At one point, I couldn’t tell if the saltiness entering my mouth was a result of my sweat or tears. And still, a week after my first encounter with hot yoga, I’m not sure. The 105 degree room where “hot vinyasa yoga” classes are held at Yoga State provided me with a constant shower of perspiration. Putting my body in positions it had never before ventured into, in conjunction with that heat, provided for some occasional tears. But those weren’t the only things I got out of the 75 minute class, and despite being drenched in liquids of hard work and frustration, I loved it.
A friend of mine planted the idea of trying hot yoga into my head after repeatedly hearing her praise of it. I had recently jumped on the “be fit” new year’s resolution band wagon and wanted to try anew, inspiring routine. So there began my search of yoga studios in East Lansing and surprisingly, there’s quite a few. I chose Yoga State because of its convenient location on Grand River and their $20 two-week special for new members, which is still going on. Their website stressed that every class was beginners-friendly, and I was excited to take on the challenge.
As soon as you walk into the studio, the heat hits you. It’s not as much of a discouraging slap in the face though – not at first. As a matter of fact, the first few minutes seemed like child’s play to me. The instructor calmly began the class with breathing exercises, building my confidence up and making me believe that the next hour would be a breeze. However, my preconcieved notions were a mistake; the poses, completely unfamiliar to me, grew harder and the heat began taking a toll. I was sweating profusely and became frustrated with my lack of flexibility, but it was hard to get discouraged. The instructor never pressured anyone, and we all went at our own pace. The experience becomes more of a personal challenge as you push yourself to complete the session, taking as many breaks as you need. There was no judgemental vibe, and the music was uplifting. It’s easy to lose yourself in what you’re doing, and that’s when you begin to reap the benefits. The instructor asks that you let go of all of your day’s stresses, and soon you’re in a state of peace and empowerment, which sounds extremely corny, but it’s true! Never have I felt more motivated and energized after a workout.
I recommend hot yoga to anyone interested in personal growth, both physically and spiritually, and Yoga State is the perfect place to take on that journey. The studio is clean, the instructors are encouraging and the prices are reasonable. If you aren’t willing to make the two week beginner’s commitment, the studio offers $5 sessions on Sundays, and that’s a deal you can’t beat. Hot yoga is indeed challenging, but it’s also detoxifying and rewarding – so it’s worth a try.