To heat or not to heat…that is the question.
Ok, so I know this is going to open a can of worms, but here we go…
Since acquiring my studio, I’ve had numerous members question me about continuing to offer “Hot” classes, or rather I should say discontinuing the “Hot” classes. Most don’t enjoy, are not happy, and feel overwhelmed when they walk in and get smacked in the face with a minimum of 90° heat. Then, on top of the heat, we expect that students keep up with the Vinyasa flow that we have designed for a minimum of 60 minutes with the result being a lot of sweat and, for the most part, a disturbed or unsteady practice. This practice is taking us away from a very fundamental philosophy of yoga that says “Asana is a steady and comfortable posture” (Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Sutra 2.46). There’s nothing that reads anything about “Hot.”
Maybe I have become a traditionalist when it comes to yoga, but over the years I’ve taken Bikram classes (where the class temperature ranges from 105 – 115°), LPYoga (95 up to 98°), and heated Vinyasa-based classes (90 – 95°), but I was never able to do any posture deeper or better because of the external heat—I was just sweatier. What I do believe, have studied, and found to be true is that each of these classes and their varying degrees prove that it is really what your prefer—not that if we heat the room to a specific temperature our bodies will perform better. The external heating of the body mentally tricks us into believing we CAN do more when we probably shouldn’t, because if we aren’t able to do the posture in a normally heated class of 78 – 80°, then maybe, just maybe that particular level of posture is not achievable for us….right now. Or how about we follow the thought of “Practice makes progress” and don’t forget about Sutra 1.14 which says “Practice becomes firmly grounded when well attended to for a long time, without break and in all earnestness.” Just a little food for thought! And let us not forget about the power of pranayama (breath control). We use the breath to heat our bodies internally and naturally—our own internal furnace—so why not focus on the use of the breath, the 4th limb and intricate aspect of the 8 limbs of yoga, which is Ashtanga yoga.
So as I move forward as a studio owner and practitioner, the idea of “WARM” (80 -85° max) resonates most because its doable, comfortable, and allows each of us to fully dive into our practice so that transformation, empowerment and growth can take place.
Until next time…Namasté and Blessings!