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How I Accidentally Tried Hot Yoga (and Fell In Love With It)

I went from stone-cold set on never trying it (who wants to exercise in a 98 degree room?) to dripping hot obsessed.

Here’s how it happened: It was summer and my typical, room-temperature Vinyasa classes through the university’s gym had ended for the summer quarter. I was staying near campus and needed to fill the void. Some friends of mine offered recommendations for studios nearby to continue my practice. Several of them recommended CorePower.

“The studio has hot yoga classes,” one girl informed me. “I’m pretty sure they also have room temperature classes. Check the schedule descriptions online.”

I grabbed my laptop and began my research. I did as she recommended and checked the mini descriptions on the schedule. Something about the CP2 description lured me in: “Turn stress into sweat. This signature class strengthens, balances and detoxifies your entire body and mind as you move through more challenging postures and connected breath. Set to an energizing playlist, you’ll power up your practice like never before.” Looking back, the “turn stress into sweat,” should have tipped me off about what I was getting in to. However, naïve and excited to get back into my practice, I grabbed my mat and headed to the closest CorePower studio.

The sweet, smiling yogi behind the counter signed me up for my free trial week and pointed to the studio doors. As I turned to head in, I heard her faintly call out, “Um, would you like to rent a towel?”

“Oh, uh, why?” I stuttered. The question caught me off guard. Needing a towel was surely a sign that…

“Well, it tends to get pretty hot in the room and people like to have a towel to wipe off their sweat.” She peered at me curiously.

Oh no.

“Is this hot yoga?” I panicked. Flashing through my mind were stories I had heard of people passing out in hot yoga. Or throwing up. I hated heat and there was no way I was going to enjoy this.


I was so shocked at missing this important detail that my next sentence was literally: “Am I going to die?”

She laughed and soothed my fears, “Don’t worry, you won’t die. Just take it slow and feel free to take breaks!”

I entered the class and decided that since I was here, I may as well have an open mind.

Believe me, I struggled a great deal. But 60 sweaty minutes later? I was in love. The heat had helped me reach deeper into my poses and I had never felt so relaxed. I laid in savasana at the end of class, stretchy and warm, and marveled at my change of heart. The instructor gently rubbed the temples of my head as reward for my accidental bravery.

Let this be a lesson to you: never let your preconceived fears stop you from trying new things. Go namaslay that mat!

Tips for your first time:

  • Drink LOTS of water throughout the day to hydrate your body. You will sweat a ton out during your practice.
  • Eat healthy meals the day of. Light entrees with lots of protein will have you feeling strong and keep your energy level up.
  • Never feel ashamed to take a break when you need one. Child’s Pose is a great resting posture.
  • Do not eat less than an hour before class to avoid feeling sick.
  • Relax and enjoy the experience!
Shinehah is a senior at the University of Washington studying communications and political science. She loves to travel, read and practice hot yoga. If she could have coffee (and lots of it) with anyone, it would probbaly be Emma Watson.
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