Reminiscing on the ‘Hot Yoga Challenge’

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30 Days of Hot Yoga with ‘Soul Hot Yoga‘ in Calgary

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a) Retrospective, was it a good idea or a bad idea? Have I failed or have I persisted?

b) Effects on my body & mind

c) Improvement of Yoga Poses

d)  Classes & Instructors at ‘Soul Hot Yoga’ Calgary

 

a) Retrospective, was it a good idea or a bad idea? Have I failed or have I persisted?

It was a great idea. I asked my Vietnamese Yoga Teacher from Saigon, the wonderful Kim Anh, if I should start out with Hot Yoga classes after mostly pausing for the time that I moved from Vietnam to Canada and she said well, maybe you should do regular Yoga Classes every day for a while before you start with Hot Yoga. I’m pretty sure she wanted to make sure that I am going to enjoy myself and won’t hurt myself by overcharging. With all the Hot Yoga options in Calgary I couldn’t hesitate though, and just went for it. I signed up for a 30day trial which was only 40 $, really cheap as Yoga is an expensive activity here in North America. A normal monthly unlimited pass will cost you around 130 $. As I am still pretty broke, I wanted to make the most out of the 40 Bucks spent, also I didn’t have much else today with my day when I started the trial.

Next I thought I should document it online, because such a huge fuzz is made of Hot Yoga here in N-A. I myself tried to google the subject to see what the heat is really all about, and answers are broad and vary from ‘best-thing-ever’ to ‘total-nightmare’. I documented every class here in detail to experiment and find out what really happens, how to prevent the nightmare-experience and how to make the best out of it. This is what I plan on doing from now on. Yoga-Advises from a regular person, who is just at the beginning of her yoga journey which started one year ago in my favorite place around, Vietnam. An intermediate Yogi speaking to you, sharing the same thoughts and questions.

By making it a Challenge documented here on my website I certainly felt more pushed to go everyday, and I still didn’t make it which frustrates me a little bit. Sometimes traffic was in the way, sometimes my daily schedule, a 4 day trip to Vancouver certainly also became part of it. In total I attended 22 classes, which means I paid around 2 $ for a class which is worth almost 20. Still quite a great deal. I don’t feel like I failed, especially as I had some pretty hard challenges that were physically demanding coming my way in-midst of it already. I always liked Yoga in the year that I practiced it on & off mainly because I could really FEEL the difference it made to my body, mainly my back. The intense practice I performed this month throughout the challenge persuaded me to never let go of it again, in whatever circumstances, Yoga should be the constant, not an on/off relationship.

So no, I don’t think I failed.

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b) Effects on my body & mind

  •  The weight-loss wasn’t immense. In that month, I lost 2 pounds (1 kg). Hot Yoga can definitely help you to loose weight, if that’s what you want from it. You need to eat accordingly, as this is still the #1 factor of loosing weight. Read more about combining Hot Yoga & Diets over here.
  • Muscle definition definitely improved, especially around belly and legs. Still need to work a lot longer before I’ll be able to improve  the strength in my arms.
  • Back pain extremely decreased, especially in the mornings after waking up.
  • Less hunger attacks and cravings for fatty food.
  • More upright posture. Seated as well as standing. This is one of the Yoga Effects that has always amazed me most. The improvement of your posture, which happens after only a couple of classes.

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  • More happiness. Definitely. Why?
  • Yoga encourages many ways of thinking which are good for you. Such as
  • Don’t compare yourself to others. 
  • You are good at something, someone else is good at something else. Perfection is not the goal. 
  • Every body is different. Every body can be beautiful, if you embrace it and accept it. 
  • Acceptance!
  • Optimism towards yourself. You are stronger than you think! You can do it! 
  • Let go of anything that is bad for you, that makes you feel bad about yourself. Thoughts! 
  • Your mind stays clearer as you have the chance to let go of the thousands of thoughts that cross your mind every day. This is still challenging for me, as I am the case of brainfucked 24/7. My head is just full of thoughts, sometimes 2, or 3 at a time combined with a song, or 2, and in different languages. Pretty bad, I tell ya!
  • The feeling of improving and your body being able to stretch deeper and deeper makes you go home with a smile on your face.
  • You feel sexy (-ier).
  • You want to make the best out of your day and you want to be nice to everyone surrounding you.

