Let me start off by saying, I used to be a pretty big yoga skeptic. I had tried yoga at various gyms before, and I always left the class feeling unsatisfied.
Sitting in a room for at least an hour trying to contort my inflexible frame into strange positions made me incredibly frustrated – I could never seem to get my body to do the things that it was supposed to, the things I saw other people in class doing.
So, needless to say, I was pretty hesitant to try it again.
However, when we moved to our current neighborhood, Jonathan (my boyfriend) told me about this great yoga studio nearby. He had taken classes there before and really enjoyed them.
I told him about my concerns, and he assured me that since this was a hot yoga studio I would probably have a different experience. So, I decided, what the heck, I’d give it a shot. Worst case scenario, I didn’t like it and didn’t ever have to do it again.
That was back in July.
Now, more than 3 months later, I go at least once a week to an hour-long bikram (aka hot yoga) class. I have definitely noticed an improvement in my flexibility, which has in turn helped keep me injury free on all the crazy long runs I love so much.
Getting used to being in the hot room – they keep it at over 100 degrees! – was really challenging at first, but being in the hot room makes it so my muscles warm up at lightening speed. In the first 10 minutes of class, I go from barely being able to touch my toes, to grabbing the bottom of my feet, standing up with my legs straight!
There is also the added benefit that yoga provides inherent strength training in each class, since you’re having to lift and contort your body in directions you might not normally.
And, if that weren’t enough, I feel incredibly relaxed after class, similar to how I feel after a long run (without the major strain on my body). It’s amazing how an hour of stretching and focusing on breathing can do that.
So, if you’re on the fence about giving hot yoga a shot, I’d say go for it! Just make sure that you are very well hydrated (and that you bring a big water bottle with you to class).