If I’m going to do a workout, I want to really feel like I’ve got the most out of the time I’ve spent doing it. I love high impact classes, which get my blood pumping and my muscles burning.
Which is why I never really saw yoga as my sort of thing. It all looked a bit hippy for my liking and I could never quite see how stretching around on the floor could make THAT much of a difference. I’m the first to admit I was more than dubious when Geri Halliwell swore her teeny tiny post-Spice Girl frame was down to regular yoga practice.
In school we had a new headmistress who was an ex-ballet dancer – one term she decided to get a yoga teacher in for after school classes. Whilst it was very amusing as a 14 year old, I can’t say I got anything out of it.
As the years went on I continued to dabble in the odd class, determined to find something in it (after all – millions of avid yogi’s can’t ALL be wrong?!). In my final year of university a few friends and I decided to give the yoga society a go – unfortunately as we stopped off to pick up a couple of the girls on the way, we somehow managed to make it to the kitchen for a cuppa and a biccy and spent the whole evening there instead!
Since my pole addiction has resulted in a continuous quest for flexibility, I thought I’d give yoga another go. A Groupon offer for 10 classes for £29 at London studio was the perfect excuse I needed, except this time it was different. This wasn’t just any yoga….this was HOT yoga.
I’ve heard about the benefits of hot yoga before, and as ever was willing to give it a go. Some of you may have heard of Bikram Yoga, which is a set series of postures performed in a heated environment, however hot yoga encompasses all sorts of practices just with the high temperatures. And boy do they take some getting used to!
Most classes are performed in up to 40-degree heat, which is LOVELY if you’re tanning on the beach, but harder to deal with in a sweaty room with no air circulating. Within minutes I could feel my skin tingling. 15 minutes in and my heart rate was elevated, and I was very aware of the heat. Half way through the class and sweat was pouring into my eyes! If like me you like to feel a workout, I would highly recommend any of the Vinyasa/Ashtanga/Rocket or Power yoga classes. I like to think of myself as relatively fit but I was definitely struggling with holding some of the poses! The heat helps relax your muscles and really ease into the stretches, and I’ve noticed a marked improvement in flexibility. And best of all, the next day I woke up aching….the perfect sign of a great workout.
The classes were full of all shapes and sizes, men, women, and yogis of all ages and abilities. After a single class I was hooked, and have regularly been back for more. I noticed great improvement in my strength, and even some new ab definition! After a month off from yoga recently for holidays, I took my first class back yesterday and my body really noticed I’d been away. The heat can be a shock at first so take your first class slow; take a towel and drink plenty of water before, during and throughout to keep hydrated. It can be quite a shock to the system so be prepared to take plenty of breaks throughout if you need it.
I can’t quite bend myself into a pretzel just yet…but I’m definitely on my way!
You can take 10 hot yoga classes for £40 at Fitness on Fire, near Old Street, London at http://fitnessonfire.org.uk