November 2011

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live on the move Some Like it Hot Taking yoga to a whole new level By Meagan Parrish In the ever-expanding school of yoga styles, hot yoga has a particularly mystical appeal. Traditionally practiced in a room ranging from 95 to 105 degrees, it ups the workout ante, pushing you to overcome a new realm of physical (and mental) chal- lenges while promising the reward of not just burning calories, but sweating away toxins as well. As a yogi with years of practice on her mat, I've always been a bit skeptical of this style. To me, exercising in that kind of heat=a stifl ing feeling=not breathing well=why is this fun? But throngs of hot yoga loyalists say that once you go hot, you never go back. So on a recent evening, I headed to Dragonfl y Hot Yoga, a hoppin' new studio, to see what all the sweaty fuss is about. Striding into the room for a "Drag- onfl y Flow" class, I was fi rst struck by how comfortable the temperature actually felt. As I rolled out my mat, I wondered: Did someone forget to, you know, crank up the heat? But at 97 degrees with just 25 percent hu- midity, it turned out the temperature was more bearable than I expected. Like many yoga classes, we began with Where to go: In addition to the variety of classes offered at Dragonfl y Hot Yoga, visit Inner Fire Yoga for a range of classes at different temperatures and for various experience levels. A Perfect Knot also offers a Bikram style class in a room set to 90 degrees. simpler poses to ease into the practice. Flowing into our hour-long session we quickly gained steam (and sweat) while doing a sequence of postures that experi- enced yogis would fi nd familiar and novice students would likely fi nd easy enough to follow. Th ough I took more breaks than usual to reach for my water bottle or wipe the sweat away, to my surprise, the heat didn't slow me down. In fact, through it all, I moved The Dish on hot Yoga The styles: Bikram style is tradition- ally performed in a 105-degree room with 40 percent humidity and focuses on a sequence of 26 postures. Other hot yoga classes incorporate more movements in rooms heated to 90 to 105 degrees. 14 BRAVA Magazine The benefi ts: Many contest that hot yoga increases fl exibility, reduces the risk of injury, burns more calories, and that all the sweating even releases toxins. Who will love it: Established yogis wanting to spice up their practice, or new students looking for an intense exercise that satisfi es in more ways than one. Who should skip it: Children and pregnant women in their fi rst trimes- ter should avoid hot yoga. First time students should seek a physician's advice before starting a new exercise routine. November 2011 Instructor Amber Thompson deeper into stretches and felt myself hold the more challenging, strengthening pos- tures with ease. Dare I admit, the heat was like the wind beneath my wings, propel- ling me into new level of yogi bliss? I had walked in expecting the high temperature would make me melt into heap of noodly limbs on my mat, but I left feeling stronger. I don't know if I'm a convert, but I will say that for an invigo- rating workout, sometimes you just need to crank up the heat. Photo by Amber Arnold

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