Is a Summer Break from Hot Yoga Wise?

Most people who have tried hot yoga know the buzz those feel-good endorphins give you. But at this time of year, many of us have holidays to look forward to, which means an enforced a short break from hot yoga classes. Even if you’re not going away, when it’s really hot outside, it’s tempting to skip hot yoga for a few weeks, but is that wise?

The odd week off might even do your body good. When your body has been training hard, a short break (sometimes called a deload week) can allow the muscles time to recover and prevents your fitness level hitting a plateau.

Skip yoga class for a few weeks and you’ll soon notice a decline. If you’re not substituting something equally active, the time when you had perfect abs and everything felt easy can soon become a dim and distant memory. You’ll notice the decline in several areas, some physical and some mental.

If you’re relatively new to exercise, you may start to lose the motivation to keep fit, even though you know you really ought to for the sake of your future wellbeing. One missed week leads to two or three and before you know it, you’re back into old patterns of behaviour without your healthy yoga sessions.

Within just two weeks without exercise, your aerobic capacity starts to decline (this is your heart’s ability to pump blood around the body efficiently). It will take a little longer before you start losing your hard won muscle mass and strength, but in four to six weeks away from training, this too will start to decline. Older ladies tend to lose muscle mass at a faster rate.

The fitter you are, the more you will notice the decline, but the good news is that you will have a higher level of residual fitness than a beginner, having spent years laying firm fitness foundations down.

How to prevent this decline? That’s easy really. Plan your training year and devise strategies for coping with holidays. If you have to have a few weeks off, try and fit in a few high intensity short training sessions which will really get your blood circulating. For example, plan a couple of sessions which just use body weight exercises. Programme a timer into your phone with 20 seconds work and 10 seconds rest, repeating for four minutes, Tabata style, and you’re good to go. Better still, speak to us (or your hot yoga studio team) – we’ll plan a few sessions you can do anywhere, to tide you over.

Of course, we can’t replace the social connections and the laughter we have in class – for that you will need to hurry back! We’ll save you a mat space and you can be sure of a warm welcome.

If you’re soon off on a holiday adventure, travel safely and have a wonderful time! If you’ve just finished a break and feel ready to get back on track, check out our timetable and book a session.

Looking After Your Yoga Mat

There are lots of different yoga mats on the market and, although there’s no right or wrong selection, some will suit you better than others. Don’t leap into your purchase – just as it makes sense to audition your hot yoga studio, a little research beforehand will help you find a mat in your price range that suits your particular needs, preferences and style and suits your pocket.

Some mats have a lifetime guarantee but every mat will benefit from some care and attention to make sure it lasts the distance. Each type has a recommended treatment method to keep it in tip top condition – check the manufacturer’s instructions for details.

Hot yoga brings its own mat care requirements. In the lovely studio heat you will definitely find yourself sweating, which will leave a salty residue on your mat.

It’s may be tempting to leave your mat rolled up in the boot of the car and forget about it from one session to the next. But just as you can’t leave your gym kit rolled up in the back of the car from session to session and expect it to be fresh as a daisy for your next session, it’s the same for your mat.

We suggest that you get into the habit of washing the mat down after each use with warm water and a soft cloth, then leave it to dry naturally, unrolled. The minute or so it takes to do this will repay you, making sure the mat can do its job when you next practise.

There are plenty of commercial mat cleaning sprays on the market. Some of us make our own natural cleaner by shaking water and cider vinegar with a couple of drops of essential oils, such as lavender or tea tree oil. Before you use a commercial spray or your own blends, double check what your mat is made out of, and the care recommendations as some cleansers could affect the mat’s lifespan.

Hot yoga has extra requirements to factor in when choosing a mat. You’ll need a grippy mat to absorb the moisture and stop you sliding during the postures. One option for hot yoga is to opt for a mat towel to put over your mat. There are some good ones on the market with little gripers on one side to help stop you slipping and sliding. These are easy to clean too – most can go in the washing machine.

One way to put your investment in a yoga mat into perspective is to consider how much you are prepared to pay for trainers. After all, your yoga mat is your space – your oasis. Some people go so far as to think of it as their sanctuary: a place where they can leave all the stresses and strains of their daily life behind as they invest time and energy into creating a healthy body, mind and spirit.

Feel At Peace With Your Body With Our Fitness Magic

blond blonde hair casual fashion
Photo by Lukas Hartmann on Pexels.com

Some of our most popular posts have been about yoga and weight loss. We weren’t expecting that, but perhaps it’s not too surprising.

We are bombarded by images of the perfect body. Advertisers promise us the most amazing changes if we use their beauty product or follow a certain diet. It feels like nearly every  school fence or church hall has a banner advertising Slimmers World or Weight Watchers, all promising us miraculous results in quick time frames. It’s big business. Then think of all those Instagram and social media images spreading the myth that health = thinness, beauty = flawless and both of these = contentment.

