I've learned to let go
What was your life like before you had hot yoga regularly in your life?
I was in quite a bit of pain. I had a herniated disc, nerve damage, chronic back and neck pain and very little mobility in my neck. By the time I started doing hot yoga, I had eliminated some of the major stressors in my life (e.g., demanding professional career), but the consequences of a challenging/demanding lifestyle spanning several decades had definitely taken a toll on me.
What was your first class like?
What first led you to try hot yoga?
It was February 2015 and I'd flown back to Detroit from California the night before my first class. The temperatures in the Detroit area were brutal (negative double digits). I was absolutely miserable and didn't want to leave the house -- ever!!! I'd been wanting to get back into a "wellness" routine, so I googled "hot yoga" and saw that there was a studio approximately 6 miles away.
I wasn't getting younger and was starting to experience aches, pains and limitations that I assumed were typical for someone my age, but I had four grandchildren by that time and I wanted to make sure that I was the healthiest I could be so that I had the energy to grow with them.
But on that cold February day, the idea of being in a hot room was the driving factor, so I mustered up the intestinal fortitude to venture out in the polar vortex. I thought how bad could it be, plus once I get there, I'll at least be warm. Worse case scenario, I thought I could just lie on my mat for 90 minutes and soak in the heat.
I will never forget my first class! Susanne was my teacher and I am so grateful she was there to guide me. I got through the warm up and the heat hit me – HARD. My instinct was to run out of the room, but Susanne’s soothing and reassuring voice enabled me to overcome my urge to flee.
What health benefits do you get from hot yoga?
Have you overcome any health challenges?
As mentioned above, when I first started doing hot yoga, I was having a lot of neck and back problems. I had tried (and exhausted) every pain management avenue and was advised that neck surgery was the only remaining option, with no guarantee that it would resolve the problems I was having.
Today, I am virtually pain free (no surgery; and on no medication). If I start feeling any tinges of pain, stiffness, lack of mobility, etc., I know getting back on my mat in the hot room will fix whatever is ailing me. I also have not been sick since I started doing hot yoga, despite being around sick babies and adults from time to time.
I could go on and on about the physical benefits, but the mental health benefits are equally amazing. I have faced some daunting challenges the last several years and I can honestly say that it would have been incredibly difficult getting through those times if I didn’t have this yoga and this community in my life. It has had a calming influence on me. I've learned to let go and have an inner peace that I did not have in the past.
I have the comforting reassurance of knowing that no matter what’s going on or how I’m feeling, if I make it onto my mat, I can get through anything. It is extremely empowering.
What is your favorite thing about the yoga and/or the studio community?
I don’t have a favorite thing – it is the entire “package” that the yoga and this studio community provide. Over the years, I’ve joined various gyms or signed up for classes at different studios, but I’ve never felt part of a community as I do at Thrive Hot Yoga.
The “tone at the top” set by Jenny and Ian permeates throughout the entire studio. It is a very calming, peaceful and welcoming environment. The teachers are phenomenal. Each of them is different, but their individual perspectives and teaching styles help us grow in our practice. I continue to learn from each and every one of them.
What advice do you have for beginners who are working up the nerve to get started?
Don’t over think it, just do it. And the more you do it, the better you will feel. When I signed up for my first month, I made a commitment that I would try to make it to class 4-5 times a week no matter how I was feeling or what was going on in my life. I fulfilled that initial commitment and have stuck with it because I know (and can feel) the numerous benefits hot yoga provides.
The hardest thing when I first started and the hardest thing today is making it to class. Once I am at the studio, I’ve overcome the biggest hurdle – getting there. And no matter how I feel or how challenging the class may be, I know that when class is done, I will feel so much better.