#YogaEveryDay isn't just a hashtag. For some of us, it's a way of life! Entrepreneur and host of The Pulse, Cindy Matalucci, celebrated her birthday with a yoga challenge - one yoga class a day for an entire month at YogaSix Point Loma. She told us what it was really like to practice every day and how a daily Hot Yoga practice changed her life both on and off the mat.
What inspired you to do 30 days of Hot Yoga?
I was inspired to do 30 days of Hot Yoga at YogaSix because I had really been struggling with the whole work/life balance issue in my life. Two years ago, I left the corporate world to be an entrepreneur and I found myself working more hours then ever. I noticed that I stopped making myself a priority and was not taking the time for myself mentally & physically as I had in the past. I was burnt out and needed to find a way to recharge my battery. I kicked off my birthday in May with 4 days at a wellness retreat in Idyllwild and it was the start of my plan to make myself and my health a focus in my life again. I decided as soon as I got back, I was going to do a 30 day detox, 30 days of hot yoga, and 30 days of no alcohol to really kick start my way to feeling more energized and empowered.
How did your body and mind feel when you first began the challenge?
I have to admit when I first started the challenge, I was nervous that I was going to be able to finish it. With my schedule constantly changing, and the line of work I am in, I can be on set for hours, or have to be at an event all day, so I knew it was going to be a challenge to complete. It had also been quite awhile since I had done hot yoga and was wondering how my body would adapt to it. My body was a bit clumsy trying to get back into the poses, and I realized I needed to drink a lot more water than I was because I was sweating quite a bit in class. I realized that this is why they call yoga a practice, because the more you practice, the better you become and the more your body & mind is capable of. You just have to have patience.
What was difficult about the challenge?
I think the most difficult thing about the challenge was making the time and putting it in my schedule no matter what I had that day. Instead of trying to plan out the month or the weekly calendar, I just tried to take it day by day and make it to a class. I usually plan things way ahead of time, then my schedule changes and I would get frustrated and stressed out trying to fit everything in. I tried to change my mindset and make sure that I knew when all the hot yoga classes were and then bring my yoga clothes with me so I could run from a meeting and get my class in. (Confession: I even had an all day event for my job during my challenge but snuck out for the hour of hot yoga and came back to the event.)
How has a daily Hot Yoga practice affected your life off the mat?
My life has changed drastically since this challenge. As the days progressed with my challenge, the more I looked forward to my Hot Yoga workout. It became what I call my "hot cocoon of happiness.” It was my hour of the day to be present in the moment and really think about my intention for the day. One of the hardest things for me in my life is to stop thinking about what’s next, or what’s the next item to cross off on my to do list. Being present is such a struggle for me as I am on the go constantly. This hour of yoga brought me into a stillness and a sense of calm and peace that I really needed in my life. I noticed that my stress level was really going down as well. I used to be so reactive to emails or text messages and overreact to things because of my stress level. I was now more calm and not as reactive to things that used to bug me. I felt like I could handle anything that came my way. I also started to get more strict with my time. I was going to make it to my yoga class and no one was going to get in my way of that hour for myself. I used to let people take up more of my time, but I became more selfish because this was my time to work on me. I could not wait to get to class!
Now that you've completed 30 days of Hot Yoga, which of our six results resonate most with you?
I would have to say that after the challenge the results that resonate most with me are Calmer and Clearer. Mentally I am so much calmer and less stressed every day. I go into my yoga practice and really take in the breathing exercises that the instructors teach you. I realized on a day to day basis I was sometimes holding my breath and forgetting to breath deep. Now, if I am at work and get a bit stressed, I just start practicing my Ujjayi breath and it calms me right down.
The Clearer part came in by really listening to the instructors at YogaSix who remind you to set an intention for your practice. They ask you “what brought you here today?” Everytime my mind would wander to something else, they would bring me back to the present with a mantra or a reminder to reconnect with my breath. It made me be conscious of setting a clear intention as soon as I sat down on the mat. I would make sure I had about 15 minutes on the mat prior to the start of the class to focus on my intentions and meditate on what I wanted to manifest into my life. I use that time to focus and be clear on the things I want for myself and my happiness. I have taken this into my day to day life and I am now more clear on the things I want to do with my business and my relationships. I just feel more sure of what I want now. Oh, and I am addicted to Hot Yoga and don’t plan to stop anytime soon!
Student Advisor Camille, Cindy, and Point Loma Studio Manager Chaise
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A common misconception about yoga is that Bikram Yoga and hot yoga are one and the same. Both classes do take place in a heated room, but Bikram Yoga and hot yoga are actually very different. We demystify the difference between these two heated yoga practices below.
Bikram Yoga Named for its creator, Bikram Choudhury, this popular style of yoga has loose ties to hatha yoga techniques. It features a fixed set of 26 postures taught in a heavily heated room designed to mimic the climate of India. Bikram Yoga is widely known as an “intense” yoga workout, mainly due to the elevated temperature and humidity in the practice room and length of the class. All Bikram classes are 90 minutes (30 minutes longer than the average hot yoga class) and are taught in a carpeted room at 104 degrees F with 40% humidity. While the sequence of postures in not particularly vigorous, the heated environment and length of the class make for a challenging workout – especially for beginners.
Hot Yoga This broader term typically refers to any style of yoga taught in a heated room. Hot yoga classes can be taught on any surface and at any hot temperature with varying levels of humidity. The classes vary by studio and instructor, allowing students to incorporate more diversity of movement in their practice. Due to the variety of class types, hot yoga classes can be more accessible and challenging based on the amount of intensity students require of their practice.
While Bikram Yoga continues to have a strong brand and presence in the yoga community, more students are exploring the many different styles of hot yoga currently available. Hot Yoga classes vary by studio, and every flow has a different flavor. At YogaSix, our Hot Yoga and Power Yoga are both 60 minute classes taught in a heated environment. Hot Yoga is a set sequence flow, which means the poses are the same and in the same order from class to class; Power Yoga offers a creative flow, which means poses and order are different and vary class to class.
HOT YOGA: A highly structured class that lays the foundation for a heated yoga practice. Promotes body symmetry, balance and detoxification
Body Benefits: improved posture, discipline, weight loss
POWER YOGA: A heated, full-body blast with arm balances, inversions and progressive posture variations. Challenges the cardiovascular system and builds strength.
Body Benefits: mental and physical fortitude, detoxification