12 Things I Learned from Hot Yoga

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Toronto, Canada

In my younger years I would have never considered myself a yoga person. I’m not into that hippy, granola stuff. I’d love to say I was attracted to hot yoga because of the physical challenge…

 

but the real reason was spite.

 

I had just ended a relationship with someone starting out in hot yoga. And because I was so hurt and also spiteful I threw myself into hot yoga in the pathetic hope that I would be better at it than he.

But something happened in the sweat-filled room, it took 40C to heal the hurt of the break-up. Then slowly the spite left and a sense of strength replaced it.

 

I knew I needed hot yoga to give me a sense of balance.

 

Unfortunately my 4 times weekly habit turned into 4 times in the entire 15 months I have been traveling. But coming back to Toronto I discovered I still had classes left at my old studio and I was going to use them.

As I lay in savasana (corpse pose) waiting for the class to start I started sweating, realizing that 40C is really hot, wondering if I could still do the class.

Then as we got into the first few poses anxiety kicked in. I wasn’t as strong as I used to be or as flexible. The easy moves at the beginning were kind of hard. My mind was racing:

 

I don’t think I can do this.

 

But the universe sends you messages and the Moksha Uptown studio has great teachers. Mine not only reminded everyone of little physical corrections but also why we were there.

As she asked us to focus mentally, I realized everything she was saying about the yoga practice was also related to my life.

 

  • Why are you judging yourself when you look in the mirror?
  • Don’t worry if you are not perfect.
  • Just relax in the moment and try to feel joy.
  • Release the negative feelings you have about yourself to make way for positivity.
  • There is no end. This is a constant effort. A progression.
  • The aim is not to be perfect but the effort in trying.
  • Be proud of yourself for showing up.
  • Be in a beginners mind where you are trying things for the first time.
  • Release any expectations you may have of yourself.
  • You do not need to change any aspect of yourself to deserve peacefulness.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others.
  • Forget about all the other errands you need to do today and try to just be in the moment.

 

I let go of all of my expectations and just enjoyed the class. And while intellectually I know all of these things, I had forgotten them in my heart.
This is now why I practice yoga.

 

 

Image (c) Lululemon

Join the Conversation

  1. Great Post and very true. I started yoga for the same reason as you. Because of a breakup and I wanted to be better. But now I realize how good it is and how much it helped me!!
    Namaste!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      So glad to hear I’m not the only crazy person who competes out of spite.

  2. Ayngelina*
    lovely share~ i enjoy many styles of yoga,, & that is the Unity, finding Yβ™‘U.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      So true

  3. The Travel Chica says:

    I think I have to re-learn those things about every other day. Thanks for the reminder πŸ™‚

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Tell me about it, when am I not in an identity crisis!

  4. I miss hot yoga so much. They have a bikram studio here but it is expensive, so now my idea of hot yoga is turning off my a/c in the apartment, letting the sunlight flood through the sliding glass doors, and I do P90x on my TV while staring at the mountains. And I feel good. I’m glad yoga is making you feel good inside too <3

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      What is the price? In Buenos Aires it was the same as Toronto so I could not afford it πŸ™

  5. Very nice perspective. I practice Bikram Yoga regularly.. and you’ve really nailed that idea that you have to be able to just let things go and accept yourself wherever you are. It’s such an amazing skill to have/practice on a regular basis!

  6. I have tried yoga classes so many times and I simply cannot do it. I feel more anxious, irritated and stressed during a yoga class than I do before! I can practice alone in my home without the voice or presence of other people, but classes just stress me out.

    However, I do agree with what they are saying and I feel like I can still practice those in life.

  7. Anthony @ Positive World Travel says:

    I love Bikram Yoga! Used to practice 4 times a week before travelling. Elise and I both miss it so much. There is nothing like it that gets you back on track again. I can’t wait to jump back into a class when we eventually get back home.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I know, I just wish yoga wasn’t such a yuppie activity and I could find classes at a decent price on the road. I am contemplating just going once a week, which isn’t ideal but better than nothing.

  8. Just goes to show what a great yoga teacher can do for you. I thought I could go it too while on the road, but procrastinating took the better of me, and going back into the routine was just too painful. Easy to give up. Thank you for sharing your lessons learned. I gotta find a good yoga studio!

  9. LOL your man was into Hot Yoga?

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Lots of people in Toronto are into it. Every time I go I see more and more men at it.

  10. LOVE Yoga! It made my day this week when my Yoga instructor complimented me on one of my balance poses – first time EVER.

  11. I adore each of those truths, but the one that spoke the loudest was: “You do not need to change any aspect of yourself to deserve peacefulness.” How often do we get caught up thinking we have to trade goodwill, pieces of ourselves, favors, currency….to obtain something as simple as peace?

    What’s less known is that peace is ever present, it just requires us to demand our stake in it before we can truly possess it. Usually, we are too afraid to claim it because we don’t want to step on toes, but everyone deserves a moment, unapologetically, when all that surrounds them is quiet solitude.

  12. Christopher says:

    These are wonderful things to keep telling myself over and over again, with or without the yoga…but I really really should get out that yoga mat.

  13. I am too young and restless in life rite now to even think of doing some yoga. But being born in India and a Hindu by birth, yoga does intrigues me. Maybe someday when I am old enough and wise enough, I shall calm down and practice.

    And as far as I know, there ain’t any faster way towards Moksha. πŸ™‚

  14. Annie - FootTracker says:

    Somehow I have never heard of hot yoga before. It sounds intense with the 40 degree Celsius heat!! How do you deal with that?

