I’ve taken a lot of yoga classes in my day. And a lot of different kinds of yoga: restorative, paddle board, aerial, candlelight…But I’ve never taken a hot yoga class – until this weekend.
I’ve always kind of snubbed my nose at hot yoga. Because, honestly, I sweat enough in a regular yoga class. And, the thought of yoga in a hot room just seemed, well, unnecessary. Until I did it. And let me tell you this – I Am In Love With Hot Yoga.
Let me tell you all about it…
Where I Went
This weekend, I grabbed my good friend Kyla (she’s always up for something fun) and headed to Ivy League Strength in Lexington, Kentucky.
Now, this yoga studio is in a strip mall tucked out of the way. But do not let the outside of this little yoga studio fool you – this place follows the “Mom Rule” — you know, “it’s what’s on the inside that counts….” 🙂
How Hot is It?
The inside is a tiny little space, which is actually perfect for keeping the room a nice, toasty 108 degrees. Yep, you read that correctly. The room is 108 degrees. And, the floor is heated, too. I think I’m starting to sweat again just typing that…
Now, as I just finished taking off my shoes and socks inside the studio, I remembered that I left my yoga mat in the car. Ivy, the owner and today’s instructor, said not to worry that she had some new Manduka mats for people in the class to use. Now, a quick trip to Google for “Best Yoga Mats” will inevitably bring up Manduka yoga mats as one of the top yoga mats on the market. And with a price tag of $50-$150, it was hands down better than my $15 Target mat. I’m a sucker for quality. Nicely done, Ivy League Strength.
While we waited for Ivy’s 11 other “usual” students to get to class, I sat and listened to Ivy chat with one of her students. While I listened to her talk, it was interesting to note that Ivy wasn’t exactly what I would expect a “normal” yoga instructor to be like. She was less “make your own deodorant” and more someone you wanted to go get a beer with. I began to think this girl had no idea about yoga and that this was going to be a waste of my time. Ahhh, boy was I wrong.
Who Was In The Class?
As you can see from the pictures, our class was pretty diverse. We had guys, girls, all ages, and all yoga abilities. This was, just like every other yoga class, a class that you could modify the moves to be as difficult or as easy as you wanted.
What I Wore
I wore a tank top and capris. But let me tell you this, my tank top did not stay on long. Once the class started, the sweat started dripping.
The first thing that was immediately apparent once class started was the attention to breath. Now, all yoga classes I have ever been to have worked on breath, but this was a whole new level. The “usual” class members were breathing, sighing and even hissing. At one point in the class, I even stopped to listen and see if there was a taped “breathing sound” being played through the speakers. Nope. Just good ‘ole breathing by my fellow classmates. This breathing, and Ivy’s prompting, kept me focused on my breath, contracting my abs and breathing into each move.
Now, I love restorative yoga. It’s great to give my muscles a nice break and some love from the heavy weightlifting it does. But, I also love power yoga. It makes my muscles move and I feel like I’ve had a great workout when I’m finished with it. The yoga flow we did was the perfect mix of both. I wore my heart rate monitor during the 90 minute class. I burned a total of 449 calories and at one point, my heart rate hit 172. Not too shabby.
Ivy lead us in two yoga flow sessions during the class. For the first flow, Ivy stayed in the front of the class and showed us how to do each move. Then, after a quick water break, we did the same flow again. Only this time, Ivy talked through the moves and did some adjusting to everyone’s poses. Now, I love adjustments in yoga. They help make sure I’m aligned correctly or help me get a deeper stretch out of the move.
At the beginning of class, I thought “I won’t wipe my sweat off my face the whole class and I’ll take a picture at the end so the readers can see how much I sweated.” Good idea in theory, but No Way that was happening. I seriously had sweat dripping off my elbow, nose, down my stomach and every crack and cranny. But, it felt awesome. That poor sweat rag got a workout today.
My feet slipped a little from time to time. My hands slid down my sweaty legs with some of the poses, but it didn’t matter. I just readjusted, wiped my sweaty hands and went back at the pose. If anything, I think it made me keep every muscle contracted and my core tighter to make sure my balance was steady and strong.
After we finished our second yoga flow, we broke for a quick water break before shavasana. During the break, everyone picked up some cold stones (I forgot to take a picture, but they were like chilled, smooth, white hockey pucks of stone) and a frozen wash cloth. Everyone placed the stones and cloth wherever felt best for you during shavasana. I chose to hold one rock and place the other on my chest. I draped the cloth over my stomach. During shavasana, Ivy opened the doors and the room began to cool down.
It was such an interesting sensation to go from incredibly hot to cool. Like taking a cool shower after a hot, summer run. Very refreshing.
After class, my muscles felt like they had a workout, a stretch and were incredibly relaxed. However, my pants and sports bra felt like I had just taken them out of the washing machine.
What to Wear: The least amount you feel comfortable in. Guys, it’s hot in there. And you’re going to sweat. If I went back (or better yet, WHEN I go back) I’ll wear capris and a sports bra again.
Whatch’ Doing Afterwards: Kyla and I were planning on ducking in a store for a little shopping after yoga. Let me tell you this, after class, we were a sweaty, mess. Fair warning – your clothes are going to be drenched after a hot yoga class. If you’re planning on doing anything after class, bring an extra change of clothes. And some deodorant. And make-up. Because, in the words of Kyla, “I may have survived class, but my mascara didn’t.”
Drink Plenty of Water: Most websites say to drink a gallon of water the day before your hot yoga class. I’m sure I didn’t do a gallon of water, but I did get plenty in. Be sure to get your H2O in the day before (and after) class. You’re going to sweat a lot. I weighed myself before/after class and lost 1lb of sweat — with my sweaty, wet, heavy clothes still on.
Y’all, I think I may have found my new workout obsession. Hot yoga totally lived up to (and exceeded) the hype. I had fun, got a workout in and I’m sure sweated out a ton of nasty toxins in the process.
Kyla and I both give this hot yoga two sweaty thumbs up.
And, honestly, I think I would have failed as a blogger and let all my Spring Break 2002 girls down if I did not post this today for your listening pleasure. Enjoy!
Stay Hot, Ladies! (With or Without the Yoga)
* Be sure to click “FOLLOW” on this page to get the blog emailed to your inbox every day!*