HOT YOGA'S HEALTHY ADDICTION

Since our first hot yoga studio in Cape Town opened its doors twelve years ago, pioneer Fulvio Grandin has welcomed more than twenty thousand yogis through his doors and hosted numerous teachers. Cape Town now has five dedicated hot yoga studios. Each of them with hundreds of followers firmly dedicated to a daily fix of endorphin boosting hot yoga.
'Yoga is a kind of exercise meditation - one that doesn't so much pump you up as bliss you out.' ABOUT HOT YOGA Hot yoga is yoga in a heated room. The heat makes you sweat profusely. It warms your muscles and 'opens you up.' Hot yoga uses the same poses and philosophies in non-hot yoga and most yoga teachers teach both hot and non-hot classes. The idea of the heat is to increase flexibility. It makes stretching safer and also increases your metabolism. Besides getting a good stretch you also get a cardio workout. There are two types: The first is Power Yoga also called Power Vinyasa or Flow. These classes are varied and involve a lot of flowing movements: sun salutations, balancing sequences, backbends and inversions. The room is generally heated to about 37 degrees. The second is Bikram which consists of a series of 26 poses. The sequence is always the same, you hold each pose for a set period and the room is hotter (about 40 degrees). CLASS DURATION Yoga classes are usually 60, 75, or 90 minutes. Come early and leave time to shower afterwards. Yoga once a week is fabulous and will help you feel calm, but it won't dramatically change your body. Three to 4 times a week builds strength, balance, and flexibility. Everyday yoga is sweetly addictive and will transform your body and mind. CLASS COSTS A drop in class is on average about R80. A five or ten class pass is cheaper but if you go regularly get a month pass (about R650) ' this can reduce the class fee by half (depending on how regularly you go). ACCESSORIES & CLOTHING You will need a non-slip yoga mat, a towel and water bottle. Wear close fitting long or short pants and top preferably in easy dry fabric. Cotton can get waterlogged and be uncomfortable. THE CHALLENGE Parts of yoga are hard. For some, it's the balancing; for others, it's flexibility. Every body is different with different challenges. Men do well with poses that require upper body strength (handstands, arm balances) where women are usually more supple. THE BENEFITS Yoga will strengthen your back and improve your posture. It lengthens and integrates your muscular system guarding against injuries. Yoga changes the way you live in the world. It teaches you to slow down, breathe, and accept infinite possibility. A regular yogi says, it challenges your preconceived notions about what you think you can or cannot do and this helps you transcend the limits imposed by your mind. Whether you want to lose your blues, to de-stress, calm down, be more flexible, find peace or simply have a great butt, hot yoga provides all that and more. It may take a while for the enlightenment bulb to switch on ' for you to get the truth of the yoga maxim that what you can do is what you should do. But when it happens, it's an epiphany, like suddenly knowing, in your bones and your dreams, the foreign language you've been studying for months. In yoga, this is your mind-body language. Richard Corliss did you know?According to Dr. Timothy McCall, thousands of research studies have shown that in the practice of yoga a person can learn to control physiologic parameters like blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory function, metabolic rate, skin resistance, brain waves and body temperature, among other body functions. We interview some of our Hot Yoga teachers in Cape Town. FULVIO GRANDIN, owner of YOGAZONE What do you love most about yoga? What draws me most to yoga is its completeness. The combination of challenging bodywork, conscious breathing and strong mental focus draws me into my best, most free state. Every class is an opportunity for me to access and nurture a deep sense of peace and purpose. Teaching a yoga class is, for me, a form of yoga practice too. Not asana yoga but yoga of attention, compassion and giving that inspires a powerful connection with the students and with the yoga studio. What's your favourite yoga pose and why? My favourite asana is Utkatasana (Awkward pose). It gets me a little lower to the ground (nice when one is so tall). But more seriously - it is a powerful, stable posture great in Vinyasa as a transition and activates and extends front and back core muscles that alleviate my lower spine tension. In your opinion what state of mind is beneficial in starting a yoga practice? We have had over 25 000 people try yoga classes with us (most for the first time) and the common characteristic they share is an open mind. No need to be flexible or touch your toes but of great benefit when starting is a flexible mind, a willingness to just try it out and then an appreciation for it's effects. How would you coach someone towards keeping going despite what their mind is telling them? With hot yoga there is an element of healthy addiction as it's benefits are so obvious and it feels so good to practice that it is often enough of an inspiration to maintain a regular practice. I like our students to appreciate that we all have an entirely unique experience of yoga and our practice is very personal. This enables us to remain focused on the essentials of regular yoga and continuous benefits. That as we gain more experience we learn to simplify, to seek purity not complication in our asanas and the stillness, breathing and mental focus are the deeper levels of our yoga practice. What has yoga done for you as a person? That is what yoga has