With the weather cooling outside, I started unpacking jumpers and coats, and the idea of trying out hot yoga certainly felt rather appealing. So, first I had to find out what hot yoga actually is.
What is Hot Yoga?
Hot Yoga uses Near Infra-Red (NIR) heating panels, the wavelengths of which vibrate at the same frequency as your body's cells and you absorb all that radiant energy. Basically, studies have shown that working out in an environment using near infra - red heat boosts metabolism, detoxifies, reduces body fat and increases energy. Now, who doesn't need a bit of all that?
As I arrived at the Harlow Hot Yoga studio, I found the industrial side street surprisingly busy with people arriving for the evening class. The studio itself was a steamy 32 degrees and full of yogis stripping down to singlets and leggings. We settled into position and the room transformed into a candlelit, dark cave with gentle music to set the healing mood.
Our teacher, Michelle Donath led us through breathing exercises leading up to maharaja pranayama, encouraging us to become present, which is always a useful reminder. The class progressed through various yoga asanas and vinyasas, our breathing deepened and the heat increased. Whew, it felt good. It was a large class, ranging from beginners to advanced practitioners and Michelle offered alternative postures accordingly. We finished our practice with deep relaxation and a resounding "om", the first sound in the universe.
After class, a chilled whole coconut full of fresh coconut water awaited and what a perfect end to a workout. Feeling totally refreshed and rejuvenated, I asked Jacklyn the difference between Bikram Yoga (another style of yoga conducted in a heated environment) and Hot Yoga - the difference being that Bikram Yoga is hotter (around 40 degrees) and has set series of poses, whereas Hot Yoga is cooler (around 32 degrees) and offers a whole variety of poses which change continuously. Aha.