Over the summer, I decided that I wanted to switch up my workout routine and try something new. I was curious as to what all the buzz surrounding hot yoga was about, so I decided to convince my friend to go to one class with me and I got hooked.
Walking into the studio with no prior yoga experience I was very nervous, but having a friend by my side made my nerves at ease. We walked in and immediately noticed the aroma of essential oils and lavender. It was one of the most relaxing places I have ever stepped foot in. Quickly after entering the studio, it became crystal clear to the other attendees that we were new by the confusion smeared across our faces. We didn’t know where any of the equipment was, we didn’t know how to stretch properly, and most importantly we were just flat out nervous. It was almost 100 degrees in the studio and my heart rate sped up due to the fact that I truly thought in my head I would not make it through the class without getting sick or fainting. As the class started I noticed myself focusing more on other people than myself. I was looking around to make sure I had the poses right, and embarrassingly focused on if people could tell I had no idea what I was doing. Those ninety minutes flew by, and at the end of the class I had sweat more than I ever had in my entire life. In the following weeks, I got into a routine and was seeing improvement in my strength and knowledge of yoga.
Over the course of the month I not only saw many physical changes, but the majority of the changes I noticed were mental. I noticed my upper body strength getting considerably stronger due to all the planks our teacher would sneak in. I noticed more muscle definition in my legs and more noticeably in my stomach. For once, in a long time, I felt proud of my improvement and began to gain more confidence. Although the physical changes had an impact on me, the confidence was mainly due to the mental changes I began to make. Each day going to yoga I knew that it was going to be ninety minutes of full relaxation and self-improvement. I would have time each class at the end to reflect on my day and think a lot or not at all; and just enjoy the silence I was experiencing, which is so uncommon in the world we live in today. I also saw changes in my everyday life. I noticed if I began to feel my heart race a little faster or feel anxiety I would be able to control my breath and calm myself down. Yoga is such a good form of mediation and learning how to control most situations just using breathing as a technique. The changes I saw from a month alone made me realize how quickly you can take control and form better habits in life.
However, there are some things I wish I knew before starting hot yoga on a whim. I wish that I knew that when starting out, depending on the studio, it is okay to just buy the necessities and not all the equipment that you think you need to buy. For the most part all you need is a yoga mat and a yoga towel. The Towel help when you go down onto the mat so your hands and feet don’t slip. Blocks and straps and any other equipment are usually supplied by the studio.
To anyone who is wanting to try hot yoga, do it. Making the decision to just dive into the classes this summer was easily one of my best decisions. It not only improved my physical health, but it proved to myself everything that I am capable of. I learned that when I feel like something might be impossible, it isn’t and to just push through, because it’ll pay off in the end. I proved to myself that after only a month of doing yoga, doing a headstand is possible, which is something I would’ve never imagined myself being able to do. Walking into the heat may seem impossible, but I promise you that giving it a chance may change your life.