Prior to last summer, I had struggled with chronic headaches every hour of every day for almost six years.
After endless attempts with various medications, doctor and specialist appointments, lots of blood-work, alternative medicine adventures, and ER visits accompanied by pain, tears and frustration, I had finally come to the conclusion that I would be facing daily headaches around the clock for the rest of my life.
Then, one day last summer, a friend asked me to tag along with her to a hot yoga class (yoga in a room typically somewhere between 95-105 degrees Fahrenheit-sounds like a blast right?). I had taken yoga classes in the past, so I figured I’m sure hot yoga will be just as easy. The first five minutes were wonderful – child’s pose, relaxing your mind and body, deep breathing, letting go of any thoughts or stresses – it was all great. However, after up gulping down my entire water bottle within 15 minutes of class, having to leave the room half way through with from intense nausea, and being completely repulsed by the amount of sweating that occurred in that room from myself and the other yogis, I was sure that I would never, ever attend hot yoga again.
After I made my way home from class, I downed a gatorade, got a shower, and hit the bed with exhaustion. To my surprise, a funny thing happened. The next morning, I felt really good. I didn’t wake up as tired or feel as sluggish as usual. I did a little googling on hot yoga and read that it’s is not love-at-first-class for many people, but they swore it got less torturous if you kept going. So, the next day (two days after my first class) something inside me made me want to give it another shot.
I managed to spread out my bottle of water and even make it through the whole class without having to walk out for cool air. But, in no way, shape, or form was I prepared for what came next. At the end of class, laying there in shavasana (“corpse pose”), when I wasn’t supposed to be thinking about anything, I realized that my head didn’t hurt quite so bad as it did when I walked into the studio and hour ago. In a super still room, all I wanted to do was jump up with excitement, but I somehow managed to keep it together. This was the first time, in years, that I had felt any sort of relief.
That was it, I was hooked. I went to yoga at least 4 or 5 times a week that summer. The only reason I didn’t go was when I couldn’t make a class fit into my schedule. The more I went, the less my head hurt. I didn’t care why or how it worked, I was just so happy it did. A year later, I still can’t go more than two or three days without taking a class.
Medical professionals told me that it must be from the stress relief, but there were many times I felt less stressed compared to being in a class (hot yoga is hard!). If it was stress, why did hot yoga work and not my week long paradise getaway to Puerto Rice? So maybe it was the heat. But heating pads didn’t do the trick and neither did the sauna at the gym. Regular yoga didn’t have the same effect either. Bottom line, in some strange way, hot yoga has done something for me that I haven’t been able to get from anything else.
Why I’m obsessed
Not only has hot yoga changed my life by finally allowing me to get my headache situation under control, I get a great work out while doing it! According to Yoga Anonymous, a 90 minute hot yoga class can burn up to 1,000 calories! Plus, it’s also a great way to detox and de-stress.
My yoga mat is my solution and escape form everything and anything. If I feel like I’m getting a cold, I go to yoga. If I am over stressed from some crazy situation at work, I go to yoga. Boy problems? yoga. In need of a workout? yoga. When I’m bored, I go to yoga. And if you have ever complained to me about anything, I have probably told you to go to hot yoga. It may not solve every single problem, but I’m convinced it makes anything a little easier to handle.George Flanik, Athletic wear by Tidal Cool Creations, Makeup by Arrey Lee ]
What has yoga (or any other activity) helped you with? I’d love to hear your stories! Leave a comment below.