You may have heard of Bikram (a style of hot yoga)… Or gawked at the toned bodies of celebrities and athletes who swear by it. What makes this form of yoga, practiced in a room heated to 39 degrees, so popular? I was lucky enough to discover the benefits of this health craze, through attending a session ran by Sarah McLaughlin.
Hot House Yoga St Andrews, situated off Largo Road, is ideally located for students. Opened this year, on the 31st August, this bright and modern studio typifies the trendiness usually associated with this class. Arriving in the room, I took some time to acclimatise to the heat which felt positively tropical. As I spread my towel over my mat and lay down, it was easy to envision myself relaxing on a sandy beach, with blue skies and a cocktail in my hand…that was until the first standing posture. Then the hard work really began.
Having previously attended a Bikram class and finding it difficult, Hot Yoga in St Andrews, surpassed and exceeded all of my expectations. With 40 minutes of standing postures, followed by 20 minutes of seated ones, the class is structured, yet, provides ample opportunity for water breaks! This yoga experience caters for all fitness levels and there is always lots of positive encouragement to help you through! Sarah ensures this accessibility, by demonstrating each posture first and then repeating them at least twice. She believes that ‘if students don’t get the hang of it the first time around, there is another opportunity to practice and perfect within the second set’.
Although there was a lot of sweat by the conclusion of the class, there was also a satisfying feeling of accomplishment. I felt awakened and ready to speed through the rest of my day on full throttle. My muscles felt lengthened and stretched and I had a burning desire to go again. To repeat the session. To get better. Sportsmen and women always seek improvement, they work harder to produce better results. Even within 60 minutes I noticed a slight progression in my performance.
Perhaps I was able to kick my heel back that bit further, or stretch higher and higher towards the ceiling. This sort of accomplishment is what motivates us to keep coming back for more- it’s addictive. Now, I’m starting to realise why so many people fall in love with Hot Yoga!
Despite appealing to audiences as an alternative mode of fitness, hot yoga attracts more and more followers thanks to the numerous health benefits it generates. Sarah speaks of three important ones: stress relief, detoxification and improving your strength and flexibility. She informs me that, ‘The heat within the room warms the muscles up and you can stretch warm muscles much further than cold ones. This means that you progress much quicker within hot yoga than other types of yoga without the heat. Also the heat promotes excess sweating which acts as a detox, sweating out all the toxins and purifying the skin.’
This brings us onto the final benefit, and why I hope that Hot Yoga will take St Andrews by storm- it is an excellent stress reliever. Yoga can be social, it takes place in a studio filled with other people.
So bring your friends, your flatmates and forget about the usual student stresses, whether it be the studying, nursing your hangover or the electricity bill you have to pay! Sarah thinks that hot yoga can benefit students because you need to keep ‘tremendous focus to ensure alignment and balance is maintained’. For 60 minutes, students can clear their mind and ‘focus on nothing else but the postures. This process helps to reduce stress and increases concentration’.
If this doesn’t have you convinced then it’s hard to say what will! You can drop-in, book online or purchase a monthly pass to classes- there is an abundance of options at your fingertips. Check out the website: www.hothouseyogastandrews.com for more information. Sarah couldn’t be more correct: ‘It is a full-body, cardio workout, which leaves you with a great feeling and wanting more!’ Make sure that you don’t miss out on the latest trend to grip St Andrews! Sarah couldn’t be more correct: ‘It is a full-body, cardio workout, which leaves you with a great feeling and wanting