Yes, Yoga is good for you.

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c) Improvement of Yoga Poses

Here are the updates that I wrote down during the Challenge:

  • UPDATE DAY 15: Those hamstrings are slowly loosening up. I can’t believe it. Generally, I feel the strength building up in my body! The strength to focus on my breath, controlling it, keeping my legs and core strong to work with the poses. And..slowly but surely, I am able to get out of my head and thoughts. This is just wonderful.
  • UPDATE DAY 18: Hi there hips. Hello almost split.
  • Beginning of 4th week: Challenge had to be interrupted for a trip to Vancouver!
  • Towards the end, awareness Day/ Practice 19: My body is in the right place. It flows with Yoga and it ‘talks’ to me. It is showing me what it needs, what would feel good right now, and what is too much. I distinguished and perceived this mostly by being guided into a pose first by the instructor, which I would modify then by listening to my body. It might just be bending the head in another way, rearrange an arm or a leg, and then later on the instructor would share modifications for the post with us and enlightening enough, my body knows what’s good for it! My body is getting to know Yoga! I am getting to know my body! Super. Just Zupa.

The feeling of improvement when practicing Yoga is one of a kind, certainly. When you start out and you see all these crazy looking poses and you hear your muscles and bones scream while you’re attempting to do them you think ‘I will never be able to do that’. But then, one day, you will come an inch closer, and closer, and closer…One day you will be able to keep that balance being a Tree like a champ. Which will make you go back to ‘I will never be able to do that‘ … oh I just did that!!!! Your next thought will be, holy cow, does that mean I will be able to do XY soon/one day? Wow! And this just gives you an incredible drive. Besides how great you feel.

This is what makes Yoga so special, to me. It’s the only kind of ‘workout’ I can do without feeling ridiculous. I never was a gym person, or a jogger. It’s on my yoga mat where I found space for myself.

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d)  Classes & Instructors at ‘Soul Hot Yoga’ Calgary

I don’t really want to rank people and classes, but whatever, I’m doing it anyways now, just to have a clean, short summary for a ton of classes & instructors. Beforehand I want to mention that EVERY teacher was great and I liked every single class.

Classes

  1. Hot Hatha
  2. Hot Yang & Yin
  3. Hot Core
  4. Power Vinyasa Flow
  5. Hot Restorative

Instructors 

  1. Chris
  2. Joanne
  3. Alexa
  4. Jamie
  5. Crystal

My first class was hold by Chris and was the perfect introduction to the Challenge. I enjoyed his class incredibly. He unfortunately (for me, not for him!) headed out to India right after that, so I couldn’t repeat his class. Every instructor at Soul Hot Yoga does a great job. How much you like and enjoy their class is a personal thing that will vary between each and every one of us, this is at least my perception. I feel like it is mostly about the following factors:

  • Timing. The instructions on breathing! Do they work with your rhythm or not so much?
  • Composition and progression of poses! One instructor will bring you to a Pigeon from a Fire Hydrant, while another one chooses a different path. And one might make you personally feel better /make it easier for you, than the other!
  • Voice. This might just be for me, but I feel like voices take big part. I am not the biggest fan of very strong whispered / moaned instructions.

I want to send special thanks to instructor Candace who helped me to find a solution to a daily Yoga problem that I dealt with for a year. Every time after Savasana I would feel a very strong pain in my left hip. One day after Hot Restorative I asked Candace about it and she told me to try Savasana with Blocks underneath my thighs. It works 100 %, I am free of pain ever since! Big thank you to every one else who works at the studio. I unfortunately can’t prolong my regular journey with them as it is a little too far away and I found a studio super close that I am trying right now. But I will try to be back for Workshops and I think I earned a free class by collecting points :)

Read about the different classes and instructors by following the listed links: 

http://www.zupadream.com/reminiscing-hot-yoga-challenge/

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