My Hot Yoga Experience
Katie Bryan / January 27, 2013 - 3:07pm
One year ago, I left for the land Down Under. Today, I went to hot yoga.
And while there may not seem to be a correlation between these two places, heat scorching above 40 degrees celsius would prove contrary.
I decided to do hot yoga to soothe not only my cold body from the frigid temperatures here in Toronto and my broken heart from the fact that I would not be escaping this winter to live in Australia, but also for a relaxing evening workout. And that's where I was wrong. This hot yoga was far from a lie-down-palms-up-nature-music-playing-breathe-in-through-your-nose-and-out-through-your-mouth yoga I am used to. In fact, it was quite the opposite, and I loved it.
There was no relaxing music involved, but instead an Indian man directing the class in traditional language. I was directed into poses that were way outside my comfort zone, including what I now know as Awkward Pose, Balancing Stick, Eagle Pose and about 23 others.
After a solid hour of constant switching positions and little relaxation, I finally had the opportunity to lie on my back with my palms to in the air and I reflected on the class I had just experienced. I thought about how I was close to fainting on a few occasions because of the heat, I thought of how hard I pushed myself into positions that I was not normally comfortable with, but most of all, I thought about how great I felt.
It became clear to me why so many professional athletes, including fighters, incorporate hot yoga into their training regimes. Hot yoga balances out a normally high-impact workout series. It still requires strength and conditioning, but doesn't wear the body down like sparring and weight training can. Hot yoga is also great for rejuvenating the mind. In a sport like fighting that requires so much mental preparation, having a clear and focused mind is key.
The immense amount of sweating (and I mean to a point that I was slipping on my mat) was so cleansing for the body and for the mind. I also felt this form of yoga was a lot more physically challenging, which gave me an intense workout, as well as a great muscle stretch. After it was all said and done, while I rang out my cloths of perspiration, I had a minor epiphany that there is nothing I've experienced similar to hot yoga. It is a form of exercise with no equivalent or replacement.
While I am not booking myself to a yoga retreat in India anytime soon, I do look forward to next week's class.