I have, in the past, said that hot yoga "wasn't for me". I had attended a couple of classes, and had practiced in the heat in India and had determined that there was just no way that my body would feel good doing yoga in the heat.
Then this summer I saw a posting for a new hot yoga studio that was opening in Westbank, Oxygen Yoga and Fitness and I thought, why not. My intention that I set at the beginning of the year was to be brave, and this was a good act of bravery for me. It was the first experience I had auditioning for a class, the first time I experienced studio training, and one of the most inclusive groups of yogi's and fitness trainers I had the pleasure to meet. It is a great team.
But still I wondered - what about teaching in the heat.
Luckily the first class I taught was a reduced heat beginners. The room was packed with 22 people and it was fun, hot and sweaty. Right after I led a class through a gentle deep stretch class in the heat, still not too bad. But my mind was telling me "it's because it wasn't up to heat yet, what about Thursday?"
Thursday's class is a Freedom Flow. I brought in my unique twist of compassionately flowing from pose to pose. The heat was there, for sure it was, but I felt loose, connected, and was marveling at the space the heat helped to create in my back body as I played in down dog. I didn't feel like I was sweating badly, I could breathe. It wasn't at all like the other experiences that I had.
When I lay down on the mat though, I could feel the puddles of sweat on my body. It felt good. It felt like I had just gotten a good workout in and was feeling the endorphin high. It really wasn't as bad as I had feared, both as a student and as an instructor.
At the end of each Oxygen class, we make a heart with our hands at heart center and say "I love my life". I can see the awkwardness in students that first time, but can also tell who has been coming regularly to the studio as they say it with gusto. I am loving my life, I am loving that an act of bravery to try something new has rewarded me with a group of students who are present for themselves and willing to yoga with me, and I am loving that heat is creating space for my own practice to advance.
I lead classes at Oxygen on Tuesdays 6:45 Reduced Heat Beginners, and 8pm Deep Stretch and Relaxation; and on Thursdays at 10:30am for Freedom Flow. They are located at 103-2231 Louie Drive and you can register online on Mind Body.