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Some like it hot


Hot yoga can keep you sizzling during the winter months.

Sky Nelson January 18th, 2012

It’s wintertime, and there are a number of ways you can keep yourself warm.

Bundling up with boots, coats, scarves and gloves is an option. Sitting in front of a blazing fire with some warm cider is definitely on the list. But if you’re a fitness guru, there is one surefire way to sweat out Old Man Winter.

Hot yoga is becoming increasingly popular in Oklahoma City. In this form of yoga, studios heat up their rooms anywhere from 90 to 105 degrees, and have between 25 percent to 50 percent humidity.

The result? Sweaty, centered yogis. In OKC, several studios offering hot yoga.

At The Yoga Room, 4027 N. Classen Blvd., 11 instructors provide a variety of classes, including hot yoga, pilates and donation-only sessions.

right, Laura Lester, founder of The Yoga Room

Its orange front door opens into a studio of wooden floors and blind-drawn windows that encourage practitioners — from young to old, new to advanced — to participate. Laura Lester, The Yoga Room founder, began teaching in an attempt to give others the healing benefits that yoga gave her eight years ago.

Each Sunday morning’s hot yoga class is themed and allows participants to leave frustrations and to-do lists — along with shoes — at the door. One recent theme was “gospel vinyasa,” which turns breath and movement into a personal spiritual practice.

“A typical Sunday class has 27 yogis,” Lester said. “Some are on the mat for the first time.

Some are standing on their hands. But all are moving, breathing, meditating, sweating as one.”

Wonderfully ‘wrung out’
Hot yoga allows participants of all levels and ages to deepen their individual practice through increased flexibility and detoxifying benefits. It enables yogis to wipe the slate clean and start the day/week/month/year with a fresh and invigorating mindset, especially when leaving the studio in Oklahoma’s freezing winter months.

“Our body is like a sponge,” said Lester. “Step into a heated yoga class. All toxins of the day, through environment, words and interactions — even thoughts — are literally wrung out.”

Soul Yoga, 8028 N. May, is eager to share its spectrum of musical offerings and optimistic attitude during each practice. Yogis can enjoy the state-of-the-art, spa-esque environment with a unique and vibrant playlist to guide the classes.

Soul Yoga’s hot yoga sessions allow participants to meet each individual goal, whether it’s to calm their mind or shape their abs. The instructors, including Allison Candelaria, know about the many benefits hot yoga offers.

“There’s something for everyone,” Candelaria said, noting that by adding heat and up-tempo music, each individual can advance at his or her own pace. “Each class lets the individual get inspired to see where to take it to the next level.”

Versatile vinyasa

What if you’re a yogi neophyte?

Don’t be intimidated!

“The heat can be overwhelming,” Candelaria said. “But once you get over that hump, you won’t want to practice any other way.”

Yoga at Tiffany’s, 9610 N. May, focuses solely on hot-flow yoga, where a specialized hot-yoga room utilizes a humidifier that pushes the yogi’s level of intensity by increasing the temperature up to 105 degrees, achieving a 60-percent humidity level in some classes.

The studio includes seven instructors and offers different styles and varying levels of difficulty. The level-one sessions are built upon a slow flow that focuses on form and posture, making the class applicable for beginners and advanced practitioners alike.

Founder Tiffany Porte encourages all first-time hot-yoga participants to rehydrate properly.

“The more you do it, the more you love it,” Porte said. “I’ve never gone to yoga practice where I wish I hadn’t gone.”

The humidifier used at her place has an added benefit: softer skin.

“Hot yoga detoxifies skin, heats muscles to prevent injury, increases your heart rate, ups your calorie loss and helps you lose more weight,” Porte said.

Whatever your personal fitness goals may be, start harnessing that chi this winter with some hot yoga.

Besides, it’s a really good way to stay warm.

Grab a towel, electrolytes, the right attitude and the willingness to sweat, and head to the studio nearest you for a detoxifying, enlightening practice.

 
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