By Chloe Mulliner, Guest Blogger
My first few hot yoga classes were rough. Ok, I’ll be honest, I didn’t even make it through my first class without having to tap out and leave the sweltering 105-degree F room. During my next few sessions, zenful yogis gracefully maneuvered into handstands and contortionist-worthy moves, while I sat there, trying not to pass out or throw up.
I struggled through each class, but I continued attending at least one hot yoga class each week. I slowly began to challenge myself and hold the stretches for longer. Within a few months, I was craving hot yoga, and I even started looking forward to the extreme heat and intense workout. I felt my confidence increasing as I gained muscle and flexibility. I also noticed a decrease in my anxiety and a new appreciation for being present.
Because it took me time to fully understand how to enjoy hot yoga, I wanted to pass on a few words of wisdom to help beginners beat the heat and survive those first few classes:
Change the rules
My personal rule is that I have to try something at least three times before I form an opinion about it. However, if I’d followed my own rule, I would have quit hot yoga after my first three pathetic classes. When it comes to hot yoga, I say try it at least 10 times before you bail. Ten classes and you’re probably hooked!
Tune it out
Hot yoga is a mentally relaxing practice, but it’s impossible to get into a peaceful mindset if you’re worried about what others are thinking about you. Everyone has so much sweat clouding their eyes, they can hardly see past their own noses. No one’s checking you out, judging your downward dog, or counting the number of breaks you take. For the best experience, focus on you, and only you.
You’ll sweat unlike you have ever sweat before. It’s extremely important to hydrate before and after class, but don’t chug a gallon of water five minutes before stretching. Nothing’s worse than feeling all that water sloshing around in your stomach during your first set of planks. Your body takes time to hydrate, so knocking back a bunch of water all at once won’t do the trick. For best results, consistently drink water throughout the day.
Gorging on a huge meal right before class is one sure way to ruin your entire practice. The few times I’ve made the mistake of eating too much or too close to the start time, I’ve spent the entire class trying to keep down my food. Eat a small meal around two hours before your class starts, so you can focus more on your pigeon pose and less on your escape route.
Hot yoga isn’t a synchronized sport. Everyone works at their own speed. Don’t worry if you’re a few breaths behind the instructor’s pace. There is no such thing as moving too slowly. Listen to your body, challenge it when you can, and ease off when you need to.
Practicing hot yoga is mentally and physically challenging, so even the littlest accomplishments, like working through an entire class, can be extremely rewarding. Follow these tips to slowly, but surely, become a sweat-loving, toe-touching hot yogi yourself.
By Chloe Mulliner, Guest Blogger
Sometimes I wince at the very thought of working out. I dread the huffing and puffing, sweating, and the cramping in my muscles. There’s a whimper as I lace up my running shoes and a last-minute attempt to bail on yoga class. If it were up to me and my lack of drive, I’d count my laps around the mall as a workout and call it a day.
Fortunately, my exercise routine isn’t completely up to me. My sister and I have agreed to remain workout partners till sixpacks do us part. We attend hot yoga sessions, go on 5am runs, and take evening walks between blending up green juices.
When I’m twisting myself upside down in an awkward yoga position, I look over at my sister, silently giggle, and suddenly I don’t feel so silly and self conscious. And there’s something so refreshing about sharing the serenity of a morning run on the beach with the first morning ocean breeze and colorful horizon. With a workout partner, I’m not alone on the journey to wellness. It holds me accountable. If I backout on a workout, I’m not only letting myself down, but I’m letting down her and our agreement too.
Instead of taking the easy way out and squeezing in a couple more zzz’s, we encourage each other through that first stretch. I push her to run an extra leg and she gives me the thumbs up when I master a new yoga pose. We high five each other at the end of our exercise sessions with our endorphins releasing and our muscles aching with gratitude.
Its the way we feel after our workouts, flushed faced and determined, that reminds us why we’ve made our pact in the first place. When my skin radiates with that post-workout glow and my jeans fit a little looser, I’m so appreciative for that support. Thanks to my workout buddy, I realize my potential. I may huff, puff, and sweat, but I know I’m capable and stronger because of it.
When you’re in a exercise rut or lack the motivation to take your wellness up a notch, consider finding a buddy to bring some accountability to your workout regiment.