Hot Yoga is…..Wait, What Exactly is Yoga in the First Place?
Yoga is an ancient and intelligent healing system that goes far beyond the poses and postures. Yoga is a way of life that’s designed to bring you into more balance with not only your body but also your mind and spirit.
Although there’s debate about where and when yoga first started, the most commonly known origin is India. Yoga is said to be thousands of years old and is more popular than ever these days.
There are eight limbs of yoga and the “asanas” are just one of them. Asana means pose in Sanskrit.
The other 7 limbs consist of Yama (integrity and ethics), Niyama (self-discipline and spiritual observances), Pranayama (breathing), Pratyahara (withdrawal of senses), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation), Samadhi (transcendence).
The Powerful Guide Map to Your Life
Yoga is an incredible guide map to finding and working on areas of your life that you previously may not have realized need work or some extra attention.
It is a powerful holistic practice that combines physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health and balance. As a result, the practice of yoga can bring you more into alignment with your deepest desires and wishes.
Yoga can guide you toward satisfaction and support you in the fulfillment of your life path. In addition, yoga can help pave your path to holistic health.
“Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.”
~Mr. B. K. S. Iyengar – founder of Iyengar Yoga
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So Many Different Styles to Explore
There are many different styles of yoga and each of them provides a specific purpose. Some yoga practices are more upper body intensive while others are more geared toward the lower body.
Some practices may require extra focus and others may be more restorative. There are many different types of yoga, yet they all induce the same experience; which is a moving meditation.
Yoga gives you access to moving within and exploring your inner depths. Although I could write for pages and pages about all the health benefits and different styles, I would like to focus on the one style I personally practice in particular, and that is hot yoga.
What is the Origin of Hot Yoga and How Long Has it Been Practiced?
The original version of hot yoga has been around since the 70s, but became more mainstream and popularized in the 90s.
Hot yoga was created by Bikram Choudhury. There is a lot of controversy around Bikram regarding his ethics and integrity, so I am going to focus on the modified styles of hot yoga that were created from Bikram’s original style.
With all that being said, the controversy does not diminish or take away the incredible effectiveness Bikram created with this style of yoga.
Hot yoga is a phenomenal practice for body, mind, and spirit. Thankfully, many yoga teachers have taken his original practice and altered it, changed the sequence a bit, and turned it into their own – without all the controversy attached to it.
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It’s Getting Hot in Here!
There are many temperature variations of a hot yoga class; some teachers like to have the room warm – somewhere in the 90’s; while others turn the temperature all the way up to 105 degrees.
The style that I practice consists of 26 poses. It’s a 60 minute class and the room is heated between 100 and 105 degrees. It took a while for my wife (who ironically just became a hot yoga teacher) to convince me to go to my first class. She had been practicing on and off for years.
Even though my wife warned me it would be one of the most intense workouts I would ever do, I finally agreed to give it a try. I had been an athlete when I was younger and was in pretty good shape so I didn’t pay much attention to her disclaimer.
Seriously, are You F**king Crazy!?!?
During the first couple poses, I found myself thinking it was kind of easy and wouldn’t really do anything for me physically.
By the middle of the class I was drenched in sweat and finding myself to be really irritated. I was getting annoyed watching all these twig like woman bend their bodies into pretzels and exerting seemingly no effort into touching their toes.
By the end of the class, I was shocked at the level of difficulty, and was pretty much convinced it was not for me. There was no way my body would ever be able to do the things that some of the other people in the class were doing.
I understood why people’s first impressions of yoga can be intimidating. The after effects were interesting; I felt sore the next day, but a couple days later, I felt amazing.
The class helped strengthen my back and forced me to work on my balance and presence. Over the course of the next year, I attended a few more classes. I never actually established a regular practice though.
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Revisiting the Heat
When we moved to Florida, my wife wanted me to get back into it, so we found a local studio that we both now love, Hot Yoga 4 You SRQ.
The first class that I attended, I noticed that I wasn’t as angry as I had been the first time I attended a class back in Chicago. I also found that I was a bit more flexible than before. I believe this is because I was more ready, open, and willing to understand the benefits that could take place for me.
