I turned up a few minutes late to my Mild Flow class at the new Hot Yoga Studio at Everyone Active Westminster Lodge, but I managed to creep in at the back and discreetly unroll my mat. And even though I’d arrived feeling flustered and rushed, it wasn’t long before that all melted away – both in part due to me generally melting in the warm temperatures, and the relaxing nature of the session.
Everyone Active added the Hot Yoga Studio to the leisure centre in September, and it’s a beautiful space with heated wooden floors, brick detailing and soft, coloured lighting. Immediately on entering you feel miles away from the noisy kids activity class outside, or the whirr of cardio machines in the gym.
The timetable offers a great range of classes too – the Mild Flow that I did was at 28-32 degrees, giving you a warm glow rather than an extreme sticky heat. It would be a really good beginner option if you weren’t sure about trying Hot Yoga, or if like me you wanted to be able to relax a little and give your muscles some TLC after an intense week of strength training.
There are also Warm (33-37 degrees) and Hot (38-42 degrees) – I’m not sure what the temperature was of the Bikram classes I used to go to, but I would emerge from those looking like I’d had a shower I was so drenched in sweat! The Mild Flow was a more chilled out option, which moved through similar poses to Bikram, progressing from a gentle warm-up, to balances, standing strength, floor work and then relaxation.
I’ve been pretty rubbish at practising yoga regularly in the last month or so, and this class was a great reminder of why I love it and why I really need to make more time for it!
Top 5 Reasons to give Hot Yoga a go
- Mental relaxation – this applies to any yoga class really, but taking time to slow down and step away from the stresses of our busy lives for an hour is so important. Just focusing on the postures and your breathing for a short time can mean you re-enter the “real world” feeling revitalised and ready to face whatever is thrown at you.
- Relieve muscle tension – the warmth of Hot Yoga allows the body to stretch and compress more deeply, minimising the risk of injury or strain, relieving muscle tension and increasing flexibility and strength. All of which is fantastic for people who take part in a lot of high impact workouts throughout the remainder of the week, and can end up with tight, stiff legs (i.e. me).
- Warm up – in the winter particularly, a Hot Yoga class is a lovely way to warm up from the cold outside. It is particularly beneficial for people who suffer from chronic pain such as arthritis, joint aches, knee injuries and back problems.
- Challenge yourself – the increased temperatures mean that your heart, lungs and circulatory system are required to work harder, giving you a cardio workout, as well as a stretch. Some people might think that yoga is “just a bit of stretching” but it can actually be a pretty intense workout!
- Have a laugh – all group exercise classes come with an element of sociability, particularly if you drag a friend (or boyfriend) along with you. Hot Yoga can also be quite amusing, as you struggle not to let your sweaty legs slip out of your hands and faceplant onto your towel…
Hot Yoga classes at Everyone Active Westminster Lodge can be purchased separately or as part of a membership to the centre – towels and mats can be hired from Reception. Bring a bottle of water!
Are you a fan of Hot Yoga? How do you relax?
NB: I attended this yoga class for free in exchange for blogging about my experience. As always, my opinions are my own.