I had been tossing around the idea of trying hot yoga for some time. I would always see Groupons for places nearby, but didn’t jump on any of the deals. I didn’t feel like I had any extra time in my schedule for extra cross training. Luckily when summer arrived, a perk of being a teacher, I was able to find the time to try some classes. I bought a Groupon, a killer deal, for unlimited yoga for 2 months for only $45 dollars. I thought that was totally worth it even if I didn’t end up loving it.
The hot yoga place I am trying offers Bikram yoga classes. This kind of yoga is the same succession of 26 postures done in a 105 degreee, 40% humidity studio. The instructor describes the postures in extreme detail, but does not actively demonstrate them. This is not a problem if you place your mat behind the first row of students. This was you can see yourself in the mirror and at the same time you can watch those in the front row who are more experienced for a visual aide.
At my first class the instructor told me the main goal was to stay in the room for the entire 90 minute class and to try as many of the postures as best I could. Yeah, that’s right 90 freakin’ minutes. Staying in that room the duration of my fist class was the most difficult mental game I have ever had to play with myself. Seriously. Running a marathon was easier. I placed my mat near the door because I wanted the option to leave quickly if my anxiety became a factor. Another reason the first class was so challenging was becuase I was clueless about where I was in the sequence of 26 poses. I never knew when we were close to the end of class. 90 minutes in a million degree room is a mind-fuck if you don’t really know how much time has passed. I ended up staying the room the entire class time and trying each and every pose to the best of my ability. There were many people of different levels in the class so I didn’t feel too terrible that my poses were not as polished as compared to some of the other participants.
After experiencing my first Bikram hot yoga class I was ready to come back for more. I love a challenge. I always want the chance to improve, which yoga lends itself to very well. I imagine you can practice yoga for years and still make improvements each and every class. My second and third classes were evening classes. I still placed my ma toward the back of the room near the door. I’m not sure when or if I will feel comfortable enough to be closer to mirrors in the front of the room. I felt less anxious this time because I knew the progression and had practiced all the postures once before. This time I felt more comfortable going further into some of the stretches. I was also able to listen to the instructor more closely and hear suggestions that helped to improve my form.
3 classes and I am hooked. After each class I find that I feel super energized. I found on the days I do a morning class I do not get tired in the afternoons like I usually do. After my evening classes I was too energized to fall asleep at my usual 9:00 bedtime. I was even able to run on the same day as I participated in a yoga class. It is very low impact and keeps me limber after a hard run. And the really cool side effect is that it burns an enormous amount of calories. I calculated that I burn a little over 900 calories during one session. That’s the same as I do running! It has really given me a boost on my mini weight loss journey.
I couldn’t be more pleased with my experience. Hot yoga is definitely something I will keep in my cross training repertoire. I am even tempted to try out other types of hot yoga too.
Do you practice yoga or hot yoga? What kind?