My wife just started teaching there and I have now been practicing consistently for almost three years. I’ve noticed some major transformations within myself as a result of my regular practice.
When I’m done with my 60 minute class and take that last “Savasana” (corpse pose, which basically consists of lying on your back with your palms up), I feel like a new man.
The detoxifying effects of the class are incredible! The amount of toxins that are released in my sweat are quite evident from how soaked my towel is. I feel that all stress has been removed from my body.
You Deserve a Yoga/Meditation/Relaxation Retreat!
You Will Feel Stoned, Naturally
After a hot yoga class, all of my muscles have been stretched and my heart feels more open. My back pain is released and my posture feels straighter and more stabilized.
I’ve found that having a hot yoga practice also has really helped me emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I’m a much calmer person. The anger I had the first time I ever attended a hot yoga class has dissipated tremendously. I’m less reactive than I’ve ever been in my life. Another added benefit is that I rarely get sick.
My flexibility has increased more than I ever imagined possible. My skin glows and it helps me maintain my youthful appearance. The health benefits I have experienced are innumerable.
If you would like to learn how yoga can heal chronic pain, and cure common illnesses, I highly recommend reading the book, Yoga Cures. It describes simple routines that can conquer more than 50 common ailments and shows you how to live pain-free by just practicing yoga.
“Yoga is not about touching your toes, it’s about what you learn on the way down.”
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I recommend taking up a hot yoga practice to many of my clients.
Of course as with everything, there are contraindications, and it’s not for everyone. People with heart conditions especially are not good candidates for this type of class. As usual, you must use your own discretion and of course consult your health professional before attending.
Working through all of the anger and frustration that came up when I struggled with some of the poses caused me to really evaluate and question myself. The answers I found were just confirmations to the knowledge and wisdom I had inside me all along.
Many times during those moments of frustration, I would always remember what my high school baseball coach would tell me when he noticed I would be trying way too hard. He would say: “Stop trying to be a perfect ball player in every game you play. No one is perfect. You have to practice if you want to succeed. It takes a lot of practice to become great at what you do. Practice makes permanent!” Those were some amazing words of wisdom that stuck with me for many years.
Applying my coach’s wisdom to my yoga practice has been very powerful. It helped me to understand that I needed to develop more patience and acceptance for my progress; not only in yoga, but in life as well.
When you practice something enough, it eventually becomes effortless. Anyone can use the practice makes permanent wisdom and apply it to any area in their life.
Just remember this; it’s a yoga practice, not a yoga perfect! If anything, you can always just come for the final savasana. 😉
Where I Practice – Hot Yoga 4 U SRQ
If you are in any of the surrounding 3 areas, I highly recommend stopping in for a class! Be sure to tell them Michael Tamez sent you.
The Sarasota, FL studio I practice at (which is where the photos in this article were taken) is the newest and most technologically equipped Hot Yoga studio in the Sarasota/Bradenton area.
Classes are lead in a Far-Infrared Heated Room (100-105 degrees) to warm your muscles, allow a deeper stretch, prevent injury, and cleanse your body by flushing toxins.
Their yoga studio also has a UV Air Treatment System that uses Ultraviolet light to kill bacteria, viruses, mold, and germs while it deodorizes the air.
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Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fountain of Youth Has Been Revealed…
I will definitely be a hot yoga practitioner for life. I believe it is one of the fountains of youth.
Yoga is not about mastering the poses. It’s about cultivating self-love, compassion, and awareness for oneself. Hot yoga is a practice of not judging yourself or your body. It’s also a practice of not comparing yourself to the person next to you, who may be more advanced physically.
Ultimately, yoga is a life path. It’s a process of coming into alignment with the peaceful, loving, harmonious, and beautiful being that you are authentically.
When you are being your authentic self to everyone who enters into your space, just imagine the domino effect that has on the whole world. When you are living in the best version of yourself, it positively affects the people around you.
I am excited to continue on my yogi path, inspiring others to practice this highly transformative tool we have been given. I believe the fountain of life has been discovered…..and it is hot yoga.
Cheers and Namaste.