“It’s never too late, it’s never too bad, and you’re never too old or too sick to start from scratch once again.”— Bikram Choudhury
It’s hot, it’s sweaty, it’s intense and it’s one of the most profound means of twisting and wringing toxins from the body, shedding away excess fat, increasing energy, endurance, flexibility and muscle tone.
Sound intimidating? Scary? Perhaps not for you?
But you may just be the person its perfect for.
It’s called hot yoga.
The traditional form of hot yoga was founded by a man named Bikram Choudhury.
Twenty-six scientifically selected postures and two breathing exercises are combined to facilitate two processes: extension and compression.
All of this takes place in a room around 40C.
You’ll compress into one posture and extend into the next; stimulating organs and maximizing blood flow, flushing away arthritis and unwanted contaminants — allowing the body to return to its natural rejuvenated state.
But what you experience on the mat for 90 minutes is only the beginning. One class will not do. You have to come back to really let it do its work on you.
So many think of yoga as a form of exercise leading to the physical benefits I just mentioned, but have forgotten about its true purpose: the mind, body and spirit connection — stress management, stronger sense of self, feeling happy in your own skin.
It’s 90 minutes of looking yourself in the mirror and focusing on you. Not your job, not all the errands you need to run, not the fight you just had with your spouse or the stress of your day, your week, or your whole life for that matter.
You get 90 minutes to focus on your breath, opening up energy centres many of us still don’t even believe exist and shedding away negative thought patterns.
You have problems? Sweat it out. Breathe through it. Think of it as a metaphor for life. Reach not only for the mirror as you stretch forward in standing bow posture, but reach for your dreams. Focus on what you want and be humbled by it.
You fall out . . . you get back up and you do it again.
It’s such a beautiful means of bringing a fresh perspective to your life; a more determined outlook. That’s the real benefit.
In order to maintain that benefit, it’s important to get proper nutritional support by first and foremost replenishing your electrolytes. And I’m not talking about a sugar-packed sports beverage.
I’m talking about the highest quality, better tasting and more natural source — coconut water. Not only is it high in electrolytes but rich in vitamins, minerals and, if you eat the meat, fibre as well. It is one of the most alkalizing foods on the planet.
Throw in some ginger, lemon and cinnamon to stimulate digestion and some kale to purify the blood from released toxins and you have yourself an electrolytic elixir.
The good news is you will actually crave fresher, more natural foods after class and for days to come.
And just remember — yoga hasn’t been around for thousands of years because it doesn’t work. It may just be what you’ve been looking for to change your life for the better.
Coconut water and meat from one Thai coconut
1 cup loosely packed kale
half-inch piece of fresh ginger
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp cinnamon
Blend in Vitamix or powerful blender. Enjoy after a class of hot yoga!
— inspired by a Ryan Seacrest concoction
Kristin Fraser, BSc, is a registered holistic nutritionist and local freelance writer. Her column appears every second Wednesday. She can be reached at email@example.com