I hear you gasp. It’s fine, most people are slightly alarmed when I mention it.
“But don’t you get really… hot?”
“Surely it’s really sweaty?”
“Yoga is bloody hard, I can’t even touch my toes.”
Yes, I get hot. It’s also pretty sweaty. And I’ll let you in on a secret – I can’t touch my toes either.
I’ve been doing hot yoga for the last two years at Sweat Studios in Central Milton Keynes and I absolutely love it. I actually started it because Kirsty, the owner, invited me along to try a few classes (you can read my initial review here), I got hooked and the rest, as they say, is history.
For most people, yoga seems like an extreme sport and doing it in a 40-degree room makes it seem like their worst nightmare. However, I am here to tell you that it is not your worst nightmare, but the answer to all your problems. Maybe.
How hot is it? Will I die?
There are lots of different types of yoga. Sweat Studios’ form of hot yoga is adapted from Bikram yoga. The room reaches about 38-40 degrees thanks to a heater and humidity controls. To be honest, it feels like you’re on holiday but there’s no sun tan. It’s perfectly safe doing yoga in these temperatures – the original yoga gurus from India did yoga in these temperatures on a daily basis. So no, you will not die. You will sweat though!
Hopefully, I’ve not scared you off yet. Here are three reasons why you should give hot yoga a go.
1. It’s a cardio workout
I switched on my FitBit before starting a yoga class last month, and I burned 490 calories. 490! I burn less at the gym!
Hot yoga has all the benefits of yoga – strengthening, increasing flexibility and toning – but the added heat puts pressure on your cardiovascular system and therefore turns it into a real workout. Balances become a little more difficult and burn more and inversions become a little bit more challenging. Each Sweat Hot Classic class follows the same sequence, so the more you go, the more you and your muscles remember the poses and you can build your strength. It also means you can take the poses home and practise them in your own time.
2. It is the perfect antidote to the gym
I am a regular gym goer (lol, how times have changed) and I go around three times a week. I also sit at a desk for 8 hours plus a day which is terrible, I wouldn’t recommend. My routine puts a fair amount of stress on my body but a bi-weekly yoga class helps keep everything in check. The heat loosens up my muscles and allows me to stretch deep into the joints and move my body in different directions. It feels good. And it doesn’t put pressure on my joints either. Having spent my childhood and teenage years dancing, office life has now caused me to lose a lot of that flexibility, so yoga is also helping me to restore that too. Flexibility and strength are still really important if you do weights or HIIT workouts and yoga provides the perfect partner to all of that.
3. It does wonders for your mental health
You are probably sick to death of hearing that yoga is good for your brain and body, but I am going to tell you again. Yoga is really good for your mental health. When I started going to classes at Sweat Studios, I had just started my battle with anxiety and panic attacks and I believe it really helped me manage it. Whilst I don’t suffer as badly as I used to, I still have moments where I feel very overwhelmed and anxious, often because of stresses at work. An hour of hot yoga allows me to completely switch off and focus on myself and my body. There is no talking, no distractions and the post-class rush of endorphins always feels amazing. I always sleep so well after a class and I can take the lessons in breath control with me far beyond the studio.
There are plenty of other benefits to hot yoga. It’s something I think many people find intimidating because of the heat and the perception that you already have to be really flexible – that’s just not the case! The classes at Sweat are super welcoming and there’s sometimes Holly the doggo sitting on the sofa to greet you too. Sweat Studios have many yoga converts, many of whom were complete beginners.
Fancy giving it a go? Get 50% off your first class!
If you want to try hot yoga at Sweat Studios, simply sign up on their website and use the code SOPHIE when you purchase a single class pass. If you enjoy your first class, you can then get 30 days of unlimited yoga for £39.
And did I mention there’s sometimes a doggo at the studio too? Oh yes. You’re welcome…