By Lauren Shirreffs
The newsfeeds are never-ending. Minute to minute updates detailing that every last person on earth is trying this new Yoga Challenge. Lauren’s interest is peaked. I have tried the kickboxing, the tai-bo, the hip hop abs, even the thigh master, I have struggled through boot camps, spinning classes, and listened to Tony Little as I hate low fat popcorn. I have done it all. All except hot yoga.
Hot Yoga, Bikram. Moksha. Call it what you will, however it varies, this 30 Day Challenge will end the same way. Sweat.
So this is my “jump-on-a-trend-too-late” quest for answers. Why would anyone be willing to bend and crack through a smokin’ hot room for 90 minutes? Why would anyone choose to visibly sweat profusely through their Lulus?
So I am committing myself to 90 minutes a day for 30 days. I am going to offer up my body and sacrifice my time to look into this “hot yoga” you Facebookers speak of.
Here we go.
-Begin to prioritize your life. The class will require you to come 10 minutes early, emerge sweaty and disheveled an hour and a half later, shower, change and most definitely eat… so every day you will basically have to set aside at least two hours for yoga.
-Eat little meals through out the day and do not eat 2 hours before your class (seriously, you are just asking for trouble).
-Most importantly: STAY HYDRATED! You cannot go through a class chugging back your uber cold water, nor should you feel the need to. The whole day you should be consuming water at regular intervals.
The room is heated at 105 degrees Fahrenheit! So, try to wear as little clothing as humanely possible, and go buy the most breathable garments you can sneak your body into. I am not exaggerating, this room is on fire.
Why is it so hot? Good question. I asked myself this while I towel-dried my hair mid way. The heat allows for you to warm up quicker, have deeper stretches, and lubricate the joints, and the sweating will release toxins in the body. The (tremendous) heat also allows for more cardiovascular work and a higher calorie burn.
You might yearn for a nap after your first few classes. This is normal. I personally always want to nap, but it is intensified after hot yoga. It just means your body is beginning to cleanse itself. This sleepiness will cease to exist once you become a regular.
Vishyna Jarcevic and Seema Mistry at Red Tree Yoga on Royal York advise me what foods to consider post workout:
“…raw foods for oxygen in the cells, almonds and seeds, miso soup, banana for potassium, sugarless coconut water for electrolytes and vegetables high in protein like lentils.”
Keep in mind:
There are a few different types of hot yoga, whichever you choose to do is based on what your goals are, but you can simply decide on participating in the one that is closest to you and the one you like best. Convenience plays a major factor; embarking on a 30-day challenge of yoga every day- location will be key!
Bikram yoga is a challenging 90-minute workout in a heated room. The instructor will take you through 26 poses, twice. Focusing on balance, personal challenge, daily intentions, flexibility and meditation.
Moksha yoga is an hour workout of a set series of 40 poses. This particular style is dedicated to long lasting health, daily intentions and focus.
Whichever practice you choose this month, it will be your persistent practice that will help you develop a stronger body, a healthier inside and focus intentions for your day.
Yes, I had to miss a class here and there, but a month later I am far more limber, I have more energy, I crack less in the early morning hours and I can breathe better from my yoga challenge. Also, because of my change in diet to suit the demands of the 90-minute classes, I no longer have as much bloating and stomach upsets (score). Lastly, I am significantly stronger, leaner and I rock a pair of skinnies like never before.
I highly recommend the challenge to help force you into the world of yoga. However, 30 days of 90 minute yoga is increasingly challenging in our busy lives. The every day demand of making it to class was my biggest issue. It is next to impossible to set aside nearly 2 hours everyday, but it is a great dedication for one month. Afterwards a regular 2-3 times a week practice is the perfect maintenance.
Like I said…it was hard. There were days I almost couldn’t make it, afternoons I nearly puked, and mornings I would have rather sipped black coffee in the sun…. but I went. And I went. And I went. And I feel great.
It was beyond worth it. Give it a go! Let us know about your experience!