I don’t know what I would do without yoga.
Yoga has improved my life in so many ways. It has made me feel better about my self both physically and mentally. It has helped me remain calm in situations where I want to tear my hair out. It makes me feel grounded, and connected to the world around me. I’m not religious, but when I’m in a yoga class, I feel spiritual and connected to some kind of outer force. I’ve never really had much religion in my life growing up, so doing yoga is a way for me to connect to that superior being that many people refer to. It doesn’t matter what crappy things happened that day or what I’m worrying about for the next day; it all just goes away and the only thing I care about is going deeper in my Warrior 2. This is why I always tell people to try out yoga, even if they think they will hate it. It does take time to get used to, and a consistent practice is so important. Yoga is not a competition, and it’s not like other types of exercise. It takes true dedication and trusting that your body will improve over time. I’ve been doing yoga for about 4 years now, and I still struggle sometimes to get into a pigeon pose or maintain my balance in tree. Every day is different, and every day your body may feel different. I love yoga so much because there is no stress. It’s just about doing the best you can do and not even thinking about it.
I enjoy hot yoga over other types because I like leaving feeling sweaty and accomplished. I feel rejuvenated and like a new person when I leave a hot yoga class because I have “detoxed” all the impurities and pent up stress/emotions from the day.
Benefits of heated yoga include:
- The heat allows for added flexibility
- The heat forces you to breathe constantly and take deep, long breaths (if you don’t breathe…you may pass out…not good)
- Sweating expels toxins, and improves blood circulation
- Sweating is amazing for your skin because it opens up the pores and allows bacteria to exit
- It burns a ton of calories
Tips I have found that may be helpful for those new to hot yoga:
- DRINK WATER BEFORE! You may think that you only need to drink water after a hot yoga session, but this mindset is false and can be dangerous. You should start drinking a lot of water before going to hot yoga because the body loses A LOT of water from the class, particularly if it is a 90 minute long class. Make sure to hydrate hours before class. Drinking coconut water before or after class is great as well.
- Invest in a YogiToe or bring some cash to rent one. YogiToes are non-slip towels, and hot yoga is much more difficult without them because your feet will be slipping all over the mat. YogiToes also come in a range of different colors and patterns, which make them super fun.
- Don’t get intimidated by the people around you. Try not to focus on what other people are doing, and instead, listen to the instructor and focus on your breathing. If you are watching other people the whole time and comparing yourself to them, the experience will likely not be very rewarding. Remember, it is not about what other people can do. It is about what you can do, and what you are capable of in the moment.
- Only do what feels comfortable and good. In general, doing yoga should feel good. It should not feel painful. There are always modifications available. For example, if you are struggling in Crescent Lunge, you can lower a knee to modify. Never try to do push your body past it’s limit. Forget your ego and ignore that inner voice that always tells you that you need to do more.
- Always stay for the Savasana. This is the part at the end of the class where you lay flat on your mat and do nothing. It sounds simple, but for many people, this is the most difficult part of the class. This part is so important because you have time to let all the heat and energy you just built up in your body settle, and you can just relax and even meditate.
Whether or not you do hot yoga, I think anyone can benefit from incorporating some yoga into their life. Not only are there countless physical benefits, but doing yoga can help with mental clarity and spiritual well-being. Namaste 🙂