Travel Off the Beaten Path

Hot Yoga: Heaven and Hell – Part 1

b2ap3_thumbnail_Hot-YogaHeavenand-HellPart1I am a hot yogi at heart.  Hot yoga is what started my love affair with yoga and it is the first yoga I was trained to teach.

Since becoming a teacher I have come to appreciate a love many different lineages, styles and flavors of yoga out there.  There seems to be a never ending evolution of yoga flavors these days which both excites and concerns me, but I diverge (perhaps a future post).

When I sat down and thought about what to write for this week I felt compelled to write about what it was with hot yoga that I connected with where so many other yoga classes had fallen short with me.

I teach hot yoga from the Ghosh Lineage.  For those of you who don’t know who Ghosh is, he is the man that originally trained Bikram, the HOT name in the hot yoga world.  If you mention that you practice hot yoga most people’s typical response is, “oh you mean like Bikram yoga.”

My practice did begin with the Bikram series and so I start there.  What hooked me, and what I believe hooked so many others – is the focused direction of how to get into and out of the poses and where I should be feeling things during the poses. There wasn’t the infusion of spiritual philosophy to confuse directions of how to get into and out of poses that I had always found so distracting and annoying.

I also did not feel judged by the teachers in any way. For what I could or couldn’t do in the poses and whether I held any spiritual belief in yogic philosophy (although now it is funny to me how much I am enjoying learning about yogic philosophy… I simply wasn’t ready then).

It was a pure asana practice.  I felt physically challenged. I felt that I had a lot to learn about the practice, and through practice I learned a lot about myself, whether I liked or not.

I am sure there are some of you saying that there are plenty of other lineages that have detailed asana direction, so why HOT yoga.  There are a few ways to answer that.

Firstly, I had been sampling so many flavors of yoga for the previous 5-6 years and just getting really frustrated. When I found what I felt to be a good fit for me, I ran with it.  It has been 8+ years now that I have followed this yoga path and in the past year I have finally been ready to venture out and see, sample and practice what else is out there in the yoga world, and I am have fun doing it now.

Another reason the heat made sense to me is that I came into the yoga with a lot of tightness from many years of playing sports and the heat helped me to open up and get into my areas of injury and pain. This allowed me to rehab my body from the inside out.  It has not always been the most pleasant process, but it has been the most effective and the least invasive.

Lastly, I love the heat because I sweat.  I don’t mean just sweating in the hot yoga room, but I am just generally a sweaty person.  Even when I took unheated classes, I sweat way more than the average person… so in the hot room I just blended in.  It was great!  No more feeling embarrassed about my profuse sweating, because everyone else was also standing in their own puddles.

So, now that you know my story of attraction to yoga… stop and take a moment to think about your story. What is it that really got you hooked into yoga?  Share your stories in the comments below or on the WSYT Facebook page so others, teachers and students alike, may learn from them!

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