Hot Yoga makes life easier

Super motivated student Sally shares her experience of coming to Hot Yoga Sheffield. 


Why did you start coming to Hot Yoga Sheffield?

I'd been practising for about a year and I tried on hot class while on holiday in Edinburgh. I was hooked, I loved the heat and focus required.

I knew that there was a studio in Sheffield so I searched it out as soon as I was back.

I signed up for the New Starter Special as it sounded like an exceptional value for money offer and I thought I'd just do the month and go back to 'cold' yoga!

What were you struggling with at this time?

To be satisfied with who and what I am. To have the confidence to just be.

The eternal struggle that I think most humans have!

What was your first visit to the studio like?

Initially I found it a little intimidating as I had no idea what to expect, however the people that I spoke to were so friendly and welcoming.

I just nipped in one day to see what it was like and the person behind the desk, it was Koreen actually, explained the options available and what to expect. I joined with my daughter there and then but didn't do a class till the next day.

My first class was quite a shock to the system, I was fit and I had a regular yoga practice, but the first few classes were hard for me and I realised that I needed to make changes in myself for the classes to work for me. Also I needed to learn when to pause and not to worry that I wasn't keeping up. For me that was a hard thing to master.

Generally I think most of us are dehydrated but this is massively emphasised when working out in the heat. Also eating at the right points before the classes is crucial as energy is required but it's no good trying to practise with a full tummy!

I certainly am well hydrated now and this has made a massive difference to my skin and my appetite. I'd have never thought I'd manage a juice day and indeed to be able to work out on a juice day but yoga certainly shows you just how capable your body is.

What changes have you experienced in your life since starting hot yoga?

My asana practice has improved massively, the wide range of teachers ensures that a huge range of teacher styles and types of yoga asanas are covered.

I feel calmer and more settled in my practice rather than constantly striving to be the 'best', and I do believe that yoga also gives you the mental space to enable you to deal with and hopefully often resolve patterns and behaviours that don't always help you be the best person that you can be.

I feel a lot more in control and connected to my body rather than working my body to get fit I feel like I'm working with my body to be strong and healthy.

What keeps you coming back?

I love the classes and the teachers, the class timings fit around my evenings making it all quite easy to fit in.

I can feel my body needing to practice if I miss a few days and breathing techniques help with control and stress relief generally, all in all I think it becomes a wonderful life enhancing practice that only makes life easier.

What do you like about the HYS community?

The spirit and community that's been built around the members is lovely, everyone is warm and welcoming and there's a feeling of caring and love, which I guess is from regularly sharing energy in the classes, it's lovely to feel connected to so many wonderful people!

I feel that the studio gives back to the members and community making the studio feel more about the yoga and not like a distant and uncaring business that's just in it for the money.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about coming to the HYS?

Try it, wherever you are in your yoga practice, it even if this is your first yoga practice. The heat does put a different pressure and stress on the practice but I also think it helps my focus and stops my mind from wandering. So don't be hard on yourself, go at your own pace, stop if you need to stop and remember it's not a completion with anyone else on their mat. Your practice is your own. Oh and drink loads throughout the whole day, not just an hour before the class.

Heart opening from a humble hero

Hello yogis!

What a great time to talk about moving our practices forward. With September in full swing, back to work, school and Uni routines budding with good intentions, it's all about getting equipped with the right tools we need to make best progress in our lives.

Besides the fresh notebooks, bags, textbooks and pens to get the monthly planner filled, what tools do you need to facilitate a great moving yoga practice?

You may be familiar with the supportive use of blocks for stability, the lengthening capabilities found with a strap, even the feeling that your favourite pair of jazzy leggings gives you the gusto in your best poses. Better still, I'd like to bring up the baby in the corner. Quiet superstar: the Dharma Yoga Wheel.

I must say, with that description, it certainly matches the namesake of the inventor himself, Sri Dharma Mittra. Hailing with over 50 years of devoted experience, "the lotus flower of NYC," and still teaching, training, and invoking the light of Self Realisation through yoga every day makes Dharma (meaning 'right action') a humble hero.

Back in my early days attending classes at the Dharma Center NYC, I can remember settling in on my mat, watching how others were preparing for their practice with the Master. Some were catching up quietly with fellow yogis they hadn't seen in a while, others resting within themselves lying down or breathing mindfully, some getting warmed up with a few poses. I then noticed a few people rolling around, resting into some deep backbending shapes, stretching out, then sending this thick clear plastic wheel down the aisle between mats to an unspecified next user.

