Stress Relief and Hot Yoga

It takes place in a candlelit room.

Just 3 small windows for natural light, and 3 small candles.

I’ve figured out a very simple formula.

Less stress = less stress eating.

Hot yoga is one of the paths I have chosen to get there.

As I walk in, it feels just plain HOT! It’s the same 95 degrees and the same series of poses, but every time, you experience it differently, the instructor explains.

Her instructions are simple. For the next 90 minutes, when thoughts come into your mind, just pretend you are on vacation and you don’t have to think about it right now.

The purpose of yoga is to quiet the mind. And since the mind needs something to do, you can just focus on your breath.

In hot yoga, the heat is a tool to increase flexibility. As the class begins, our instructor, Nancy, gives one additional suggestion: “Choose what to skip today.”

What a concept! You don’t actually have to DO everything you CAN do. It’s like she instinctively knows that we are all addicted to struggle, and while you can substitute one struggle for another, few of us have mastered ease and flow all the time.

Early on in the class, I think to myself “this isn’t so bad. I’m barely sweating.” But midway through the first hour, I am dripping wet. The men in the class get there quicker, but no one escapes the heat. It radiates through the darkish room.

That’s when Nancy’s subtle humor is so highly appreciated, and seems to come at the perfect instant. It eases any tension, and the stress of managing in the heat.

During chair pose, for instance, she’s decided that smiling is mandatory. “Raise your arms to celebrate.”

On other poses, “smiling is optional,” she says with a twinkle, or “if you need excitement, raise your heel.”

When I asked to take her picture in chair pose, she said she wasn’t sure if she could smile in the same way that she does when she is torturing us 🙂

But my favorite of her phrases comes when we are in the poses. It’s a simple reminder that “there’s nothing to do now.”

She repeats it several times “there’s nothing to do . . . there’s nothing to do . . . except breathe.”


Funny, my dog seems to have the art of  “doing nothing” down to a science.

She uses every imaginable position, some of them resembling yoga postures.

We human beings all know that once we leave that room, we’ll shift quickly back into “doing” mode. But just for this moment . . . we don’t have to think about it. The mind is quiet.

Class is over, and the humid darkness of the studio yields to the most perfect 77 degree day. As I walk to my car, I swear I’m a couple inches taller.

If there’s good stress and bad stress, I suppose this is in the “good” category, the kind that challenges you and makes you stronger.

I guess I could get addicted to hot yoga as easily as I could to stress eating, shopping or my to-do list. But these compulsions never bring me peace.

For right now, I think I’ll just rest in the fact that there’s something more to life than the endless struggle to get more done. Part of me feels like I can take on the world, but I guess I won’t. Too busy enjoying the moment.

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Psychologist, Master Certified Coach and Certified EFT Practitioner. She is one of the world’s leading experts in using Emotional Freedom Techniques to help people lose weight without dieting, stop binge eating, and reduce anxiety and stress. She is the author of 4 Books on Emotional Freedom Techniques, the EFT Tips Newsletter, the Binge Eating Teleseminar and the EFT Weight Loss CD. Carol has a thriving coaching practice and is passionate about helping others succeed.

5 thoughts on “Stress Relief and Hot Yoga

  1. Carol — This is one my favorite of your posts! I loved your story about taking up “hot” yoga. I enjoyed Nancy’s comments and how much fun she seemed to bring to the class.

    It’s funny because I’ve been wanting to pick up yoga and I haven’t found time. I’ll have to see if we have any “hot” yoga classes…then again it’s still hot and humid enough in Florida that we could walk outside and do hot yoga:~)

    Also, thanks for sharing the picture of your dog. She sleeps just like my cat:~)
    .-= Sara´s last blog ..Picture Story: Strange but true =-.

  2. This made me laugh out loud of course… “When I asked to take her picture in chair pose, she said she wasn’t sure if she could smile in the same way that she does when she is torturing us.”

    My friend loves hot yoga and does it all the time. But I just think I’d be too uncomfortable. Thus I warm up with walking and running before I stretch. Maybe non-hot yoga would be good for me, I’ve been thinking about it, preferably a morning class about 9:30 10:00 for my schedule. Hmmn, you’ve got me thinking more on this.

    Not-hot yoga to make me look hot! 🙂

    Yet, the thought of quieting my mind is very very appealing indeed. Imagine if we were all in that mind place all the time, what a world this would be of light and understanding.
    .-= Jannie Funster´s last blog ..The Unbreakable Child: Book Review =-.

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  5. I could feel myself relaxing at the keyboard.
    this brought to mind a thought…
    “Everything I learned about relaxing, I learned from my dog!”
    Hmmm…Maybe I shall wirte a book about this, Carol, and YOU inspired it! Thanks for a super post from super you.

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