MEMBER OF THE MONTH: KENNY HOUSTON

We first met Kenny, 6 years ago this July, at Bikram Hot Yoga in Glasgow. Jack and I were on holiday from Australia and we visited Bikram in the West End to practice hot yoga. Jack told the owners of the studio he was an instructor and they asked if he was interested in teaching a few sessions, so he did, and Kenny was in one of those classes. Jack and I got chatting to him after class and it turned out Kenny lived in Stirling where Jack was originally from and he told us how he drove through to Glasgow a few times a month, to get his hot yoga fix. We told Kenny that we were planning on coming back to Scotland in the future and if we set up a local studio, we'd let him know! 3 years later, we sent him a message – Stirling has Hot Yoga, come and see us! 
 
Kenny houston
 
Kenny joined Heat in February 2017, one month after we opened the doors, and since then he's managed 301 visits to Heat Fitness. These consist of 181 x 1 hour hot yoga classes, 99 x 90 min Hot Yoga classes, 11 x TRX classes, 1 x 2 hour Yang to Yin session and 9 x yoga workshops, totalling 350 hours in the hot box. He's always up for learning more about yoga, the postures and how they can help him to stay injury free and do the things he loves. Learn more about Kenny's hot yoga journey below:

When did you do your first hot yoga class and why? 

Around May 2013 at the Glasgow Studio. Bikram was recommended to me by one of my team members at Dell who was hooked on it and was practising at the Glasgow studio when it was actually a room in the owners house, and not the current studio in Downhill lane. My colleague knew I was doing lots of other training and thought I would love and benefit from Bikram – which turned out to be totally correct

How did you feel after your first hot yoga class? 

Absolutely drained and shell-shocked. Despite all the other training I was doing, I felt physically exhausted and realised how inflexible I was. However, I also felt great (after I had recovered) and realised that I wanted to do it again, and work towards the improvements I could clearly see I needed to make and also towards the benefits I had heard and read about.

Why did you come back? 

The challenge, and as mentioned to work towards the improvements I needed to make. Also without fully understanding or acknowledging it – and with the benefit of hindsight – I think mentally I felt great even after the first session, and that brought me back.

What benefits do you get personally from hot yoga, both physically and mentally?

Physically – the biggest benefit has been greatly improved flexibility, and with that less strain, tear and overuse injuries (I still get impact injuries playing  football, but no yoga in the world is going to stop that). I was doing lots of Cardio anyway, but given the cardio element of hot yoga it has definitely contributed to building and maintaining my cardio fitness levels. When I am doing a lot of hot yoga my skin also feels great, and It definitely cleans up my act from a food and fluid/hydration point of view.

Mentally for me, this has always been one of the biggest benefits. I had a stressful job when I first started hot yoga, and unlike most other forms of training where you can think about other things while you are training, hot yoga allows you to forget everything and be 'in the moment'. Initially, this happens as you just try to survive the hot room, control your heart rate, and get to the end of class. Then as you progress in your practice it happens through improved concentration and focusing on the dialogue. As a result you really do get the open-eye meditation benefit from hot yoga. My concentration, sleep and stress levels have all benefited, and you really can deal with the 'real world' more easily the more you practice.

If you have any injuries, how has hot yoga helped, if at all, those injuries? 

As mentioned, I definitely get less injuries as a result of doing hot yoga, but when I do get niggles the stretching and heat definitely has led to a quicker recovery.

What is your favourite class and why? 

It has to be the 90 minute Bikram. When I started in Glasgow that was all they did and it will always be my favourite. It's actually less demanding from a cardio perspective than the 60 minute classes, and you really get a chance to work on improving and refining your postures, techniques and practice. Also I believe the meditative effect of the 90 minute Bikram is greater. Having said that I do like the variation offered at the studio.

What is your favourite posture? 

I think it is probably standing head to knee. It is one of the most challenging and it has taken me a long time to get improvements on it, and to feel like I am getting anywhere close to getting it right. (Although I still have a long way to go on it). Every day is a learning day with standing head to knee, and for all postures in fact.

Do you find the workshops helpful? 

I have done a number of them and they are great for picking up little golden nuggets of advice that move your practice on. You get to ask questions and get very individual and direct feedback. Also doing a variety of classes with different teachers is very helpful, if you make sure you listen to the dialogue of each instructor. Again lots of good advice to be picked up by doing that, as there is always variations in the dialogue, and sometimes this just makes things click into place

Do you think you'll be doing hot yoga for the rest of your life?

Without a doubt.

Would you recommend Heat Fitness to others? 

I am constantly recommending it to anyone who will listen. I also regularly train at the gym in a heat t-shirt which leads to lots of people approaching me and asking questions about it.

What is your occupation and hobbies? 

IT Project Manager. Hot Yoga, Gym, cycling (pretty much indoor), spinning, football, recently started playing squash again, reading and eating out (too much). Leaving not much time for anything beyond that!