All yoga is good yoga, but not all yoga is good for all people. Most folks hear the word yoga and automatically think it’s just one way (slow stretching or chanting). However, a better way to look at it is like dance. All dance require moving to the rhythm of the music, however all would agree ballet is a lot different from break dancing. This is where understanding yoga styles can make a difference in finding the right practice for each person, so they get all the benefits of yoga, without any injuries.
I love and teach all styles of yoga, however Hot Hatha will always hold a special spot in my heart. This is because it’s had the biggest impact in my life, and consistently shines the brightest in making a difference in the life of my students.
I was absorbed in yoga throughout my youth, however I drifted away from the practice after losing my dad when I was 16 years old. I returned to yoga, specifically hot yoga in my early twenties, after years of sedentary office life had taken a negative toll on my weight and overall health. I lost 10 KG from hot practice alone, without any special diets. Just lots of water and sweat!
I love hot hatha yoga because it’s accessible to everyone. It’s not easy, but at the same time there are no crazy poses that are only accessible to contortionist or Olympic gymnasts. It follows a fixed sequence which allows folks to slowly get it and progress at their own pace over time. The heat triggers the cardiovascular system, turning the practice into an aerobic exercise burning calories. It also warms the muscles to allow for deeper stretching with reduced risk of injury. It’s a great beginners practice where folks can learn the basics, lose weight, and gain mastery of their body and abilities. After they’ve lost weight, overcome limited mobility, or healed injuries, they can progress to more demanding practices like vinyasa yoga.
While I love hot yoga and truly believe it’s available for everybody, that doesn’t mean it’s right for every body. The heat is intense and can be very confrontational, both physically and emotionally. It’s totally normal to feel overwhelmed and grumpy in a hot class, especially while looking at a mirror that seems to only highlight faults and insecurities. Regular hot yogis giggle when we talk about this because we’ve all been there and know that regular practice makes all the difference; either to slowly chisel away the physical problem or to let go of the mental drama. My teacher always said it takes about 10 regular classes before you really start to feel anything, so do your best not to quite or make up your mind after the first class. Think of the heat like a ‘detox’. Plan ahead and drink lots of water the day before class, dress comfortable for the hot room, take each pose step-by-step, and sit down & rest when needed. Ask yourself, ‘you want to struggle for 60 minutes or 60 years’, then get on the mat.
By Copper Crow