You should go do yoga right now. No, right now. Go. GO!
But first, read why.
Last week I attended my first outdoor “hot” yoga class. I’ve done yoga before, at home and in a studio, but this was a unique experience I just had to share.
What is hot yoga?
Hot yoga is exactly like it sounds- yoga performed in a studio heated to 98-105-degrees Fahrenheit with about 40% humidity. Ready to quit yet? The “benefit” of hot yoga is in addition to the limits of your flexibility and endurance being pushed by assuming the complex poses that make up yoga, the added heat promotes sweating (and the elimination of “toxins” if only in a small amount). Hot yoga is not without its risks, however.
Hot yoga typically refers to the Bikram-style yoga, but this steamy yoga has gotten so popular other yoga styles have taken on the high humidity. PowerFlow Yoga, which hosted the event I attended, is its own splinter of yoga which practices Vinyasa-style yoga. It’s a seemingly-fancy name for “arranging something in a special way.”
Vinyasa also refers to a repeated part of your yoga routine; if you’re doing a plank or downward dog, it’s probably as a part of your vinyasa.
Catcalls and side-planks
If you regularly read my blog, you know I already pay for a gym membership. I can’t financially do both, because let’s face it, yoga studios ain’t cheap, but Powerflow Yoga’s Summer Nights Yoga events are free all summer long (July 1- Sept. 9, 2016).
Well I say, if it’s free, it’s for me.
Being outside in the middle of summer meant, on this odd occasion, that it was substantially cooler in the open air than the heated studio. It probably topped out at about 80-degrees that afternoon. Which is perfect for me.
From the moment 8 p.m. hit I gave the best downward dogs and planks and tree poses I had in me. It’d been months since I’d last brought my hands to heart center, but with the great energy in the group setting, it all came back super fast.
And it needed to, because our yogi was moving at breakneck pace.
Okay, here comes the best part:
Storms were looming that night, but the hour-long routine began under rather sunny skies. As it wore on, the sky darkened and thunder began to echo in the distance, but it was more enchanting than frightening.
The looming storm had to be the best part of the night, actually. It’s not always obvious the personal discipline needed to complete some of these yoga poses. When you’re hot, tired and you’re trying so hard to bend in your right knee, then extend it into a three-legged dog pose, then negotiate your foot back down and in to to be even with your screaming fingers, you lose sight of everything else.
Including your breath, which was probably why our yogi kept reminding us about it.
But the beauty of it is you’re totally in the moment. It’s literally zen in that way. You’re not worried about how unflattering the pose is, or how weak you might look or who that smell is coming from. It’s just you and the moment and the whole of your existence becomes how deep in your seat you can get for your chair pose. And dammit, you’re gonna go deep!
And above and below you and all around you is nature. You’re all in the moment together. That’s zen.
We did scoot out of there a little early, but only to avoid the crazy downpour which started right after I shut my car door.
10 out of 10 would get rained-out again. See you Friday, Powerflow.