In a previous post I confided that like many, many other women, I suffer from body image issues. This autumn I have been trying to work on those issues. For me, that has meant learning how to accept a compliment, allowing myself to be photographed, and trying to just be in the present moment-for example, when my husband looks like he wants to devour me with his eyes I try not to worry if my belly is flat enough or if my legs look sleek enough……I try to stay in the moment and enjoy it.
However, I believe feeling good in your body also requires treating your body good. Therefore the past few months I have been making a genuine effort to do all those things we all know we should do but often don’t do-a little more time at the gym, a little less sugary foods…….
I have practiced yoga on and off over the years and had heard of hot yoga and while the idea intrigued me I had never tried it. Hot yoga is yoga practiced in a room heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Muscles, ligaments and tendons are warmed and stretched in a specific sequence. Glands and internal organs are massaged gently and the heat enables participants to sweat so they flush toxins from their system. A hot yoga class is a cardiovascular workout ensuring fresh, oxygenated blood is brought into to every part of the body cleansing and rejuvenating the entire system. As well as the physical benefits, many practitioners report changes such as increased concentration, willpower and mental clarity.
This November I decided the time was finally right to try hot yoga and I am fortunate enough to live in a city where classes are offered. I was definitely a little nervous but was welcomed to the studio and quickly learned that people of all ages, sizes and abilities were in the class. The teachers ask you remain in the class for the entire time but strongly encourage everyone to listen to their bodies and rest when needed. Before I went I was definitely a little worried about the length of this 90 minute class but once there found the time went by quickly.
After the first class I was pretty much hooked. I found almost immediately that my body was changing inside and out. My caffeine cravings were reduced and I was craving more fruits and vegetables. My balance and flexibility are improving daily, and while I have a ways to go yet soon I will have one of those beautiful yoga butts.
Admittedly, there have been a few days were I wake up and don’t really want to go (cold prairie winters make one want to stay in their pajamas for as long as possible), so I must become quiet and listen. Is it my body or my brain that is telling me to stay in bed? Usually it is my brain so I drag myself out of bed, hit the yoga class, and within minutes of arriving I know I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I find my whole being feels healthier, lighter and happier and know I am well on my way to being able to totally love and embrace my wonderful body.