There are many types of yoga classes from which choose, from yoga flow to hatha to restorative, to even more adventuresome types. As we deepen our yoga practice, we become more aligned with our highest selves, our best selves. Sometimes this transformation nudges us to adopt new habits or perspectives, or even try a new type of yoga class.
I’ll admit I’m a creature of habit and don’t always like change and yet, I recently tried the hot fusion yoga class on an early Wednesday morning and am a better person for it. The class reminds me of the parts I love most about the traditions of Bikram, Hatha, and Vinyasa, as the practice is an eclectic array of the yoga I came to love many years ago.
Allow me to share the reasons I have fallen in love yet again.
The heat welcomes us on a cold fall day and loosens our physical bodies. And, the heat just feels good. We hold the standing postures for longer, sometimes up to a minute, our bodies deepening with each breath. Like the classic Bikram series, these long holds challenge us physically and mentally and the postures become a practice in focus and mindfulness: strengthening of not only the physical, but the mental and emotional parts of our being. As we flow through a few Sun A’s or Sun B’s (depending on the teacher), we link our breath with our body, while still maintaining mindfulness. Doing this is not always easy.
Like a hatha class, the slower paced flow and movements give us time and space to practice letting go of thoughts and returning to the moment, to our breath. For me, it’s easier to flow faster and move my body on autopilot, disconnecting. But in a hot fusion flow, disconnection isn’t an option, not really, because when we lose our breath and our focus, we cannot hold the postures. Inevitably, I begin steady in eagle pose only to tumble over when I think about my to-do list or the tense conversation I had the previous night or what I want for breakfast or really anything that exists outside of my mat. And then I come back to the practice and relish in the easy way of just being in the moment.
As we transition into fall and winter, change is naturally upon us. Perhaps the season shift will inspire you to try something new, like a hot fusion class. And perhaps I’ll see you there.
By Erin Walton