done for me - helped me to see and understand more clearly in all aspects of my life. It keeps me vibrant, playful and reminds me to be humble. DAVE PORTER, owner of YOGALIFE What do you love most about yoga? The mind-body-spirit connection, the way it makes me feel: present, alive, centered, focused, grounded, calm and ready for life! What's your favourite yoga pose and why? Peacock. It's a challenging arm balance which helps keep us absolutely present and builds one's confidence. It tones the abdominal section of the body and strengthens the back, forearms, wrists and elbows. It improves digestion, prevents accumulation of toxins, and helps with ailments of the stomach and spleen. As a peacock destroys snakes, this asana kills toxins in the body. In your opinion what state of mind is beneficial in starting a yoga practice? Any state of mind. Yoga helps calm the mind - as the Yoga Sutras say, 'Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind.' How would you coach someone towards keeping going despite what their mind is telling them? Encourage them to quiet the mind by coming back to the breath and the present moment, and listen closely to your body and breath - if it is too challenging to breathe long, consistent breaths, they may have overextended themselves. Sometimes it is better to back off and rest in child's pose than push to your edge and get injured. What has yoga done for you as a person? Yoga has been an integral part of my life for almost 15 years and it just keeps getting better. It makes me feel really good (I try to practice every day and miss it a lot when I cannot make it to my mat). Yoga has made me a better person, and allowed me to live a more extraordinary life! I feel extremely fortunate to do something that I love, which also helps people live better lives, and makes a small change in our world. STUART KIRTON & JENNY BRASH, co-owners of YOYOGA What do you love most about yoga? SK. I love that yoga is a practice that works on so many different levels, from inside to out. JB. I love the way I feel after a good, sweaty yoga class! What's your favourite yoga pose and why? SK. I love a good handstand, because when I manage to stay in one it feels like my mind is absolutely present. JB. Camel pose. I love the way it opens the front of your body and compresses your spine. Camel pose feels different every day. In your opinion what state of mind is beneficial in starting a yoga practice? SK. To face weaknesses with a smile, not take yourself too seriously and simply enjoy the challenge with no judgement or attachment. JB. Willing to face yourself and make some changes in your life. How would you coach someone towards keeping going despite what their mind is telling them? SK. I would suggest that they go 80% rather than 100% into the practice. Be patient and not too hard upon themselves. It shouldn't feel like a chore. JB. Be patient and just keep at it! What has yoga done for you as a person? SK. When I practice I am more calm, capable and confident with all the rest of my life. JB. As a CA (SA), starting yoga was a life changing experience in that, over time I completely changed my life and career path by leaving the corporate world and opening my own studio. KATE BALL, owner of YOGASPIRIT What do you love most about yoga? I love how yoga is a reliable support system in my life. No matter what I am going through, getting on my mat helps ground me, gives me perspective and enables me to tackle challenges with more grace. What's your favourite yoga pose and why? I love handstands. Besides being great fun, I'm forced to be entirely present when I'm upside down. If my mind wanders, I fall out of the pose. I enjoy the escape from constant thinking. In your opinion what state of mind is beneficial in starting a yoga practice? Be curious and avoid being judgmental of yourself. Enjoy new sensations - find out what your body can do and accept that there will be things that you struggle with. In yoga, comparison with others is futile. Have fun and be easy. How would you coach someone towards keeping going despite what their mind is telling them? If your practice is challenging you, come at it from a different perspective. There's a corny saying with a lot of truth: 'Don't try hard; try easy'. Take it slow, go for modifications, give yourself permission to take breaks' And sometimes taking a couple days off from your practice can be beneficial too. There is no room for 'should' in yoga; be guided by what you feel in your body. By repositioning your mental attitude, your body softens to the practice. What has yoga done for you as a person? Yoga has served to panel beat my character. It's taught me patience, peace and compassion. Yoga has provided me with coping skills off the mat. When I find myself in trying situations, I come back to lessons on conscious breathing, acceptance and the power of gratitude. Yoga has also expanded my capacity for joy. Anyone who knew me before I started practicing can bear testimony to the fact that I'm a better human being with yoga in my life. CAPE TOWN HOT YOGA STUDIOS Yoga Zone ' Fulvio Grandin 10th Floor Picbel Parkade, 58 Strand Street, Cape Town Tel: 021 421 8136 www.yogazone.co.za YogaLife ' Dave Porter 127 Waterkant Str, De Waterkant, Cape Town  Tel: 021 418 2884 www.theyogalife.co.za Yo Yoga ' Stuart Kirton & Jenny Brash Cavendish Close, Warwich Street, Claremont, Cape Town Tel: 021 671 0888 www.yoyoga.co.za Yoga Spirit ' Kate Ball Constantia Village, 7800, Cape Town Tel: 021 794 5300 www.yogaspirit.co.za Hotdog Yoga ' Hylton Jaggard 202 Main Road, cnr St Johns Road, Sea Point, Cape Town Tel: 021 439 4888 www.hotdogyoga.co.za

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