Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Workout Wednesday - Power of Your Om Hot Yoga Tips and Review

Hope everyone's been having a good week! Mine has been a little bit of a bummer because I've been sidelined with an ankle sprain since volleyball on Monday. Can't believe I missed my track workout again!


While it looks like I'll be taking a break from my regular fitness routine this week, I'm joining today's Workout Wednesday Link Up with some tips and a review for a new fitness class I finally tried over the weekend: hot yoga.

I'm pretty terrible at yoga and have been especially intimidated by hot yoga. Doing something I'm not particularly good at in an uncomfortably hot environment just did not seem like my piece of cake. But due to my recent perverse desire to face my fears and got out of my way to try anything that seems scary to me, I decided to give it a shot.

Here's few tips I found helpful before heading off to class:
  • Bring a yoga mat, towel and plenty of water. A yoga mat towel with a non-slip backing that you can lay over your mat is also really nice to have for holding poses with sweaty skin.
  • Wear tight fitting clothes made of sweat wicking performance fabrics and prepare to be barefoot. Some people wear as little as possible, I wore super thin capris because I felt they would keep my legs from getting too sweaty.
  • Drink plenty of water before class and avoid eating a big meal within 2 hours of class.
  • Prepare yourself to sweat. You're going to get all drippy but that's ok, so will everyone else!

Now on to a review of the class I took: Hot Power Vinyasa Yoga at Power of Your Om.

The Studio

I decided to go with Power of Your Om for my first hot yoga class because the studio works to make yoga accessible to everyone. Their website states, "You don’t need to be able to touch your toes or do 25 push-ups to land your yoga mat here. You just have to be willing to move, to breathe, to sweat and to breakthrough your own barriers." Sounds like my kind of place! All of their classes are suitable for all levels and are all held in a room heated to over 90 degrees. The class I took, cutely named Shake Your Asana, was the standard power vinyasa flow set to music. 


The Class

After being warmly greeted and identified as a new student by the instructor at a small reception area, I deposited my stuff in the adjacent cubbies and headed in to the studio to set up my map. There were already a few people inside, so I copied their set up, laying out my yoga towel and mat and folding my hand towel in front for easy access.


We started off the class with some slow, deep breathing. After telling us to cross our legs and place our hands palms up on our thighs, the instructor said that position always made her feel like "we were about to do some weird uncomfortable Eastern thing" but that it really just symbolized being open to new experiences and helped get us ready for the class. I kind of loved her for that.

After the deep breathing we went into a few different flows. The pacing was fast and the flows were challenging--think lots of transitions to different plank positions and moves requiring a lot of balance. There were some difficult arm balances that I am no where near to achieving, but the instructor was good about giving modifications and I mostly felt like I could keep up. There was upbeat music playing during this time but it was mostly instrumental and fun without being distracting

After the vinyasa flow we went into some deep stretches including a bunch of hip opening poses, which felt awesome on my tight runner's hips. The music slowed down but was still excellent and included an awesome acapella version of Lorde's Royals. The 95 degree heat was definitely hot but it wasn't oppressive or hard to breathe. And I definitely felt like it made me more bendy, although I am still pretty inflexible at any heat.


Pros

Intensity: I definitely felt like my core muscles working and felt like I got a lot of toning in addition to the great deep stretching. The class also really was appropriate for all levels as there were poses that I think would be challenging even for more advanced practitioners but plenty of options to help beginners keep up.e
Instruction: I loved how accessible our instructor made all of the poses seem and the great balance she struck between giving space and making corrections.
Atmosphere: The studio was light and bright and the music was great.

Cons

Space: The studio was a little small and even though we were nowhere close to full, I still ended up running into the wall a few times even though my mat was within the very handy mat "parking spaces" marked out on the floor.

Bottom Line

I really love Power of Your Om's whole philosophy and attitude and found the 95 degree heat surprisingly helpful and not at all uncomfortable. I've read some negative reviews about the studio from yoga purists, but I love that they are trying to get more beginners like me on the mat and would highly recommend checking them out if you're in the Santa Barbara area.

13 comments:

  1. I have been wanting to try hot yoga! A lot of my friends love it but they are extreme yogis so this makes me feel better about going!

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    1. Yea I thought it was only for super serious yogis too but I think if you find an approachable studio it's totally doable!

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  2. Glad you liked hot yoga! I bought a groupon for a hot yoga studio so I can try other types instead of just Bikram :) Feel better soon!

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    1. Thanks Jennifer! Hope you like your class :)

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  3. That studio has a great motto (or whatever that's called)!

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    1. I know I love it! Definitely my kind of place!

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  4. That sounded good and honestly I've been seriously considering yoga as an alternative to all of the pavement pounding. Glad you joined us this week on WOW Link Up!

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    1. Yea I love including yoga in my fitness schedule although it's hard to make myself schedule a non-cardio workout. Thanks for hosting and for the shout out this week :)

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  5. Vinyasa yoga is just the best for so many reasons. I wish I could get my butt there more often. I especially love the music, that a capella version of Royals sounds beautiful. Also, LOVE the Gaiam bag. I want one!

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    1. Yea having good music makes such a HUGE difference! I got the Gaiam bag with a 30 for 60 Groupon deal a while back and it is one of my favorite fitness purchases. I should probably do a review some time--I highly recommend it!

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  6. Awesome post! I'm going to try Bikram in Rockville later this week, and I've been trying to figure out what to bring along with me. Where did you end up picking up your yoga towel?

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    1. I actually won mine from Fit Bottomed Girl, but I here's a link to the same one I have on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Gaiam-Thirsty-Yoga-Towel-Baroque-Green/dp/B007WXP0MQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1394013280&sr=8-1&keywords=gaiam+yoga+towel. Hope you have a good class!

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  7. After a week of following the online yoga video I noticed my energy levels were much higher and my workout results increased. It is definitely helping me towards a healthier lifestyle.

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