Last summer, I signed up for hot yoga (after watching a ton of videos and reading a handful of reviews of course). I found a great deal on groupon for $25 bucks which included 8 full drop-in sessions at a Michigan Bikram Studio. Initially, I was nervous because I read about the intensity of the art and how most people struggle with adjusting the heat. However, I threw my yoga gear on and went anyway (AND LOVED IT).
If you are unfamiliar with this particular form of yoga, here is a brief run-down:
- Created by Bikram Choudhury in the 1970s in California
-Derived from traditional hatha techniques
- Consists of 90 minutes of practice, 26 poses and 2 breathing exercises
- Practice is done in a sealed studio, typically heated up to 105 degrees Fahrenheit (40% humidity)
So I know what you're thinking... 105 degrees?! Yes. 105 degrees. As bizzare as it may sound, it's not as bad as you may think it is. You will sweat your soul out, and you will need at least 1 liter of water and 2-3 towels. Oh, and a mat of course. One of the most frequent questions is "Why?". Well, here are 8 reasons why you too should try hot yoga!
1. Helps with balance and alignment: The 26 poses are designed to challenge every muscle and alignment. While doing these poses, it is important to breathe and focus on feeling the correct alignment of each pose. Engaging your core is critical when holding poses, (especially those that require you to stand on one leg). You may experience some soreness after each session due to your body readjusting to its proper alignment.
2. Allows you to de-stress and sleep better: Each and every time I complete a session, I feel refreshed and renewed. Every session gives you time to refocus and challenge yourself. Bikram Yoga has been scientifically proven to improve sleep and sense of well-being as well as jump start your detoxification process.
3. It's a GREAT workout: Keep in mind that you are burning calories without putting wear and tear on your body. You will feel your muscles being challenged and you will need a shower directly after!
4. Improves blood flow and digestion: Some of the 26 poses are specifically designed to promote healthy blood flow and digestion. You may feel some tingling and heavy breathing periods. No worries, your blood is flowing steady.
5. Allows you to gain more focus and control your breathing: If I have learned nothing else in yoga, it is to FOCUS ON YOUR OWN JOURNEY. This is always enforced in any yoga practice and I have found this to be beneficial for my life outside of the studio.
6. It's a journey that increases motivation: Once you see the growth in your practice, it makes you want to keep at it. I'm a pretty flexible individual but some of the poses can be difficult to master. However, every instructor that I have practiced with promotes positivity through each session and reminds us that "you WILL get there".
7. It teaches you valuable lessons. Some of the lessons I've learned in Bikram are:
- Focus on your own journey.
- Everything takes time, so be patient with yourself in all things
- Listen to your body and take time to nurture your spirit
-When tide gets high, get low. (similar to how you may feel when the heat is too overwhelming; you may lay down to better control your breathing and adjust)
For my Michigan Subscribers, Bikram Yoga Studios always offer discounts for students and free classes all year round for beginners! Also, feel free to browse Groupon for great deals on local hot yoga studios! As always, stay sweet, subscribe and share with friends for more posts like these!