Well I’ll be damned. I read a post on a yoga blog today that listed things someone should know before going to their first yoga class. Number five was, “it’s not a fitness class.”
I forgot that one.
Going to classes filled with high school girls on their soccer-practice-day-off can get you into an almost competitive mindset. It’s almost too easy to lose sight of what yoga is really about! When you’re trying desperately to bend yourself into that pose you saw on Instagram, you’re not focused inward.
Not being an especially athletic person (anyone who knows me is laughing because this statement is kinder than reality), I was hesitant to attend my first heated yoga class not too long ago. I had the feeling that everyone in the class was there for a work-out, and was distracted by that at first. The humidity and the 94 degree heat forced me to focus though and, to be honest, the classes were exhausting. As I continued to go (not sure what made me do that…must be tapas!) the physicality of the class demanded my attention – everything else fell away as I struggled to keep my arms high in utkatasana or keep breathing in our 6th eagle. It really doesn’t matter what the other people in the room are doing when even your elbows are dripping sweat. You can drop in to a stillness that exists inside of each of us – the trick is, it’s hard to get to, and you can’t force it. Heated vinyasa classes may be able to help though! After all, yoga poses were created to help one to meditate…
If you’ve never been to a truly heated yoga class before, I encourage you to try it! If you’re in the Boston area, check out Health Yoga Life near Government Center, or Baptiste Power Yoga in Brookline.
Oh, and p.s. — studies have shown that doing power yoga in extreme heat doesn’t burn more calories than regular power yoga, so just go to the gym if you’re worried about that stuff. It does, however, help detox your body and allows you to become more flexible! Just be sure to drink plenty of water and get those electrolytes back somehow after class… and try it a few times before you quit 😉
P.P.S. — you can let yourself go to yoga instead of the gym today.