The Hot Yoga Experiment

Whilst I'm waiting for a long term treatment plan for my kidney, running is pretty much out of the question. Heavy cardio stresses my body too much and I'm more prone to infection, however no exercise at all is sending my mind into meltdown. GI'MEH DEM SWEET ENDORPHINS. I thought I'd try something a little more mellow. I have bought a 30 day pass with Hot Yoga Society that allows me access to any class, as much as I'd like, for, you guessed it, the next 30 days. I will be intermittently updating my blog - I won't be going everyday and each session won't necessarily be that eventful - for anyone that's always wanted to try Yoga, anyone who's curious about Hot Yoga in particular and for myself, to record how much 'progress' I can make in 30 days. 
Day 1 - Monday
The first thing people will tell you and most importantly SHOULD tell you is be prepared for the smell of a hot yoga studio. I've been to a few around London and it's the same in each. Although you should be warned ; don't worry, you get used to it pretty quick. The second is obvious ; it's hard to breathe in the heat. Breathing is such a huge part of the practice as it is, that adding the heat element might be too much if you're a total newbie. Maybe try a regular Yoga class before diving into hot.
I've done a little bit of both. Enough Yoga to understand what Savanassa and Chataranga means but not enough to put me leg behind me head. Enough Hot Yoga to know the right area of the room to place your mat so you're nearest the slight breeze that comes under the door. Heading into day 1 of my unlimited 30 days of Hot Yoga I was quietly confident I could at least survive the 90 minute class.
I only managed 45 minutes.
In all seriousness half an hour in and the room was spinning like I was 13 years old drunk on alcopops on the waltzers. I sat down for a couple of minutes and tried to steady myself and when that didn't work I nipped out of the studio into the corridor for some cool air. I went back in, cooler, calmer and ready to get going and all it took was one set to send the room whirling again.
Know your limits kids. Don't push yourself to injury or illness - it just isn't worth it. Do the best that you can do in that moment and adjust your goals accordingly, in line with YOU. Not what you think you need to do or how 'good' you think you need to be. 
I collected up my towel, put my mat away and next time I'll aim for 50 minutes. 
Day 2 - Wednesday 
Morning Yoga starts in London Bridge at 6.45am and from my little house in Tooting it takes me around 35-40 mins door to door to get there. Why don't I go to a studio closer to home? Hmmm tried a few and wasn't bowled over and The Hot Yoga Society's 'unlimited' packages are such good value for money without the usual pains of a yoga bargain you'll find elsewhere in London. I've done classes from vouchers on Groupon where there are so many of us crammed into a room you can't put your arms out beyond the edge of your mat and you're hitting other people when moving from pose to pose. The Hot Yoga Society is a big studio with limits on the amount of people per class. No getting slapped by your neighbour with a stray hand during transition! It's also only a 5 minute walk from London Bridge station which is half way my way to work anyway. I've been to places closer to home and further afield and some locations are too obscure to be practical or in such a busy area getting to work after a morning class would be impossible.
I wouldn't say I was 'happy' with the location though. A 6.45am class means setting my alarm for 5.30am and on average I go to bed at midnight. Yeyyy 5 and a half hours sleep! As you can imagine the desire to snooze my alarm and stay in bed, especially as day 1 was such a fail, is strong. 
I spent a good 5 minutes rationalising why I should stay in bed ; maybe hot yoga isn't for you? You couldn't even do the whole class last time, what's the point? You need this sleep more than you need the exercise. 
Everything I was telling myself is probably true - I could definitely do with more sleep - but jeez what a victim! In those first 5 minutes of my alarm or in the lead up to any run/gym session  I act like someone is FORCING me to do it. I justify and make excuses when the choice is mine in the first place. I choose exercise because for me ; healthy body equals healthy mind, my sleep quality is better after exercise, I like the physical changes I see after continued exercise, I love trying new things, I bloody paid for it in the first place and oh yea, IT'S FUN! 
I managed to get up, get to Yoga and give my second class all the energy I could muster. And guess what? With all the reasons WHY I chose to do this whirling around in my head I survived the whole class! 
Yep I could have stayed in bed a little while longer but the rewards were definitely worth it.
Day 3 - Friday
About 3/4 of the way through class this morning the teacher said :
'If you've been practicing a while you'll start to notice you drop the same poses every time, you might not like the pose, it might hurt or be uncomfortable but that's most likely the one you need'. 
She also said 'this will take work on your part. You will need to use a lot of willpower to change the course of your mind'.
Now I've been doing yoga 5 minutes so what she said didn't literally apply to me in that moment - I'm dropping poses left right and centre huffing and puffing like a bloody steam engine with a tomato face -but how easy would it be to take that little snippet and apply it to everyday life. 
I've been making a lot of changes for my happiness lately and that's meant breaking a lot old habits. What the yoga teacher really struck a cord with me because I often forget how far I've come, how different my life is now and that sometimes it gets painful or difficult - like a tough yoga pose - when I'm giving something up, but it's all worth it in the end. 
Don't be disheartened because something is going to be hard.
I bloody loved the first week of my Hot Yoga Experiment and although it's challenging - even in my third class I was still missing poses to breathe and regulate my heartbeat/sitting down because I felt dizzy - it's the most gorgeous feeling to focus on the session for 90 minutes with no distractions from the outside world and to center yourself before starting your day. 

Stay tuned for more updates on my Hot Yoga Experiment - until next time . .. Take Heart X 


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2 comments

  1. I love your honesty! I hear about people doing hot yoga and can just imagine myself keeling over! I'm not great with lots of heat. What your instructor said is such an interesting concept to apply to everyday life...

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    1. Thank you for having a read Naomi! Glad you enjoyed it sweet xx

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