Three years ago, during my search for quiet mind , body and soul, I stumbled upon hot yoga. In leading to this experience , I felt that my body sometimes reacted to extreme heat, with intimidation and anxiety. There was no way I could balance myself like the advanced yogis on my head. How would I stay focused enough to maintain flow and ebb? What if I’m going to go away? No really, I’ve had far too many fainting episodes in my life (vagus nerve syncope).
My first visit to the yoga studio went far beyond my expectations. Everybody was known by name by the yoga instructor. She saw that in the group, a newbie was there and she met me on my mat. She came and welcomed me. She calmed my fears immediately and told me the first session would take 90 minutes to stay in the room. She suggested, if and when necessary, that I take breaks while sitting on my mat. I realized it was much more difficult than I thought for fifteen minutes in the Ninety-minute session. It was hot, it was wet, it had to stretch, pose, balance and I had to stay focused. During the first visit, I didn’t achieve my goal. I immediately reaped one of the advantages of hot yoga, however. When I first walked I felt much more relaxed.
I’m practicing hot Vinyasa Flow Yoga today. Vinyasa Flow Yoga is, literally, three Downward / upward Dogs used to connect with other poses. The aim is to build a flow that in turn produces warmth for your muscles. The heated room combined with the heat of the body helps the body to remove toxins while systematically reducing inflammation – win! But wait, more … I didn’t tell you about the benefit of breathing and meditation, which is honestly the only cause I came back to after my first hot yoga experience. You might like to note that it is just as important to find a right yoga instructor as to find the right doctor. You need someone who knows your limitations, who can “do it your way,” who can breathe energy into your soul.
My energetic instructor starts every session by allowing us to start in the most comfortable position we feel. It’s usually a bridge under my sacroiliac joint, assisted by a block for myself. The next 30-45 minutes are intense and the final 15-30 minutes are returned to a relaxing meditative state which ends in a cold aromatherapy towel placed on our eyestrains as she shares an inspirational message. Their message is inspirational, and the motivating quote follows. It leads us to training.
Perhaps someday I could calm my mind for as long as possible to finally perfect a yoga balance? Until then, my tree pose remains more like the leaning Pisa tower, while I reap the wonderful benefits of hot yoga for my life.
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