But I’m Not Flexible!

If you don’t feel your body is flexible, hot yoga is definitely what you need to be doing. Why? It’s simple. Hot yoga will improve your flexibility. Being flexible will keep you fit and healthy and significantly reduce your risk of injuries.

Flexibility refers to the range of movement you have at your joints, where two or more bones meet. Flexibility varies and is specific to your body composition, depending on all sorts of things like gender, the length of your muscles, the length of your arms and legs, and the amount and type of exercise you do.

There are two types of flexibility – static and dynamic. Static is limited by the structure of your bones and muscles and can be influenced by the size of the muscle and your muscle tone. Dynamic flexibility is the range of movement you can achieve when you are moving.

You may have different levels of flexibility at different joints: some people have great range of movement in their spine but limited flexibility in their ankles or shoulder joints, or vice versa. The key thing is to understand your strengths and the areas you need to improve.

Poor flexibility can increase your chances of being injured and that is why it is so important to work on this aspect of fitness as part of your exercise routine. Ironically, being too flexible can also increase your chances of injury.

Finding a great yoga teacher can help to make sure you are doing the right postures for your body. Your teacher can help you improve or maintain your flexibility in a safe and effective way. Practise regularly and you will soon see the benefits.

So the next time you hear yourself saying “I’m not flexible enough for yoga”, rephrase it to “I really need to find a great yoga teacher”. I firmly believe you won’t regret it!

As we always advise, please make sure you ask your health care professionals before you take up any new types of exercise.

Camel

Ustrasana or Camel Pose is a fantastic pose that will strengthen your spine, engage your glutes and stretch your hamstrings. It will really increase your flexibility and mobility in your spine and prepare you for those deeper back bends.

While you’re learning, adapt this pose by tucking your toes under or using a block to support you. There’s no need to feel you need to go as far as I am: there are plenty of modifcations you can use to help develop your strength and flexibility.

Camel Pose is deeply energising. It creates space in the chest and allows you to really expand your lungs and increase your lung capacity. Make the most of this pose by breathing evenly and imagine the oxygen circulating round your body.

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. 

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.