Some like it hot.

Yoga 500 @ the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
There’s me second from the left in the first row getting my triangle pose on.

I like it hot.

I like it sweaty.

I like it dark.

I like it intimate.

I like it with loud music.

I love hot yoga.

As previously mentioned in my inversion post, I have been practicing hot yoga for over three years, and I absolutely love it! I practice at The Yoga Studio (formerly The Yoga Center of Indiana) in the heart of Broadripple. Yes there are other yoga studios in Indy, some of which are closer to where I live downtown, but I love this studio and I’m loyal, so the twenty minute drive is worth it. The studio in Broadripple is small and intimate, just the way I like it.

Since the yoga studio is small, it makes it very intimate. You can’t be afraid to get close to your neighbors. On days when there are only a few yogis (which is rare), it feels too open. Some days it’s so crowded my matt is only and inch or two away from the other yogis in front, back, diagonal, and to the sides. It’s so crowded that, I get too anxious to get in a headstand because I’m afraid I’ll fall over onto someone else. Or so crowded that sweat from another yogi drips onto my mat, eww. I like it just right, twenty people or so. It keeps the class full, I still have plenty of room to get in a headstand or crazy posture without anxiety of falling on someone. Sometimes I’ll get lost in a flow or have little motivation, and I can look to the other yogis around me for inspiration. I can feed off their breathe, off their beautiful movements, and their aura. I like to think that maybe I can do the same for others in the class as well.

I’ve said it before, I use music as motivation, not just for running, but for hot yoga too. This isn’t your average yoga studio. The music varies with each class, with each instructor, and each type of yoga practice. My favorite class is hot vinyasa. It’s a fast flow with independent practice as well. The music is loud and fast. It varies from rock, rap, dance, and techno. It really gets my blood pumping and body moving. Slow flow is more relaxing but don’t be fooled by the name. The music is still loud but more tame with a hint of folk flavor. Power Yoga and Yin Yoga are more traditional postures with more traditional music. Very relaxing and very therapeutic. Sometimes, I’ll pick which class to go to by what mood I’m in or how my body is feeling. Other times, it’s just what works with my schedule.

The yoga studio has windows covering the entire front, but they are covered by dark curtains that block out 85% of the light. The darkness gets me into the zone. My mind is always racing and it’s difficult for me leave everything outside the yoga room, let alone concentrate on my breathing. My mind will wander so much that I’ll get distracted and watch other yogis, not to guide me but to compare. The darkness keeps my eyes from wandering as much since it’s harder to see and allows me to focus on myself. I went to it’s former sister studio in Carmel and the room was much bigger and the windows weren’t covered. Too. Much. Light.

But the main reason I love hot yoga, is in its name…it’s hot! I love the heat. Dry heat, humid heat, whatever heat I can get. Before my discovery of hot yoga, I would use the sauna after every workout at the gym as a reward. So for me hot yoga is like doing yoga in a sauna. I love it. Hot vinyasa is around 95 degrees and slow flow around 80-85 degrees. The heat awakens my senses but relaxes me at the same time. I look forward to getting to class early so I can lay in the dark heat of the yoga room for ten minutes to soak in the warmth. Then when the flowing starts it gets warmer and with more bodies in the yoga room is gets even hotter.

With this heat comes sweat. I love the feeling of the sweat beading on my skin and getting so hot that it finally drips all over me, my towel, and my mat. It gets so hot and sweaty in hot yoga that we need special yoga towels to cover our mats so we don’t slip and slide in our postures. I made that mistake my first time in hot yoga. I didn’t know I was supposed to bring a towel, so after fifteen minutes of flowing, I was so sweaty that I was sliding all over my mat making it was difficult for me to flow. I bought myself a yoga towel right after class because the sweatier the class the better.

In the fall and winter, hot yoga feels great for obvious reasons. It warms my bones. It warms my soul. It’s my happy place in the frigid temperatures, snow, and ice. I still sweat, but not nearly as much compared to the warmer months. Spring and summer are a different story. I sweat so much that my clothes look like I just jumped into a swimming pool. I love how sweaty I get in the summer. It’s like I’ve released all toxins from my body, physical and mental. Another bonus of the summer is that I get to ride my bike to yoga. I ride on the Monon from downtown to Broadripple, go to hot yoga, and then ride home. The breeze on the ride home feels refreshing on my sweaty body. It’s my summer Sunday tradition.

If I could practice hot yoga every day I would. I would love to be in that yoga room every day, soaking in the warmth, feeling the sweat drip off my skin, and flowing to beautiful postures while my mind quiets and only focuses on my breath. However, life gets in the way and only allows me to go once or twice a week. But I’ll take it. I’ll take any chance I get. My secret dream job (that I haven’t opened up to anyone about until now) is to open my own hot yoga studio. Until then (which is unrealistic), I’ll just have to keep on flowing…and looking at eyeballs. Namaste.

Obviously, I don’t have any pictures inside the hot yoga studio, so I posted pics from the Yoga 500 in 2011 at the Indy Motor Speedway. There’s me again…front row, second from the left!

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