Sooooo, hot yoga became a pretty consistent staple for me in my health routines about 5-6 years ago. Keeping in mind I use the word “consistent” very loosely. I practiced vigorously and then fell off and my cycles seem to wax and wane depending on my current life situations. I happened to have two beautiful little babies within the past 3 years so there are at least 20 months in there where hot yoga was a no-no due to my “with child” condition.
I find that any yoga, but especially hot yoga, is a microcosm of our entire lives, right there, in 90 minutes on the mat, dripping with sweat, “monkey mind” attempting to make us quit the whole time and telling us that there is no way in hell we’ll ever get through this. But you know what? I’ve always come out alive… every. single. time. Not only have I come out alive, but I’ve come out more aware of the power my mind has to control responses to uncomfortable sensations. Even more important than that, I’ve become aware of my breath.
We take breathing for granted in our day-to-day goings on’s… we breathe fast when we are anxious or exited, we hold our breath when we’re on edge, we even slow our breathing down when we are crying and attempt regain our composure. When you’re standing in a room that ranges between 95-105 degrees and being instructed to get into poses that stretch, compress and strengthen every single organ…well, let’s just say that it can be intense. I find that the actual physical movement isn’t as intense as the barrage of thoughts that come rushing to my mind. Anyone who knows me knows how deep I study and gain insight from astrology. I definitely believe that my moon in Gemini kicks into over drive and begins to berate me. She tells me things like “OMG, you are going to DIEEEE, do you hear me? Death is near!!!” and “Noooo, I cant believe this broad is asking me to do this! Is she freaking retarded, no way, no way in HELL am I going to be able to hold this pose for one more SECOND!!!”
Gaining an awareness on how I respond to a perceived “stressful” situation on my mat in hot yoga has allowed me to more honestly observe and become aware of how I respond to perceived stress in day to day life. Just like I’ve learned to talk myself down and calm my breath on the mat, I’ve applied this to my life. I bring my breath into awareness and it seems to help aid in whatever “crisis” I may find myself facing at that particular time.
I am so grateful and honored to live near an amazing studio in Raleigh, NC called Open Door Raleigh run by Monica Shannon. She is charismatic, informative, hilarious, compassionate and just a damn good hot yoga instructor! She is very authentic, which lightens the mood and makes jokes about whether we’d prefer the air to come out of our butts or to breathe it out through the moving meditation of yoga. (By the way, the answer is definitely our butt!! Easier and less time and focus)
This is one of the methods I use to ensure that I am balanced and detoxed. Although in this post I am solely focusing on the personal, emotion and mental side of hot yoga, there are physiological and physical benefits that are out of this world!!! My skin, blood pressure, strength and flexibility literally improve after just one session and when I’m truly as consistent as I’d like to be (3 times per week) man! I feel like i can take over the world! I have more energy, am in better moods and really have more overall focus and clarity in my mind. My intention is to integrate and prioritze this amazing self-loving act.
Hot Yoga Rocks!!
With So Much Love,