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bikram hot yoga Asheville spine twist snow

“Oh the weather outside is frightful, but hot yoga is so delightful.

So, we know the place to go. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.”

This opening line is to be read exuberantly in the countertenor singing voice of Dean Martin, please. (Okay, I’m a dork. But it’s true!) That is today’s jingle for Hot Yoga Asheville; quite simply, the best place to be on these chilly, winter days. As the blizzard of 2015 ravages New England, we Asheville mortals also tend to hibernate against our less tempestuous, yet still blustery, cold weather. If you need to awaken from this shrouded state like I do, now is the time to step outside and let the windshield ice-scraping rituals ensue. The smartest of these awakened, winter creatures fly south to warmer rooms, like that of Hot Yoga Asheville.

“It just feels so good to do the Bikram Method in winter,” I heard someone say in the women’s room before class. I cannot argue.

After weeks of procrastination, I finally hauled my January carcass to the studio and hit the yoga mat at Ross’ Tuesday, 4:30 class. Wow. I felt completely transformed; an obvious outcome, in retrospect. The question is: what took me so long to get back there? Perhaps it’s harder to get there in winter, but it feels even better! Hunched, shivering forms, swaddled in down coats and dreaming of sweaty savasana, descended upon the studio, and stripped down to their zebra- print spandex, revealing their pale, goose-bumpy skin. As these bold, seekers of warmth stepped through the yoga room thresh hold, expressions changed from subdued agitation to ones of purposeful calm. Limbs sank gratefully onto mats; corners of lips lifted slightly. A soft chatter of common purpose rose like a murmuration of starlings that have just reached their point of migration. Yet, are we Bikram yogis really like starlings? I think not. We are more like a kettle of raptors; fierce and ambitious, riding the warmth of the thermals to a better place. As skin began to glisten in the heat, I noticed the robustness of my December body had withered some before me in the wall of all-too-honest mirrors.  But there was hope yet for my winter body. Ross pranced into the room and welcomed us to the class. For the first time in what seemed like ages, I felt like I was in exactly the right place at the right time.

4 things to keep in mind for Hot Yoga in wintertime:

  1. Get to class a little earlier. As delicious as the heat of the yoga room feels to your chilly body in winter, it may take longer to adjust to the temperatures of the room, which average 95 and 105 degrees. If you let your body acclimate to the room before class, your body will thank you.
  2. Be sure to bring a change of dry clothes. Finding one’s self drenched in sweat with no dry clothes to change into before heading back out into the freezing cold is a regretful experience indeed. Even if you decide not to shower in the studio after class, you will leave the studio in a much more blissful state if you towel off, and slip on some comfy, dry, warm clothes over your newly restored body.
  3. Wash your sweat-soaked yoga clothes ASAP. It is just no fun at all to discover a frozen wad of sweaty spandex in a plastic grocery bag on your car seat. The only things worse than old, sweaty yoga clothes are frozen, old, sweaty yoga clothes. Throw them and your wet yoga towel in the wash right away to keep bacteria, mildew and mold from setting in.
  4. Wash your hands thoroughly after class. Often, after a hot yoga class, you may opt to shower at home to avoid the lines in the studio. Yet, in winter, it is especially important to at least wash your hands after class to make sure you have not collected any of those pesky bugs that love to travel around town this time of year. Even though the hot yoga temperatures are too hot to harbor the flu virus, these little villains can still linger on other surfaces. (Hot Yoga Asheville is exceptionally clean though! Kudos!)