To be body confident under a constant barrage of photoshopped pictures of super thin, blemish-free models is hard for us all, even the models used to sell us the idea.

We’re conscious that most images of people doing yoga show the poses done perfectly, gracefully, by well toned practitioners. But yoga is not just for super fit or super slim experts. It’s for everyone. You’ll see wobbly poses and natural bodies in our studio and we’re proud of that.

We write about health, fitness and well-being because we’re confident that activity holds the key to feeling better, not just in your body but in your life. Doing any form of yoga will tend to make you better balanced. As you become more aware of your body and widen its potential, you become more confident: more able to find a sense of joy in simply being you.

Our top tip is to find a workout you love, one you enjoy doing which gives that amazing sense of satisfaction each time you do it. We think of it as fitness magic. A lot of our clients come initially because they want to get fit or lose weight but once they’ve experienced our style of yoga, they come back because they love it. Their motivation changes from doing a dutiful exercise chore to loving how our style of yoga makes them feel.

Getting preocupied with the way you look and constantly feeling negative towards yourself is very draining. If you’d find it easier to share a list of niggles about your appearance or abilities than to share your good points, perhaps it’s time to change direction. Focusing on your positive attributes will pay dividends for your confidence and psyche.

Remind yourself how amazing you are. Try to be your own supportive best friend. Keep a happiness jar and fill it with twists of paper, each with a few words to remind you of things that made you smile, kindnesses given or received and achievements. Or treat yourself to a hot yoga session to put things into perspective, and help you find inner peace and outer strength.

We celebrate this recent post from the WordPress editorial team explaining about a new venture that will, over time, create more diverse free to use images featuring different body shapes and skin tones. We’ve used a picture from the Pexels library in this post. 

Studio Etiquette

Hot yoga studios differ, but these guidelines work well for us:

  • Be on time for class
  • Be prepared – for example, bring your favourite yoga mat and lots of water
  • Dress comfortably, choosing clothes that you can move freely in
  • Be kind and respectful
  • Be responsive to the cues of the session leader
  • Know when to be quiet
  • Be here with us totally – turn your phone on silent or leave it behind if you can
  • Be patient with yourself and others around you
  • Join in with the meditation – we think it’s an important part of the class
  • Use positive language – many studios are bad language free zones
  • Celebrate your own and your classmates’ achievements
  • Relax and enjoy!

 

Change Your Life for the Better with Exercise

The short term and long term benefits of exercise include:

  • Improving your mood with naturally produced dopamine and serotonin
  • Long lasting improvement in your brain functioning
  • Increased attention and focus
  • Quicker reaction times
  • Better memory function, including improved long-term memory
  • Stimulating the development of brand new brain cells
  • Reversing the cognitive decline from ageing

How much exercise should I aim for?

Experts suggest we exercise 3 to 4 times each week for at least 30 minutes, keeping our heart rates in the heart health zone. Just like your five (portions of fruit and vegetables) a day, your four (sessions of exercise) a week are designed to make sure your body gets the things it needs to work well.

The heart health zone helps you understand how hard you should train – pushing yourself enough to make a difference while keeping sufficiently below your maximum safe heartbeat rate.

Your personal recommended rate depends on your age and your current fitness level. Calculate your own heart rate training zone here.

What sort of exercise works best?

We believe in holistic exercise for mind, body and soul. Exercise sessions can and should make you feel happy, not just in the glow of achievement afterwards, but while you’re doing it.

We wouldn’t be without our regular hot yoga sessions, as the heat of the studio and intensity of the exercise helps us stay in our heart rate sweet spots. Any of your favourite sports and activities can count towards one of your four a week, providing the intensity is within your recommended zone.

22 Signs That You Should Be Doing Hot Yoga

  1. A really good, body and mind workout would be great but you don’t know how to fit it in a busy schedule
  2. You’ve heard a little about yoga and wonder what all the fuss is about
  3. You are struggling to justify buying that really nice pair of leggings you’ve seen
  4. Your current fitness regime is boring and you wish you could try something new
  5. You’d like to feel more in tune with your body and more at peace in your mind
  6. You think you ought to exercise more but don’t fancy doing it alone
  7. You love the heat and find a sauna invigorating
  8. You have a VERY stressful life or job
  9. Health and fitness seem like things other people are passionate about, not you
  10. You’re afraid you’re not bendy enough for yoga
  11. You enjoy the sense of well-being and adrenaline rush that exercise gives you
  12. You’re tired of feeling constantly tired
  13. You’ve tried several different ways to keep fit or lose weight, but have never found the right thing for you
  14. You have recently visited an elderly relative who has had a fall and don’t want to be in the same situation
  15. You find yourself always rushing from place to place and struggle to relax
  16. You secretly envy people who are strong, flexible and well balanced
  17. You’d prefer a holistic approach to keeping fit
  18. You’re happy to embrace who you are, but that doesn’t rule out being more active
  19. You wish you had more stamina
  20. Life is too serious and you want to have more fun
  21. Your best friend has taken up yoga and and you can’t help noticing she looks better for it
  22. You wish there was a simple way to feel better about your future

If two or more of these statements resonates with you, we believe you’d most likely benefit from Hot Yoga sessions. For more information on our classes, click here.

