By Lauren Duffy
So, I’m back! I haven’t been writing lately because of the craziness of college finals and end-of-semester tasks, but now I’m happily home in Wrentham, MA for winter break with my beautiful mother and with more time on my hands than I know what to do with.. so, I’ll write!
This past Monday I went to a heated yoga class for the first time and I think I fell in love with it– it was amazing! I went with Emily, so we went to the studio she’s been practicing at, Inner Strength in Watertown, MA. All I knew about hot yoga was that it was yoga.. that was hot.. and you leave looking like you just jumped in a pool. I hadn’t worked out for over a week before Monday because I had allergies that were making me wheeze, so I was more than ready for a really good sweat… but I had no idea what I was in for.
- Don’t have your first Yoga class be a hot one. This is just my opinion.. I think the best part of the class was having background knowledge of the poses. All I could think during the class was how happy I was that I had taken yoga and taught my basics yoga class at UMass. It allowed me to focus on and listen to my body more rather than be concerned with keeping up with the class.
- Drink water before! I made the mistake of not drinking enough water before the class and it was not a fun outcome. When we were in Warrior II and I looked at my hand and noticed that it was shaking, and shaking a lot. And, I blacked out once while in downward facing dog; that was kind of scary. I had forgotten my water bottle that I carry around with me at all times that day so I definitely hadn’t had enough to drink before the class. So definitely hydrate before you take a hot yoga class!
- Be wary of any injuries or issues. I was born with hip dysplasia and my hip still tends to pop out of place when I exercise. I’ve used yoga and other exercises to strengthen it, but I have to be careful with it to minimize pain. I had a little pain during the class, but I was ignoring it in hopes that it would subside, but it didn’t. In fact, when we were doing side planks my hip completely gave out and I fell to the mat; however, I probably could have prevented this had I stopped participating in the class for a second to adjust my hip. So if you have an injury or issue that you’re aware of, pay attention to it and give it some love, especially in a hot yoga class!
- Be prepared to be touched. Emily warned me when we got there that the instructor might have an assistant going around correcting people and helping them achieve proper forms, and sure enough, she did. This kind of freaked me out. Why are you going to touch me when I’m gross and sweaty? But to my surprise this helper was pretty amazing, and I didn’t mind her adjusting at all. She only came over to us once or twice, but at one point she did some kind of massage thing on my back when we were in child’s pose — she started from my neck and came down to my back where she paused, noticed how lop-sided I was, and whispered “wow.. your hip”. I have no idea what she did, but she fixed my hip by giving it a push from the side… now THAT was amazing! So don’t dread it if there is a helper– embrace it!
- Expect the unexpected. Finally, if you haven’t read Emily’s post “You must be better at yoga” then go read it! Now! It’s so completely true. I was in awe of all the lululemon attire I was surrounded by in the class, but I was horrified at a few of the skimpy outfits. The woman next to me was moaning from time to time, and I remember looking at Emily in pure horror once someone in the back passed gas, loudly, for the millionth time. So when you enter a class, definitely expect the unexpected!
If you haven’t taken yoga.. take it! As soon as possible! I was the biggest non-believer a while ago because I was being a brat about not being flexible, but yoga has shown me that I can do things that I never thought possible… like a split on my bad-hip side. And now I’m a huge believer in hot yoga, too!
Oh yeah.. one more thing.. from those allergies that I mentioned, I had almost completely lost my voice and sounded ridiculous before the class. But when the class finished, I could talk!! Humidity + deep breaths + relaxation = a voice! Pretty cool, huh?
Happy yoga practicing!