We could all use a little Zen in our life, don’t you agree?
Most of you are familiar with Yoga, a beautiful practice that began around the 5th & 6th centuries BC. In the 1970’s, a sexy twist on the traditional discipline began to unfold in the U.S. – Bikram, commonly known as “Hot Yoga.”
Bikram Yoga, practiced in a room heated to 105 degrees & 40% humidity, includes 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises which were designed to work every part of the body. In the 90 minute class, you will burn fat, tone, elongate muscles, improve digestion, gain endurance, and flush out toxins…and SWEAT, like ALOT. This literally may be the moment that you realize “I have never sweat like this before.” And it feels amazing. It is common to feel lightheaded or dizzy in your first class, but over time you will learn how to engage with your breath properly and become acclimated (to an extent).
As Hot Yoga gained a considerable fan base over the past decade, studios have been popping up everywhere (even outside Downtown City limits!). I had the pleasure of taking my first Power/Zen combo class last week at Spark Hot Yoga in Snohomish, WA. The unique part of this studio is that they offer both ‘Hot’ & ‘Warm’ classes. Spark utilizes the Hatha discipline (more or less interchangeable with Bikram) as their Hot Yoga practice. Their other classes, Power, Zen & Sculpt are 60 minute classes in a room of 90-95 degrees. These options are a PERFECT way to introduce heat into your fitness realm. I must tell you, I was dripping sweat during the first 30 minutes of Power and my abs were screaming! Then enters Zen, which I of course figured would be the relaxing portion of class…I couldn’t have been more wrong. This segment included holding poses, which seemed simple, but here’s the catch – for 4 minutes…and no fidgeting. Talk about a deep stretch. I seriously struggled with this, but as soon as we switched poses I could feel how therapeutic it was – my hips, shoulders and spine felt open and engaged. The other challenge I faced was not letting my mind wander, but the instructor, Timory, kept reminding us to “stay in the present.” If you can put all of your energy into that moment, you become much more aware of how you are feeling…enter Zen.
Spark Hot Yoga is an exquisite studio, located in the beautiful outdoor shopping center, Snohomish Station. The extremely spacious yoga room has glossy hardwood floors, mirrored walls, and a sky-high ceiling adorned with contemporary fans. The ladies locker room was another favorite of mine, decked out in Tiffany Blue & Audrey Hepburn. I have to say, you all know by now that organization and cleanliness are two of my upmost obsessions and this studio hit it right on the mark. From the yoga merchandise, to the weights for Sculpt class, the studio was very well put together and felt very ‘Fresh.’ Exactly what you want when entering a new fitness studio or gym. And the music during class was perfect (this is another big deal to me)…a little electronica mixed in with some romantic folksy vibes. They often change their playlists according to the vibe of the day, which is a great subtle way to mix up their classes.
If you’ve been wanting an excuse to try Hot Yoga – Check out the New Student Special at Spark Hot Yoga – $20 for 2 Weeks!
A few tips if you’ve never taken a “Hot” or “Warm” Yoga class:
- Arrive to class well hydrated. Drink as much water as you can the day of class (and preferably the day before).
- Try not to eat 1-2 hours prior to class, as this can increase nausea and make the detox process uncomfortable.
- Wear comfortable clothing. Most of the regular Hot Yogi’s wear just a sports bra and tight pants or shorts. I wore a tank top and capri yoga pants. Breathable material = A Must.
- Bring a water bottle, mat and towel (to lay over your mat). They even design special microfiber “Hot Yoga” towels (I’ve seen them for a great price at Marshall’s, Ross, etc.)
- Class is a quiet environment (besides the heavy intentional breathing). It is also recommended you stay in the yoga room throughout the entire class, and just lay down if you need a break. This is for your safety and for the consideration of others. Of course, if there is an emergency you can exit quietly.
So there you have it, this was my mission this week for my Fitness Challenge and it was perfect! I have never taken a Power/Zen ‘Warm’ Yoga class and it was an awesome way to break up my normal fitness routine! I’m eager to try the Sculpt class (which includes weights) in the 90 degree environment (can you say major calorie burn?!). Have you tried a new fitness routine or jumped out of your comfort zone? Tell me about it! I’d love to know that we’re all in this together! :)
*Not all exercise programs are suitable for everyone. Check with your doctor before beginning any fitness program to avoid/reduce the risk of injury. Exercise at your own risk. Portia will not be responsible or liable for any injury sustained as a result of using any fitness program presented and/or discussed on Obsessed by Portia.