Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Berkshire Fitness Scene : Hot Yoga

Hot Yoga has become a bit of a thing. Yoga itself seems to have surged in popularity lately, as a form of low-impact exercise that just about anyone can benefit from and hot yoga is also rising in popularity. Although I don't practice yoga regularly I enjoy it when I do and am still searching for the right class for me. When I found out about Studio 42, which offers a range of hot yoga and pilates classes I was keen to try it out.

The yoga classes are based around Hatha yoga postures performed in a studio heated to about 42 degrees. The heat encourages you to out sweat toxins but also means that your muscles will be warmer and you should be able to stretch further and much more safely than if you were in a "normal" temperature room performing Yoga. that said you'll probably need to take it easy on your first few classes until you get used to the heat; there;s no room for ego in hot yoga. The heat also boosts your metabolism so could help with weight loss. In any case after a class you will certainly lose weight just from water loss.

I decided to try a 90 minute Hot Yoga class. As I walked into the studio the warmth hit me right away. I'm much more comfortable in heat than cold and although many of the women were in capris and vests I was glad I'd opted for running shorts and a crop top. There were far more men there than I was expecting, my neighbour in just a pair of shorts, but yoga is a discipline that requires you to concentrate on your own actions so I didn't feel uncomfortable. My instructor was Lilli, a very toned blonde lady who urged me to take it at my own pace and rest whenever I needed to. The heat does take more out of you than you might realise.

We started with some exercises to get the muscles warmed up and then some sun salutations. We progressed through a whole host of postures, all of which I was familiar with but some of which were harder than usual if only for the fact that I was sweating so much it wasn't possible to maintain a secure grip on a leg or foot when needed. I'd taken a small hand towel with me as well as two bottles of water and was glad of it. There were moments when I got a little light headed but I rested and sipped water and picked up when I could. The 90 minutes passed quite quickly and I left feeling renewed, two inches taller, lighter and a little lightheaded. I really enjoyed the class because it challenged me and so I would definitely do it again.

As well as plain Hot Yoga Studio 42 also offers Hot Flow Yoga, Hot Pilates Conditioning and Hot Dynamic Yoga classes ranging from 45 to 90 minutes. You can read about the differences on their site. The classes cost £13 on a pay as you go basis which is more than I'd usually spend on any single class but there are good deals to be had by buying a membership. Students can also benefit from a 10% discount, something I didn't realise until after class. I'm kicking myself for not taking up their introductory offer of £35 for 30 days of unlimited classes... I might see if they'll let me pay the difference... You can also hire mats and grip towels for £1 each per class. As you don't have to book there are really no excuses for not dropping in and giving it a go.

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