Some like it hot

The sweat trickles down my body as I take up the downward dog position. Trying to focus on my breathing to distract myself from the intense heat of the room, I wonder why I decided to put myself through this.

I have always been a fan of yoga, often resorting to it in times of stress. So when I had the opportunity to try out hot yoga, I immediately jumped at the chance.

Photo credit: rufai ajala
Hot yoga sees participants doing a variety of positions in 38 degree heat

Hot yoga is a style of yoga that is performed in hot and humid conditions. At the session I attended, at Yoga Fever studios in Cardiff, the temperature was cranked up to a sweat inducing 38 degrees Celsius.

Used by high profile celebrities such as Ryan Giggs, Andy Murray and the Welsh national rugby team, there must be something in this fitness craze.

So what is hot yoga?

Catherine Kelleher, owner of the Yoga Fever studio tells me that hot yoga is a derivation of Bikram yoga. Bikram yoga was founded by Bikram Choudhury in the 1960s in the USA and was brought to the UK  by various students of his. Catherine informs me that Bikram is run as a franchise, so wherever you go in the world you will have exactly the same experience: the room temperature will be the same and it will consist of the same 26 postures.

“Hot yoga is a derivation of Bikram yoga”

Recognising the global success of Bikram yoga, various yoga teachers started experimenting with heated rooms whilst practicing yoga, and thus hot yoga was born. Whilst Yoga Fever uses heated rooms, Catherine is quick to inform me that she only teaches hot yoga as she doesn’t follow the Bikram sequence.

Photo credit: rufai ajala

Despite having owned the very popular Yoga Fever for five-and-a-half years, the diminutive Catherine still seems surprised at her success.

“When we first opened in Pontcanna it was just meant to be a hobby,” she confides. Having taken voluntary redundancy as an IT manager and with two little boys to take care of, Catherine spotted a lack of hot yoga studios in Cardiff and seized the opportunity to begin her own business. Already a trained yoga teacher, Catherine had all the resources to set up Yoga Fever.

“It was huge from the start,” exclaims Catherine. “The first week I had one person, but the second I had 21!”

“Hot yoga is really beneficial for people who are generally quite stiff or they struggle to get full range of movement”

It appears that Catherine has amassed a strong following, with some of the original people still regularly attending her classes.

Whilst she is keen keep her loyal followers, Catherine is always on the lookout for new class members. “The whole kind of marketing for Yoga Fever is get get people in  who would probably not try yoga in more traditional environments, such as in a church hall,” she explains.

Fans of hot yoga claim that it has many benefits.

Catherine says, “It’s really beneficial for people who are generally quite stiff or they struggle to get full range of movement.We also get lots of people who come to us through cross training, such as triathletes or long distance runners, who like to compliment their sports or other training.

The Yoga Fever studio is heated by lights placed around the room
The Yoga Fever studio is heated by lights placed around the room

Detoxification is also thought to be another benefit to hot yoga, as the heavy sweating that occurs is said to help flush toxins out of the skin.

Catherine believes that hot yoga can really help to ease the stresses of our fast paced lives. “The heat gives you an extra element of having to switch off from your day to day life, so you really have to focus on breathing and keeping going in a hot environment and not getting caught up in what everybody else is doing,” Catherine explains.

“The heat gives you an extra element of having to switch off from your day to day life”

“When you come into a hot yoga environment, because it is a bit more intense it really does force you to leave all of that other stuff at the door, and then hopefully, when you leave you’ve switched off from it, some of it is in perspective and you realise that you don’t need to worry about certain things!

In between wiping the beads of sweat off my brow I really started to embrace hot yoga. Eventually my body got used to the high temperatures, and I found like I was seamlessly able to move between positions.

Photo credit: Crystal
Some yoga essentials

Lying on my yoga mat at the end of the session, I feel complete relaxation. I think the intense heat definitely enabled me to stretch further and work harder than I usually would during a normal yoga session.

If you’re feeling a bit adventurous I would definitely recommend hot yoga, it is a completely unique experience and the benefits are definitely worth it!

Have any of you ever tried hot yoga? Let me know in the comments below, Tweet me or message me on Facebook.

Book your hot yoga session  today at Yoga Fever

Each session costs £8

Protein Power Pot

We all know the feeling: you’ve just come home after an intense gym sesh or a hard day’s work and you’re absolutely starving. What would you choose to eat?

Tiredness and time constraints can cause many of us to reach for convenience foods and ready meals. Whilst piercing the film and waiting for the ping of the microwave may seem like the best idea at the time, relying on ready meals can take a serious toll on your health. Often laden in sugar, salt and saturated fat, what you think is a quick, nutritious fix often poses many risks to your health.

Whether you eat a pre-packaged korma or spaghetti bolognese as an occasional treat or if you’ve accidently fallen into a ready meal rut, just one convenience meal can cause serious damage to your diet.

my fitsique

One Tesco chicken tandoori masala meal contains a whopping 54% of your recommended daily allowance (RDA) of fat and an even scarier 3.3g of salt, which is just over half of your RDA of the white stuff.

Throughout the years I have tried and tested many recipes claiming to provide a nutritional hit with minimal preparation time, but this recipe definitely comes out on top.

An ideal dish for breakfast, lunch or even a post-gym snack, this protein cup is ridiculously simple to make and has the perfect combination of carbs and protein.

Protein Power Pot

Ingredients                                                                                                                      

  • 1/2 bagelpic crop1
  • 1 spring onion
  • 1 piece smoked salmon
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 2 eggs
  • Handful spinach

Nutritional Info

  • 448 cals per servingfoodcrop 4
  • 20g fat (5g saturated)
  • 43g protein
  • 26g carbohydrates

Method

  • Rip the bagel into chunks and chop up the salmon and onion
  • Crack the eggs into a mug and whisk, stirring in some milk
  • Mix in the rest of the ingredients and give it another whirl around
  • Cook on high for 2 minutes or until the eggs puff up
  • Enjoy your protein power pot!

foodcrop 8

What’s your healthy go-to meal when you’re in a rush? Let me know in the comments below or Tweet me!

Welcome to My Fitsique

I have always had a passion for health and fitness, and decided to create this blog to share my knowledge and develop my interest even further.

On this blog I will participate in new fitness crazes, reveal my  favourite healthy recipes and share important information from health professionals.

I hope that you enjoy reading my blog and have fun trying out some of the activities and recipes that I post.