing in form-fitting clothes, criticism, exceedingly high expectations of others and myself, and then there is that damn inescapable wall of mirrors), it is hard to escape sometimes [I could go on, but I think that’s another post for another day], however over these past weeks I have noticed that my focus is turned more inwards with every class. It seems like the newbies come to class in pairs (safety in numbers) and then chit-chat during class, this can be frustrating for those of us next to them. Perhaps its the first day jitters, but it seems that not everyone is comfortable with the silence and the stillness it brings to our bodies (and to the room…). Me, I love the stillness and silence.
In a nutshell, I am completely addicted! Moksha has these 30 day challenges where you pay a flat fee and then you can take as many classes as you like (or can) in that 30 days. They throw in some fun events, t-shirts, etc. to up the value and build community(and to get you firmly addicted to their studio and classes). The challenge begins this monday and I am completely pumped to be joining in!
Do I recommend this experience to anyone else? Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes! The only caveat is that if you haven’t taken yoga before it may take you a few classes to understand the poses and breathing. But, if you stick with it and ask questions of your instructors you will no doubt see and feel results fairly quickly. A good studio will take the time to walk you through things for the first few classes (Moksha Yoga studios are excellent!).
Wish me luck in my month-long challenge and stay tuned for more yoga inspired posts!
Images: Google Images.