I was invited to try yoga for a month at Sweat Studios in Milton Keynes and share my experience. What I didn’t realise, is what a transformative experience it would be!
I’m not a complete newbie to yoga; I used to do a few classes locally but never really found them beneficial. Whilst I was at uni, I would follow YouTube videos by Yoga with Adrienne, but keeping it up was quite difficult when I had one of the smallest rooms in the house! I’ve been suffering with panic attacks and anxiety so I was really keen to get on board with something that would exercise my mind and body, and help me get a bit more active.
Why ‘hot yoga?’
It’s a known fact that yoga is very beneficial for your body and mind. Whether you suffer with pain, inflexible muscles or just want to get active, yoga can help with a lot of things. However, at Sweat Studios the classes are taught in a temperature and humidity controlled studio. Classes range from 28-30 degrees c, right up to 42 degrees c! This adds an extra layer of benefits on top of the workout.
So what are the benefits?
- Your muscles are more elastic and less prone to injury.
- Sweating helps you detox: removing waste products like lactic acid and carbon dioxide.
- Warm muscles burn fat more easily.
- It makes for a great (and safe) cardiovascular workout.
Class one: Sweat Hot Classic 60
This class features a classic sequence of 50 poses. This is recommended for beginners, hence why I decided to use this as a starter to dip my toes into the world of hot yoga! Not too long or too short, this is a good length of time to get you started if you’re completely new to yoga practice or new to hot yoga.
First impressions? It’s hot. Very hot. But a good hot. The class began with a simple set of poses, like cat-cow to warm up the spine then onto a downward dog. These gentle stretches helped warm up the key muscles and get prepared for the class. The class then moved onto a series of balancing poses (think the tree and eagle if you know your poses!). Next up were standing poses with several warrior variations to really work the core and tone the muscles. Finally, we moved on to the floor poses which focussed around the abs and twisting the spine. The series of poses finished with some deep back bends on the floor. These can make you feel a bit dizzy but if you ever feel like this at any point, you can just return to the floor in child’s pose.
My favourite part of yoga classes is the savasana at the end! You are encouraged to lay and relax for five minutes to reap the benefits of the hot class. After the class I felt really great – sweaty but great!
Class two: Sweat Hot Classic 60
As it was my first few classes, I decided to try the 60 minute class the following week. I was a little more prepared for the heat this time! Although it was still hot, I found that I was adjusting to it a lot quicker. I would definitely recommend going to the studio about ten minutes before the class starts to acclimatise and relax.
The class sequence doesn’t change every week which gives you the opportunity to work on your poses and hone your technique and strength. They don’t recommend drinking for the first twenty minutes of class until the body has warmed up, then you can take small sips throughout. Steady breathing through your nose is also a must as breathing through your mouth can cause your body to lose moisture.
Class three: Sweat Hot Classic 90
I decided to pus myself a little further and try a 90 minute class. This has the same foundations as the 60 minute class, but you do a few more variations of each pose. By the third class I was getting used to the heat and maintaining a steady breath throughout. This pushed me a little bit further and I really felt like I had given myself a full-on workout by the end. My muscles were aching for a few days afterwards so it definitely worked something! I could also feel myself improving on some of the basic poses which meant I was getting more out of the class. I think the 90 minute class would also be a great place to start if you are new to this as it gives you enough time to get into the right mindset and focus on the class.
How do I feel?
I have done four hot yoga classes to date and after each one I have felt great. I think I prefer doing the classes in the mornings as come 8pm, I am quite tired and don’t feel like I get as much out of the class.
The endorphins were going after each class and I really felt like I had done a workout afterwards. All of the poses really help to tone and work the muscles, with the addition of the heat turning it into a cardio workout. The heat was really beneficial to me not only from a detox perspective, but it meant that I could go deeper into the stretches without fear of injuring myself as my muscles were already warm. Yoga requires a fair amount of focus, which means the classes allow you to get rid of the stresses of the day and focus on your mind and body.
I would definitely recommend hot yoga if you aren’t a fan of working out and want to build your strength! I love it so much that I’ve joined as a member and carried on with the classes. I’m excited to try some more of the classes too as they offer so many for different levels. I love their smartphone app too as it makes it so easy to book and see what classes are on offer.
You can join with their Newbie deal for £39 for a month which gives you unlimited yoga – perfect for trying out lots of classes!
For class information and booking, visit sweatstudios.co.uk.
My top tips for your first class
- Take plenty of water with you and keep drinking post-class.
- Take a towel with you to lay on your mat and also another to dab the sweat away … yum!
- Don’t be disheartened if you feel a little dizzy. It’s totally normal and the instructor advises you what to do if you start to feel this way.
- Cool down gradually, especially at this time of year. Being hit with a blast of cold air when you leave can make you feel dizzy, so stay in the studio for the savasana then have a warm shower before venturing out!
- Don’t compare yourself to others and work to your own limitations. You might not be able to do the splits or have great balance, but perseverance and practice will help you improve so you get the most out of your practice.
Have you given hot yoga a go? I’d love to know what you thought!
*I was provided with a month’s free pass for Sweat Studios for review purposes. This doesn’t affect my opinion and I’ve since re-enrolled in the classes because I love it so much!
Images from Sweat Studios.