Five Things We Love About Hot Yoga Classes

The heat

Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? In your first few classes, the heat may not seem like the blessing it is. Before long, you’ll find yourself loving the heat and enjoying (perhaps even craving) its effects on the body.

Learning control

All forms of yoga emphasise mind and body working smoothly together. Hot Yoga is self-paced, so we are always in control, learning to sense when we can push and when we should rest. As you maintain the hold in a challenging position you never imagined you’d do, you’ll feel how much stronger and better balanced your body has become.

The energy

In our demanding world where energy is a precious resource, it’s good to be able to recharge. The less we do, the less we feel like doing. It’s so easy to fall into bad habits with the best intentions. Exercise turns this negative cycle on its head because the more energy we expend through exercise, the more our bodies can do over time.

Camaraderie

Many people think of yoga as a solitary, serious exercise, but in a class, it’s far from that. An inspirational teacher passes her energy and enthusiasm on to students, and in turn, they help boost each other.

The afterglow

After a good hot yoga session, you’ll feel the same buzz of collective achievement you experience with team sports. Ever watched the winning football team at the end of the Champions League final jumping up and down together holding the cup? Expect that kind of feeling – not so intense, of course, but every time – you’re never on the losing team with yoga.

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

Had a great workout where you pushed yourself further than before? Got back to yoga class after a holiday?

You may feel some muscle soreness the next day or even the day. However fit you are, if you do that bit more exercise than you are used to, or a different form of exercise, it can leave you with DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). This is a normal response to exercise: some people view it as a really good sign that your muscles are growing stronger and you are getting fitter.

When your muscles work harder one of the short-term effects of exercise are small, microscopic tears to the muscle fibres and this is what causes the stiffness or soreness to occur. If you are new to exercising try not to let this put you off going again. Think of it as a key part in your body adapting to the new challenges: you will grow stronger and fitter as your muscles recover.

DOMS is different from the pain caused by a sprain or strain or any other type of injury you might experience whilst exercising. Any acute or sudden pain is a signal for you to stop what you are doing and get it checked out by a medical practitioner. Equally, if you experience heavy swelling, or your urine becomes dark it is a sign you need to get urgent help and advice. These complications are most often associated with high intensity exercise.

To avoid experiencing DOMS after a yoga session, start slowly and build up gradually, allowing your body time to adapt and change to meet your new activities. Exercising in our lovely warm studio after an energizing warm up should also help to reduce the risk of any muscle soreness the day after.

The good news is that the next time you come to class your body will have adapted and be ready to meet the challenges of your yoga session and there will be much less soreness and you will recover much quicker.  The more often you come the fitter you will get.

Please consult your doctor before making changes to your lifestyle such as going on a diet or embarking on an exercise programme. If you are at all worried, make sure you consult your health practitioner. 

Yoga-in-winter

 

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.

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. 

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.

Crescent Lunge – What a Bind!

This fantastic stretch is technically a bound revolved crescent lunge. As you can see from the picture, the bottom hand reaches underneath to link with your other hand to really take the challenge of this pose to the next level. Your drishti or gaze can be down to the earth, facing forward or over your top shoulder.

It’s an amazingly satisfying posture to get into. Though it might not appear so at first glance, this pose opens your heart, stretches and elongates the spine and expands your chest to allow you to fill your lungs.

Part of the challenge in this pose is the strength and balance you need in your legs to be able to create a really stable base. Can’t quite reach? Not a problem! We’ll find a modification that is right for you, for example, by using yoga props or lowering to one knee.

Before you know it, you will find yourself in Parivrtta Baddha Anjaneyasana which is the Sanskrit name for this lovely posture – hope you enjoy it as much as we do! (Anjaneya means praise or salutation)

Practising Yoga Safely

This pose can help develop your fitness, but we always recommend that you work with a great yoga teacher if you want to attempt postures like this and many others we’ll mention on the blog. Your teacher should have the expertise to support and guide you and recommend safe postures for your body and experience level, and – just as importantly – to check your alignment once you are in pose. 

Restore your Composure with Pose of the Child

This restorative pose is perfect way to manage the hot conditions in our studio. It is our go-to resting position for those moments when we need to relax after some of the more demanding poses to help us regain our composure. It’s a great posture for relieving the stresses and strains that can build up in our bodies not just during the class, but from the day as a whole.

  • It gently releases the tension in your lower back
  • Extended child’s pose alleviates tension in the shoulders
  • It allows your parasympathetic nervous system to kick into gear
  • With wide knees, as in our picture above, it’s great for the hip flexors
  • It slows and calms the mind, especially with the forehead resting on the third eye

Many of us have busy everyday lives, juggling tasks and responsibilities and it can be tempting to try and push ourselves constantly throughout the day both physically and mentally. This pose is perfect for creating a balance, allowing the mind to clear while the body relaxes and recovers.

In order to get yourself into balasana (child’s pose), kneel down, sit back on your heels, and inhale as you lengthen your spine. As you breath out, fold from your hips and rest your head on the floor. Use a block for support if you find it more comfortable. You can then either place your arms by your sides with your palms facing upwards or extend your arms for a lovely shoulder stretch. Breathe evenly into the pose and enjoy the sense of release it brings as you finally have the time and space to calm and free your mind whilst relaxing your body.

Please consult your doctor before making changes to your lifestyle such as embarking on an exercise programme.