Whenever I have some time off work (which is practically never – if I have time away from my three day a week job heading up the comms for a tourism association then I’m doing client work for food and drink/hospitality/lifestyle clients and being on top of my teenage son’s studying schedule…), I like to totally immerse myself in the world of yoga.
I am so busy constantly that this translates to total inconsistency in my yoga practice. It’s like taking one step forward, two steps back, a bit of a stiff legged downward dog and a falling over frozen cartwheel to the side.
So, I decided to commit to doing seven days in a row to see how my practice progressed and find out how I would look and feel after it. I hadn’t really counted on how I would feel during it. These are things you don’t always tend to think about during a challenge – we focus too much on the ‘after’, the ‘whoop I did it’ feeling.
Many people in the yoga studio I go to do 30 day hot yoga challenges, and find the time every day to commit to heading down to the studio, do their hour or 90 minute practice and step back into the world like a magical floating unicorn. I could never commit to the 30 days because I just have too much on, but seven days seemed dooable.
The thing with hot yoga is, the more you go the more enjoyable and easier it becomes. It is tough, there’s not question about it. You’re moving from posture to posture in a room heated to 40 degrees Celsius – to get through a class requires a lot of determination, stamina and focus, but that’s where the magic lies.
Having an hour or 90 minutes out of ‘life’ is the equivalent of checking into a spa for your mind, body and soul. Your body is well and truly switched on, but your mind gets a total break from reality, the problems and stress of life, worrying what to make for dinner, what bills need to be paid, the ‘to do’ list – it all just evaporates into thin air because your mind is focussed totally on moving and holding postures.
The sequence is a complete mind/body connection. After the savasanah at the end of the class, you leave feeling refreshed, revitalised and despite being soaked in sweat, you feel pure and clean. The post hot yoga sleep is incredible.
Doing that for a week is one of the best things I have ever done for myself. I shed some pounds, felt lighter generally in my spirit, 100% focussed in everything I was doing, calm, positive and my skin was radiant. Sweating out the toxins is part of the benefit of hot yoga but really, I do it for what it does for my mind and of course my body. I want to look good and feel good and hot yoga is my ‘go to’ to make that happen.
I can’t go seven days a week every week but if I can get three sessions in, that works for me. I feel like I’m topping up my calm-ometer; clearing out the junk from my head, like deleting files from a computer and my body feels and looks stronger.
I’ve been practising hot yoga for over two years now. I just wish I had found it in my 20s and 30s and would have maybe been a less stressy, more easy going person but hey, you can’t turn the clock back and I believe that the universe has a bit of a plan for us all anyway, so maybe I was just supposed to experience different things in life back then.
Like anything in life that requires a bit of effort, it’s so easy to let it slip and when I’m feeling like flopping on the sofa after a long day and a load of stress, I remind myself that I never, ever leave the yoga studio feeling worse than I did when I got there, in fact, I usually feel about 10 times better.