Hot Yoga Session 5: Food = Fuel and Bring on the Salt!

This was originally posted in January 2012 to document my 30 days of hot yoga. I was recently inspired to be more self-reflective after a terrible flu season which sent me to the ER twice. Doctor’s orders were simple: start taking care of yourself (again) or you’ll need surgery. That is all I needed to hear to propel me into living a healthier, more personally sustainable life amidst balancing a busy career, volunteering, and figuring things out with our new baby.

Join me here, on Sundays, where I re-blog reflections from 30 days of hot yoga and hopefully inspire you to embrace change positively with passion and find opportunities for personal growth wherever you can find it.

How is it going?

Session 5 kicked my butt. Ironically, it was a short basics class which focused mostly on positioning your body correctly in each movement and a lot less posture-intensive from the all levels version. Yet, still, I found myself in child’s pose (protective ball) while our instructor narrated breathing through the discomfort in our first position. I “cheated” with knees whenever possible just to give my shoulders a rest. I “took a break” to get hydrated not because I was thirsty, but because I just couldn’t hack it. And I celebrated, quietly and to myself, when we reached the end of class. But I was ready to start looking forward. I can do this, I am committed, and I’m ready to get some advice on how to make it happen.

Advice (from a professional) for Surviving and Thriving 30 Days of Hot Yoga

After class I asked my instructor for some advice on surviving 30 days of hot yoga. But I realized, as I said it, that I don’t want to just “survive it”, I want to THRIVE. She understood, and here is her advice:

  • First, congratulate yourself for making a commitment to furthering your practice and to your physical and (for some) spiritual well being. Yoga is a holistic practice which can inspire and change your life {and it has}.
  • Second, don’t try to do every move. Instead, only participate in postures that nourish and further your practice {I laughed when she said this – that’s easy! I couldn’t do them all if I wanted to!}
  • Also, make sure to hydrate consistently {more about hydration later}
  • When you drink, you want to replace electrolytes lost during the practice. {Full article on hot yoga and electrolytes here through Livestrong.com}
  • Make sure to eat salt, especially if you’re craving it {and I was!}
  • And if the heat is wearing you down, do a session at home (out of the heat) just to give your body a break or take a day off. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
  • Take care of your body. This is a practice that requires a lot of it, take care and rest it.
Take care of yourself.. sleeeppp

Take care of yourself.. sleeeppp

Her advice was spot on and I appreciated every bit of it {you don’t have to tell me twice to add more salt to my diet!}. But there was one piece of advice which I took to heart: take care of your body. Oh boy, did I need it! But how?

After a class where my body was absolutely exhausted, sore, and all muddled up with lactic acid. In the past, when I have had sore muscles, I either take a bath or – if I’m lucky enough to have the opportunity – jump in a hot tub. Well, today I was lucky, and I headed straight for the hot tub. After an hour between the hot tub, the shower, and the steam room at my fancy gym (healthworks is one of the top rated women’s gyms in the country, I am so fortunate to be a member there) I felt like I had switched bodies. It was amazing.

So here is the lesson: take care of your body. Use it. But care for it afterwards. Know that when you start a new routine, you are going to need more rest. Allow yourself the space, time, and ability to grant your body its time to rest. You will not only recover faster, you’ll be better positioned to push yourself forward, get into shape quickly, and attain the physical condition you want. Go for it!