Ed, Hot Yoga and Yogafurie

why hot yogaI wanted to write a little about what how Hot Yoga – and of course Yogafurie – has impacted my life. Things have changed so much for me in less than ten years, and if I’m honest, I’m really looking forward to the next ten. If they’re anything like as exciting then I really won’t have time to get old…

Let me start by – really quickly – talking about how I got into Yoga and, more specifically, Hot Yoga. At school, I wanted to become a PE teacher. However, I was blessed with a family at a young age. When it came to Uni, I really thought it would be better to study IT and engineering. I thought I’d have more money that way – anyone that has a family knows that money is quite a pressure.

I enjoyed IT generally. It was technically interesting, and I met some great people. But my heart was never in it. I was interested in movement really, and this came out as a love of martial arts which I studied and taught. But then I took a very nasty knee injury in a Judo class. I could no longer practice: all I could do after that was swim and practise Yoga.

I’d already been going to Yoga classes, principally to improve flexibility for martial practice. Now I was almost forced to take Yoga more seriously, and it certainly helped with rehab. A cascade of changes had begun in my life, but I hadn’t noticed it at that point. I heard about and tried Hot Yoga, and noticed significant improvements in my knee issues. All in all, I was now getting deeply into practice and I decided to train as a teacher. I would later realise that this was the first of the real outward signs of change – there were more to come.

The next sign of change came at work. I’d taken a less technical, but more senior role. It required travel, and I often stayed in St Albans. I would visit the Hot Yoga studio there in the evening, and I remember chatting to the owner, saying how much I would love to have a studio. She very much surprised me by saying, “Well, don’t get a studio. Just get some heaters and see how it goes. That’s what I did”. That got me thinking, but I wasn’t ready to take any action until my employer announced redundancies. I’d worked very hard to make a success of my new role, and I felt aggrieved to find out that I was one of the people who might have to go.

The studio owners’ words kept ringing around in my head. After a few weeks, I knew I wanted to ask for redundancy… and that’s what I did. I had to think very hard about this, and especially about what I’d do if my employer refused. In the end, I was sure: I was going to leave regardless. I told my manager, and a week or so later, he was able to confirm that I would indeed be selected for redundancy.

Looking back, I feel that Yoga and Hot Yoga had allowed me to find some strength. There’d been rounds of redundancies before – pretty much every year in fact. But I’d never turned the tables on it like this before. I bought my first generation of heaters, and the first Yogafurie Hot Yoga class occurred at David Lloyd in Westbury on 7/1/12.

The first year was terribly difficult. I’d had a structured, technical job in a very competitive, male environment all my life. All of a sudden there was no structure, and I was asked to work by using my feelings and creativity. There were hardly any men in my profession, and colleagues weren’t trying to compete with me or outdo me anymore. The portable heaters got me going quickly, but it was hard work carrying them in and out of buildings, setting everything up and packing it down every time. And nobody knew about Yogafurie – there were rarely more than 8 people in a class, usually less. The new strength I had found through practice was helpful, but these changes needed flexibility from me. I had to change my approach completely, and set realistic expectations.

By the end of 2012, I was forced to consider what on earth I would do next. I was running low on money, and the classes were not really taking off. The level of effort was wearing me down, and I really didn’t know where to go with everything. I had always sworn never to use Groupon – but I had a moment of insight and reconsidered. I offered the classes on Groupon.

Groupon was a lot more significant just a few years ago, and to my surprise, the offer sold really well. The room had a capacity of around 25, and frequently all 25 spaces were taken. This was a turning point – and not just for the classes. It was at the end of 2012 that I met Freia, and we have been together since.

Later in 2013, I took a permanent hire in a local play centre where I could install fixed heaters. Yogafurie began to take shape. Between 2013 and 2015, support for classes grew to the point where I could justify the expense of a permanent studio. Freia and I built the studio together, and we also had a lovely little son just a few days before the studio opened.

why hot yogaThere have been even more significant challenges since opening, and one day I’m sure I’ll blog about them. Let’s just say I’ve had some great help, from Sinead and Freia, from our talented Hot Yoga teachers, and from our students who are nothing short of inspirational people. But just what’s been written already is enough to draw out the impact that Hot Yoga has had on my life. When I needed it, I found strength. When I needed it, I found flexibility. And when I needed it, I found insight and inspiration to think in a new way, and try something I previously resisted. Without really thinking about it (and I’m not claiming credit for this… it just happened) I can now re-frame events in my life, and my relationship to these events. I’m still reflexive and impulsive, but I know I’m doing it and I can change my thinking to match events as they are. It’s not perfect – it’s always a work in progress – but I thank practice for lots of positive changes in my approach. When I change, things change, and life can get a little more frictionless.

The only thing that remains is to keep practicing. Movement and breath – these are literally the medicine, the antidote to sticky, long-term life issues in my experience. They might not work for everyone of course, but given the magnitude of what’s happened for me, I’d always say they’re worth a shot.

The Flexibly Challenged Yogi

Something that has always bugged me when I try to convince people to come to a yoga class with me is when they say, “I’d be no good at yoga, I’m not very flexible.” To which I’d reply, “neither am I!” I’ve always had short hamstrings (probably not helped by my historic love for outdoor running and lack of enthusiasm for a cool down). I also have tight hips (can’t think of a good reason for this – too much TV watching perhaps?) I also have a slight anterior pelvic tilt which basically means my bum sticks out a bit, probably caused by too much sitting.

flexibly challenged

Ten months ago, I decided to train to become a yoga teacher. I’ve always loved how yoga keeps me physically fit and calms my mind down, so I thought ‘why not?!’ So day one of yoga teacher training arrives: as you can probably imagine, I was bottom of the class in the flexibility ratings. Surrounded by a sea of bendy Wendy’s, I was facing a tough uphill struggle to be able to keep up with the others and do all the poses ‘correctly’. Luckily Ed, our wise trainer, told us, “There is no correct pose. It’s not about touching your toes. That may come with practice, but it’s about staying with your breath and being in the present moment.” Well, this was music to my ears! I didn’t need to look like all those super bendy girls on Instagram; where I got to in each pose was perfect for me (even if it was on top of a mountain of
blocks!) I also learnt that it’s incredibly unhelpful to compare yourself to others. So I stopped worrying and just tried my best.

