I love hot yoga. One day, whenever my knees give out and I’m too fed up with running or feeling sore, I’m going to do it every day. I currently practice once a week, and twice if I’m lucky. And, I only go to HOT yoga. I do not have the time, inclination, or patience to go to warm yoga, cold yoga, “heated,” etc. The classroom temperature needs to be 105 or hotter. That’s non-negotiable for me (and I have walked out of class for being too cold–who wants a Charlie horse?).
Yoga, the way I practice, is not a work-out. It’s a detox and deep stretch. It’s a way to slow down, breathe, move with my body, feel the spaces between my toes and fingers, and become more grounded. And it’s taken me a long time to get here.
Let me tell you about the first time I went to yoga. I looked around at the class in shavasana (where you lay on your back with your eyes closed), and thought, “This has got to be the laziest thing I have EVER done.” The deep breathing that sounded like snoring (the instructor said “ocean waves,” but she was lying) nearly sent me over the edge. BUT, the room was crowded, the space was hot, and I felt physically great even if my mental state did not match. So I went back.
It took the better part of a year or two (if I’m honest) for me to settle down. I think my friends and family know I’m pretty high strung, but truly I’ve mellowed out a lot (some). Beyond settling, finding calmness, I think yoga is one of the best recovery tools runners can use. My first instructor said, “Yoga is good for running, but running is not good for yoga.” Tight hamstrings, tight hip flexors, tight everything make getting into poses a bit more challenging for me. I love watching the Bendy Wendy’s do inversions or a bind I didn’t think was humanly possible. But, when I practice, yoga is individualistic. There is no competition, no keeping up. When centered, it’s only me and my mat in the room. Triangle poses, pyramid, warriors, and even blessed shavasana are beneficial after running.
Yoga teachers are, at their best, inspirational. Somehow they know just how to cue a class to say exactly what you need to hear. Slow down, breathe, take a moment to be thankful and grateful. Give yourself an hour on your mat so that you have more to give back to others when you leave.
Try a class. My absolute favorite is Indigo Yoga in Cary. My second favorite, when I was a member of the gym, is Lifetime Fitness in Cary (the Apex location is cold yoga no matter what the class description says).