I’m a bit of a fickle yogi.
By fickle, I mean that I’m really not a yogi at all, but there’s so much about the yogi lifestyle which appeals to me. Above all, there’s always so much praise given to yoga’s calming effects, and if calm isn’t something to strive for, then I don’t know what is.
Over the years I’ve dabbled with different styles of yoga. I thought one session of Ashtanga had killed me and torn all the things which can possibly tear in my inner thighs, whereas another session of Hatha almost sent me to sleep. I also tried Bikram a few years ago and was totally unprepared for the sheer sweatiness and seriousness with which the yogis, or as they seemed to me, contortionists, executed all 26 poses. I’ve always liked yoga, but hadn’t quite found a style which suited me.
And then a few weeks ago I stumbled across Hotpod Yoga online. The idea is relatively simple but incredibly clever: inflatable pods which can be put up in all sorts of different locations to create a portable studio which is heated to 37 degrees. The pod looks like this:
Fortunately, it just so happens that there is a Hotpod Yoga Nottinghamshire, and so I decided to give it a try! Hotpod’s style of yoga is Vinyasa, which I feel suits me the best so far. I bought the introductory package, which costs £15 for 3 sessions, which must be taken within 2 weeks.
I won’t lie to you, it’s challenging. But it’s also wonderful.
My first session was a 7am class in West Bridgford with Sarah Bailey, who is an excellent teacher; supportive, clear and understanding. It doesn’t matter if you’ve dabbled in yoga before, if you’re an expert or if you’re totally new to it, Sarah will make you feel more than welcome and provides different levels of difficulty so that you can push yourself as much as you feel comfortable, while also respecting any injuries or weak spots you may have.
Yes, it’s very sweaty, but there’s nothing like starting your day feeling totally at peace, with a clear head and knowing that you’ve done something great for your health so early in the day. There’s definitely something to be said for sweating out all those toxins and realising just how wonderful yoga can make you feel, even though it is difficult. But as they say, if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.
Here’s a quick look inside the pod, although I apologise for the darkness; it’s difficult to get good light for photography in the pod:
I also took part in two classes with Sarah Harrison, who is the owner of Hotpod Yoga Notts, and is also an excellent teacher! Although they have the same name, their instructing styles are very different, and yet equally effective. No matter which class you attend, I can guarantee you’ll get a good workout with someone who is approachable, makes you feel included and also looked after.
Just a few things: if you get the hot yoga bug, then it’s probably a good idea to invest in a proper yoga towel with grip on one side to avoid sliding around. I bought this one from Yoga Bum on Amazon, however Hotpod does have its own line of towels, too:
In terms of clothing, I’ve found that Lycra is the way forward. If you can, try to find a top which fits you snugly around the hips, to avoid it slipping up your back towards your chin as you’re in Downward Dog!
Also, you can now download the Hotpod app on your phone; you should be able to find it in the app store:
Unfortunately, illness and the end of university have kept me away for the last few weeks, but luckily enough there’s also a Hotpod Yoga Guildford, which I’m planning on getting involved with while I’m back down south for some of the summer.
In conclusion, just give it a go. Embrace the sweat, accept the challenge and feel yourself improve, both outside and, more importantly, inside.
Right, off to practice my chaturanga.
Find a Hotpod near you on their official website.