Welcome to the start of My Month of Hot Yoga! That’s right, I am going to be committed to hot yoga for a whole month! – Why? How? When?
Why do I want to do this?
My WHY. Why would I want to dedicate myself to a whole month of yoga? Why would I think this is a good idea or right for me? Well, my Why has multiple parts:
I have never been dedicated to yoga.
I have never even stepped foot into a Hot Yoga studio before. When I was in college, I participated in the free yoga taught by a newly certified yoga instructor, I have also done yoga at L.A. Fitness, and on my own through YouTube. The kinds of yoga I have done are very basic, taught by newbies, and not anywhere near the difficulty of real hot yoga, or Bikram yoga. This is one of the reasons I am doing this month of yoga: to officially dedicate myself to yoga and really TRY. After falling into and out of yoga, I want to commit and see what change that comes about.
I have always wanted to improve my flexibility.
I remember a time where I would be looking through Instagram and YouTube at women who can bend backwards, fantasizing that I would one day be able to do that…wait, that was yesterday… So, ya, I still think about extending my flexibility, but also my strength, when it comes to endurance poses. I would love to be able to do a head-stand, a back bend, and various other yoga-ish movements. Body movement and body challenges are also a drive within this month long challenge. I want to see what my body can do.
My body has hit a plateau.
Health and fitness can get really hard when you hit a plateau…what am I saying, health and fitness are always hard! However, for me, health and fitness has always been somewhat easy to dive into because I really enjoy it. Recently, though, I have hit a plateau. Okay, let’s get real – this plateau has been around for about a year. Starting my internship and now working with TrYumph has definitely increased my muscle mass and lowered my fat mass, which I am so excited about; however, I still am sitting at the same weight (well, duh, lose fat, gain muscle – of course you’ll be the same weight) but it is something that I am seeing as a static state, just by how I feel. I eat healthy and workout every day (for the most part), and I think my body might just need something new. Hence, a new challenge in a fitness category that I have never committed myself to in the past. Boom!
Why haven’t I committed until now?
A big question is why I haven’t committed to yoga in the past. I believe that timing, emotional and spiritual states, and physical abilities all played into why I started up and gave up yoga so many times in the past.
I had some bad timing.
In college I got really into yoga right at the end of my Junior year and then here comes summer! I didn’t have anywhere I could go to yoga for free and I didn’t have the cash for a yoga membership, so I stopped doing yoga. When I was doing yoga at LA Fitness, I was working at a very fluctuating scheduled job and could never fit yoga into my schedule, maybe once or twice a week if I was lucky (cycling classes were easier to fit into my schedule at that time too). Finally, YouTube! This should work! Wrong. I could not stay motivated. I got bored of watching YouTube videos, just like I got bored of Beachbody DVDs. I need REAL people doing yoga with me to really push myself.
My emotional and spiritual states have changed throughout the years.
I grew up very dedicated to church – because my parents were. I didn’t really see value in it, but I went because that was what we did. After leaving home, I found that I never went to church. I went to a Catholic college and I was not Catholic, the only interaction I had ever had with the Catholic religion was when I was about 10 and I went to church with one of my Catholic friends. Let’s just say that it was a traumatic experience (I’ll have to write a post about that in the future). Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with Catholics, I am Christian (Apostolic Lutheran) and we believe in the same things basically. But, I didn’t feel comfortable going to church on my campus.
My boyfriend and I started going to church at Anona in Clearwater, Florida. I enjoyed it but we soon fell off the wagon because it didn’t hold us in, it didn’t feel inclusive. Currently, I am going to Bridgepoint out of St. Petersburg, Florida and I am loving it!
So, why am I telling you about my religion? (I’m sorry if you’re not a religious person, but this is me and I’m real) Well, my Bridgepoint church started a yoga group for free for any/all members/friends of church members. I gave it a go and I fell in love with HOW they did yoga. They started the practice with a devotional and prayer, and then they give us something to think about while we practice yoga. So simple, so perfect. This started a few months back and I have been trying to go weekly (they only have it once a week) whenever I can.
Doing yoga is not only physical, but it is also VERY mental. You are left with your thoughts A LOT. You need to have your head in the right place when going into a yoga practice. I think this is one of the reasons I could never stay committed to yoga in the past. I never knew WHO I was and I always had trouble staying inside my head while practicing yoga. I know it sounds odd, but it’s so real! Whenever I would go into yoga in the past, I would let my mind race through all of the tasks that have to be accomplished, all the drama in my life, and all the stupid shit that the world has going on. NOW, I go into yoga thinking about a certain verse from church or a phrase that is powerful and inspiring. I can focus on these things in a better light now, more so than I could in the past.
My emotions are also tied tightly to my spirituality too. In the past I would let emotions get pushed down and compressed inside of me, where now I know how to handle my emotions a lot better. Emotions were high in college but I have leveled out a lot since then.
My physical abilities have greatly improved!
The last time I really did yoga, I was not healthy. I would say college was the last time I really tried to do yoga consistently. This was back when I was vegan, on the 21 Day Fix, or in between. My nutrition was poor. Also, I was doing too much cardio back then, I didn’t have muscle, and I didn’t have any endurance when it came to anything other than cardio. My physical abilities have greatly improved, even in the last six months or so, to an extent that I am able to participate in a yoga class and actually get through the whole workout without collapsing. I am stronger now than I have ever been, now I just need to increase my flexibility!
Where am I going to practice?
This was a difficult decision to make. Choosing a studio, for any fitness needs, is going to be a daunting task. I went online and looked up Hot Yoga in Google. I decided to do something crazy and choose whichever studio a) was close to home and/or work, b) had a cheap entry rate for newbies, and c) had classes that fit my schedule. I didn’t really think about what KIND of yoga I wanted to do, I just thought, hot yoga is hot yoga. No, no it’s not. I decided to go with Ganesha Hot Yoga St. Pete. because they explained all the different kinds of yoga they practiced and educated me that hot yoga is not just hot yoga – there are differences!! They had class times and were very transparent with pricing which was nice. They were relatively close to home / work, the class times basically fit my desired schedule, and their pricing was actually cheap! First month for $30! What?! The decision would be finalized at my first class – if it was a total wreck then I would try a different studio (more on my first visit to come soon).
When is this challenge taking place?
After going through my schedule for the next three months, I decided that it’d be better sooner rather than later. My first class is on Friday, September 29th at 6:30pm. Since they have a 30 days for $30, my challenge will extend through October 28th.
This challenge is a new concept of commitment and dedication, something that I think I need right now. I will be committed to a whole month of yoga, going to classes a minimum of three times per week (I have a life, I’m not going to go to the studio every day – no one has time for that). Since I can go unlimited times throughout the month, I want to take full advantage of that; however, I still am staying committed to the Bridgepoint yoga on Wednesday nights and I also want to stay in line with my fitness at my own studio. I am going to do Bridgepoint yoga once a week, workout at work about two or three times per week, and then try to hit Ganesha about three or four times per week.
I asked the owner of Ganesha how many times a week is recommended since hot yoga can be a little intense. She said that three times a week is good to start out and four times a week is optimal. Perfect.
Stay tuned for updates!