Why does Hot Yoga Have Us Jumping for Joy?

What is is that leaves us feeling like we could jump for joy after a hot yoga session? Is it something about out style of hot yoga or do all people who practice hot yoga feel the same?

It could be the release of those feel good hormones endorphins that interact with our brains, lifting the way we feel. Endorphins not only help reduce our perception of pain but also give an energy boost which can leave us feeling really positive, enjoying a natural buzz from our exertions.

If you prefer to think it is something more than the chemical reactions going on inside our bodies, you could attribute it to the social, welcoming atmosphere found in many, friendly hot yoga studios across the UK and around the world. Yoga practitioners tend to be positive people, ready to help, support and celebrate their achievements together.

Some people tell us that the relaxation phase of yoga sessions give them deep feelings of happiness, related to an emotional release. Precious time spent listening to our bodies, just letting go, concentrating on the here and now, and feeling grateful for what we have and what we can do.

No matter what it is, and whether we can truly analyse the root causes or not, this post is a celebration of the joy hot yoga can bring. If you feel it too, please let us know!

Energy Within, Energy Without

Yoga is invigoration in relaxation. Freedom in routine. Confidence through self-control. Energy within and energy without.”
Ymber Delecto

At first reading, parts of this favourite quote seem paradoxical. When you have a busy life, it may seem difficult to take time out, even for an activity you really love, such as yoga. Investing time in your physical and mental health pays dividends in the long run. A hot yoga session will reinvigorate mind, body and soul, allowing you to get back to your day with renewed spirit.

Often we see people coming to class on their way home from work or after a busy day with their energy depleted, mentally balancing a list of jobs still to be done. It gives us a real buzz to see the same people leaving our studio after their session with happy faces and a new-found energy.

Like pressing a reset button, we firmly believe that yoga really can help give the people who take time out to practice it more zest for life. Their yoga mat becomes a sanctuary: a space where they can abandon the pressures of everyday life and concentrate on the here and now.

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.

Strengthen and Relax with the Sphinx Yoga Pose

The sphinx pose is designed to strengthen your glutes and the whole of your spine; increase the flexibility of your shoulders and open your chest. This lovely, gentle back extension is a perfect way to start your yoga journey.

Our daily lives often create tension in our bodies. Our shoulders and spines are particularly vulnerable when we spend too long without taking a break, hunched over a computer, sitting behind the wheel of a car, or doing physical work such as lifting or gardening. Yoga is a great way to loosen up and reinvigorate our bodies and minds.

The sphinx pose will not only relax tense muscles, but will get you ready for some fantastic postures, for example, preparing you perfectly for deeper backbends, if that’s your goal.

In ancient Egypt, sphinxes were thought to have human heads, the hind legs of a lion, ferocious strength and benevolent temperaments. You’ll find these mythical creatures guarding the entrances to royal tombs and temples.

The Sanskrit name of this energising pose is Salmba Bhujangasna.

How to do The Sphinx

Lying in a nice prone position, line up your elbows with your shoulders, roll your shoulders back and down, then inhale and lift your upper body, taking the crown of your head up to the sky.

If you’re not sure you’re doing the pose correctly, want to learn more, or prefer to exercise with a supportive group, call in at your local hot yoga studio where a community of likeminded people will welcome you.

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

Cabernet and Chakras

The fantastic picture above is of Sharon, a lady I met recently, whose sense of humour and enthusiasm was infectious. One of the most amazing things about the yoga community is that you get to meet some inspirational characters on the journey who invest so much time and energy into yoga for lots of different reasons. Most people I meet want to share their passion for yoga with others so that they too can gain the same mental, spiritual and physical benefits.

I’ve always struggled with the meditation side of our practice so it’s something I’ve tended to avoid where possible. That ability to switch off and empty my mind has eluded me – however much I try, thoughts interrupt my concentration and my mind goes into overdrive.

I was extremely lucky to experience a guided meditation based on the Chakras led by Sharon, who is also a Reiki Master, that just blew my mind. For the first time, I experienced true, deep relaxation. Afterwards, I felt energised and completely centred – it was the highlight of my day.

My experience inspired me to go home and read more about the Chakras, which are thought to be energy centres. Translated literally from Sanskrit, Chakras mean spinning wheels. Chakras cannot be seen or touched and are located where nerves, arteries and veins interlace. Perhaps because they are intangible they are the domain of mysticism and spirituality.

Sharon is based near Stoke and I’ll certainly be making the effort to go again soon. Quite apart from anything else, I need to know her technique for making sure that no wine was spilt during her celebrations!

Seriously, if you’ve never experienced a yoga class, you might find it not just life enhancing, but life changing. And if, like me, you love yoga but the benefits of a fully relaxed meditation have so far eluded you, keep exploring.

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Journey to Savasana

How hard is it to liberate your mind at the end of a hot yoga class when this has been the first moment you’ve had to yourself all week? Step away too quickly and your shopping list, what to cook for tea, how to entertain the kids on a wet weekend will all fly through your mind at the speed of light.

However much you try to unwind and refocus your breathing and centre yourself, you just can’t help it, can you – or can you? Is there a trick to carrying the relaxation you feel through to the rest of your life, or is it time to head for the showers?

Relaxation is a key part of the class. As the session draws to a close, it’s your opportunity to celebrate all your hard work and invest a few minutes to kick-start the recovery process.

This is where your body grows stronger and the benefits of your yoga session start to materialise. At Bolton Hot Yoga, we revitalise and reflect at the end of each class with a guided meditation. It doesn’t take long, it’s set to some great music and it’s designed to just give you enough time to cool down and recover.

Learning to focus on your breathing, to scan your body and check your posture all help you stay healthy. There is a traditional name for this part of the session – Savasana – often associated with adopting a relaxed posture, lying flat on your back. You’ll get yourself comfy in whatever position you find best – it may be sitting or in pose of the child – you choose. We’ll dim the lights, help you slow your breathing and allow you to finish off a great class in a quiet state of mind.

As with anything, the more you practise, the better at meditation you’ll get. As you feel those muscular tensions easing away from your body and find out how to free your mind, you will become calmer, more in the moment, and able to be more present in your daily life.

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