words by Louisa Parker-Bowles
With London still warm, it seems a strange time to take Hot Yoga but as I ommm and ahhhh my way through a blissful hour and a quarter, I wonder why it has taken me so long to discover this heavenly practice.
I arrive a bit early for Jennifer’s Monday night Triyoga Hot class and flop happily onto a mat in the spacious studio, mentally listing all the things I have to do when I get home. Emails, washing, preparing my darling daughter’s wardrobe for the next day and suddenly think I should make a dash for the door and promptly return to my motherly duties. Just as I am wondering how to sneak out unnoticed, Jennifer’s soothing, almost hypnotic, voice welcomes everyone and encourages us to live in the moment. “The past is just memories, the future is imagination” she declares. It’s a mantra that provokes a reaction in me, as I know I am guilty of always looking ahead to what’s next, rather than simply enjoying the present. I have spent countless hours worrying about everything from how I will stop my daughter injuring herself, or innocent bystanders, when she eventually insists on riding one of those terrifying scooters all children seem to whizz around on, to what to do if, heaven forbid, she decides not to wear my wedding dress when her big day arrives. She’s three months old.
Before I know it the class is in full (Buddha) swing, with Jennifer demonstrating some poses and talking through others. This mix of teaching method works remarkably well, as it means you have to keep your mind in the class, rather than robotically copying the teacher while daydreaming about dinner. It also really helps to understand which muscles are working when and moreover, the results you can expect if you stick with it. Triyoga Hot is an open level class so I am surrounded by a mix of year-round yogis and first timers, which is very reassuring as although Jennifer tells us not to compare ourselves to our neighbours, I do. The class is founded on Tapasya method, the idea being that the mind and the body are purified simultaneously through a systematic series of alignment-based poses. Each posture is held for one minute and aims to build strength and increase flexibility. The infrared heat means the body itself is heated, as opposed to the air, so despite working through poses in 34-36C heat, I don’t feel like I am about to pass out. The heat facilitates safe, deep stretching so for the first time since primary school I am able to touch my toes without bending my knees. Needless to say I am delighted by this achievement.
The class passes surprisingly quickly and by the end I feel utterly relaxed and wonderfully supple. It’s a wonderful start to the week and as I happily trot home I vow to ‘live in the moment’ more often. Perhaps only when the moment is as enjoyable as those spent at Triyoga.