The calm before the storm
I am not a relaxed person. When someone tells me to find my “center,” I usually tell them to f*ck off. I don’t enjoy drum circles and meditating makes my back hurt. Walking into a yoga studio alone for the first time was daunting, not only because of my social anxiety but because I’ve simply never enjoyed yoga. As someone who is used to throwing weight around, getting chalk in my hair, and yelling obscenities to the heavens, yoga has always seemed a bit too soft for me.
It turns out that I’m an asshole because yoga is hardcore.
There are a handful of practices one can choose from. I opted for hot yoga. As I mentioned in a previous post, my joints are hypermobile and I have a few tears that I need to watch carefully. I’ve been instructed by doctors that I do not need more mobility, so anything that involves deep stretching is to be avoided. After talking with one of the trainers at the studio, she agreed that yin or any variation of that particular style of yoga would do me more harm than good; thus, I was introduced to the fiery, sweat-fueled style of yoga that focuses on holding your body in various poses. While there is some stretching that takes place, it was mainly in the areas that, per my doc’s orders, do require a good stretch from time to time (my hamstrings are straight up bitches).
Guys, I’m hooked. Hot yoga is my crack, and I am an addict. I was fearful that the room would be a bit too toasty for my liking, but hailing from South Florida, it just felt like I was exercising outdoors in June. Here’s the cool part: if you’re someone who just cannot get into traditional meditation, hot yoga is the perfect alternative. I found that I wasn’t able to let my mind wander at all. I had to be fully present the entire time because 1. It’s hot, so it’s important to focus on your breathing and on what’s going on with your body. 2. When you’re holding a certain pose, it’s much easier to break said pose if your mind begins to wander.
I’ve read countless articles stating that you shouldn’t use hot yoga as your only form of exercise; I agree. With that being said, I think it’s a fantastic addition to any workout regimen. There are days when I know my body is not about going to the gym. Swapping the gym out for hot yoga one to two times a week is a fantastic idea, especially if you have joint problems. What I enjoyed was that everything was incredibly easy to modify. There were some poses that my joints did not agree with (hello, camel pose), but the instructor offered up an array of modifications that proved to be very helpful. Bonus: we did some core work. Yay abs!
In terms of would I or would I not do this again? 10/10. I would absolutely do it again and will be purchasing a punch-card so I can get a few sessions in each month. This is a workout that is good for the body and the mind. I left the studio feeling relaxed, refreshed, and had a strong hankering for a green smoothie.
Have you given hot yoga a try? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments section below!
*Disclaimer: that photo of the inverted chick is not a photo of me. I feel like that’s a given, but it’s worth noting.