Raw, adjective: 6. ignorant, inexperienced, or untrained: a raw recruit.


I've long been a whore for a heated yoga practice, ever since the day I stepped into my first Bikram class.

I love the way it opens me up, the way it eases the ache in my joints, the way it brings a detox like no other. So when I found Rusty Wells and his sweaty, jammin' vinyasa classes a few years back, it was like Shangri-La. Sweat, rhythm, music, more sweat, happy joints, a clear mind.

So now, one of my favorite aspects of teaching at Flying Yoga, too, is the mad sweat we get going; the way the windows steam up from so much body heat. It's, uh, hot. And I try to remind people to make friends with the sweat, with the tapas (that literal burning away of impurities), to let the heat be a teacher instead of an enemy, an opportunity to move more deeply into their meditation (and to resist the urge to constantly wipe the sweat away) and to savor increased flexibility and the rush of a good cleanse.

But not everyone loves it. I know this. I see it on people's faces, the hating-on the sweat. And that's fine. Different strokes for different folks, yada yada. But my teacher Rusty has written a really fantastic explanation of why we crank the thermostat up as much as we do. So if you've got a few questions about the heat, or are wondering why the hell it's such a sweatbox in there, read up on it here.

And then next time you roll into class, remember your water, bring a towel, leave your modesty at home, and be ready to get a little down and dirty. It's good shit, this.

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