After years of inactivity, the feelings of sluggishness got too much, and so I have decided to start to do more physical activities. I know personally I feel so much calmer, saner and healthier when I do regular exercise. You can’t beat that feeling you get after a workout and a hot shower, when your muscles are feeling blissfully tired out.
That said, starting any fitness routine is always daunting. Safety first though – if you are overweight or have any health conditions, strains, pains or injuries, it’s always worth checking out with your GP prior to starting any regime.
I have always liked the idea of yoga, and I have actually done (non-hot) classes in the past, as well as following a couple of DVD’s at home, so although I would not class myself as a total beginner, it’s been a long time since I did any. I recently heard about Hot Yoga, which is exactly what it sounds like – Yoga, done in a heated (42 degrees) room. To say I recently heard of it makes it sound new fangled – it’s not by any means, and has been around for a few years. I am just a little behind the curve on this one…
I am a bit of a sceptic by nature, and initially I thought Hot Yoga sounded a wee bit gimmicky, but a bit of background reading, and a consultation with the wise people of twitter made me rethink. Apparently the heat is better for muscles, and enables you to get more out of your stretches, and recover faster afterwards. It also makes you sweat, which gives you that rosy glow, boosts circulation and metabolism and helps you to detoxify. I am still fifty-fifty on the whole detoxification thing, but the rest of it sounded good to me.
Of course, it was only after I booked in that I started to get The Fear. I imagined a class full of supple yummy-mummies, non of whom had ever known the acquaintance of a desert, all scantily clad and looking beautiful whilst I flapped about like a beached whale with rosacea in the background…
Having done my first class, and now looking forward to my next one, I am here to try to allay your fears. Here’s my guide to Hot Yoga for beginners.
All of the classes at the studio I go to are designed for people with all levels of flexibility. Obviously though, if your studio offers different levels, book in accordingly. There were poses I could do easily, and other poses I really struggled with. The good thing is, that’s fine – Yoga definitely lacks that horrible competitive edge that makes a lot of exercise classes so awful. In fact you’re positively urged to listen to your own body, and not push stretches further than you feel comfortable with. I’ve never liked the whole “No Pain, No Gain” ethos, and think it can lead to all sorts of aches, strains and injuries.
In terms of equipment, you’ll need a yoga mat, and a towel – I got my mat in Tesco for the princely sum of £5, although most places let you hire them for a small amount. I’d also recommend taking a bottle of water with you. And I cannot recommend making sure you drink PLENTY of water before going highly enough. I’d also suggest not going on a full stomach – the combination of heat, exercise and a full tummy may not have a good outcome.
Attire wise, wear clothing as tiny and tight as you feel comfortable in. In my case I wear knee length running tights, and a tank top. If you can, wear something fairly fitted, as it won’t get in the way when you’re stretching, and will wick the sweat away from your body so you feel more comfortable.
The room is hot, not sauna hot, more “Oooh, I’ve just stepped off the airplane on my summer holiday” hot. At first this feels pretty comfortable. And to be honest I was concentrating so much on doing the stretches properly, that it was only about half way through the class that I noticed how sweaty I actually was. There’s no nice way to put it. My clothes were pretty much saturated. But that’s fine, everyone else was too.
I was also happy to note that there were other people who needed to stop or come out of poses and lie down. So I definitely didn’t feel as much like a floundering whale as I expected to.
Afterwards, I felt tired, but in a lovely relaxing way. I also couldn’t wait to have a shower. Or to go back to my next class… I will master The Wheel. I will, I will, I will…
Have you tried Hot Yoga? What did you think about it?
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