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The Magic of the Mat

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By Amanda Griffin Jacob

I’ve been a hot yoga devotee for 10 years now and its ability to transmit physical, emotional, and mental illuminations via the mat never fails to astound me. People always ask me why I’m specifically attached to practicing in a hot room and my answer is always the same. I find my peace there. To expound, no matter if I am struggling or prospering on the mat in the heat, it is the ideal space for clarity, epiphanies, and resolution. This is particularly the case when it’s the Bikram sequence (known by many names including Hot Classic or Hot 26). In no other form of yoga or exercise have I found the effect on my mind and wellbeing be as fulfilling. This is because of the forced guided meditation via the teaching of the class. I do experience a form of meditation when I’m doing my longer distance runs. It is, however, nowhere near as focused because my monkey mind has a difficult time letting go of the thoughts that randomly jump in while I’m trying to concentrate. We are living in an age of distraction, which renders it virtually impossible to be cognizant, mindful, and serene. This is why, for me it is essential that I get that time to settle and focus. Without it I would be a mess. I need my directed meditation to help ground me for the day. It’s an excellent bonus that hot yoga is so beneficial for your body.

Mind, body, and soul the author has been a hot yoga devotee for 10 years now

Mind, body, and soul the author has been a hot yoga devotee for 10 years now

I had taken a break from the Bikram sequence for a few years because I had discovered a new amor, Hot Vinyasa (Flow). After years of a static practice I couldn’t help but be wooed by this dynamic series. I only started practicing the Hot 26 again a few weeks ago because I was doing a Hot Yoga teacher training course. Now I remember why I needed it so much.

To give you an idea, the other day as I was practicing I broke down into tears. In the space of 90 minutes I experienced a whole gamut of varying emotions from serenity, anxiety, joy, pain, and realization. But the best part was the transcendental feeling of clarity. I had answers to a problem that had been troubling me but I couldn’t see because I was so wrapped up in the intricacies of it.

I always recommend Hot Yoga to people because it really is one of the best things I’ve ever done. My life was transformed that day I stepped on the mat for the very first time over a decade ago. My only regret is not starting sooner.  It works all of your muscles, including your mind. It takes care of your organs. It is therapeutic. It is gentle yet tough. It is incomparable. It is always exactly what you need.

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