07 Oct HOW DO YOU LIKE YOUR YOGA?
Yoga has a long and rich culture and is said to have developed over 5,000 years ago. It’s origin lies in Northern India and was first mentioned in the oldest of Hindu sacred texts, the Rig Veda. Yoga matured from prayer to bodily practice, and through disciplined training Hindu’s aimed to facilitate mental activity, find their ‘true self’, and most importantly, achieve the end result of liberation. Despite growing from religious roots, today everyone comes to yoga for an individual reason and leaves with an individual experience.
Through cultural modernisation and a strong western influence, yoga has changed dramatically. There are endless varieties to choose from when taking on a yoga path; Vinyasa, Hatha, Tantra, Prenatal, Restorative, Aerial and even Laughing yoga (yes there is such a thing.) With such a vast assortment of styles, fads and myths it’s hard to know exactly which approach to yoga is for you! Warrior One is a studio that aims to encompass and encourage a wholesome yoga experience, but first it’s important to decide how do you like your yoga?
With the simple practice of yoga, you are participating in a significant ancient tradition. Let the power of this knowledge fuel your spiritual connection during your next yoga session and focus on the effect the physical flow of energy has throughout your body. At Warrior One we continuously encourage our tribe to set an intention before each class. Come into the yoga space with an active energy to achieve this purpose, and allow the practice to align your physical needs with your spiritual needs. An intention can be something as simple as regulating your breathing, releasing stress from your body or healing any ailments that might be causing you pain. Regardless of whether it’s big or small, all that matters is that you keep your intention in focus throughout the class, and allow it to permeate through your life off the mat as well.
For many yogis, finding your preferred style can come from trial and error. Hot Yoga is one such avenue that has grown in popularity and undeniable controversy. Haven’t heard of it? It’s also known as Bikram and involves practising 26 poses and 2 breathing exercises in a studio heated to a sweltering 40 degrees! The effect of performing yoga in such extreme humidity is designed to loosen the muscles and allow people to feel more flexible and capable in their poses. It also can help you burn up to a whopping 2500 kilojoules in one session. But before you dive right into one of the fittingly named ‘torture chambers’ it is very important to understand the pros and cons of Hot Yoga first.
Bikram Choudhury, a celebrated yoga athlete and teacher, originally introduced Bikram yoga to the USA in 1971. It’s growth as a remedial therapy catapulted the yoga style into popularity, with Choudhury himself claiming it had saved him from a debilitating knee injury. Along with the added flexibility, Hot Yoga claims to detoxify the body, provide an intense workout and stimulate the nervous system.
So what are the cons? Well you can’t subject your body to intense physical activity in extreme heat without some side effects, both big and small.
The relentless sweating that is custom to Hot Yoga is meant to aid in the detoxification process of the body. Perspiration acts as the body’s natural cooling mechanism, but if the sweat has no way to evaporate in such a boiling environment then this can trigger heat exhaustion, fatigue and dizziness.
What’s more, it’s not just a little bit of sweat… it’s a lot! This can pose a risk of severe dehydration and practitioners recommend increasing your water consumption up to 4 litres the day of your Bikram session. It’s also important to replace any electrolytes and minerals lost from the body due to the intense perspiration levels in Hot Yoga. After your session consume a sports drink such as Powerade or a healthier option like organic coconut water.
Although the heat of the yoga studio benefits flexibility, don’t be fooled into attempting poses that you are not yet capable of. Clients who try Hot or Bikram yoga must remember that the over-extending of joints and ligaments can cause problematic injuries. Feeling looser and lighter in the high temperature is natural, but it doesn’t mean you’ve instantly become a super yogi. Take your time with the poses and understand your limits, otherwise the heat will be doing you more damage than good!
Yoga teachers and students all over the world have their own individual opinions about the benefits of Hot Yoga. The lack of scientific evidence validating the health benefits of Hot Yoga cause many qualified yogis to stick to the equally beneficial traditional methods. However, if you truly are interested in trying it out for yourself, do your research! Always be certain that the clinic is fully certified and speak to the practitioner about the risks involved. What’s more, don’t be afraid to ask your doctor whether your physical health is where it should be before you get into a hot studio for a full on work out.
So whether you’re a vibrant member of the Warrior One tribe, just stopping by for a visit of still searching for the right yoga path, always remember to set your intention and flow, evolve and unite.