Since discovering a yoga practice in the heat, it has been the one constant in my life. Apartments, jobs, and boyfriends have all come and gone—but Hot Yoga has been my rock. There are few things in life that make me happier.
With such an intense love for the way yoga makes me feel, you can probably imagine that the Yoga 30 Day Challenge had been on my mind for a while.. I’d attempted the challenge (unofficially) a couple times—10 days here, 14 there—but never for an entire month. After dipping my toes in, I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. So, before I could talk myself out of it, I signed up and embarked upon a 30-day journey.
The rules were simple: Practice 30 times in 30 days. If you miss a day, no worries—you can simply make it up the next day with a double session. Piece of cake, right?
Wrong. Hot Yoga is a roller coaster, and half the battle is staying in the room: depending on the class for 60, 75 or 90 minutes. Breathing exercises, muscles burning, balance questioned, and even just laying in savasana. It’s not for the faint of heart, but there’s an energy that comes from it that you just won’t get from any other form of yoga.
Here’s what went down in 30 consecutive days of Hot Yoga.
I became physically and mentally sharper.
Yes, sometimes class was exhausting. Hot Yoga is not your average workout!
On a few occasions I missed class, which meant a few days of doubles. On these days, it took all my willpower to muster up the energy to head back to the studio after already having given it my all. But no matter how much I wanted to slack off during class, the stamina and grit I’d developed by going every day got the better of me, and I kept going back for more. Especially when I always knew I could depend on Yin Yoga to have my restorative back.
The further along I got in the challenge, the more productive I became. My creativity increased, and I became one of the growing statistics backing up all that the research on the mental health benefits of yoga.
"It was fabulous. One of the best parts of this challenge was that I sampled many new yoga classes! Got my butt kicked in Yoga Barre and Yoga Sculpt, almost passed out in Hot 8 but improved my balance and flexibility in Power Yoga and deeply unwound my being in Yin Yoga. Best of all, I’m stronger and more resilient! Thank you for your support – and creating the best yoga studio I’ve seen in over 40 years of practice." - Linda L.
My emotions ran wild.
Yoga can bring up a lot of emotions, especially during heart or hip opening poses, and the intense heat in a hot class can intensify this even more. I had my good days and my bad days, but Week 2 was the most intense.
I cried during a Hot Yin Yoga class just thinking about the problems I was having in my relationship. I cried even more during another class when I started thinking about all of the bills I wasn’t going to be able to pay on time. And when a pug video came up on my Facebook feed that was flown here from Iran and rescued from a bad situation, I cried tears of joy—hysterically, of course. I realized how great it is to let go of your feelings, though, or succumb to them.
Yes, I lost weight.
I didn't do the challenge to lose weight, but I inadvertently did. Sixty to ninety minutes of sweating with a series of cardio-based, stretch and balance asanas will do that. I was regular as clockwork and my normally prominent sweet tooth vanished.
Upping my water intake was a challenge, but I wanted to make sure I didn’t dehydrate my body. I took a shot of real salt in water before and after class, every day, replenishing any minerals lost in the process
My flexibility took me to new places, which made me more confident overall. I even began taking the advanced class, which I never thought I’d get to do. I was stretching muscles I had no idea even existed!
I took my meditation to the next level.
A regular yoga practice involves active meditation. You are fixated on yourself for the entire practice, looking straight into a mirror. It was often quite overwhelming, and getting through it required a deeply reflective meditative state, which is achieved by focusing on your breath and your alignment. The room could be full, but when I got into that state, it was as if no one else was around.
The concentration on my breath and form was so deep that I would walk out of class feeling relaxed and elated. Time flew, and with it so did any problems that were floating around in my head.
I learned a lot about my practice.
We all have our favorite postures, and we all have postures that we dread. But practicing for 30 days meant no escaping them, and you know what? Some of those dreaded postures became bearable. I even looked forward to some of them because I was making progress.
I quickly learned that I was so much better at practicing in the afternoon than the early morning, so that’s when I practiced. I also learned that practicing late in the evening keeps me up with post-workout adrenaline, so I stopped practicing then.
I learned that I'd subconsciously stopped listening to my teacher and needed to connect with the dialogue again. And when I did, my practice improved even more because I picked up on the little nuances and took it further.
“Hot 8 Sherman Oaks has truly become a second home for me. Practicing alongside familiar faces in the studio is always one of the best parts of my day. I am so grateful for the deepening of my practice, the
deepening of my studio relationships and the calm, focus and presence that follows into the rest of my life. Big namaste to my number one cheerleader and partner in yogic crime, Patricia. I am so excited for this victory!” - Kenny H.
On day 31, I was a little sad. I felt I’d connected with my practice in a new way, and I worried that not going every day would make me lose that connection. But two weeks have passed, and my yoga journey is in an entirely new place. I feel stronger than ever and go to class with vigor each and every time. The connection remains strong, and I can’t wait to keep taking my practice further.
“This 30 day challenge changed my life because it's the first 30 day challenge have ever successfully completed. I feel more connected with the universe and myself. My skin is glowing I'm eating better to maintain endurance and build strength. I can feel myself transforming into the greatest version of myself. I have also expected my 30 day challenge to 90 days wish me luck.” - Drew M.
Our next 30 Day Challenge will begin September 1st. There is no better way to start a habit then to practice something every day for a significant amount of time. We offer a free week and would love to welcome you to our studio before September 1st. Hope to see you on the mat!