Changing Eating Habits

Old habits die hard!

Food shopping just a routine? Reaching for the same supersized sharing snack packs at the supermarket? Most of us are creatures of habit. We shop in the same places, have very similar shopping lists from week to week and usually cook very similar meals. To be honest, it works really well for most of us – with a busy life, it just makes things easier.

This becomes an issue when you decide you want to lose weight: your well stocked store cupboards full of favourite treats become a trap for the unwary. So when you make your cup of coffee, you automatically reach for the biscuits. One leads to two and then before you know it you’ve fairly mindlessly eaten an extra 300 calories. This wouldn’t be so bad but it leads to spikes and troughs in your sugar levels. Rather than making you feel satisfied, the next trough stimulates a need to eat something else equally as enticing!

If you’re serious about eating healthier, and perhaps even trying to lose some weight, a good place to start is to empty those store cupboards and change your usual treats for healthy alternatives. Start to think differently not just about your meals but about your overall lifestyle.

These are our top six tips for change:

  • Try not to skip breakfast – it fuels you for the day.
  • Plan your meals and, just as importantly, plan your snacks.
  • Think about portion size. Use scales for a while to measure out portions, then try to visualise the amount you need, not the amount you are used to.
  • Work out where your empty calories are coming from and replace them with healthy alternatives. For example, replace sweet biscuits with fruit, raw veggies or a small portion of healthy nuts.
  • Try to get enough quality sleep – it really helps keep you strong the next day.
  • Work out what will motivate you to stay on track.

It helps if you can identify your high risk situations and plan for them, for example, family meals out, or that all you can eat buffet. If you have a plan, you can make sure you don’t blow all your good work.

Be patient and kind with yourself. If you do end up having something from your list of foods to avoid, give yourself a break. It’s just one slip: all is not lost.

Above all, see this as a life change, not a diet. Reprogramme yourself to enjoy your new style of eating so it becomes less of a chore, and more of a lifestyle choice.

To help prevent relapse and make sure you maintain progress, share your journey with a friend or family member who can encourage you to stay with it. They’ll celebrate those moments with you when you get into that item of clothing you’ve always loved but not been able to wear for years, safe in the knowledge that it will also be back in fashion!

Yoga Quotes

Frog in a yoga position surrounded by purple and yellow flowers

If you’ve been following the blog during our first few months, you’ll have realised that we’re passionate about all aspects of yoga. We believe it can change your body, mind and spirit for the better.

We’re glad to be part of a worldwide family of yoga lovers that includes expert practitioners, novices and people who just like the idea (our picture of the stone frog in violas was taken at Petals from the Past, in Alabama). The yoga community is chock-full of characterful, inspirational people. Today we’re sharing a few of our favourite quotes from other lovers of yoga about the power it has to transform lives.

§

Yoga is a powerful vehicle for change. As you build strength you start to believe in your own potential.

– Tiffany Cruikshank

§

True yoga is not about the shape of your body, but the shape of your life. Yoga is not to be performed; yoga is to be lived. Yoga doesn’t care about what you have been; yoga cares about the person you are becoming.

– Aadil Palkhivala

§

The body benefits from movement, and the mind benefits from stillness.

– Sakyong Mipham

§

Yoga allows you to rediscover a sense of wholeness in your life, where you do not feel like you are constantly trying to fit broken pieces together.

Yoga is a light which once lit, will never dim. The better your practice the brighter your flame.

– B.K.S. Iyengar

§

When you listen to yourself, everything comes naturally. It comes from inside, like a kind of will to do something. Try to be sensitive. That is yoga.

–Petri Räisänen

§

Yoga is not a religion. It is a science: science of well-being, science of youthfulness, science of integrating body, mind and soul.

Exercises are like prose, whereas yoga is the poetry of movements. Once you understand the grammar of yoga, you can write your poetry of movements.

– Amit Ray

§

Yoga, as a way of life and a philosophy, can be practiced by anyone with inclination to undertake it, for yoga belongs to humanity as a whole. It is not the property of any one group or any one individual, but can be followed by any and all, in any corner of the globe, regardless of class, creed or religion.

– Sri Krishna Pattabhi Jois

§

If you’re curious to explore whether yoga can help you achieve your goals, check out some of our most popular posts or dip your toe in the water by booking an introductory session, either with us in Lancashire or at your local studio.