A mum who uses adventures and outings around town as an excuse to avoid the housework.
Published June 9th 2013
The most relaxing workout you'll ever have
Brisbane's newest yoga studio is Harlow Hot Yoga, located in the inner city suburb of Newstead. Aside from the benefits of practising hot yoga, Harlow offers a point of difference by providing outstanding customer service in a welcoming tranquil environment. As an invited guest to Harlow recently, I was able to discover just why Harlow is one of the fastest growing hot yoga studios in Brisbane.
Hot yoga combines all the familiar poses and breathing exercises of regular yoga within a heated environment (Harlow's studio is heated to around 32 degrees Celsius). Some of the reported health benefits of hot yoga include purifying the body of toxins, stimulation of the immune system, improved cardio-vascular fitness, toning, strength and flexibility. During my session at Harlow I had worked up a sweat, my heart rate had increased, my muscles were sufficiently stretched, yet by the end of the session I was feeling surprisingly relaxed and reenergised.
For me, there are two criteria that exercise programs must fulfil. Firstly it's got to be hassle-free, straight-forward and easy. Secondly it's got to be fun. Harlow hot yoga not only satisfied these criteria, but also opened my eyes to a new type of fitness – one that exercises the entire body, the mind and the spirit.
It's got to be hassle-free, straightforward and easy.
My most overused excuse for avoiding exercise is that it's all too hard to organise. At Harlow, things are designed to be as straightforward as possible as the team are actually there to provide support wherever possible. Everything at Harlow seemed stress free - from seeking information before our hot yoga session to the peaceful candle-lit yoga studio.
Surrounding candles help to create a peaceful atmosphere
Booking a class was incredibly easy via their online booking system. There's even a free Harlow app to download so that bookings can be made on the go. Don't worry if you're not techno-minded – phone inquiries are welcome too. There are a range of purchase options available from one-off casual classes to unlimited hot yoga weekly memberships.
I had anticipated that parking near the valley on a Friday evening would be difficult, however, there was plenty of street parking available, and thanks to some clever signage the studio was easy to spot.
The thought of having to buy special equipment that will simply take up space in my cupboard, alongside uniforms of sport-past, is off-putting. Harlow solves this problem by providing yoga mats free of charge. Attire is just comfortable clothes and if you forget to pack your bag, towels can be hired.
Lockers are conveniently located inside the Harlow Hot Yoga studio
Our instructor for the evening, Michelle, gave each of the participants a warm welcome and spent the time asking us about injuries and our expectations for the session. She made us newbies feel at ease by reinforcing that we were to listen to our bodies and respond accordingly. The poses for the evening were presented clearly (especially due to my fast-thinking friend who scored us prime positions front and centre) with options for the more experienced yogi or for those wanting to extend themselves further.
It's got to be fun
The fun factor at Harlow Hot Yoga came in unexpected ways for me. Being new to yoga I wasn't sure if I really had the required co-ordination skills. Despite my initial apprehension, I actually found this type of exercise enjoyable and something I could see myself doing long-term for my overall health and well-being.
The Harlow experience didn't feel like exercise, but more like an evening of pampering bliss by escaping the stress of the working week and having some well-deserved time out. The premises are designed to be inviting and calming from the friendly greeting from Jacklyn at reception, to the candle-lit ambience of the studio. Within the studio there are areas of higher and lower heating to suit the comfort level of all participants. From the moment you step inside the studio a sense of calm washes over you. The warm air is filled with the sounds of a quiet hum and the sweet scents of burning candles. After having just driven through peak hour traffic, this was a welcome place of solace to enter. This environment made it very easy to leave all of the worries of life outside of the room.
Inside the Harlow Hot Yoga Studio
This truly was the most relaxing workout I've ever had. Unlike a gym session or run around the neighbourhood, I left Harlow feeling reinvigorated rather than shattered. Not to say that yoga is easy – for the next day or two I discovered muscles that I had forgotten about.
The benefits to my overall well-being were surprising. An entire body workout was obvious, but the therapeutic applications and associated benefits were unexpected. Our instructor made mention of why we were undertaking each pose or set of poses with specific reference to body organs that could be assisted. Similar to reflexology, pressure point massage was also utilised to stimulate the action of organs or physiological body functions. This truly was a holistic workout for physical fitness, strength and flexibility, as well as the therapeutic benefits associated with assisted organ function, on top of the mental well-being aspect, which left me feeling completely reenergised when walking out the door from Harlow.
Relax in the Harlow lounge while rehydrating with fresh coconuts
To top off the pampering effect, chilled fresh coconuts were waiting for us after our class at reception, which we happily soaked up in the comfort of the lounge area. These were even personalised with cute little name tags. The perfect way to rehydrate and relax after a hard earned session.
Special thanks must go to Jacklyn and Michelle for making us feel so welcome and for introducing us to hot yoga. If you're after a little bit of guilt-free luxury that is good for your overall well-being and is great value for money, Harlow Hot Yoga is the place to go.