Facing the Heat
Okay, so let's talk about the steaming elephant in the room (no, NOT you!). One of the top three questions that have been asked since opening up in June is, "Do you only offer HOT yoga?!" Given its name, it's probably no surprise that Emily's first studio is a hot studio. Her most fervent & primary desire is to share the amazing benefits of the 26 postures performed in a room heated to 105 degrees & 40% humidity. So let's just get that out of the way. Hot Yoga is the foundation upon which everything else at Hot26 is built. (But, yes, there will be an unheated room opening very soon!)
"But, that heat!" you say. "There's NO WAY I can do yoga in that heat!" Yes. Yes you can. Is it difficult? Yes. Will it challenge you? Yes. You will wobble. You will almost fall. A lot. You will also feel really, really uncomfortable. And, yes, you will sweat. BUT, will you go once & swear you're never coming back, only to find yourself inexplicably drawn back into the heat? It's quite likely. And, I'm willing to bet, that if you stick with it for at least a month and start to notice how that hot room is transforming both your body and your mind, how you're rising to the challenge & improving, even a tiny bit, each time you go, you'll become so addicted you won't be able imagine your life without it! So, today, let's cover some of the concerns most people have about hot yoga!
90 minutes in a 105-degree room, and all the while you have to meditate on your own body in the mirror, to strengthen your form and hold the postures. The mental focus involved is like nothing else I've ever encountered. -9 Things I Learned About Myself During My 30-Day Bikram Yoga Challenge
What I hear most when I talk with people about the heat is fear... mainly fear of being uncomfortable. Just standing in a 105 degree room is going to make you sweat, so, yes, doing the 26 postures of hot yoga while in the heated studio is going to make you sweat more, possibly more than you ever have in your life! But... so what?! Sweat won't kill you; it's just your body's way of cooling you off. Sweat is not dirty or gross; it's water. Yogi Tip: To assist your body's natural cooling process, resist the urge to wipe your sweat away! As a mental exercise, this is the universe challenging you to just let it be.
Speaking of water, guess what?! You can (and are encouraged to!) drink water in the hot studio to help keep your body hydrated during your hot yoga class. So sweating will not hurt you PLUS you won't die from dehydration! Be sure, though, to drink lots of water in the hours prior to the start of class so you go in fully hydrated. Also, you may want to replenish some of the trace minerals lost from sweating by adding them to your water after class while cooling down.
Two fears down... what's next? "I hate heat! I can't function when it's hot!" Me either! When it's hot outside, I'm miserable. I don't like doing yard work in the heat or sitting in the sun. BUT, when you're in a hot yoga studio, you aren't trying to "function" in the usual sense of the word. You're not pulling weeds, painting a house, hauling groceries or chasing kids around. In the hot room, you have one job & one job only: do the postures. It's actually very freeing. If your life is anything like mine, there are a million things you're asked to do all day, often all at once by multiple people! In the hot yoga room, you have one person asking you to do one thing, one at a time. Yes it's hot, yes you'll be sweaty, but the 60-90 minutes you spend attempting the 26 postures might also be the most focused & serene moments in your otherwise hectic day! So, let go of the fear, drink some water, embrace the sweat, and just step into the heat. Hope to see you on the mat! ~Michelle
Need more reassurance? Here's another great article that addresses common hot yoga fears!
Mariah practicing Standing Forehead to Knee (Dandayamana Janushirasana)
Photo: Michelle Buck Photography
Still not convinced? Below is a collection of information
about the benefits of practicing hot yoga:
The Physical Benefits of Hot Yoga - Scientific Studies
From Hell Bent: Obsession, Pain, and the Search for Something Like Transcendence in Competitive Hot Yoga: Hot yoga "... had brought a fundamental new idea to both exercise and physical therapy. By providing a shortcut to raising heart rate, the heat allows relatively simple movements--which almost everyone can engage in--to have much more potential cardiac benefits. Just as important, it allows muscles to relax in a deeper stretch, leading to more penetrating blood flow. From a rehabilitative standpoint, heat also induces a temporary analgesic effect. This allows people with chronic pain to exercise--often for the first time in years..."
From Bikram's Beginnning Yoga Class: "At first it will probably feel too hot. You may want to run out of the room for some cool air... After six months you will only notice the heat if the room isn't hot enough. Remember, yoga was developed in India, where every room is hot . In order to mimic Indian heat in the chilly West, especially for people who have never touched their toes or done a backward bend in their lives, we have to turn up the thermostat. The heat will initially serve to allow you to twist and stretch with less chance of injury... Eventually, you learn to generate your own heat and come to rely on it less for injury prevention than as a tool for enhancing flexibility and deepening an awareness of breath."
The Psychological Benefits of Hot Yoga -Scientific Studies
From 9 Things I Learned About Myself During My 30-Day Bikram Yoga Challenge: "90 minutes in a 105-degree room, and all the while you have to meditate on your own body in the mirror, to strengthen your form and hold the postures. The mental focus involved is like nothing else I've ever encountered. I can't explain it, but I found myself going 4 times a week... I felt more centered, naturally calmer, and it became easier to keep perspective about life in general. I felt... Happier. It became less of a chore to dull the noise of those unimportant things that can weigh on my mind- an affliction that I'm sure many of you can attest to. Fighting through my own mind in the hot room was great practice for fighting through my own unhealthy mantras in day to day life."
Three sweaty & beautiful ladies fresh out of hot yoga!