Hot Yoga For Beginners

In 1998 if you were to ask someone if they had ever attended a hot yoga class, their answer would be a question.  “What is THAT?”

Even as a seasoned yoga teacher with over 15 years of experience, that was my first response.  I had a very small inkling of what yoga was.  I knew it involved stretching and like most Americans in 1998, yoga was something “hippie”, “weird”, “religious”, “cult-like” and only for the naturally flexible.

Only one of the above words half-way applies to the definition of yoga.  Flexibility.  It does not, however, relate to the mental part of “flexibility”.   Simply explained, flexibility is defined by the answers of a few important questions:

Are you open to an approach of gaining and maintaining mental and physical conditioning all at the same time? 

Are you flexible enough to recognize the mental roadblocks that we deal with every day and understand that they are preventing us from unlimited potential? 

Are you open-minded enough to believe the wonderful benefits realized with just your simple participation, and not only through expertise? 

Are you grateful for what you have in your life, even when the chips are down and life seems to be slapping you in the face? 

The answers and improvements to each of these come only through practice and meditation.  YogaFUZN La Jolla can start your yoga journey if you do just one thing, show up for class.  However, sometimes mental obstacles may keep you from trying hot yoga for the first time, so here are some words of wisdom about hot yoga for beginners.  If you’re ready to show up, see our New Students page for more info on what to bring for your first class!


Here are a couple obstacles you may be facing:

1.    “I can’t do yoga, I’m not flexible, I can’t even touch the floor.”


Answer:  You can’t touch the floor because you don’t practice regularly enough. It’s as simple as that!  For a bit of perspective, it doesn’t matter if you can, or will ever be able to, flatten your palms to the floor with straight legs.  Flexibility is gifted to some, but, not everyone and where you lack you must try to gain.  This is your challenge.  Through yoga, you learn exactly what you lack and what your weaknesses are.  This is a gift you want to know because it becomes an important part of your practice.  After time, you’ll see improvement in yourself and you’ll come to understand that a more flexible body, feels better to live in. 


Your body is your home and it will always be your responsibility to move it.  Simple, therapeutic movement is what we encourage in the YogaFUZN 26&2 classes.  In class we work to move the body in all ways possible that are different from normal, since the wear and tear of everyday movement wears us out.  So don’t stop moving and more importantly, never say you can’t before you even start.  We can be beginners at any age in life, so try something new.  It just might be the greatest gift to your mind and body.


2.    “It’s too hot.  Why the heat?  As a woman, hot flashes are bad enough!”


Remember:  Everything feels better, looks better, and is better when it’s clean.  Think of your yoga practice as a hot shower, where you cleanse your body from the inside out.  The increase of the temperature paired with slow, fluid movement and static holds help us to safely stimulate every system in our bodies; especially the adrenal glands which are responsible for the intense sweating in every session.  These conditions have a very beneficial detoxifying effect, ridding the body of toxins and chemicals.  Not only that, but the heat is very good for your skin: cleansing, and pushing out dirt and toxins from the inside out.


The reason for the heat is numerous and is both mental and physical.  Overcoming the urge to say “I don’t like heat.  Period.” is a simple, yet substantial accomplishment.  Sometimes in life we have to learn to like what we don’t, for reasons that improve the human condition and effects of aging and disease.  So much disease could be prevented if we supported a consistent yoga practice.  Consistency is key, and without it, it’s hard to expect results.  The heat provides a safer, deeper stretch.  Simply stated, warm muscles are more conducive to a deeper stretch than cold, tight muscles.  This is especially helpful for inflammatory related conditions; the heat has huge benefits in supporting simple movement and relief from some of the inflammation typically encountered.


For women, I believe, the best therapy for peri-menopause or menopause is the very “thing” that drives us all crazy, HEAT!  Fight fire with fire, right?  The more comfortable you start to feel with the approach of a hot flash is the exact result you will receive.  If you immediately react and start to overreact it becomes even worse.  By getting used to a nice warm temperature during yoga and realizing the benefits, the hot flashes become less dramatic, shorter, and through relaxing and accepting the condition, it passes much more easily.  It’s inevitable that we must learn to change with our changing bodies.  Medications and other options are available, however, yoga practice can teach us to cope and learn healing simply through our gained knowledge of “self”.  A moving meditation such as the 26&2 is great physical therapy for ailments we all may face to some degree.


YogaFUZN’s 26&2 yoga can strengthen both your mental and physical self and beyond the mat, it can teach lessons to be applied in our daily lives.  Hot yoga truly is one of the best defenses from the stress we all face in everyday life.  Stress is unavoidable, however, how you deal with it is able to be changed and better handled.  Yoga relieves stress, anxiety and can even help to reduce depression.  It is great for helping to maintain weight and is perfect physical therapy for aging joints and inflammatory diseases. 


Instead of thinking you can’t, come let us teach you that you can at YogaFuzn, the best yoga in La Jolla!

Colleen Bourgeois