We decided this weeks blog should be a little different ……. Written by one of our newest Yogies Samantha who had never tried Yoga, hot or otherwise before visiting Yoga Republic.
Hot Yoga for Dummies – diary of a beginner
Hi, my name is Samantha and along with traveling one of my newest adventures is yoga – hot yoga in particular. (Let me preface this story by saying I have never done yoga before, at all.)
Living in Phuket I have a lot of time on my hands so when Yoga Republic first opened it’s doors in 2013 I casually thought ‘meh’ might give it a try and then heard about how tough and ‘hot’ hot yoga really is and kept putting it off…….Until last week………
I went online to read the instructions for the class before arriving the recommended 15 minutes early. I wore a pair of leggings and a t shirt and frankly was scared……..Ok, I was terrified……. Of the heat, I don’t like to be hot……..
So there I am, 15 minutes early, I venture into the hot yoga room. It feels hot, but not intolerable. I do what everyone else is doing – lay the provided towel on top of a regular yoga mat and wait (or meditate or stretch) for the class to begin.
The teacher came in and introduced himself (Jack) and we got right into the class. The first half or so was standing poses, and everyone was dripping sweat by the second or third one. I found it pretty easy to follow along, since the teacher would describe in detail what you should do to get into the pose (step your right foot forward, bend your knee, keep your spine straight, etc.) and usually pointers on how to not hurt yourself (be sure to breathe, lift your chest up, sit back further, etc.).
My teacher was great in that he would give a beginner, medium, and advanced option for each pose. Even with just doing the beginner and some of the medium poses, I felt like I was actually participating in the class and not just a loser tagging along with the cool kids, like I thought I would be.
I really liked the fact that you can just focus on your own practice (that’s what they call, it yoga practice…not yoga perfect lol) and no one is really looking around at other people and judging them, just trying to do their own thing. I found it really relaxing to not have to think about anything else, just focus on figuring out the poses and then attempting them. I think the exertion from the heat helped me to focus more on what I was doing and kept my mind clearer.
The second half or so was seated and floor poses with core work. I think the abs workout was the hardest of all of the moves in the heat. I’m not sure how many poses we did total – maybe 20? It’s hard to tell and you definitely are in the moment and not laying there counting the number of poses. (Side note: Bikram yoga is a more regimented version of hot yoga with 26 poses in 90 minutes and the routine is the same every time.)
After the final pose, you lay on your mat in “final suvasana” (on your back with arms at your sides, eyes closed) for as long as you want before leaving (usually 1-2 minutes; it seems much longer, but is very relaxing even though you are soaked in sweat).
I liked that this class focused on the physical aspects of yoga and didn’t really get into spiritual stuff or meditation – that’s not what I was looking for. I found it challenging but still felt like I had accomplished something in the end.
The best feeling ever is stepping outside after leaving the sweatbox you’ve just been in for 75 minutes. It’s kind of like when you cook yourself too long in a hot tub and then you jump in the pool and it’s really cold! Exhilarating! Yoga Republic have great fresh juices which is just what you need after a class.
I’m really glad I tried hot yoga. I was a little worried after reading reviews online (people felt nauseous the whole time, or dizzy, or had to lay on the mat the whole time because you can’t leave the room!) but I did not have any negative experiences. I didn’t feel nauseous or dizzy, just super sweaty and definitely exerted. Take sips of water, not gulps. Don’t eat a big meal 3-4 hours before class. I think if you follow the directions, you’ll be fine!
Can’t wait to take the 30 day challenge which Jack is very happy to set up for you.