Adventures in Hot Yoga

In the 90’s I used to take yoga at least two to three times a week. Yoga was a good counterbalance for all of the cycling, aerobics and strength classes that I taught (as many as 20 per week). The other thing that I loved was that I was able to slow down completely focus on myself for a change! Since then I am lucky if I take one or two classes a year.

I recently started renting space for personal training sessions at Priya Hot Yoga in my neighborhood. The studio is owned by three lovely gals: Eve, Katie and Kristin.

grand opening

Last week I finally decided to take a class. (Check out the details/benefits of hot yoga here.) I signed up for the introductory special – 30 days of unlimited classes for $40. After that, Priya has a selection of class cards and memberships. They are also part of the ClassPass network.

I wear glasses 95% of the time, but popped in a pair of contacts in anticipation of many downward dog poses. The class had six other participants in the beautiful studio. The front wall was a collection of multicolored distressed wood, a departure from the typical mirrored wall. I think that the lack of reflective material would make newcomers and yoga neophytes more comfortable.

studio

Our instructor led us through a series of Vinyasas featuring Warrior and Triangle variations. I found the flow to be challenging and enjoyable. The warm temperature was surprisingly soothing and seemed to enhance my performance. Yes, as a fitness professional I do have fairly good flexibility and range of motion, but only in certain muscles and planes. My body’s theme song would be “Hips Don’t Lie”!

We finished on the mat with a few hip (yes!) stretches before final meditation. Again, the warm temperature allowed me to relax, something that I was not always able to do at my gym’s yoga classes because the air conditioning would sometimes kick in unexpectedly.

If you are hungry or thirsty after class, Priya sells healthy goodies from Pure Fare and Down Dog Healing Cafe.

food

So far I have taken five classes, all of them challenging but enjoyable. My goals are to prevent lower pain from scoliosis and to be able to gracefully hop from position to position!

Have you tried hot yoga? Please share your experiences in the comments!

Not So Hot Yoga

Today I participated in a Summer Solstice yoga class.

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This was right across the street from me at The Oval. The yoga was led by peaceful folks from Dhyana Yoga. Early birds received a mat courtesy of Athleta. After doing at least 50 sun salutations (not kidding) we noshed on bars from Kind and new flavors of Vita Coco coconut water (my friend LOVED the espresso flavor).

All in all, a wonderful way to begin the summer and celebrate Sweatpink’s (fitness network for women)third birthday!

Pilates vs. Yoga

Dear Robin: What’s the difference between Yoga and Pilates? Is one better than the other?

Robin: Hmmmm……. asking if Yoga is better than Pilates (or vice versa) is like asking if shrimp is tastier than lobster. Both are yummy, but have different textures and tastes!

Let’s talk about Yoga first.

Yoga is an ancient practice of physical and mental training. Most gyms feature classes that focus on the physical postures, such as Downward Dog.

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Yoga can be calming, relaxing and invigorating. Some people feel that Yoga improves concentration, flexibility, strength, balance, circulation and respiration.

Joseph Pilates created Pilates mat work during his time as a medic in World War I. Over time, Pilates can strengthen core muscles, improve posture, increase flexibility and build pelvic stability. Pilates exercise requires mental focus, concentration, control and the ability to maintain a neutral spine while moving the arms and legs.

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To summarize, both Yoga and Pilates can be categorized as “mind body” exercise practices. Yoga focuses more on dynamic movements that transition into static postures. Pilates mat work is a series of fluid movements that target the core or “powerhouse”. Both practices are beneficial. I will say that if you are short on time, Pilates can better fit into a busy schedule. The average Yoga class is at least 60 to 90 minutes, while the basic Pilates mat moves are perfect for a 30 minute session.

Soooooooo……

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Picture References:

http://www.mariamedia.net/what-the-heck-is-the-d-d-d/

http://www.humankinetics.com/excerpts/excerpts/uncover-the-single-straight-leg-stretch

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