Do you find that travel makes you more adventurous? I often notice that I’m far more willing to try things out of my comfort zone when I’m traveling, like Bikram Yoga.
While some things, like anything to do with heights such as zip-lining, are still not going to make it to my list of must-try, anything else within reason surely will! And why not? We all always say “you only live once,” and it’s something we all need to put into practice regularly, as well.
During my recent visit to Woodstock Georgia, I had the lovely opportunity to attend a Bikram “Hot Yoga” class at Ember Hot Yoga and it was quite a unexpectedly delightful adventure. I’m relatively new to yoga so I was a bit apprehensive to take a more advanced class.
The three important steps to my success in this class were:
- letting the instructor know that I’m new to yoga
- picking a spot out in the room where I wouldn’t interrupt other class members if I needed to stop.
- staying hydrated
Chatting with the instructor and letting him/her know your skill level is key. My instructor was able to readily offer advice on what to do if I felt the pose was too difficult. He also clued me in on signs to look out for that would alert me to slow down.
A quality instructor makes all the difference, and Ember Hot Yoga sure has them! Our class instructor had amazing skills and also an amazing appreciation for all our skill levels, helping us to do the best we could where we were personally at on the yoga journey.
Have you ever heard of holistic approach? If you ever tried yoga, you can FEEL it.
We have all had periods in our lives when we had tried to stay sharp and compose ourselves during work-related stress and personal crisis.
If this is true for you, then you know how drained your energy is during such dreadful times. You feel tired, no matter how many hours of sleep. Your sleep is restless, often followed by upsetting dreams, if not even nightmares. You have headaches, your muscles tremble and ache, your heart palpitates, your back hurts. These are just few ways in which your body gives you signals that you need to do something.
The secret is – conscious relaxation. This can be achieved by regular practice of yoga.
You see, yoga teaches you to “listen” to your body and its signals. Since it considers the human body as a whole, physical and spiritual are one. Body AND mind work together to restore energy and improve health.
Through guided, seemingly simple and gentle, yet powerful exercises, you learn to bring your mind to peace, you focus your thoughts on you, your body, your emotional situation, your inner life. Thus, you consciously and willingly relax, reducing tension and activating your energy. Sounds unbelievable? Still, it is true.
Yoga is making a wonderful difference in my life. It’s gifting me an overall sense of well-being, a relief from daily stressors, and increased flexibility.
What is Yoga?
Mild stretching and warm-up of the muscles and joints, followed by short relaxation, makes your body stronger and more flexible. It improves blood circulation; raises the energy of the body and makes you more alert, energetic and prepared to face daily challenges.
Also, guided focus of the attention on the body part that is being stretched or relaxes makes excellent exercise for the brain. This leads to better concentration, memory calmness, and indispensable defense against everyday stress. With dedicated and regular exercise, after even a short period, you’ll be amazed by how truly calm you have become inside. Thus, you develop a positive attitude towards life, communicate better and have confidence in your own abilities.
The goal in yoga is not competition, or public display of the level of achievement. This fact alone is sufficient for some beginners to calm their mind. But, the benefits come both on the inside and the outside. Relaxation leads to calmness, calmness brings focused and sharp mind; exercise leads to vitality, vitality brings radiance.
With yoga, you have a possibility to choose yourself as the top priority in your life. This is not selfishness, this is a necessity if you are devoted to taking care of you and your family. And you would be doing it the healthy and natural way.
What is Bikram Yoga?
The fastest growing yoga style, Bikram Yoga is a specific type of hatha yoga. The term ‘hatha’ is a combination of two Sanskrit words – ‘ha’ meaning the sun, and ‘tha’ – the moon. It is the most commonly practiced of Yoga in the west and its aim is to unite the yin and yang (masculine and feminine energies) in the body to give the individual more balance and harmony.
Bikram Yoga is known as ‘hot Yoga’ because the session is in a hot and humid room, heated to 105°F/40.5°C with a humidity level of 40%. This makes it an ideal winter warmer exercise.
An Indian Yogi called Bikram Choudhury, who runs a Yoga college based in Los Angeles, scientifically developed it. Teacher training is an intensive process and the college trains and accredits all student teachers to ensure classes follow the set principles.
How Bikram Yoga Works
Bikram Yoga classes are based on two principles: 26 sequential Asanas (postures that strengthen and tone) and two Pranayama (breathing exercises). These work together to give the body a highly efficient detox and cardiovascular workout, using the full capacity of our lungs.
After each Asana there is a brief period of rest so that your body can gain maximum benefit. Each class is generally 90 minutes. Participants drink plenty of water before and during the workout to avoid dehydration.
Benefits of Bikram Yoga include:
- Detoxifies – the heat encourages the body to sweat and get rid of any toxins
- Develops flexibility – it enables the muscles to stretch fully so the body becomes supple (This makes it ideal for beginners like me)
- Encourages circulation by a process known as ‘extension’ and ‘compression’. Each Asana stretches and compresses the body, halting the body’s circulation for a short period of time. The heart compensates for the shortage by pumping extra blood around the body, which energizes every organ and muscle once you release the pose
- Increases your heart rate giving you a total cardiovascular workout
- Encourages deeper breathing, using the full capacity of the lungs rather than normal shallow belly breathing (this enables you to hold more oxygen in the body)
- It’s great fun – there’s a real sense of camaraderie because you’re all hot and sweaty together!
Bikram Hot Yoga in Woodstock
I’m so glad I let go of my fears in Woodstock Georgia of not being able to keep up in a Bikram Yoga class. There’s a Bohemian vibe in Woodstock that makes you even a little more adventurous. Truly a lovely city to visit and enjoy new experiences in!
After the class, I felt invigorated and certainly as if I had a full body and mind workout. I learned that “hot yoga” allowed me to stretch further and increase my flexibility on poses without pain. There was certainly a time or two I had to opt out of the tougher poses. But, I did quite better than I thought I might.
Ultimately, if you are feeling up to the challenge, go for a hot yoga class at Ember Hot Yoga when you are visiting Woodstock (or any other location along your travels that offers this awesome class)!
For more information on all the lovely adventures and activities in Woodstock Georgia, visit https://visitwoodstockga.com/ Woodstock is noted as “a city unexpected” and it sure is that, in a very wonderful way!