Having five weeks of holidays may sound fun at first, but when three weeks have passed and you feel like you haven’t done anything but procrastinate, it gets quite depressing. To avoid this feeling of uselessness, I decided to try something new, hot yoga. Challenged by a friend, I signed up for 10 consecutive days of classes, in a hot yoga studio in Lisbon, near my neighborhood. I was quite curious about the impact it would have on my body and mind so during these 10 days I was trying to be quite aware of the changes I would feel both physically and mentally.
What is hot yoga then? Not much explaining is needed since the name says it all. A class of hot yoga, is a normal class of yoga, but in a room where the temperature rises up to 40 degrees Celsius.
Arriving in the studio, we took our shoes off, we were welcomed by the owner, an Australian young man, and we were given our mats. Before heading to the changing rooms, we were advised to leave our mats in the room. In the 30 seconds I was inside, I was already sweating and I was terrified. First thing that came into my mind was that I was not going to be able to survive 90 minutes inside that boiling room. Turns out I was wrong.
In the 90 minutes of class, you do 26 yoga positions. From breathing exercises, to balance and strength positions, you work every single muscle in your body during that hour and a half. 20 minutes into the class, and you’re already sweating A LOT. It may seem gross, or uncomfortable, but everyone in the room is in the same situation as you, so there is no shame, and at some point you need to embrace the sweat and just relax and enjoy. and as as incredible as it may seem, never, in those 90 minutes you feel the need to leave the room, your body gradually gets used to the heat, and if you’re hydrated (very important) you feel just fine, as the temperature keeps rising.
After those intense 90 minutes (whoever said yoga was easy has most definitely never tried it) you lie down on the floor, the lights go off, and you just lie there, trying to avoid any thoughts crossing through your mind and just focus on your breathing. The feeling of having worked every single muscle in your body and of sweating out all your impurities, is enormously rewarding.
After the class, I felt more relaxed than ever before. At the same time, I didn’t feel lazy, and I didn’t feel like going to bed and never moving again until the next say. On the contrary, I had so much energy, much more than I thought I would have, and even went out that night with my friends. I had more energy that if I had just done 90 minutes of a gym class. I felt like my whole energy had been put on hold during those 90 minutes and that it had come back 10 times stronger from the moment I stepped out of the room.
Some of the benefits of practicing yoga in a hot room are that it warms your muscles so that your flexibility is improved, it helps clean the biggest organ of our body, the skin and it burns more calories. Not to talk about all the benefits of the yoga itself, which range from reducing your stress, to increasing your balance and improving your immune system.
After the 10 consecutive days of practicing hot yoga, I felt mainly that I had more energy than ever before. I felt much more proactive, and my progress when it came to the actual positions (which were quite difficult) was unbelievable. I recommend you all to give it a try, it is not as difficult as it seems and you’ll be surprised by the effects it will have on your body and soul.