  15. Agreed! Love yoga for all the physical and mental benefits πŸ™‚

  16. Bobbi Lee Hitchon says:

    Great piece. Whatever reason got you there-it got you there and brought you a new sort of joy in life it seems. I love hot yoga! I’m not an extremely spiritual person in my day to day life-but when I’m in spiritual situations I will take it in and sometimes it affects me. I just feel like after a hot yoga class I’ve gotten out all the rotten stuff in my body and can start fresh! It’s not for everyone and definitely takes some psyching up for me. But it’s an amazing practice! Enjoy getting back into it.

  17. Caanan @ No Vacation Required says:

    Wise words, indeed.

    We are big fans of yoga. Not so much Bikram yoga, but yoga none-the-less.

  18. I have heard such good things about hot yoga. My sis-in-law LOVES it, and a dear friend has lost over 100 pounds doing it. But, like you, for all of them, the emotional strengthening has been the greatest gift. πŸ™‚

  19. Love this! I can only afford to do yoga (I’m an vinyasa gal, I do not cope with heat) once a week, but that 1.5 hours brings me back to reality after all the stressing of not knowing what I want to do, finding a job, etc. I really think many of the lessons that yoga teaches carry over into so many other things like traveling, making art, finding yourself in a society of conformism, etc.

  20. I wish I could have gone to a class with you! Not only does it do all of the above you mentioned it makes you SWEAT. I used to run and box and I’ve never sweat as much as I do in a hot yoga class. That said, when it’s a crowded class sometimes its hard to concentrate. You’ve reminded me that I really need to get back into it again.

  21. Annette | Bucket List Journey says:

    This post was perfect timing for me! I bought a hot yoga package from Groupon a couple months ago, but still have never gone. Even though I practice other types of yoga, the hot one has intimidated me. The words from your instructor are perfect! I only hope my teacher is the same πŸ˜‰

  22. Jeremy Branham says:

    Love those truths and how you apply them to life. However, I am not a yoga person. The idea of it and all that stretching – yikes! I’ll just try to apply those lessons from it to my life!

  23. I did hot yoga once with a friend, and though I couldn’t really do much of the moves, it was a great experience especially after I took some deep breaths and calmed down!

  24. Love Hot Yoga! I know exactly how you feel though, Dave and I are working on getting ourselves back in shape after a year of very lazy travel. We used to work out a lot and while we’ve done a lot of fun adrenaline activities, our bodies have gotten very pudgy and soft and it is time to turn that around. We notice that we aren’t as strong as we were before and after reading this, I feel better. I’ll just keep plugging through and in no time be back to my old self. Glad you’re enjoying the class.

  25. Emily @travelated says:

    This is why I love yoga. I love the entire philosophy behind it as well as the poses. The list of phrases you included are just perfect. My favorite is ‘why are you judging yourself when you look in the mirror?’ God bless yoga πŸ™‚

  26. jamie - cloud people adventures says:

    one thing i find difficult whilst travelling is to keep fit. glad you have gotten back into it!

  27. Lily (Explore for a Year) says:

    If you like Moksha Yoga, give Bikram Yoga a try too. It’s a bit harder and more militant (I think) but I felt like I got a lot more mental and physical benefits from it.

    I was doing Bikram Yoga regularly for 5 months before I started travelling, and in the last 11 months I’ve only gone 4 times, ouch! I’m not sure why, but something about lying in a 40C room makes me really happy πŸ™‚

    – Lily

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I have tried Bikram several times and would go back but I think it’s a matter of preference. I really dislike the militant aspect of it and prefer a much more open atmosphere. Moksha seems to appeal a bit more to my sensibilities and I don’t think you get the same 12 things in Bikram as you do in Moksha because the instructions are supposed to be uniform and a bit restricted in how they teach.

  28. That’s it! I’m taking a yoga class!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Well…you could come with me to Moksha the next time I am home. They do have a few classes that are PWYC

  29. Don’t know about the ”Hot” but lots of friends are into yoga. Meantime taking my dog for long walks is great therapy and good for fitness.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I love to walk as well, but yoga really helps put my body parts back in all the right places. You should try it.

  30. Siddhartha Joshi says:

    I am not sure what ‘Hot’ yoga is, but I guess its great in any form whatsoever!

    In India its generally quite cheap to learn/ practice yoga…maybe on your visit to India you can learn something new πŸ™‚

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It was created to emulate yoga in India, which is already hot! So the room is cranked to 40C. Somewhere in the physical practice you learn to calm yourself and just be in the moment.

      It seems the only place to inexpensively practice yoga is in India, otherwise the prices are cranked up for yuppies and hipsters.

  31. Tyler @ roundtheworldtravelchallenge.com says:

    Wow. If i can repeat some of these points to myself throughout the day, I will be infinitely more positive. Great list!
    ————————

    Why are you judging yourself when you look in the mirror?
    Don’t worry if you are not perfect.
    Just relax in the moment and try to feel joy.
    Release the negative feelings you have about yourself to make way for positivity.
    There is no end. This is a constant effort. A progression.
    The aim is not to be perfect but the effort in trying.
    Be proud of yourself for showing up.
    Be in a beginners mind where you are trying things for the first time.
    Release any expectations you may have of yourself.
    You do not need to change any aspect of yourself to deserve peacefulness.
    Don’t compare yourself to others.
    Forget about all the other errands you need to do today and try to just be in the moment.

  32. I LOVE YOGA. I am glad you were able to get back into it, despite your break-up. I hope you continue to go and continue to feel renewed! πŸ™‚

  33. I’ve been going to Moksha Yoga in Montreal on and off for the past three years, and each time I go back, I remember how good it makes my body feel.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I know I just wish it wasn’t so expensive!

  34. Samantha King (The Domestic Yogi) says:

    perfect πŸ™‚

  35. Wow. I think this reinforces why I really would love to give yoga a try … that and the fact that I’m really flexible. It should do my body some good. πŸ™‚

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