Last Sunday afternoon I took my mom to her first yoga class. She does yoga videos at home, but had never taken a class before. This was a Moksha yoga class, meaning the room was heated to 37-39 C. This was my first experience with hot yoga as well. Here is the description of Moksha yoga on the studio’s website:
Moksha hot yoga is a series of postures practiced in a heated room. The series works to stretch, strengthen and tone the muscles while detoxifying the body and calming the mind.
While each of our instructors brings their own unique experience and style to their teaching, all classes follow a basic structure that is fundamental to the Moksha practice…
Savasana or corpse pose is how we begin. Lying flat on the back with the palms turned up and the feet slightly separated, we start a challenging practice in relaxation, allowing our expectations to fall away and be replaced by the potential for pure experience.
Intention setting. In any activity setting goals or intentions breeds accomplishment. Often a teacher will set a theme for a class – for example being more aware of your breath, or building the core muscles of the abdomen. Especially for those with a busy life, this brings the experience of a hot yoga class into focus.
The standing series is a cardiovascular set of postures. The focus is on building strength, balance and endurance through hot yoga postures done from a standing position. Postures are held anywhere from 10 seconds to a minute, allowing the skin to sweat and detoxify the body.
The floor series works on strengthening the upper body, spine and abdominal muscles. Having thoroughly warmed the body in the standing series, we now begin to open the hips and spine. The floor series relieves tension, treats lower back and knee pain and improves posture.
Final Savasana ends the class the way it began: lying flat on the back. The standing and floor series have warmed and opened the body, and now it is ready to relax. At the end of class students leave at their own pace, each with greatly reduced stress levels, a rejuvenated internal system and a little yoga twinkle in the eye (you’ll see!).
When we first walked into the room it was dark and it took a second for our eyes to adjust. After they had adjusted we realized the room was quite full and everyone was lying in savasana. We found a spot at the back where we could both fit our mats and joined everyone in savasana. The room obviously was quite hot and I was worried at first it may be too much for my mom’s first yoga class. She has asthma and can get a little claustrophobic.
The instructor came in shortly and led us through a sequence of poses. We were dripping sweat in no time. I was glad I had brought a towel to put on my mat because I would have been sliding all over the place. I thought this class wouldn’t have been good for a beginner because the instructor just walked around and told us what to do. She did not demonstrate any of the poses like I’m used to. A couple of times I had to look at what everyone else was doing because I didn’t know the name of the pose.
I also was unsure what type of breathing I should have been doing with the poses. I am used to doing the Ujjayi breathing, but it sounded like some people where exhaling through their mouths. I also had a hard time knowing when to exhale and inhale because the instructor didn’t tell us when to. In the hatha yoga classes i’ve taken they’ve always emphasized the breath, which I really like. I find focusing on my breath brings me into deeper relaxation.
I actually really liked sweating a lot. I felt so cleansed after. I did need to drink a lot of water to rehydrate. Even after 3 litres of water I still felt thirsty. I also liked the faster pace and the fact that I could push myself a bit farther in each pose because my muscles where so warm and loose.
In the end I could definitely see myself doing Moksha yoga again, but I think I would also want to keep up with the more relaxing Hatha yoga. My mom did great and also liked it. She’s looking into classes back home now!
I have my last 32km training run before Sinister7 on Saturday and I feel like I’m getting a cold. Yesterday my throat was sore and today I have been sneezing and my nose is starting to run. This is not good, I cannot get sick. I had a green juice this morning followed by a green smoothie. For dinner tonight I added 3 cloves of garlic to my stir-fry and tomorrow morning I’m making another big green juice. I’m trying to fight this cold off! We’ll I better get to bed so I can have a good sleep too.