Yoga, but Hotter...
SO for week two of my Getting Active in Surrey Challenge, I decided to up the ante along with the temperature and head off to Red Hot Yoga in Guildford. It seems like at least six months since I could truly say I had been anywhere near hot, so the promise of one and a half hours spent in a 37° room, with a bit of yoga thrown in, was appealing to say the least. Being an all or nothing type of girl, I chose the 90 minute Hot Class (warm and unheated are available too). I didn’t have to pre-book or register, but was asked to arrive 25 minutes before the start of the class to fill out a form, and give myself time to get changed, and naturally, bag a good spot in the studio.
|A spot at the front of the room meant I could see the teacher even without my glasses|
The studio is based just off North Road, in Norwich House (access in Leapale Road). The hot yoga etiquette is to take off your shoes as soon as you go into reception (there is a stand by the door). Registering was quick and easy, and if you have forgotten your towel you can get one here. With hot yoga you need to bring two towels – one to put on your mat for the class (obligatory), and one to dry yourself with post-shower. Also, don’t forget your water – the heat will make you sweat, so you will find you need to take little sips of water throughout the session to stay hydrated. The studio provides mats, which is great as it means you don’t have to lug a damp mat around after the session, particularly helpful if you are fitting the class in before work.
Having attended Bikram Yoga classes in the past (there are currently no Bikram classes available in Guildford) I knew that Hot Yoga was similar, but less formal. Founded by Bikram Choudhury, every 90 minute Bikram class is exactly the same, with an identical sequence of 26 moves performed twice and there is no talking or interaction between class members. The Bikram teacher delivers a set script, so wherever you are practicing – be it London, Mumbai or New York – the class will be exactly the same. The Hot Yoga Class was more relaxed, and the sequences less regimental. Our teacher encouraged us to listen to our body, and only push as far as we were able to that day.
We began by getting in touch with our breathing, as that would lead us through the class. We covered some familiar poses: Downwards Facing Dog; Sun Salute and the Lotus, as well as some less familiar: the Fish, Plough and Happy Baby (my new favourite!). The temperature was hot, but not too hot – I glistened rather than dripped with perspiration. As the first session of the day, the class was full, but with some co-operation we were able to stagger our positions, avoiding collisions during the larger movements. We worked through standing, core, sitting and stretching poses, and ended in the Savasana (or corpse) pose, which after 90 minutes of exercise felt amazing – I confess I may even have briefly drifted off into a light sleep!
After the class it was back into the changing room for a quick change and shower, and then on to enjoy the rest of the day knowing my work-out was done, and feeling more relaxed and de-stressed than I had in ages. The class is designed to flush toxins from the body, so we were encouraged to keep drinking water throughout the day. The postures are designed to improve flexibility, balance and muscle tone, as well as increasing the metabolism. No wonder I was starving after the class! And yoga isn’t just for adults - kids can get involved too. There are Kids Yoga classes for children aged 4-7 and 8-13, and Toddler and Mummy & Me classes. For those who are feeling brave there is also a 30 Day Challenge, where Challengers attend one class per day, for 30 continuous days.
The session was certainly worth getting up early for on a bleak January morning, and although at £16.00 for a drop-in class it’s not the cheapest form of exercise, the level of warmth and relaxation I felt post-session was comparable to a brief holiday in Barbados. Looking at it like that – no flights or hotel necessary - Hot Yoga is a bargain!
Red Hot Yoga Ltd., Norwich House, 14/15 North Street
Guildford, Surrey, GU1 4AF
Full timetable and price list available online