10 Ways To Make Friends With Your Body During A Hot Yoga Class

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As the season of eating begins, I want to share this HuffPost piece of mine with everyone I know.

Read it often. Fall out, get back in. Be gentle. You know the drill. 

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Friends, friends: it’s that time of year.

Every December folks roll into my yoga class ready to sweat out all the canapes and martinis they half-drunkenly inhaled the night before. Sometimes they’re wearing six layers of clothing in a 99-degree room so as to “detox” all the pinot and the feta and the gingerbread, armed with liters of coconut water and a couple of big towels for mopping up the evidence.

This always makes me a little bit sad.

I mean, I totally get it. I remember countless hazy, hungover twentysomething mornings spent rolling into Bikram classes feeling like I needed to do the same thing. Too many yoga practices that felt like atonement for the night (or the week) before.

A decade later, as a heated vinyasa teacher myself, I cringe to think that my class could ever be complicit in my students’ self-abasement.

So here I am to remind you: hot yoga is not a punishment.

You are not here to flog yourself for everything you consumed at last night’s holiday party. You’re not here to beat your body into submission. You’re not here to burn enough calories that you “can have” that extra beer tonight at happy hour.

You do not have to “detox” every bit of sugar you’ve eaten in the last month. Your body already has a great built-in system for that. It’s called your liver.

Get this: your body is your friend. Gulp, what? Yes, your friend. Your ally. Your buddy-for-life. Why not start celebrating it rather than shaming it?

Rather than making your yoga practice a participant in the kind of soul-sucking cycle wherein you eat and drink delicious things and then punish your body for eating them, how about you shift your mindset? Then, your yoga can become less a fitness regimen and more an opportunity to lovingly check in with your body and your mind in the midst of what is already often an intense time of year.

An opportunity to get quiet. To listen a little more. To offer your body grace for getting up in the morning and getting dressed and trudging through ice and snow and staying healthy and awake and alive in some of the darkest, coldest days of the year.

Read the full piece here.

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