This morning I tried Hot Yoga for the first time. The studio was in Wellesley, MA. From our house, it is a straight, easy ride down 135 to the heart of Wellesley Center. What was so nice about this drive was the beautiful homes and landscape that dotted either side. So many of these homes were old colonials and victorians. Each was impeccably taken care of in order to show off its best assets. Once in Wellesley Center the best way to describe it to local bostonians is an immaculate Coolidge Corner scene with a few higher end boutiques along with the staples like Starbucks and Upper Crust PIzza. While I would have loved to stay and visit the town center, I was there for yoga class.
After finding a metered parking spot, I headed into HYP Studio.
I was note sure what to expect. Hot Yoga is a very trendy practice, yet I have heard from other yoga practitioners that it is not as safe or beneficial as it claims. That one needs to be cautious of how quickly students are asked to move through positions and that the heat causes many to hyperextend themselves. As such, I was quite nervous about this experience. Having only practiced yoga inconsistently and in slow flow setting, this was going to be very different.
The hardest part of the practice was definitely its iconic heat. As soon as you enter the room it hits you. Like a wall of cement the sauna heat smacks you in the face and cuts your breathing short. The instructor asks everyone to find their space and to set up. I work hard to keep my breathe even and more importantly to keep my nerves down. As we begin, I feel achy all over. Downward facing dog feels tight, but as we go through our first sequence, I begin to loosen up. Nevertheless, the heat causes me and the entire room to sweat uncontrollably and every once in awhile I feel lightheaded from the movement and heat combination that has me trapped in this room for one hour and fifteen minutes. The new mat under my feet is slippery as we approach the end of the session. Finally, in shavasana, the temperature is cooler and I close my eyes to relax.
I am not sure I will officially join this studio. Again, I am still on the fence in regards to the health benefits of this type of practice, but I will go back at least 9 more times to finish out their excellent new student deal. I might try another more traditional studio if there is one nearby, but at least I can say I have moved this body of mine all week long!