We are running our first 30-day hot yoga challenge, starting on the 1st of June! ‘What’s a 30 day hot yoga challenge?’, you may well ask. Well, it’s simply a case of you doing one class of hot yoga, consecutively, for 30 days. Easy, right?……please read on!
It’s something we as hot yoga teachers have all done, most of us during our teacher training, where we were asked to practice hot yoga twice a day for 30 to 60 days, depending on the length of the training. We were always given the option of 1 day off a week, but in reality, not many of us took it, we just kept going and wanted to do as many sessions with as many teachers as possible. Soak it all up whilst you were in the yoga training bubble!
So did we come out doing the splits? Well I can’t vouch for anyone else, but personally, no, I still can’t do the splits! I’d like to share with you our experiences of doing hot yoga for 30 days and what we think you should consider if you are going to give it a go.
Firstly, if you have an acute injury, then don’t sign up for a 30 day challenge, just look after your injury and work with your medical professionals in regard to rehab. If you have a constant lower back niggle or knee pain (not acute), then this challenge could really help you, but you need to mention this to us and learn to modify if required.
Why 30 days? Well apparently it takes 21 days for anything to really happen and for new habits, neural pathways and physical changes to take place. 30 days just rounds it off and takes you to the next level.
Also, 30 days happens every month of our lives, we live through each day and then it’s a new month, so why not make June a challenge and not just another 30 days? To do this, you’ll have to find a way to fit a daily practice into your life and sacrifice other things and get out of your comfort zone to see what’s on the other side.
Do you need to be able to do yoga to do this? Definitely not! We all have strengths and weaknesses and we tend to do things we like and that our bodies respond to. Yoga is not something we western folk find easy, we are often as tight as a drum, but over 30 days, there will be a shift, however small and you’ll find those small improvements, thanks to your consistent practice. It will affect everything else in your life: your sport, your mood, your energy, your food and drink intake and your relationships.
How do you prepare? Just do it and everything else will fall into place. There will be days when you just can’t physically get to the studio and ‘so what?’, tomorrow or the next day, you might do a double class (back-to back, 1/2hr in between)or an early morning and late evening session, or just keep going, knowing that 18 days straight of hot yoga, a day off and 11 more days straight is better than not trying at all!
A good idea is to get as much support as possible from those around you and also to remember that this is something you are doing for you and 1 hour or 90 mins per day is not a lot when you may end up giving up the rest of your day to everyone else!
Look at the month ahead and know that you will have to sacrifice a few social evenings, put aside some work and family commitments and also be disciplined enough to turn up each day. Some days it will be more of a mental challenge than a physical one.
Know that there is never going to be a perfect time to do a challenge, and if this month is not for you, then you can take inspiration from those around you who are doing the challenge and ask what it’s like and keep it in the back of your mind for the future.
How will you keep it going? If you are feeling tired, sore or de-motivated, speak to your instructor, seek advice, motivation and take it easy during your first week. You have 30 days to get through, so try to work at 80% of what you normally do during your first week. Back off if you are feeling tight and sore and enjoy doing a class with no expectations or need to push anything, just be present in the room and get the blood flowing through your body.
If you pick up a small tweak or injury, again speak to your instructor and tell them so they can advise you on what to do in certain postures. If you are tired or tight, you are at a higher risk of injury, so put safety first ahead of ego.
Schedule your yoga like any other event, pop it in the diary. If you are worried that there is only a 90 min class, remember you are coming here for 1 hour anyway, the travel to class time, getting ready time and going home time is still the same, it’s just 30 mins more in class.
What will you achieve? You will have more energy, even on the days you have to drag yourself to class. Your clothes will definitely fit better and your skin will begin to glow and your eyes will be brighter – all that hot yoga is like a daily exfoliation and an internal cleanse. It will clean up your ‘act’ and make you cut down on coffee, alcohol and junk food. You’ll eat less rubbish and drink more water – guaranteed! Your body and mind will start opening up: yoga is mental and physical so a calmness and increased concentration are all part of the benefits.
Personally, 30 days consecutive hot yoga made me crave the stillness I found between postures. As soon as I entered the room, I could feel my body and mind decompressing and a calmness, acceptance and commitment to the session came over me. The hot room became a place to get off the treadmill and focus on breath, body and mind.
A lot of anger and negativity can come up, for no apparent reason, and there is resistance, but it’s good to acknowledge this and know that sometimes you’ll be in the zone and sometimes you’ll fight against the postures and the class every step of the way. I never regretted one class and I always felt great afterwards. In the savasana at the end of class, lying there, I sometimes feel a level of relaxation that no massage or deep sleep can achieve.
It’s a big commitment and a great challenge and if you are up for it, then sign up soon! We are putting up a board next week where you can register your name and tick off those classes once you start! A few of us teachers will be doing it with you. We are hoping to tick off every day, but if we don’t then that’s okay too – we’ll be getting up earlier, staying up later and making a few sacrifices along the way, but it’s only 30 days!