Heating up the summer … with hot yoga

Does your phone also show you throwback pictures from time to time? Like memories from a different age and time, when many things seemed so natural and uninhibited?

I got a lot of throwback shots from my yoga adventures around the world, and a lot of reminders of hot yoga classes, from an era when practicing indoors at 30+ degrees alongside fellow half-naked yogis was not eccentric or careless. I miss that a lot!

Thankfully, this is possible again and I’m also very ready to resume my yogic explorations of studios in Zurich and around the world. Ever since before the pandemic, top of my “go to” list has been Yogaholics United. As a fan of hot and Bikram yoga (yes, I have seen the Netflix documentary and still practice it), I was happy to see their schedule included many options of classes in heated conditions.

So on a grey Sunday midday I went in for Pascale’s Juicy Vinyasa class. It promised to enhance strength and flexibility while practicing dynamic movement at 32-34 degrees. Long story short: it delivered! Now let me give you the details.

We started with seated meditation and breath awareness… combined with a bit of sweat awareness, as the first reactions to the heated environment were kicking in πŸ™‚ All of us had 2 blocks on the side of the mat by default, and we used them already in the first part of the warm-up on our backs, in supported bridge pose. We continued with a core-activating sequence which sounded like a regular section in Pascale’s classes – basically a slow and mindful variation of the yogic bicycle.

Certainly extra “warmed-up” after the intro, we started flowing through sun salutations A and B, and gradually built up on this classic foundation, adding the warriors, some eagle arms and a few balancing poses. To me personally, it was great to experience these essential poses in a different environment, and I found I needed less effort to deepen my flexibility, but more focus to maintain stability.

I appreciated Pascale’s attention to detail and persistent cueing – as a fan of words and clear guidance, her style was right up my alley πŸ˜‰ We completed the class with deeper and more passive shapes, such as the pigeon, and of course with a delicious final relaxation. The cool-down happened later when I left the room, drenched but glowing.

It was lovely to sense the benefits of hot yoga again, not in the Bikram-40-degree sense but in a vinyasa context. I’d certainly recommend this type of practice to everyone who is missing summer these days πŸ™‚ and is feeling conscious about their flexibility. Let the heat work its magic!

Thank you Pascale and Yogaholics United and see you again soon β™₯