Turning up the heat: A beginner’s guide to hot yoga

Anice “Yoga Mama” Bishop (from left to right), Justin Johnson, Tony “Yoga Daddy” Bishop, and Keeley Rogers. Johnson, who regularly attended hot yoga classes, was a standout basketball player for WKU and was recruited by Italian program Cagliari Dinamo Academy upon graduation.

Walking into any new exercise environment for the first time can be terrifying, especially when that new environment includes an extremely hot room, yoga poses and lots of sweat.

This is the world of Hot Yoga Bowling Green, the yoga experience that combines a whole body workout with extremely hot temperatures.

With temperatures varying from 95 to 105 degrees depending on the class, hot yoga may sound intimidating to a person new to the yoga community. Tony Bishop, the director and chief instructor at Hot Yoga Bowling Green, is determined to create a welcoming space for all people regardless of age, flexibility or skill level.

“Hot yoga is, all in all, for all,” Bishop said. “We’ve all had a first class at some point.”

Hot Yoga Bowling Green offers a range of classes, with beginner through advanced levels. Bishop suggests that beginners start out exploring the restorative or traditional classes. These classes are a good place to get comfortable with the powerful healing effects of hot yoga, while also becoming acclimated to the hot temperatures.

Many yoga beginners have some concerns surrounding their lack of knowledge of yoga poses or lingo. At Hot Yoga Bowling Green, each class is taught by a yoga professional who helps students every step of the way, giving physical cues and taking part in instructional participation.

Bishop said that hot yoga first timers should come into class with an open mind.

“Right before you come in, set your intention,” he said. “Why are you coming? What are you looking for from this experience? Balance? Flexibility? A workout?”

In addition to mental preparation, hydration is a necessity when preparing for your first hot yoga class.

“Start hydrating now and bring between 30 to 40 ounces of water to class,” Bishop said.

A misconception is that yoga is just stretching. Bishop said that hot yoga incorporates every part of the body, using almost 100 percent of all muscles and almost 100 percent range of motion.

“Other workouts do just leg day or ab day, but hot yoga gets it all done in one class,” Bishop said.

Hot yoga is a catalyst for eliminating toxins, relieving stress and tension, and promoting overall physical fitness. A 90-minute class can burn approximately 500 to 800 calories.

Bishop said that working out with your own body weight allows for body sculpting, while also concentrating on increasing lung capacity, strength and power.

Taking a class at Hot Yoga Bowling Green is sure to be a new, innovative experience. Whether you come in seeking mental renewal, muscle tone or an increase in flexibility, Bishop believes that Hot Yoga Bowling Green is a place for growth.

“You create in class,” he said. “You don’t have to be an expert when you come in.”

Hot Yoga Bowling Green offers a variety of classes Monday through Saturday. To plan your first visit and for more information including class schedules, visit www.hotyogabowlinggreen.com

Words to know before your first class

Hatha yoga: Hatha means balance like the sun and moon. It is a type of yoga in which you do difficult positions while breathing normally.

Namaste: A sign of honor and respect for one another, namaste is a Hindu term meaning: the light within me honors the light within you.

Pranayama: The formal practice of controlling the breath, which is the source of our vital life force.

Yogi: A male yoga participant.

Yogini: A female yoga participant.

Downward Dog: This popular pose starts with both your hands and feet on the ground. Using slightly bent arms, press your hips up and back reaching your chest towards your thighs. Lift up through the tailbone to keep your spine straight and long.

Tree Pose: This common pose starts with shifting your weight slightly onto your left foot. Draw your right foot up and place the sole against your inner left thigh with toes pointing toward the floor and hold.