09 Feb How YHot Changed My Life
Originally posted on YYoga
February 9, 2017
How it all started
I don’t remember the first time I tried YHot. I do remember what if felt like to return for a second, and third and fourth time. I remember continuing to show up and do the work, practicing the poses in a newly intense environment. I remember the person I was before and I am amazed by how it has shaped the person I am today.
YHot is a hatha-based practice in which poses are held for 5-8 breaths in a room heated to 40°C with 40% humidity. The start of my YHot journey five years ago, coincided with my first consistent yoga practice. I was learning how to navigate the practice of yoga as a whole, understanding how to move my body in space, and had now added the challenge of hot yoga, which would test my physical limitations.
I remember coming home from class soon after I started my practice, and declaring to my husband that I needed to buy shorts for hot yoga and a towel so I could wipe away the constant sweat. In the early stages of my practice, I was focused solely on what was happening to my body, and ways to avoid the discomfort of being in that hot room.
Accepting my body and confronting my mind
But the physical part of the experience was only the tip of the iceberg; the real work was happening on a more intrinsic level, changing long-held thoughts and habits. The idea of “sitting in the uncomfortable” was an idea I had spent my entire life avoiding. It was a true challenge for me to learn how to be still within a pose. My sweat began to represent a deeper level of detoxing and was shaping me into a different, better version of myself.
With each and every class, I would leave feeling better than when I arrived. I began to be less concerned with whether or not I was doing the pose perfectly and started to accept my body and confront my thoughts and emotions. Through the heat (which became something I enjoyed), the care of the teachers showing up to help me navigate the practice, and the puddles of sweat, my perspective was beginning to shift.
The shift in my practice
I remember showing up for a non-heated class and discovering I read the schedule incorrectly and the next available class was YHot. I was wearing pants and promptly panicked at the idea of practicing hot yoga without shorts. But I was at the studio, and needed a class, so I practiced as I was. I made it through the uncomfortable experience even though my brain tried to hold me back.
That experience represented a fundamental shift in my practice. As time went on, my towel was placed near the top of my mat and I noticed I wasn’t really reaching for it. I realized I was hooked on YHot – the high I achieved from completing each class, the consistency of the sequence, and the community that I had joined.
It was shortly after I completed my 200-Hour Teacher Training with YYoga that a 70-Hour YHot Teacher Training was offered with Kristin Campbell. Not only had Kristin developed the YHot sequence, she also was one of my teachers for my 200-hour. This was a sign that I had to take the training. It wasn’t in my budget, and after the wealth of knowledge I had obtained from my 200-hour training, I wasn’t sure my brain could afford to free up space to learn and retain anything more, but I had to try.
I finished my YHot Teacher Training in October of 2013, just over a year and a half after I took my first YHot class. After moving to Toronto, I began teaching YHot in September of 2014, and in March of 2017 I will be assisting in the YHot Teacher Training here.
What YHot has meant to me
YHot created a space for me to explore my boundaries and helped me become comfortable with being uncomfortable. It allowed me to detox the parts of me I didn’t need to hold on to anymore.
On a professional level, YHot created the space for me to find my voice as a teacher. The reliability of the set sequence gave me comfort in a time when sequencing seemed scary to me. Learning how to hold space for others as they move through their own journey of sitting in the uncomfortable, taught me how to be a compassionate teacher. I can watch people fidget, wipe their sweat, smooth their mat, and partake in distractions in an effort to escape it and understand what that feels like. It is also so rewarding to see the transformation of what happens when they start to let go.
I am proof of how this practice can change a person and I will always hold a special spot for YHot in my heart.