Saturday, August 6, 2011

hot hot heat

Living in New Orleans, you learn a thing or two about heat. There's just no other way to put it, it is hot down here.

after my first ever full class (at Audubon park) my friend Sora on the left and me (drinking water) on the right
I  recently had the incredible opportunity to take a trip back up North where they suddenly had a heat wave that coincided with our arrival (and we've heard that Nola cooled off with daily thunderstorms). We got to spend an entire day in Boston with my friends having breakfast at Zaftigs, strolling around Newbury Street, and just spending time together out in my former city. (We also ate Naked Pizza, which I think is hilarious because it's a New Orleans company). Anyway, the weather that day said that Boston got up to 103F. Only last year I would have been melting right on the pavement, just like my friends were. But, 103F in Boston does not feel that hot to me anymore, although it is a tad warm :p. Before you think I'm crazy, consider that in New Orleans we live in the mid to high 90's for a majority of the year but we also live in humidity that matches the tropics. The other day the temperature was 92F but the heat index was at 115F which means that the temperature plus the humidity made it so that we were living in 115F weather! Heat + Humidity = swamp like warmth, we're talking about just constantly being sweaty like you're living in a sauna.

Since moving to the south and becoming a yoga teacher I've had to consider the heat quite a bit. I've asked my fiance to teach me about why and how we sweat and cool ourselves (being in his second year in medical school I pretend he knows everything a seasoned doctor would know). I've had students tell me they want to sweat out toxins in class, I've had students tell me it's just too hot to move, I've had times when we left the air conditioner on high throughout the entire class so that they were only heated from the inside using movement and ujjayi breath.

In my own practice I know I'm going to sweat. I bring a bandanna to class to wipe my own sweat when I'm teaching- and that's just walking around the room talking and adjusting people! The humidity down here immediately covers me and in classes where the windows and doors are open I sometimes leave a puddle on my mat. But, I have to say that I'm not one who would take a class (although I have) in an intentionally heated room (i'm talking Bikram and hot classes) because that's just not for me.

I recently came across this article on elephantjournal called "Are supporters of excess heat & sweat in yoga class just full of hot air?" by Dan Pitko that I really liked. He has done some research and makes everything clear and to the point. He makes the argument that yogis need to exercise caution when practicing in a hot room that is also humid.

I'd love to know what you think about heated yoga. Do you need a heated room to feel warmed up enough to stretch? Do you believe that the warmth of your movements and breath is enough? Have you ever felt woozy in a heated yoga class (I have!). Leave me a comment!

(Also, no matter what type of yoga you're practicing and where please make sure that you are staying hydrated and always do what is right for you (ie take breaks when needed and lower your head to the ground to cool off)

1 comment:

  1. It's been in the upper 90's and humid here, but that's nothing compared to 115! Sheesh. I'm surprised you guys don't melt into a puddle on the floor down there. I hope the heat wave ends soon!