Hot Yoga Trial

After a month of PHA training, followed by some intense kettlebell sessions I am taking a short respite from the gym.  There will be no resting for this Gym Junkie though, In a moment of madness I signed up for 10 days of ‘hot’ yoga.  I’ve done yoga in the past and have a reasonable degree of flexibility (thanks in part to a childhood spent doing martial arts) but it’s been over a year since I attended a yoga class regularly.  Hot yoga and bikram yoga seem to be very popular and I like to keep up with fitness trends so I got myself down to Yoga Haven Birmingham to give it a try.
The first class I tried was ‘Hot Flow Express’ which is one hour of continuous, flowing postures.  I wore short-shorts with a vest, most women in the class were dressed similarly and the men were shirtless.  If you haven’t got the clue in the title yet, it’s worth me stating the obvious…it’s HOT.  The studio is heated to 40 degrees centigrade.  I am always cold, have my central heating turned to “hell” setting all year round and throw a tantrum if the air-con comes on in the office so I found the studio quite comfortable initially.  Once the class started I became aware that others around me were ‘glistening’ and although I did feel very warm it was not uncomfortably so. 
So far, so good but as we progressed through a series of postures I began to get hot.  Then really hot.  Then the sweat started running off me and pooling on my mat.  My vest was stuck to me, my whole body was damp and my hair (so carefully coiffed that morning) was in ringlets clamped to my neck.  You are advised to bring two towels, one to cover your mat and another to wipe down with.  Stupidly, choosing glam handbag over suitcase-sized gym bag, I had bought only one tiny little towel.  After 20 minutes it was soaked and useless.
The instructor Emily was very encouraging, knew every particpant by name and taught a challenging but easy to follow class suitable for all levels.  The hour went by very quickly and before I knew it we were lying down in the dark for some brief relaxation to end the session.  Usually after a yoga class I feel sleepy and groggy but I felt refreshed and revitalised, despite it being the end of a very long day.
The next morning I felt a few twinges around my core that let me know I had worked that area harder than usual but aside from that, I felt great physically and mentally. I returned to try a longer class and found the heat a little easier to stand – a bit like acclimatising to the temperature on holiday… but without the sunshine.  Over the next week I hope to try several more sessions and will blog about any benefits or changes that I notice.
If you are considering giving it a go I would recommend it, even on my limited experience.  It really is worth you trying for yourself.  A few practical things to note before you go; you must take your shoes off upon entry to the building so for goodness sake dont wear your brand new red-bottoms, there are no lockers so try to avoid taking too many valuables, shower facilities are limited so its probably best not make social arrangements for straight after class and take some warm clothing as you will cool down quickly after class and it’s a bit of a shock.
A 10 day pass at Yoga Haven is available to new clients and is currently just £15. This gives unlimited access to classes over the 10 day period although it’s advisable to reserve a place.  Booking is an easy online process and you can print off a personal schedule so you don’t forget when your classes are.  I attended the Birmingham studios but there also studios in Brighton and London, visit the website for full details.

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