Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Heaters in 100 degree weather? Must be hot yoga!

I've cursed the scorching summer dog days like most other North and South Carolina residents, but instead of opting for a frosty mug or a dip in the pool, I decided to turn up the temperature with some hot yoga...and I've never been happier. I always wanted to try the phenomenon of hot yoga (also called Bikram yoga, when adhering to a specific set of poses). I've done "cool" or "room temperature" yoga in the past many, many times, floating from gym to studio to home workout video and back. However, I truly feel that yoga is best done in the company of others. I know this idea seems a tad absurd, since amateur yogis are often embarrassed to be seen in less-than-perfect poses (a downward facing dog that looks more like a face plant road kill). I really think the fellowship of a yoga studio is as therapeutic as the stretches are themselves. So, I highly recommend the Om yoga studio in Fort Mill (Baxter).

Nestled in the heart of Baxter, Om is across the street from a maternity store The Bump, on the upper level. A fairly new yoga studio (it opened in January 2011), Om boasts an average of 8-15 students per class, depending on day versus night classes. Van, one of Om's employees, told me: "Honestly we feel very blessed that we get to be a part of this great little community (Baxter Village), and the fact that we get to come in everyday and do what we love by offering a service... that we get to make a difference and positive change in people's lives."

As soon as I walked into the studio, which my friend and I discovered online, I was instantly feeling at ease. I should have been a little apprehensive, seeing as how heaters were circling the room like a school of sharks waiting to turn my newly styled hair into a hot mess. However, I found the studio's naturally lit atmosphere to be calming and soothing, unlike the florescent lights of most gyms.  So, I felt very relaxed as I rolled out my dusty mat and prepared to find serenity.

A gentleman named Dar, the instructor, started class with a quotation about silence. This helped me to remember that yoga is not only a form of physical exercise, but it strengthens the mind and encourages peace and tranquility within as well. As an out-of-practice, often sporadic yogi, I found the class to be extremely challenging, and sweat began to form in tiny beads, soon turning to a flood (not to be gross, but more sweat than a 5K induces). Dar suggested reverting to child's pose whenever a move or stretch felt too difficult. There were several newbies in the class, and I noticed many of them following his advice, as not to tire out too quickly or experience an injury. The instruction was on point, and I learned a variety of new poses that I hadn't ever tried (Eagle and Reverse Warrior).

Throughout the class, I appreciated the soft, hip background music (Foster the People, etc.), the open blinds (which allowed for a glimpse of the setting sun and filled the room with warm, orange hues), and the reassuring voice of Dar, as he moved through each pose, in a quick yet didactic manner. I never felt rushed or forced into a pose, and at times, I paused so that I could watch others and try to emulate them. This patient, nonchalant vibe carried me through the class, when I would have considered giving up (remember, it had been a while since my dog faced downward).

The class ended peacefully with a cooling, lavender-soaked towel, and the same quotation about silence. I felt relaxed, and yet I felt a genuine sense of self-satisfaction and accomplishment. Sadly, I live about an hour away from the studio; otherwise, I would have to go back weekly to feed my new addiction for hot yoga. I will definitely make the trip once a month... but until next time, "Namaste".

For those of you thinking of giving hot yoga a whirl, Om is offering new student rates at $60 for 1 month unlimited and they always have discounts for students, teachers and seniors.  I highly recommend this hot spot for hot (and any other) yoga!  For yoga information, the phone number is: 803 396 0493.  Om is located in Baxter Village and it's website is: www.omyogasc.com.

1 comment:

  1. I loved going to hot yoga with you!! We have to do it again soon - maybe on a saturday morning!