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How hot yoga significantly helped me improve my running

A student of our hot yoga wrote us a testimonial about how hot yoga has helped her significantly improve her running and it’s worth a read!

Running

Firstly, I am no athlete. I love running but I run for myself, I have never competed (except with myself). So I run for fun, to try and beat my times and for the bling (medals). Over recent years I have tried to challenge myself a bit more in relation to speed, distance and endurance but I remain “average” in relation to performance.

I started coming to Yogafurie for one reason only – the heat. In March I did a 30 days for £30 at Yogafurie in preparation for my attempt at the Marathon Des Sables. All I wanted was some acclimation training. I had done a bit of YouTube yoga previously and found I quite enjoyed yogafurie’s hot yoga as well as the heat. In April I did the MdS.

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What Are The Benefits of Hot Yoga?

What are the benefits of Hot Yoga? Are there any?

A recent newspaper article declared that Hot Yoga is no better for your heart than regular Yoga. The article is flawed however: it focuses on just measures around heart function and in Yoga or Hot Yoga, we always try to breathe full, calm breaths. This breath style activates our parasympathetic (relaxation) response. Instead of getting stressed by the effort, we learn to ease into it – and that’s a useful skill, fully transferable to many other life situations. Naturally, here isn’t a big change in heart measures! We’re calming the heart down all the
time. Looking at heart measures is an ill-informed approach to quantifying the effects of Hot Yoga.

benefits

If no one is claiming that Hot Yoga is a cardio workout, then what are the benefits? I recently blogged about a natural substance called heat shock protein. The interaction between Hot Yoga and heat shock protein hasn’t been explored in a clinical or research setting, so my blog really just discusses what I found out from a literature search. Still, it makes interesting reading! So, is there anything really quantifiable?

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Project W.A.S.H, Running the Half Marathon and Raising Money for Charity

A dedicated Yogafurie Student, James Walker, is running the Water of Life Half Marathon! With your help he hopes to build a rainwater harvesting tank in a rural village in Kisoro, Uganda.

The water tank will reduce water stress for a community of over 100 people. It will capture and store rainwater to provide a water source which would otherwise be miles away.

The area “suffers for water”, and it is the job of children to walk miles over mountainous terrain to fetch it and carry heavy 20 litre jerry cans. This means they are often late for school and arrive exhausted. With your donations we can build this simple water solution and reduce water stress to this villagers and their children!

project w.a.s.h

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Cat – Our Teacher Trainee and her Community Classes for M.E. Sufferers

One of our very own Teacher Trainees has started up her own classes aimed towards helping suffers of M.E. and Fibromyalgia

Follow our blog to keep up to date with the progress of her lovely sessions

Big Om!

I have come to learn that teaching yoga isn’t about being able to pull all the most difficult poses or even know all their Sanskrit names. It’s about being able to share your own authentic experience with people in ways that may allow them to experience something beneficial for them.

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Do you ask a lot of yourself? Give yourself a lot of care in return

8 training sessions a week! Why you need to look after yourself when you ask a lot of yourself

When you’re asking a lot out of your body, you need to make sure that you’re giving your body a lot of love in return. As Yogafurie is for all abilities, we do attract students with incredibly high levels of fitness who love to supplement their training with hot yoga.

Femi Robinson has been to over 100 Yogafurie sessions. She focused on building her strength through weight training. Femi is committed to her fitness, you’ll find her breaking a sweat 8 times per week!

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Hot yoga as a family activity. Why hot yoga is great for Carmen & Alison to spend time together

Families that play together stay together

As well as hot yoga, Alison & Carmen love to spend time together by going for walks, cooking, going to the movies and tackling The Observer cryptic crossword in record times
As well as coming to hot yoga, Alison & Carmen love to spend time together by going for walks, cooking, going to the movies and tackling The Observer cryptic crossword

 

 

Spending time with your loved ones is top priority on your to-do list

 

With our daily lives getting busier and busier, it’s easy to let spending quality time with your parents, siblings and children slip down your list of priorities. A regular family activity is a great way to make sure that you make the time for your loved ones.

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Hot yoga for office workers

Do you work in an office?

The crumbs in the keyboard. The bubble of the water cooler. That one colleague who shares way to much information with you about their weekend antics. Yes, the modern day workforce is truly a sight to behold.

Unfortunately, us humans weren’t made to crouch over a desk for 8 hours a day and give account reviews to clients. The stresses that we face in our modern workday are completely different to what we have evolved to cope with.

Stress office

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What’s it like to do Hot Yoga as a couple? Sue & Mark Hula tell us their story

“We joined in May 2013 and we are still practising; I think that says it all.”

What’s it like to do hot yoga as a couple?

Sue and Mark Hula are a couple of our long term Yogafurie members, having been coming to Yogafurie for almost 3 years now! There are so many different exercise choices available these days, it’s always great when you find something that works for you long term.

They enjoy coming to the hot yoga classes together as a couple. They enjoy sharing a common interest and a bit of friendly competition as a couple too!

I wanted to find out what it’s like to come to Yogafurie as a couple and we got their views on hot yoga:

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