Sure enough, I grabbed it and gave it a go. Just a "wheel for warming up the back" they said. And so, that's what it was. I don't remember my first reaction to this crazy thick wheel, but I probably thought I wasn't 'doing it right'. At that time, backbending was not much of a focus in my practice, as I was still working with intense lower back pain.

Fast forward about five years later, upon my return to the DYC in 2014, it appeared Sri Dharma was rolling along any claim to fame of inventing the wheel to his son, Dov (Yogi Varuna) who was now producing the wheel for the masses.

Historically, Dharma requested the creation of the wheel by a PVC pipe cutter - ages ago - so that he could roll up and down the spine to loosen the muscles of his back for yoga. Sure enough, he was stretching out shapes and asana possibilities for countless others to come.

By the time I bought a wheel in 2014, I knew that I needed some help with warming up my back, increasing mobility in my hips and shoulders, and wanted something to help release deeply ingrained tensions in my upper and lower back. Since then, I'm just so glad the Dharma Wheel came rolling into my life.

While I don't use the wheel during my morning asana practice very often, I do find it is the perfect way to unwind, let go, and warm up for later in the day practices after work or sitting for long periods. It also works perfectly in the latter portions of a session for longer held backbending and restorative postures just before savasana. It's a great tool for going deeper into any spinal extension movements overall.

Since the wheel has been available for purchase, there is quite the demand in the yoga world for this super cool tool. They are even beginning to develop a Dharma Yoga Wheel training (which we'd love to host here at HYS). But what makes this wheel so useful, and what else can you do with it?

The DYW is a supportive structure that matches the contours of the spine, helping you relax back into comfortable extension of your own back. The movement itself massages the back muscles, helping you find more release and natural ease into backbending shapes. As one becomes more limber, the wheel helps you define and develop strength in the back muscles in order to support your own backbending postures in class or at home without the wheel.

Over all, the DYW can be used: on its own as a restorative practice, as a strength and stabilizing support within your practice, and as a fun gizmo to play with in perfecting balancing postures, and experimenting with wheel specific postures.

In our upcoming workshop, I will introduce some set sequences for each of these uses and give you the time to really experience the depth that you can receive in your own backbends. We'll also just play around and see where the wheel can help in your own moves.

While I have experienced some deep back and heart opening form the DYW and know that it can be intense for some, there is no other yoga tool I know of that will keep me feeling flexible in my own current ability and supported in what can be a scary position. I trust in the Dharma Yoga Wheel fully, and can't wait to keep getting better at bringing it all home to you all.

Hope to see you on the 25th!

Stay supple,

Anne Marie

Our top tips for an awesome 30 Day Challenge

Whether you are planning on 30 classes in 30 days or setting a specific goal just for you, here are our top tips to help you get the most out of the HYS 30 Day Challenge!

Mix it up

Like to flow? Try Yin. Stick to 60 minutes? Go deeper in a 90 minute class. Increasing the number of classes you do is great but why not try and give yourself a different challenge.

Pick a pose

You are going to be spending more time in the studio than ever before so why not choose a pose and practice it after class. Maybe it’s working on holding your shoulder stand or building your forearm strength for Scorpion - you are always welcome to stay behind and have a play. Why not take a before and after picture so you can see how far you’ve come.

Nourish your body

With all this hot yoga practice, you need to make sure you get your nutrition and hydration on the money. For every class you take, you need to up your water intake. Don’t forget about Electrolytes - we now stock High Five tabs to make sure your balance of minerals stays just right. Not to mention our delicious juices bursting with vitamins and natural electrolytes, prepared on site by our wonderful Zoe. Available now at the studio and at your local wholefood co-op Beanies.

Rest

Listen to your body and rest when needed. Accept that you might need to change your plan and miss out a class. Maybe you can make it up or maybe not. But know that either way it doesn’t matter and doing what’s right for you and your body is the most important thing.

Soak it up or rub it in

Prevent injury and ease those aches and pains. Try our Magnesium bath soak or for a more acute treatment, try our Arnica range from Weleda.

Share

Tell us how you are getting on. Click here to join the Hot Yoga Sheffield Facebook Group and share your hot yoga highs with some supportive faces.

Keep going

This month you have made yourself and your self care your number one priority. Imagine if every month was like this? How would that positively benefit you? Your friends? Your family? Your life? Maybe it can’t be as intense as it was this month but maybe it doesn’t have to be. How can you keep this going for October?