Why is it so hard to devote quiet time to ourselves? It’s so easy to flip on that TV streaming service or zone into the newest addictive mobile game. Instead of focusing on the stress that surrounds us, we seem to do anything we can to tune
But just because we block our stress out for the evening doesn’t mean it’s not still there. “Our issues are in our tissues,” says Cathy Campbell from Heal This Land Sanctuary, a yoga studio in Orillia. For Campbell, yoga helps tame the mind, release fear, and heal the body. “Our bodies are meant to be in movement. If we don’t move, toxins build up — like a pond that becomes stagnant.”
Hot Yoga: For Every(Body)
The mental, emotional, and spiritual benefits of yoga can sometimes be overshadowed by our ideas about “the perfect yoga body.” “Yoga does itself a disservice by the photos they put out there,” says Campbell. Ali Egger at Moksha Yoga Barrie agrees, especially when it comes to hot yoga. “People have this impression of Hot Yoga — what you see in magazines — and it’s the total opposite. Our biggest focus is the physical, spiritual, and mental benefits of the practice.”
So what is Hot Yoga and how did it all start? Well, there are two main types of Hot Yoga: Bikram and Moksha. Bikram Yoga is considered to be the original hot yoga. Bikram Yoga studios will often use forced air to make the air in the studio hot and humid. Moksha Yoga is a kind of spinoff of Bikram. Moksha often uses infrared heat, which mimics the sun. This type of heat is more dry and penetrating; it won’t be as humid as Bikram, but the objects around you will also heat up.
Although there are differences between Bikram and Moksha, both types take you through a series of stretches that are designed to activate all the muscles, tendons, and joints in your body. Meghan Huehn at Bikram Yoga Barrie explains that this series of poses is designed to heal the body. “Each pose opens the body up to the next one,” says Huehn. “A lot of people come to us because they’ve tried everything to heal themselves.” Egger adds that, “By heating up your body, you’re able to go into a deeper practice: deeper stretches and deeper breathing.”
Hot Yoga has developed a reputation of being only for the super athletic, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. “It’s a beginners practice. Every pose is accessible,” says Huehn. “It doesn’t mean it’s easy, but it’s simple. It’s meant to be healing. It’s so far away from how we see yoga in the media.” Egger agrees. “Our philosophy is based around being accessible,” says Egger. “The word ‘moksha’ in Sanskrit means ‘freedom.’ Whatever type of injury or body you may have, we can all move together through the same poses and get the benefits from the practice.”
So, if you’re nervous about trying a new type of yoga (or trying yoga for the very first time), rest assured that many practices promote the same core philosophy: accessibility, acceptance, and healing. Do your body and your mind a favour, and set aside time to unplug, refocus, and refresh!
by Emily Bednarz
Bikram Yoga Barrie
Tutor Doctor (Orillia)