Hot Yoga Safety Tips

The weather has turned summery here, which means the studio where I teach is holding the heat a lot more than it does in the winter.  I teach a hot vinyasa class and now it is seriously HOT yoga and not simply "comfortably warm" yoga.  Hot yoga is super popular and a lot of people, frankly, appear to be addicts.  It's not for everyone, though, and depending on the class, it can be pretty extreme, so it's wise to proceed with caution.  Even if you're a hot yoga junkie, when it's hot outside, you're putting some extra stress on your body, so here's a few tips for making it through a hot yoga class happy and healthy. 

  1. This might be obvious, but you don't have to do it.   In fact, if you have high blood pressure, low blood pressure, you're pregnant, or have a condition where you're supposed to avoid getting overheated (like MS, for example), hot yoga probably isn't the best practice for you.  Maybe you were already out in the heat all day or you're planning to be out all day after class.  You can skip it, change your mind mid-class, walk out, lay down, rest, or otherwise modify your practice to suit your needs.  Even if the mean Bikram teacher is yelling at you, you don't have to do it.  
  2. Show up well hydrated.  You should be drinking plenty of water anyway.  It's good for you.  Drink plenty of water all day, and a big glass 30 minutes before class.  A small snack an hour or so before is okay, too.
  3. And stay hydrated.  Sip water.  If you gulp too fast during practice, you might want to hurl, and that is not good.  Keep drinking water after you're done.  It's good if you can drink coconut water, Emergen-C, or something else with electrolytes to help replenish all the stuff you sweated out. 
  4. The heat will trick you.  The heat will make your muscles feel more relaxed and so you might be tempted to go really deep into stretches.  If you're new to hot yoga, I recommend practicing at a lower intensity than you feel necessary so you know how you'll feel the next day.  Even if you're experienced, pay attention to your experience of your practice.  Everyone has days where it's necessary to back off, slow down, or be more gentle.  Responding intelligently to what your body is telling you IS the yoga.  Focusing on keeping a big, even ujayi breath will help immensely in this department.
  5. Don't slip.  Even if you have a good mat, when you're dripping sweat everywhere, it will probably get slippery.  It might seem excessive, but a fancy yoga mat towel really is the best (Manduka or YogiToes), but at the very least, have a hand towel to mop up puddles.

Does this sound scary?  I hope not.  Or if it does, whatever.  You don't have to do hot yoga.  Many people will acclimate to the heat over time, and some people love it immediately.  Do what feels right and enjoy your practice!

June 1st! Transcendence Tribal at WINE4WATER in Baltimore

Saturday, June 1st Transcendence Tribal will be performing at WINE4WATER in Baltimore.  This fundraising event is near and dear to our hearts as several of our troupe members volunteered to build and re-build the Stadium Playground in the Waverly neighborhood of Baltimore.  We'll be featuring lots of fun and dynamic American Tribal Style® bellydance, and the members of Kallisti Tribal will be featuring a sword choreography.

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Transcendence Tribal at WINE4WATER

Also featuring silent auction, live music by Mongrel, and of course, wine for sipping!

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Saturday, June 1st

6:30-9:00pm

Playground at Stadium Place,

900 E. 33rd Street, Baltimore, MD

$20/person or $35/couple

Details and tickets at stadiumplayground.org

RSVP at the Facebook Event

 

June 1st! Verve Tribal at Dance Your Heart out Halfa

I'll be performing some improv tribal fusion with Sihaya  as Verve Tribal.  We'll be sharing the stage with Gypsy Fusion, Spiral, Nina Amaya, and many other great local belly dancers!

Gypsy Fusion's Dance Your Heart Out Hafla

Saturday, June 1st

4pm - 6pm

Anne Arundel Community College, Humanities Theater

Arnold, Maryland

$15, all proceeds benefit the American Humane Association

RSVP at the Facebook Event

 

 

Verve Tribal. Photo by SteroVision

Verve Tribal. Photo by SteroVision

Do It Yourself Yoga Workshop May 18th

Do you want to practice yoga at home but maybe don't know how to get started?  Sick of doing the same DVDs all the time? Need some inspiration?

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Do It Yourself Yoga Workshop

Saturday, May 18th, 1:30pm - 3:30pm

Awaken Wellness, Columbia, MD

$30 advanced registration  Register Online

$35 at the door

Doing yoga on your own can enhance your well being and advance your progress in your regular classes. Learn how to make time and space and use your inspiration to create a meaningful at-home practice. This workshop is designed to help students successfully create and maintain a home practice that will address their individual goals and become a meaningful part of their life. There will be lots of tips about structuring a home practice, how to stay dedicated in spite of distractions and busy-ness, and an introduction to free-form yoga practice.

 

On Practice

Things have been quiet here on the OmChantress blog because I've mostly been keeping my head down and focusing on my own work.  Last weekend I was in Ocean City at Art of the Belly.  I performed with Transcendence Tribal and Verve Tribal (video coming soon).  While I was there I took some belly dance workshops with Jill Parker and for the first time in a long while I was able to see some clear benefits to my regular practice.

As part of my preparation for the next phase of 8 Elements dance intensive with Rachel Brice, I have been tirelessly drilling fundamental hipwork.  A basic standing shimmy, hips on the up and on the down, 3/4 shimmy on the up and the down, plus at least additional one isolation with a simple foot pattern.  Now if you're not a belly dancer, that probably means nothing to you, but the point is, it's the very basics.  Simple. Easy. It takes fifteen minutes. Every day.  I had gotten to the point recently where I was starting to wonder: is this doing anything for me?  But I kept at it because I trust my teacher to tell me what's good for me.  When I was at the workshops this weekend, I had to speed up my hipwork, add variations, and learn more complex combinations and I was able to learn way faster than I ever had before.  It was remarkable!  I have always felt like a "slow learner" when it comes to new movements, but I was totally on it this weekend!  What a great feeling.  I have finally gotten to a point where I have a vocabulary of fundamental movements so engrained in my body and brain that they come automatically.  I don't have to think about that stuff, and so when I'm learning something new, I can just focus on what's new and build on the foundation I've already established through practice.

Many people, even at the beginning, get hung up on "advancing" to the next thing, and I'm certainly guilty of this myself in many, many ways.  I'm sharing this experience with you so that you have an example of why the fundamentals are important, not just in dance, but in yoga too.  I'm not trying to hold anyone back from advancing, whatever that might mean, to you. I'm just suggesting that you also keep up your practice of the basics.  If you continue to revisit basic movement patterns, even for only fifteen minutes at a time, you will be able to engrain healthy, effective habits that will build the foundation of a more advanced practice.  If this seems boring to you, give what you are doing even more attention.  Get super interested in the details of what you are experiencing.  Where are you feeling the work? How is your breathing? Your energy level? Does it feel any different than yesterday?  If you can stay curious about your practice, it will never get boring.  Same with meditation.  The more you do it, it will come with greater ease, even if on a day-to-day basis it may feel like you're not making any progress.  You are.  Stick with it.