Growing up and especially now health has always been incredibly important to my family and I. There was rarely ever junk food in our house and all of my siblings and I were encouraged to do sports. We're by no means the type of family who runs 5k's on Thanksgiving morning, but taking care of our bodies was made a major priority. So when my mom asked me last week if I wanted to go to a hot yoga class with her on Sunday, I was intrigued.
Prior to this I had taken several regular yoga classes and absolutely loved them. I struggle a lot with flexibility so even though yoga is often very challenging for me I still thoroughly enjoy my time in the studio. It provides an excellent outlet to distress and clear my headspace and afterward I always feel so calm and revived. However, despite my love for yoga, I was very nervous to take on a hot yoga class. I'm honestly not very good at yoga compared to others and I was very nervous I was going to look out of place or that I didn't "belong" there. Nonetheless, I put my worries aside and woke up at 8 a.m on Sunday and headed to Yoga Bliss Studio in Akron.
As I walked into the studio I immediately breathed a sigh of relief. The hot yoga class that was held before mine was just being let out and I saw so many different types of people. Some clearly looked like they were experts; other's did not. Some appeared to be in outstanding physical shape; others not so much. There were people of varying ages and varying backgrounds and I felt so silly for thinking I wouldn't fit in. Yoga does not discriminate; it welcomes all with open arms and kale juice shots.
After my mom and I set our belongings in cubbies we picked up two sweat towels and headed into the room where our class would take place. After taking one step through the doorway I was instantly hit with a wave of heat; it was very similar to opening an oven while something is cooking in it. The room had to be at least 100 degrees. I tried my best not to let this discourage me and think of it as just a part of the experience. During the car ride, I was nervous about having to use helping blocks because I was worried I would be the only person, but I quickly realized over half of the people in the room had gotten one for themselves. I felt even more relieved than I did when I walked in.
Once we were all settled on our mats the instructor played ambient style music and guided us through some warm-up poses. This warmed up our muscles to both today's practice and the temperature of the room. After about 10 minutes of gentle stretching, the tempo of the class quickly changed. The instructor put on upbeat pop music and we got to work. For the rest of the class, she instructed us through several different flows. They were very face paced compared to other yoga classes I had taken; something I wasn't expecting at all. We swiftly moved from pose to pose, holding each for only a few seconds, and used worked different parts of my body at once. Combined with the fact I was practicing in basically a sauna, needless to say, I was absolutely drenched in sweat. It felt like I was taking a cardio or spin class, not yoga. Some of the moves I had to improvise or take a quick pause, but overall I managed to stick with the class for the most part. I felt very powerful throughout the class. The sweating was honestly the best part. It felt like my body was releasing all of its negative energy and worry. After I walked out, I just felt so much lighter than how I did when I walked in.
Ultimately, hot yoga is not for the weak. You have to be willing to really take a step outside of your comfort zone and not be afraid to push yourself. It's challenging and often times uncomfortable, but with all of that said, anyone can do it. There are no rules when it comes to yoga; just do your best and have fun! I know this wasn't my last hot yoga class and I look forward to the next time I get to just sweat it all out.